Sunday, 7 September 2008

Lacking ideas, inspiration and leadership

And for once I'm not talking about the Labour party in Scotland.

The performance of Scotland in Macedonia (and for those of you who didn't see it - you are better off) was dismal. After a terrific campaign last time out where we punched above our weight (winning home and away against France) we've come back to earth with a bump. Our first half display was like watching Sunday league stuff, and even though we were denied what was a stonewall penalty we should be under no illusions - we deserved nothing from this game.

The Celtic trio of McManus, Brown and Hartley, having played perhaps the worst game of their lives last week against Rangers treated spectators to a repeat showing while Caldwell made up for some erratic defending (including handling the ball in the box which went unpunished) with probably a goal-saving tackle. Barry Robson did well playing out of position in pulling the game wide but that was about the only positive I can find. Darren Fletcher flatters to deceive in a Scotland shirt while the two full-backs, Alexander and Naysmith are only there because Hutton is injured and we can't find any one else to play.

McFadden can do wonderful things, but he appears to be a luxury player - he is somewhat frustrating ploughing a lone furrow. And Kenny Miller. Well, last week's goals against Celtic (a sclaffed volley and a tap-in that he needed 6 touches for) pretty much showed his prowess. He will always run himself into the ground and give 110% - but he isn't the goalscorer we need. The subs did well - but were committed way too late to do anything to change the game. Maloney & Commons did what we had struggled to do all match - drag the Macedonian defence wide and get in behind - while Boyd made a nuisance of himself in the box. All in all though, if we'd stolen an equaliser, it would have been a travesty.

Anyway, that was more of a rant than I meant it to be. World Cup 2010 seems a long way off after that though.

One a more political note - I did a straw poll while watching the match today. My sample size was only 30, and it was conducted only in two pubs the town of Kirriemuir (in Angus - for those who don't know - just north of Dundee) so I don't know if you can draw any conclusions from it. But when asked whether there should be a GB football team at the Olympics (and bear in mind Scotland - the team they were supporting here - were losing, pretty pathetically, to Macedonia) 100% of those asked said NO. Actually, most of them said a lot more than that, but most of it is not polite to repeat in public.

Anyway. I know I'm not YouGov or Mori or whatever, but it seems to me that Gordon Brown is way out of sync with public opinion in this respect. It also seems quite clear that, whether we win or lose - and the latter looks more frequent at the moment - we'd still rather win or lose as Scotland. And not as Team GB.


Mark McDonald 7 September 2008 at 10:29  


As far as Kenny Miller goes. If you or I played for Scotland we would try really hard and run around a lot, but we would still be rubbish!

As an Aberdeen fan I look at Kenny Miller, and all I see is an expensive version of Darren Mackie.

And that is not a compliment...

Malc 7 September 2008 at 13:14  

I think that is about right Mark.

Speak for yourself about being rubbish though!

I can never understand managers coming out after the game saying "I was delighted with the effort the boys put in today" when they lose - its like complimenting them for remembering to turn up.

Sam 7 September 2008 at 13:27  

Replace the Scottish names with English and you just wrote a match report for our game too. Although we did win, but still, Andorra are 150 places below Macedonia!

So the Home Nations all failed to justify why they should get special treatment by FIFA/UEFA. Ok its not to do with that but because we invented the game. But refusing to submit a one-off GB team means the founders of the game are thus not represented at the Olympics. So we don't get to win or lose as anyone. How does that make sense?

Malc 7 September 2008 at 13:44  

I don't think losing to Macedonia or performing badly against Andorra fails to justify your FIFA membership. By that reckoning, there would maybe be 6 members at best!

The founders of football haven't been represented at the Olympics for over a generation - why the clamour now? Because its in London? Shouldn't we make Parliamentary debate an Olympic sport since 2012 is at the home of the House of Commons?

Football shouldn't even be an Olympic sport anyway...

Mark McDonald 8 September 2008 at 20:13  


You turn up for next year's parliamentary five a side tourney, and I will happily eat my words...

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