Scottish Football’s new low.


I was listening to the radio last night to hear of Brendan Rogers cheering on Leicester City’s first win as their new manager.

What the Brendan Rogers that is manager of one of the biggest clubs in the world, Celtic FC?

The team that’s on the verge of a historic treble, treble under his management?

The club that is on the verge of a historic ten league titles in a row.

To go to a mid rank English team that spanned a Championship win a few years ago before returning to mediocrity?

Nah, can’t be him.  He was managing Celtic, one of the world’s biggest clubs two days ago in a 4 – 1 win over Motherwell.

And then I heard that Neil Lennon, whom I admire greatly as a manager but have severe concerns about his mental health, a problem that led to him being fired from his previous job for calling the club MD, my club,  a ******* ****, is taking over till the end of the season.

A man who incites massive sectarian hatred in Glasgow.

He’s taking over?

Nah, he said he couldn’t handle that sort off shit any more.

Must have been a dream.

If it was real the Celtic fans would all be going daft.

What is it about Colin Calderwood?


After defeat to Motherwell yesterday this very odd man said…

“There are aspects of the game I enjoyed. Problems are there to be solved so that’s what I’m looking forward to doing.”

On Tuesday night after Hibs went out to a team two leagues below the odd bod Calderwood commented…

“We had so many good opportunities, the goalkeeper’s had a number of good saves, we’ve had efforts cleared from the line and I think they defended their goal excellently.

He has so far won 2 out of 15 games.

Being, at best, an armchair fan I have not seen him in action but I am told he stands impassively, hands in pockets, barely involving himself in games and certainly not leaping about like the madman Yogi Hughes had become.

It all just seems like he’s going through the motions.

Remarkably he claims to be “really enjoying it” at Easter Road.

Inevitably, the fans’ ire tends to turn to the manager or the Chairman in these sorts of situation.  And Rod Petrie’s extended honeymoon is certainly looking to be over at this moment in time.

The sale of Stokes and Bamba appears to be hitting home now and our lack of action in the transfer market is becoming notable.  I’m a great admirer of what Petrie has acheived at Easter Road but it feels like he has made an extraordinarily bad appointment in Colin Calderwood and his earlier reputation for canniness is in danger of becoming one for penny pinching (for which I am told he has a strong internal reputation.)

Lastly, of course, there’s the team itself; some say it is a shadow of its former self, one of the worst to have played for Hibs in many years (if not ever), but I saw Zemamma, Miller, Riordan, Wotherspoon, Murray, Stack and McBride (all in the squad yesterday) play Dundee Utd on 3rd October 2009 and destroy them before drawing 1 -1.

At that point the table looked like this…

A month later it looked even better…

And even by mid January Hibs (with this team) were in touch with the top, so my contention is not that it is the players themselves that are poor but the way in which they are applying themselves.

It feels to me that there is a cancer somewhere in Easter Road that is permeating the team and turning good players into bad.  Yogi lost them, and Calderwood has never had them bar one freak night against Rangers.

It needs sorted, and quick.

The Plain in Spain stays mainly in Rutherglen


Flamin' 'eck. We only lost 3 - 2. At home.

The headlines will proclaim Braveheart!

The truth is, in my view anyway,  Scotland huffed and puffed tonight.

Spain were not in top gear.  Need they be?  They were playing a team who had just lost to a team who had  just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania.

They gradually worked out a way to get through against the great blue wall.

Two up.

Job done.

Tools down.

And then; oops.

A wee Spanish banana.

Could the worst happen?

Could they really lose to a team who had just lost to a team who had  just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania.

Don’t be daft.

Supersub.

3 – 2.

Cue Lionheart.  Cue whatever.  It’s always like this.

Some good performances (Naismith, Fletcher, Bardsley) and a corker of a baddie.  Whittaker will want to erase tonight from his memory forever.  Run ragged, 100’s of mistakes, gave away the penalty just before halt time, got sent off.  Doh!)

This was not a new dawn for Scottish football.  It was just another close defeat to a huge team that nearly took their eye off the ball.  But it was at least exciting.

Last night I watched the death of Scottish football.


 

And this is before last night's results have been taken into account.

 

For a Jambo, Craig Levein is a nice bloke but that in no way exonerates him from open and outrightly hostile criticism in the wake of last night.  It was so embarrassing that I forsee no future at all for our ‘national game’.  We turned up to play a team ranked 37th in the world who had just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania and we failed to play with a striker.  In other words the limits of Levein’s ambitions was a 0 – 0 draw. To a team who had just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania.  The formation was 4 6.  have you ever hard of that?  Apparently Spain play 4 6, but that’s 4 defenders and 6 strikers! And this was to a team who just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania.

If we had a chance I do not recall it, and yet after we went 1 0 down with 20 minutes to play he reverted to a 4 4 2 formation that, whilst unsuccessful, at least put the Czechs under some pressure which is hardly surprising because they are a team who had  just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania.

OK, Rangers have ground out two good results by playing ultra cautious tactics, but they played a striker at least.  The same striker that is in the form of his life and only came on as a sub to create the aforementioned formation to a team who had just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania.  Rangers’ tactical decisions are fair enough.  They were playing one of Europe’s finest – not  a team that had just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania.  (That said, the Turks they played had never made the Champion’s League before and had just been humped at home by Valencia – but it paid off).

Levein looked sheepish, but unapologetic, after the game.  I anticipate that the media will rightly go on a field day and, for once, I support them.

It’s very, very sad that our national game, one that only 30 years ago we were considered amongst the finest in the world at, has become a joke.  A laughing stock.

How anyone could forgive us taking 96 minutes to pip Leichtestein (a country with a population of 34,000) is beyond me.

This result and this formation in particular, sets out our position in stark relief.

Losers.

And unambitious ones at that.

God help us on Tuesday night.  Although.  Although.  Although. You can just see it can’t you.  A backs to the wall Braveheart performance.

(And an unlucky 1 – 0 defeat.)

Bertie's back!

Have a heart Walter


Much as I admired Rangers’ desperately pragmatic grinding out of a result against Manchekster Utd last night I felt Walter Smith’s defence of his strategy lacked humility today.

In it he bemoaned the fact that he had to adopt those tactics to hold any chance of a result against the wealthier teams of the league. He pointed out that 85% of Premiership teams have no chance of winning that league and that The Champions League is much the same!

Hello!

The only reason Rangers are even participating is because they benefit from precisely the same financial domination as those teams enjoy in their respective leagues. The difference is that I don’t see Man Utd or AC Milan pillaging the talent of their fellow league mates in an attempt to bury their ambitions.

Walter. Put a sock in it. Have a heart. Look in your back yard before you mouth off.

Cheerio then


I am not, and never have been, a fan of George Burley.  The performance by Scotland against Wales on Saturday defied description in the first half.  At 3-0 down we gave away a stone wall penalty that wasn’t given and Marshall, the goalie, should have been sent off.  So that would have been 4-0 with ten men.  We’d no doubt have shut up shop at that point and sloped off with a four goal defeat.  As it was we lost to a bunch of schoolboys by three.

He had to go.  And go he has.

Our game is a mess.  I mean, let’s face it, Hibs are within a win of topping the league despite a makeshift team in parts and having sold 11 internationalists in five years.  How is that possible?  I’lll tell you how.  Because everyone else is dreadful.  And if you want proof of that look at Rangers’ and Celtic’s positions in their European groups.  Both bottom, neither with a pot washed.

Investment in Scottish football’s youth (outside of Easter Road) is lamentable and that’s why that old saying “There’s no easy games in international football” is true once again.  Scotland is an easy game.  Falkirk went out of Europe to a team from Leichtenstien.

Lichstentsien!

In the past, had a Scottish team drawn a team from Lichstentsien we’d have needed a calculator to work out the aggregate score.

So back to Burley.  Cheerio and good riddance I say.  We’ve had two clowns in charge (Burley and Vogts).  It seems remarkable that the rose between those two thorns was dour old Walter Smith who got the team playing again, reaching unheard of heights.

He leaves?  Splash, right back in the poo.
Smith is sitting in the Ibrox ejector seat so I suspect the SFA will make the predictable decision to send him a parachute.  Indeed this may all be part of a “plan”.

By the way.  Check out 60 Watt’s topical Scotsman.com ad in  The Scotsman.

Yogi


It’s a good day at Easter Road.

It seems we have hired who I have long thought might be Hibs follow up to Mozza (Tony Mowbray).

A  manger who cares and who has a football brain.  I now expect a much better season from Hibs but the absolute key must be about holding focus against the lower teams.  Yogi needs to teach Hibs that although beating Celtic, Rangers and Hearts is good, beating Hamilton, St Mirren, Motherwell, Aberdeen, Kilmarnock, et al is much, much more important.

Only one problem.  In seeking decent images of Yogi Onliner…this was the only good one I could find.

HUGHES_John_19951111_GH_R

Ach well, we set them up anyway.

Kris Boyd to be sold to a richer club. Oh isn’t that awful.


Don't cry for me argy bargy.

Don’t cry for me argy bargy.

It makes me laugh till I spew reading the angst emanating from Ibrox about Kris Boyd being sold.  What?  The family jewels sold off to a bigger and richer club, (Birmingham City) just when they were doing well.

Well, now you know how it feels!

Thomson, Miller, Whittaker, Murray and, over the fence, Caldwell, Killen, Riordan, Brown and that’s probably not all of them that have been ripped out of Easter Road in the last few years and it’s no different at Hearts or Dundee Utd.

Shadenfruede?

You bet.

(Oh and I believe they’re after Andy Driver at Hearts.  Bloody hypocrites.)

It hurts so much. This eternal underachievement.


Oh well, might as well be fucking pish at everything

Oh well, might as well be totally rubbish at everything.

As a Scottish foootball fan one has two options: support the Old Firm (either half will do) or follow your heart and stay local.

I chose that route and support Hibernian FC.

When it comes to your country the choice is rather more restricted.  Therefore I support Scotland.

Today I watched my country play Macedonia in what was a very important game.  What I witnessed was what I see week in week out from my club team.  Complacency.

Scotland, in the first half, against a team ranked 50 or so places behind them in the FIFA rankings were out-fought, out-thought and out-bothered.  Scotland didn’t give a damn.  It was a really disappointing thing to see, post Euro 2008 badluckness. Sure, it was a different thing in the second half, when it was a race against time.

‘It was too hot’ they’ll say.  But it was the Macedonians who were most suffering at the end.  So that is no excuse.

I think the comparison to being a Hibs fan is very relevant here.  Week in, week out Hibs fail to beat the rank and file (like St Mirren, say) but come the glamour tie all the stops are pulled out (The Old Firm and Hearts).

Scotland can turn it on, big style, against France, Italy and, no doubt, the Dutch but an eminently beatable Macedonian team screwed it for us once again for lack of application.

By the way, I hate, naye loathe, Skopje.  I slept in the train station overnight there in 1983 and it was full of idiots. 30 degree heat all night and folk pacing about in leather studs and chains.  I honestly don’t know how I got out of there alive.

Rant of the season


This is brilliant.  Click on the interview panel on the BBC sports page at this link.

Craig Levien, Dundee Utd’s manager, letting off steam after losing a crucial game to Rangers today. Now, when I say letting off steam I mean totally losing it. I like and respect Craig Levien – even if he is a Jambo – and I know exactly how he must feel

And oh what joy to find this old school photo of him on google…

And this one…

Yes, that’s right. It is yours truly on the left. A vision in black. And not overly gaylordish.

Now, we all know that referees favour Celtic and Rangers, but according to Levien, Mike McCurry’s performance today was nothing short of a scandal. He calls him a cheat – which will get him in big trouble with the numpties that run our game – but he is almost certainly right. I haven’t seen the incidents in question, but judging from this outburst I think he probably has a point.

Listening to discussion about it on Five Live’s 606-phone in a Rangers fan brushed it off by saying…

“They’re getting all excited about this one game. Maybe if they’d tried this hard all season against lesser teams this would be less of an issue.”

A neat body swerve I have to say, but, you know what? Totally true!

And that applies to every other team in this shitty league.

And Hibs are no exception.

They turn up for the old firm and Hearts matches and don’t bother their arses against the likes of Aberdeen, Motherwell, St Mirren…

That’s why I don’t go along any more.

Sir Walter, The Scot


Is Walter Smith the greatest football manager Scottish football has ever enjoyed?

I think so.

I was in Glasgow tonight to witness, in a pub, the effect this remarkable man has had on a patently average football team. Not only has he achieved greatness for Rangers Football Club but he has done so with six Scottish players on the pitch. Sadly, two of them Hibbies.

Clearly Rangers were not actually better than Fiorentina (or Werder Bemen, or Sporting Lisbon) but they beat them all- this is not typically Scottish behaviour.

But a Scottish team, is in a European Final.

This is genuinely something to celebrate.

C’mon the Gers!

Football’s gone bonkers


The Cabbage could get into Europe.

Hearts could win the Diddy League. (Although, if memory serves me correctly Mr Romanov predicted that they should be, about now, in the Semi Finals of the Champion’s League defending last year’s title)

Carlisle United look like getting promoted two years’ running.

Queen of the South, yes, Queen of the South are in tomorrow’s Scottish Cup Final.  If they win they’ll be dancing in the streets of Queen of the South (in fact by all accounts they already are.

Cardiff City are in the English FA Cup Final and they’re not even English.

Rangers are in the EUFA Cup Semi Final.

I blame it on global warming.

Sun(y)life Hearts Plan


Are you worried about the future?

Let’s face it, we’re not getting any younger and we all have to think about our lavish lifestyles after our careers are over.

  • Are you well past your best?
  • Are you looking for an easy life?
  • Are you looking for an easy way to enter Britain?

Then you are eligible for the Hearts Life-Plan!

WE PAY YOU over £10,000 a week, there’s a pointless medical and no salesperson will call (you might even get a shot at being manager).

CALL NOW!

There’s a FREE house, car and limitless golf at some of Scotland’s finest courses.

Don’t take our word for it, read these recommendations from some very satisfied clients….

“When I’m no longer playing, I know my family will be financially secure”

Mr Beslija, Belgium

“I recommended the Hearts plan to all my friends back home.”
Mr Saulious, Edinburgh

“The Hearts plan supplemented my pension, just when I thought it was too late.”
Mr Pressley, Glasgow

“The generosity of the Hearts plan is unmatched in the world of pension finance. It was the best move I have ever made.”
Mr E Kurkis, Lithuania

“Even when everyone said I was too old, Hearts were prepared to supplement my pension with an outrageous offer.”
Mr Neil, Edinburgh

“Despite being permanently injured I was still eligible for the Hearts Life-plan – year after year!”
Mr Pinilla, Chile

So don’t sit there worrying about the future – relax – that phone will ring!

Hearts Life-Plan is regulated by V Romanov and his pals at the bank and is funded by the 10,000 who have invested in the “HMFC Season Ticket” pyramid scam over the last 3 years.

Punching above our weight once again.


This is incredible.

argentina-return-to-top-of-fifa-rankings-breaking-news-guardian-unlimited-football_1193230608734.png

Scotland’s highest ever FIFA world rankings. And look who is only two places above us.

Incidentally this is the population rankings of those above us.

1 Brazil 187m

2 Germany 82m

3 France 64m

4 Italy 59m

5 England 50m

6 Spain 45m

7 Argentina 39m

8 Romania 21m

9 Netherlands 16m

10 Portugal 10m

11 Czeck Republic 10m

12 Scotland 5m

13 Croatia 4.5m

And of the 7 teams below us in the top 20 only Uruguay is smaller in population terms.

The top 9 European teams become number 1 seeds for the World Cup qualifiers. We currently sit 11th.

Bring on Italy.

New highs for Scottish Football. The best week ever?


Aberdeen 1 – 1 Dnipro

Aberdeen qualify on away goals for group stages (surely not; we always go OUT on away goals.)

This video is the best I could dredge up. not good…

]

Celtic 2 – 1 AC Milan

Magnificent performance to beat the Champions of Europe. The match was only marred by the idiot who came on at the end to celebrate, but what about the goalie’s reaction?

Two words…Cheating scumbag.

]

Lyon 0 – 3 Rangers

I think it is particularly enjoyable to watch Lyon’s humiliation in French. Sacre Bleu, Quel Horror, Horrible, Merde. So here you are.

]

Saving the best for last; sure, Rangers rode their luck, but to beat one of Europe’s leading teams 3 – 0 away from home is quite extraordinary and from front to back the Rangers team can hold their heads high.

Masterful.

On the back of the Scotland victory v France we are a nation again.

Wait until the Cabbage play in the Champions League next year. The Champions of Europe may reside in Scotland.