The Tartan Army – Finally Fed Up

Defeat to the world’s worst International side was unthinkable, fortunately for the Scots they just did enough to ensure they at least got points on the board after the Kazakhstan horror show a few days earlier.

Being played off the park in the group opener was compounded by rivals Russia turning up in Astana, notching 4 and hopping on the short flight home safely in the knowledge that they already have one foot in Euro 2020.

F**k the SFA, sack the board and loud boo’s of discontent were clearly captured by TV cameras and microphones. Something which you do not associate with the well-travelled, well behaved, for the love of a nation Tartan Army.

Put simply, Alex McLeish should his week be penning his resignation letter after an embarrassing 2nd spell in charge of the country for which he gained 77 caps.

Alex McCleish Image

The former central defender is back after choosing to turn his back on Hampden back in 2007 when qualification was a real possibility to sprint down south and into a relegation battle at Birmingham City. An unforgivable offence.

He was unable to save them from relegation that season. He did however lead them back to the top flight at the 1st attempt before suffering relegation again – despite a league cup triumph.

Disastrous spells followed at blues’ city rivals Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest before another couple of short stays in Belgium and Egypt – only for the Hampden hotline to ring after their flirtatious attempts with others were publicly declined.

So, it was decided that in the wake of Gordon Strachan’s eventful reign that Big Eck would be given another opportunity by the seemingly clueless individuals that are slowly running the Scottish game.

How is that working out you ask?

  • Wins – vs Hungary, Albania x 2, Israel & San Marino
  • Defeats – vs Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, Belgium, Israel, Portugal, Kazakhstan

Yes the SFA sanctioned tour of South America pre-World Cup was a shambles and would have tested any manager’s patience but it could have been handled better.

You even feel the get out of jail free card has already been played with the James Forrest heroics at Hampden, that saw Scotland take advantage of the crazy Nations League set up and have the play offs to fall back on. A new man should be given the rest of the campaign and subsequent games to prove that the Scots aren’t as poor as many are making out.

The usual nonsense regarding not having the players or talent will be trotted out as it’s an easy argument to hide behind, well it’s no more than nonsense.

The squad call up’s and equally those that are overlooked has a frantic feel – like they are close to a looming deadline and need to submit a squad ASAP.

We can’t recall ever seeing Mcleish appear at a game looking at potential talent, he could probably do with having James McFadden (a hero in his own right) get his backside away from the TV cameras and actually get on with doing the job as a National Team Coach.

Smaller nations with less resource are performing better, Northern Ireland being a prime example.

The staunch defenders will ask if not Mcleish – then who? Fair question but this overwhelming need for the safe option needs to change.

Without going into too much detail how about the likes of Claude Puel, Gary Monk, Slavisa Jokanovic or Aitor Karanka – why can’t they look to be different? A part time role? A foreign manager with no Old Firm ties? Only ideas but better than this safe mode option applied way of thinking.

Certain no’s from us for the McKay’s, Moyes’ or McCoist’s that will undoubtedly make the right noises.

“It’s never over”, “we started well” and “the players got nervous” have all been blurted out by a man clearly out of his depth this week and it’s best for everyone if he and the supporters are put out of their misery sooner rather than later.

Look up the word’s glorious failure in the dictionary and you’ll more than likely see a picture of the SFA crest frustratingly placed alongside.

The general feeling of always the bridesmaid never the bride follows the national side around and has done for 20+ years now.

Sunday’s victory over San Marino was a near perfect scenario for those who are quite rightly demanding change. A 2-0 score line captured the points, but the labouring performance did little to dispel the feeling that this regime has already failed the thousands who blindly follow their country all over the world in the hope of something to cheer.

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It’s not often you’ll hear boos or songs of discontent from the Tartan Army but in the stands of the Serravalle on Sunday they were deafening.

They deserve better for their efforts and they are not receiving half of the effort back from the squad of that they are putting in.

Rod Petrie, Allan McRae, Neil Doncaster and all the others in the jobs for boys club – its over to you to act upon the vocal request of those who pay your wages and buy yourselves some time because make no mistake they’re after your heads too.

Alex McCleish image sourced from; www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football
Scotland fans image sourced from; www.bbc.co.uk/football

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City or Liverpool – 9 Games to go!

We’ve just witnessed what could be a pivotal week in the race for the Premier League title 2018/19.

Pep’s Man City machine has turned around the recent points deficit and now sit top of the table knowing that a win in each of their last 9 games has their title retained.

Back-to-back 1-0 victories over West Ham and Bournemouth coupled with Liverpool’s dropped points at Old Trafford and Goodison, have given the men from the Etihad a single point advantage heading into the latter stages of the season.

Klopp’s men need to regroup and quickly. Four draws their previous six league games, five in seven if you include the Champions League is not the form required in February / March in order to become legends.

It’s worth remembering that just a few weeks ago Klopp’s side could have been 10 points ahead had they managed to despatch City at the turn of the year. Plus Riyad Mahrez’s missed stoppage time penalty kick at Anfield inflicted an earlier defeat on the Kop faithful.

All change now!

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Due to the participation in the FA Cup, City’s run will be slightly disjointed from that of their title rivals, only two domestic league games in March could take the numerical advantage back to Merseyside should they deliver and turn recent draws into much needed wins.

Below are the remaining fixtures for each side in the quest to be crowned champions of England;

Man City

09/03/19 – Watford (H)

30/03/19– Fulham (A)

06/04/19 – Cardiff (H)

14/04/19 – Crystal Palace (A)

20/04/19 – Tottenham (H)

24/04/19 – Man Utd (A)

28/04/19 – Burnley (A)

04/05/19 – Leicester (H)

12/05/19 – Brighton (A)

Liverpool

10/03/09 – Burnley (H)

17/03/19 – Fulham (A)

31/03/19 – Tottenham (H)

05/04/19 – Southampton (A)

14/04/19 – Chelsea (H)

21/04/19 – Cardiff (A)

26/04/19 – Huddersfield (H)

04/05/19 – Newcastle (A)

12/05/19 – Wolves (H)

On paper the Manchester-based side have the easier run, but we all know that games and more importantly titles are not won on paper.

Spurs who have had what appears to be there annual wobble have to visit both title-hunting clubs and with pressure off they could get into their free flowing rhythm and cause an upset on the day.

Man Utd having recently taken points off Liverpool may find themselves in a catch 22 in mid-April. Win and they have the bragging rights of the City, lose and they may just have handed their biggest rivals their 1st title since 1990.

Could there even be a stranger twist brought about by recent event? Brendan Rodgers will take his hit -and-miss Leicester side to City in the penultimate game. Having seen the title slip away (pun intended) before being sacked – he could now play a pivotal role in derailing Pep’s men with little time remaining to recover.

One thing we believe for certain is that this title race is nowhere near over. Liverpool we believe will actually prefer to be the chaser rather than the chased.

An interesting few weeks ahead and games which will define legacies. It’s that important.

Liverpool and City image sourced from; www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football