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A "wonderful" performance?

Posted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:09 pm
by Scottish
According to John Robertson that was what we witnessed tonight. Sorry, but for me a 0-0 draw against a team out to defend the point they started with is far from "wonderful." So, we "controlled the game." So what? We damned well should control the game when we start with ten current or former OF players plus one from Man Utd against a side packed with former Hearts and Dunfermline men.

That 'control' though brought only six miserable shots on goal and two corners in the entire match. Complaining about the referee - as Craig Levein did - only deflects attention from our shortcomings, as well as being largely inaccurate.

Ask yourself how many times you were up out of your chair ready to cheer. For me that was just once - Miller's header. Though I was just about to get up again for Naismith's attempt. That was the extent of our 'control.'

I'm not saying this is all Levein's fault. We've been here far too often in the recent past to point the finger solely in the direction of the coach. But it was his decision to play one striker in a match we needed to win and not to provide any further support until less than twenty minutes remained. It was also his decision to keep that lone striker on for the whole 90 minutes rather than use a substitute.

That's now six away matches without a goal in the past 18 months. In the previous 136 years we never went more than three. In fact we've failed to score in 11 of the last 15 international matches. The exceptions are Iceland (twice), Macedonia at home and the friendly v the Czechs.

Why? Virtually every player who HAS scored in the past five years is still either being selected or available for selection. And, remember, Levein has players available to him who weren't to other managers. There were players on the pitch tonight who wouldn't have played for Berti Vogts or George Burley.

It doesn't matter if we hump Liechtenstein next week. We are already - after one match - relying on either getting something in Prague (as well as beating the Czechs at Hampden) or outdoing the Czechs in our head-to-heads with Spain. Or even hoping the Czechs mess up in Lithuania as well.

Sorry to sound such a Jeremiah. But the last thing we need right now is to bemoan refereeing decisions and 'bad luck.' We'll never get out of this mess until we face up to reality.

Posted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 10:48 am
by Alan McCabe
At one point John Robertson actually described it as a "wonderful wonderful" performance, a double-adjective!
I concur with you David. I think it was a decent performance at best but, against a country which has not come near major event qualification in their 16-year attempts, I'm left thinking its 2 points dropped.
I assume Robertson was giving Levein's side more credit for the performance than he would have Burley or Vogts, given his many years of playing alongside the national coach. I just feel we missed a trick and, with it, the chance to replicate the start we had in Euro 2008 when victory in Lithuania was immediately followed by a big win against the group's whipping-boys.
Disappointed by the showings of Robson, Naismith, Brown and Miller, the best option I felt we had was through Hutton's surging runs. I do wish he would both stop looking to go down on occasions through the merest of touches whilst also controlling his very volatile temperament.
I'd rather we went out all-guns blazing and played a traditional fast-paced Scottish game than this 1-up-front cautious nonsense. Despite "dominating proceedings", another of Robertson's weird ascertions, the only noteworthy save of the match came from the immaculate Alan McGregor.
Unless we play with more pace and direction against Liechtenstein then I see us struggling to break them down. A two-goal victory is about as much as I would expect unless Levein really goes for broke, remembering that all results and goals count for play-off places in our smaller Euro group.

Posted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:35 am
by Skyline Drifter
It wasn't remotely close to a "wonderful" performance.

It wasn't a bad performance by any means. It was "respectable" maybe, "average" certainly, possibly even "acceptable" (even if the result itself wasn't) but it was a long way short of "wonderful".

Had we nicked a goal somewhere and won the game then it would have been a successful evening's work because we've certainly played a lot worse recently. But we didn't, and nor for all the ball we had, did we ever look much like we were going to. Miller might have done better with his header and I've no idea why Naismith didn't just put his foot through his good chance instead of attempting to cut inside and beat someone for absolutely no good reason at all. McManus was a wee bit unlucky with his effort first half too.

Lithuania were disappointing notwithstanding McGregor's save which I would have fully expected him to save (it wasn't as good as it's being made out to be though granted more work than we ever gave their keeper).

However, I don't subscribe to the notion that it's a disaster mainly because, as I've argued on this site before, I think the Czechs are somewhat over-rated generally now and nothing to be greatly afraid of. I'll again point out they finished third behind Slovenia and Slovakia last time out and couldn't beat Northern Ireland along the way. It certainly doesn't help though. Nothing less than a win at home to Liechtenstein will do of course and to restore any real "feelgood" factor, then more than a couple of goals in doing so.

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 8:36 am
by lbb
Didn't see this game as I was still flying into Prestwick at the time. Wasn't really surprised by i) the result or ii) Levein complaining about the referee. Now we wake up to him whining that he hasn't got a DVD of Liechtenstein playing. God spare us.

Also, not surprised that Levein is getting a very comfortable press. He basically has more friends in the media than Burley or Vogts ever did so this will afford him a lot of breathing space.

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:14 pm
by exile
Well perhaps it's a missed opportunity rather than a bad result. Lithuania have a reasonable home record - they tend to beat the "minnows", draw with the middle class sides (like Scotland) and lose to the top drawer teams by the odd goal. Our own record in Lithuania is now won 1 drawn 2 lost 1 so it's a "par" result.

I suppose my expectations have been lowered somewhat over the years...

points in qualifying last 10 years

2002 WC Scotland 8 Lithuania 2
2004 EC 14-10
2006 WC 10-8
2008 EC 24-16
2010 WC 10 (8 games) - 12 (10 games)

Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:03 pm
by exile
Words fail me - almost.

Imagine Stirling Albion being restricted to natives of the town and holding Scotland for almost 90 minutes. That's what we're talking about here in terms of population.

Tiddlywinks anyone? David - you could set up a new website.....

Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:13 pm
by lbb
I don't know what I find more nauseating - the players celebrating like they'd scored in the last minute of the World Cup Final or Levein prancing around like Mourinho in the Nou Camp. Look, just go straight to the dressing room, hang your heads in shame and shut up.

Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:51 pm
by Sat31March1928
The referee must have had the same watch as the one used in Cyprus back in 1989.

Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:33 pm
by Scottish
A massive thunderstorm here knocked out the TV so all I saw was the second half "highlights"and if those, the comments from John Collins & Pat Nevin and the official match stats (FOUR attempts on goal, is that really right?) are anything to go by, then I'm glad that the heavens opened. I don't think I could have stood 97 minutes.

Did I really hear the commentator (Paul Mitchell?) claim that McManus will now be a "Scottish national hero forever?"

Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:01 pm
by Sat31March1928
Scotland Liechtenstein
Shots (on Goal) 11(4) 7(5)
Fouls 12 17
Corner Kicks 11 2
Offsides 3 3
Time of Possession 56% 44%
Yellow Cards 4 7
Red Cards 0 0
Saves 4 5

It is a strange world where we're top of the Group after a shocker. Lithuania's win has certainly made the fight for 2nd place a lot more competitive looking than seemed likely after Friday's result.

If you take the possibly bogus assumption that Spain win all their games and Liechtenstein lose all theirs.

We're playing for 12 points in a group of 3.

Posted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:13 am
by Skyline Drifter
scottish wrote:Or even hoping the Czechs mess up in Lithuania as well.
Skyline Drifter wrote:However, I don't subscribe to the notion that it's a disaster mainly because, as I've argued on this site before, I think the Czechs are somewhat over-rated generally now and nothing to be greatly afraid of. I'll again point out they finished third behind Slovenia and Slovakia last time out and couldn't beat Northern Ireland along the way.
Can I stick my smug cap on now? :wink: They didn't even need to be IN Lithuania to mess up against them.

Not that it should paper over how utterly appalling we actually were last night. I've no sympathy for the Liechtensteiners (did I make that word up?) given the way they kicked and time wasted their way through the previous 96 minutes but that doesn't disguse the degree of atrociousness in our performance. Dreadful.

If we continue to play like that it won't matter how much the Czechs mess up. Lithuania might genuinely fancy their chances now.

Posted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:30 am
Back home after a working "holiday" in France(avoiding all newspapers & TV) & finding out the two results last evening, the press features the head of SFL prattling on about how he`s going to make the selfpreservationleague more enticing on & off the pitch(how?), Peat berating supporters for jeering the redlichties` national anthem & more foreign imports for our "leading" sides. "Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear."