Scotland/World Cup

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Rob R
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Scotland/World Cup

Post by Rob R » Tue Oct 11, 2016 10:00 pm

The games just started and the baw's burst already.

lbb
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Re: Scotland/World Cup

Post by lbb » Wed Oct 12, 2016 8:31 am

The Group of Dearth as David Tanner called it on Sky Sports - possibly the only clever thing he's ever said.

I think when players like Steven Naismith and Ross McCormack are sitting at home whilst Barry Bannan runs around the pitch, you have to ask questions of the manager. It seemed to me that Andrew Robertson was Scotland's best player on Saturday so he gets bombed out for Tierney who, to be fair, didn't have a bad game last night but what was the point of the change? Burke looked decent on Saturday and then disappears completely by Tuesday. John McGinn receiving a cap. There seems to be a theme emerging in the media that Strachan is not completely enthusiastic for the job. Are these erratic team selections proof of that or just poor judgement?

Scotland are going nowhere but, as I've said before, there seems little interest in doing something serious about it.

ScottishFA
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Re: Scotland/World Cup

Post by ScottishFA » Wed Oct 12, 2016 8:58 am

The irony of a gloom-laden week is that if (and it is a big 'if') we win at Wembley next month we go to the top of the group.

However, Tanner is right - there seems to be so little quality in the group as a whole that even second place may not be enough to secure a play-off, with the 'worst' second placed team missing out.

Still, a Danish friend emailed me last night to point out that it could be worse: they seem to be having even bigger problems than us.

BMCCOLL
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Re: Scotland/World Cup

Post by BMCCOLL » Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:30 pm

I've had feelings for a while that Strachan is now going through the motions and wants sacked, rather than resign and losing out on a payment for dismissal. Do the SFA stick with him and hope it somehow comes together or cut their losses and try and find someone else? Who'd take this on?
And on our current form, ie over the last countless years, if we did manage to somehow qualify, we'd be on the first steamer home...
http://scottish-football-historical-archive.co.nf

1888games
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Re: Scotland/World Cup

Post by 1888games » Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:35 am

From the outside looking in, as an English fan who supports the other 'home' nations over the over-rated pansies in white, it's quite surprising how badly Strachan has done. There's much more depth of talent in the Scotland squad (and outside the squad) than say Northern Ireland or Wales, excluding Bale. Josh Magennis wouldn't get in Scotland's B squad.

This time Scotland can't even point to an unlucky draw, all the teams are beatable with the right man in charge.

You have to ask serious questions about a manager when Barry Bannan, a lightweight, inconsistent player who turns up for 1 in 3 Championship games, gets selected ahead of James McArthur who is at least 7/10 every week in the Premier League and is currently keeping Yohan Cayabe out of the Palace side.

lbb
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Re: Scotland/World Cup

Post by lbb » Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:25 pm

I would agree that Scotland have a better talent pool than Northern Ireland or Wales. Wales are awful without Bale and Northern Ireland are, well, just awful.

I've never rated Strachan as a manager. He relegated Coventry after 34 years in the top flight. He failed at Middlesbrough after signing a load of ex-Rangers and Celtic players - which I can only assume is one of the reasons for his aversion to picking SPL-based players for the national side, preferring the English Championship and Premiership. I'm not surprised he's done badly. I am surprised he didn't at least get more 'passion' from the team. It really didn't look like the players were playing for him in the last 2 matches.

Aten
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Re: Scotland/World Cup

Post by Aten » Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:47 pm

Another qualifying campaign apparently over just as it starts, but is anyone seriously surprised? Now the knives have been sharpened and are out ready to be plunged into Strachan. Primed and fuelled by a generation of incompetent sports writers, the "fans" feeding frenzy for his head gets to hysterical levels.

Unfortunately, for all his faults, Strachan is the wrong target in this instance. Lets face it, I doubt there is any manager living (or dead) who could secure qualification with the current squad available. The target should be the whole rotten administration of the Scottish game, particularly the clubs themselves. They are the ones who dictate how the SFA and the SPFL executive operate. To state the bleeding obvious, development from grassroots upwards is non existent. Why?

On the few occasions where potential talent does surface, Scottish sports reporters are following over themselves persuading the players to punt themselves over the border as soon as possible and what happens? They disappear into the obscurity of the English Championship or League 1. Great money maybe but no decent football career. Anyone remember Johnny Russell for example? And then there was Fraser Fyvie, oh yes he is now back in Scotland with Hibernian. Examples of wasted potential because the environment they have moved to has not made them better players. Playing for lower end EPL teams and below does not raise your skill level primarily because the standard is not that great and the style of play is pure grunt that belongs in the Dark Ages. The days of "blood and snotters" football is dead or it damn well should be.

The game against Lithuania is a case in point. Despite being seeded the second worse team in the group, the technical standard of their players was well above that of Scotland. Their control and passing was much better, they were comfortable on the ball whereas our players just wanted to get rid of it as soon as possible. You have to look at and question why countries like Lithuania who not so long ago were "whipping boys" have improved whilst Scotland has gone backwards.

Fortunately there appears to be a few managers/coaches in the SPL who are trying to get their teams playing in the proper manner. Tommy Wright at St. Johnstone is a good example but, and here is the irony, as soon as he showed potential to improve the game in Scotland the Scottish Sports press are punting him down to England! That is the same sports writers, by the way, that cannot wait to slag off poor results! Are the Scottish Sports writers clandestine agents for English clubs?

Having said all that, Strachan did not do himself any favours with his selections. Having discarded Jordan Rhodes and Ross McCormack, rightly, because neither could perform at international level, he selects Chris Martin and Steven Fletcher. The former could not score in a whorehouse and the latter only against the standard of Gibraltar. We do not yet know if Giffiths is up to it since Strachan refuses to play him from the start but his club form suggests he can. Why pick Darren Fletcher? How the hell has he 76 caps? He was an imposter of a footballer before his terrible illness and he is an even bigger one now. James McArthur has not improved one iota since leaving Hamilton Academical, would Strachan have picked him if he was still playing for Hamilton instead of the mighty Crystal Palace?

The biggest irony of them all, by dint of other results, Scotland could still fluke qualification. Group of Death? Hardly, more like the Group of Mediocrity.

EastJunior
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Re: Scotland/World Cup

Post by EastJunior » Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:43 pm

Darren Fletcher an imposter of a footballer? wow.

Anyway, Strachan was a bad appointment four years ago and he's still a bad one. He should have the dignity to say he has done all that he is capable of, which is not a lot, and resign now. His squad selections/omissions and tactics have never worked and have bordered on the bizarre. He has won three competitive games that have actually meant anything. Ireland and Georgia at home, the latter with a fluke OG, and Malta away. That's it.

There's a fact going round that I haven't checked. If we had taken 12 points from the bottom two seeds in the last nine qualifying groups, we would have qualified for seven finals or play-offs. You don't need to look far to see the major problem we have, and Strachan does not have the answer to it.

Skyline Drifter
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Re: Scotland/World Cup

Post by Skyline Drifter » Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:06 pm

Johnny Russell and Fraser Fyvie were never remotely as good as they were made out to be anyway. The reason their careers went backwards is because they actually weren't all that good, Fyvie in particular is a very average footballer who isn't even a certain starter at Hibs in the second level of Scottish football. Russell is decent enough but he's never international standard.

That said, it's hard to explain Strachan's fascination with either Chris Martin or Barry Bannon, whilst I can only presume James Forrest has some incriminating photos of Strachan. He shouldn't be anywhere near the national squad never mind on the pitch. I sincerely doubt Leigh Griffiths is international class either but he deserves a chance. He looked lively when he came on in both games last week. Ironically his biggest problem right now may be that he's no longer a certain starter at Celtic. James McArthur should be a regular starter (so should James Morrison when fit) and we probably should persevere with Oliver Burke as the great white hope for a while, young as he is. Wales never saw the need to protect Bale when he was young. Neither did Spurs despite a horrific early start to his time with them.

I don't think Strachan is a particularly great manager but I am far from convinced changing the manager would make an awful lot of odds. There's no getting away from what our major issues are right now. We have nothing resembling an international class footballer at either centre back or centre forward. It's not a good combination. And our central midfield isn't very good either. I'm not Scott Brown's greatest fan but with him and Darren Fletcher, James McArthur and a fit Morrison we're not awful in there. Bannan shouldn't be anywhere near that area of the pitch and there are about 4 or 5 better wingers than him (though Forrest isn't one of them).

Our strongest areas now are those that were our weakest for so long. We have two excellent young left backs in Robertson and Tierney and actually some decent wide options in Ritchie, Burke, Anya, Snodgrass, Maloney and even on occasion if need be Bannan. Callum Paterson needs to work on the defensive side of his game bu he's a decent prospect at right back and we've 2 or 3 good keepers even if McGregor is currently injured and Gordon not an automatic pick at Celtic any more. Marshall is a very good one though. But Marshall apart these are all peripheral positions on the pitch. We need a spine we can rely on and we don't have it. Hanley is average and won't get any better not playing for Newcastle. Russell Martin is a journeyman who gives his all but is filling a shirt. Steven Fletcher gives a physical presence but no serious goal threat to the better sides and we don't tend to play with two forwards so that's an issue.

I was lucky enough to grow up when Scotland reaching World Cups was the norm and even a couple of European Championships were reached. My 6 year old now loves his football but I don't know if I'll ever get the chance to take him to a major tournament. It seems as far off now as it has been since France 98.

EastJunior
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Re: Scotland/World Cup

Post by EastJunior » Tue Oct 18, 2016 1:41 pm

The way I look at the current situation, and let’s be honest it’s been like this for a very long time, is that given we have a lack of real quality in the squad it is absolutely crucial that we have a manager who plays to whatever strengths we have. Strachan has failed to do this throughout his tenure.

The style of football he wants to promote, and I guess one that the SFA want to promote as well, that of possession at all costs, trying to drag the opposition on top of you then hit them in behind looks fantastic on paper and looks fantastic at Camp Nou, but it doesn’t look fantastic when you don’t have the players available to even remotely come close to making it work. You do get the occasional success, like Anya’s goal in Dortmund, but generally you find yourself in the position of watching the world’s best team at sideways passing but going nowhere.

I watched in Tbilisi as we passed, passed, passed and got nowhere whilst a goal behind and five minutes left on the clock. It was exactly the same in Trnava. It doesn’t work, the opposition know that they can sit off us and we won’t hurt them. Lithuania knew how we would play and stifled us.

So we have a system that doesn’t work, and we omit players from the squad as they don’t fit this failed system and promote the likes of Bannan, Forrest and Chris Martin into the International scene where they have no right to be. Strachan has to go, we will lose at Wembley.

Who replaces him? well there’s a whole wide world of managers out there who would be interested, we need to first bin this failed system and do what Coleman does with Wales, mix it up, go long when required, keep possession when required, mix it up and keep the opposition guessing, and maybe play in-form players and not favourites. Short term I’d give Alex McLeish the gig for the rest of the campaign, he set us up to play the game on the front foot, whilst looking at long term options (which may include McLeish).

Four years of Strachan and we’ve gone absolutely nowhere.

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