|As you drive and get nearer Hampden you see more and more tartan of course and see more and more optimistic fans, others attending for the outing with friends, others still out of habit. All are to be congratulated because there has been nothing recently on the park that would suggest an exciting feast of football lay ahead.
As usual when (arguably) lesser opposition are involved the press had fed us all a feast of a different sort by describing and emphasising the amateur status, the part time players and their lack of scale. Of course, by implication they were inferring that as the Scotland players were the exact opposite, (professionals, full time, highly skilled) then the game would be one sided. How wrong that turned out as we now know, no matter the result.
The fans of course had turned out in their mix of national costumes dressed up as Jacobites for battle; coincidentally the Scotland players appeared dressed up as a team- but that was where the similarity to a team ended, again as we all now know.
The match has been spoken about elsewhere but it is more interesting to consider the comments post match about the performance. Did the Manager watch the same match? No criticism of individual players, just "pride" in the performance. "Pride"! That view was as inaccurate as the comments the next day that the booing of the Lichtenstein anthem (nice lyrics, shame about the tune) was from "a small section" of the crowd- what rubbish! The jeers came from all but the main stand.
Why does the Manager not be brave for once and tell some home truths to make performance by the players truly accountable to the fans who have paid to see them and who just get confused when the Manager uses phrases like "honest, gutsy, persistent" to describe the team performance on a night when the performance made it easy to think the teams had swapped strips before the match. This from a Manager who had his run ins with the SFA and SPL as a club manager and who accused them and some referees of a lack of honesty. Now he is part of the establishment.
Honesty about players performance would mean the player or players would decide to "concentrate on Club football". So the cycle will continue unless and until the SFA decide to do a Switzerland and invest wholly in youth football, acknowledging that that means 10 years in the wilderness before any hope of improvement on the pitch - consider we are already in that wilderness except we pretend otherwise.
Ger Harley (email@example.com)
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