Date: 14th October 2022
Einstein’s Insight on looking beyond our four big games.
In the last 4 days we’ve played 4 and lost 4.
The results and performances give a good insight into our elite game and the future we can expect.
Just 2 goals scored but 15 goals against and two sizeable defeats to boot.
No progress obvious on the park or chance of progression into the next levels.
Going in the wrong direction would be an apt summation to the point of understatement.
And no internal leadership for grasping the very obvious nettles or inbuilt mechanism for change that will counter Albert Einstein’s simplistic but very obvious prediction when he was asked about football in Scotland all those years ago.
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.
Desperately Seeking Leadership
1. Four Out of Four Ain’t Good
Scotland 0 Ireland 1
After a superb win against Austria, we didn’t really turn up for a place in next year’s World Cup, in front of a record Hampden crowd.
A bad night in the office maybe but also we’re maybe a team currently punching above our weight.
We need an urgent overhaul of grass roots and the elite pathways for our girls (and boys) or we’ll head backwards even faster.
Right now our game has been lucky to get a crop of top players and we simply don’t respect the process from first kick, to wearing a blue shirt and singing ‘Flower of Scotland’.
What we have can’t give us any confidence of anything other than occasional upward blips when we get lucky.
Recent developments where our biggest clubs now take women’s football more seriously and the positive glow from the Euros and women’s football over the border are good news.
But we need to think this through long term and from the bottom up integrating with schools, clubs and Maree Todd’s health brief.
That is the big thinking and leadership we need.
That isn’t happening in any way except for tokenism.
Celtic 0 Leipzig 2
The club’s 7th Champions League home loss in a row says something and the stats don’t lie.
Our champions are 4th with one point and need 4 points to have a chance of scraping into the Europa League.
On the night they had just 42% possession, 16 shots with only 2 on target against opponents who had 13 shots, and 5 on target.
Rangers 1 Liverpool 7
The Mersey-siders had looked sharper and faster last week in a home 2-0 victory.
This week their team had several changes and Rangers looked more comfortable, taking the lead with a great Scotty Arfield strike which woke Liverpool up and 1-2 at halftime was probably just about right.
A few changes, an injury to the Rangers captain and a 1-7 was not sadly because of 5 ‘lucky’ second half breakaways.
Rangers were well and truly gubbed.
The stats will show Rangers had 43% possession, and had 7 shots with 2 on target.
Liverpool had a 6 minute hat trick as Rangers imploded and also 20 shots with 9 on target.
Aside No 1
“Hunger doesn’t wear club colours”.
The Liverpool fans came up with supplies for 3 Glasgow foodbanks.
A nice idea but I wasn’t aware that as many as 24% of Glasgow residents live in food poverty.
Ian Byrne, labour MP and founder member of ‘Fans Supporting Foodbanks’, formed by Liverpool and Everton fans in 2015, was there and said “Food is a right not a luxury”.
Well done to all and the Scots who joined them.
Looking forward to distributing these most in need in our Communties across Glasgow pic.twitter.com/mOcZg5aOyp
— FANS SUPPORTING FOODBANKS #RightToFood (@SFoodbanks) October 12, 2022
Aside No 2
The fans mixed well before the game.
I’ve read of football games, and a few untroubled beers in the city centre.
And football matches with players from 8 to 80.
Why did a very small minority of Rangers fans come out to the game with red, white, and blue specially produced balaclavas and masks for first, a wee skirmish with Strathclyde’s finest and their horses at 7.30pm, and then a futile attempt to goad the Liverpool fans into a square-go of some kind after the match?
Liverpool fans with experience of Sheffield, Brussels and Paris behaved impeccably and made the would be rioters look like the daft wee laddies they are.
Fiorentina 5 Hearts 1
Hearts too were gubbed.
A sizeable and good natured band of fans travelled and at least enjoyed the Florence sunshine if not the exchange rate which Liz Trump and her sacked, chancellor sprung on us.
The stats show Hearts had just 31% possession and 5 shots with 2 on target while the Firenze side hade 16 shots with 10 on target.
The Italian papers today are also asking where the famous Scottish feistiness has gone.
I haven’t done the maths, but our current 8th place in Uefa rankings must be heading the wrong way.
And it is not good for our top clubs.
This week Dan Ashworth, Sporting Director at Newcastle admitted their own spending spree was not sustainable and that his club had three objectives.
i) Catching Man City and Chelsea.
ii) Developing their academy.
iii) Staying in Europe because without that they could not attract the right players to the club.
No 3 made me think.
Why would any alpha player male or female want to come to any club in Scotland?
We have to grow our own stars and we’re not good at it.
2. VAR Will Change Our Statistics and Outlooks
OK we are late getting there but maybe that is a good thing.
The SFA, SPFL and a team of backroom ex referees have been beavering away to stop Scotland being left in the footballing wilderness.
We will have a new custom-built building at Clydesdale House in sunny Baillieston and up to 6 matches can be VAR’ed simultaneously by a trained ref and assistant ref team, with on-site ref supervision too if required.
The ref in the cupboard has arrived and this will have a huge impact on Scottish football.
Most fans outside the top two have always believed the crowds have influenced the whistlers and now every goal will be checked.
I’m happy with that.
Our basic system will be 6 cameras but when satellite tv is covering the games there will be more.
When it is 6 cameras there will be 2 at the halfway line, 1 high 1 low, 1 at each 18 yard line and 1 at each of the goals.
In the vote 41 out of 42 clubs were in favour with Morton, having asked their fans, saying no.
There will be teething problems because it is new technology but keyboard warrior names like “Rangers nil, who missed the penalty’, and “Parkhead Free Kick”, will become obsolete.
Good luck to the hard working team behind all this.
3. Just What Behaviour is Acceptable at Football Matches?
A few wee stories here that intertwine and ask unanswered questions.
First there was a twitter and Facebook storm when a United fan was said to have called Hibernian’s Tavares a ‘black bastard’ in a rant at the match on Tuesday.
Following much debate on-line, a fair bit of fuss and a dialogue between the clubs we are told today whatever was actually said was different and was not a racist slur.
The BBC are reporting that the comments were derogatory rather than racial.
I asked before why fans at matches can shout things that they would be arrested for saying in the street but we all seem to accept as normal once inside the turnstiles.
Second the Irish Girls team are in trouble for not just singing but putting out on social media the ‘Up the IRA’ song from their celebrations on Tuesday.
The song has been rightly condemned because of the IRA atrocities most of us have lived through.
But if the IRA had never existed and had never achieved some of its objectives the Republic of Ireland who the girls played for would not exist today.
This one is beyond my pay grade.
Thirdly some years ago in a mini friendly tournament of 7 or 8 primary schools a good while ago I was reffing two schools one of which was a Saint school.
It was a 7 mins each way and close.
One father was over-vociferously nagging his son to do this and that as happens right through the match and at half time I asked politely if he’d ramp down the tirade.
He didn’t and not long into the second half when his son’s team were 2-1 down I heard “Guys Get into these Fenian Bastards”!
At the time that would have been acceptable at some grounds.
I just blew the final whistle and the match was over.
I thought about that game when Phil Goodlad told us today about the Liverpool Kids Leagues of 150 clubs that have been called off this weekend by its secretary Tracey Savage, because of ongoing nonsense from parents targeting the kids and the referees.
It is all down to what used to be acceptable culture and football has never been a good role model because it has accepted the unacceptable for too long.
I’ve also played in amateur matches where the behaviour of the crowd and some of the players towards the referee and players has been quite shocking and there should be guidance from the top about what should happen.
There needs to be.
Well done Tracey.
4. Doha Ironys
Just think why a nation state like Qatar with no football heritage would want to host a world cup.
They might tell you it is to kick start the game in their country for all Qatari boys and maybe even girls too.
And that is partly true.
But the real reason is what I’ve come to know as ‘Sportswashing’.
This is where a nation uses sport to clean up their reputation just like Russia tried with their world cup or what the Saudis are undertaking with their football and golf projects.
Anyway, this week in the state controlled Qatar media, Nasser al Khater, the World Cup Boss came out strongly at home and abroad about the ‘slurs’ from foreign nations.
He said without the slightest hint of irony “This is a sporting tournament that people want to come to and enjoy. Turning it into a platform of political statements I don’t think is right for the sport.”
The Qatari people are being told the ‘smear campaigns’ are unfair we are being told to shut up.
“Let’s stop the smear campaigns and cooperate for a World Cup that unites people,”
“It’s time you practiced the tolerance you advocate”, pointing the finger at European countries who have “watched migrants fleeing conflict, devastation and poverty drown at the bottom of the Mediterranean”.
Meanwhile in the UK men’s game where as far as I know there are only 2 gay players currently Zander Murray at Gala, and Jake Daniels at Blackpool..
And that is outrageous that others have to cover up and pretend to be what they are not.
Anyway Gary Lineker has said he knows of at least 2 international players based in England who could ‘come out’ during the world cup.
In a nice series of actions – some of the internationalists could come out in a country where being homosexual gets you up to 7 years in jail.
Gary puts their reticence of coming out at all is down to fear of the unknown and fan chanting.
I get that but deep down hope the players across the family of nations make the point.
More power to them all.
But the Qatari’s don’t want that and in response to the idea that captains of England Wales and others intend to wear multicoloured ‘One Love’ armbands that highlight discrimination, Al Khater said that it is for FIFA to approve the armbands, but he at least repeated that all fans, no matter their sexual orientation, will be welcome
“All we ask is for people to be respectful of the culture,” said Al Khater “At the end of the day, as long as you don’t do anything that harms other people, if you’re not destroying public property, as long as you’re behaving in a way that’s not harmful, then everybody’s welcome and you have nothing to worry about.”
5. Griezmann was So Last Week, Rupert
In Sting last week we spoke about the deal Barca were now glad to accept for their ex player Antoine Griezmann who Atletico Madrid got for half price.
It was funny to read the same story as news 4 days later in Murdoch’s Times.
Maybe the cheque is in the post too.
Yes Have a good week and feedback always welcome.
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