A bumpy ride: Gordon Strachan and Scotland

October 17, 2015

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“Gordon Strachan has confirmed he will remain in charge of Scotland , signing a two-year extension to his contract as national manager. Here, BBC Sport reviews his near three-year spell in charge of the national team. Following the sacking of Craig Levein after just three wins from his 12 competitive matches in charge, the Scottish FA turned to Strachan to lift the national team and the country out of its latest despair.” BBC

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Poland’s Robert Lewandowski: the man Scotland fear in Euro 2016 qualifier

October 9, 2015

“There was a time when Scottish football conjured up images of artistry, of neat triangles of passing, the ‘pattern-weaving’ approach. Not any longer. A century ago, Hungarian football was obsessed by trying to emulate the Rangers tourists of 1905; this past week has featured a series of Polish condemnations of Scotland’s supposed clogging. The message has been so consistent, it feels there must be policy behind it, a string of not especially subtle nudges to the referee, Viktor Kassai.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Tom English: Poland challenge next for fighting Scotland

September 8, 2015

“For Scotland, the sensible thing is to look forward in hope, but the irresistible urge is to look back in anger. The contrasting images of intensity and energy and goals against the world champion Germans on Monday night compared to the meek surrender in Georgia three days before is just the latest manifestation of Scotland being a footballing parody of itself. The fluctuation is a brand of torture that has been reduced to a fine art in Scotland, a form of water-boarding, just for football fans. The prevailing agony of the Scottish supporters leaving Hampden after the 3-2 loss to Germany might have taken the shape of the contention – ‘If only we’d played like that in Tbilisi we wouldn’t be in such a hole.'” BBC

Germany v Poland – The Water Battle of Frankfurt
“The plaque underneath the statue of Poland’s legendary national team coach, Kazimierz Górski, outside Warsaw’s new national stadium reads: ‘As long as the ball is in play, everything is possible.’ On the occasion the biggest match of Górski’s time in charge of the national team, whenever the ball was in play it would be repeatedly stuck in deep pools of rainwater.” backpagefootball


Graft, grit and Northern beauty

August 19, 2015

“Sir Alex Ferguson, Kenny Dalglish, Jock Stein, Sir Matt Busby, Bob Paisley, Bill Shankly, Brian Clough, Howard Kendall, Don Revie, Sir Bobby Robson: it’s a long and impressive list, but far from an exhaustive one. The common thread that links them to one another? Yes, they are all British, but more specifically, they’re all from either the North East of England or Scotland. So what, I hear you mutter. … It’s my assertion that, as they did not inherit, at birth, the specific qualities and traits needed to stand out in the cutthroat world of football but must possess them in order to break into that sphere in the first place, then it must be their upbringing and the environment of their formative years that defined them. So, it is to the North East of England and Scotland that we must look for those ingredients that shaped the young men who would eventually become legends.” Foofball Pink


Celtic cousins – How are Ireland and Scotland the same yet different?

June 13, 2015

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“At the end of a long, often arduous, domestic season for most of Europe, only in UEFA would it make sense to schedule a run of Euro 2016 qualifiers for this coming weekend, 12-14 June. Yet so it comes to pass that Ireland and Scotland clash in Dublin this evening with a huge amount at stake in Qualification Group D.” backpagefootball

Scotland fight on and dream on after messy Dublin display
“You counted them from the first minute of the Euro 2016 qualifier against the Republic of Ireland – the Scotland blunders, the moments of uncertainty, the epidemic of misplaced passes that took hold of Gordon Strachan’s team for 45 minutes. You watched some of it in disbelief and some of it in anger and confusion. Where did this weakness come from? Who stole Scotland’s serenity?” BBC


Britain’s “other” national team: Ellan Vannin

June 2, 2015

“The four national teams of the United Kingdom are supposedly England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Each with its own FIFA affiliated side, these nations have spanned generations and produced some wonderful footballers, and in the case of England have even won the FIFA World Cup, triumphing by a margin of 4-2 over West Germany in 1966 – a fond memory to those who witnessed that historic match.” Football Pink


From Prom Prog To Postcard: Scotland and the Shock Of Punk

April 8, 2015

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“When the popular story of punk is normally told, it can be a little London-centric. All too often the vibrancy of provincial music scenes and the sheer volume of bands that emerged are overlooked; their role only really appreciated by those who take the time to delve deeper into the scene’s history. Perhaps because of this trend and also its strength musically during the post-punk years, Scotland’s experience of punk barely gets a mention. Which is odd, because during the late-seventies Scotland was a bubbling cauldron of musical creativity; producing not just major punk bands, including the Skids and The Rezillos but also a plethora of well-regarded also-rans, such as Fire Exit, The Zips and The Freeze. Like other parts of Britain, the music scene in Scotland during this period also underwent a seismic shift, one that changed it permanently.” In Bed With Maradona