Standing tall for your country and other pish like that

So Scotland and their colourful fans will not be going to Russia next year.

According to the manager, the explanation can be found in the DNA of the ancient nation north of the Tweed.

Ironically, Gordon Strachan himself had a stellar career as a player because managers like Alex Ferguson looked at his ability, not his height.

Moreover, I don’t think that the gene pool that produced Baxter, Bremner, Law and the Lisbon Lions has anything to get their double helix in a fankle about.

If there is a gene for playing soccer (actually I think the very notion is risible) then it is certainly to be found in South America.

My vote for the best player of all time would go to one of two Argentinians:

Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi.

Two big strapping lads in fairness…

I have sat in a few post-match pressers over the years and the manager of the losing side can often come up with some bizarre stuff by way of excuses.

However, I have never heard one suggest that the way forward is a human stock breeding experiment to increase the height of a nation.

Perhaps the lack of stature explains why Gordon Strachan decided to leave James Forrest and Calum McGregor on the bench when Scotland was chasing the game last night.

I suppose having two dynamic attacking players with Champions League experience to call on would only be a boon if they were big.

Ah well…

During the Indy Ref campaign, a relative of mine in Glasgow told me that he would be voting “NO”.

He thought that an independent Scotland was a non-starter, “we’re too wee” was his reasoning.

Perhaps I picked him up wrong at the time…

Tonight my lads take on our Welsh cousins in Cardiff.

Even without Gareth Bale, I reckon the home side are favourites to prevail on the night.

However, this Irish side has proved capable of offering up an upset now and again.

That said, it seems a long two years since Shane Long blasted in the winner against the world champions.

The Germans were shocked and so were we!

Shane looked a forlorn figure when he was subbed at the Aviva in the last match against Moldova

As he trudged off I wondered just how many games it had been since the struggling striker had found the net and the answer, of course, was 42.

He is injured for the match tonight and that might be a blessing.

Shane is a decent hard working lad and he clearly busts a gut in the green jersey of Ireland.

It isn’t just the Welsh who are without their best player as Séamus Coleman our captain is injured.

In fairness, this is probably the weakest Irish team in 25 years, but we’ll give it a lash.

After all big Murph put manners on the Moldovans.

He’s tall you see…

44 thoughts on “Standing tall for your country and other pish like that”

  1. I agree with you up to a point, however I think the height issue is just a smokescreen. I don’t think WGS employers would have allowed him to select the Celtic players mentioned in earlier posts as that would have alienated the supporters of a certain premier league club who currently don’t have a Scotland cap in their midst. (Have they ever?)

  2. I think wee Gordon will regret that comment. Our gene pool IS smaller and that’s more to the point.
    We knew it was never going to be easy and we needed a bit of luck and yes Griffiths should have been playing earlier. Strachan didn’t fancy him but he does now. I don’t really know if anybody else could do better as a manager of Scotland and we could find ourselves worse off.. Playing football the Celtic way is the way to go. All the best club teams are doing that now. Maybe one of our bright guys in the Federation could look at how Iceland have managed without even having a professional league on their island. All weather pitches, dome covered pitches, lots of coaches and all the kids play football all year round. They love the game and they invest in it.

  3. Holland failed to qualify for the last European Championships, Unless they beat Sweden by seven clear goals tonight, they won’t be at the World cup either.
    Scotland were unlucky not to make the play offs this time round, Slovenia are no mugs, Same with Slovakia.
    Lithuania at home was the killer, if we held on and beat England, we would have made the play offs.
    Brown & Armstrong were a big miss in Slovenia.
    Folk should lay off Strachan, i think he got the formation and team selection wrong in Slovenia, yet still drew the game.
    Disappointed but not looking for the manager to go.

  4. Strachan is the tactical genius who played 4 at the back against Artmedia when Celtic had 20 minutes left and just needed one goal to overturn a 5-0 drubbing (which had also been his fault).

    I can only assume that WGS gets the good jobs, and gets such an easy ride from the MSM, because he is known to don an apron and take part in weird ceremonies.

  5. WGS continues to talk rubbish.
    His team selection on Sunday was shocking…but it was chosen out of arrogance and spite.
    I never liked him at Celtic…I don’t rate him now.
    Time to go…wee man.

  6. I think there is some truth in it. Iceland, the home of the big Viking strongman, are going to Russia with a population of 300k. But then again a bad workman always blames his tools, I.E Strachan.

  7. Aye but Maradona was a coke head and Messi is a tax dodger (much like the now dead club) hardly two arseholes you want to associate with

  8. WGS is renowned for making off the wall remarks as a means of deflection in press conferences. I suspect he was being more than a little tongue in cheek after the bitter disappointments of the two draws against England and Slovakia. He deserves to be cut some slack.

  9. I think Strachan has done a very good job with Scotland. It is clear his utilisation eventually of the Celtic team has greatly improved the performances. I would keep him in the job. Skilful big teams are hard to play against. Celtic find that out in Europe so nothing out of the ordinary there.

  10. Has Strachan copyrighted that excuse? I don’t want this used to explain another abysmal 6 Nations campaign in the New Year.

  11. Strachan is right it is’s not the quality of the genetics it’s the amount
    It’s unfortunately a small genetic pool compared to England or spain.

  12. What are the chances of us leaving the IRA songs behind, specifically in the ground. My daughter and son have been on the Edinburgh bus and I feel a wee bit lost for words when explaining the content as we arrive at Parkhead. They don’t give a toss. I love my politics, love my name but think there is a time and a place and it’s not in a football stadium. Do we want to have a go at the English, regale in the IRA’s achievements or move on like the rest of Ireland and leave the bigots to wallow in their past gone beliefs? Open question! Silly answers not appreciated

  13. Poor team selection and tactical decisions cost Scotland dearly in the end.
    Refusal to play Griffiths in earlier matches despite his prolific scoring.
    Refusal to give McGinn and McGregor a run out when the midfield was lost last night and these two are also scoring possibilities.
    Persisting with players that have not played much for their clubs.
    Playing Tierney out of position, although I thought the lad gave 100%.
    Phillips was totally out of his depth in both of the last 2 games and contributed little.
    Same old story for Scotland. The best WEE country in the world.

  14. On ye go the Republic…..” we all dream of a team of James McCleans ”
    Strachan please note , that’s called a plan ,as set up by a MANAGER, and executed by your best available. MON the man . cheers Phil

    1. You may dream of a team of James McLeans but I and my friends certainly do not, an average player who appears to have an IQ of approximately one peanut.

  15. Small wonder we lost. The manager came up short on team selection. My gripe was the preference for oldies against younger talent, and I agree with all the comments about stubbornness, and reluctance to pick younger players. I know it was a tall order to qualify, but that was what was expected. Now Strachan has failed to reach the heights expected of him and his team selection, he really must step down. Beyond that… I still applaud the players for their hardwork. But they were diminished on the world stage by shortsighted management.
    (Suggest we all go away and listen to Randy Newman’s Short People, and replace Scots People for the chorus… and by the way, for the ultra-thick out there, Randy wasn’t really having a go at wee folk.)

  16. Regardless of what Gordon wants people to believe being Scotland manager isnt rocket science, we do not have a large pool to choose from so all he has to do is pick the best 11 players available and create a formation that exploits their talents, time and again he has failed to do this rewarding players not for ability but having a good call up attendance record.

    If Martin and Philips are chosen because of their physicality but offer nothing in attack or defence we may as well be playing with 9 men.

    Also, what kind of message is he sending out to young players making their way in the sport that they are not going to be suitable for international football due to their height.

  17. Gordon is out of order….im Scottish and 6’2″…dont know the European version…. but maybe it’s because my four grandparents came from Kerry, Fermanagh, Sligo…. and my dad’s dad….a Jackeen.
    Forward Scotland….not british.

  18. Strachan’s statement on height on 6pm news now rules him out as Scotland manager indefinitely.

    He believes we can never win because we are short.

    We need a manager who believes we can win regardless of height.

    Strachan’s belief regarding height is intolerable to accept. It’s worse given he has had over 24hours to think about it.

  19. Arguably the best Scottish player of all time was a genetically enhanced man-mountain called Jimmy Johnstone. All of seven foot t… erm, five foot two.

    And there are still no doubt some still living who remember Scotland’s best player for a period during the 1980s – an even-more-towering 5’6 colossus by the name of Strachan.

    So was he at it then… or is he at it now?

    Still, as a manager I think he’s done well for Scotland, as he did for Celtic. Now if he could only bring himself to grasp the advantage of having a midfield of players who all play together week-in-week-out, and know each other’s games inside out… Brown, Armstrong, McGregor, Forrest… we might really get somewhere….

  20. As much as I would love to see Scotland at the WC. This departure is better for Celtic. Our players won’t be getting stretched thin during the CL group stages and then had Scotland made the dance the CL qualifiers. I know the Bhoys will be gutted by not making it but… Maybe I’m selfish… this is better for the club.

  21. The German Mayor of Munster and his townsfolk were sick and tired of a certain Scottish regiment barracked in their town. The drunken fights and melees.
    They called them the angry poisonous short men when translated became Poisoned Dwarves.
    Strachan is a poisoned dwarf. His period as Scotland manager has been utterly fruitless and far too long with too many further chances to the nations detriment. The Players are the last people who should be asked if he should stay. Does he still have the failure McGhee in tow? Regan must go too. A failed CEO of the Association. A completely new management approach needed with new strategic vision.

  22. Strachan’s been listening to too many of Pedro’s pressers.
    McGinn and MacGregor should have started, Fletcher and Bannon were overrun in midfield. Philips was a waste of a jersey.
    At least it gave Newco fans something to cheer about as they celebrated Scotland’s defeat with great gusto.
    However we can take comfort that these little Englanders will see their team home from Russia before the post cards.

  23. Wee Gordon may just have been getting annoyed at the credit given to Brendan Rodgers for the improvement in the national team. As long as Brendan Rodgers is the manager of Celtic, and finding exceptional improvement in the Scottish players, we can have a bright future at international level. Any Scottish player playing in the champions league, should be an automatic selection. I like James Mcarthur. However he cant get a game for Crystal Palace, who haven’t scored a goal this season. Come on Gordon less of the “wee” man syndrome and start playing an honest team.

  24. As you say Phil ,heard some managers coming out with some post match pish ,but this takes it. Adding the usual quirky quip, regarding the genetic disadvantage , maybe we’ll get our men and women to look at that , or words to that effect , really , FFS. Jinky, wee Bobby Lennox , etc.
    On the back of his Broony and Armstrong , aren’t Messi and Aquero remark , he comes out with this.
    Its being mooted that it was Armstrong’s mistake against engerland that prevented them from going through. So nothing to do with playing one up front at home to LITHUANIA ,requiring a 94th minute goal to share the points.
    Nor taking the best attacking left back in the country , and playing him at right back , and then subbing him twice. No Forrest ,no CalMac, both doing the trick for their club at the highest level.
    A half empty stadium last night with the home team nothing to play for , Griff got him his goal ,and from there he made a complete tactical arse of it.
    You didn’t need to be Jock Stein to know what to do there , he had no intention of playing CalMac , none.
    I would say he was a smartarse but you need to be smart for that.
    Just an obstinate, egotistical dick, with a Napoleon complex.
    Hard task for the Republic tonight but it should be a good game ,Wales favourites ,but you can never write the Irish lads off. Be lucky.

    1. Many thanks.
      Wales are a strong team, even without Gareth Bale.
      If we don’t make it it is because we’re simply not good enough.

  25. Wait a minute the world champoins , Lahm 5ft 6 ” Kroos 5ft 11″ Ozil 5ft 10″ klose 5ft 11″ Gordon Strachan the giant fibber.

    1. The team who won the THREE previous major tournaments, Spain, were absolute giants. Not in physical stature but in footballing ability.

  26. Aye wee Gordo into genetics an all that. Whit an excuse,we’re to wee. Ask our opponents in any the armed conflicts which involved our wee country. The HLI (a.k.a The Poisoned Dwarves) terrified the merde out of their opposition.
    Instead of coming away with ridiculous excuses like that , Strachan should be looking at himself and his lack of tactical nous.
    Already in the unreal world of parochial Scottish he’s being lauded as Messiah to take Scottish football forward, aye right back into the dark ages.
    Disagree with you Phil on the worlds best. Close run thing, but in my humble opinion, Pele will always be the greatest.
    For the Republic game tonight “ May the force be with you! Carpe diem.”

    1. Aye. People make the comparisons without taking into account two very different things that separated him from the other two. When Pele started, players for the most part were still wearing the equivalent of working boots. Mostly with wooden studs. He played most of his career with a leather lace-up ball which weighed over a stone when soaking wet. The other two play and played in ballet shoes with a ball not much heavier than a balloon. And besides, Jinky was AT LEAST as good as Maradona. I don’t think Messi will win a world cup which will always count against him. But what a wonderful player he is to watch.

      1. It might be my age but it’s Pelé, Jinky & George Best for me, in that order and for that time.

        In the modern game Messi rules supreme, for his skills, his team ethic and the fact he NEVER cheats.
        (And forget the tax dodge, they’re all at it.)

        Ronaldo has some tricks, and NaeMair tae, but those two clowns personify the problems of the modern game, in that their selfishness tales much of the shine off both.

        And I never liked Maradona for his selfishness either but it makes perfect sense when you discover he was coked out his head nearly every game he played, and with the tacit knowledge of the administrators at that.

        The poor guy NEEDED cocaine to lift his game and this can be seen by his immediate dip in form after they introduced drug testing, plus the fact he has admitted it himself.

        Therefore, until the noughties, it was Pelé, Jinky & Georgie for me:

        Thereafter, it’s Messi, Johann Cruyff & Henrik Larsson, well shading Zlatan for 3rd, whose own self regard remains a sticking point, what with fitba being a team game.

        (And my apologies, Phil, I get why now, but it’s a powerful way to express an opinion and I reckon we need more voices talking out loud now more than ever.)

  27. Strachas in the first few games, decried Griffiths for being too small. And gave that as a reason to not play him. So no surprise that he returns to that again.
    He got extremely lucky after deciding to play the Celtic 6, unluckily the 2 main men Broonie & Armstrong got injured prior to the last 2 games. He then reverted to type & picked all the kiddies from England, leaving out the current form players: McGinn, Forrest & McGregor.
    Obviously the 3 of them were too tall !!!

  28. Have to disagree Forrest and Teirney have done nothing in an international shirt. Maybe ok for Celtic but not on the international stage. However Strachan SHOULD have played McGregor, McGinn and Anya from the start and should have introduced Griffiths at a much earlier stage in the campaign.
    His stubborn, I know best, attitude shows him up as a little dictator and he has caused us more embarrassment and he should be shown the door.
    Going by his reckoning he himself was a rubbish player because he was so short.
    Had he gone for a younger fitter team from day one and failed then people could say he tried to build for the future. However his insistence on picking players at the end of their careers, means we have lost out this time and will struggle to build for the next big campaign.
    Strachan must go and soon, so we can start again from scratch.

    1. I agree you with you about Forrest he plays hot and cold But Tiernay ? he has been playing in the wrong position and he has done a good job there Strachans’ decision to sub him baffled the life from me

    2. Agreed totally about the younger, fitter players.

      Berti Vogts did exactly the correct thing by trying out the youngsters rather than “acting the heidie ” concerned more about his own stats than creating a team for future matches a la Roxburgh, Brown and Strachan.

      And any nonsense about having to dispense with loyal but limited players as better ones emerge should be seen as such: they’re professional and know the score.

    3. Tierney has done nothing? What are you watching?

      The boy is playing out of position because he is so good and last night he was subbed at a point where he was possibly our second best attacking option. Another baffling decision from Wee Gordon.

      Think you might need to go to Specsavers..

    4. Agree with you to an extent about Forrest but not about Tierney. Where I disagree with you about Forrest is simple. I don’t think he’s any great shakes for Celtic either! Tierney on the other hand has been played out of position in every Scotland game other than on his debut when he had an absolute blinder. He is playing on the right for the simple reason that he can. We do not have a natural right back of international class. He is a far superior left back to Robertson. By putting Tierney on the right we are weakening both sides of the park. Anya is not a natural full back but he is right sided and can play the position as well as anyone else at our disposal. We would be a stronger side with those two at full back. Oh aye. Celtic released Robertson as a teenager because of his size I’ve been told.

    5. Tierney is recognised as one of the best left backs in the U.K. The Strachanmaestro however plays him at right back to allow an inferior player to play at left back.
      When the maestro decides to go three at the back to try and get a result, rather than substitute the inferior left back he take of the out of position UK aclaimed left back playing in the right back position. You couldn’t make it up, Strachanmaestro, made an arse of the second half. We lost that match, because he made elementary mistakes in selection and he just didn’t deliver in the last crucial 20 minutes of this campaign. He frozen and indecision cost us that game. The players got us close despite Strachan maestro , not because of him. Time to chase this managerial dinosaur back to his natural home of the swamp of the lower sections of the English championship

  29. I thought it was a joke until I found out the team selection was all about having big players on the park…. sad that such a view can still prevail. Of course, the colossus that is Leigh Griffiths has illustrated that pace, timing, and positioning are much more important than your size. Really stupid remarks, and tactics IMO

    1. Here’s a team I would doubt the opponents could get the ball off them…..Baresi and Canavarro the tallest at a Wadlowesque 5’9′. What Mr Strachan failed to acknowledge was the ability and technique of the Scots. They were just not up to the job….and that pains me to admit that. Fletcher gave the free kick away, from the ensuing cross he also failed to pick up the smallest man on the park who scored with a header (Gordon should have at least challenged) and then proceeded to miss a sitter at the other end. I would wager either of the McGs would have burst the net given the same opportunity.

      But what do us mere mortals know about the beautiful game?


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