Thoughts From an Autumn Sofa
El Cormaco has been gazing out of his window at the leaves beginning to fall, and allowed his mind to wander…
Alright Scottish football, how are you? How are you anyway?
It’s almost Autumn now, which means the evenings are drawing in, the leaves are falling from the trees, there is a wee nip in the air and *rangers are putting away their title challenge for another year before the decorations come down from the attic. It’s the wee things that help mark the passing of the seasons.
It’s been a while since we talked fitba, so what’s ‘appening?
Well, continuing its penchant for mad mad hings we have had some crackers in the world of fitba recently:
Gary Mackay Steven ended up the water after a night out and needed rescued. Did he fall or was he pi*hed, was he pushed or did he full, we may never know for sure, but a timid and nervous player at Celtic, never able to look at ease in a Celtic shirt, it was the most he’s looked like being able to go with the flow in his time in Glasgow. There must be a joke in there about “bhoys” too, but I’ll leave that to you.
At Dundee two players tackled one another on the pitch at Ibrox, the only tackles made by a Dundee player on the day (they were saving them all for Celtic obviously). Neil McCann was said to be unhappy at the fight shown by his team, having made it clear he expected none at all.
Ian Cathro was dismissed by Hearts, where he took a resolute, if functional team, and made them dysfunctional and irresolute in a “tear it down before building it back up again” strategy. Unfortunately he just forgot the build it back up again bit, and to be fair to him it’s not like he’s the only one at Hearts with this problem after the club built a new stand honouring Grange Hill comprehensive but forgot to order any seats for it.
In the running for the job after Cathro left was Billy Davies, the world’s biggest “little man syndrome” sufferer. Wee Billy went into the interview where he casually told the interview panel he would sack all of them before in a surprise no one could have foreseen he didn’t get the job. He then went on to tell everyone he didn’t want the job anyway as it wasn’t big enough for him. The last time something wasn’t big enough for wee Billy Davies was when he tried on the clothes his Action man came with.
In a final twist the Director of football, and interview panel member who Billy would have sacked, Craig Levein, gave himself he job.
Jim McIntyre was sacked at Ross County. I don’t know why, they are Ross County, I have no idea or interest in what happens up there. That was until their new bright young manager (TM football press 2006) Owen-y Coyle pitched up at Dingwall.
Owen of course turned down the Celtic job as they were not part of the “Barclays Premier League” and his recruitment budget was not that of a “Barlcays Premier League” club. Wait till he sees the Premier Inn budget he has to work with at Ross County.
But apart from a terrible lack of judgement, a bad and sinking win ratio as a manager, an inability to ever stop talking, a fondness for himself that would make Billy Davies blush, a previous addiction to working his way around the M62 and being detested by fans of almost every club he has ever managed I really can’t think of a single reason this is a bad appointment and wish him well.
Sad news also came in that Lee McCulloch has been dismissed at Kilmarnock. That’s right, in a complete 180 from the normal sequence of events its Lee McCulloch that has been given the elbow. Reports that Kris Boyd is consoling himself with a 12 bag pack of Monster Munch are unconfirmed.
Again the sense of shock in the game that building a team made up from spare parts of Rangers c2010 is not a recipe for success is palpable.
At Hibs Lenny is doing a fine job, rattling them at Ibrox where he had the temerity to celebrate a goal his team scored and caused a national outrage (confined to Govan and Ayrshire in the end) and basically just carrying on with classic Lenny – ready to assassinate his players when the lose and marry them when they win.
Over at our pre big – game sparring partner world famous coach Pedro Caixinha has run into one or two difficulties. Following their lack of European Progres they have got off to a stuttering league start, and having recently stated that he had five captains Pedro is now only more clear the air meeting away from appointing Stevie the IT guy as vice-captain.
Problems of an aquatic nature have also sprung up at *Rangers, where they have had leaks on their mind. Yes, it seems years of neglecting to maintain facilities have seen the need to hide one of the club’s “iconic” features, proudly standing for over 100 years. Yes, they have had to demote Kenny Miller and make him play with the under 20s, where he was last eligible in 1978.
It is alleged Kenny isn’t too keen on brother Pedro and his methods, and was so upset he had to go and tell his friends in the Press so that they could communicate his concerns to the fans. This involved them telling one another initially but eventually they realised they weren’t the only *Rangers fans around and they put his thoughts into an “exclusive” article only two months after Phil Mac had also exclusively revealed the same information.
Pedro wasn’t too happy about the group’s recent excursion to Las Vegas being publicised like this – I think – and sent Kenny away to reflect, something he normally does only when the sun bounces off his forehead.
The removal of the evergreen (and Orange) Kenny Miller has created a space in the team, one which Carlos Pena has just about managed to squeeze into, before mis-controlling the ball and tackling his opponent on the knee as he lunges to regain it. Free kick to *rangers and touchline ban for Neill Lennon obviously.
Regain is of course a product for men losing their hair, not a problem for the hirsute Carlos himself but for those authorising his alleged £30k a week salary. I genuinely can’t recall a player being in such bad condition to play, the dogs may bark and the caravan move on, but it’s clearly being towed by Pena. He isn’t just bad, he is a level of bad rarely seen, never mid second touch a tackle, his first touch is, he shows the athleticism of Gazza, not the Gazza of the late nineties when he was carrying weight and had off field issues, but the Gazza of today, in his fifties.
We will all have heard the rumours of Pena being a bevvy merchant, with a fondness for hiring the services of groups of ladies of the night. I think it’s just a sign of how well he has integrated already, just like the fans he feels the need to get pi**ed up before he can bear going into Ibrox and watching people get f**ked.
The upgrades on the iconic Ibrox stadium continue apace, with a novel new strategy of hiding as much of it as possible in *rangers wrapping paper replacing outdated thinking like actually carrying out repairs.
Needless to say this work has been universally lauded by *Rangers fans everywhere, as they can now leave the ground without having to hide their face like an arrested man going for a court hearing, and is definitely another sign of Dave King’s ongoing commitment to doing whatever it takes to give Celtic fans ammunition to laugh at them about.
Rumours persist of leaky windows that they can’t afford to repair and so have done this cheap repair job instead, but that’s clearly wide of the mark, everyone knows they don’t do any repair jobs at all, and the problem of wet staircases seems to be more of an internal problem, caused more by the floods of tears, snotters and bile as people leave after another humiliation by their erstwhile rivals. We can’t confirm this of course as we can’t see them leave any more. Not a great surprise we can’t see them leave, they’ve been coming for four or five years now and we’ve not seen that either.
On the plus side the latest player of the Murray park production line is ready to fulfil his destiny – arrive to great fanfare, get massively over-hyped after a few showings, gradually reveal yourself to be no better than average, fall down the leagues and fade from memory. Following Danny Wilson, John Fleck, Jamie Ness, that winger guy with red hair who played at Cardiff for a while, Lewis McLeod, Barrie McKay, David Bates, Matthew Beerman and no doubt countless others we welcome Ross McRorie, future best player in the history of Scotland, to the professional ranks
More good news for them as Utilita or somebody becomes a sponsor there – apparently they can help cut the cost of energy bills. Of course that implies some intention to pay a bill in the first place so I don’t automatically see the brand harmony there, but if it results in more awkward “Is he here to give me something or kill me?” door-stepping videos by Bomber Brown I’m all for it. Don’t be asking him for advice on domestic bills though, Bomber doesn’t know about bleeding radiators though, he bleeds blue.
All is serene at Celtic, where we remain unbeaten domestically, just about, after Willie “I don’t have to be see it to give it” Collum again gave us his unique take on the rules of the game (same as everybody else’s rules, unless Celtic are involved when its Big Willie Time, as he and he alone likes to refer to himself) and we managed to get a draw with Hibs, keeping us joint top with an impressive Aberdeen.
We have brought back the prodigal Paddy and given him the shirt number he deserves, extended the contracts of lots of key players, posted record profits, have planning approval for an actual hotel rather than one built on moonbeams and hubris, and did what I tipped us to do at the start of the season – win an away game in the Champions League.
That night in Brussels will live long in the memory, 63% possession away from home, 3 goals, a clean sheet – previously any one of those things alone would have been cause for celebration, all together in one game is like winning the lottery just as your acca came in and your PPI is reimbursed.
The Anderlecht result in large part was due to having our first choice centre back pairing play together for the first time in a long time in a competitive game – I know they both featured at Ibrox, but I said a competitive game. If we can keep them both fit then we actually might have a real season to remember – the last one where Bitton played centre back.
More seriously we had the SPFL call for an inquiry into how the EBT years and fall out were handled by the football authorities. In a move no one could have predicted the SFA said “no thanks” to an investigation into their actions, before every other club except Celtic ran away from the letter issued in the name of all 42 clubs.
Sadly it seems the only next step left is a judicial review – UEFA / FIFA are hardly known for being virtuous, transparent organisations and so any call for their help is likely to fall on deaf ears unless the envelope is very padded, allegedly.
So I say ‘sadly’ as it would seem that it will fall on fans of the game to hold the authorities to account and to pay for it while they do it, a lamentable state of affairs but one which as a follower of fitba is entirely predictable.
Anyway, look after yourself fitba till we chat again, Hail hail and catch me at @elcormaco