When our young men are away serving their country, it is customary for the media to support them.
Unless they are Celtic players.
Earlier this week it was Leigh Griffiths, who had decided to concentrate on his own fitness. Almost to a man , we were informed by the press that he was in a huff.
Then Scotland manager Alex McLeish got in on the act..
“You have to respect Leigh’s decision,”
“I’m not going to throw him under a bus. He came to the games the last time round and there was no animosity whatsoever.
“I can see in a player’s body language they don’t like not playing. I could see that not only with Leigh Griffiths but a number of players.
“It’s natural and I think it’s big of him to say he needs to get fitter to play at these levels. He wants to concentrate on his fitness. I had a good chat with him on Saturday.”
“People will chastise me for saying I can’t guarantee that Leigh won’t play but I can’t guarantee any player a game unless they are playing to a level we want them to be at.
“So everybody has got to prove themselves every single week of their football career. That was the way I went about it and I’d expect all the Scotland lads to do the same thing.
“I guess when the manager gets some kind of rhythm there’s a nucleus that will always start a game or very close to that. It will be there for others to force themselves in. We want competition.”
Sounds more to me like he hasn’t got a clue what he’s doing. He doesn’t have a nucleus for his team yet, although there are six players from one club, a very successful club, that he could build around. And one who has just left them.
Kenny miller had a go at Griffiths as well, telling him that he can;t “pick and choose ” where Scotland are concerned. Miller knows all about management, having tried it for a week or two, helping to lay the foundations for Livingstons remarkable start to the season by getting to fuck away from the place.
Former Scotland captain and current Celtic captain Scott Brown defended Griffiths, a sign perhaps that the club have now decided to react to such stories..
“It’s brave of the wee man to do that,”
“You have got to give him a bit of credit for coming out and actually saying that because there aren’t a lot of people who would actually have done that. He wants to get himself fitter and we want him back and scoring 20 or 30 goals a season. The wee man will do that.
“Once he starts playing and getting confidence and everyone gets off his back he’ll be a great player for both club and country.”
Well said, but Brown may have to say a bit more as the attacks continued.
Next, it was Keiran Tierneys turn…from a former Rangers player, somewhat unsurprisingly.. on the BBC Sportsound show, which is where most ex Rangers players end up in lieu of their upcoming tax bills..
Ian McCall, now boss at Ayr United, Leanne Crichton-I don’t know either- and Steven Thompson, another ex Ibrox man, were discussing the Celtic left back..
Crichton said: “I don’t think Tierney has really performed over the last month or so.
“But just because of the season he had previously that he’s a first pick for folk but nobody ever questions it.”
McCall added: “I love what you are saying!
“It is a totally sacrilegious thing in Scotland, ‘oh don’t slag Kieran Tierney’! You’re right, absolutely right.
“I completely agree with Leanne on that. If you are going to pick a left-back right now Robertson is miles ahead of Tierney. Miles!
“The level he’s playing at, who he’s playing against, who he’s playing with. It’s just a fact.”
Doesn’t matter about the player himself, it seems, merely about where he plays…a philosophy that has lead to an awful lot of diddies in the national team of late.
McCall is at Ayr United, and is on the shortlist for the Third Rangers outfit, when they eventually start up.
Next came James Forrest, who had the audacity to play well against St Johnstone and score four goals.
Alex McLeish claims that he will have to rip up his game plan now that one of his most experienced and talented players has , er , played well.
“It’s great that James scored four goals as we want players in top form coming to the international team.
“He turned up on Monday cock-a-hoop and his confidence must be sky high. That gives us food for thought.
We need to find the right system for the players who excel in their positions, as James did last Sunday.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean we play five in midfield all of the time. We can go 3-4-3 and that gives us scope with the wingers we have.
“We have to be flexible. You look at the World Cup, Russia played four most of the time and changed to a three, or realistically it was a five, at the back when they played Spain.
“We need to be prepared tactically and we have to be prepared to suit certain
“With every change, it affects another player.
Perhaps he should be breathalysed before press conferences.
If a Celtic player wants to play for Scotland, thats his choice. But its becoming more and more of a thankless task for them.
Brendan Rodgers has been snubbed by Aston villa, who didn’t even ask him to be their manager , probably because he said publicly he wasn’t interested, and the midlands club have appointed someone called Dean Smith to the post.
That means that the media will have to wait for another english club to sack their boss, unless they can discover Brendan is upset about the local amenities near his house, or the high volume of traffic on Thursday mornings on the way to Lennoxtown.
Still, well done to Keith Jackson and the even less talented Gary Ralston of the Record, who had their ears to the ground throughout the saga…
Aston Villa to make Brendan Rodgers approach as Celtic boss a potential candidate to replace Steve Bruce
Celtic manager features on a six-man shortlist and the English club want talks this week.
Everyone knew Rodgers wasn’t interested in the Villa job, yet these clowns ran with the story anyway.
Wonder why ?
Genuinely, this is from Record Sport online this morning…
Aston Villa end interest in Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers as they appoint Dean Smith
Rodgers was among the bookies’ favourites to replace Steve Bruce at Villa Park.Smith
You do have to feel for these hacks, though. There is little to report on really in Scotland, and I’ll bet they wish they worked for a newspaper, in say Belgium, where its all happening…
Top clubs raided and leading agents, managers and referees interrogated by police in Belgium in huge corruption investigation
A series of raids by Belgium’s federal police on Wednesday have resulted in the arrest of one of the country’s most influential agents
Referees, officials, agents and coaches at Belgium‘s biggest football clubs are being questioned after a major investigation into corruption.
The federal public prosecutor’s office is looking into charges of fraud, tax evasion and money laundering, with Club Brugge and Anderlecht – the country’s two biggest clubs – having their offices raided on Wednesday morning. These came as part of 44 raids nationwide and 13 more across France, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia.
I’m certain that if there was even the faintest whiff of anything approaching corruption or cheating in Scotland these guys would be on it in a flash, putting Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to shame with their enthusiastic search for the truth…
They could start with listening to our podcast tonight. although there won’t be anything in it they don’t know, the difference is we’re going to talk about it.
How do I know they know it ?
Because we have sent it to them.
Theres another question or two they could be asking on the back of this recent revelation…
Rangers granted special permission from UEFA to slash Ibrox away end tickets in Europa League due to police safety concerns
Rules state visiting teams must get around five per cent of the host stadium capacity but Rapid only received 1,400 tickets with Spartak Moscow only getting 1,001
UEFA have revealed they have given Rangers special permission not to give visiting teams their full allocation of tickets in the Europa League due to safety concerns expressed by the police.
This was reported by several outlets yesterday, the above is from the Sun, and not one of them asked the police what those safety concerns were.
Celtic will have 800 fans at Ibrox.
Is anyone going to ask about the safety of our fans, or indeed, that of any other Scottish club ?
It does explain why the SPFL had concerns about the ibrox club playing at murrayfield in a one off cup semi final.
Why is supporter safety an issue for the police when foreign clubs go to Ibrox, but not when Scottish clubs visit ?
Mind you, they do avoid a lot of stories…
Bit of background on the Israel manager.
He once received £1.7m, tax-free, in an illegal scheme run by one of the country’s clubs.
A scandal described as 2nd only to match-fixing.
A 2nd spell in charge of the national team.
No, wait, that’s the Scotland manager.
Yesterdays picture for perusal was this one…