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Frankie S

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About Frankie S

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  1. I keep hearing this, but repetition doesn’t make it any more accurate. Certainly as far as the hospitality, live music, events and performing arts sectors go, Scotland has enjoyed / suffered considerably more onerous restrictions than England, and continues to do so. I was in a Zoom meeting this morning with 275 live music venues throughout the U.K., and while our English counterparts are looking forward to 1m+ social distancing for live performance from 17th May and the complete binning of social distancing on 21st June, with venues operating at 100% capacity thereafter, the Scottish contingent were much more downbeat with no such timetable for the lifting of restrictions being outlined to date by the Scottish government. Indeed Sturgeon has today doubled down on the anomalous situation that while 1m+ SD is good enough for retail, hospitality etc. the considerably more onerous 2m condition must be imposed for live music, theatre, comedy, cabaret and indeed any live performance, at least until the SG review into social distancing has concluded and reported back with its findings. The upshot of all this is that the vast majority of Scottish music venues, theatres etc. will remain closed on 17th May, while their English counterparts reopen under the Revive Live banner, with 5 weeks of lighter touch restrictions (compared to Scotland) leading into (largely) restriction-free trading from 21st June. A recent survey of Scottish venues suggested that 16% capacity was a typical ceiling given 2m social distancing, so 2000 capacity venues could accommodate approx 320 and 200 capacity venues approx 32. Clearly no live music or performing arts events will be viable given these draconian conditions, so Scottish venues are largely electing to stay closed just as English venues open up. I run a bar / restaurant / live music venue (as well as a nightclub) and the current restrictions in Scotland effectively discriminate against live music, as we can operate with a significantly larger capacity (with 1m+ SD) as a bar and restaurant only, but have to slash our capacity (from that already low level) if we programme live music. This is a nonsensical distinction and one that (presumably) can’t be maintained for very long, as legal challenges will most assuredly follow. Notwithstanding the 2m / 1m+ inconsistency, and the imminent ditching of SD in England, Scottish hospitality outlets are subject to curfews (10.30pm in Tier 2, 11.00pm in Tier 1) that are not imposed on our English counterparts, who can enjoy normal licensing hours from 17th May. Groups of 6 from 3 will be allowed in Scottish hospitality outlets from 17th May with 6 from 6 permitted in England. Scottish nightclubs aren’t even allowed to open in Tier 0 (unless they repurpose as a ‘socially distanced music bar’), so spare me the suggestion that Tier 0 merely involves a few minor ongoing restrictions. I’d love to join in the general optimism about SD being completely binned in Scotland after the current review, but given the Scottish government’s stubbornness on this issue, and it’s desire to position itself as much more ‘safety first’ than England, I’ll believe it when I see it. Pressure is being exerted on SG from all sides of the arts, events and hospitality sectors at the moment, so I expect to see some movement soon, but any concessions won will be gained through constant pressure brought to bear on an administration whose natural inclination is to move very slowly indeed when it comes to relaxing restrictions.
  2. Even assuming there is some notional assumption that different households will socially distance within groups, this was absolutely not being enforced in the summer anywhere, and would be almost unenforceable in any case. The hospitality sector is already on its knees with 1m+ social distancing between groups. Hospitality in England has always had a rule of maximum group size of 6 from multiple households (i.e. 6 people from up to 6 households). Social distancing everyone in a 6 person group made up from 6 different households simply isn’t feasible, as the vast majority of bars and restaurants simply don’t have the space, (they’d need giant tables in aircraft hanger-sized venues). The strategy has always been that groups should be self-policing. Scotland had a group rule of 6 from 2 last summer, and this has been revised to 6 from 3 from 17th May in Tier 2. It will be 8 from 3 in Tier 1 and 10 from 4 in Tier 0. Last summer hospitality outlets were required to take the contact details of one person per group (the responsible person) and at point of booking the organiser had to declare how many were in the group and how many households made up the group, with 6 and 2 the respective upper limits. I heard Leitch talking about how different households within groups should socially distance from each other where possible, but this was clearly advisory and was not specifically stipulated in the regulations. I just can’t see the regulations and enforcement regime being more draconian than last summer given where we are with the vaccination rollout, and given that financial support for hospitality is being drastically scaled down. Hospitality outlets are able to put in place mitigations such as perspex screens between tables to reduce distancing to 1m+, but how could they realistically be expected to implement similar mitigations within groups? That would require full disclosure from each group of which customers made up one household, and which made up another, and then seating arrangements, distancing and mitigations would have to be enforced accordingly. That simply wasn’t happening, and wasn’t required, anywhere in the industry. Individuals within groups would presumably be able to observe distancing if they wished (where space permitted), but in the real world, with staff already heavily burdened by existing mitigations and regulations - collecting contact details, ensuring no mixing between groups, attending to rigorous hygiene protocols, cleaning up scrupulously after and before bookings, advising customers to wear masks while moving around the venue, entering and exiting etc., it’s just not remotely realistic to expect them to enforce social distancing within groups. I suspect it’s always been a tacit assumption that while social distancing between households within groups in hospitality is desirable, it’s not remotely enforceable or realistic, or indeed economically sustainable for the sector. If it had genuinely been a government priority we’d have heard a lot more about it than just a few vague murmurings from Jason Leitch. England’s rule has always (since last summer) been max group size 6 from up to 6 households, but it’s avowed aim is to ditch all social restrictions, including social distancing, from 21st June, so there is simply no comparison with Scotland, where SD has no end in sight. The false equivalence made by so many between England and Scotland’s respective hospitality restrictions is just nonsense. In Scotland we’re also rolling on the self-defeating curfews (8.00pm in Tier 3, 10.30pm Tier 2, 11.00pm Tier 1 and only back to normal licensing hours in Tier 0), whereas England has ditched curfews altogether. In Scotland we’re hoping to be in Tier 0 by the end of June, but Tier 0 does not remove social distancing, and while it’s 1m+ for hospitality it remains strictly 2m for live performances. Nightclubs can’t reopen in Tier 0, and absolutely no-one within the industry thinks that live music is remotely viable with social distancing. I book and promote live music, and while English venues are confirming shows left right and centre for the autumn, Scottish venues and promoters are unable to offer any guarantees that any non socially-distanced live music shows will happen in Scotland in 2021. The reaction of colleagues down south to the disparities in ongoing restrictions between England and Scotland is a mixture of incredulity, bemusement and sympathy. The recently announced (and long rumoured) plans by Edinburgh Festival for socially distanced marquee-style outdoor events in August isn’t exactly an encouraging sign that we’re anywhere near a return to normality. Given the last Strategic Framework grants to businesses (to alleviate the financial burden imposed by government restrictions) have been awarded today, then with restrictions in the form of SD rolling on seemingly without an end date, Scottish businesses are on the verge of being left high and dry with no government support, save furlough, which finishes at the end of Sept. Given the pace of the vaccination rollout, and having come this far at great expense to both the taxpayer and businesses, I assume the intention isn’t just to throw the entire Scottish hospitality, nightclub, events and live music sectors on the bonfire now, so I expect the intention is for social distancing in these sectors to be dispensed with before the end of this year (and Sturgeon herself has hinted as much recently). SG surely can’t be labouring under the misapprehension that these sectors can survive with onerous restrictions remaining in place and no support. But the continuing absence of a road map and timetable back to normality is intensely worrying.
  3. Always annoys me when it’s suggested that ‘indoor hospitality’ has been given the green light to restart from 26th April, when what has actually been given the green light is the option to trade as a cafe, coffee shop or alcohol-fee restaurant until 8.00pm. My Edinburgh outlet (for instance) is a bar, restaurant and live music venue with overheads to match, not a glorified ****ing cafe. So, we’ll be permitted to trade under such onerous restrictions that no-one (other than dedicated cafes or coffee shops) can conceivably cover their costs, and this is coinciding with the end of the Strategic Framework grants for hospitality (which provided grants to businesses that were required to close by law, or required to significantly change their operations due to Covid-19 restrictions - the final 2 week grant will be issued on 19th April), so other than furlough there will be no ongoing support for the industry, even though restrictions including curfews, social distancing etc will continue for the foreseeable future. So the grants will have been removed completely, but the raison d’etre for the grants is still very much in place, given the ongoing onerous restrictions, which have (as yet) no end date. Operating under illogical and often counter-productive restrictions without financial support is the place where the hospitality industry will be left marooned by the Scottish government at the end of this month. I know of very few outlets (other than those lucky enough to have outside spaces, which are at a premium in city centre outlets) that are planning to reopen on 26th April. We’ll be reopening on 17th May with a pointlessly damaging and (as we saw last time) completely counter-productive 10.00pm curfew, while our English counterparts can reopen on the same date with no curfew, trading with normal licensing hours. English outlets can open their outside spaces from 12th April, 2 weeks ahead of Scotland btw. Whatever arguments can be made in favour of Sturgeon’s approach, going easier on hospitality compared to England is definitely not one of them.
  4. FWIW, I’d have Hanley in the squad too. Hanley’s form this season merits a place.
  5. If you want to use stats to support your argument, then at least get the stats right. 21 appearances from 28 games, so he looks like a fairly regular fixture in the side to me. FWIW, Cooper has also missed games due to injury this season, and was missing from the squad yesterday, presumably due to an injury or sickness. He’s clearly been first choice when he’s been available. If he’s third choice centre back and Championship standard as you claim, he’s done alright to have been club captain this term in the EPL then.
  6. Would that be the Liam Cooper who has made 21 appearances for Leeds in the EPL this season? Hint - don’t just ‘look at Cooper’ on the player’s Wikipedia page. Try a more authoritative source, such as PremierLeague.com, or even take the radical approach of watching the games. Cooper’s appearances this season
  7. So a vigil where women are congregating to remember a woman who has (it seems) been brutally murdered by a police officer has been broken up by police manhandling women who are showing solidarity for Sarah Everard. All this on the pretext of ‘public safety.’ The nation has gone stark, raving ****ing mad. The draconian curtailment of civil liberties, the encroachment of authoritarianism and the normalisation of the police state were tolerated when the pandemic was at its height, but the apparatus of state oppression needs to to be thoroughly dismantled as the vaccination campaign scales up and hospitalisations and deaths scale down. We have clearly not been living in normal times for the last 12 months, but we should not be aspiring towards ‘greater normality’ or a ‘new normality’. The Covid 19 pandemic has clearly been utterly disastrous in many ways, both directly as a public health crisis and for its consequences on mental health, the economy etc. but the normalisation of authoritarianism is not the least of the collateral damage. The legacy of Covid cannot be a nation where unacceptable restrictions on civil liberties become the norm.
  8. It seems barely credible that Sturgeon is doubling down on her Covid elimination strategy, in the face of overwhelming evidence of vaccine efficacy (including against the much-hyped mutant strains). She seems unwilling to accept that her advisers (Devi Sridhar et al.) are now swimming firmly against the tide of scientific orthodoxy, and the overwhelming consensus amongst epidemiologists is that Covid will inevitably become an endemic seasonal virus, the effects of which are greatly mitigated by vaccination, with occasional boosters to protect against emerging variants. Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance have been crystal clear on this matter, and England are obviously not aiming for elimination, so it’s time for Sturgeon to stop coming across like a Poundland Jacinda Ardern by hinting at closed borders with England and repeated cycles of lockdowns and restrictions, when even New Zealand’s PM has admitted that vaccination is the most effective route back towards normality. I’ve sat in Zoom meetings over the last couple of weeks with English colleagues from the arts and live music sectors, and they’re working towards an optimistic future with a firm timetable for the lifting of restrictions, predicated upon the vaccination rollout and the hugely impressive efficacy levels. With 88% of deaths in priority groups 1-4 and 99% in groups 1-9, it is completely reasonable to set a route map out of all this. All major restrictions (including social distancing) are set to be lifted in England by 21st June. Groups 1-9 will have had their second doses by then, and indeed at the current rate of rollout the entire adult population is now set to be vaccinated by the summer. Meanwhile those of us in Scotland are left holding our heads in our hands awaiting further details of the tier system that we’re heading back into at the end of April. So moribund and inflexible was it last time, that (for us in Edinburgh at least) it seemed almost impossible to be moved down a tier, irrespective of the data, with hugely reduced levels of infection compared to our central belt west coast colleagues, who we remained resolutely coupled with, like Siamese twins. If the government wish to proceed on the basis of ‘data not dates’, then let’s at least be responsive to the data, unlike last time round. The tier system was never an exit strategy for Covid anyway, it was merely a holding pen en route to the ultimate destination, like being stuck at Carstairs for ages on a rail journey back to Edinburgh. With social distancing still applying in Tier Zero, and businesses such as nightclubs prohibited from opening at all, this was never a route back to normality. Scottish hospitality, live music, theatre, festivals etc. are facing the prospect of continuing onerous restrictions even as their English counterparts get back to normal. It’s now looking increasingly likely that the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe won’t happen in any meaningful sense for a second year running, with the latest mood music from Scot Gov suggesting it might be confined to outdoors events only, with social distancing and limited or no alcohol sales. No wonder the Festival and Fringe are struggling to survive and pleading for substantial government subsidies. The prospect of England reopening in the summer while Scotland remains in the lockdown lite of the tier system is now very real, especially if the elimination strategy espoused by Sturgeon, Leitch and their advisors translates into actual government policy rather than being characterised as the unrealistic nonsense that it is, consigned to irrelevance by the vaccination rollout. With ticket sales already buoyant for summer festivals in England, don’t think for a moment that English venues, cities and festivals won’t be waiting to capitalise if the Festival and Fringe falls by the wayside once more this year. And if the Fringe does indeed go ahead in a watered-down version with antiseptic socially-distanced outdoor events undermining its whole raison d’etre (small independent events in small independent venues) the prospects of recovering its stature as a centrepiece of the international arts and cultural calendar will be hugely, perhaps irrevocably, diminished. As vaccinations scale up and hospitalisations and deaths scale down, restrictions on businesses and civil liberties should be lifted. Scot Gov seems way too comfortable clinging onto the ‘safety first’ mantra, which was a reasonable strategy while the pandemic was at its height, but which is completely antithetical to economic recovery and the rebooting of the economy. I’m glad Sturgeon has now (seemingly) abandoned the dystopian return to ‘greater normality’ nonsense (presumably someone had a word in her ear about just how demoralising a target that was), but she’s clearly not comfortable exuding optimism as her latest pronouncement on elimination attests. The public’s appetite for ever-rolling restrictions is not unlimited, and if 50 people are now allowed to congregate in a church, it’s not unreasonable to ask why they can’t do so in a sports arena, cinema, theatre, bar or restaurant. I don’t actually think that Sturgeon is a pocket dictator who enjoys placing restrictions on the public, but I do think that her ‘safety first’ and ‘elimination’ strategies are becoming a convenient way of evading the big decisions that now need to be made to protect Scottish jobs, businesses and cultural institutions. Shunting us back into the moribund tier system is just another way of kicking the can down the road, an unnecessary fudge and over-complication as the overwhelming data on vaccine efficacy continues to signpost a a clear timetable for lifting restrictions, and a clear route back to normality. I eagerly await next week's unveiling of Scot Gov’s proposed road map, and the detail of the tweaks to the tiering system. I’ve long had the impression that the Scottish government is floundering, completely out of its depth on Covid and a host of other issues. As it lurches from one crisis to the next ATM, it’s hard to resist characterising it as a broken administration whose time in government is coming to an end, even given the paucity of the opposition ,the surfeit of enablers and sycophants (the Green's Patrick Harvie is lodged so far up Strugeon's arse you'd need a proctologist to find him) and the lack of effective scrutiny and accountability within the Scottish Parliament and political landscape, but I’m open-minded enough to listen to their strategy for getting us out of all this. It’s make or break time.
  9. I’ve heard a lot about how great Queens’ streaming coverage is, and the commentators are decent, but on a number of occasions I’ve stumped up my tenner the picture has frequently frozen, with the page needing regularly refreshed; the last time round I got a restricted view of the pitch with a close of up some scaffolding; and today no picture at all so far (with replacement equipment on its way from the Whitesands apparently). I get that this isn’t a professional production, and I don’t resent forking out a tenner to subsidise the club, but this really is amateur hour stuff.
  10. Like the majority of responsible bars and restaurants we (my Edinburgh outlet) invested significantly in perspex screens, improved ventilation (we already had a good ventilation system tbh) and other mitigations last summer. The hospitality industry in general spent millions on Covid protections, and instituted systems to maintain comprehensive customer databases to enable us to notify people in the event of an outbreak, as mandated by a government that had failed to institute its own effective track and trace system. Despite that significant level of investment, we were allowed to open for just over a couple of months (end of July until 8th October) in the last year, so it was a very expensive investment for a very short period of time, during which we had to observe severe restrictions on numbers, opening times and other conditions. We’d probably have been better off staying shut tbh. Nonetheless, irrespective of how much the industry had spent on mitigations, it took the Scottish government no time at all to take a broad brush, scapegoat the entire sector and close it down, and we’re going to be amongst the last sectors to be able to reopen. One of the most frustrating aspects is that the entire industry (and I concede hospitality is a very broad church - there are responsible and less responsible operators) gets treated exactly the same. The best run outlets get smeared with the irresponsible practices of the worst. While the vast majority of operators are responsible, I’ve visited a few outlets (very much a minority) that spent almost nothing on Covid precautions, didn’t strictly observe the curfews, completely ignored the recorded music ban, failed to enforce social distancing, and generally had a half-hearted approach towards the guidelines, but as licensing standards officers weren’t actually visiting outlets and enforcing the regs during the time when hospitality was trading in central Scotland, the sector was only as strong as its weakest link. In the absence of an effective system off enforcement, in which irresponsible outlets could and should have been penalised and / or shut down, the government took the easier approach and demonised us all. As we saw with the recent Stirling University research paper on the hospitality industry, funded by Scot Gov, which surveyed a tiny number of businesses (29) , there will alway be a proportion of rogue operators, and responsible operators will barely recognise the descriptions of practices within those establishments. 11 of 29 apparently had different groups freely mixing together, singing, shouting or otherwise breaching guidelines. That’s not the kind of pub I recognise, but that’s how the the industry is often perceived. I think those of us who did spend considerable sums of money on Covid mitigations have been deeply demoralised by how the hospitality industry as a whole has been stigmatised. I acknowledge there is no quick fix that will ensure you can stop a highly contagious respiratory virus from circulating within a highly populated indoor environment, and perspex screens, social distancing, improved ventilation etc are all mitigations rather than panaceas. We know that the route back to normality is through comprehensive vaccination of the adult population, rather than through highly economically damaging and imperfect mitigations (and I include social distancing in that). What’s worrying the hospitality sector is that normality doesn’t seem to be on the table for the foreseeable future, even after full vaccination.
  11. So social distancing being rolled on well behind its sell-by date after not only the vulnerable but the whole adult population have been vaccinated will result in ‘big opportunities for entrepreneurs’ in the hospitality industry? I’ve heard it all now. No it f***ing won’t, it’ll completely decimate the industry, trashing the entire independent sectors in the pub, restaurant, events and live music industries, sending all but the behemoths like Weatherspoons to the wall. I’m an entrepreneur in the aforementioned industries, and here’s what social distancing means to me - my live music venue in Edinburgh has a 200 capacity, this will be reduced to approx 28 max, depending on seating configurations determined by group size bookings. That might even be reduced further due to social distancing required amongst musicians necessitating a larger stage, and more than 2m social distancing being required between vocalists and brass instrument players due to greater droplet dispersion from those musicians. Our 90 capacity room downstairs might seat 16 socially distanced, if it’s lucky. My live music venue in Dumfries has a 350 capacity and could prob accommodate 60 socially distanced. So, I wonder what touring bands venues can afford to book on those capacities? None is the short answer. We could maybe put on a local pub band for free, if they agreed to get paid in beers. Scale up and the Usher Hall in Edinburgh is a 2000 capacity venue and its socially-distanced capacity is approx 350. So The Usher Hall can now afford to put on bands that would normally play a small club venue, with hugely greater running costs. It just doesn’t work, no matter how you try to present it as an ‘opportunity. ‘ An opportunity to lose huge piles of money and fold almost immediately without extensive government support. ‘Ah, but streaming’ people might say, as if charging for a virtual ticket for streamed content (when so much music is already available for free on the internet) is the panacea for all the industries’ ills. It’s not, and it never will be. With social distancing you can file live music, festivals, and other large scale events in the bin, you can also forget the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe, other than a few stage-managed heavily-subsidised (mainly outdoor) PR events (which seems to be the plan this year). It’s just not going to happen, and the Fringe’s whole raison d’etre is to promote small scale independent venues and small scale events. Many pubs have function suites that rely on gigs, birthday parties, weddings and other social events. This vital source of revenue will be decimated by social distancing, and the last thing pubs that have already been closed for most of the last 12 months need to survive as we get back to ‘normal’ is disappearing revenue streams. As ever social distancing will have a disproportionately disastrous effect on smaller independent venues and pubs, and favour larger chains with larger premises. If you have barn-sized outlets like Wetherspoons, you might just survive, given most of the competition is going to go under with SD and you’re already bulk buying stock for your nationwide chain at next to nothing and enjoying vast economies of scale. To get any return from a socially-distanced future, you’ll need cavernous aircraft hangar-style pubs or huge beer gardens, which by their nature are at a premium in city centres and attract far higher rates and commercial rents. The rates freezes won’t last forever, and while commercial rents will probably adjust downwards, city centre rents are hugely onerous and that allied to other overheads result in minimal margins for pubs and restaurants (most city centre hospitality outlets make their profit in the last 10% of their turnover, and that’s without social distancing). I half-joked back in March 2020 that people would crawl out of their bunkers once this was all over to find in our dystopian not so brave new world that the only pubs left standing are ****ing Wetherspoons, but it’s no longer a joke, it’s an ever-increasing possibility.
  12. The recorded music ban (that only ever applied in Scotland) is one of the few restrictions that Scot Gov has lifted, after massive pushback from the hospitality industry. Music ban lifted It was lifted in December, but no-one in the sector has had a chance to gain any benefit from it as we’ve all been shut since then. At least we’ll be able to make a passable attempt at having some atmosphere when we finally reopen, even though we already know from Sturgeon, Leitch et al’s comments that social distancing and 6 from 2 will be with us for the foreseeable future. I had optimistically thought that we (those of us that run pubs / restaurants) would be able to reopen in April after the vulnerable (+health care workers) had been vaccinated, and before furlough ended, but the mood music from both WM and Scot Gov has been so overwhelmingly negative of late that we fully expect furlough to be pushed on (at least sector-specific for those business forced to stay shut) for a few months and for us not to be allowed to reopen until early summer, by which time vaccinations should have scaled up and deaths and hospitalisations scaled down sufficiently, allied to ever-improving treatments, and the virus’s natural summer downturn that we saw last year. It’s possible it might be late summer / early autumn though given the excessive caution likely to be deployed. Amongst the many reasons I’m getting increasingly less optimistic of any kind of return to normality (as opposed to Sturgeon’s ‘greater normality’) this year, is the persistent rumour (I have my ear to the grapevine on this, so it’s a bit more than a ‘rumour’ tbh) that Scot Gov has already advised the Edinburgh Fringe not to expect to be able to stage any indoor events this year, and that’s in August. The expectation is for the Fringe to be reduced to a limited number of outdoor, socially-distanced events, with alcohol either strictly limited or banned altogether (pop-up bars are a no no apparently - entirely consistent with Scot Gov’s Calvinist puritanical streak). A fairly dismal prospect, given we’ll be a full 18 months into this absolute shitstorm by then. As someone who runs live music venues, I know almost all tours are now being pushed back to 2022. Almost no-one in the sector expects normal indoor gigs to return this year, and everyone (bar seemingly Scot Gov) knows live music simply isn’t viable with social distancing. My expectation, sadly, is that pubs and restaurants will be operating with restrictions for the remainder of 2021, even after full vaccination (full in the sense of both doses - for those vaccines that require two shots - offered to all - those who refuse the vaccine shouldn’t be allowed to dictate government policy) of the adult population, and even after deaths and hospitalisations diminish to minimal levels. My gut feeling (hope I’m wrong) is that we’ll be operating with some restrictions (including 1m+ SD) until spring 2022, just in case. Irrespective of how low cases are in the summer and autumn, the media and the zero Covid nutters will prime us for a (however unlikely to materialise) huge upswing in the winter due to speculative super-powered vaccine-resistant new variants etc, even when the vaccines have been tweaked and boosters primed and ready to cope with known variants. Everyone with half a clue (including the likes of Whitty, Vallance and JVT, all of whom I’d trust for a realistic scientific assessment above the likes of Leitch, Sridhar etc.) knows that Covid won’t be completely eliminated - it will simply become an endemic seasonal virus with a lower CFR than the flu (the efficacy of existing Covid vaccines greatly exceeds that of the flu vaccines), which gives me some hope that WM at least won’t countenance restrictions being rolled on too far beyond their sell-by date, but things will doubtless move a bit slower in Scotland, as we know.
  13. Obviously it’s not an exact science, but it’s an interesting comparison. In the post I pulled out the stats for the EPL contingent and compared them (EPL goals only) as they’re playing at the same level. In any comparison between leagues, the weighting given to goals scored in the EPL (the highest level competed in amongst the players we have at our disposal) should obviously be higher than that given to goals scored in EFL Championship and Scottish Premiership. Either way, McTominay is having a really good season in an attacking sense (or he’s just on a bit of a hot streak).
  14. McTominay played up front in age group teams for Man Utd. He’s clearly a good finisher, and is being lauded as such on Redcafe and other Man Utd fora. If you’ve watched his goals this season you’ll see sublime first time finishes drilled low into the net against Leeds (the first), Southampton and West Ham. Watch his second goal against Leeds, he takes an immaculate first touch and it’s a striker’s finish. His finishing reminds me of Stephen Dobbie’s (albeit at a much higher level) - early first time strikes low into the corner of the net were his trademark at his peak. You can dismiss it as a streak if you like, but he’s a young player who’s improving immensely season on season, and with improving confidence, and a more liberated B2B role afforded to him of late (for much of his early first team career he was utilised as a defensive midfielder) comes a willingness to shoot from outside the box. His conversion rate from shots attempted is high. Time will tell if it’s a streak or not, but the optimistic assessment is that he’s improving as an attacking threat, and now being given licence by the manager to get forward as the more attacking part of the double pivot with Fred. McTominay’s goals this season
  15. Contentious suggestion on the face of it, so let’s have a look at goals scored for their clubs this season by current Scotland internationals playing in midfield or in attack. Scott McTominay EPL 4, F.A. Cup 2, EFL Cup 1 Total 7 Callum Paterson EFL Championship 6, FA Cup 1 Total 7 Leigh Griffiths Scottish Premiership 5, Europa League 1, Total 6 Lyndon Dykes EFL Championship 5 (4 pens) Total 5 Lawrence Shankland Scottish Premiership 5 Total 5 Callum McGregor Scottish Premiership 3, Europa League 1 Total 4 Ryan Christie Scottish Premiership 3, Champions League 1 Total 4 Stuart Armstrong EPL 3 Total 3 Ryan Fraser EPL 1, EFL Cup 1 Total 2 James Forrest Scottish Premiership 2 Total 2 Oliver Burke EPL 1 FA Cup 1 Total 2 Kenny McLean EFL Championship 1, FA Cup 1 Total 2 Ryan Jack Scottish Premiership 1 Total 1 John McGinn EPL 1 Total 1 Oil McBurnie EPL 1 Total 1 John Fleck Total 0 These stats hardly suggest that McTominay is the least effective Scots midfielder of the available options going forward. In fact, they suggest the opposite, and given the level he is playing at, on current form he’s clearly the most effective attacking option we have amongst the midfielders at our disposal, at least in terms of goal threat. McTominay has 4 of the 11 goals scored by Scots players playing in midfield or forward positions in the EPL this season. Stuart Armstrong is next on 3, with the other 4 shared one apiece by Burke, McGinn, McBurnie and Fraser. If we include defenders, it’s 4 from 14 - Tierney, Robertson and Cooper have each scored 1 in in EPL this season (none in other comps). Footnote: Players on the fringes who have yet to play for the Scottish National side: Kevin Nisbet Scottish Premiership 11, League Cup 2 Total 13 David Turnbull Scottish Premiership 6 (1 for Motherwell), Europa League 1 Total 7 Billy Gilmour Total 0 (albeit only from 6 appearances in all comps)
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