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Diamonds are Forever

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Diamonds are Forever last won the day on July 3 2011

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  1. Sadly, I think this is our best shot. Of course it requires Croatia and England to beat Czech. Ideally with Croatia beating them as narrowly as possible but then England destroying them. It would then be a shoot-out between us and Croatia with us having to make-up the goal difference. If Croatia beat Czech by a goal and we lose to England by a goal then I think you're right that we'd need a 3 goal win in the last game. Clearly the chances of that happening would be next to nothing. But it at least gives us something to play for in the last game. We should know the situation going into the England game, if Czech and Croatia have drawn then we'll need a point from England to have any chance. If Croatia win by a goal then a goal defeat for us at Wembley would at least give us a shot in the last game.
  2. It wont matter in reality because we'll not beat Croatia, however that extra goal (on paper) could be crucial. Our only real route to qualifying is to beat Croatia, hope England and Croatia hammer the Czechs, and hope our goal difference is good enough to get us one of the best third place finishes, or even overtake Croatia in 2nd. Being on minus 2 (and 4 goals behind Czechs, 1 behind Croatia already), with a probable England defeat to come makes us as good as out unless we were to beat Croatia by at least 3 goals and keep the English defeat to a goal. Again, unlikely to matter but a 1 goal defeat today could have been cancelled out by us beating Croatia by 1 goal and the Czechs being given a hammering by England. We've given ourselves next to no chance now unless we pull off a result against England or a huge win against Croatia.
  3. One eventuality (and a much more likely eventuality than someone lobbing the goalie from 50 yards), is that we lose the ball and it is punted over the top and Hanley is expected to win a foot race with their striker which he'd obviously lose, and they'd score from that. Therefore Marshall's position has to take this into account and is presumably why he chose/was instructed to be that high up the pitch. Just because the Czech striker noticed this doesn't mean it's a mistake, any more than a winger saying he noticed space in behind an attacking full-back is, it is a tactical trade off. The Czechs had no joy with balls in behind today which will partly be down to Marshall's positioning making that a tough ball for the Czechs to make. You cannot play football constantly accounting for the worst case scenario, if you did you'd have 11 players behind the ball the entire game and never venture out your half. It is a game of risk/reward trade-offs, on this occasion we were on the wrong side of it due to an incredible finish. I think people are being far too simplistic in their analysis of it. That is the position you'll find most goalies take these days, the difference is their teams wont lose possession in such a stupid way that Hendry did.
  4. We've played like this for most of Clarke's games. We've had the rub of the green in some of those games and qualified via the easiest possible route - and still required 2 shoot-outs. Today was perfectly in line with recent performances.
  5. Switch Gallagher for Cooper and I think so.
  6. In fairness to Stokes it's hard to judge him from his very limited appearances (although the fact he got nowhere near the team despite the injuries is very telling). When he did play I thought he looked like a player who'd be brilliant in 5 a-sides, but in the reality of lower league senior football was just anonymous and the game passed him by. Be interesting to see how he does with a run of games.
  7. That's all you need in this league. Look at the difference Turner made when he came in, he was literally the difference between us finishing bottom half to us almost winning the league. Yes we altered formation slightly but it was him (and Paton to a lesser extent) that turned round our season. The best (financially realistic) chance we have of competing is to have 7 or 8 solid League One players, with a quality creative player and a goalscorer and then hope they stay fit. The question is obviously who are those couple of players and how do we get them to sign for us over someone else. But as you say it's completely unrealistic on our budget to expect a team from 1 to 11 of guys who are top players in this division. If we can put together a solid defensive base then hopefully there are funds to get the quality further forward.
  8. No manager is going to say to the player he is going to be back-up. He'd say he'll have to fight for his position and take his chance when it comes. Which is true. And most players at that level will have the belief that they will be a regular.
  9. Totally agree. Without knowing where he fits within the context of our squad you can't judge any signings at this point. If he's been signed as our first choice defender then that would be slightly concerning, but if he's a cheap and reliable back-up option for the squad then it may be sound business.
  10. That is exactly what it should be. Provides more opportunities for strong sides in the HL/LL to get promoted, however both play-off stages would still provide quality control to ensure no weaker winners of one of the HL/LL go up. On the face of it clubs obviously wouldn't want it, but there may be an increasing number who are getting twitchy knowing that one bad summer of recruitment and they could be down with very little chance of ever getting back up. Although it would increase the chances of them being relegated they may feel the increased movement up and down between the leagues may be a saviour for them in the future.
  11. They finished 4th and got promoted via the play-offs, not sure that's really 'ambition'. That's where Brechin were for years, they just got the rub of the green in the play-offs that year. And then were destroyed in the Championship obviously. Not that ambition is something to be applauded - if by 'ambition' people mean spending money they can't really afford. Never really sure why people think that is a good thing. Feel for Brechin fans, but no doubt it is deserved, this season but also last. Given the quality coming up through the leagues I'd like to see promotion/relegation extended to automatic relegation for 10th and play-off for 9th like in the other leagues. No chance of any clubs in bottom leagues voting for that though.
  12. Injuries haven't helped, and I doubt very much we'd have won anyway, but that team that Murray put out tonight was a shambles, and the one on Tuesday wasn't much better. There is no structure whatsoever - in part because guys are being asked to play positions they aren't comfortable in. We deserved to lose that game by about 6 or 7 goals, that's not just down to a few injuries or players being tired.
  13. There's no chance of changing from the 3-5-2 which has seen us go on this great run. The injuries to Kerr and Paton do present an issue but I think whatever workaround we can find will be a better option than going to a different system. Going from 3 centre backs with 3 centre midfielders in front to 2 centre backs and 2 centre midfielders would be a very high risk strategy at this point. I think he'll just go with Ritchie, Turner and Carrick in midfield, Crighton in for Kerr obviously and Roy in for Connell. Other option is move Carrick up front with Gallagher and playing Robert as the number 10, with Turner and Ritchie sitting. Not perfect solution but not sure what else we can do without changing the system.
  14. The pair of them need to stop letting Leitch do his 'man of the people' routine and ask him some proper questions. If they aren't willing/able to as it's a football show (of sorts) and don't believe it's their role to question him then that's understandable, but get him off the show and stop giving him half an hour every week to spout patronising garbage to football fans.
  15. Every game I've seen against Cove this season (I missed our recent 2-0 win) they have been the better footballing side in the sense that they have more possession and build up attacks. However in all of those games I can't really remember them creating many chances with the extra possession, the best chance that went begging last night was Fordyce's header with an open goal, and on Saturday it was Carrick missing virtually an open goal. We are more aggresive and direct, and Cove are a better passing side, however the end result, as shown by the league table and our play-off, is that there is nothing between the sides. Last night showed how important it is that we go up this year as next year's league will be very strong - Queen's Park, Cove, Falkirk, Airdrie/Morton, Montrose. Getting out of that league in the next 2 or 3 years is going to be a nightmare. We were pretty poor last night compared with recent weeks. The difference with us now is that we have developed a style where we can play poorly and still get results, in recent seasons this was never the case. Turner having to play deeper is a real issue for us as he links midfield to attack in a way that Carrick isn't capable of. If we are going to beat Morton we have to sort out how our midfield is going to work without Paton. Ritchie is fine alongside Paton but looks a bit lost without him, Turner isn't as effective deeper and Carrick offers nothing in midfield. Not really sure of the answer but hopefully Murray can work on something this week once we know whether Paton will make it. Maybe Sabatini could be brought in but bringing him in out the cold in what will be a tough, physical game might have issues. Hopefully we can go up, but regardless the last few weeks have hopefully shown the kind of side that Murray could/would build if he was given the freedom to build his own squad next season, which makes me a bit more optimistic about the future.
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