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Scotland Centre Backs

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We finished 4th in a 6 man group in the 13/14 campaign and did so again for Euro 2016 so not sure it can be described  as a rise from the doldrums?  We finished 3rd out of 5 in the 2012 campaign so it was pretty much same level of doldrums if anything.
 
Don't know if you watched during that era (seems like yesterday to me), but the end of the Levin era was a bleak nadir. Strachan took over and we lost vs Serbia making us the first side in Europe to fail at WC14 qualification. We were on a run of 0 competitive wins from 8.
It was "don't know where the next competitive win is coming from" territory.

Then, really unexpectedly, we beat Croatia away 1-0, with Hanley and Martin shutting the Croats out
https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-match-reports/world-cup-qualifier-croatia-0-1939168.amp

That kicked off a relatively good run in competitive fixtures with those two as the back pairing, seeing us lose only 2 of our next 8 qualifiers (essentially covering the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign up to the Georgia screw-up).


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Do Norwich play with a back three ?

No they play 4231. Even Still I think Hanley is our best option in the centre due to his physical dominance and will likely be full of confidence. Assuming there’s no chance we change to a back 4, Having a back 3 of Cooper, Hanley, Tierney is our best trio imo. I’m keen to see McTominay pairing McGinn in midfield.

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6 minutes ago, cameron2000 said:


No they play 4231. Even Still I think Hanley is our best option in the centre due to his physical dominance and will likely be full of confidence. Assuming there’s no chance we change to a back 4, Having a back 3 of Cooper, Hanley, Tierney is our best trio imo. I’m keen to see McTominay pairing McGinn in midfield.

Like all this but consider McKenna and Cooper interchangeable.  You know Cooper is left footed though?  So Hanley would really need to be on the right of the three, that's where we need someone.  

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Think it would be a bit harsh on Declan Gallagher to be dropped from the starting 11 given he hasn't put a foot wrong. I like big Hanley though and would be fine with him being in the squad.

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1 hour ago, Gordopolis said:

Don't know if you watched during that era (seems like yesterday to me), but the end of the Levin era was a bleak nadir. Strachan took over and we lost vs Serbia making us the first side in Europe to fail at WC14 qualification. We were on a run of 0 competitive wins from 8.
It was "don't know where the next competitive win is coming from" territory.

Then, really unexpectedly, we beat Croatia away 1-0, with Hanley and Martin shutting the Croats out
https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-match-reports/world-cup-qualifier-croatia-0-1939168.amp

That kicked off a relatively good run in competitive fixtures with those two as the back pairing, seeing us lose only 2 of our next 8 qualifiers (essentially covering the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign up to the Georgia screw-up).

 

I did, hence my talking about Hanley being so bad in the game against Wales. Losing home and away against Wales may not have been quite as bad as the 4-6-0 but it was still pretty low at the time. Obviously looking at it in hindsight with Wales resurgence pretty much starting then it doesn’t look so bad but at the time with Wales finishing bellowing us in the group but still beating us twice it felt pretty low.

Both of Strachans campaigns were half of a decent campaign with some terrible results in the other half blowing it for Scotland but in both from what I recall the centre back position was the weak point of the side whether it was Martin and Hanley in the first one or to a slightly lesser extent Berra and Mulgrew later on. Maybe playing the back 3 now would compensate for a lot of the flaws but I’m still not that keen to see Hanley play again. Obviously I hope he proves me wrong if he does.

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George Johnston off to Wigan from Feyenoord.

Hopefully puts to bed the idea that he's anywhere close to making it for the national team.

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Hopefully he can get some first team football under his belt. 116 minutes of senior football at the age of 22 is not good for anyone's development.

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I would imagine Hanley might be a candidate for the right centre back position , with Gallagher staying at the back

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3 hours ago, Rodhull said:

I did, hence my talking about Hanley being so bad in the game against Wales. Losing home and away against Wales may not have been quite as bad as the 4-6-0 but it was still pretty low at the time. Obviously looking at it in hindsight with Wales resurgence pretty much starting then it doesn’t look so bad but at the time with Wales finishing bellowing us in the group but still beating us twice it felt pretty low.

Both of Strachans campaigns were half of a decent campaign with some terrible results in the other half blowing it for Scotland but in both from what I recall the centre back position was the weak point of the side whether it was Martin and Hanley in the first one or to a slightly lesser extent Berra and Mulgrew later on. Maybe playing the back 3 now would compensate for a lot of the flaws but I’m still not that keen to see Hanley play again. Obviously I hope he proves me wrong if he does.

Did we not have a perfectly good goal disallowed in one of the games ?

And then there was Adam failing to close down Bale (?)

We were not total rubbish !!

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Declan Gallagher - Caps 7  -  Won 4 Drew 2 Lost 1     Goals conceded 4   Goals conceded per game 0.57    Height 6 ft 6 inches 

Grant Hanley - Caps 29 - Won 10 Drew 4 Lost 15   Goals conceded 40  Goals conceded per game 1.38        Height 6 ft 2 inches  

 

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32 minutes ago, ewan14 said:

Did we not have a perfectly good goal disallowed in one of the games ?

And then there was Adam failing to close down Bale (?)

We were not total rubbish !!

I never said we were. 
 

We were closer to making the playoffs under Levein than either of Strachans campaigns though so I just queried the ‘out of the doldrums’ remark.

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Hanley's limitations on the ball rule him out of any centre-back spot other than the middle one IMO.

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22 minutes ago, G51 said:

Hanley's limitations on the ball rule him out of any centre-back spot other than the middle one IMO.

Agree with this. The main reason Clarke went to the formation he did was because of the lack of footballing ability that our existing central defenders possess. This was very obvious in the final matches of the group under him when we were playing a back four - we couldn't keep the ball because the defenders were so fucking awful at playing out. By going to the back three he's been able to bring genuine ball players in Tierney and McTominay into the defence and we are keeping possession much better.

Ideally we eventually find a defender who is a talented footballer and can defend well and then we can look at moving McTominay further forward, but we certainly shouldn't be even remotely considering it for the likes of Hanley who is rubbish with the ball at their feet and generally makes bad decisions in possession.

Edited by craigkillie

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9 minutes ago, craigkillie said:

Agree with this. The main reason Clarke went to the formation he did was because of the lack of footballing ability that our existing central defenders possess. This was very obvious in the final matches of the group under him when we were playing a back four - we couldn't keep the ball because the defenders were so fucking awful at playing out. By going to the back three he's been able to bring genuine ball players in Tierney and McTominay into the defence and we are keeping possession much better.

Ideally we eventually find a defender who is a talented footballer and can defend well and then we can look at moving McTominay further forward, but we certainly shouldn't be even remotely considering it for the likes of Hanley who is rubbish with the ball at their feet and generally makes bad decisions in possession.

Aye. Our outside centre backs have to either to find Dykes with an accurate pass, or break the first line of the opposition press by going into Jack or McGregor. Grant Hanley can't do that.

A really fun next step for this tactic would be to have our outside CB's overlapping our wing backs. Would make our left side frighteningly good. I doubt Clarke will get enough time with the players to implement it though.

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Aye. Our outside centre backs have to either to find Dykes with an accurate pass, or break the first line of the opposition press by going into Jack or McGregor. Grant Hanley can't do that.
A really fun next step for this tactic would be to have our outside CB's overlapping our wing backs. Would make our left side frighteningly good. I doubt Clarke will get enough time with the players to implement it though.
McLeish tried it. Tierney overlapped Robertson a lot in the 2-0 game against Albania (a game a lot of folk have probably forgotten but I enjoyed just because it was a fun change in our system), and I remember McKenna doing it at least sometimes in McLeish's first couple of games.

It seems to me that Clarke's mostly opted for the wide CBs to step into midfield as opposed to overlapping, although I remember Tierney sometimes doing it against Serbia and both he and McTominay played incredibly high and wide when we were chasing the Israel away game.

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I'd like to see David Marshall be given more freedom to push into the midfield, Jack could drop and McTominay fill in as sweeper keeper.  

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1 hour ago, craigkillie said:

Agree with this. The main reason Clarke went to the formation he did was because of the lack of footballing ability that our existing central defenders possess. This was very obvious in the final matches of the group under him when we were playing a back four - we couldn't keep the ball because the defenders were so fucking awful at playing out. By going to the back three he's been able to bring genuine ball players in Tierney and McTominay into the defence and we are keeping possession much better.

Ideally we eventually find a defender who is a talented footballer and can defend well and then we can look at moving McTominay further forward, but we certainly shouldn't be even remotely considering it for the likes of Hanley who is rubbish with the ball at their feet and generally makes bad decisions in possession.

I don't think so actually.  I think its a simple case of if you don't have top CB's three is better than two, it makes you less likely to concede goals and so it has proved.

McTominay adds a lot there in being able to bring the ball out but ideally we really need him in midfield in the near future.

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1 hour ago, Erih Shtrep said:

I'd like to see David Marshall be given more freedom to push into the midfield, Jack could drop and McTominay fill in as sweeper keeper.  

Something that should have been done with Fletcher about 15 years ago.

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