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Ukraine v Scotland (27/9/22)


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I won't say I predicted this level of performance, but I thought the complaints about Porteous before the game were way over the top considering the alternative was Declan Gallagher. I know Gallagher hasn't done much wrong for us but we've played loads of CHs in the last couple of years and they've all done ok and I think that's largely because of the defensive organisation under Clarke. Porteous is clearly the better player.

Hickey is just absolutely class. A wee bit less of an attacking threat than Patterson maybe but his maturity and composure is incredible for his age and he just always seems to make the right decision. It turns out that a two-footed £15m Serie A left-back CAN actually play right-back better than Stephen O'Donnell. Wild!

Fair play to Clarke for successfully shifting away from the back three. I thought it should have been obvious after the Euros that there are times it doesn't work but in hindsight my criticism of him was over the top for sticking with it in June. Consistency of squad selection and tactics is Clarke's way - any changes are made and gradually and with due care. Despite some high profile disappointments, you can't deny it's an approach that's brought about gradual improvement.

Incidentally, I think the back three is still an option for us in certain circumstances (only with Tierney fit) and we now look a stronger team than we were a few months ago by virtue of our tactical flexibility. Couple that with the emergence of Hickey and Patterson and the continued improvement of others like Hendry and things are looking pretty rosy again. We're now in a great position to qualify automatically for the Euros and finally put the "only got in via the backdoor"/"two penalty shootouts" stuff to bed.

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From turning round that disastrous result in Dublin, making the decision about the change of formation and dealing with a shit load of injuries over three difficult games, this has been a superbly managed week from Clarke - I'd say his best since he took the job. 
Taking us to pot 2 from the starting point of that Kazakhstan game is some doing, an even more impressive milestone than getting us to the Euros. The emergence of some really good players has obviously helped, but integrating them properly is a challenge in itself and I'm not convinced someone like McLeish would even have capped people like Hickey, Patterson, Gilmour, Adams, Dykes by now.
f**k the play off and f**k the seeding. The European 'elite' are dross across the board and fully ready for a hounding - get this competition won.
I was thinking about McLeish's time recently. He capped pretty much everyone so those guys would've got a chance, but if we appointed, for example, a Stephen Kenny figure when Strachan left, we'd have been fumbling around with a project trying to integrate a bunch of folk.

While McLeish made established a few players (McGregor, McGinn, McKenna, O'Donnell), Clarke's been more gradual in how he's freshened the squad which has allowed us to get results and still give Gilmour, Hickey, Patterson etc a proper foundation to succeed.
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36 minutes ago, Virtual Insanity said:

Blasphemy. Gordon has another 5 years in him at least.


You're joking, but I genuinely do think he'll keep going for as long as his body lets him, he lost a good 4 years of his career with that injury and it feels like he wants to savour every minute now. Could see him still being involved for the Euros if we get there.

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1 minute ago, craigkillie said:


You're joking, but I genuinely do think he'll keep going for as long as his body lets him, he lost a good 4 years of his career with that injury and it feels like he wants to savour every minute now. Could see him still being involved for the Euros if we get there.

I was going to write 10 years but I actually think 5 is realistic. His conditioning seems excellent, you'd struggle to imagine he couldn't play spl level until then and he must have a huge desire to stick it out with this Scotland squad and see how far we can take it. I imagine in the back of his head he must be eyeing up the 2026 world Cup. 

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1 hour ago, Ewan8472 said:

Class over 3 games

 

Would absolutely love to see him finish his career in the summer of 2024 in Berlin, Munich or Dortmund. Has been a magnificent player throughout his 20+ years in the game. Would be a fitting end. 

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4 minutes ago, craigkillie said:


You're joking, but I genuinely do think he'll keep going for as long as his body lets him, he lost a good 4 years of his career with that injury and it feels like he wants to savour every minute now. Could see him still being involved for the Euros if we get there.

It’s strange to think that a major injury can help a player extend his career but do you think to an extent his body is less burnt out than it would be if he’d been going for two decades straight and the long periods of enforced rest may have actually helped prolong his career?

 

I don’t see any reason he can’t play up to Euro 2024 if we qualify. I’m not seeing any signs of a drop off yet. That would be a great way to go out and would probably get him over 90 caps and our second most capped player. Could he even be tempted to squeeze one more campaign out to try and get the century and beat Dalglish’s record? Maybe that’s one too far as he would be 43 by the time of the next World Cup. 
 

Absolutely mental that he has a realistic shot at becoming our 2nd most capped player and an outside shot at breaking the overall record when he’s had to vie for the jersey with two nearly equal talents for most of his career. For me, Gordon was always the slightly better of the three. 

Edited by Donathan
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It’s strange to think that a major injury can help a player extend his career but do you think to an extent his body is less burnt out than it would be if he’d been going for two decades straight and the long periods of enforced rest may have actually helped prolong his career?
 
I don’t see any reason he can’t play up to Euro 2024 if we qualify. I’m not seeing any signs of a drop off yet. That would be a great way to go out and would probably get him over 90 caps and our second most capped player. Could he even be tempted to squeeze one more campaign out to try and get the century and beat Dalglish’s record? Maybe that’s one too far as he would be 43 by the time of the next World Cup. 
 
Absolutely mental that he has a realistic shot at becoming our 2nd most capped player and an outside shot at breaking the overall record when he’s had to vie for the jersey with two nearly equal talents for most of his career. For me, Gordon was always the slightly better of the three. 
Totally agree that he's the best of the three.
Were it not for his 3-4 year hiatus, he'd be on 110 caps or so by now.

Mad to think he didn't play at the euros for us.
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Only thing with Gordon is at that age a drop off can happen  quickly. However, he keeps himself in great shape and is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down at all. He loves playing for Scotland as well, so can't see him retiring from international football as long as he's being picked. Can see him playing another 2/3 years.

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