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Squirrelhumper

Our "big players"

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We all know O'Donnell, Cooper et al are nowhere near good enough but I'm fed up the likes of Robertson, McGregor etc failing to turn up for us.

Robertson is never a captain in a million years. We lose more goals down his side more often than not.

Tierney has to play RB when fit but if Robertson keeps up these levels of performance then I can see him playing LB.

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I think this is where Boyd got his criticisms spot on last night. Although he was speaking specifically about Scottish football, his points about robotic, formulaic players were spot on in general football terms. With the possible exception of Christie, all of our midfielders are more or less the same. Maybe McGregor and McTominay have the ability to follow higher levels of tactical instruction, hence their playing with more successful teams, but take them out of those teams and they don't have the ability to influence a game in any noticeable way.

I think Robertson is the same, a very, very effective player in a team where he was signed because he fits the system, but nothing about him is truly outstanding other than perhaps his desire and work-ethic.

For me, top-level football is becoming more and more about systems and structures rather than individual brilliance. Even look at De Bruyne last night - he just does everything consistently well rather than any one thing being particularly outstanding. We need a coach who really gets the tactical side of the game and will pick the players that fit that, rather than trying to get our supposed best players to fit a different system. Liverpool are a great example of this and even Guardiola's teams are similar, filled with players who absolutely understand what is required of them rather than being expected to come up with something out of nothing themselves.

I actually think Clarke will be the man to do that so this certainly isn't a Clarke Out post in case anyone takes it that way.

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Thought Robertson had a extremely poor first half, but took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half.... but when he does make his runs forward I do think "steady on, you do not have Van Dijk beside you to keep things tight at the back!".

McGregor looks burnt out, and this is something about his game that has been creeping in for a while at both club and country.

As said elsewhere, McTominay looks to have found himself if a similar situation Burke did when it was clear after a couple of games he was not quite ready.... unlike Burke, McTominay can not be dropped into the U21's for a few games.

Do not think Clarke really helped the situation by talking up McTominay and Cooper for almost the whole summer as the answers to our problems for going forward. 

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I think Clarke's toughest job in the short term will be to try to motivate a bunch of players who are very down at the moment. He has got the carrot of a playoff place to dangle in front of them. But, I wouldn't be surprised if he walks before we get to the play off game, if he doesn't get the level of commitment that is required.

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2 minutes ago, Orraloon said:

I think Clarke's toughest job in the short term will be to try to motivate a bunch of players who are very down at the moment. He has got the carrot of a playoff place to dangle in front of them. But, I wouldn't be surprised if he walks before we get to the play off game, if he doesn't get the level of commitment that is required.

Think this is probably one of the "bonuses" that our final two games are Cyprus away and then home to Kazakhstan, and I can see him taking the squad out to Cyprus a day or two earlier than he usually would to get  a kind to team bonding get together in the sun away from the Scottish media, with a eye to try get moral up ahead of the play off's.

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50 minutes ago, wee-toon-red said:

I think this is where Boyd got his criticisms spot on last night. Although he was speaking specifically about Scottish football, his points about robotic, formulaic players were spot on in general football terms. With the possible exception of Christie, all of our midfielders are more or less the same. Maybe McGregor and McTominay have the ability to follow higher levels of tactical instruction, hence their playing with more successful teams, but take them out of those teams and they don't have the ability to influence a game in any noticeable way.

I think Robertson is the same, a very, very effective player in a team where he was signed because he fits the system, but nothing about him is truly outstanding other than perhaps his desire and work-ethic.

For me, top-level football is becoming more and more about systems and structures rather than individual brilliance. Even look at De Bruyne last night - he just does everything consistently well rather than any one thing being particularly outstanding. We need a coach who really gets the tactical side of the game and will pick the players that fit that, rather than trying to get our supposed best players to fit a different system. Liverpool are a great example of this and even Guardiola's teams are similar, filled with players who absolutely understand what is required of them rather than being expected to come up with something out of nothing themselves.

I actually think Clarke will be the man to do that so this certainly isn't a Clarke Out post in case anyone takes it that way.

Agree with this and touched on something similar in another thread the other day. In that post I said that while McTominay, McGregor and McGinn looks great on paper, the reality was way different. Clarke has to find out our system and structure and who can play in it. Maybe these last two games will be an eye opener for Clarke and long term might turn out to be important, even if a bit embarrassing.

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1 hour ago, wanderer said:

McGregor looks burnt out, and this is something about his game that has been creeping in for a while at both club and country.

He's been needing an extended period out for a wee while now. Easy to do it against the lower SPL teams, but it's quite apparent when we're (Scotland and Celtic) are playing better teams.

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2 minutes ago, Tartan_McCole said:

He's been needing an extended period out for a wee while now. Easy to do it against the lower SPL teams, but it's quite apparent when we're (Scotland and Celtic) are playing better teams.

Yep, no real secret was made of it at the tail end of last season.... played his final game of the season with Scotland and early June, and was back playing Champions League Qualifiers with Celtic something like 3 weeks later?

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2 hours ago, Squirrelhumper said:

We all know O'Donnell, Cooper et al are nowhere near good enough but I'm fed up the likes of Robertson, McGregor etc failing to turn up for us.

Robertson is never a captain in a million years. We lose more goals down his side more often than not.

Tierney has to play RB when fit but if Robertson keeps up these levels of performance then I can see him playing LB.

We may yet see Chripper’s midfield role for Robertson because he’s been mince at left back. 

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5 minutes ago, er yir macaroon said:

We may yet see Chripper’s midfield role for Robertson because he’s been mince at left back. 

I Certainly wouldn't be against the idea I just cannot be fucked with chripper bringing it up every two seconds.

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8 minutes ago, er yir macaroon said:

We may yet see Chripper’s midfield role for Robertson because he’s been mince at left back. 

Maybe we should try him at right back? Then that pass would have gone off the park instead of straight to a Russian in the middle of the penalty box?:lol:

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2 hours ago, Squirrelhumper said:

We all know O'Donnell, Cooper et al are nowhere near good enough but I'm fed up the likes of Robertson, McGregor etc failing to turn up for us.

Robertson is never a captain in a million years. We lose more goals down his side more often than not.

Tierney has to play RB when fit but if Robertson keeps up these levels of performance then I can see him playing LB.

Andy Robertson does very well in a specific, attacking, role for a Liverpool side who dominates a lot of games and where he is surrounded by top quality players. I have a Liverpool supporting mate who will point as and when Robertson makes defensive mistakes for Liverpool. On the odd occasion they cost goals, on others, due to those around about him, they don't.

Robertson will never reproduce his Liverpool style of play in a Scotland shirt unless we are playing the weakest of nations. He doesn't have the same quality around about him, he won't get to attack in the same manner and his team as a whole won't dominate in the way Liverpool can dominate a game. He's a very good player in the role he plays for Liverpool. Bar the actual position he plays, that's where the similarities end for Scotland. I actually think Tierney is stronger defensively than him. 

McGregor is similar. He looks sharp and inventive playing in a Celtic side that dominates most games domestically. He doesn't get the same time on the ball or options playing against a Russia or Belgium. He will try his best in all games, sometimes it looks great for Celtic, sometimes he looks what he is ,which is a pretty good SPL player, for Scotland.

You could possibly label both "flat track bullies". That is probably harsh on Robertson who is part of a very successful side who have won a lot of big games but maybe not so harsh on McGregor.

At the end of the day our "big" players aren't actually that "big" in the overall top level of football.

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35 minutes ago, mccaughey85 said:

I Certainly wouldn't be against the idea I just cannot be fucked with chripper bringing it up every two seconds.

Nah - f*ck that.  Can you imagine Chripper back on here in full, "Look - I told ye, Clarke should've listened to me" mode!?  :lol: 

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22 minutes ago, Dalgety Bay TA said:

Andy Robertson does very well in a specific, attacking, role for a Liverpool side who dominates a lot of games and where he is surrounded by top quality players. I have a Liverpool supporting mate who will point as and when Robertson makes defensive mistakes for Liverpool. On the odd occasion they cost goals, on others, due to those around about him, they don't.

Robertson will never reproduce his Liverpool style of play in a Scotland shirt unless we are playing the weakest of nations. He doesn't have the same quality around about him, he won't get to attack in the same manner and his team as a whole won't dominate in the way Liverpool can dominate a game. He's a very good player in the role he plays for Liverpool. Bar the actual position he plays, that's where the similarities end for Scotland. I actually think Tierney is stronger defensively than him. 

McGregor is similar. He looks sharp and inventive playing in a Celtic side that dominates most games domestically. He doesn't get the same time on the ball or options playing against a Russia or Belgium. He will try his best in all games, sometimes it looks great for Celtic, sometimes he looks what he is ,which is a pretty good SPL player, for Scotland.

You could possibly label both "flat track bullies". That is probably harsh on Robertson who is part of a very successful side who have won a lot of big games but maybe not so harsh on McGregor.

At the end of the day our "big" players aren't actually that "big" in the overall top level of football.

Spot on. As I said earlier, playing what's classed as our best players doesn't necessarily mean that makes our best team. I think that was shown against Russia. 

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1 hour ago, wanderer said:

Yep, no real secret was made of it at the tail end of last season.... played his final game of the season with Scotland and early June, and was back playing Champions League Qualifiers with Celtic something like 3 weeks later?

I don’t get this burnt out pish. Young athlete that’s being asked to play twice a week for 180 minutes. How do tennis players manage it yet footballers get burnt out? Poofs.

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It does feel like we have some players who aren't as good as we hoped they were.

Robertson, i think dropped in form the moment he became captain. It's a shame, cos he's a good guy, but if it's negatively affecting his performance to be captain, then maybe for his own good he needs to pass on the armband. I agree with Wanderer tho, his 2nd half was much better and he looked more like the Robertson of old. That's the player we need to see more of.

Mulgrew was mostly decent over the two games. Yep, got done for the 3rd last night, but the accusation to level at him there is "you're not as good as Alderweireld". Which is kind of obvious and uncontested. No one we have is as good as Alderweireld.

McTominay has looked ok over the two games. He wasn't really helped out by those around him in either game, with McGregor disappearing against Russia and McLean seemingly not wanting the responsibility of marking anyone. He'll be a good player, but at time last night he looked like exactly what he is, a young player that could use support rather than the weight being on his shoulders already.

McGregor disappeared for most of the Russia game, and did the same for long periods of the Belgium game. Such a shame because he has talent. Maybe he's burnt out, but this isn't the first couple of times it's happened. Starting to wonder if he's a confidence player. With Celtic he knows he's always one of the best players on the park and so plays with confidence and freedom. At international level it's a different story and it seems he might need some mental shift in order to produce his best for us.

McLean, sad to say, but he just doesn't look good enough to me. Came on and put us under pressure against Russia. Was solely responsible for the 2nd goal, just not marking his man. He was wasn't paying any attention and was stood on the penalty spot as Vermaelen knocked it in from inside the 6 yard box. I might be paranoid, but he then seemed to make runs to take him away from men, thereby dumping them onto someone else, particularly De Bruyne. That to me is hugely worrying.

Snodgrass, was ok, got more involved that Forrest did against Russia. Tired towards the end and got a bit sloppy, but still. Freekicks were a bit disappointing tho.

Armstrong.. breath of fresh air when he came on. Energy, drive, much like Christie in the Russia game he came in and made a difference. Makes a great case for him starting.

Phillips, still not a striker.

Forrest seems like he may have reverted to form for us. So could be time to look at others, be that Johnston or Hastie or Burke or back to Snodgrass when the game suits it.

To me it feels like we have an ok 11 for the most part.

Griffiths
[Johnston/Burke/etc] - Christie - Fraser
Armstrong - McTominay
Robertson - McKenna - Mulgrew - [Tierney/O'Donnell]
Marhsall

The problem is there's not much quality behind those players if they're not available.

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We don’t have a identity. We’re trying to play a system that works for other teams but we’re one of the weakest teams technically in Europe, our ball retention is awful, movement is poor and we don’t look at fit as other teams. 

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25 minutes ago, andyD said:

 

Griffiths
[Johnston/Burke/etc] - Christie - Fraser
Armstrong - McTominay
Robertson - McKenna - Mulgrew - [Tierney/O'Donnell]
Marhsall

 

We are a team who, in a lot of games, are going to be under pressure for fair bits of the game.

IMO McTominay isn't the defensive player you need in there. Neither is Armstrong. Neither was Kenny McLean last night. Our midfield, supposedly our strongest area, well no supposedly, it is, is suffering from trying to fit all the players in there and not actually looking at the balance of who is there.

McTominay is a good player IMO, will get better, can pass a ball, gets about the park, actually has a shot on him. But because he is a big lad people assume he is the defensive option. 

We need someone like a Scott Brown, who could break up the oppositions play. Closest we have to it in the current squad is probably Ryan Jack. Is he a better footballer than say McGregor or McLean or McTominay? Probably not. But would be do the solid defensive midfield role better than them? Probably yes. 

At the moment we are going down the England route of sticking Gerrard and Lampard in centre of the park because they are both great players. Who's going to defend though? And for us, who will be under pressure, we need at least one defensive, solid player in that midfield. By all means play a passer like McTominay or McGregor or McLean beside him but don't play the both of them and leave out the defensive player we need to protect our already shaky back four.

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6 minutes ago, Dalgety Bay TA said:

We are a team who, in a lot of games, are going to be under pressure for fair bits of the game.

IMO McTominay isn't the defensive player you need in there. Neither is Armstrong. Neither was Kenny McLean last night. Our midfield, supposedly our strongest area, well no supposedly, it is, is suffering from trying to fit all the players in there and not actually looking at the balance of who is there.

McTominay is a good player IMO, will get better, can pass a ball, gets about the park, actually has a shot on him. But because he is a big lad people assume he is the defensive option. 

We need someone like a Scott Brown, who could break up the oppositions play. Closest we have to it in the current squad is probably Ryan Jack. Is he a better footballer than say McGregor or McLean or McTominay? Probably not. But would be do the solid defensive midfield role better than them? Probably yes. 

At the moment we are going down the England route of sticking Gerrard and Lampard in centre of the park because they are both great players. Who's going to defend though? And for us, who will be under pressure, we need at least one defensive, solid player in that midfield. By all means play a passer like McTominay or McGregor or McLean beside him but don't play the both of them and leave out the defensive player we need to protect our already shaky back four.

We could do worse than put Tierney as DM in the next couple of games. 

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i thought we passed the ball about but with little purpose or too slow a tempo.  our best moves came from long balls from mulgrew.

thought christie was ineffectual, disappointingly.  

we need a bruiser in there.  all the midfielders are the same.  I don't see Jack as that player either.  

i would drop mcgregor completely, he's just not sharp enough in the dark blue.

also, o'donnell just needs to sit in and play right back.  stop careering up the park.  robertson possibly needs to just do the same.  be hard to beat.

Edited by PapofGlencoe

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the sad thing is we started quite brightly and you can see the boys are trying.  they were too cavellier for the first goal and that goal's always the killer in these games.

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