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13 hours ago, Tartan blood said:

Well, McFadden is arguably our best player from the last 2 decades. As you can see from my profile picture, I am a massive fan of his. He produced world class performances at times. 

So it's probably harsh to judge any player on the very high bar he set. But I do think Fraser and Christie are two that can emulate his performances, and they'll now have the chance to showcase their abilities on a bigger stage. It's a travesty that McFadden never got that chance.

Barring a clip here and there, I've not seen much of Hepburn. But the Bayern academy have the pick of the German elite, so the fact they felt like they had to pilfer a lad from Scotland is highly encouraging.

He did.

And yeah, I know. It's a shame that him, Ferguson and Darren Fletcher we're denied an opportunity to grace the top stage.

It is. Very encouraging. Hopefully kids like him get promoted to the u21s as soon as possible. We have a raft of talented 16/17/18 year olds, I say promote them immediately to the u21s.

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Good point. We need three though.

I like Griffiths. But can you imagine the outrage if McBurnie fluffed that chance the way he did?

That is true. If we had played shot against Israel with 4 at the back I'd be providing essays and dissecting it. In this match, however, we dominated it, got more shots on target, off-target, corners,

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16 hours ago, ParisInAKilt said:

The Griffiths free kick? That is a chance, not sure about burying it though. The others are half chances and part of most games. On another night we could have won definitely but the idea we dominated that some are picturing is a fantasy. 

The manager says it, we lack calm and street smart in front of goal

We turn good chances into half chances and half chances into nothing

Plus fluff the odd clear cut chance too

At least we're making them now, but it's not in doubt, we must be better in front of goal

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5 hours ago, Taylor1996 said:

That is true. If we had played shot against Israel with 4 at the back I'd be providing essays and dissecting it. In this match, however, we dominated it, got more shots on target, off-target, corners, the ball was in their half almost double the amount of time it was in ours. We had seven shots on target, to their two. Seven shots inside the box, to their six. SEVENTEEN! Traditionally, when Scotland get beat, we get thoroughly dominated, even if it was against unfashionable teams.

You listing the teams who failed to qualify for Euro 2020 is supposed to, what, devalue our achievement? Fair enough. Want to know the titan nations that qualified for Euro 2018? Azerbaijan, Serbia, Slovenia, Kazakhstan. So don't pretend that only the mammoth teams qualified for the previous European Championships.

Yes. It is progress. We're living in a small bubble where Scotland fans were up in arms when we drew away to Israel, playing a three at the back. Even to the point where people were calling Clarke clueless, and even wanting him to get fired. ONE MATCH. That's akin to the people of Rome, after one day of construction, calling it a day.

Scotland are showing progress. We've played well for four or five matches in a row. I can't remember the last time I could say that. No, I'm not an idealist. I would rather have the result than the performance, but if you have a performance, for such a sustained period, it's evidence that we're now playing in a system that doesn't tax the players and ask them to do anything that they aren't capable of. Why previous managers (or FANS) couldn't see that, I have no idea. McLeish and Strachan flirted with a three, but both didn't have the fortitude to continue with it. Even though we were within a Stuart Armstrong error withing a win against England.

I'd need to watch the match again to pour through the minutiae of it. On first showing, though, I quite clearly remember O'Donnell having a couple of really good chances. Christie could've slipped in Dykes for one,  and then there was the McGinn chance. That's four that I remember. We looked suspect at the back? You mean, allowing them to get a mammoth two shots on target? SofaScore gave their keeper 9.4. He had eight saves to make as opposed to Marshall's two.

Ok. I forgot about the Griffiths chance. So that's five.

As I said, I'd need to have a second watching to properly analyse the performance, the chances made and the chances conceded.

Effort is over-rated. Look at Kenny Miller, for instance. He broke his back in every single match he played for us. How do we remember him? As "Kenny Misser". Lovely tribute there. From 2002 - 2020 our players have run about, they've shown passion and effort, with zilch to show for it. With effort, you need organization and coaching and unity. At long last, we have all that. However, it's still a work in progress. The difference between now and the previous eighteen years is that we're showing progress. Is the job done? Not even close, but I'm delighted that Steve Clarke has shown enough nouse to realize that Scotland haven't been capable of playing with a back four since the early 90s.

Forget about the two years. We've been playing with the current system for three months. How about we all give it at least two years before we formally form an opinion, yes?

The early signs are promising. This is only phase one of the rebuilding process. There's a long way to go before we're a well-oiled machine that can go up against the minnows as well as the Titans.

We look more solid at the back. We're conceding less chances. (We've only let it two goals in one of eight matches where we have played with a three). We are playing better football. We're creating more chances, no, we aren't taking our chances, but that's more down to the calibre of our strikers than the system. In previous years we've had proven EPL standard strikers, such as Miller, Fletcher, Naismith. Now we have Dykes, Shankland and Griffiths. The latter being at the end of his career. The first two are unproven at any decent level.

We've had eighteen years playing a system that I was never a fan of. I remember Vogts's first match in charge. Playing a back four. I remember the doom that I felt from that moment on... Didn't know that it would've lasted eighteen years. At long last, we're playing the system that I grew up with, and I could not be happier. Is it going to all sunshine and roses? No. It's not. But how about we compare the merits of the current system with the previous system, if, God willing, we play it for the next eighteen years.

Also, facts show that Craig Brown played a back three for eight years. With two qualifications (should've been three as we hammered England in the '99 playoffs) and Steve Clarke has qualified for a tournament with three months using this system. So that's three tournaments in eight and a quarter years. As opposed to zero tournaments in eighteen years playing a four.

So, how any Scotland fan can say that we're better with four at the back, for the previous eighteen teams, is confusing. And bear in mind, in those eighteen years we've had guys like Weir, McManus, Dailly, Caldwell. Fine, not exactly Baresi or Costacurta, etc, but they're better than the likes of Gallagher and Considine. Plus, midfielder like Brown and Fletcher and Ferguson, with the magical touch of McFadden. 

The previous seven (McLeish twice) Scotland managers have failed generations of Scotland players and fans.

My issue is you can’t suggest on the one hand that everyone entrenched with 4 at the back is a tactical thicko who should be grateful for your input then on the other hand become so entrenched in it you’re unable to criticise – it completely undermines your position.   

 

Somebody of your self-anointed tactical mastery surely should have questions as to why a Pot 4 team, supposedly inferior to us, could give us such a hard game 5 times in a row especially when we’ve matched up formations?  You’ve spent the last umpteen threads and posts criticising Scotland for doing the same thing over and over and over, expecting things to change but continuing to fail.   Then though when we stick obstinately to your preferred Plan A vs Israel there’s signs of progress whereas in reality we’ve gone from being lucky to beat them; lucky to draw with them to, for me, them deserving to win – viva la revolution!

 

Again I have specifically said we should stick to three at the back for the Euros but surely every team needs a Plan B rather than just chucking attackers on with 20 minutes go and see what happens and there should be some alarm bells that a team as limited as Israel pose such difficulty.  Surely after watching Israel 4 times it is pretty obvious Nacho controls it for them and their main out ball was the right back who we continually make look like Cafu.  How’s about we tried something revolutionary like 4-2-3-1 where we could double up on their right back and have somebody standing on Nacho?

 

I don’t need to undermine the achievement of qualifying – UEFA has done that themselves.  We’ve gone from in Euro 92 where less than a quarter of the continent qualified for the finals to squeaking into a tournament where about half now get in.  Comparing previous failures to this triumph is like comparing apples to trampolines and is not down to formations but percentages.  From 2000-2008 we’d have qualified for a 24 team tournament pretty comfortably playing 4 at the back and in 2012 would have possibly got a playoff.  

 

What we need to do is now use the money that this tournament will bring, and that given two thirds of the teams with even a semi-realistic chance of qualifying in 2024 and 2028 will manage, we should be looking long term where we stop asking if we can squeak in. Instead how we progress back to where we were the failures you lambast challenging to get into 16 team tournaments, then to a position we may even have a sniff of WC qualification if the stars align. 

 

For me the key is the bridge from the performance schools to the full team – the manner of failure for the u21’s should be a priority for funding cascading down the age groups.  Four or five at the back is irrelevant if the players coming through aren’t coached to a better standard earlier. 

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The main worries for me were how poor our finishing was and how easily we conceded the goal.  The pundits were saying it was a great bit of skill, but we should be alarmed by the fact that England have a team full of players who can do that.  Should we expect the same every time they catch us on the break?

McTominay is great at carrying the ball forward so is he therefore wasted at the back?  Would an actual defender have got done so easily?  Where was the cover for O'Donnell being so far forward?

McTominay seemed to spend a hell of a lot of time on the right wing the other night so could he fill in at RWB?  Not having a go at O'Donnell who played very well over his 2 games.  A Man U standard of player might be better there though, especially when we're up against "better" opponents.  Gallagher could move right and a defender like McKenna into the centre.  Ideally I'd like McTominay in front of the defence ideally stopping the ball going anywhere near them.  Jack and McGregor are a good combo though.

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2 minutes ago, daviebee said:

The main worries for me were how poor our finishing was and how easily we conceded the goal.  The pundits were saying it was a great bit of skill, but we should be alarmed by the fact that England have a team full of players who can do that.  Should we expect the same every time they catch us on the break?

McTominay is great at carrying the ball forward so is he therefore wasted at the back?  Would an actual defender have got done so easily?  Where was the cover for O'Donnell being so far forward?

McTominay seemed to spend a hell of a lot of time on the right wing the other night so could he fill in at RWB?  Not having a go at O'Donnell who played very well over his 2 games.  A Man U standard of player might be better there though, especially when we're up against "better" opponents.  Gallagher could move right and a defender like McKenna into the centre.  Ideally I'd like McTominay in front of the defence ideally stopping the ball going anywhere near them.  Jack and McGregor are a good combo though.

McTominays quality of pass from the back is why he is there, he is wasted there in terms of he’d offer a lot in midfield, but when you balance everything out it’s an experiment that’s worked in the style we are playing at the moment. 

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5 minutes ago, ProudScot said:

McTominays quality of pass from the back is why he is there, he is wasted there in terms of he’d offer a lot in midfield, but when you balance everything out it’s an experiment that’s worked in the style we are playing at the moment. 

Aye, I do like the idea of him on the right, Tierney on the left and a commanding centre half in the middle.  Both these players can easily bring the ball out or pass it accurately.  He did get skinned pretty easily though.  Maybe the guy would've skinned Baresi as well, who knows?  Hopefully it was down to the lack of cover on his outside.  Just worries me when I think of the attacking threat the English have.

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42 minutes ago, daviebee said:

Aye, I do like the idea of him on the right, Tierney on the left and a commanding centre half in the middle.  Both these players can easily bring the ball out or pass it accurately.  He did get skinned pretty easily though.  Maybe the guy would've skinned Baresi as well, who knows?  Hopefully it was down to the lack of cover on his outside.  Just worries me when I think of the attacking threat the English have.

Baresi is in his 60s now he definitely would have been skinned 😜

Yeah I get your point. A plan B would be good too as we can’t just expect that formation and the same personnel to work each time .

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52 minutes ago, ProudScot said:

Baresi is in his 60s now he definitely would have been skinned 😜

Yeah I get your point. A plan B would be good too as we can’t just expect that formation and the same personnel to work each time .

Even in his 60s he'd still be more mobile than McBurnie. :lol:

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2 hours ago, ThistleWhistle said:

My issue is you can’t suggest on the one hand that everyone entrenched with 4 at the back is a tactical thicko who should be grateful for your input then on the other hand become so entrenched in it you’re unable to criticise – it completely undermines your position.   

 

 

 

Somebody of your self-anointed tactical mastery surely should have questions as to why a Pot 4 team, supposedly inferior to us, could give us such a hard game 5 times in a row especially when we’ve matched up formations?  You’ve spent the last umpteen threads and posts criticising Scotland for doing the same thing over and over and over, expecting things to change but continuing to fail.   Then though when we stick obstinately to your preferred Plan A vs Israel there’s signs of progress whereas in reality we’ve gone from being lucky to beat them; lucky to draw with them to, for me, them deserving to win – viva la revolution!

 

 

 

Again I have specifically said we should stick to three at the back for the Euros but surely every team needs a Plan B rather than just chucking attackers on with 20 minutes go and see what happens and there should be some alarm bells that a team as limited as Israel pose such difficulty.  Surely after watching Israel 4 times it is pretty obvious Nacho controls it for them and their main out ball was the right back who we continually make look like Cafu.  How’s about we tried something revolutionary like 4-2-3-1 where we could double up on their right back and have somebody standing on Nacho?

 

 

 

I don’t need to undermine the achievement of qualifying – UEFA has done that themselves.  We’ve gone from in Euro 92 where less than a quarter of the continent qualified for the finals to squeaking into a tournament where about half now get in.  Comparing previous failures to this triumph is like comparing apples to trampolines and is not down to formations but percentages.  From 2000-2008 we’d have qualified for a 24 team tournament pretty comfortably playing 4 at the back and in 2012 would have possibly got a playoff.  

 

 

What we need to do is now use the money that this tournament will bring, and that given two thirds of the teams with even a semi-realistic chance of qualifying in 2024 and 2028 will manage, we should be looking long term where we stop asking if we can squeak in. Instead how we progress back to where we were the failures you lambast challenging to get into 16 team tournaments, then to a position we may even have a sniff of WC qualification if the stars align. 

 

 

 

For me the key is the bridge from the performance schools to the full team – the manner of failure for the u21’s should be a priority for funding cascading down the age groups.  Four or five at the back is irrelevant if the players coming through aren’t coached to a better standard earlier. 

 

 

Sure I can. I've done it countless times. I have eighteen worth of evidence that says that we have been useless with a back four and that our players are not comfortable in it. Who played there at Euro 92? Gough and McPherson? Gough was top notch, but McPherson was Bambi on ice, at the best of times. There where songs then that our defensive choices and quality was diminishing.

Maybe you don't remember this, as it was a long time ago, but when I first mentioned three at the back, on here, it was like I was talking about a strange, other worldly thing. And oh, I was mocked. I am very much within my right to feel smug about, not only Scotland using the system that I spent so many years yearning for, but it being an instant success.

Surely you're joking? Are you trying to compare eighteen years of doing the same thing, and failing, to five matches? Do you know the term "knee jerk reaction"? When we are failing in eighteen years, playing with a three, then come back and have a go at me. As it stands, it's a false equivalence. And you're wrong. We weren't lucky to beat them. McBurnue hit the bar and McTomimay missed an easy header. As far as the loss goes, they were lucky to win, as I underlined in my previous post.

I'm all for a plan B, as long as it's almost always with a back three. The way that Steve Clarke sets Scotland up, with the 3-4-1-2 is loosely based on the framework that Atalanta used to almost win Serie A with. The only difference? Atalanta have a goal machine in Zapata. We have no such option. I'm no fan of the double-pivot in midfield, especially in possession. We'd benefit more with either McGregor (or McTomimay) having license to roam, but also get back into shape when out of possession.

Personally, I'm looking at the big picture. I've seen progress. I've seen us being harder to break down. I've seen us creating chances from open play! I recall there was a thread on here a while ago asking when was the last time we scored from open play. 

We've got a good shape. We have a system that the players are getting better at. We have a solid keeper. We have center backs that we can trust. A left wingback who is world class. We now have midfielder that we can trust. We have good attacking midfielders and we have a target man. We have most of the pieces for a really good team. If we had a really top-notch striker, a goalscorer, things would fall into place.

Yeah. That's nothing but speculation and conjecture. The truth is that we achieved the square root of squat for eighteen years. We got to how many playoffs in all those years? One! lol. I don't blame the players. I don't. In that time we had players like McFadden, Hutton, the two Fletchers, Miller, Ferguson, Brown, etc.

Ok. Here's a question. One that I've asked dozens of times, but no one has given me an answer: If four at the back was so good, and if our players are more comfortable playing in a four, why have the previous three managers flirted with a back three? Clarke isn't just flirted with it, he married it.

Wanna hear good news for the people that prefer four at the back? When Steve Clarke leaves, the new manager will probably to go back to a flat back four.

I agree. The prerogative is to keep funding the performance schools and even create more of them. Over the past year or so I've watched a lot of the U19s and u17s, from the evidence that I've witnessed, the performance schools are working. Once the u19 players populate the u21 squad, then we'll see genuine progress from a developmental level. I said at the start of the year that I enjoy watching the u17/19s more than the seniors, as they seem to be technically proficient, so hopefully soon, they can start making the grade.

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13 minutes ago, Taylor1996 said:

 

Sure I can. I've done it countless times. I have eighteen worth of evidence that says that we have been useless with a back four and that our players are not comfortable in it. Who played there at Euro 92? Gough and McPherson? Gough was top notch, but McPherson was Bambi on ice, at the best of times. There where songs then that our defensive choices and quality was diminishing.

Maybe you don't remember this, as it was a long time ago, but when I first mentioned three at the back, on here, it was like I was talking about a strange, other worldly thing. And oh, I was mocked. I am very much within my right to feel smug about, not only Scotland using the system that I spent so many years yearning for, but it being an instant success.

Surely you're joking? Are you trying to compare eighteen years of doing the same thing, and failing, to five matches? Do you know the term "knee jerk reaction"? When we are failing in eighteen years, playing with a three, then come back and have a go at me. As it stands, it's a false equivalence. And you're wrong. We weren't lucky to beat them. McBurnue hit the bar and McTomimay missed an easy header. As far as the loss goes, they were lucky to win, as I underlined in my previous post.

I'm all for a plan B, as long as it's almost always with a back three. The way that Steve Clarke sets Scotland up, with the 3-4-1-2 is loosely based on the framework that Atalanta used to almost win Serie A with. The only difference? Atalanta have a goal machine in Zapata. We have no such option. I'm no fan of the double-pivot in midfield, especially in possession. We'd benefit more with either McGregor (or McTomimay) having license to roam, but also get back into shape when out of possession.

Personally, I'm looking at the big picture. I've seen progress. I've seen us being harder to break down. I've seen us creating chances from open play! I recall there was a thread on here a while ago asking when was the last time we scored from open play. 

We've got a good shape. We have a system that the players are getting better at. We have a solid keeper. We have center backs that we can trust. A left wingback who is world class. We now have midfielder that we can trust. We have good attacking midfielders and we have a target man. We have most of the pieces for a really good team. If we had a really top-notch striker, a goalscorer, things would fall into place.

Yeah. That's nothing but speculation and conjecture. The truth is that we achieved the square root of squat for eighteen years. We got to how many playoffs in all those years? One! lol. I don't blame the players. I don't. In that time we had players like McFadden, Hutton, the two Fletchers, Miller, Ferguson, Brown, etc.

Ok. Here's a question. One that I've asked dozens of times, but no one has given me an answer: If four at the back was so good, and if our players are more comfortable playing in a four, why have the previous three managers flirted with a back three? Clarke isn't just flirted with it, he married it.

Wanna hear good news for the people that prefer four at the back? When Steve Clarke leaves, the new manager will probably to go back to a flat back four.

I agree. The prerogative is to keep funding the performance schools and even create more of them. Over the past year or so I've watched a lot of the U19s and u17s, from the evidence that I've witnessed, the performance schools are working. Once the u19 players populate the u21 squad, then we'll see genuine progress from a developmental level. I said at the start of the year that I enjoy watching the u17/19s more than the seniors, as they seem to be technically proficient, so hopefully soon, they can start making the grade.

I read the last sentence only and that involved some encouraging words so kudos to me 😁

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13 hours ago, Taylor1996 said:

 

Sure I can. I've done it countless times. I have eighteen worth of evidence that says that we have been useless with a back four and that our players are not comfortable in it. Who played there at Euro 92? Gough and McPherson? Gough was top notch, but McPherson was Bambi on ice, at the best of times. There where songs then that our defensive choices and quality was diminishing.

Maybe you don't remember this, as it was a long time ago, but when I first mentioned three at the back, on here, it was like I was talking about a strange, other worldly thing. And oh, I was mocked. I am very much within my right to feel smug about, not only Scotland using the system that I spent so many years yearning for, but it being an instant success.

Surely you're joking? Are you trying to compare eighteen years of doing the same thing, and failing, to five matches? Do you know the term "knee jerk reaction"? When we are failing in eighteen years, playing with a three, then come back and have a go at me. As it stands, it's a false equivalence. And you're wrong. We weren't lucky to beat them. McBurnue hit the bar and McTomimay missed an easy header. As far as the loss goes, they were lucky to win, as I underlined in my previous post.

I'm all for a plan B, as long as it's almost always with a back three. The way that Steve Clarke sets Scotland up, with the 3-4-1-2 is loosely based on the framework that Atalanta used to almost win Serie A with. The only difference? Atalanta have a goal machine in Zapata. We have no such option. I'm no fan of the double-pivot in midfield, especially in possession. We'd benefit more with either McGregor (or McTomimay) having license to roam, but also get back into shape when out of possession.

Personally, I'm looking at the big picture. I've seen progress. I've seen us being harder to break down. I've seen us creating chances from open play! I recall there was a thread on here a while ago asking when was the last time we scored from open play. 

We've got a good shape. We have a system that the players are getting better at. We have a solid keeper. We have center backs that we can trust. A left wingback who is world class. We now have midfielder that we can trust. We have good attacking midfielders and we have a target man. We have most of the pieces for a really good team. If we had a really top-notch striker, a goalscorer, things would fall into place.

Yeah. That's nothing but speculation and conjecture. The truth is that we achieved the square root of squat for eighteen years. We got to how many playoffs in all those years? One! lol. I don't blame the players. I don't. In that time we had players like McFadden, Hutton, the two Fletchers, Miller, Ferguson, Brown, etc.

Ok. Here's a question. One that I've asked dozens of times, but no one has given me an answer: If four at the back was so good, and if our players are more comfortable playing in a four, why have the previous three managers flirted with a back three? Clarke isn't just flirted with it, he married it.

Wanna hear good news for the people that prefer four at the back? When Steve Clarke leaves, the new manager will probably to go back to a flat back four.

I agree. The prerogative is to keep funding the performance schools and even create more of them. Over the past year or so I've watched a lot of the U19s and u17s, from the evidence that I've witnessed, the performance schools are working. Once the u19 players populate the u21 squad, then we'll see genuine progress from a developmental level. I said at the start of the year that I enjoy watching the u17/19s more than the seniors, as they seem to be technically proficient, so hopefully soon, they can start making the grade.

The U17/19's definitely seem to have improved technically and pretty hopeful this is down to the schools rather than just the batch coming through.  Hopefully the money goes on improving that and, more so, what happens from there because there's no point them knocking out thoroughbreds if they're then used like carthorses.  The thing that amazed me about five years back was watched a u17 or 19 game then the women's team and it was pretty obvious the women were technically better coached.  

Not having the false equivalence though as the time span is relative whereas the principle remains the same - keep doing the same thing over and over then expecting different results  is mental.  I see that in both Scotland basically hoping we'll turn a corner for two decades and in turgidly and obstinately playing the same way vs Israel over a series of games but you only see one with your myopia.       

More of a false equivalence is comparing Euro 2020 to anything other than Euro 2016.  Granted its conjecture but its a fairly safe assumption we'd have qualified for a 24 team Euro's in 2000 and 2004 where we finished second and 2010 where there was 7 groups and we finished 3rd.  

Our problems go way beyond what formation gets put on the pitch.  What's more important is to work out and sort why in 92 we were in the 33% that qualified whereas we've declined slowly but surely to the point now we're struggling to squeak into a tournament where 66% of those with a realistic chance qualify.  

At international level you pick the system that suits what you've got.  I don't think there is a formation that exists that caters for having 4 left backs better than your right back, 1 decent winger, a couple of limited centre backs, no goal scorers, two lumps and a plethora of samey midfielders. 

Three at the back is definitely the way to go in the Euros hitting teams on the break and it would be unfair to criticise it up against three teams better than us.  The test will come in WC qualification where qualification is unlikely but we should be aiming for moving up to the next pot if possible.  What we do against teams from pot 4, possibly 5, will be key and as Israel proves they're currently potentially a massive stumbling block for us. 

If we stumble again at that point then for me it'll show that discussions of formations are frivolous and its the fundamentals that need sorted way beyond what XI we can muster and what system they're stuck in.  With the wedge from the Euros hopefully we see more progress in the youth system though.

On your question the answer is easy - fashion.  Every formation has its strength that beat the formation before but weaknesses that are exposed by its replacement.  Just like flares there was come a point where 4-4-2 is back in vogue once a team akin to Atalanta comes along and beats teams with it - we flirted with it for a period vs Slovakia which i'm surprised didn't send you apopletic!        

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1 hour ago, ThistleWhistle said:

The U17/19's definitely seem to have improved technically and pretty hopeful this is down to the schools rather than just the batch coming through.  Hopefully the money goes on improving that and, more so, what happens from there because there's no point them knocking out thoroughbreds if they're then used like carthorses.  The thing that amazed me about five years back was watched a u17 or 19 game then the women's team and it was pretty obvious the women were technically better coached.  

Not having the false equivalence though as the time span is relative whereas the principle remains the same - keep doing the same thing over and over then expecting different results  is mental.  I see that in both Scotland basically hoping we'll turn a corner for two decades and in turgidly and obstinately playing the same way vs Israel over a series of games but you only see one with your myopia.       

More of a false equivalence is comparing Euro 2020 to anything other than Euro 2016.  Granted its conjecture but its a fairly safe assumption we'd have qualified for a 24 team Euro's in 2000 and 2004 where we finished second and 2010 where there was 7 groups and we finished 3rd.  

Our problems go way beyond what formation gets put on the pitch.  What's more important is to work out and sort why in 92 we were in the 33% that qualified whereas we've declined slowly but surely to the point now we're struggling to squeak into a tournament where 66% of those with a realistic chance qualify.  

At international level you pick the system that suits what you've got.  I don't think there is a formation that exists that caters for having 4 left backs better than your right back, 1 decent winger, a couple of limited centre backs, no goal scorers, two lumps and a plethora of samey midfielders. 

Three at the back is definitely the way to go in the Euros hitting teams on the break and it would be unfair to criticise it up against three teams better than us.  The test will come in WC qualification where qualification is unlikely but we should be aiming for moving up to the next pot if possible.  What we do against teams from pot 4, possibly 5, will be key and as Israel proves they're currently potentially a massive stumbling block for us. 

If we stumble again at that point then for me it'll show that discussions of formations are frivolous and its the fundamentals that need sorted way beyond what XI we can muster and what system they're stuck in.  With the wedge from the Euros hopefully we see more progress in the youth system though.

On your question the answer is easy - fashion.  Every formation has its strength that beat the formation before but weaknesses that are exposed by its replacement.  Just like flares there was come a point where 4-4-2 is back in vogue once a team akin to Atalanta comes along and beats teams with it - we flirted with it for a period vs Slovakia which i'm surprised didn't send you apopletic!        

I definitely think it's down to the performance schools. It has to be, it's too much of a coincidence for the technical ability to be improving in conjustion with the performance school graduates coming through. Hopefully, the money that the SFA receive from Euro 2020 will go towards the funding of the schools. It would've encouraged them if the u21s didn't blow their chances of Euro qualifications. The current u21 team, hopefully, the majority of them will be too old for the next tournament, as the wave of kids behind them are far superior. 

You're talking about in singular matches, though. Fine, the batch of matches that you're referring to are against the same team, I'll grand you. But if you go to SofaScore and pour over the stats, you will see that gradually we've played better with every subsequent match. Stragely enough, our best performance, statistically, was in the most recent one. And we lost. But that's football. This system isn't going to be a quick fix, I never said that it was.

Oh. If the 24 team qualification was a thing in Euro 2000 we definitely would've qualified. However, by that time, Craig Brown was still in charge and had us playing 3-5-2. I'll take your word for 2004, though, as I'm awful with years... Well, the years that we failed to qualify. 

Our problems have so many layers that it's hard to start: there's the domestic league structure (playing teams x 4 per season), the leagues are too small, making each match a 6 pointer, meaning managers will stick with seasoned pros, instead of blooding their kids. There has to be a limit on the amount of non-scots in a first XI. Sort that out and it'll be a start.

Agreed. However, what certain people in this place do not understand is that professional footballers are far more versatile than they think. I was laughed at when I insisted that Andrew Robertson could be an anchorman. Why the laughter? No idea. Maybe it's a Scottish trait to laugh at anything radical (even though, it's not really radical when you consider that John McGinn started as a left back, James Milner as a left winger, Paul Scholes a striker, Scott McTominay as a striker) Steve Clarke has thought outside the box with the system, and by playing Christie/Fraser as second strikers and McTominay as a center back.

I'm glad that you agree that three at the back is the way to go. And I agree. By the WC Qualification we will hopefully be more accustomed to the current system and we get the stage where we can break down teams that are "beneath" us. All it'll take is a tweak here and a tweak there and I think we'll improve. I have belief that Steve Clarke will find the formula to improve us. And if you factor in Billy Gilmour and Michael Johnstone (I wish I could name more players from the u21s), we will improve. It'll be interesting to see what we do at Euro 2020. I don't think the players will disgrace themselves.

I'm definitely not saying that a simple change of formation is a magic bullet. You have to admit that, besides a few lapses, we have been a lot stronger and harder to break down. There are fundamental problems in the Scottish domestic game that needs correcting. Like, the top teams voting against league expansion, that's the type of selfish self-interest that is part of the problem. A massive part.

In my world, 3-5-2 never went out if fashion... Which is why my wall has a head shaped dent in it, from eighteen years of frustration. But yes, you're right. Formations and systems come about in waves and some waves are trendier than the next. However, we aren't in a place to follow the trends. It might be ok for countries like Germany and France to do that, but they're shopping in Harrod's, whereas, we're shopping in Asda.

And yeah... We did do that against Slovakia in the dying embers... Let's just say that my wall has another dent.

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On 11/21/2020 at 11:56 AM, Taylor1996 said:

I definitely think it's down to the performance schools. It has to be, it's too much of a coincidence for the technical ability to be improving in conjustion with the performance school graduates coming through. Hopefully, the money that the SFA receive from Euro 2020 will go towards the funding of the schools. It would've encouraged them if the u21s didn't blow their chances of Euro qualifications. The current u21 team, hopefully, the majority of them will be too old for the next tournament, as the wave of kids behind them are far superior. 

You're talking about in singular matches, though. Fine, the batch of matches that you're referring to are against the same team, I'll grand you. But if you go to SofaScore and pour over the stats, you will see that gradually we've played better with every subsequent match. Stragely enough, our best performance, statistically, was in the most recent one. And we lost. But that's football. This system isn't going to be a quick fix, I never said that it was.

Oh. If the 24 team qualification was a thing in Euro 2000 we definitely would've qualified. However, by that time, Craig Brown was still in charge and had us playing 3-5-2. I'll take your word for 2004, though, as I'm awful with years... Well, the years that we failed to qualify. 

Our problems have so many layers that it's hard to start: there's the domestic league structure (playing teams x 4 per season), the leagues are too small, making each match a 6 pointer, meaning managers will stick with seasoned pros, instead of blooding their kids. There has to be a limit on the amount of non-scots in a first XI. Sort that out and it'll be a start.

Agreed. However, what certain people in this place do not understand is that professional footballers are far more versatile than they think. I was laughed at when I insisted that Andrew Robertson could be an anchorman. Why the laughter? No idea. Maybe it's a Scottish trait to laugh at anything radical (even though, it's not really radical when you consider that John McGinn started as a left back, James Milner as a left winger, Paul Scholes a striker, Scott McTominay as a striker) Steve Clarke has thought outside the box with the system, and by playing Christie/Fraser as second strikers and McTominay as a center back.

I'm glad that you agree that three at the back is the way to go. And I agree. By the WC Qualification we will hopefully be more accustomed to the current system and we get the stage where we can break down teams that are "beneath" us. All it'll take is a tweak here and a tweak there and I think we'll improve. I have belief that Steve Clarke will find the formula to improve us. And if you factor in Billy Gilmour and Michael Johnstone (I wish I could name more players from the u21s), we will improve. It'll be interesting to see what we do at Euro 2020. I don't think the players will disgrace themselves.

I'm definitely not saying that a simple change of formation is a magic bullet. You have to admit that, besides a few lapses, we have been a lot stronger and harder to break down. There are fundamental problems in the Scottish domestic game that needs correcting. Like, the top teams voting against league expansion, that's the type of selfish self-interest that is part of the problem. A massive part.

In my world, 3-5-2 never went out if fashion... Which is why my wall has a head shaped dent in it, from eighteen years of frustration. But yes, you're right. Formations and systems come about in waves and some waves are trendier than the next. However, we aren't in a place to follow the trends. It might be ok for countries like Germany and France to do that, but they're shopping in Harrod's, whereas, we're shopping in Asda.

And yeah... We did do that against Slovakia in the dying embers... Let's just say that my wall has another dent.

I defo think its down to the performance schools too but the slight irony is football is getting away from its fascination with keeping the ball for the sake of it and teams have gone back to smacking it over the top/ at a lump and running the channels.  We've always been not bad at that!

You're Robertson idea is mad as a bag of frogs to me as not sure he's particularly good with his back goal - KT could do it in fairness but then it would weaken the back three to boost an area where we're strongest.  Agree we need to be creative with what we have as essentially the manager has the pool of players he has and has to find solutions from there. 

Personally I think the big boys have the luxury of following or disregarding fashion and can simply saying that's how they play so beat us if you can.   If we stick to the same XI it'll breed continuity but potentially we risk being worked out.  In fairness he's definitely tried to tweak the left hand side because teams were shutting down Robertson whereas can see KT underlapping now.  

I'm always wary of going off the stats - Spurs won easily yesterday but by the stats it looked like they were pumped.  Last season expected goals had Stoke in 4th at Christmas - real goals had us bottom.  Now we're nowhere near as shambolic as where Stoke were but how easily Israel got their chances compared to how hard we had to work for ours have similarities.  

Stoke's squad had a terrible balance too and no formation suited it really - what O'Neil did was picked the best formation he could for what he had and then stuck with it for 10 games (4-2-3-1).  Once this had been scouted/ worked out/ our confidence had grown he tweaked it for 10 games (4-3-3).   Then started this season with 5-3-2 to start off tight, moved to 3-4-3 and now, due to injuries, back at 4-3-3.    

Appreciate Clarke has limited time but would like a couple of options so the opposition don't know what we're up to from the off because essentially, although they had the benefit of the number of times we played, Israel knew exactly what they were doing against us.  

My other concern would be I can see the weaknesses in our best XI from a mile off (cross it to the back post as neither KT or McTominay are good in the air/ midfield three gets pulled apart in transition so play between the lines and get it wide/ pin Robertson back as main attacking threat).  I don't know how we fix them, other than the Robertson one, but I reckon teams will know how to go about exploiting them.   

On the other hand bit of luck and we could get out our Group at the Euros which would be a massive boost.

 

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