No regrets bhoys !
How Big Eck managed to best Martins dream team soo many times is still one of lifes greatest mysteries to me but something he said in the build up to a derby game years ago has always stuck with me and gave an insight into his mentality and that which he attempted to instill into his charges .
“ The most important thing is youre able to come in here at half time and look me in the eye! “ would be his final words before kick off .
The reason I mention this is I was pondering what Brendan might well say in our dressing room at about twenty to eight tonight .
I doubt its the above . We have players like Sinky who can look terrible to everyone but then bang in a couple . Odsonne , our record signing striker , is rarely in the box ffs .
Mc Leish seemed to be hinting that he preferred an all action , swashbuckling player in his bigger games .
Brendan seems the type to spend time preparing his players for a specific tactic for that day , giving them the belief and confidence that he is behind them and they can and will pull it off , and that its all on him should anything ever go wrong ,, which thank goodness doesnt happen often .
Hes had three clear days to train and talk tactics , and will surely recognise that we must attempt a victory tonight . But will there be an upset ?
These European nights under the floodlights are the stuff of dreams ,, surpassing by miles the antiquated sectarian Old Firm as the best nights of the year for a bhoy or ghirl .
The exotic names ,, flowing styles of play ,, supposedly proper refs ,, the Dutch courage since youve nipped off work early making you roar more than usual .
Aye , these nights have been the stuff of legend ,, and that list of quotes from every famous player going was built on nights like this .
And then its us or them ,, no group stage to fall back on ,, just plain and simple do or die .
Of course if you are gonna do history shows it will be right at home 99 percent of the time .
I think its a fair prediction to say the fans should be in for a game.
Being the fancied opposition brings its own issues, staying in a strange place with strange food , freezing cold , and unable to hear teammates because of the wall of noise , for sure they will feel any pressure more than us .
A fast start getting the fans quickly onside and vocal would be just what the doctor ordered , and its what Im expecting and looking for. The gaffer must surely insist on a straight out of the blocks mentality .
The gaffer himself though ,,, is this not one of the big reasons he wanted this job in the first place , for nights like this ?
As every inch the professional , he also will realise that these games are reputation builders .
Doing well in games such as these brings professional rewards later , whether that be suitors for your signature or more leverage in negotiations for instance.
Speaking of suitors for signatures that other rookie Santiago Solari was extremely fortunate to see his Real team take all three points in Amsterdam .
In what was a hell of a game with numerous talking points many will feel the Dutch giants were denied a valid goal plus a goal scoring opportunity by Var mishaps / calls , depending on which side of the fence you sit.
It was the first time I had seen it used in such a fashion and it didnt leave a positive impression thats for sure. Even the winning goal had a hint of a foul in the build up , missed by the man with the technology .
Although this Var thing is still in its infancy fans and media not to mention those involved in the games wont be very understanding should it start resulting in bad calls .
And as discussed before where humans are involved mistakes happen .
It was an eye opener to see the regular fans in the stands with ( plastic ) pints in their hands ,, ya bassa ‘s was my immediate response , then I realised its perfectly normal in most of the world , and at many sports .
Its just “ us “ that cant hold their drink ffs , in this case literally .
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