Lost In France
So what did we learn from our trip to France? Hmmm,now there’s a question… Pre-season matches should never be judged at face value,nor should we read too much into them. Our players were playing their first matches in 132 days,and for a lot of that time there had been no formal training,so the major point of the trip was really just to blow the cobwebs away and get us used to kicking a ball about again,get us settling down to our usual rhythm.
We certainly did that at times,with our usual defensive frailties rearing their ugly heads and allowing Lyon and Paris St Germain a virtually unopposed after you Claude run on goal whenever they felt like it. The enormous gaps posed between our defensive and midfield lines were constantly exposed,with teams breaking at will,four or five passes moving the ball from the edge of one box to the other,theirs to ours.
We are shockingly vulnerable to teams hitting us on the break,and the policy of pushing the full backs up could do with a rethink. In addition to that,what Neil Lennon would give for a,well,a Neil Lennon in the middle. Our midfield lacks balance,that’s for sure. And it seems to lack too the discipline required to shield the defence-which against the better opposition teams is a more vital part of the game than to provide the bullets for the front men.
And speaking of which,they didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory either. Some really disappointing displays over the extended weekend of three games.
In addition,our squad players didn’t show much when given the chance,albeit against some quality opposition. I’d say that might be more of a worry than the aforementioned.
Overall,the trip,was a damp squib-on the face of it. So we have to take what we can from it. And that seems to be the knowledge that we have a lot to do in the next ten days and in the forthcoming weeks heading into the qualifiers. We clearly need to get some proper coaching into the players in terms of defending against breaking teams in particular. It’s not good enough to say that the players are good enough,or that they know their role in the team. I’m increasingly concerned about the former,and I’ve yet to be convinced of the latter.
For instance,do we really need two wingers and two overlapping full backs? That’s a lot of width,and that leads to a lot of gaps in the middle. And while our first team is probably good enough against most domestic competition,it’s becoming increasingly clear that our much-vaunted and frankly bloated squad isn’t of the quality we’ve been told,and certainly isn’t of the quality we need. Hell knows,we’ve been crying out for a clear-out for years but we’ve got away with it. Quality not quantity has been the refrain. It’s one that has been long ignored. It will be ignored this season too,unfortunately. But it certainly needs sorted
One positive to come out of the mini tour was the solidarity shown to the Black Lives Matter campaign,one which clearly had the full and unquestioning support of the players and of the fans. We are a matter of weeks away from The Million Man March on Washington in 1995,and it is appalling that The Land of the Free still treats a significant number of their citizens as shooting practice. This cause has our unanimous support,I suspect,as do all campaigns which have the target of equality as their goal. I find it absolutely incredible that the Rangers players who showed their solidarity with the movement have come under fire from their own fans for doing so.
They should hang their heads in shame,in fact every one of them who tweeted or posted their disgusting racist filth on various of their websites should be under arrest for race hate. The SMSM should also be taking a bloody hard look at themselves over this. Did they do their best to report these far from isolated acts of racism? Did they ‘eck as like,they ignored it all. Can’t report any bad stuff from that lot,nothing that shows them in a bad light.
It is to the credit of the players that they didn’t back down,and came out fighting on the matter. And it is to the credit of the Ibrox club that they too eventually released a statement on the matter,which although it could perhaps have been more damning,still hit the spot.
2020 and people still need reminding that there is a zero tolerance approach to racism? There’s your billy boys for you. Time for that club to back their words with action with a few banning orders. And time for Police Scotland to enforce the law.
Above article by BMCUWP. It’s nearly time for the fitba’ so get yer pencils sharpened and write us an article. Mail it to Mahe