No Substitute For Good Management


I reckon most of us could rhyme off the names of The Lisbon Lions from when we were kids. That was drummed into us at the same time as the likes of Baa Baa Black Sheep,etc! Few if any of us could have told you the name of the twelfth Lisbon Lion.

Of course,it was John Fallon. And the use of a substitute goalkeeper had only relatively recently been permitted too; up until 1958,there was no such thing at all as a substitute! If a player was injured,his team was either down to ten men or,with him virtually walking wounded,he would be shuttled out to the wing. The thinking being,presumably,that he was still better than a man short. 

On Wednesday night,we saw a Scotland side which had a couple of players who were worse than a man short. This was clearly the result of selection issues from Stevie Clarke-players played out of position or when out of form for their club-along with the simple fact that some players simply did not turn up on the night. 

My main problem here is with his use of replacements. Or not,since he only used three. 

Jock Stein was famously poor at his use of the one sub available to him. His thinking was that the players who had got the team into a hole could damn well get them out of it. And to be fair,there’s not a lot you can do with a substitute if,say,he is a right back and it is your star winger who gets injured early in the game-as happened to Celtic in THAT game against Thistle. Too often,having only one substitute would mean a mass reshuffle of the side to accommodate his appearance on the pitch. 

That single substitute has gradually increased over the years to three in 1995,three plus one in extra time from 2016,and now five per game (though with only three ‘windows’ to do so)

(I’m sure that Ange made SIX substitutions in a match last season,but I can’t track it down,so I must have imagined it.)

With the total number of substitutes available during the normal 90 minutes,it is now possible to make tactical use of the bench without disrupting the side. Managers can make like for like substitutions,throwing on a fresh player to replace the tiring legs of a colleague in a similar role. Or he can throw on a left winger,take off the striker and tell the current left winger to go through the middle. A defensive mid can replace an attacking mid if he lets the current defensive mid to move forward into the vacant role. 

Etc,etc-you get my drift. 

Ange made very good use of his bench last season,using it like for like when required,or mixing it up when necessary. The only failure he had in this regard,in my opinion,was in Leverkusen,when he replaced our highly effective front three with three players who couldn’t get the ball to stick. And that led to unbearable pressure on our midfield and defence,and ultimately their two late goals. Which cost us dearly. 

But he learned from it. What did Stevie Clarke learn on Wednesday night? Well,two goals down five minutes into the second half with at least four of your team underperforming and four subs left shouldn’t have him taking twenty minutes to come to half a decision. And with only minutes left,and still a goal down with two subs to come,that is not a good time to try to bring on a journeyman centre back. When strikers aren’t scoring for their clubs,don’t think you have a magic wand. If a midfielder can’t get a game for the worst side in the EPL in years,ditto. 

If you have to play a left back at right back,ask yourself why the best Scottish right back-with NINE assists and SEVEN goals in the season just gone-wasn’t even in the squad. And if most of your players haven’t kicked a ball for a fortnight,ask them how much they have been doing to keep on top of their fitness. 

And even though you made a hash of the substitutions on Wednesday night,the new laws made it possible for you to dig yourself out of the hole you were in. But the biggest question Clarke has to ask himself is WHY he was in such a deep hole?

And I think the answer is in the article already. Too many players played out of position,too many out of form players selected. Those players let the manager down,sure. But they should never have been near the team in the first place. But the biggest failure of all was in failing to use the new substitute laws to his advantage. He has to learn from this,as AP did,or it is curtains for him.


Another manager who will be hoping to have learned a few things recently is Stevie Gerrard. All the time he was at Ibrox,the rumour mill had it that Michael Beale was responsible,as his right hand man,for the coaching of the squad. Drumming into every one of them their exact role in the team,the position they should be in when any given colleague had the ball in any given position. His role in getting those players performing as they finally did should never be underestimated. It appears that this has been noticed,and he has replaced Wonderloaf as manager of QPR.

I wish him well. Gerrard now,finally,has the chance to stand on his own two feet and prove himself worthy to be in contention to replace Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

No laughing at the back,please…

Above article by BMCUWP

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A thing of beauty

Good article bmcuwp. A defensive coach like Clarke will always struggle to use the bench, especially 5 subs. Essentially he sets his teams up not to lose, anything else is a bonus. Therefore when he needs to change it mid game he’s really stumped. Why he went with two up front and 3 at the back is amazing to me. That meant a lot of onus on the wingbacks , one of whom was knackered from a champs lge final and one who has never played for Scotland before and was on his wrong side. Plus, Yarmolenko is a top player, very dangerous so why was he allowed all the space that 3-5–2 allows the opposition. Strange choices all round from
Clarke and most unlike him.
I didn’t realise you were under the weather. I really enjoy your posts on here and hope you’re feeling better soon.
Finally, hope the boys and girls have a great time in Belfast. Good job I’m not going. Mahe and I would be arguing all day and night!!

A thing of beauty

Incidentally I see Gerrard has moved quick to replace his right hand man. He’s gone for Neil Critchley who is head coach at Blackpool. He is a michael Beale clone coming through the Liverpool system much like Beale and Steve cooper at Nottingham forest. People allude that Gerrard is not the brightest but he knows his limitations and is managing his career after playing in much the same way as he did when he was playing. He makes the most of his situation.
Critchley was mentioned in despatches when the hun job was available but they went for van bronckhurst. He’ll fit in seamlessly to Gerrard’s team.
Right off out on the bike.



Gerrard is clearly getting solid advice from somewhere on his coaching appointments. Perhaps actually from Beale himself!


To all those going to Belfast have a great time 🍻

This was some gift to be given

Jobo Baldie

Good morning, friends and a Big Happy Friday to all who post or lurk on this fine site.

Prestonpans bhoys


On Clarke, my cousin said to me about him getting Killie to the top of the league since 1965. I’ve never been so bored watching Killie in my life, enough said…….


Gordon 64
If someone was to write a fictional novel of the corruption and machinations of the SFA publishers would have rejected it for being preposterous and unbelievable.


Good morning and a big happy day of Frig to everyone.
The overcast and drizzle won’t be affecting my good mood as a great weekend approaches.

The introduction of five subs clearly helps those with the biggest most talented squads. A starting eleven is almost defunct nowadays, there’s constant changes depending on the opposition. While it should in theory make the game more interesting, I’m not convinced. If anything I would have went the opposite direction, only one sub allowed.
Five is a managers dream, get it wrong and you’ve another hand to play.
In these eyes it’s a sign the game is going the wrong direction. But I don’t expect change, even the surely upcoming Superleague shall continue the practice.
Five alive? Nah, threes the magic number.

Looking forward to meeting old friends and new over the next day or two.
No matter where on god’s green and white glove you are, take it easy.

Hail Hail


Got home yesterday wae two pizzas, a bottle of indian tonic water and a really sore tailbone….there was evidence on ma phone of where I had been but all I could remember was in one of the many pubs visited, missing ma stool (of the ‘bar’ persuasion, no’ the’ jobby’ type) and landing with a thud on my coccyx.

Now in what Glasgow public house did masel, Harry the Shark and Tolbooth Tony end our day oot, took our final swallies and where I left my bum print on the floor?

Oh, and if anyone knows where I bought the pizzas and tonic water that would be a bonus!🤷🏻

Hail Hail




Aye / 5 subs on and none off would help 😉
We need a bit of Orange Juice’..,

Rip it up and Start Again ( as someone here said recently … another 15 years away)


Mahe – that sounds like a great day oot -celebrating the joobily 😉

Craig76 – a fantastic find buddy and hope there are more similar to be discovered in attics. Very special piece of our history.


Wild guess.
Was it the Louden Tavern?



Oddly enough it wasn’t any one of the three versions of that house of ill repute. I did however attempt (for a laugh…feckin weird sense of humour or what!!!) attempt to get served in the union bar and the quayside. Seems they didn’t like my “Magnificent 7” ringtone.

Hail hail



Matt 🫤🤣👍

The Fenian Whaler

Whilst ye enjoy yer Jubile parties remember the words of a great man born into extreme poverty in Edinburgh, a man revered across the world yet to this day no monument exists for him in his place of birth.

“What is monarchy? From whence does it derive its sanction? What has been its gift to humanity? Monarchy is a survival of the tyranny imposed by the hand of greed and treachery upon the human race in the darkest and most ignorant days of our history. It derives its only sanction from the sword of the marauder, and the helplessness of the producer, and its gifts to humanity are unknown, save as they can be measured in the pernicious examples of triumphant and shameless iniquities.”

James Connolly

PS Nicola Stugeon hang yer head in shame for fawning over the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha family and the Commonwealth (AKA the British Empire club)



I agree that SC got a lot wrong versus Ukraine. Enough to warrant sacking, I think not! Getting it wrong consistently so that it affects results, is, however, a sacking offence. In addition, his position is hardly an attractive one for top coaches….so before removing him some thought has to be given to who would replace him. Compared to Alec McLeish he is Carlo Ancellotti! Barry Ferguson anyone…..sorry if you spilled your coffee or beer!

SC was indeed slow to use his subs. I fell off my seat when I saw Hendry coming on! Then I saw he had pushed Handley up top. To me this is a reflection where the real problems are located….we simply do not have an adequate pool of players at the international level. The one exception is at LB where we have an abundance of riches…Tierney, Robertson and Hickey. To think all of them were on Celtic’s books at one time!

If you draw the telescope back a little we see that it is a player development problem which rests firmly on the shoulders of those who govern our game. For example, why does Ukraine have a pool of players that even when they take off their two goal scorers, their replacements are equally effective? The same can be asked about Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Portugal and so on.

More seriously, according to FIFA Scotland is ranked below countries like Japan, Iran and Tunisia. Yet we persist with the same old bandaid solutions…..sack the coach, blame the players etc. That developing footballers in Scotland is fatally flawed can be seen by the state of the big two in Scotland. There are no reserve leagues, no under 23 nor under 21 leagues to provide game exposure to develop players. Instead our best prospects are filched away to leagues that have a development structure. If the FA cannot finance a restructure then we must look elsewhere for funding, or examine the ownership model for players… short start thinking outside the box. If development is not addressed then events like Wednesday will be repeated, as, indeed, they have been for years.

Ukraine’s use of subs did not weaken their team…..they scored through one of the subs. Did any of the Scots subs look like scoring?



Fenian Whaler,

Very good post!



A fine article.


I’m much better now. Thank you for your kind wishes.


Well said.


I’d really love to see Lawwell, Bankier and all the other cheats receive their comeuppance in a court of law some day. I would even queue to get into the public gallery.

To all heading to Belfast…have the time of your lives.

Hail Hail.

big packy

SALTIRES from last night, used to watch my grandad light the coal fire, it was the days before firelighters ,he used to chop up some logs and you know something,strange, he would put a photo of king billy on the logs, and by god those logs got shattered into small pieces cant figure out why😎 then logs, coal small shovel which he puts against the fireplace, then some newspaper wrapped around the shovel, you knew when the fire was lit, the newspaper went on fire, another true story😎

big packy

loved it when my dad was on nightshift at the pit, when he got home about seven in the morning he would light the fire for us kids ,so when we got up its was boiling hot, bear in mind we lived in a damp prefab, so it was bliss, and also a nice plate of porridge waiting for us, as im putting my sugar on the porridge my dad shouts its salt on porridge not sugar, listen da i say, you put salt on yours if you want im putting sugar on mine😎 another true story.


big packy
We were so poor growing up that you had to hope a visitor to your home would spontaneously combust so we could have heat.


Good points again but there is a systemic failure that goes deeper than your excellent points.

Twelve year old at training,
“I don’t like doing this ( warm up ) stretch “
Me, “Why not ?”
‘ Cos it creases my boots”



Yes, my cousins had a poster of the Lisbon Lions in their bedroom. A thick glossy A3 size poster cream with a green border and shamrocks with outline photos of all the players.

The joke was they would cover it up and get me to name the eleven. I’d always get one or two wrong – it was odd, I’d have Joe McBride, who’d left Celtic, or Yogi Hughes, or strangely enough Harry Hood, of course by the time I was seven I could reel them off with aplomb.

It’s good to see Yogi turning up at “Lion’s” events, there were many players not in the eleven who contributed to that fantastic season ’66/’67.

There is something magical that Celtic infuses on our DNA – did I tell you I’ ve got two sons one is 1888mm tall and the other is 1967mm tall.

True story as some are wont to say:)))

As far as Steve Clarke’s game management, I’m not blaming the players, although I was in a rush and didn’t meet up in the pub until after kick-off with no opportunity to check out his selection, playing catch up was just a head scratcher.

The players, the setup, the tactics, the obvious lack of preparation on the opposition, all very strange.

I don’t like to say this but the SFA don’t warrant any benefit of my doubt, but when Craig Levein was appointed Scotland manager I smelt a rat, this thing has a familiar, unpleasant, aroma about it.

16 Roads @ 5:41 AM,

“Fortunately, some are born with spiritual immune systems that sooner or later give rejection to the illusory worldview grafted upon them from birth through social conditioning. They begin sensing that something is amiss, and start looking for answers. Inner knowledge and anomalous outer experiences show them a side of reality others are oblivious to, and so begins their journey of awakening. Each step of the journey is made by following the heart instead of following the crowd and by choosing knowledge over the veils of ignorance.”

Henri Bergson.

What a wonderful quote… Thanks!!

Hail Hail


Steve Naive
When there is no direction from the top can we honestly demand dedication from the youngsters?
The pathway to the top has been managed into terminal decline by the untouchable leeches at the SFA.
When did the SFA last implement and financially support the fundamental changes that are long overdue?
Too many distractions now to compete with the poor fare Scottish football supplies as entertainment to our youth.



In my day we were lucky to have boots! My first pair were wooden toed with screw in studs. My second pair were second hand and studs(irreplaceable) were worn down. I dreamed of a pair of Adidas…the gold standard.

When I was at Junior level, we used to train with one boot and one sandshoe. The latter was on your good foot. The idea was to encourage you to use your non natural foot more often. It did not work…most just took the pain on the good foot.

Have a nice weekend.


big packy

FAN 👍 REBUS, a sandshoe, i can remember them🤩 we sometimes called them guttys,.another true story🤩

big packy

who remembers cremola foam loved it, and a caramac loved it, a nux bar, loved it,frys 5 boys chocolate loved it, tiger nuts loved them,,a marathon bar, not a snickers bar, a snickers bar is only half the size of a marathon bar,,collectng ginger bottles to get you some sweets,a mars bar now yer talking,,ach memories


Hola from Belfast. Nice wee meet up with BMCUWP and CCB, plus One Malloy and his good lady. Getting set for evening festivities, should be fun.



James Connolly commemoration on Sunday at 107 Cowgate.
Wreath laying ceremony. 1pm.
Speakers n music.

A number of us will be attending.

Belfast, really?

BAR 67, every time.

Enjoy 😉😉😉


Tommorow I return to triathlon training.

After the night of the small cow, ….or as I call it the wee calf…. temperance…will be over and i will return to being not so much on the wagon as falling under its grinding wheels.

Anyway so…on Wednesday I hit the Shipbank.

As normal after twelve pints I went for a pish (big bladders in our family- my sisters are even more retentive) and bloke standing there at sink was mumbling tae himself “fur fecks sake…gie me strength…Jesus Christ”….

Now having been brought up in the good samaritan tradition “I asked him if he was ok. He shook his head and turned to go.

I carried on and washed and dried ma hands.

He stopped and gave me the sort of stare that got Sigourney tae don a spacesuit and harness herself intae the nostramo.

“How the fuck did you get that drier to work? I fuckin couldnae!!”…he stabbed accusingly…

“Piece of pish” I said….”you had yer hands under the soap dispenser!!”

“By the way” I continued “yer dick is still hingin out “🤯🤯🥳🥳

Hail hail



Afternoon all,

Hope everyone at the Belfast Hoot has a great time 👍

Enjoy yourselves Bhoys and Ghirls 💚💚💚


Oh by the way…the pub wae Ghod and God and where I couldn’t get my bum and stool tae meet was The Dolphin in Partick.

Hail Hail


big packy

JIM if your lurking, I told you and you would not believe me, do you believe me now🤩

big packy

MAGUA ,how do you fancy a true story🤩

Big Packy

Ok. I’m game. 😀

Jobo Baldie

Matt – brilliant wee tale as usual! Evening sunshine in my back garden. Well for another half hour or so. Beer, red wine and fish cakes beckon!


In “The Shamrock “ bar in Kalamaki, Zante and they’re playing “ Donald where’s yer troosers”

Quite Bizarre really but I love it !!!! 🍀🍀🍀🍀

HH and God bless Andy Stewart 😜😜😜


Sounds a blast. Enjoy. 😀

Hail Hail.


Matt @ 6:17 pm,

Great stuff 😂🤣

One of the greatest tricks I’ve seen with a bar stool was a guy sitting at the bar, I say sitting but he had his head planted on the bar with his face turned left.

He had found his centre of gravity by leaning the bar stool back 35 degrees and was turning his mouth upwards, his pint glass was in front of his face on the bar, he managed to tip it to 65 degrees to pour the lager down his gullet.

All in all a 10 out of 10 for effort…

Hail Hail


Chairbhoy, Jobo, Leggy et al… I don’t know the place called Kalamaki in zante, but I do know Kalamaki in Crete

Many years ago me and my mate frae London, Micky, hit there and ended up in a resort that actually sold genuine Guinness.

Micky drank lager but I had always seen that inquisitive possibility in his eyes that said “I might enjoy that”…and so we landed in Crete and got tae Kalamaki.

“Right I’m going on the Guinness ” he declared.

And so we did.

As the holiday ended we all got together wae the bar folk, friends that we’d made and well you can inagine …dor our last night..

“Two pints of guinness” I called up.

Micky said “naw get me a lager”…

I said “Ah thought you liked Guinness”

Micky replied “And I do, but I need to get back to solid shite”.

Hail hail




Cheers, hope your feeling better 👍

Saw a shady character doing a pub crawl down every establishment in the main drag !!!!!

I thought, “ Is there no end to BRRB’s talent !!!!

Even David Blane couldn’t make that man disappear 😜😜😜😜

HH 🍀🍀🍀



Hail Hail.

big packy

MAGUA, hi pal, sorry need to take a raincheck on my true story, joans blood pressure and cholesterol level have shot up, nothing to worry about, we just need to get them down to an acceptable level,,speak to you tomorrow.HAIL HAIL.

Big Packy

No bother. Love to Joan.


When it comes to humiliating yourselves in the eyes of the world the Brexiteer Englanders have absolutely surpassed themselves today 😂😂😂


A wee different trio of tunes this evening, for those of a certain vintage.

Nite all


A wee Laurel and Hardy addition.

‘mon the hoops’