Archive for November, 2007

Alex McLeish resigns as Scotland Coach

Posted in Alex McLeish, Euro 2008, Scotland Squad on November 27, 2007 by Tartan Army Soldier

It wasn’t the biggest shock in the world, but Alex McLeish has resigned from the position of Scotland boss. He’s leaving to join Birmingham City.

Alex McLeish

McLeish will be missed. He did a fine job, helping improve Scotland’s world ranking to its highest level for a very long time. Taking over from Walter Smith in January, McLeish continued his predecessor’s lead of the Scotland Euro 2008 campaign. Despite failure to qulaify for the next stage, Scotland showed an improved standard of football that deservedly earned them a second seed position in the recent World Cup 2010 qualifying draw.

As has been reported McLeish’s wage has quadrupled. I wish he had refused the extra money, or more realistically, the SFA had matched it. Unfortunately that did not happen. And I can’t really blame him for taking the money. Regardless, ‘Big Eck’ will be very much missed.

World Cup draw in South Africa favours Scotland

Posted in World Cup 2010 on November 25, 2007 by Tartan Army Soldier

The draw has been made for the qualifying stages of World Cup 2010 in South Africa. Scotland have been draw into Group 9 and will face Holland, Norway, Macedonia and Iceland. This is definitely a group Scotland can win.

There is no room for complacency (let’s leave that to England) but each one of our apponents can be beaten. Holland are a threat, but they are not the team they used to be and we could, not unexpectedly, get the better of them. Then Norway. They, not long ago, beat us a Hampden, so we need to watch them, but we also beat them in Norway, so it’s up to us to make sure we get he better of them both times round on this occasion. That leaves the ‘diddy’ teams – Iceland and Macedonia. We should stuff them both easily. However, failing to win in Georgia stopped Scotland going to the Euro 2008 finals, so we need to remember not to drop any points in the same way. And if everything happens like it should, next stop South Africa.

As ever it won’t be easy. But noone expected Scotland to win aganst France, twice. But we did. That says we are one of the best teams in the world today. Now we just need to show it to the world, in South Africa. Come on Scotland!!! We can do it!!

New FIFA rankings put chance of Scotland v England on hold for two more years

Posted in England, FIFA, World Cup 2010 on November 23, 2007 by Tartan Army Soldier

FIFA have just released their new rankings. Both Scotland and England have fallen one place, which after recent Euro 2008 results, comes as no surprise. This has a few consequences for both teams.

The main consequence is for England. They are now no longer first seeds for the World Cup 2010 draw taking place in South Africa on Sunday. Greece have taken this honour, relegating England to second seeds. Although this may please many in the Tartan Army it means Scotland (who are also second seeds) and England have no chance of being drawn into the same group, so effectively ruling out any chance of a Scotland v England clash for two more years. Those of us longing for such a match will have to keep waiting.

Scotland closing on England in FIFA rankings
FIFA ranking comparison – Scotland and England

I now almost wish England had qualified on Wednesday. Almost.

Scotland robbed of Euro 2008 qualification?

Posted in Euro 2008, Uncategorized, World Cup 2010 on November 19, 2007 by Tartan Army Soldier

What a weekend! I’m gutted, but Scotland have done us proud.

Hampden Park, Saturday, 5.00 pm, after a few preparatory beers, we stood waiting for the teams to take the field. One way or another, Scotland’s Euro 2008 qualification was going to be decided. With a capacity crowd, 48,000+ Tartan Army footsoldiers were looking forward to a memorable Scotland victory.

It all started badly. No sooner was the game underway than our defence were under attack. And, after a mere 70 seconds Italy’s Luca Toni scored! Tragedy! And, despite Scotland efforts to equalise that was how the first half ended. I’m not sure what half-time entertainment they provided, but I’d lost any interest in anything but the match at hand and the dire situation that existed. Could Scotland turn it around?

Barry Ferguson scores for Scotland

The second half kicked off. Scotland were transformed. They seemed to have stepped up a gear and compared to the first half, this time Scotland were the more commanding team. Scotland had most of the possession and it seemed they were almost definitely destined to score. And they did. In the 65th minute Barry Ferguson fired the ball into the net to equal the result. Now Scotland had a chance! Could they finish the job?

Manuel Enrique Mejuto González - Man in need of an opticianScotland played magnificently. The continued to play the better football, firing the ball at the Italy goal numerous times. Unfortnately, the ball refused to go in the net. Then came the final tragedy and last insult of what had seemed, to me at least (and a few thousand others?), a catalogue to questionable decisions. Referee Manuel Enrique Mejuto González awarded Italy a free-kick, for what was blatantly an Italy offence (WTF!), and Christian Panucci converted it to give the Italians the victory they needed.

Manuel Enrique Mejuto González
blind or just stupid?

We were gutted. Scotland had come so close. And to lose in such questionable circumstances was even worse. That said, Scotland are now a much more-respected side and no country is going to look on a clash with Scotland lightly. Plus we are now second seeds for the World Cup 2010 draw that is to take place later this month. We’re not going to Austria, but let’s get ready for a trip to South Africa in 3 years time!

Off to Hampden, In search of victory for Scotland

Posted in Euro 2008 on November 15, 2007 by Tartan Army Soldier

I’m off to Kings Cross in 10 minutes. Then on a train to Glasgow. Then, after my liver recovers on Friday, we’re (14 of us) off to Hampden.

Obviously we’re hoping to see a Scottish victory. With everything to play for I expect the Scotland team will be giving it all. I have faith they will do the necesary. Party-time on Saturday night beckons and will be a bucket of fun. See you all there.

Scotland v Italy kick-off time is 5:00pm Nov 17

Posted in Euro 2008 on November 4, 2007 by Tartan Army Soldier

Quite a few people have been asking abot the time of Scotland’s final Euro 2008 tie. The match will start at 5:00pm.

With continued good effort from the the team, there’s no reason we won’t win and qualify. Plus I’ve bet money on the match and hope to make one Italian a little bit poorer.