Sunday, 1 November 2009

The Problem With Scottish Football...

Saturday’s win by Hamilton Accies not only stopped St Mirren’s winning momentum, but once again flagged up St Mirren’s inability to be able to break down defensive teams, or teams which adopt ultra defensive tactics. The Accies tactics provided the starting point of one of those oh so familiar heated debates about the state of Scottish football.

According to several people around me, Scottish football has gone to the dogs because of foreign footballers rolling about the pitch, and being allowed to by our spineless referees. The focus of these fan’s ire was both Paixio and their forward Antoine-Curier, it was Curier’s involvement with the sending off of Lee Mair which set some fans off.

McGinn fluffed a pass and it fell to Curier who before he got on to the ball was dragged back by Mair. It was a sending off because a) Mair was the last man and b) he had his hands all over Curier. Yet there were fans who though Curier had dived. What really disgusted the fans though was the sight of 5 Hamilton players running to congratulate Curier for getting Mair sent off. It was at this point the fans started saying that Scottish football has really gone to the dogs and that they had never seen that happen before “in this country”. Tosh, utter tosh…

Hamilton’s victory was not just based on three very poor defensive errors, but was based on tactical nous and the ability to change the mentality of the team you are playing. It’s this mental toughness which is severely lacking in Scottish Football. Of course a lack of technique is the main factor behind the current slump in Scottish football, but like most sports its not about how good you are, it’s about how good you are upstairs. Yesterday, St Mirren were unable to block out Hamilton’s mind games, and as a result let frustration get the better of them, but hey the tale of Scottish Football is chock full of exactly the same story. The question is when will we learn.

From Zaire in 1974 to our recent games against Macedonia, Scottish teams have been unable to beat with some comfort, teams who tend to play defensive formations, and have seriously struggled against sides who dabble in the black arts of gamesmanship. If we are to look at the bringing up of young players who are able to have technique on the ball, surely we should look at helping those players to be able to cope mentally with the game as well.

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