In my previous article I explained why the Scottish media’s reaction to our clubs poor showing in this season’s European competition was overdone, by explaining how the Champion’s League has been changed to exclude clubs from small nation and why our best hopes for European success lie in the secondary Europa League. This week I will endeavour to explain why even this competition will be beyond the Old Firm and co. until they start playing football that resembles that played on the continent.
Thank heavens for refereeing incompetence and dodgy penalty decisions! Scotland national team manager Craig Levein and the country’s media were quick to seize on the grave injustice of Dutch referee Kevin Blom’s decision to award the Czech Republic a dubious penalty and then deny the Dark Blues a more likely on some minutes later denying Scotland the three points vital to our hopes of qualifying for the European Championship Finals.
One hopes the Tartan Army will see through the smoke and mirrors and condemn this nonsense much the same way they round on their English counterparts for continually harping on about refereeing decisions for their demise. Mr.Blom’s howlers included denying the Czechs a stonewall penalty in the first half. Fortunately for us the opposition’s forward were as incompetent as the match official or all three points would have left with the visitors, giving the lie to Levein’s claim that the national team’s fortunes were on the up again after a ten dismal years.
Yes, the pool is bigger than in previous years with more players figuring in the English Premiership and Scottish Premier League line ups than Levein’s predecessors have enjoyed but when players who are unable to forced into the first teams of Liverpool, Aston Villa and Blackburn are international regulars then all is not well. The problem of a lack of quality players , especially in forward positions, still persists. The Czechs are a pale shadow of the team and yet they dominated the first half creating two great chances before they keeper gifted Scotland the lead before the interval, and another just after the restart. Given that for the home side , a victory was essential, it was disappointing to see them struggle to break down a well organised defence. But that has been the problem facing our teams for years. It was the reason that Rangers and Celtic failed to negotiate their Europa League qualifier opponents, the latter needing UEFA reinstate them.
For years the pace and power favoured by the Old Firm was enough to roll over so called minnows , but now these tiddlers have become wise to the limitiations of such an approach. Which is a problem for Scottish clubs as there is often no Plan B.