Posted on Saturday, 19th May 2012 by lordofthewing
When Daniel Majstorovic wandered through Parkheads Gates in August 2010 we were once again dreaming that our centre back nightmares would be banished.
He certainly ticked all the correct boxes. Grizzled. Check. International pedigree?. Check. Experienced? Check. Cheap? Check. Tattooed? Check. Goalscoring pedigree? Check. Eastern European surname and look that gives the impression that he would wrestle live bears and eat their cubs? Check.
Problem was that when he was unwrapped he proved just to have the same defects as others before him.
It started well. Early impressions were of a dominant composed centre back. Well, that lasted until his third game. Away to FC Utrecth. A 90 minute blip we thought, that saw us all blaming the newish smell of the team and wet behind the ears selection and tactics by our new manager.
That night in the Netherlands saw the early promise of the team dented. Dan suffered most. Our saviour was at fault as our unbeaten domestic run at the start of the season was ended by R*ngers at CP and we started to see his annoying habit of seemingly not able to head the ball further than the edge of the box and usually to an opposing player.
One thing was clear from early on. Neil Lennon wanted to ensure that the solution to his defensive problems would be found with Majstorovic in the side. Numerous partnerships were tried (I remember a particular fraught three at the back experiment with Hooveild, Rogne and Dan) but none succeeded until the planets aligned and Charlie Mulgrew found his calling in the center of defence.
The role of Dan in the team wasn’t just to be a mere robust center back but also to be a father figure to a side that were barely shaving. He was there to be a presence and a rock when the going got tough. Problem was as his booking in the Scottish Cup Final against Motherwell, performance in Inverness and his early sending off against FC Sion showed that this always wasn’t the case.
The role of mentor was also dealt a blow when this season at our only defeat at home against St Johnstone he partnered Victor Wanyama. Both looked to have been just introduced to the game of Association football and for a man that had close to 40 Swedish caps – and the Captains armband – at that point was baffling
Still, the coaches and backroom staff seemed to trust him more than others. The 65 appearances in his two seasons show that when fit he was selected and it’s hard to ignore the partnership him and Mulgrew developed.
For me I remember a game a particular at St Johnstone in the League Cup. We raced into a 3 goal lead then decided to hang on for dear life as Saints pulled 2 goals back. Dan was a one-man defence determine to stop them taking the game deservedly into extra time. He was blocking, intercepting and tackling all over the back line. It was something we didn’t see enough off.
He had a win rate of 73%, lost on average 0.58 goals when selected and took part in an incredible 39 shut outs. These stats and the fact that he was a regular in the Sweden national side suggest a player who wasn’t as bad as we will remember but wasn’t as good as we had hoped.
He was also sent off wrongly in his last ever appearance for us. The sending off was overturned on appeal. That sort of sums his time at us up.
Before his injury Lennon was speaking about rewarding the player with a new contract and his departure – and that of others plus Fujot being jettisoned – means that we will be looking for a center back this summer and the merry go round of hope will start again.
Good luck Dan.