I have never been an advocate of players not playing for their countries. I have always been proud that, unlike other clubs, our footballers have always done their bit and been honoured to pull on the blue jersey of Scotland and the assorted strips of other nations.
Not for us, the sick note tradition which once characterised the club across the city; we like to give something back.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy international football, but I’m a club football guy.
When our club is in full flow I want to be focussed on only that.
I want to be looking forward to the weekends because it’s another three points or another step closer to a cup final or whatever it may be. I don’t get the same pleasure out of watching Scotland fight their way to glorious failure.
It’s a hard slog, following the national team.
Some in our support refuse to at the moment, seeing it as a tacit vote of confidence in the SFA. I have sympathy with that view, but I also know there are guys who go to see the national team who hate Regan and his cohort as much as we do, but don’t play politics with supporting the team.
Yeah, under normal circumstances I would never advocate that our players withdraw from international duties and I’m not going to do it here … but these games are a nightmare for us, and our players showed today that a midweek without football might not be the worst thing in the world for them. Some played all the way through the summer, and the season starts earlier every year. This will be a long campaign.
Earlier in the week, there was quite the flap about young Callum not being in the national team. I was glad.
If Gordon Strachan could have left out Tierney, Brown and Griffiths as well I would have been happier, by far. These guys are crucial to us right now; Leigh and Kieran are the only players we have in their positions, which seems ridiculous to me.
I fully expect some signings to freshen this squad up in the coming week, but nothing would be more beneficial to these players than a week of relative down-time. Some of our players will get that. Others won’t. Caixinha was bitching this very week about his own footballers being tired … what an excuse that is, considering the number of games we’ve had to play.
He needn’t worry. They’ll get one this coming week; the bulk of his squad is nowhere near good enough to play international football. They’ll get a break, and he’ll get the opportunity to book up on more of his “Ridiculous Portuguese Phrases They Don’t Even Use In Portugal.”
In the meantime, our footballers will be doing what they do, in Lithuania and then back again in Glasgow. At Hampden, at least, a ground our players will get to know so well in the next couple of years that they’ll be able to find it blindfolded.
But this one time, we could really do without it.