Today, our wonderful media is playing a familiar game.
It’s got an international manager apparently making demands of our double treble winner and trying to dictate his team selection to him.
First it was the Belgian boss Martinez, then it was Costa Rica’s manager prior to the World Cup, then it was McLeish over Griffiths and now it’s the Aussie boss over Arzani.
And what’s the truth?
Only one of those managers did try to sway Brendan by making such a demand, with a little blackmail thrown in, and it was McLeish himself.
And the manager will pay not a blind bit of notice to it.
As last night proved, again, due to the stalwart displays of Tierney (playing at central defence) and Callum McGregor, if McLeish is to survive until the turn of the year it will be Celtic players who get him there.
Of course, The Record this morning – via it’s Sevco blogger no less – is suggesting the opposite, pointing to the absence of Leigh Griffiths last night and the two goals from Naismith, in an article that’s hailed McLeish as a tactical genius for not starting our striker; some genius, considering Griffiths wasn’t 100% fit for the game and Brendan would have peeled the Scotland boss’s skin off had he started him and exacerbated his condition.
I love the way the media – and McLeish – framed this so as to give them their best chance of the kind of Scotland set-up they want; he gave McGregor the goalie gloves for the easier game of the two and then praised the couple of saves he made as proof he’s a better bet than Gordon. He sends Naismith against the easier defence, and that allows people to suggest he might be the better bet in the qualifying rounds.
The praise being heaped on a win over Albania is ludicrous. There are tougher tests ahead and I still have no faith whatsoever in McLeish’s ability to survive them, and against those better teams, you’ll see the Hoops players all featuring and everyone knows it.
The Australian manager will be in Scotland next week, but his own words make it pretty clear what he’ll be doing here and it’s got nothing to do with coming over to demand that our manager alter his team selection policies as some breathless hacks have taken to writing. He is curious about how the kid if developing at a massive club, as anyone would be.
But nobody tells Brendan who he can select and who he can’t. This isn’t a certain other club in this city who have loanees from Liverpool, a club which does impose conditions upon the teams it sends footballers to. Our manager runs his own show, and won’t be dictated to by anybody.
And because he’s such a force in the game nobody – but McLeish – would dare to presume otherwise.
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