Very occasionally in football you see something on the park that is so neddish that you burst out laughing. It’s rare, but it does happen.
It’s as if you watch it and your brain refuses to accept that it was a moment of brutality; instead it is almost like a piece of cartoon violence. Dolly Menga did not make contact with Christie today when he tried to stick the nut on him, but that was bonkers.
It was needless, and ridiculous, and such an over-reaction.
What amazed me was that Ryan barely reacted at all. He gave the player a wee shove, but he kept his cool. His face did not betray either disgust or even the amazement the rest of us must have felt. Dolly Menga might have a name that suggests something cute and cuddly, but he is a beast of a footballer. Aside from the going over he gave our defence today, he did exactly the same to Sevco earlier in the season. And he scored that day too.
He is like a throwback to the heyday of thuggery I remember in the 90’s, from the Ibrox roll of dishonour and guys like Terry Hurlock. Players without an iota of skill except at mortal combat. Dirty vicious hammer-throwers who were there to dominate defences and push people around.
There are still players like that out there – Aberdeen’s former striker, Jayden Stockley, was one of the least skilful footballers I’ve ever had the displeasure of watching, except with his elbow where he had glorious aim and the killer touch his boots could never conjure up.
They are a rarity nowadays, thankfully, but they used to proliferate up here in Scotland at various clubs; Airdrie was notorious for producing them as though they had an MMA somewhere on the premises, churning them out like a conveyer belt. Or perhaps it was just the tactically stunted, hyper negative, managers who were there, luminaries who placed the actual playing of football lower on the priority list than maiming the opposition.
It’s a well-known fact that there were once several managers up here who took a perverse pride in the violence their teams dished out on the park. They would argue they chose that style because they didn’t have “proper footballers” but that’s garbage; some of them enjoyed the reputation that came with building teams that could dish it out.
Livingston at least tried to play football today, but their big striker isn’t a great player and never will be. He is a bruiser. He knew what his job was; to rough up that defence of ours and put them under pressure. He did it as well as you might expect.
Whatever else we can say of him, they knew why they had him on the park. But a moment of madness almost blew it.
You will get moments of madness from players like that.
It’s the all too predictable hazard of having them on the park in the first place.
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