Remember Gary Breen? I had to look him up to refresh my memory.
He never won a major honour in his career.
I’m sure he has no regrets though, as he spent some of it in the EPL where he was doubtless well compensated.
Celtic was a height he never reached however and was never likely to.
He ended his career at mighty Barnet and in the aftermath claimed he had failed a medical at Inter Milan and that Barcelona had been sniffing around him too.
The kind of people who would accept claims like those are the kind of people who would listen to Gary Breen and his attack, this weekend, on the standard of Scottish football and his risible claim that Shane Duffy might not get into the Ireland squad as he’s playing up here.
There are three elements of this.
The first is simply this; if you watched Ireland’s recent matches in the Nations League you know they need Duffy and his leadership badly. They had two horrendous results, and they would have been worse without him. The idea that he would be dropped when he’ll arguably be at the top of his game here at Parkhead is ridiculous.
Look at their national team; where’s his obvious replacement at the centre of their team and as captain? When Robbie Keane was playing up here, did they drop him? They arguably need Duffy just as much as they needed the striker then.
Secondly, as Sutton brilliantly out today, this is a ridiculous assault on Scottish football by someone who never spent a minute up here and we know the annals of the game are filled with mouthy sods who came up here expecting to stroll and were found out, and usually swiftly.
I ponder how many players have come up from England and gone to Ibrox in the last couple of years and not had to face this. Who asked, for example, if Aribo would get in the Nigeria team playing at Ibrox? Could the press have found someone willing to go on the record with a comment like that? Of course, but they didn’t want to hear that.
And that’s the third element of this; you have national newspapers talking up this trash, running our game down, slagging our club.
These are the same people who want to crucify the likes of Doncaster and Regan for not being able to bring in sponsorship money and such like. But the hacks have done more to damage the game’s reputation than any mismanagement at the top of the governing bodies, and it’s no coincidence that their relentless negativity coincides with our era of success.
Last week, they were digging at Duffy for being over-rated. Yesterday he was fantastic, dominating at both ends of the pitch. His goal was a masterclass in how a tough centre back can use his natural agility and strength to bully other players with sheer power.
So the media’s strategy of last week – slagging the big guy and taking shots at him – has collapsed one game into his time at Parkhead. No surprise there. That plan is now a bust, held up and ridiculed as being too tough to sustain.
So from last week’s position – of slagging the player as not being as good as the hype – they are now saying he’s too good and will embarrass Scottish football to the extent that it drags all involved down, the player included.
It’s a neat little side-step. If only it wasn’t so contemptible.
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