Thursday, 14 October 2010
Some national pride returned, but for how long?
However on Tuesday night Scotland restored some pride to the national team, showing a certain amount of character and fight that has not been under Craig Levein's so far and if being a little harsh, any of George Burley's reign either.
Under Walter Smith and continued by Alex Mcleish as manager of Scotland, Scotland battled for everything and the players looked as if they were proud to be playing for the national team unlike the chore it has seemed to turn into.
Playing the World champions and going 2-0 down seemed to spark something inside Scotland which has not been seen in the past few years and was a welcome sight for Scotland fans. Goals from Steven Naismith and an unfortunate Pique own goal sent Hampden wild with belief that Scotland could go on and win the game. In the traditional Scottish way however the gun was aimed at their feet and a Mcmanus error led to Spanish sub Llorente or "the Lion King" as he is known firing past a helpless Alan Mcgregor who was on top form again for his country.
Scottish hearts sunk and Spain held on but rightfully so as the final whistle went and national pride returned to the fans and belief that Scotland had recovered form their recent slump but for how long will it last this time?
When Levein was announced as the replacement for George Burley, the Scottish fans and media tipped him to take Scotland to their first International final since the 98 World Cup.
The reality however, is that after four Euro 2012 qualifiers, Scotland sit in third place with four points and have played one more game than Spain who are first with nine points, Czech republic who are second with six and Lithuania who are 4th with three points.Not the greatest position and Levein must hold his hands up for a lacklustre campain so far. An opening draw in Lithuaia was decent but the following last minute 2-1 win over Liechtenstein and the controversial toothless 1-0 loss in the Czech Republic where Levein played the infamous 4-6-0 has almost certainly cost Scotland any chance they had for a place in Euro 2012.. Pride after the Spain game will not last much longer unless Craig Levein makes some changes and begins to make them now.
Scotland do not play another competitive game until the Czech republic come to Hampden on the 3rd of September 2011 which is 11 months away and now is the best chance Levein will have to start making changes that benefit Scotland for longer than the next few games.
In my opinion a five year plan could be effective if put in place over ther next few months by Levein to help Push Scotland back up the World Rankings and get into a International finals again. During the long wait before games , three or four Squad training get-togethers should be organised when possible with these being used to introduce younger players into the fold and practice formations and tactics so they are not just thrown together at last second. Players like Danny Wilson, David Goodwillie and Paul Caddis should be brought in for the older squad members and this will make sure if it works, that Scotland will have a younger squad that will be together for the next few years atleast and will be able to improve as a team and hopefully bring Scotland up to the level they want to be and make sure the pride the fans have lasts longer than until the next game Scotland struggle against a team that is supposed to be an "easy win."