Wednesday, October 21, 2009

21 steps to Scotland's European failure

21 games. Each with its own background, its own unique circumstances. The cumulative effect is a European nightmare for Scottish football. Since July we've appeared about as comfortable on the continent as Norman Tebbit at a Eurovision convention.

21 games. In blogs, phone ins, forums and newspapers fans scream for change. It seems to fall on deaf ears. What else needs to happen for somebody, somewhere to step in and say “enough?”

21 games. Something is horribly wrong. Some blame it on money. And we're not rich but we've lost European games to teams from Lichtenstein, Wales, Romania, Israel and Albania. It's not powerhouses of world football that are making us look like amateurs: Rangers, our champions, lost 4-1 at home to a team that had never, ever played top flight football before 2006.

21 games. Is it the coaching, the players, the training regimes, a generation of players who just don't care? I don't know but something has got to change.

21 games.Six teams, half our top league, set off on foreign adventures this summer. Four were knocked out before August was finished and a fifth, Celtic, had been demoted to the second tier competition.

21 games. Something has to change.

21 games. I've collated all the results - and highlighted a few stats that leapt out at me. I'm sure you'll have your own facts and figures to illuminate the sheer horror of our failings but these will get you started.
  • 21 games played
  • 5 games won
  • 2 games drawn
  • 4 games have seen Scottish sides concede four or more goals (Rangers twice, Aberdeen and Hearts)
  • 8 games have seen Scottish sides concede three or more goals (Rangers, Motherwell and Aberdeen twice, Hearts and Celtic)
  • 3 ties have seen Scottish sides concede five or more goals on aggregate (Celtic, Motherwell and Aberdeen)
  • Only 3 games have been won at home (Falkirk, Motherwell and Hearts)
  • Only 2 games have been won away (Motherwell and Celtic)
  • 24 goals have been scored by Scottish clubs (Motherwell's 8 in one game inflates that figure and provides a little light relief)
  • 42 goals have been conceded (an average of two a game)
  • Only Falkirk and Hearts have managed to keep a clean sheet at home
  • Only Celtic and Motherwell have managed to keep a clean sheet away

Falkirk 1 – 0 FC Vaduz
FC Vaduz 2 – 0 Falkirk

Motherwell 0 – 1 Llanelli
Llanelli 0 – 3 Motherwell

Flamurtari 1 – 0 Motherwell
Motherwell 8 – 1 Flamurtari

Steaua Bucharest 3 – 0 Motherwell
Motherwell 1 – 3 Steaua Bucharest

Aberdeen 1 – 5 SK Sigma Olomouc
SK Sigma Olomouc 3 – 0 Aberdeen

Dinamo Zagreb 4 – 0 Hearts
Hearts 2 – 0 Dinamo Zagreb

Celtic 0 – 1 Dinamo Moscow
Dinamo Moscow 0 – 2 Celtic

Celtic 0 – 2 Arsenal
Arsenal 3 – 1 Celtic

Hapoel Tel Aviv 2 – 1 Celtic
Celtic 1 – 1 Rapid Vienna

VfB Stuttgart 1 – 1 Rangers
Rangers 1 – 4 Sevilla
Rangers 1 – 4 Unirea Urziceni