- Me, Myself, and I
- The European tour is in full swing - next stop Albania!
- The 'Well
- We're all going on a north east highland tour.....
- Mark McGhee,
- Mark McGhee, Mark McGhee, Mark McGhee...
Drinking pints of whisky, Mark McGhee...
- He's only on loan,
- He's only on loooooooaaaaaaaan........... Maros Klimpl - he's only on loan!
- Playing football, supporting Scotland and Motherwell.
- Just now I'm into 30 Seconds to Mars, A, All American Rejects, All Time Low, Atreyu, Attack Attack!, Avril Lavigne, Billy Talent, Blink 182, Bullet For My Valentine, CKY, Deftones, Eminem, Enter Shikari, Fall Out Boy, Fightstar, Finch, Flyleaf, Foo Fighters, Forever The Sickest Kids, Funeral For a Friend, Good Charlotte, Green Day, Hell Is For Heroes, Hey Monday, Killswitch Engage, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Lostprophets, My Chemical Romance, New Found Glory, Our Last Night, Papa Roach, Paramore, Simple Plan, Slipknot, Sum 41, System of a Down, Taking Back Sunday, Taproot, The Devil Wears Prada, The Strokes, Thursday, Weezer, Yellowcard, You Me At Six... honourable mentions to Al Yankovic and Asher Roth for their classics White & Nerdy and I Love College.
- The Old Firm, racism, sectarianism.
- 9 July 2009
- Parc y Scarlets. The first time I've seen the mighty 'Well win a game in a European competition. Awesome.
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After a promising start to the SPL campaign, this was billed as our biggest test - the visit of the champions, with a 100% winning record so far this season, to Fir Park. In front of the Sky cameras, we showed that we will be a force to be reckoned with, and it says a lot for the progress we have made in a short space of time that we can feel absolutely gutted to have not won the match.
Our lineup was once again slightly changed from our last outing. New signing Yassin Moutaouakil, on loan from Charlton, was drifted in at right back, while Craigan was rested after overseeing Northern Ireland's World Cup dream crash and burn at home to Slovakia in midweek. Saunders was again in the centre of defence - where he looks a good deal more natural and competent than at right-back - alongside Reynolds, with Hammell given another chance at left-back after he was embarrassingly hooked half an hour into the match against Aberdeen. The central midfield trio was Hateley, Coke and Forbes, with Murphy and O'Brien pushing out wide to support Sutton up front.
As usual, spending the entire game standing and singing in the East Stand meant parts of the game became a bit of a blur. After watching the replay on Sky I picked up a few things I hadn't noticed so much at the game. The contributions of Hateley and Moutaouakil in particular stood out. Hateley consistently got on the ball and produced outstanding long crossfield passes onto the feet of a teammate - usually Moutaouakil. Switching play in this way has the potential to be used as a highly effective means of counterattack. Moutaouakil looks very athletic and full of pace - he will be a big player for us with his bombing runs down the right.
What was very noticeable at the game was O'Brien utterly ripping the pish out of Whittaker on the left side. One sensational piece of play in front of the standing section saw O'Brien turn him inside and back out before backheeling to Hammell in space. Whittaker could not cope and, before long, any time O'Brien had the ball the huns doubled up on him with Davis coming over to help.
Both sides had great chances to take the lead shortly before half-time. Firstly, a sweeping move saw the ball played out wide to Moutaouakil whose cross picked out Sutton in space six yards out, but the much-travelled striker wasn't prepared as the ball bounced off his chest and out. Then a Rothen free-kick found Bougherra four yards out, but his downward header was somehow blocked by Ruddy on the line.
At the break, Gannon once again decided to shake things up. Murphy, who hadn't made much of an impact, was withdrawn and Jennings brought on to add some steel to midfield. This allowed Coke to roam forward in support of attacks.
The switch worked well as we completely dominated possession in the early part of the second half. The huns could not get near our energetic youngsters as we racked up 13 consecutive passes on two separate occasions in as many minutes, each greeted by a full-blooded cheer. The second string of passes ended with O'Brien curling a shot just over from the edge of the box.
However, it was the visitors who nearly took the lead shortly afterwards. Firstly, Davis' shot deflected off Naismith who, after losing the chase to the ball to Ruddy, fell over, prompting some pathetic appeals for a penalty. Davis picked up the pieces and saw his shot cleared off the line by Saunders. Moments later, Boyd swept a pass across the box but Ruddy again got there before the onrushing Naismith. Then the on-loan Everton custodian was called into action once again to parry Novo's powerful strike.
We were under sustained pressure at this point, but remained a threat on the counter attack, and Weir and Papac were both booked for disgraceful barges on O'Brien as he was set to break clear. We then passed up a great chance - a lovely pass from Jennings set up Moutaouakil, and his pinpoint cross was headed agonisingly over the bar by Coke from six yards.
1 Comment 196 weeks
Early-season thrillers seem to be our speciality. Last season, we started with a superb game at Tynecastle in which, after several twists and turns, we were unfortunate to lose 3-2. This time, we kicked off the league campaign against the SPL new boys at McDiarmid Park. The match proved to be equally entertaining with a more satisfying outcome.
With Gannon having experimented with various formations in the Europa League campaign, no-one was sure just how we would line up. O'Brien had been converted to a makeshift right-back, but didn't seem to have a clue what to do when it came to defending, so Tom Hateley, signed on Thursday, was drafted straight into that position. Hutchinson started in the centre of defence alongside Craigan, with Reynolds in his new position in front of the back four. The rest of the team picked itself - central midfield pairing of Coke and Forbes, with Sutton and Murphy up front.
It was also going to be interesting to see how St Johnstone would cope with the step up from the SFL. Saints won last season's First Division in rather underwhelming style, relying heavily on a remarkable array of draws - especially away from home - for much of the campaign before going on a late surge to lift the title. They had strengthened in the summer with the signings of tricky ex-Hibernian and Inverness winger Filipe Morais; Livingston duo David Mackay and Murray Davidson as well as Kenny Deuchar - 'Dr Goals' - who enjoyed a successful loan spell in Perth a couple of years ago.
Saints were up for the occasion, and enjoyed the better of the first half. They seemed to have taken the lead when, with our defence struggling, McCaffrey headed goalwards, but Ruddy dived at full-stretch to pull off a stunning save. Home fans and players protested that the ball had crossed the line, but it was arguably just a brilliant piece of goalkeeping from the on-loan Everton man. In any case, Saints didn't have to wait long to take the lead thanks to a huge slice of good fortune. Liam Craig's wayward shot landed at the feet of Davidson, who got the ball from under his feet and poked goalwards; the ball took a huge deflection off Craigan and looped over the helpless Ruddy. Davidson should have scored his second goal shortly afterwards after being picked out in space 12 yards out by Mackay, but he fluffed his shot and the danger was cleared.
At half-time, Gannon did something quite extraordinary. In an attempt to salvage something from the game, he hooked our two most experienced players, captain Craigan and Sutton, and brought on Humphrey to go on the right and McHugh up front, with Reynolds dropping back into defence alongside Hutchinson. At this stage we had a remarkably young team on the park:
Ruddy - 22
Hateley - 19
Hutchinson - 18
Reynolds - 22
Hammell - 27
Humphrey - 21
Coke - 23
Forbes - 19
O'Brien - 21
McHugh - 18
Murphy - 19
Five teenagers; average age of 20.82, which would have been even lower had we not been missing one of our best players, 17-year-old Paul Slane.
Our young team looked rejuvenated after the break, with Humphrey's pace causing Saints all sorts of problems down the right. We equalised when Hateley sent a long free kick into the box and Hutchinson guided a superb header over Main into the far corner. He did brilliantly to execute it with power as he was on the wrong side of the defender. He had also got in on the massacre of Flamurtari in Airdrie with a long-range strike. We appear to have found what we lost in Brian McLean - a goalscoring defender. His celebrations - running over to be engulfed by the delirious visiting fans - were class too.
Having grabbed the equaliser, we just couldn't resist shooting ourselves in the foot by immediately falling behind again. A corner caused all sorts of problems, we couldn't clear and a goalmouth scramble ensued. Graham Gartland, in for injured Saints captain Kevin Rutkiewicz, made the most of his appearance by firing past the helplessly exposed
0 Comments 199 weeks
In the season just finished, the final standings in the Premiership showed the same top six as the previous campaign, while in Scotland two relatively weak Old Firm sides finished embarrassingly far ahead of the rest. Boring and predictable? Look beyond the surface and there were some truly remarkable results...
Arsenal 1-2 Hull City
The moment Phil Brown's newly-promoted troops made their mark on the Premiership. Arsenal had only tasted defeat once at the Emirates Stadium since moving in 2006 and appeared on course for a routine victory when Paul McShane diverted a shot into his own net early in the second half. But the Tigers had other ideas, and Geovanni equalised with that 30-yard drive into the top corner before Dan 'The Man' Cousin popped up with the winner. Not a bad way to make an impact at his new club having signed off at Rangers with a typically enigmatic performance in the derby victory the previous month.
St Mirren 1-0 Rangers
Rangers had already recorded thumping victories away to Celtic and Hibernian going into this match. Surely bottom-of-the-table St Mirren, who had lost the last four matches against these opponents without scoring a goal, wouldn't stand in the way of a return to the top of the league? They hadn't reckoned on 19-year-old Stephen McGinn scoring a wonderstrike to make the Huns' last ever visit to Love Street a memorable one. St Mirren ultimately avoided relegation on goal difference; it's just as well they did what they had to in 'bread-and-butter' games such as this or they would now be facing up to life in the First Division.
Aberdeen 4-2 Celtic
The brilliantly emphatic nature of this scoreline merits inclusion. Celtic's defence simply could not cope with the aerial presence of Zander Diamond, and Motherwell reject Mark Brown found himself picking the ball out the back of his net on no fewer than four occasions. Charles Mulgrew was central to his former side's downfall, delivering the trademark free-kicks from which Diamond scored two late goals to seal a dominant performance.
Middlesbrough 2-0 Liverpool
Only at the end of the season can the unbelievable nature of this result be truly appreciated. In the last few months of the season, Liverpool were tearing teams apart for fun while Boro limped towards relegation. Liverpool only lost two league games all season; the fact that one of those was against Boro (who only managed seven league wins) beggars belief. Xabi Alonso astutely put through his own net to set his side on course for defeat before Boro's player of the season Tuncay Sanli sealed a rare moment of joy in a dismal campaign. If only the Teesiders could have played against Gerrard and co. more often...
Rangers 0-1 Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Inverness's second visit to Ibrox of the season could not have been more different from their first. A hopelessly disjointed outfit under Craig Brewster turned up in November and found themselves 5-0 down at half-time. However, they discovered a new resilience under Terry Butcher which reached its peak in this midweek game in March. What looked to be an excellent share of the spoils turned into the stuff of dreams when David Weir inexplicably hauled down David Proctor in the penalty box in stoppage time, earning a straight red card and a penalty for Inverness, duly converted by Ian Black. Ultimately, however, beating the eventual champions at Ibrox was not enough for Inverness to avoid relegation - despite Weir's best efforts - as the onerous task of avoiding defeat at home to the bottom side in the league on the last day of the season proved too much for Butcher's men.
St Mirren 1-0 Celtic
St Mirren at it again. Seven days after the visitors had knocked as many goals past the Buddies, the sides met again in the Scottish Cup. The result at Parkhead was skewed by Jack Ross's sending off for the heinous crime of denying a goalscoring opportunity with a legitimate challenge. Her
1 Comment 209 weeks
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