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Trials and Tribulations and the cost of defeat

Match Analysis
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I remember the days when I used to look forward to the Scottish international team playing. It was mostly on a Wednesday evening and was mostly an extra sweetie, a sugar binge of football. Now that the international scene takes 2 weeks off my club football, I actually resent it. How dare the planners at UEFA alienate me from my weekly injection of club football?

It's not only at full international level these days, but even as in Rangers case, games are getting cancelled for players playing for the under 20 national teams. Can you imagine an African female becoming good enough to sign for us? With the African cup, all the female tournaments and possible under 20 games we would never have time for club football. There's not a lot to criticise Mark Warburton on at the moment but he keeps saying we are a squad of players, so surely we had a big enough squad not to cancel the Petrofac Training Cup game against Livingston?

Watching the trials and tribulations of the Scotland team trying to qualify for the big tournaments is always a roller-coaster ride. We always seem to get near the summit just to crash out at the end. I can't help thinking of the old Foundations song after a qualifying tournament "Why do you build me up buttercup baby just to let me down.

Not only does our football prestige take a hammering but the financial losses are also massive directly to the SFA and also local pubs and businesses who would all profit from European qualification. Think of businesses who could have sold t-shirts with "Scotland Euro 2016".

Scotland are used to not qualifying so collateral damage will be minimal but what about the mighty Dutch? Once the forefather of 'total football' and as one newspaper said, now total rubbish. Holland goes totally mad during a big tournament. Whole houses and pubs get draped in orange tarpaulin. Huge screens are erected on the main city squares. Pubs are crammed to the gunnel's with supporters watching the games on big screens in the city centres. The price of failure is dramatic.

For the Rangers team this season, failure is not even open to debate. Well that is not quite true as the modern trend is that we seem to find a 3-1 win as a failure. With Charles Green trying to get us to pay his legal costs, all the known sooth sayers have again risen from their holes and predicting the dooms day ceremony is close at hand. With all these Trials (literally) and indeed tribulations going on off the park it would be easy for the team to take their eye off the ball but Mark Warburton has been fantastic in keeping a well oiled machine purring away in the engine room of our club, which is on the park.

Although we're 11 points clear we must not get complacent. There's an old Dutch saying which says sprinters run out of steam after 100 metres, marathon runners run to the end. I would guess Mr Warburton to be a marathon man.

Queen of the South will be knocking on the front door at Ibrox. Last season the Doonhamers were our bogey team but we had an emphatic 5-1 win against them when we met them down at Dumfries.

Fraser Aird, Nathan Oduwa and Gedion Zelalem have returned from international duty and Warburton stated that they have young bodies and we have to look after their young bodies, in his press interview. That seems to suggest that the young players may start on the bench.

All of the players seem to be fit apart from the long term injuries. Warburton also stated that Eustace is close to signing but he will not play any part against the doonhamers.

The players have enjoyed a rest and should be biting at the bit to get out on the field. Recently, we've only really been playing at full pace for short periods of the game, so Warburton's had a break to try and get the hunger back into the team. Teams are now starting to get wise to how we are playing and doubling up on our wingers. This of course should leave more room for the full-backs to come powering through from the back but when they do it the wingers have to take up a defending role otherwise our defence will become very exposed. Oduwa has been very lazy in this aspect and it really is a part of his game he has to improve.

Hopefully we can return to the form that was blowing teams away, but Queens are not the easiest team to break down and could hit us on the break. The cost of defeat will not be as high as the Dutch team paid, but it certainly would blow a hole in our hopes of going a full season without defeat. Hopefully we send the Queens South with a doonhammering.

C'mon the Gers!

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