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Fat Eck

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    Probably all the same films as you (unless you're into Star Wars).


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    How DARE you!

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    1992-93 and Davie Weir


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  1. ... aye, I also watched the full game again. Not just because, when it's as exciting a game as that, and you get the result, you kind of have to watch it again but also because watching it live was just such a stress-riddled, over-excitable experience I wasn't really able to properly judge what exactly had happened. Can't say I was any less astounded during the second watch but, being a bit calmer, I felt, yeah, there was a bit of opening rustiness due to Kent being dropped and suspension buddies Roofe and Morelos coming back in at the same time as a not-quite-match-fit Scotty Arfield. But, as with Alfie going on to be instrumental in all four of our goals after missing a good early chance to put us in front, I feel sure we would normally have gone on to win this one very easily. That we didn't was, for me anyway, attributable to the circumstances: I know you have to be ready for anything - especially in Europe - but most of the few mistakes we made, almost all of which were instantly punished, were down to stuff that, well, happened to us rather than was caused by us: For example, an injury to our captain, who never gets injured, in the very week we lose the young lad who was meant to cover him; and then - during the injury time allowed for Tav being replaced! - the star striker who stole the show, who stole the whole group stage, the last time we were in Belgium is injured. That had everyone wondering what the hell?? When you lose a player like Tav - a player who is never injured, never dropped and is so instrumental to our tactical vision and team identity - it will inevitably send a wee tremor through the club. When you lose him in the first half of a vital European away game, one in which you're already getting three other players back up to speed, that has to send shock waves through the team on the pitch. Then, during the added injury time for Roofe going off - and because the paperwork for Kent coming on wasn't ready for the fourth official (Jimmy Bell's second mistake, after Rofe-gate? You can tell him) - Antwerp get the softest penalty in the history of soft penalties, and we're going in 2-1 down and looking like the gods have it in for us, after having led 1-0 and looking like we could open up our hosts at will. Add to all that the worst-since-Beaton-at-Ibrox-v-Lennon's-Hibs refereeing performance, plus - whatever its merits or otherwise - the very fact we're not used to playing games under the auspices of VAR disrupting our flow in a way that perfectly suited an injury-riddled Antwerp side who wanted a bitty, broken-up game, and the fact we won that leg by any score is utterly bloody magic. Little wonder Stevie G said the players adapted to Dundee United's tactics yesterday by sorting it out on the pitch themselves. After last Thursday's tribulations they'll be able to switch formation ten times a game while solving a Rubik's cube with their left hand and doing some Sudoko with the right (pen in the mouth, filling out Jimmy's paperwork for the next sub). My arse was on the floor at full-time on Thursday yet the players, hilariously, brilliantly - reassuringly - seemed to be just casually giving it, "Nice wee workout, that - aye, quite enjoyable". And yesterday, after a bit of job sharing - Greegs covering the first half hour while everyone else had a lie-in - we saw that surfeit of enjoyment from Thursday pour into their legs when they just unleashed on United in a way we haven't managed to do to anyone other than Ross County this year. But the best laugh for me in Antwerp, as the players came off the Bosuilstadion pitch, was the off-stage member of our coaching staff hollering at Goldson - "CONNOR! CONNOR! GET HIM AWAY!" - because they thought Borna was about to go for their keeper again, following their wee squaring-up after the winning penalty. Borna hears this, turns to Goldson and just smiles and brushes it off as he heads over to, apparently, shake someone else kindly by the hand. But he has that exact same fixed smile, open-eyed stare on his face which could just as easily mean he's about to scalp someone, which is why I love players from the former Yugoslavia: They don't really do the posturing or handbags stuff. They're all skinny as rakes and their mood is either "I would die for you, my friend" or "You will die at my hands, my enemy". No in-between. GOLDSON: "Come on, Borna. Leave it. You're on a yellow and we've already lost Tav. Get up that tunnel." BORNA: "Leave what, big man? I'm chill. No sweat. Nae danger. Just going to shake hands with the guy". GOLDSON: "You sure? Coz I can never tell wi you. I'll get in trouble if you lose the plot". BORNA: "Totally sure. All forgotten. I'm 100% Karma Chameleon. We won, didn't we?! Why would I even care?! No, I'll see you in there, bro". GOLDSON: "Okay. Cool. See ye in there". [turns towards the tunnel] BORNA:"Oh, Connor..." GOLDSON: [turning back, disinterestedly] "Yeah?" BORNA: "Does a severed head count as hand luggage or would I have to put that in the hold?" GOLDSON; "Fu**ing WHAT??!" BORNA: "I said it's all good and I'll see ye in the dressing room..."
  2. They've lost three home league games in the last couple of months and their November home group stage game with LASK of Austria, but last season the only home game they lost was the second leg of the Europa League play-off against AZ Alkmaar in August... and that was only after extra time... and it was moved to the Heysel/King Baudouin in Brussels. So there was a minimum 14 month unbeaten home record of some sort in there. Fearsome. Plus the thing to note about that game with AZ last season is they were a man down after 30-odd minutes and then, in the 75th minute, Lamkel Ze - he of the Anderlecht shirt to training who will play at Ibrox next Thursday - scores to put them 2-1 up on aggregate, jumps the hoardings to celebrate with the punters, gets his second yellow and they go down to nine: AZ equalise in the 90th minute. And after losing at home to LASK, by one goal, in this season's Europa League group stage double-header they went over to Austria and beat them by two. This ain't over. But it will be if we noise up Lamkel Ze in the tunnel.
  3. Glad you enjoyed it, Tannochsidebear and thanks for pointing out where you disagree with me - more than fair comment and it gives me a chance to clarify on those two points. I'm not feeling Bassey is a bad player. Quite the opposite. I think he's a great player for his age (21 on Hogmanay!) - a really exciting prospect. I just feel that night in Paisley - after a couple of wee defensive switch-off moments at Falkirk in the previous round which couldn't distract from a great all-round performance but would've been punished by better opposition - confirmed he's still more in the "potential" bracket than a like-for-like swap for Borna. You're absolutely right, our League Cup exit was his only bad game and he's not the only one who was slightly off it that night. What I was trying to say is the bigger and harder the game* the more unfair it is to field the likes of young Calvin in a side with other changes to it. If he keeps developing he could easily end up being better than Barisic. He's just not there yet, for me anyway, (and it's no criticism to not be as good as a class act like Borna) but needs more matches where he's the only second-stringer on the pitch. He needs more careful nurturing. My general point is that Paisley - our first defeat of the season - didn't prove we suddenly have a bad squad. Rather it showed how that squad is best utilised. Like most people, as we got into December without a single defeat across three competitions (and all our pre-season friendlies), I was starting to believe we were a couple of signings away from having two completely different starting XIs, one as good as the other. I think that night told us we had some players who could be swapped with no drop in standard and some squad players who needed more time, more games and/or to be utilised more sparingly. Re SG chucking the League Cup I do say, at the start of the second last para, "Gerrard didn’t deliberately chuck the League Cup". But he probably felt he had no choice, the schedule being as intense as it is, and the league title being the priority, other than to field the slightly more experimental team he did in Paisley. Stevie G doesn't know how to chuck stuff - he knows you can't switch it on and off. It's all or nothing with him. But he also knows you'll end up winning nothing if you run your best players into the ground by the half-way point of the season. All I'm saying is he's been given more insight into what games afford him the chance to rest which players. I'm as sure as I've ever been that we're in the safest of managerial hands. Which, if you know my history on predictions, is just asking for trouble but - I cannae help it - Stevie G has us all believing. *While we've often found St Mirren away a bit of a struggle down the years, as a club, it's only recently been established that Jim Goodwin might seriously know what he's doing at this level, so I in no way blame anyone at Rangers for thinking this was a game in which we could rest a few first choice bodies.
  4. My wee pal Joe Harry Bow certainly played his part ... ?
  5. Aye, I've been calling him Big Kemar or Big Roofe (my patter's just that original) from Day One. And while he clearly does more gym work in 5 minutes than I've done in my entire life, I'm constantly amazed by how tall he isn't. Not exactly a short guy but he's very Eric Black or MoJo or, as others have said here, Stevie Naismith in how he jumps deceptively high. And, yeah, it was one of those days where I wouldn't argue with any selection. It probably was Tav but I've gone for Defoe just because (a) I'm old too and (b) it makes me feel like a real deep thinker to select a striker who didn't score in an 8-0 win ("Naw, son. Aw, naw. There's mair tae a striker's gemme than goals, ye see...") He was just involved in key parts of - ooft - at least five of the goals - and in all different ways, in all different parts of the pitch. He put on a proper individual exhibition in the middle of a proper team exhibition. But then, so did so many others (that'll be WHY it was a great team exhibition then, Eck, eh!). Great day.
  6. Just watched the whole game again. Wasn't easy but had to do it. When they're live, I watch these games through a filter of sweat and dread so cannae really judge objectively. But with this one I had to know if I'd just imagined how good we were because of the stadium we were playing in and the club we were playing against. Nah - wasn't imagining it. We were achingly gorgeous. A painful watch precisely because we were every bit as brilliant - or at least as in control against ten men in a seriously entertaining and thrilling way - as I imagined. We were beautiful. Then we took our eye off a dead ball (our midfield were so bloody amazing for the rest of the game that I'm just winded rather than angry) and didnae track Silva into the box... Morelos was bordering on world class and he gave an absolutely torrid time of it to Jardel, who came on for Pizzi to plug the hole left by Otamendi at centre-half (so that, older viewers, is another Jardel who couldnae trap a bag of cement). Given Otamendi is suspended for the next game, I'm crossing fingers, toes and eyes that Alfie's not Covided, or anything worse, between now and Benfica arriving at Ibrox. Our two full backs were also phenomenal (AGAIN!), getting both their Benfica opposite numbers hooked at half-time and, to be fair, doing just as much damage to their replacements. So I don't think Jorge Jesus will know whether to stick or twist at the back. But he'd be as daft as his hair looks not to go with Waldschmidt and Nunez from the start this time, given the two of them combined for the the two second half goals we lost. And if that Rafa Silva - lovely player, a rich man's Candeias - is allowed to play the whole 90 with Pizzi this time, they won't be shy in coming forward. So in the Ibrox return game there might be even more need for the Jack-Davis-Kamara line across the front of the defence. But if they come onto us, like they actually should, I think we'll cope. I think we'll concede, yes, but I think we'll score more. Maybe way more. If Benfica stick to the same high line they played last Thursday, Brandon Barker's in serious contention instead of Aribo but, personally, I'd like us to go with the same starting XI as in Lisbon, with the obvious possible exception of Balogun for Helander. And you can be guaranteed Stevie G's reading this. Oh aye. He's waiting to see what I think before he picks his side... I know he is...
  7. These things always break down into "That was criminal! Heads must roll!" versus "Whit ye greetin aboot! Get some perspective!". Understandable - everyone's upset, or terrified that "everyone's upset" will become the narrative among the support as a whole. It won't. The Sparta Prague result ensured the momentum is still all ours in every respect. I said before the game this was a free hit. A lot of us did. The team have absolutely earned such a big, glamour night with no worries or pressure from us. They deserved this fixture, on the ground where the last Champions League final was played, against only the second club to ever be champions of Europe. And after the way our team has performed this season - they way they have performed for the last three seasons in Europe - absolutely no-one is getting condemned or hunted by me. Free passes all round. But ye surely have to allow a few days to feel absolutely gutted by the fact we were 3-1 up against Benfica at the Stadium of Light, against ten men, and didn't see it out. There's no crime in feeling like that and, to be honest, I think it's probably emotionally necessary. Processing what we went through last night will let me fully enjoy the next big victory. Had we fought back from 3-1 down to 3-3, or had the game ended 0-0 with neither side creating much - had we even drawn 3-3 against eleven men - I'd be a lot quicker to concentrate on the fact we've emerged from our two hardest away games of the season with four points. It is a compliment to Steven Gerrard's sheer bloody magnificence that we're even playing a fixture like last night's, let alone doing so with nothing to lose, a mere seven years after we were unable to beat Stirling Albion in three out of four league fixtures. But it's because we went through all we went through post-2012 that the fans too deserve a one-off moment of unadulterated, glamorous glory. Had we finished with a victory last night you wouldn't have been out of your chair shouting "we have maximum points from our first three fixtures in this season's Europa League Group Stages!". No, you'd have been out of your chair shouting "We've just beat Benfica at Estadio da fucking Luz!". For once in these days of "the long road back", it wasn't about the process or the long-term - it was about a big game at a big stadium against an epic opponent. We could just be caught up in the moment again. It was Rangers back on a stage that suits us, playing the kinda game Rangers should be playing every season. Porto have a better record in Europe now than Benfica. We were going toe-to-toe with them and another past European champion in Feyenoord last season. But Benfica are different gravy. Benfica, alongside Real Madrid, are the European Cup. This wasn't just about Steven Gerrard's progress, or about Rangers post-2102 - this was one for that Ibrox European history stretching back to 1956. Steaua Bucharest and PSV Eindhoven are the only European champion clubs we've beaten on their own patch in European competition. What a chance. We've not yet had that League Cup final victory, or seen us lift that Scottish Cup, since 2012 - we've not had the wee sustaining moments of one-off concrete, undeniable victory we all thought would keep us going until 55 eventually arrived. Yes, we've skelped Celtic home and away in the league under Gerrard, and we did them in that 2016 Scottish Cup semi, and yes some of those wins had me in tears of relief. But in each case, other than our latest win at Parkhead, stuff's come along afterwards to camouflage those wins in longer-term disappointment. Last night was the reverse. It was a short term boot to the baws which can't hide the long-term magnificence of what Gerrard's generally achieving and how focused, hungry and relentless we look this season. But, until we get a trophy to parade, being able to say we won at Estadio da Luz - that we beat Benfica on their own patch - was gonnae be more than consolation for me. That was a victory for the ages we had in our grasp there. I'm just absolutely devastated, for the team and the entire support as much as myself. We'd all earned that. And to actually taste it - to see the path to victory unfolding so clearly in front of us, then chuck it... ach, you wouldn't be human not to be gutted. We might yet beat Benfica at home. That will be sensational. The quick study that is Stevie G will probably have learned enough to take us to an even more magnificent away win in the latter stages of Europe this season (is Man U at Old Trafford still a possibility?). But while I condemn no Rangers employee for last night - while I'll never deride coming back from Benfica with a point - I'll never forget the pain of the night we were two up and cruising at Estadio da Luz, in Europe, and let it go. Apart from anything else, it's much preferable to the "joy" of watching us win easily in the league at Elgin.
  8. Sorry, Bluedell - I've been shi**in' oot and letting others defend me on this one rather than back myself like Oor Brandon backs himself to score every time he has sight of goal (aherm). Aye, what everyone else said, really. I absolutely didn't miss that strange wee u-bend of a run he made, when it seemed easy to make himself a square pass inside for Kent. And, if I had missed it, Andy Walker was there to gleefully point out the possible gutlessness of it all for me. I also couldn't fail to miss BB, erm, not failing to miss, much earlier in the same half, when in on goal from the inside-left angle. Mind, when he sklaffed it into the side-netting? (BTW, on TV replays without the crowd noise, is it Barker shouting "C*NT!" you can hear straight after?) I'm not for one second saying Brandon's proved he's a proper player or that I, like most, don't want him dumped for Aribo as soon as Jo's fit. I just don't think he was alone in missing easy scoring chances on Saturday, or in making bad choices in and around the box when we seemed certain to score. I'm not seriously saying anything is decided one way or the other about anyone, really (except Gerrard. He da Man. That's safe). I'm just taking the positives from Saturday, not for the sake of it, but for as objective a look at how we're coming along as I can manage. It mostly looked to me like, as others on this thread are saying more concisely than I can manage, Brandon was having to slow his run to stay onside. And I think he could also see Ryan Kent was more interested in shooting than squaring. Furthermore, while BB should have easily been able to get away from it, we can't completely discount Hamilton's attempts at last-ditch marking in this incident. But I get your drift. I do indeed think there is a chance that, by that point of the game, Brandon Barker didn't want to make himself available for a clear shot on goal. His confidence may have been so low from previous misses in this match - exacerbated by the knowledge he's not changing the minds of the army of Rangers fans who've written him off - that he just chucked it, was hiding, sh*t it, etc. If he ain't doing the business in some way, he'll be ditched soon enough. I like the argument in this thread about his two-footedness being what Beale, Stevie G & Co want for their anti-wingers system. But the way our goals came about at New Douglas Park (yeah, take that FOYS - I ain't no sell-out!) - sheer overwhelming pressure creating unbearable confusion for Accies - needed all hands on deck in the first twenty. Barker was part of that. He contributed. And the fact he kept running, kept trying, is part of the reason Accies only had one period of anything approaching pressure in the entire game. It's only Accies away. It was only 2-0. But Brandon did no more or less than anyone else to win those three points or fail to win them more easily. I don't think his head-down, shoulders-slumped style helps him win admirers on the few occasions he is doing stuff correctly. And I do think he looks like he's too hard on himself, maybe needs to chill a bit. But on Saturday he did more right than wrong, didn't do any more wrong than anyone else and, well, if he was hiding he wouldn't have attempted to take that ball past the last Accies man who brought him down for the sending off which, if you can't score a third, is the next best way to seal the game. Coz, had the Accies captain not fouled him, Brandon would have had the entire Accies half to himself and I know for a fact he would have waltzed it up the pitch, stopped at the 18 yard line to tell the Accies keeper to "come get it", spun round, stood on the ball, and did the old Kancheskis "Where are ye mateys?" to the trailing Accies defence and then megged the keeper wi a back-heel before running round him to stop it on the line then stoop to head it in. FACT! [Aye, aye - i know Glen Middleton would have stood on the ball before he spun but I'm noh getting into that again ... no way ... I'm pretending to be man-marked ...]
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