Gordon Strachan on BBC1 Tonight at 11.20pm

Apparently there’s an in-depth interview with Strachan on Gabby Yorath’s Inside Sport show tonight.

Now I think this programme is gash but I’ll still tune in. He treats the Scottish media with disdain given their anti-Celtic agenda so he might give more of an insight into how he sees Celtic progressing on this.

This is actually on at 12.20am now because of some tripe on BBC NI.

Ah for feck’s sake that’s useless altogether. By the way Bandage - that last PM I sent you: act on it.

Strachan’s on now.

I like this ginger man.

What was he saying Bandage?

It was a bit hit and miss to be honest. It was one of these BBC interviews where they try to scratch behind the surface and it started with Gabby and Gordon strolling down the steps of Celtic Park with her expressing her incredulity at the wonderful weather. They got into Gordon’s car and there was a few questions while they were in transit but it didn’t really flow as it kept cutting off showing shots of the mean streets of Glasgow after every answer he gave her.

She started by asking if he could relax in the cauldron that is Glasgow and if he felt comfortable strolling down its streets. Gordon said it wasn’t that it was uncomfortable rather that it’s such an intense place where football defines the lives of so many and if he did walk around he’d be constantly stopped by people looking to talk football non-stop. He said to relax he simply likes to spend time at home in the company of his wife. Gabby said, ‘Gordon, that’s so romantic’ and he replied, ‘Nah, we just like the same programmes on telly.’ Oooh the banter. He said his wife genuinely loves football and they enjoy going to games together when he’s scouting players or opposition etc.

Then they arrived in by George’s Square and they parked the car and Gordon emerged wearing a ridiculous beanie. Gabby wondered if he’d put it on to avoid being recognised and Gordon said his nose ensured he’s always recognised no matter what he’s wearing. They then went into a restaurant to have a spot of lunch and a mineral and we got into the meat of the interview. Still though it kept cutting off and zipping through clips and the editing meant some of his replies weren’t teased out fully etc.

He was asked about the media and he said ‘If somebody is nice to me, I’ll be nicer back to them. Equally if someone’s horrible to me, I’ll be more horrible back. And the same goes for sarcasm and all that. Ask me a fair question and I’ll never give anything other than a fair answer.’ She asked him about his fiery character and roaring from the sidelines. He said he never, ever criticises a player for a misplaced pass or anything like that as long as he’s giving it his all. He said sometimes we might spend hours on a Friday practicing defending set pieces and come the first concession of a corner on the Saturday there’s always guaranteed to be someone standing in the wrong place despite this. It’s then when he roars and it’s then when the cameras flash and it looks like he’s mental.

They delved a little bit more into Celtic then. He said as far as he’s concerned he’s got the best job in the world and he has no plans to give it up. He mentioned that rumour that swept through Glasgow last Friday week that he was going to resign and said it was rubbish. He said he thinks the job is probably more pressurised than that of prime minister but while he’s achieving things and seeing his players improve on the traning ground then he sees no reason to quit. She asked if he ever doubted himself and he said that he never doubted his ability as a player or manager but he always played and now manages with a fear that somebody can do the job better than him. He said that fear of being second best ensures he’s motivated and determined to the job to the best of his ability.

She asked him if Celtic and Rangers had outgrown the SPL and if he saw the possibility of them joining the EPL but he said he didn’t foresee that happening. Instead he said he envisaged a Euro league with3 divisions of 20 teams and he said the time for it is getting closer given how powerful the bigger clubs are getting and he thought FIFA and UEFA would be powerless to prevent it.

They finished by talking about the international games coming up.

Thanks Bandage. Much along the lines of expecatation. Glad he put the rumours of his departure to bed because he’s been an excellent manager for Celtic. You’d have criticisms of every manager but there’s not much Strachan gets wrong. If I met him for a 5 minute chat now I’d say two things to him:

  1. Back post headers are killing us. Falkirk away, Spartak away, Spartak at home, Aberdeen away, Shakhtar away, Dundee away, Hibs away, Gretna away, Benfica away, Benfica at home off the top of my head. In all those games we’ve given up a gilt-edged chance to a free header at the back post. The problem is our centre halves are getting sucked towards the ball. That’s why the problem is most evident from the second ball in. The two most obvious examples of that were Falkirk away and Benfica at home. Falkirk’s goal and Cardozo’s miss off his shoulder both came from the ball being cleared to the wing and the centre halves both stepping towards that wing, leaving the main aerial danger to just stroll over unmarked to the back post.

There’s less we can do about giving up back post headers from set pieces (the goal conceded at home to Spartak for example) because that was just poor marking and a lack of urgency in attacking the ball. We do need to work on maintaining our position in the middle though from general play because we’re certainly taking too many steps towards the ball.

  1. Gary Caldwell is doing a fine job filling in at full back. It’s impossible to criticise him because it’s not his natural position and he hasn’t really been caught out defensively. He’s also making an effort to get forward which hasn’t always been successful but at least he’s trying. Anyway the biggest problem I have with him at the moment is he can’t throw the ball in. We give up the ball way over 50% of the times when Caldwell throws it in. He just lobs it forward (about 8 yards is all he can manage) and the best we can hope for is another throw in. He needs to work on alternatives.