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Post by Scottish » Sat Oct 09, 2010 2:07 am

It's taken me a few hours to get over just how angry I felt at watching that performance tonight. Yet Levein remains a lucky manager. Lucky that Lithuania won in Olomouc last month. Had they lost there then it would be just about over for us already. Lucky too that Spain are coming over with a weakened team. Okay, we have our injuries as well but I'd sooner lose Scott Brown and Paul Hartley than Xavi, Fabregas or Torres. Not to mention there being no Milan Baros last night for the Czechs.

It seems Spain struggled to score until quite late on v Lithuania and the Lithuanians managed to get a goal themselves (I couldn't watch any more after the "performance" in Prague, Levein will have to get his own DVD) so that give us some hope. But if we play anything like the same way again then we will lose on Tuesday. It's not just a case of playing without a striker v the Czechs. If we play with a lone Kenny Miller in the opposition half at Hampden then nine times out of ten the ball will end up at Spanish feet and be back heading for our penalty area before we know it.

The Levein international competitive record is on a par with those of other international bosses who were slaughtered in the press. In fact it is identical to that of George Burley with one win, one draw and one lose with a goal tally of two for, two against. Walter Smith's start was exactly the same too. Alex McLeish won two and lost one (thought to be fair to Smith and McLeish their defeats came against Italy).

In fact the last Scotland boss to be unbeaten after three qualifying games was Berti Vogts! The only other Scotland bosses to be unbeaten at this stage were Andy Roxburgh and Tommy Docherty.

All that aside, the most annoying thing about tonight was that a major opponent in this group were there for the taking. Their fans didn't turn up in great numbers in a modestly-sized stadium. Key players were missing. A Scots win tonight would have meant that with two home defeats the Czechs would have been out of it. Pat Nevin summed it up at half-time when he said Levein had his eye on a 0-0.

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Re: Levein

Post by lbb » Sat Oct 09, 2010 1:07 pm

It was a horrible performance. People say this but I was genuinely glad when the final whistle came.

There will be some comparison with Walter Smith's tactics at Old Trafford - in fact, Rob McLean made the comment at HT - but Rangers at least went with a striker and there was visible signs of players trying to support and get forward, albeit mostly failing. There was something surreal about watching a team play with no strikers at all. I was actually quite depressed watching it, tbh. Czech Republic were no Man Utd either. It was clear, certainly by HT, that this wasn't a legendary Czech side and whilst I wouldn't say they were there for the taking, there was certainly room for a more attack-minded approach. It never came.

We couldn't keep the ball and we couldn't relieve any pressure because we had no outball. Fundamental errors. The annoying thing is that I thought the team had some decent players. We had players who have played in the Champions League, the Premiership, the highest level of the SPL (such as it is) yet the manager did not feel he could trust them to go 11 v 11 in a football match and try and win it. In some ways, this is actually worse than Liechtenstein. Quite embarrassing.

I read Jim McLean's column online yesterday. He made the comment that playing this kind of game - sitting in, hoping to nick something - works sometimes but it's not a long-term strategy. Surely, 4-6-0 in Prague is the nadir of Scottish football history and we won't go with this ever again.

I've never been a fan of Levein but we have him now so have to stick with him. He needs to bin this negative mindset before he drives the nation to drink. We're bad but we're not that bad.

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Re: Levein

Post by macjackb » Sat Oct 09, 2010 5:33 pm

Yep, words failed me. It seems to me that it's at least thirty years now since this über-negative style went out of fashion. Why? Did teams start realising how it was constraining players? Or that by playing so deep and so close to your own goal, you left yourself open to the possibility that one slip would possibly cost the whole game, which is why only the highest quality players could make it succeed (ie not this generation of Scotland)? Whatever, clearly I'm wrong, because Craig knows best, and if I could only get over myself, I'd realise the high-art and quality that was on display last night. Bugger that. It was miserable. What's the point of sport and play when all you feel is fear and all you aspire to is survival?

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Re: Levein

Post by Skyline Drifter » Sun Oct 10, 2010 8:24 pm

I'm absolutely disgusted by the tactics we used in Prague. We discussed on this site at the time of the draw and more recently the "quality" of the Czechs these days. I don't think they are much cop and I thought it was an excellent draw for us to get second in. Underlining how distinctly average the present Czech side is was their home loss to Lithuania last month. They were there for the taking and a draw should have been attainable and even a win quite possible.

With that in the background the fact that Levein chose to treat them as if they were the World Champions ten times running and effectively field ten defenders and a keeper is ludicrous. The fact that he apparently still thinks it was "the right thing to do" is frankly stupifying. I could have just about understood it away to Spain (though I still wouldn't have agreed with it) but to play that way against such a mundane opponent begs the question of who else he would play that way against.

Has anyone ever "lost" the Tartan Army as quickly as Levein is seriously threatening to do now? Supporters will put up with much and many bad results if they see effort and people having a go. They will not and should not tolerate this sort of beaten before we start nonsense. It's three years since we were winning in Paris. I know the squad might even be poorer now than it was then but how quickly we've sunk to this level.

Levein's term in charge so far has been appalling. A hopeless defeat to Sweden, a negative draw in Lithuania, an extremely fortunate win over Liechtenstein and then this debacle. Combined with the constant running back to Barry Ferguson and the bizarre dropping of Kenny Miller when he's in the form of his life for a change for a relative journeyman having a stellar couple of months in the Championship. He has to change the way this is going. The one thing in his immediate favour is no-one expects anything from Spain anyway so if he gets something he'll milk it for all it's worth and if he doesn't well no-one will be surprised.

John Meffen

Re: Levein

Post by John Meffen » Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:38 pm

And people look at me as if I am weird when I call for 2-3-5 ............ 4-6-0 wtf?, never in my life have understood this kind of negativity, we all know we would rather watch the team taking a chance, but watching that was like watching a car crash, a car crash in which your nearest and dearest were involved, I don't want to watch such ever again

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