I haven't seen Celtic in Europe since Mowbray was manager so I don't know how well, or badly, they're playing but the results do seem to speak for themselves.HibeeJibee wrote:The big issue is why Rangers and Celtic lost to Malmo, Maribor and Sion. They have far more money, and better players... Yet they were unable to translate such resources into victory. Was it their managers? Their tactics? Their style?
The thing with Rangers is that the record - 1 win in 25 European games, 1 win in 12 home games or whatever it is - is so bad that the games against Malmo and Maribor cannot be dismissed as one-offs. They are part of a terrible run that's been going on for some time. Ally McCoist has been part of the management team for all of that run so he has to shoulder a lot of the responsibility. The success of 2007-08 was great but the theory behind it has been tested to destruction. You can get away with playing very defensive football for a short while but eventually you will lose and lose regularly. To be fair to McCoist, he's not been too negative in Europe this season but mistakes were made in both first legs that cost both ties.
Aside from the wider problem within Scottish football, I sometimes wonder if Old Firm teams get complacent, start to believe their own hype. I don't normally listen to phone-ins but in the car on the way home last night I listened to James Traynor and Tom English on Radio Scotland. They made the point that Old Firm players and teams are hyped up, live in a bubble in the SPL. Of course, Traynor's other employer, the Daily Record, is one of the biggest culprits in this so he should know, I suppose. As I say, though, Malmo and Maribor (and probably Sion) were not, imo, any better than a top 6 SPL team. Perhaps they simply had no fear against the OF and the OF were taken aback at this. I don't know.
What was also clear from Rangers' European ties is that there is not much in the way of a Plan B if things aren't working out. It might just be a quirk of my psychology but I always felt more content when Advocaat or Le Guen managed Rangers in Europe. There was a feeling they knew what they were doing whilst Scottish managers don't. Advocaat spent a lot of money, of course, and had his share of bad results but you never felt the team were clueless. Le Guen navigated a UEFA Cup qualifier and group with relative ease and with a more inferior squad than McCoist has. I wouldn't be surprised if both OF clubs next managerial appointments are from abroad. The European results are embarrassing and financially damaging to them.