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Discussion Starter #1
Neil Sullivan and Davie Weir make comebacks. Derek Riordan, Garry O'Connor and Paul Hartley handed first caps.

I noticed Jim McLean in today's paper clamouring for Duncan Ferguson to come out of International retirement as well, he's got a good relationship with Walter Smith so if anyone could convince him to make a return then it's probably the current manager.

Full Squad :

Robert Douglas (Celtic)
Craig Gordon (Hearts)
David Marshall (Celtic)
Neil Sullivan (Leeds United)

Russell Anderson (Aberdeen)
Gary Caldwell (Hibs)
Jackie McNamara (Celtic)
David McNamee (Livingston)
Gary Naysmith (Everton)
Steven Pressley (Hearts)
Andy Webster (Hearts)
David Weir (Everton)

Christian Dailly (West Ham United)
Barry Ferguson (Blackburn Rovers)
Darren Fletcher (Manchester United)
Paul Hartley (Hearts)
Neil McCann (Southampton)
Nigel Quashie (Southampton)

Stephen Crawford (Dundee United)
Paul Dickov (Blackburn Rovers)
James McFadden (Everton)
Kenny Miller (Wolverhampton W.)
Garry O’Connor (Hibs)
Derek Riordan (Hibs)
Steven Thompson (Rangers)
 

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Weir's inclusion is a bit of a backward step is it not? Not read the 'paper' yet, but wouldn't want Dunc back in the set-up.

The squad looks a bit light on central midfielders. Maybe he's thinking of McNamara in that role as well. Why do International teams need 4 goalkeepers?

Hard to get excited about Scotland, especially with who we've got next.
 

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Not only do we have 4 keepers but we only have 2 more than that in midfield- I think he got the ratios wrong there.

Weir is a step backward as Angle said but I'd still like to see big Dunc in there. If there is a bit of a punch up then we'd need Big Dunc to sort it out :thumbsup: He won't come back though, not now.

I'm pleased to see the guys from Hearts and Hibs in there as I think they deserve it. Whether they will play is a different matter. I would have liked to have seen Zander Diamond in there too.

Not happy about Sullivan- passed it, saw him against Derby the other night and didn't rate him in that game. Not happy about Weir- should have been Diamond. Not happy about Dailly- hasn't played for yonks. Not happy about Crawford- he's a donkey. Not happy about Miller- he is passed it too. I'd swap:

Sullivan Out, Stillie in.
Weir Out, Diamond in.
Dailly Out, Barry Smith in.
Crawford Out, Kris Boyd in.
Miller Out, Barry Nicholson in. (one less forward for an additional midfielder).
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Weir is enjoying a good season with Everton though, i've always rated him as a decent player and the Pressley/Webster partnership wasn't exactly rock-solid during Berti Vogts' reign was it?

I think his recall is a good, solid decision. Same with Sullivan, who was a good player for Scotland when he was number 1. Not sure of the reason behind his recent exile to be honest.

I'd say the strongest 11 from that squad would be along the lines of:

Sullivan

McNamara
Weir
Pressley
Naysmith

Ferguson
Fletcher
Quashie

McFadden
Dickov
McCann
 

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Bringing in Coisty should prove a really good move by Smith. If McCoist can't inject some enthusiasm into the players, no-one can.

The team i'd go with at this stage would be;

--------------------Douglas----------------------

--------Weir------Pressley----Anderson-----------
McNamara-------------------------------Naysmith
--------------------Dailly------------------------
------------Ferguson----Quashie-----------------

-------------Dickov-----McFadden---------------

You could call me a hypocrite for including Douglas ahead of Gordon, but I really don't think Gordon's ready for the San Siro. I think against Italy we're going to need a spare man at the back. Weir would maybe fill this role, with Pressley and Anderson doing the marking. McNamara and Naysmith are both solid players who'll get up and down the flanks.

I feel we'll need a guy lying deep to snuff out whatever attacking midfielder Italy play. I don't know how Dailly's been playing recently, but he's the closest we've got in that department. I'd rely on Ferguson and Quashie to control the midfield, although Quashie's had injury problems this season. Perhaps controversially, i'd leave out Fletcher. At this stage in his career I see him as too light-weight for this sort of match, and he's not as commanding as either Fergie or Quashie.

Up front, we'll need the work ethic of Dickov, as well as the individual skill of McFadden. Crawford, Miller, and O'Connor are simply not good enough. Thompson and Riordan would be good options to bring off the bench.

Obviously things could change before the match. I'm sure we'll get the usual injuries and call-offs.
 

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Against Italy I would play the 4-1-4-1 we used to great affect away against Spain. It looked like this:

Code:
                 Gordon

G.Caldwell      Webster       MacKay     Naysmith

                McNamara

Fletcher       Ferguson      Quashie       McFadden

               Crawford
It done the job and as an away formation to a big side would suit us well. That game was one Berti got right. Unfortunately he thought it would be a good idea to use it in the home game against Slovenia which was completely wrong and ended in a draw.

Walter Smith will want to bring Weir and Dailly in. I don't have a problem with that if they are fully fit. Like Angle I'd go for Douglas in goal, I personally think Gordon has looked very shakey playing for Scotland.

The lone front role is the problem area but against Italy scoring is not our biggest concern. One thing I do know is that it whould not be Crawford. Thompson, Dickov and O'Connor will give you lots of running and will contest every ball thrown into the box.

I think I'd start with Dickov to annoy the Italian backline like he did against Holland at Hampden and then look to Riordan to come off the bench later in the game. I much prefer McFadden coming off the bench too so I'd start with McCann. McFadden can change a game but his best games are coming on as a sub. My team would be:

Code:
                 Douglas

McNamara      Weir       Pressley     Naysmith

               Dailly

Fletcher       Ferguson      Quashie       McCann

               Dickov
 

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When did they perfect the cloning process chivo? ;)

That's a couple who've went for Neil McCann in the starting line-up. If he was playing regularly for Southampton I wouldn't have a problem with that. But McCann's struggled to make any impact. All i've seen him do this season was in a 2-2 draw where he set up the goals from set-pieces. McFadden seems to be establishing himself more in the Everton team ATM, and that's good enough for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Angle_eyes said:
McFadden seems to be establishing himself more in the Everton team ATM, and that's good enough for me.
Don't say that, you'll only encourage 8-ball to enter the scene with his "told you so" routine. ;)
 

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King_Henrik said:
Don't say that, you'll only encourage 8-ball to enter the scene with his "told you so" routine. ;)
I actually thought about that :D I was gonna add another sentence or two to expand on his situation, but trust you're both mature enough to let it go :lala:
 

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Angle_eyes said:
When did they perfect the cloning process chivo? ;)
LOL, now fixed- Cutting and pasting in haste.

I think McFadden is the better player too and I think I'm probably the only one that wouldn't start him. Coming off the bench though he seems to be better and give the team a lift. Might even be a case for playing Riordan out there as he plays wide then introduce McFadden when we need to.
 

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I think we saw yesterday why Dickov will start against Italy and Riordan will be on the bench. Dickov managed a double against Norwich, whilst Riordan was anonymous against Rangers. Correct me if i'm wrong, but isn't that 0 goals for Riordan in 5 appearances against the Old Firm this season? If that's correct, it shows the youngster still has a long way to go.

Whilst games can pass Riordan by, Dickov doesn't let them. I doubt the likes of Nesta and Cannavaro will have come up against many strikers with his style, or lack of it. Obviously the Italian defenders won't be quaking in their boots at the thought of facing Dickov, but, if fit, he should and will start before Riordan.
 

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I've never quite been comfortable with Neil Sullivan after reading an interview with him where he stated that although he is a professional footballer he doesn't really care for the game that much. It's simply a career and the last thing he would consider doing after his daily 9-5 would be to watch a match or read anything about it.

At least he's honest but as a typical guy who grew up eating, drinking and breathing football, this just irks me a bit coupled with the fact that he never seems that distressed at losing a goal (from what I've seen).

All things considered my vote would go to Douglas.
 
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