Tag Archives: Hibernian Football Club
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Evolvolution Trumps Revolution

11 Feb

Lets be honest the seeds for Mark Warburtons Downfall were sown in early 2016.  After a blisteting start to the all important Promotion or Bust season the other Nine Teams began to learn from their Homework.  To the degree that you didnt need to send a Scout to build a dossier on Warburtons Rangers all you had to do was check your notes from previous games.  

Warburton had the element of Surprise in his first round of fixtures in league.  Blowing Hibs away in Petrofac Cup first Round surprised many.  

Then a good first round of League fixtures for Warburton and the frailities of back Four with Wing Backs, a narrow mudfield three combined with a mobile front Three.  Starting from Deep keeping possession at almost all costs.  Warburton set rules and they mostly had the letter P as a key.

Possesion and play percentage passes. 

The problems came when other teams realised to defend against this Rangers team all you had to do was man mark in your own half with a chaser running down the Centre Backs in Blue. That lead to Rangers turning from a free flowing Attacking force who would score more than they let in, to a nervous uncomfortable squad in possession who leaked goals. In fact it seemed Rangers needed to go a goal down to begin to look like they were interested in putting the opponents goal in Danger. 

Countless examples of how to Play Rangers and win come right out of the Alan Stubbs Robbie Nelson Play Book.  Against Brendan Rodgers Celtic at Recent League Cup Semi Final with Tavernier in Midfield and Lee Hodson in at full back playing a solid looking 4-4-2 then it took some formation Changes from Celtic to win at Hampden.  

Warburton was is stubborn the joke was Mark had only read one paragraph of one page in one chapter of the Big Book of Football Tactics.  And like a Born Again Christian he believed every word to be Gosple.  Warburton seemed to fail in questioning his own ethos to the degree that he could not evolve.  From early 2016 the signs were there. First Game of Warburton Era versus Hibs at Easter Road a surpise drubbing of Hibs.  Last game of season a toe to toe battle at Hampden in Scottish Cup Final with Hibs winning by using only one page of Tactics.  How to beat a Warburtons Rangers. 

Flattering to decieve with some lovely moments but for me Warburton Plan A became a bust flush and the lack of a Plan B caused the downfall. 

The Warburton Revolution simply failed to kick on and Evolve.  

Ladbrokes Championship Predictions 2016-17

31 Jul

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Continuing on from the Ladbrokes Premiership Predictions its probably a good time to step into the mire that is the Ladbrokes Championship.  Mire is a apt word as this league is by far the hardest to predict and Clubs finding themselves dropped into this league have found it easier to fall out the bottom of the League than gain Promotion to the Premiership.  In last three years only Hamilton Accies have moved up via the perilous route of the Playoffs.  Relegating Hibernian who have repeatedly failed to get out of the league.  Falkirk failed at the last Hurdle last year and Rangers the year before.  Don’t think for a second that remaining a in the Championship is easy too Alloa were last years whipping Boys and they successfully Beat or Drew with Teams chasing Promotion and Playoff Places.  Even before Ross Jack took some green paint to narrow the pitch.  The remaining teams will be delighted that their fixtures don’t include two trips to the dodgy carpet at The Innodrill.   

1 Falkirk
2 Saint Mirren
3 Hibernian
4 Raith Rovers
5 Dundee United
6 Dunfermline Athletic
7 Queen of South
8 Greenock Morton
9 Ayr United
10 Dumbarton
Falkirk Stad

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 In a League spoiled by Title Contenders I have plumped for Falkirk to gain automatic Promotion.  Peter Houston’s late goal kings simply have something money can’t buy they don’t give up which is good because the lack of any real investment in the Squad and relying on Loan’s and Youth to freshen up the Squad is the only real reason the perennial Bridesmaid cant walk down the aisle to the Premiership.

 

Alex Rae’s Saint Mirren in second is again, some will say a surprising choice.  It’s the former Rangers stars first real Season in Charge and he took Ian Murray’s Duds at Christmas and turned them into a team with something that the Paisley Buddies hardly recognised.  A Team that would play well at The Paisley 2021 Stadium not  just playing well a team that actually won at Home.  Rae has stamped his personality on the Squad,  determined, skilful, thoughtful and playing with a smile.  New Owners with Fan involvement should ensure smiles all round Greenfield Road this season.  Maybe not automatic promotion but a good chance in the playoffs.

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Scottish Cup winners Hibernian in Third.  Neil Lennon replaces Leith Hero Alan Stubbs but there is something worrying in Easter Road.  After beating the Cup Jinx can Hibs beat the League Jinx.  With tricky trips to unfamiliar surroundings and with a slightly lower standard of Referees will former Celtic Boss Lennon remain in the dug out long enough to exert influence.  The European failure gave the impression that the Hibs team has a feel of after the Lord Mayors Show.  No amount of exuberance can hide Hibernians terrible record in the Playoffs,  so with all this in mind my thoughts is another season of under achieving in the league.

If it wasn’t for Bad Luck Gary Locke would have no Luck at all.  Head Coach at troubled Hearts then being Sacked by new Board to move to take over at equally troubled Kilmarnock to be sacked mid Season.  Locke is a good Coach, one to watch and maybe the stability of Kirkcaldy will suit him so a nice easy Fourth and a playoff place.  No One would grudge Hearts Legend Locke that. From the good foundations laid by Ray McKinnon I suspect that Raith Rovers will cock a snoop at their previous Manager.

in Bottom half of the league.  Its by the talents of the former Raith Boss that I place United in fifth.Dundee United have that look of British Home Stores.  Faded glory,  if you look past the neglect and mismanagement you can see hints of gold leaf but you have to look through layers of dust. The Days of Jim McLean and Ivan Golak have been tarnished by Stephen Thompson’s colossal mismanaging his inheritance.  Board Room Family Squabbles, Managers on commission on sales of players,  Finger Pointing and generally blaming anyone but himself in conjunction with being a loud voice in matters not directly involving Tannadice.  If I have missed something out in that description its only because they are so many rocks a Arab can throw at The Tannadice Board Room and Pantomime villain Chairman Moan Thompson.  Ray McKinnon former player in the good old days has gambled his stock with the Tangerine Fans.  Ray has a top heavy demoralised squad with a mighty wage bill to service and a Shop Keepers Idiot son as His Boss.  If it wasn’t for sheer respect for McKinnon I would once again like last year place Dundee United

Dunfermline Athletic in sixth as the Pars recover from near financial meltdown.  If any club could have the tag too big to be… then surely its the East End Park Club. Allan Johnston has slowly filled a playing roster with youth and players on last chance to great effect.  A year to cement away days in Dunfermline as the development continues with a creditable Sixth place.

When Previous Managers flew north to Ross County James Fowler faced up with the expectations of the Dumfries fans and didn’t quiet reach the mark. Selling good players on or losing them to others didn’t help and I suspect Fowler is still learning at Queen Of The South. I suspect the influx of Teams with Premiership Experience has made Queen Of The South’s task of Challenging difficult.  It would be a Leicester City style shock of Biblical proportions for Queen Of The South to be in top half of the table but I don’t see them troubling the Playoff or relegation places either.

Jim Duffy what can you say about a man who is so enthusiastic and a Football Man.  Strip controversy apart their is a hard core loyal fan base to please in Greenock and on the whole Duffy’s Morton do just that.  Tight Budget constraints mean that Morton for me will shock sometimes awe but mainly settle for a nice Eighth.

Ayr United in ninth,  Ian McColl worked wonders bringing the Somerset Park Club up last term and with similar Budget to Jim Duffy along the coast at Greenock I think Ayr United will miss the experience of Morton and fail to overtake them in League.  I do think in the final shakedown a trip to the Beach will be on the fixture list next year.

 Dumbarton in automatic relegation place as the Championship waves goodbye to the Rock.  Stephen Aitken is a good coach but there are only ten teams in this league and some one has to finish last and its difficult to argue against Dumbarton not filling that slot. 

 

 

Showpiece Shame

21 May

Like the Parade lap of a Grand Prix what should of been remembered was forgotten.
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A Club so long without a trophy won it.  A game that had been equally fought, well Refereed and narrowly won was cast aside. Gone was the Glory of the first Goal as was the Screamer from the Local Boy.  The Captain’s winning header washed away by the tears of the Young children hurried away from the Stadium moments after Full Time.

The fault lies solely and Completely in Leith.  The moment of Joy of victory soured by over three thousand of their own invading the pitch.  The late winner from Captain David Grey and more importantly his running into the Legions of Leith breaking the most important defensive boundary on a football pitch.  The invisible wall that keeps the Spectators in the Stands and the players safe on the pitch.  A crime he got Booked for by Referee and no doubt should be Questioned by Police Scotland.

It was a day of crossing the line for Hibernian.  After One Hundred and Fourteen Years Alan Stubbs Men finally reunited Easter Road with the Scottish Cup.  As the final whistle sounded the lines so clearly marked became blurred in the euphoria for the Hibees.  Let’s look calmly at the events.
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Thousands clad in the Colours of Hibernian streamed over a Wall, they then ran forty metres, vaulted advertising holdings and continued onto the playing surface.  Continued towards the half way line spitting and punching Rangers players.  Once they got to the Halfway line other Members of Ibrox Staff became Targets for Violence.

Let’s not pretend it was a joyous celebration or “Over Exuberance” this was Public Disorder. Let’s not forget in 1980 the last time Police Horses graced Hampden’s turf Football Stadia (Scotland) Act was hastening brought into law. In the year finally Football Fans were declared Innocent of wrongdoing and Contributing to Hillsbourgh. Edinburgh Hibernian gave the David Duckenfield’s of this world a reason to justify their belief that ALL football fans are Animals to be treated with contempt.

Contempt is exactly what Hibernians immediate reaction could be described as. For Alan Stubbs and Rod Petrie to claim to be unaware of the Alleged Assaults on Rangers Staff and seek to belittle the Criminal Actions of what looked the vast majority in Green and White as merely a couple of Gadgys having a laugh is beyond any form of explanation. The Rangers Statement (http://rangers.co.uk/news/headlines/rangers-statement-2/) was given a clear 30 mins before anyone from Hibernian spoke indeed Stuart Regan had given a Official SFA statement before Petrie spoke. In fact Stuart Regan was attending a Crisis Meeting with Police while the Hibs Chairman was speaking. Ignorance is not an excuse. Who was informing the Hibernian Chairman and Manager? Helen Keller! Petrie’s position in the Board of The SFA is untenable after his stunning post match comments. ( http://stv.tv/sport/football/1354888-see-hibs-chairman-rod-petrie-respond-to-cup-final-crowd-disorder/ )

Any assault by Hibernian Fans on any Rangers Staff will no doubt have to be treated as Sectarian Aggravated Assault by Police Scotland some even Racist.

Let’s face it on Saturday Morning Hibernian as a Club did not know how to Win the Scottish Cup, by the time the Dregs of Society left Hampden it was crystal clear NO ONE of a Hibs persuasion knew HOW TO CELEBRATE winning the William Hill Scottish Cup. Hibernian Football Club lost all Dignity and Credibility Hampden.

The simple truth is the Party stopped at the white lines of the pitch. If it was a party why did Hibs Hoards cross the halfway line. The trophy gets presented immediately above the Halfway line. Why if it’s EXUBERANCE where fans running goading the quickly emptying West Stand and the Western Half of The North and South Stands where Rangers fans sat. If you’re party mode involves spitting, punching and Kicking out at others then whatever party is being held in Easter Road tonight I do not think many members of Humanity want an invite.
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Stuart Regan was as damning as he could be. He could not issue punishments as that needs reflection and time to gather facts. I am sure the decision to present the oldest Trophy in Football to David Grey was only upon Police orders made on the hoof (possibly even on horseback on the damaged pitch) to avoid a further out break of Exuberance leading to full scale Riot. Hibernian should of been handed the Cup and medals in the Away Dressing Room with no ceremony. A as yet unnamed SFA official handed a box containing the Runners up medals to Rangers Young player Ryan Hardie who delivered the box to a Rangers dressing room that resembled a Accident and Emergency Triage station as several Players were assessed for injuries received from as yet unknown Violent Thugs from Edinburgh. It had been judged not Safe, let me just repeat that. IT HAD BEEN JUDGED NOT SAFE for Rangers Players and Staff to collect their Runners Up medals therefore surely it was not Safe for Edinburgh Hibernian to collect their Accolades in front of violent thugs dressed in Green and White.

The recriminations have just started but Punishment must be given to Hibernian. It seems obvious a few hours after this Showpiece Shame that the diluted slap in the wrists given to Motherwell after last year’s Over Exuberance in the Second Leg of the Play Off Final was not enough for Fans to think running the length of a Football Pitch to goad Rangers Fans into engaging in violence. It is important to remember Titles and Cups can be withheld at Grace of SFA. No Cup was awarded in 1909 due to a riot on the pitch. It’s not inconceivable that the longest No win streak in Football history could easily go the same way as Lance Armstrong seven Tour De France victories. Imagine the Over Exuberance of Hibs then. Just as several should expect a Knock on the door for their actions following the Match, Rod Petrie, Leanne Dempster, Alan Stubbs and Co should expect a knock on the Door of Easter Road asking for the Trophy and Medals to be Returned.

The options for Punishment from the SFA are limited given they were hosting the Game having clearly taken advice from Police. This game was Category C(IR), the highest possible Alert Category C with Increased Risk tagged on for good measure. That’s how seriously Police Scotland treated this Game. The Punishment options available to the SFA are incredibly limited. FINES did not create a culture of restraint following the near Riot at Fir Park Motherwell last year, so a monetary punishment alone has been proven to provide underwhelming results.

Hibs could be banned from defending their Trophy indeed banned from Scottish Cup for a number of years the precedent for this was set By UEFA banning ALL English Clubs from European Competitions and Liverpool Football Club for an addition couple of years. This would not negatively affect a Club that hadn’t won the Cup for over a century, indeed it would turn out to be a positive cutting out fixture congestion in a busy Championship Season. It is a with regret that I am minded to think the only punishment available to SFA that has any teeth is in fact Hampden withholding the Trophy with fines and even a tournament Ban. The only way to stub out the returning Spector of Football violence within Stadia is to hit the Club hard. The weakness of previous Punishments came back to haunt the Hampden hierarchy there could be no ambiguities Hibernians Crimes happened right in front of them on their own pitch at an event they staged. Even Arsene Wenger would of seen it!

Rangers fans and Staff are already feeling targeted, two Seasons in a row Rangers Fans have been subject to rival fans running the length of a football pitch to attempt to attack them. Don’t get this wrong Rangers fans and Staff do not demand to be universally loved and warmly welcomed to every ground in Scotland by every Club and its fans. Rangers fans do demand to expect to attend a Football game without having Morons charging at them demanding a “Square go”! Add in the basic Working Conditions of Rangers Players and Staff who would consider not being assaulted at work as the kind of request that should go unsaid by everyone of working age. Society has clear Zero tolerance rules in every workplace currently apart from Scottish football.

There have already been calls to the Club to Ban ALL AWAY fans from Ibrox next year. It’s not a bad call when you see Parents hearding their children out of a Stadium because of the return of the bad olde days then you know the book needs thrown at Hibs. The Family freindly image hard won in years since Football Casuals created the deadly cages of Hillsbourgh Hibernian Football Club have dragged Scottish Football back into the the Dark Ages.

The excuse of they are not Hibs fans fails when you check the receipts all the tickets sold to Thugs was sold via Hibernian Football Club. The question stands why did Hibernian with a average home attendance of TEN Thousand receive a ticket allocation of TWENTY ONE THOUSAND. Hibernian received and SOLD 210% of their normal home ticket sales. Inherent in condition of sale is taking the name of all who occupy a seat. So Hibernian should know who they sold the tickets too and if they want to distance themselves as a Club from the Thugs then it is a paper thing excuse.
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Congratulations Hibernian for ending a long history of Police Horses Free Hampden.

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Manager Report Cards March 2016

13 Mar

When you examine the season so far only really one thing stands out.  The performance of Managers.  With only a few stand out players and a couple of memorable games what you are left with is how well the Coaching staff have done. So in view of  this I have complied a Top Twenty Managers.
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