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Every time I see the words “The North”, it brings back memories of a great Argentine friend of mine who had flown into Britain for the first time, lured here by Monty Python’s re-union at the 02 in London! Post the “bleedin’ demise” of that entertaining gig, the next day we set off on the drive to Scotland and as we hit the M1 just outside the capital, one the first signs he clapped his eyes on said “The North”, and every time subsequently he saw these words, he’d r
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Readers of a certain vintage will perhaps recall the UEFA Cup Final of 1981, when Bobby Robson’s Ipswich Town defeated AZ’67 their Dutch opponents, 5-4 on aggregate, complete with Dutchmen Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen in the Portman Road side. By modern day standards it was perhaps an unusual double act for a European final, but in the days before excessively seeded draws, coefficients and big money made the route for the lesser clubs to a final more protracted,
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Veneto is one of the most visited regions of Italy with the lure of Venetian canal splendours and Veronese balconies being the main draw. The more adventurous travellers will doubtlessly have a look at Padova too given its proximity to Venezia with it’s beautiful piazza’s and slightly less manic tourism, but equidistant between Verona and Padova on the main Milan to Trieste railway line is Vicenza, which is a real gem of a city.
Here is the home of Andrea Palla
I know I keep banging on about it, but the Scottish Championship really is a compelling league. As we enter the final quarter of the season, all ten clubs have something to play for. Inconsistency has been the dominant theme as teams go from periods where everything goes in to ones when they seem to have smashed a mirror over a black cat whilst walking under a ladder, or vice versa. The table is so tight that some teams who were in the promotion playoff hunt a month ago are now looking over the
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The heading to this article will see smoke billowing out of any ardent Vicenza fans ears! But if they were honest, they have to be thankful for the owner of the team from Bassano del Grappa for keeping the “il biancorossi” in the third tier this term. This modern story is yet another classic Oliver Hardy tie fumbling moment of “another fine mess”, and it’s such a real shame to have fallen upon the oldest club in Veneto.
Last season Vicenza were really strugglin
It may not have Rangers or Hearts or Hibs in it any more, but the Championship is still a league worthy of plenty of attention. Firstly, there's a title race (no, there isn't one in the Premiership. Rangers being six points behind does not a title race make). Whether Ayr can sustain a challenge is unclear but Ross County are good value for top spot and Dundee United have used their new American money to buy an entire new team in January as they look to pull back the current six point deficit to
After Brendan Rodgers told the media that Martin Canning "has done a wonderful job" at Hamilton, one couldn't help thinking of the bit in Return Of The Jedi when Obi-Wan Kenobi tries to convince Luke Skywalker that his claim that his father was dead "was true, from a certain point of view". That point of view is certainly held by Canning's employers. They are quick to point out that this is the fifth consecutive season that Accies have spent in the top flight, no mean feat considering that as r
Who'd be a referee? The aftermath of the Old Firm game and the treatment of John Beaton - regardless of how you felt about his performance - has not been a proud moment for Scottish football. And it follows on from four months of seemingly endless refereeing controversies and criticisms. According to several managers and clubs, there is a real problem with the standard of officiating. According to the officials, it is harder than ever to do their job right, and they are being given an unfairly
The January transfer window always seems a bit mental. With it being the last decent chance to bring in new players, we often see managers panic and bring in an entire team of players, the footballing equivalent of throwing a ton of stuff at a wall and hoping some of it will stick. There are also inevitably some unexpected arrivals, and some unexpected departures too. So frankly, predicting what will happen is a mug's game. But we're going to do it anyway, because, you know. Let's have a look a
In the Spring of 2015, I was lucky enough to be on a city break in Barcelona right on time to take in the second leg of Barca's Champions League Quarter Final against Paris St. Germain. You may well remember the home side's opening goal; facing his own goal, midway inside his own half, Andres Iniesta took a pass into feet with a PSG player steaming in to close him down. The crowd collectively took a deep breath, only for Iniesta to spin 180 degrees and leave his opponent for dead. The 80,000 che
Ladies and gentleman, the James Forrest Show Few players are more frustrating to watch than nippy wingers who are playing badly. Conversely, few excite quite as much as nippy wingers who are in top form and oozing confidence. Step forward James Forrest, who has now scored five goals in two Scotland games - and 11 in 11 games for club and country. There was more than just the hat-trick to savour; his decision-making, so often erratic at best, was perfect again and again as he weaved in and out of
Fraser was the spark Ryan Fraser started the match like a man with something to prove - and maybe he did, given that injuries have prevented him from repeating his outstanding Bournemouth performances for the national team. Within seconds of kickoff he had nicked the ball and raced into the box; whilst that didn't lead to anything it was a taste of things to come. In addition to a fine goal he set up the fourth for James Forrest and was not so much a winger as a blur of energy throughout. And hi
AJ under pressure at Dunfermline? So many of Dunfermline's home games this season have ended with the sound of booing, so Allan Johnston may be immune to it now. But a derby defeat to Falkirk was the lowest ebb of the Pars' season so far, one in which they've managed just one win and two goals in seven league matches at East End Park. No wonder the fans are revolting (no, not in that sense). This one might have turned out differently had Andy Ryan not missed the mother of all sitters for the ho
Falkirk at least have an excuse to change goalkeeper Sending out new signing Prince Buaben with his name spelt 'BURBAN' on the back of his shirt really doesn't help dispel the general feeling of incompetence surrounding Falkirk at the moment. But in the hostile Cappielow atmosphere, stoked by Morton's feelings of betrayal towards Ray McKinnon, the Bairns gave as good as they got in the first half; whilst Gary Oliver hit the post for the hosts, Zak Rudden - who looks like a real prospect - should
For those of us bored to tears by Celtic's seven consecutive and pretty much unchallenged titles, and who grew up during the era of Rangers' nineties nine in a row, the current Scottish Premiership table makes for good reading.
The natural instinct of the football fan is of course knee-jerk reactivity. A big win? Everyone's a genius. An embarrassing defeat? Sack the manager, drop everyone and play the youth team. So when my gut feeling after a result is as black and white as that, I try to repress it. Resist the urge to put out a Twitter call for heads on a plate, I tell myself. Sleep on it, then re-evaluate the situation the next day. But after a performance like Scotland's in Tel Aviv, the lust for bloodshed has ba
Life after Laszlo begins now
Dundee United fans had predicted a day like this for a long time. Recent results may have been acceptable, but sooner or later a half-decent opponent would rip up the facade and show them for what they really were. Whilst Ross County were far better than 'half-decent', in truth they only needed to be two things - professional and ruthless - to annihilate United on their own patch. Whether bad attitude or low confidence (or both) were to blame, this was the sort of re
Does a season go by without Scottish fans getting angry about a cup semi-final kickoff time? Well, for the upcoming League Cup semi-finals we have two clubs, and their supporters, up in arms. Aberdeen face a Sunday lunchtime kickoff at Hampden against Rangers. Hearts have a 1945 start the very same evening to take on Celtic. Neither are happy campers. The Dons have certainly been here before. Their issue is not really the distance - it's 150 miles from Pittodrie to Hampden according to Google
Another week, another strange Ross County lineup Are two heads really better than one? That's a reasonable question to ask of Ross County's co-managers after yet more chopping and changing to the starting lineup did more harm than good. This time it was the benching of Iain Vigurs, so often able to control Championship games on his own, and Josh Mullin, the team's only quick wide player. It was no surprise that County were too narrow yet unable to dominate in the centre of the pitch; for the fir
Archibald running out of time to kickstart Thistle's seasonYou know that old adage about players coming back to haunt their former clubs? In Inverness it only worked in one direction. Sean Welsh is remembered rather more fondly at Partick Thistle than Mark Ridgers, who shipped eight goals in one and a half games at Firhill. Welsh netted a penalty against his former club while Ridgers saved one at the other end.
Ridgers' stop came from ICT old boy Miles Storey who had one of those days where not
With league action returning this weekend after the international break, and the transfer window shut - except for free agents - till January, now seems like a good time to look back at each Premiership club's summer activity and decide who has strengthened and who looks worse off... ABERDEEN BEST SIGNING? Lewis Ferguson was supposed to be one for the future, but he's already established himself as a first choice in midfield and that goal against Burnley will be remembered for years to come. Gi
Another week, another episode of the Stephen Dobbie show If you looked up 'futility' in a dictionary, you might find the clip of a drunk Ayr fan - at least, we hope he was drunk - invading the pitch as Stephen Dobbie missed a penalty (QOS were 4-0 up at the time, and it wasn't even half-time yet). Or you might find Daniel Harvie, shown a second yellow for dissent in the second half. Harvie has given away a penalty and been sent off in each of his last two league appearances for Ayr. Or you migh
It is hard to believe that just over three years ago Falkirk should have won the Scottish Cup. Having matched top flight Caley Thistle from the off, they took control after Carl Tremarco's sending off and deservedly equalized against the ten men; at that point Inverness were out on their feet and there was only going to be one winner. Then Jamie MacDonald gifted a goal to James Vincent and Caley Thistle nicked the victory and the glory.
It's also hard to believe that the following Spring Fa
Big Dunc takes charge of his first game at Inverness with a visit to Gayfield to take on Dick Campbell's Arbroath. Kick-off is at 3:00 on Saturday with Inverness looking for a change in fortunes after a disasterous run of games saw Billy Dodds sacked after the defeat to Dundee United, with just one point from six League games and out of the League Cup and Challenge Cup. Success won't happen overnight and the Caley Jags fans might have to wait a bit for a turnaround in results, but it won't be for a lack of passion or enthusiasm for the game.
Duncan Ferguson has been appointed as the new manager of Inverness Caledonian Thistle nine days after Billy Dodds contract was terminated. It's a bold move by the Caley Jags who languish adrift at the bottom of the Championship with one point from their opening six games. Out of the League Cup at the group stages with only one win in their three matches and dumped out of the Challenge Cup by Arbroath, this needed to be a crucial appointment of the highest order. Despite some respected names being bandied about as potential managers, out of the blue and making a late charge on the rails came Big Dunc who was out of a job
Full Time: 0-1: A bit unfortunate to come away with nothing as we looked solid for the most part with new signing Nikola Ujdur looking like a body not to be messed with. However, following his substitution, United threatened more and got the break of the ball to snatch a winner from the jaws of a draw. We put a lot into that game and the performance was decent. However the result remains the same, a one goal defeat. Bottom line is 1 point from six games and only half a goal per game. Time for the strikers to do their bit.
Life without Billy Dodds starts on Saturday, and it couldn't be tougher with Champions elect Dundee United visiting the Caledonian Stadium for a 3:00pm Cinch Championship encounter to round off a week of turmoil down the Longman. It was a no brainer really. The Board terminated the contract of Billy Dodds, and by association, Barry Wilson was struck off as well. No wins in our opening five games and only one point from fifteen had Inverness languishing at the foot of the table on our own. DoddsBall was in full swing. It was a sacking in the making after Dodds got a stay of execution with a Cup Final against Celtic at the end of last season. The big mystery was why was Dodds given a two year extension and who rubber-stamped his contract?
Dodds Sacked: Club Statement
It is with much regret that the club has taken the decision to terminate the contracts of Head Coach Billy Dodds and his Assistant Manager Barry Wilson with immediate effect. Sporting Director John Robertson and Academy Director Charlie Christie will take charge of the team in the interim period while we endeavour to find a new Head Coach in short order and applications will be accepted at firstname.lastname@example.org