That’s how long it’s been since Scotland last qualified for the World Cup. To be more precise it’s exactly 19 years, 3 months, 3 weeks and 4 days since Scotland last graced the pitch in a World Cup. Now that’s a lot of time. To put that into perspective, here’s a list of things that happened since France 98: America voted in their first black President, Liverpool still haven’t won the Premier League, The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, the Scottish Premiership became a ‘one horse race’ and Gordon Strachan ‘resigned’ from all four domestic clubs he has managed.
Six world cup qualifying campaigns later, Scotland find themselves asking a familiar question. Why are we not on the plane to the World Cup next summer? The answer is pretty simple. Why don’t we ask Gordon Strachan, he knows! The self-proclaimed geneticist states:
“Technically we’re fine, but our guys have to work harder to get on the ball than bigger lads at 6ft 3in. Genetically we are behind. In the last campaign we were the second smallest squad behind Spain. That means that I had to pick a team tonight to try and combat their height and strength. Even at that, we couldn’t combat their height and strength at set-plays. Genetically, we have to work at things. It is a problem for us.”
Clearly, somebody has been watching too many Discovery Channel documentaries. The 5ft 6in gaffer baffled journalists everywhere when he decided to back up his point by including Spain. The same Spain team which won the 2010 World Cup and then followed it up by becoming the first country to retain the European Championships. Yeah that Spain. A team which included: Iniesta, Villa, Xavi, Pedro, Fabregas, Silva, Carzola, just to name a few.
One has to ask that if ‘wee man’ Strachan put the same amount of creativity thinking into his coaching as his excuses then we might be on the plane to Russia. I guess a weekend trip to Ayrshires’ ‘world renowned’ Butlins will have to do.
So, where did this fear of big men come from? Legend has it that this whole obsession with big players started in 1986 World Cup after his goal vs West Germany. Strachan went for the classic stand on the advertising boards celebration after an absolute cracker of a finish. A celebration which would of most likely placed him in the record books for the greatest Scottish goal-scoring celebration of all time, however his attempt was thwarted by his short stature and a giant advertising boarding.
Some men like to overcompensate for their failings with flashy cars, fancy suits and big wads of cash. Not our Gordy. He prefers a tactic similar to some Brexit voters by blaming big Eastern European men from Slovenia and Lithuania for his ‘short comings’ in Europe.