Last week, as Brendan Rodgers snuck out of Glasgow - leaving Celtic temporarily without a manager just months away from an unprecedented treble treble - Moussa Dembele stared long and hard at the walls of his apartment in Lyon. A Live, Love, Laugh wall ornament, an Edith Piaf poster centred on the words Non, je ne regrette rien and a vast oil painting of his own face, captured in post scoring ecstasy, took up space along with his SPFL Player of the Month and Team of the Year awards. Those teeth. Those stupid, horsey gnashers within that smug rictus grin. They gleamed out at Dembele from the curved metal of his awards. Rodgers. Those teeth of his. That face. Those words. The promises. Dembele snatched up his phone and let loose his rage. Hashtags. Gifs. Memes.
Episode One of the Pure Fitbaw podcast with Gavin Miller and Owen Brown soundcloud.com/purefitbaw/pure-fitbaw-episode-one/s-YhLqb
Pure Fitbaw Launches A Podcast!
The winter break is over! Wipe the sleep from your eyes, knock the remnants of a James Tavernier flung snowball from your hair, briefly register the shock of Auchinleck Talbot's giant killing triumph in the cup and strap in for the return of the Scottish Premiership. One of the stories of the season has been the appointment of Steven Gerrard as Rangers manager. Ahead of tonight's Kilmarnock versus Rangers clash (with added Jordan Jones flavoured spice ) two Pure Fitbaw writers had a quick WhatsApp conversation rating Gerrard's time at Ibrox so far.
International tournament qualification is, for a country of Scotland's size and quality level, tough and getting tougher. There's a lot of luck and factors that can't be controlled at play such as the group draw and injuries and fair comparisons cannot be drawn with the relative regularity with which we qualified in the past. Maybe using the limited coaching time to focus on defensive organisation and marginal gains such as set pieces can increase our chances but my feeling, based on analysis of the teams in the UEFA Nations League pot above us (all of whom have qualified for one of the last three tournaments), is that we've really just lacked a top class attacker who can conjure goals from nothing and be clinical in the limited opportunities international football provides.
Here, deep in the bowels of Pure Fitbaw Towers, we've finished basking in the glow of a Scottish victory over Albania in the Nations League and have fired up the dusty old statistical scouting databases, twiddled with our abacuses and watched hours and hours of game footage to bring you the first of our International Break scouting reports. Each International Break we will analyse some stats and highlight some young players to keep your eye on throughout the season.
Are you Pure Fitbaw but also pure lazy? Or perhaps there are other reasons such as disability, financial constraints, working hours, location or family commitments which mean you can't actually go to watch football live? Although Scotland does have one of the highest overall attendances at football per capita in Europe there are many more people who love football but don't go to games. We've all read reviews of pies, ticket prices and pubs close to the ground but Pure Fitbaw is here to review some aspects of the modern match experience for the stay at home fan. For each SPFL Premiership club, to understand how immersed you can get in the experience and to check which clubs are making the most of opportunities to engage with their fans away from the ground, we tried to buy the 2018/19 away top from their websites, watch their club TV channel and Instagram Stories content and finally check out the tone and key match day content of their Twitter feed. In a completely unscientific manner we've awarded scores out of 10 for each club and reveal the winner at the bottom of this review.
Pure Fitbaw spoke to Stuart McCall at the IRN-BRU Cup 2nd Round draw recently and we took the opportunity to ask him about his experiences playing for Scotland and his thoughts about the national team ahead of our fixtures in September. McCall was selected for Italia 90 just months after his international debut and scored his only Scotland goal in the group stage match against Sweden. We've reviewed the goal to understand how this incredible moment came about for the player.
As Alfie Mawson nears the completion of a £20 million move from Swansea City to Fulham F.C. we take a look at central defenders manager Graham Potter could consider as replacements while also further strengthening the Scottish connection at the club. Pure Fitbaw profiles three players the Swans could attempt to recruit for the campaign to bounce back from last season's relegation to the English Championship.