The Pure Fitbaw guide to Scotland beating the Czech Republic in the Nations League

Almost exactly a year ago Scotland lost at home to Russia (6/9/19) and away to Belgium (9/9/19) in Euro 2020 group stage qualifiers. A hard sell if you were to travel back in time to then and try to convince Steve Clarke about the future but Euro 2020 has been postponed, many of the great goals you thought Matt Le Tissier scored simply did not happen - a beautiful strike instantly deleted, wiped out forever every time he tweets something idiotic - and our opponents tonight, the Czech Republic, have had to call up an entirely new squad and coaching staff with about a day's notice. Here's how we win!

Sky Blue Scots: Coventry City’s Pair To Watch

Coventry City were League One champions last season thanks to the division’s sternest defensive record. The team kept fourteen clean sheets from thirty-four games, only lost three times, and only once by more than a single goal. Put simply, this was a team that enjoyed defending. Central to Coventry City’s defensive record last season was a back three formed of three Scots, with the experienced Kyle McFadzean flanked by Michael Rose on the right and Dominic Hyam on the left. With the latter two being relatively young and having developed at an impressive rate over the past two seasons or so, they are both players who are likely to to be on Steve Clarke’s radar for the Scottish national team over the coming year.

Is the Scotland squad really that bad?

Indulging in feelings of nostalgia and reminiscing about the good old days is scientifically proven to have a positive effect on our mental wellbeing. A study by the University of Southampton in 2006 found a direct correlation between people who reminisce the most and those who enjoy the happiest lives. Professor Clay Routledge discovered nostalgic … Continue reading Is the Scotland squad really that bad?

Dour And Defensive Steve Clarke Right Manager At The Wrong Time

After back to back 4-0 defeats against Russia and Belgium, the inquests have begun. Is Steve Clarke the right man to take Scotland forward? 
There is no denying that what Clarke achieved at Kilmarnock, considering what he inherited and what his resources were, was nothing short of incredible. Clarke also has experience at the highest level in England with stints as a coach with the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool and as a manager for Reading and West Brom. It is completely understandable why the SFA wanted someone that has demonstrated resilience and tactical capability like Clarke has to take over from the disappointing second Alex McLeish era.

Clarke ticks a lot of boxes but there is one box that looks to have been missed in this humble writer's opinion. 

"Does the manager's style get the best out of our current player pool?" 

Cardiff City’s Callum Paterson could prove Scotland’s saviour

When Callum Paterson netted Cardiff City’s third goal in a 3-0 win over Queens Park Rangers on Wednesday night, he ended a goalscoring drought. A drought that hadn’t seen him net a Bluebirds league goal since scoring the winner in a 1-0 victory over Southampton in December 2018, when Cardiff were still a Premier League … Continue reading Cardiff City’s Callum Paterson could prove Scotland’s saviour

Our Girls, Our Game: Assessing Scotland’s Women’s World Cup Squad

It's official Shelley Kerr has selected her twenty-three women squad for Scotland's debut at the Women's World Cup in France. Here at Pure Fitbaw we give you the low down on the names and faces you'll be cheering on this summer as Kerr's side take on England, Japan and Argentina in Group A before hopefully going further than any of our national sides have gone before … Continue reading Our Girls, Our Game: Assessing Scotland’s Women’s World Cup Squad

The Alex McLeish Sympathy Bandwagon

🚨 @PureFitbaw Podcast 🚨 In episode 11, The Alex McLeish Sympathy Bandwagon, of the Pure Fitbaw Podcast Gavin and Owen discuss some - sort of - under radar Premiership players, @LiviFCOfficial’s season, Championship relegation fight & our takes on @ScotlandNT job. Apple: tinyurl.com/PF11iTunes Spotify: tinyurl.com/PF11Spotify Stream: tinyurl.com/PF11Stream

Scotland Just Lack A World Class Goalscorer

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.