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Lapping up the Loch Lomond luxury

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Chris Jardine | 12:59 UK time, Wednesday, 11 February 2009

I must admit that I have never written my column in such amazing surroundings. My partner, Laura, turned 30 on Tuesday and we have taken the celebrations up to Loch Lomond for a two-night stay at Cameron House.

Laura was getting a wee bit excited when I told her that the Scotland squad usually stay here during their get-togethers. I could have sworn she actually said that she was looking forward to meeting some real footballers!

Unfortunately, we have missed out this time as they are staying in St Andrews, but at least I'm confident enough now that Laura will remain a Third Division Wag for a little longer.

squadtraining438.jpgStaying with the national team and there has been plenty of opinion as to whether the timing of the squad gathering could have been better managed.

I've been speaking to some people that are none too happy about it. Unsurprisingly, the majority are Old Firm supporters.

It's not only the punters that are up in arms either.

Andy Goram is the latest to question the timing, just days before a match that could go a long way to deciding the SPL title.

Quite honestly, Goram said that had he been in the position of the current Rangers and Celtic players, he would have pulled out of the squad.

As Goram is long retired he won't attract the same level of criticism that a current international might have but I'm sure he can expect a few e-mails as the main subject in various press hotlines.

As for my take on the situation - I don't think any squad gathering should be seen as bad timing.

Like everyone else, I want a successful national team and the more we can get these players together as a group the better.

The Scotland coaching staff will look after the players and will be mindful of the important games they are all due to take part in this weekend.

Back to matters closer to home now.

I had hoped to make a first-team comeback in the weekend draw with Stenhousemuir but I picked up an injury in a recent reserve game, which resulted in me missing out.

That sums up the way things are going for me at the minute and I expect the injury to keep me out for at least another week.

I suppose that's what happens to us 30-year-olds when we start one game every two months.

I watched the match on Saturday and although I didn't speak to the manager or the players after the game I expect that they were all disappointed.

After a bit of a scrappy start we began to take control of the first half and certainly deserved our half-time lead thanks to John Macbeth's first goal for the club on his full debut.

I fully expected us to go on and win the game but unfortunately we started the second half poorly and lost an early goal. From then on the game had a draw written all over it and 1-1 was just about the correct result.

Looking on the bright side of things, it was another point gained against a team looking to win automatic promotion.

That's us now achieved three wins and a draw against the top five teams in our most recent fixtures which is not bad going.

The chairman said in his pre-match notes at the weekend that the month of February could very well dictate which end of the table we end up fighting at towards the end of the season - and he might not be far wrong.

The next three fixtures see us facing Berwick Rangers, Albion Rovers and Forfar - all teams that are bunched in with us in the league table.

Win more points from these three fixtures than we lose and we could very well be looking at those promotion spots.


  • Comment number 1.

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  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    If you want a successful national team, may I suggest you become Italian...

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm with you Chris on this - as a Scotland supporter on a designated international week, the national coach has opted not to have a friendly before the well-scheduled (as always with the SPL) Old Firm game.

    The sooner these two monstrosities of groups of Scottish society realise they are not representative of Scotland as a whole and get away from the insular thoughts they have about themselves, the better life will be both as a football fan and in general. I certainly know the majority of towns and cities in Scotland will be off-limits to the majority of non-OF supporters come 2pm on Sunday.

  • Comment number 5.

    I'm a Celtic and Scotland fan and I thought the timing was fine. Personally, I prefer these get togethers to morale-sapping friendly defeats to lesser teams. The headlines have to come from somewhere and if the papers aren't screaming about a poor scotland performance, what are they going to scream about? Enter Andy Goram. His irrelevant comments helped no one. Roll on Sunday without either side having any unnecessary injuries.

    Chris, I went to Cameron House last year (proposed to my Fiance there. It's fantastic, eh?) The steak in the main restaurant is unbelievable. Anyway....

  • Comment number 6.

    I love the way people who are more than happy to have their pop at Burley start moaning about a Scotland get-together. It seems every time there is a freindly or gathering, many are up in arms as it appears to ruin other events or "crucial" matches (The Old Firm being a prime culprit)

    I think back to that game in Georgia where they played the 17 year old in goal and we didn't test him once, eventually putting us in a position where we had to not lose to Italy, and lo and behold, we yet agiain didn't qualify for a major tournament.

    Scott Brown and Alan Hutton were "injured" for that game and then 3 days later were competing in an Old Firm game, the be-all and end-all of life.

    I'm fed up of this schoolyard whining from journalists and fans alike, greeting about Scotland games/gatherings interfering with their precious Old Firm games. We need to get to a World Cup, that's what should matter so let's do whatever it takes to acheive that.

  • Comment number 7.

    Jardie as you know over recent weeks I have been encouraging you through a difficult patch in the hope that you will make it back into the match day squad however; I think you have let yourself down this week. I would expect the club captain to at least talk to the manager and his team mates after the game whether he had played or not. The question is simple do you want to be involved or not. If the answer is yes then come on get stuck in and encourage the others too.

  • Comment number 8.

    dunion - I have appreciated your comments recently and have taken them on board - however I'm a little confused at your disappointment this week?

    In a nutshell - I very much want to be involved, which is why I continue to support my team when I am unfit.

    I feel you may have made assumptions regarding my comments regarding the players and manager. I spoke with the boys prior to the match and gave my encouragement at that time.

    The only reason I didn't speak with anyone after the match was due to a family engagement which meant I left straight after the final whistle. This is something I would more or less have done regardless of whether I had been playing or not - with the managers permission of course.

    When I'm not in the playing squad I won't go into the dressing room after the game as I don't think it's really the right time. The manager is talking with the players and the players are then jumping in and out of showers.

    I normally always talk with the players and staff after games - but I do this over a drink in the social club, when we also mix with the supporters.

    I hope this has cleared things up.

  • Comment number 9.

    Nice write up. Good luck for your next match!

  • Comment number 10.

    Jardie as always your honesty is appreciated and a breath of fresh air. I am still convinced that there is a big hole in the midfield with your name on it. Come on get stuck in this week and make it hard for Harry to ignore you.


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