Journeymen and Rejects? How about seasoned professionals!
In the aftermath of Inverness Caley's win over Celtic recently I read a comment which described the victors as consisting of journeymen, rejects and kids.
Given the significance of the result and level of performance produced by Inverness that evening, was such a description slightly derogatory and a little underwhelming with respect to the abilities of the players in that side?
Of course, the less dramatic and more accurate way to describe Inverness may have been this: A team made up of seasoned professionals deemed good enough to be sought after by various managers and to have made hundreds of senior appearances, plus others with strong enough character and ability to bounce back from rejection at a club or clubs, supplemented by young players displaying talent which promises a bright future career.
Inverness recorded a 3-2 win over Celtic earlier this month. Photo: SNS.
I accept my offering certainly does not roll off the tongue but I would argue that it does offer a more respectful view upon individuals who deserve to be given credit for the careers they have shaped for themselves.
Another reason for contemplating this is that as the season ends and clubs announce which players they are not offering fresh contracts to, the football market will be awash with those who could be generalised by the three labels given to the successful Inverness XI.
The first group, the 'journeymen', is interesting. I have often found that this description is used in a far from complimentary manner with regards to a player. How often do pundits or fans refer to someone simply being a journeyman or expressing their displeasure at another journeyman signing?
In truth, the term should be used in a more positive way as it reflects someone who has served their apprenticeship and learned their trade and provides a manager with reliable and experienced performances. Of course, a football team cannot consist of 11 such players, just as it cannot be filled with defenders, but their presence is vital and should be considered invaluable.
What about the 'rejects'? No matter the circumstances, it never sounds like an appealing title to be given and yet in football terms huge number of players may wear such a hat.
Ultimately, there are different ways at looking at being labelled a reject. One is that a player believes he is not good enough, or the alternative is that he maintains faith in his own ability and acknowledges that his rejection is only down to the opinion of one man.
Those who fall into the latter category need to support such a belief with a drive, dedication and displays which make it impossible for them to fall out of the game and find themselves without a team.
There is no doubt that many journeymen and rejects will be seeking new clubs this summer and, at a time when the supply of available players is undoubtedly outstripping the demand from clubs, some will find new employment difficult to come by.
However, several will be given opportunities as managers and coaches understand the importance of the presence of players who have proven they can meet the demands of the game.
Furthermore, these same bosses are aware that there are many players desperate to prove the folly of rejection from a previous club.
On the subject of players moving on to new challenges I must mention my former team mate and skipper at St Mirren, John Potter.
As he looks ahead to a fresh chapter in his career he should be remembered with respect from everyone at the Paisley club as he undoubtedly had that from those who played alongside him.
Respect can be difficult to earn and maintain in football and it is not simply achieved by those fortunate enough to be the most talented. It is afforded to those who are consistently willing to put themselves in the firing line; those who don't go hiding when the pressure or criticism increases or who won't play through the pain barrier for the good of the club.
These qualities that John possesses mean he can be held as another positive ideal of the journeyman player and I am sure other managers will be keen to secure such a player.
If not, then I am slightly concerned he might pinch some of my broadcasting work as he has an ideal face for radio!
The best way to finish this week's blog: I'm Jack Ross, I was a reject and I was a journeyman and proud of it!