Tag Archives: Brechin

Match Preview – Brechin vs Dundee United

Football! Remember when we used to go and see United play football? It seems like we might finally get a chance to experience this once again as United travel to Brechin in this season’s big derby. With an astonishing amount of postponements now leaving United with 73 games to play in 3 weeks it will be a miracle if we have enough energy left at the end of the league campaign for playoff football.

Off the park the big news in the last two weeks has undoubtedly been the boardroom shuffle and resignation of Stephen Thompson. This week has seen new chairman Mike Martin meet the press, the players and the staff. He is insisting that fans must judge him on his actions and he believes that the atmosphere at the club has been lifted since his appointment. He has promised many, many changes and has started that process with the announcement of Paul Sturrock returning to the Dundee United, this time as Chief Scout for England. Apparently Sturrock has already named one possible target for Laszlo to look at (and if media reports are true it is former Rangers defender Bilel Mohsni). The raft of changes are set to continue and we may even see announcements in the coming days regarding recruitment changes, youth development changes and logistical alterations.

Currently the playing squad has only four injuries to deal with and of those four only one will be back in any sort of action before the end of the season so Laszlo now knows what he has to work with. It was revealed this week that Scott Fraser has returned to training and may feature in the coming matches. This means that Csaba Laszlo has pretty much a full compliment to choose from. His job at the club has been given the vote of confidence by Mike Martin so he can now look forward to planning our assault on the playoffs.

Brechin will undoubtedly give United a very tough game and having seen them a few times this year it will be the case that they will sit in and look to hit on the break. They are willing to throw bodies on the line and are happy to defend so the United players will need to be patient with the ball. Given the break of a couple of weeks and the importance of this fixture I would assume that Laszlo will stick to a fairly tried and tested side (even though it is one that has not yielded results in recent weeks). Personally I would still like to see some changes and an alteration in shape but I think Laszlo is quite stubborn with his system so with that in mind I predict the following lineup to face Brechin –

 

GK – Harry Lewis

 

RB – Stewart Murdoch

CB – Mark Durnan

CB – Tam Scobbie

LB – Jamie Robson

 

CM – Grant Gillespie

CM – Willo Flood

 

RM – Paul McMullan

CAM – Sam Stanton

LM – Billy King

 

ST – Scott McDonald

 

Subs – Deniz Mehmet, Thomas Mikkelsen, Emil Lyng, Matty Smith, Paul Quinn, Craig Slater, William Edjenguele.

Key Player – Everyone – I’ve written this a few times now. The responsibility is on ALL of the players to step up to the mark. They have met the chairman and the board this week so were told by them about the importance of playing for Dundee United and what it should mean to them. Not all of them will have listened and many of the players are simply passing through as they see out another contract but for those with a bit of professional pride they need to show the supporters they are up for whatever it takes to at least make a good go of things in the remaining fixtures.

Match Review – Dundee United vs Brechin – 2/1/18

On New Year’s Day I had hope that United would have some new signings in place for the game against Brechin. A part of me had also hoped that we would be told the news that half a dozen Hungarian superstars had arrived at Dundee Airport via Csaba Laszlo’s private jet. Alas, the only piece of ‘signing’ news for the game against Brechin was the return of Cammy Ballantyne from his successful loan spell with Montrose.

With Ballantyne back and our current injury list I had assumed that he would fill in at right-back for the injured Murdoch but instead the only change to the starting eleven was the inclusion of James Keatings for Scott Fraser.

DSin45aWkAMy-4D.jpg-large

The first thing I want to say about the match is just how quiet the stadium was. The crowd of 5532 was decent enough but there was little in the way of atmosphere (despite the impressive Brechin fans doing their best to drum up a bit of noise). It is something that we are now used to at Tannadice but the lack of atmosphere makes the whole experience a bit underwhelming at the moment. Maybe there were still a few Christmas and New Year hangovers and maybe the result against St.Mirren had taken the shine off things but the fans need to be more vocal as we try to push towards promotion.

The game itself was a pretty satisfying one for United fans with a dominant performance that in a strange way probably wasn’t helped with the early goals in each half. Scoring so soon in a game can sometimes mean things become quite flat and it certainly felt like that for a good 30 minutes in the first half and then again in the second. Despite dominating possession there were long spells where the final ball wasn’t good or the passing became very slow. When this United side are on top there is some really nice football on show but it still needs to be for longer spells. Laszlo was very critical in his post match interview about the lack of concentration and the lack of ability to keep the game flowing. With Falkirk and Dunfermline away in the next fortnight we will need to be better.

One big sour note from the game was the sending off for Paul McMullan. After being lazy in possession in the first half he tracked back to commit a stupid foul to get a yellow card. His second yellow was even more frustrating as he broke away in space before thinking that it was a good idea to dive (United were 4-0 up and cruising at the time). McMullan was rightfully given a hard time by the fans as he headed towards the tunnel (although bizarrely some still clapped him off the park). After the match Laszlo was scathing in his assessment of the situation McMullan found himself in, “I need a team who knows professional football. Professional; we are not kids. This is your job and you must use your head. I will handle this situation.”

Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 22.31.14

Overall a win after the St.Mirren defeat was the priority and we got that. It was not the most slick performance in the world but it was professional enough and it got things going again. A worry for the game against Falkirk is the ever growing injury list so hopefully Mark Durnan is fit after going off and nobody else picked up any knocks. The final result was made all the sweeter with St.Mirren dropping two points against Morton.

Dundee United Player Ratings – 

25. Harry Lewis – 6 – Didn’t have much to do but he did what he had to well and he has improved in his distribution. 

3. Tam Scobbie – 5 – I feel sorry for him being stuck out on the right hand side. He is always awkward in possession and doesn’t offer much going forward. 

4. Mark Durnan – 6 – Another reliable performance and a ridiculous mazy run (he should have been selfish and had a shot). Went off injured at half-time.

5. Paul Quinn – 6 – Got a great deal of stick after the St.Miren game for his passing ability but he does a good job as a no-nonsense defender.

17. Jamie Robson – 7 – He has been very impressive since Laszlo’s arrival and enjoys the overlapping he is now being asked to do.

7. Paul McMullan – 3 – Lazy in possession, poor final ball and a couple of moments of madness resulting in a red card. A day to forget.

12. Sam Stanton – 8 – At the heart of everything good about United today. Worked incredibly hard for the team and his box-to-box energy gives the team a different dimension.

16. Willo Flood – 7 – Managed to annoy the Brechin fans early on with some tough tackling. Did his usual job well today before being rested on the 55th minute. This side are much better with him involved.

11. Billy King – 8 – In terms of going forward he probably saw most of the ball today. Made some great runs down the line and cutting inside, unlucky to not score. 

19. James Keatings – 7 – Big game for him today. Hasn’t been anywhere near the signing we thought he was going to be. Had some great deliveries and worked hard. He deserved to take his penalty and get a goal. 

8. Scott McDonald – 7 – Such an experienced player and it showed today. Made some great runs and although his passing was not perfect today he showed his worth with the two goals. 

Subs – 26. Cammy Ballantyne (5) – Did pretty well, got an assist and offered the overlap well. Not as assured defensively. 18. Scott Allardice (2) – Really not showing anything so far this season and he looked well off the pace today. 28. Matty Smith (2) – Offered little going forward and outmuscled easily. 

Man of the Match – Sam Stanton. I really like Stanton when he is on form. He has a huge amount of energy and offers so much going forward but also prepared to track back. A key player now that Fyvie and Fraser are out long term.

Next Fixture – Falkirk Away – 6th December. A tough away trip to a Falkirk team that will have a few more new faces in their ranks. Will we?

DSjzWC9WkAAVREp

Scottish Championship Mid-Term Report Card – Brechin City

On paper it is pretty easy to report on Brechin City’s season so far. Having not won a single game the Glebe Park side sit bottom of the Championship and must surely be facing an immediate return to League One. The table doesn’t lie but there is more to Brechin’s season than the three points they have accumulated since August.

Manager Darren Dods is someone who worked wonders with an injury ravaged squad last season and in many ways this year was always going to be a bit of a free ride. dods-e1514290058989-940x535-2He has faced criticism for his defensive tactics in the past but the hard work in making sure his side are difficult to beat has nearly paid off on more than a few occasions this season (frustratingly they have lost a league game by just a single goal on nine occasions). Brechin have caused teams problems this year but they haven’t quite managed to get over the finishing line. Moving in to January there is a bit more confidence in this team compared to early on in the campaign but the lack of a clinical finisher at the club has meant that there have been numerous opportunities for points that have sadly passed. The January window is an opportunity for Dods to add to his squad and he is keen to do so. He will expect his side to pick up their first victory and push on giving some hope of remaining in the Championship for another year.

brechinstmirrenreport
Brechin’s recent 2-1 defeat at home to St.Mirren was the latest example of a frustrating single goal loss.

Looking beyond 2017/18 Brechin will be in a much stronger position after a season in the Championship. Bigger crowds, commercial revenue and a Scottish Cup draw against Celtic will ensure that despite a seemingly inevitable relegation they will be in a very good place for an immediate return to the Championship. The windfall from the tie against Celtic will allow the board to make small improvements behind the scenes and they will also be in a position to give the manager a little bit of money to reinvest in the squad. There is no real danger of Dods being sacked and the board will be happy to give him the opportunity to prove his worth again next season.

January Wishlist – It is obvious to say a striker or two wouldn’t go a miss but for me personally there is an argument to be made in not making any signings. The reasoning behind this might be in then giving Dods a larger budget for next season rather than spending it on the second half of this season.

Player of the Season (so far) – Multiple options for this. A few players are relishing the chance to prove their worth in the Championship and the majority of players have not looked out of place in any way. After much deliberating (and some input from my go to Brechin fan Kim) the decision is that Gary Fusco gets the ‘so far’ award. The 35-year-old deserves a season of Championship football and he has grabbed this opportunity with some solid displays.

Predicted Finish – 10th. Regardless of recruitment it looks like Brechin will finish bottom. They are not helped by the fact that the teams above them will be able to spend much more in January. The best Brechin can hope for is a decent second half of the season and a couple of victories for their fans to celebrate.

Manager Grade – B. Darren Dods is a rare breed in football, a genuinely nice guy with a good relationship with pretty much everyone. He has a great deal of good credit in the bank and he is still relatively inexperienced in management so there is much more to come from him. There is no danger in him being sacked so for him it will be a case of looking ahead to next season to build on his growing reputation.

Overall Grade – Practically impossible to give Brechin any real ‘grade’. Things at the club are pretty healthy, the fans are generally quite happy and the team on the park are showing enough despite the results. No team should be satisfied with bottom spot but Brechin are a side that can be happy with their season so far and it could be a campaign that sets them up for a successful few years ahead.

SPFL Manager Awards 2014/15 – League 1

250px-Scottish_League_1.svg-2

League One Managers of the Year 2014/15

1. I’m a bit of a Forfar fan so I am going to be biased here, but I actually do believe that Dick Campbell has been manager of the year in League One. CEljk7oWEAACICR.png-largeThe longest-serving manager in Scottish football has managed to completely surpass the expectations of many who had Forfar tipped for potential relegation this year. With a mixture of youth and experience in his squad he has guided the Loons to near promotion. Firstly through the race for the title that went down to the final day and now with the chance to get promoted through the playoffs. Campbell has pulled off some stunning results this year and his team have been impressive in managing to get results when needed (their back four and big Rab Douglas have been unbeatable at times). It isn’t clear how long Dick Campbell intends on staying in management but if he did get Forfar promoted it would probably go down as his biggest achievement.

2. It was a tough decision between first and second place here. In a season similar to Forfar’s it has been an excellent campaign for Stranraer. Unfortunately they just fell short in the playoffs but Steve Aitken deserves immense credit for leading his side on a charge up the table that was unexpected for many. 067_324__aitken_1429878713_standardFor much of the season they looked like genuine tile contenders with some very exciting form along the way. The Stair Park side enjoyed fabulous success in league this year and they also achieved some impressive results in the cup competitions. Steve Aitken had his team playing effective and robust football this year and they had the League One’s best defensive record. The club and fans must now wait and see if Aitken is to be poached by a side in a higher division, he has been linked with more than few jobs over the course of the season and the lure of a fulltime club might be too much to turn down.

3. Ray MacKinnon fills the third spot in the League One managerial awards. Anyone that takes a team on a historic 17 match unbeaten run cannot be ignored. For Brechin City fans the season started off rather inconsistently but since just before Christmas their form has seen them once again reach a playoff spot (admittedly it could have been so much more for them). MacKinnon has recruited well and has Brechin playing good football. image-2He has managed to get the best out of a thin squad and he can claim the best away record in League One. Depending on the makeup of next year’s division it will be safe to presume that they will once again be challenging with the prospect of promotion very much on the cards. MacKinnon has been in charge for a couple of years now and much like Steve Aitken it remains to be seen whether or not he will stay at Brechin or whether he might seek a fresh challenge at a fulltime club in the near future.

Tomorrow, League Two’s top three managers…

Scottish Football 2014/15 – League One – Brechin and Dunfermline

250px-Scottish_League_1.svg-2395px-Brechin_City_FC_logo.svg

Brechin City

Summary of last season – Not very good at all. Brechin should have been so much better last year but they weren’t. They finished just outside the playoff places in 8th place, conceding a huge number of goals in the process. The team and the squad were very unsettled last season and this didn’t help them build any kind of momentum. They were very unlucky with injuries and suspensions but it was a case of Ray McKinnon’s honeymoon period being over. The form and the performances from his first campaign were long gone. Fans would have been left frustrated at the number of comings and goings in the team and the lack of any kind of consistency.

Players in – Callum Tapping (Hearts), Jamie McCormack (Greenock Morton), Colin Hamilton (Arbroath), Gary Fusco (Forfar Athletic), Darren McCormack (Airdrieonians)

Players out – Jonny Brown (Free), Graham Hay (Free), Steven Robb (Montrose), Ewan Moyes (East Fife), Derek Carcary (Annan Athletic), Allan Walker (East Fife), Darren Petrie (End of Loan),  Andy Ryan (End of Loan), Calum Antell (End of Loan)

What they still need – For the time being it looks like McKinnon has completed most of his business but this Brechin squad could still do with a couple of additions. At the back a central defender would add depth to the defence and further forward a creative midfielder would provide competition and allow Brechin to change their shape. Brechin suffered badly last year through injuries, suspensions and losing players so the fans will hopefully see a more settled Brechin team this campaign.

1323
Goalkeeper Graeme Smith.

Key player(s) – Brechin have one of the best goalkeepers in this division and the importance of a good goalkeeper is sometimes undervalued. Graeme Smith is a well-travelled and very experienced footballer. He is an excellent goalkeeper and a player that will play a vital role for Brechin this coming season. Elsewhere in the squad there are a few important players but one that could turn out to be a standout this year is one of the new signings. Midfielder Callum Tapping arrives from Hearts and he is a player that has undoubted ability. He was never really given a fair crack during his time at Hearts so he will be keen to show people what he can do.

Opinion on Brechin – It is difficult to judge how Brechin might get on this year. They do have quality players in their team and they did under perform last season. However the squad is much changed and Ray McKinnon seemed to struggle last year. Much will depend on how they manage to start the season and if they can stay clear of the injuries and suspensions they experienced during the last campaign. unfortunately for Brechin it looks like the teams around them are just a little more settled and have made more assured signings so it might be a struggle for them in the coming season.

Prediction for this season – 9th

 

281px-Dunfermline_Athletic_FC_logo.svg

Dunfermline Athletic

Summary of last season – It was a case of close, but not close enough for Dunfermline last year. They suffered badly with Rangers being in the league as for the majority of the season they were far better than the rest of the teams in the division yet they were far behind Rangers. In the end they made the playoffs having finished 2nd but their performances were poor in the games that could have secured Championship football. Off the park the biggest news for the club was the end of many months of uncertainty with the finances. They managed to secure the future of the club and regardless of their league position this was surely the most important event of last year.

Players in – Michael Moffat (Ayr United), Andy Stirling (Stranraer), Gregor Buchanan (Airdrieonians), Ryan Scully (Loan, Partick Thistle), Gozie Ugwu (Reading)

Players out – Callum Morris (Dundee United), Stephen Husband (Forfar Athletic), Danny Grainger (Carlisle), Craig Dargo (Free), Lawrence Shankland (End of Loan), Jordan Moore (End of Loan)

What they still need – Dunfermline are in a very rare position. Manager Jim Jeffries has managed to assemble a squad that needs very little work. Dunfermline fans can be pleased with the squad they have at their disposal and you only have to look at the in’s and out’s list to see just how settled this team is. Jeffries has brought in a few key additions to the squad but on the whole it is almost the same side from last year which is a luxury that very few teams have.

Andy-Geggan-DunA_3128912
Dunfermline captain Andy Geggan.

Key player(s) – There are a few standouts in this Dunfermline side and players that could easily be playing at a higher level. Captain Andy Geggan is one of those. A versatile player who can play at the back or in midfield (midfield is more his position) Geggan is Dunfermline’s captain and one of those players that the side would sorely miss if he wasn’t there. He works incredibly hard for his team and is possibly the best midfielder in the league. Ryan Scully is another who could be playing at a higher level. He has arrived back at Dunfermline on loan from Partick Thistle and a few fans were surprised that he re-signed for the club as the assumption was he would be playing for a Championship team this year. A talented young goalkeeper Scully was a very important player for Dunfermline last season and will be again this year.

Opinion on Dunfermline – There is no doubt that Dunfermline should win this league. Whether or not they will remains to be seen but they have the squad and the setup to win this division. Jeffries will use the disappointment of last year to motivate the squad and the fans as they will feel as though they have unfinished business. The club is a bit more settled and the league is much more open this year so it should play into Dunfermline’s hands. It would be a major disappointment and a failure if they don’t get promoted this season.

Prediction for this season – 1st