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tenthreeleader

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About tenthreeleader

  • Rank
    Moderator

Biography

  • Biography
    | 31-time FMS Award winner
    | FMS Writer of the Year 2008-09-12-15-16
    | Rob Ridgway's doppleganger

About Me

  • About Me
    FMS Hall of Fame Class of 2012

Interests

  • Interests
    "Raising Cain" - 2016 FMS Story of the Year

Favourite Team

  • Favourite Team
    Rangers, MUFC, Reading

Currently Managing

  • Currently Managing
    Partick Thistle

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  1. Glad to make you smile! ___ “Okay, you did this to me,” Roy laughed as he removed his track top in the coaches’ changing room after the match. Litmanen just smiled. “I guess I am superstitious,” Roy admitted. “I was going to leave this on the coach and wear a warmer coat but you left me no choice.” It had been a raw, windy day and Roy was chilled. He sat down and picked up a cup of hot coffee from a beverage tray. “We’re going to have to get you something else to wear,” Litmanen said. “We can’t have the boss catching cold.” It was a joke – Roy thought so, anyway – but there were players who were also starting to get into habits they weren’t willing to break as long as the team was playing well. It was a long trip home and that gave Roy a chance to warm up as he thought ahead. Next up was a winnable match at home against Queen of the South in a week’s time, but following that was a matchup people were starting to look forward to – the Betfred Cup quarterfinal against Dundee United. The team was off to the good start everyone craved – thirteen points from fifteen had the Jags level on points with Ross County at the top of the table – but the prospect a return matchup against the Terrors was one that had set imaginations going. Kate had sent Roy a video of the girls listening to the match on Jags Radio – they were in their kit and jumped all over the sitting room after Adrianinho had scored – and it made him smile. He missed all his best girls and he was glad to be going home. “Don’t forget to bring that lucky jacket,” Kate had teased. Roy wasn’t about to leave it behind. It was early evening by the time the team coach pulled back into Glasgow and Roy sent the players home with the following day off as a victory day. Then it was time for him to return as the conquering hero. Whether he had won or lost, the reaction was always the same. That was the best part – in the eyes of his girls, Daddy always won whether or not the score had been favorable. So he scooped up the kids, gave them hugs, and advanced to his wife, who was sitting at the dinner table. “I have a great idea,” she said, rising to greet her husband. “How about we get a sitter and you take me out to celebrate?” “You’re so old-fashioned,” Roy teased. “Expecting me to look after you.” “Tell me you wouldn’t,” she said, taking his arm as they headed for the sitting room. “Okay, okay, you win,” he smiled. “Let me get my phone and you pick the place.” # # #
  2. Welcome! Glad to have new writers and it looks like you're off to a solid start. Please continue!
  3. Thanks much, fellows! Plenty more where that came from... ___ The north of Scotland can be a pretty gray place and as the Jags took the pitch for their match at Inverness, Roy was silently glad it was still September. The wind was blowing in from Moray Firth and that meant a chilly day. The Tulloch Caledonian Stadium is right on the water’s edge so when the wind is wrong (or right), it can make for a miserable day for a visiting side. Today wasn’t bad, though, because the sun was out. The wind was blowing but only just hard enough to make you realize that summer was nearly over. The kickoff temperature was 13 degrees, just right for Roy to wear his “lucky” jacket. He hadn’t even realized it until Litmanen had pointed it out to him, and the two shared a quiet laugh. Having his regular players around him again felt good to Roy as the match kicked off, but any thoughts of an old home week were quickly put to bed by a physical Caley side that seemed to think the best way to slow down the high-flying Jags was to kick lumps all over them. Naturally, it was a Thistle player who was first into the book as a result. Spittal took a particularly nasty kick to the shin running after a loose ball and retaliated, which was of course the only thing referee Craig Napier saw. Roy reacted by throwing his hands up in frustration, which only served to draw the attention of the fourth official in the form of a glare and a friendly invitation to stay off the pitch. The parade of fouls which followed weren’t exactly the best advertisement for the beautiful game, but all of Caley’s were committed by different players so there couldn’t even be a caution for persistent fouling. That led to a frustrating, and scoreless, first half. Roy took the players to the changing room with the matched poised on the knife’s edge, so to speak. “This lot knows it can’t stop you without fouling you,” Roy announced. “So, that means a few lumps on our shins. But we’re tougher than that. Just do what we talked about doing – get the ball into good positions and let’s get a set piece for the Brazilian.” Everyone knew who that was, and the lighthearted nature of Roy’s comments alleviated some of the frustration the players were feeling at being booted around the park. That said, the second half was little better in terms of physicality, though now Caley players were starting to go into the book. That restored a bit of order but now the Caley Jags were playing in a tight, compact shape which was proving very hard to break down. Try as they might, Coulibaly and Storey couldn’t find a way through. But 73 minutes into the match, Coulibaly earned a set piece about twenty yards from goal on the left side – the perfect place for ‘the Brazilian’. Adrianinho took the ball and placed it on the turf like it was made of crystal. You know the rest. Ladbrokes Championship Match #5 – Inverness CT 0-1 Partick Thistle # # #
  4. Is it really? I didn't know that. That's the good thing about this forum -- when I mess up, you guys let me know ___ Mutombo’s problems aside, the team was playing really well. It was playing so well, that Litmanen made a joke to Roy at the first training session after the Jaglets had triumphed. “You know you’ve worn exactly the same clothes in every match you’ve bossed?” he asked. “No, but hum a few bars and I’ll fake the rest,” Roy had replied. “I’m serious,” Litmanen had said. “Are you superstitious?” That was a question every footballer answered differently. Some people Roy had played with wouldn’t step onto the pitch unless they had tied their shoes the same way, put on in the same order, and had performed their personal pre-match ritual. Others just showed up and played. Roy was a creature of habit, but Litmanen’s question had made him think. “It’s warm now,” he finally said. “When it gets cold, should I sacrifice my health?” “You’re an optimist,” Litmanen laughed. “But I’m curious.” Roy thought it through. “Sometimes I am,” he finally said. “On the coach, of course everyone has their same seats. But when I get to the ground, I guess I’m pretty well locked in to what I need to do.” Then he smiled. “I had never thought about clothes,” he added. “Think about clothes,” Litmanen advised. “There are laws to deal with people who don’t.” “Very funny,” Roy said, cracking a sideways smile. But the damage had been done, in Roy’s mind. He drove home to find Kate waiting for him, the girls waiting for him, and takeout on the table. “I must really rate,” he said. “All my best girls and even food!” Kate smiled as Roy removed his team jacket. “Be careful with that, you’re going to wear through the elbows,” she said. Roy looked down and saw that his new jacket, which he wore everywhere and especially on the touchline, was already starting to show signs of wear. “I’d better be careful,” he said, hugging his daughters tight as he entered the kitchen. “This jacket is the reason we’re winning.” # # #
  5. The win was nice but the undercurrent that followed? Not so much. The prize money for the IRN-BRU was negligible – in fact it cost as much to send the team to the match as the club earned from winning the tie. And it wouldn’t get any better in the next round. For the Third Round, the Jags were drawn away to Welsh side TNS. Once called Total Network Solutions after their sponsor for nearly ten years, the club earned the scorn of Sky’s Jeff Stellings, who routinely said after home victories that “they’ll be dancing in the streets of Total Network Solutions tonight!” Yet the club, which is officially named The New Saints of Oswestry Town and Llantsantffraid Football Club, kept finding ways to make Champions League qualifiers by winning the Welsh Premier League. And now under the rules of the competition, they were entitled to entry into the Third Round of the newly-international IRN-BRU Cup. So now was there not only another road trip for the Baby Jags, it was to Wales, which was a bit of a jaunt. The kids loved it, of course, and were more or less cock-a-hoop at having knocked off Accies for a few days after the match. And why not? They had scored four goals away and looked very good gong forward. It also gave Roy a decision to make about Gordon, who had vaulted into some truly fine form over the last few matches and now deserved consideration for the senior XI. Managers will never tell you this, but they do like being forced to make a decision once in awhile. The best managers are able to use runs of form and strong play to incentivize others (to use the corporate phrase) to play better or lose their places. As such, one player who wanted to speak with Roy was Andrea Mutombo. The forward wanted to play more. There were a few problems with that. The first problem was named Storey, who led the club in goals. The second was named Coulibaly, who was hot on his heels. The third was the fact that Mutombo’s preferred position was as an attacking midfielder, a position not found in Roy’s 4-4-2. He could play striker, he could pass as a target man, and he could also pass as an advanced forward – but none of those were his area of specialty. So in effect, what he was asking was for Roy to let him play, and oh, do you mind changing your tactic to do it? For Roy, the answer was, in the words of Buckaroo Banzai, “yes on one and no on two.” He hated to see players wasting away. That was plain in the way he treated them in training. He wanted everyone to excel so they could play, and the hardest part of the job was to tell someone they hadn’t done enough. And with the team still alive in all the cup competitions, there was enough extra football for Roy to be able to say yes, I’ll play you more often. So he left the office happy, and left Roy with a dilemma he was only too happy to have. # # #
  6. Postponements due to weather were next on the cards and as a result, the Jags had eleven luxurious days between matches at the start of September. The break was even longer for the first-team players, who were held out of the trip to SuperSeal Stadium in the IRN-BRU Cup so the colt team could have a chance. For them, it was two weeks between matches. As a reward for playing so well out of the chute, Roy gave the first team three entire days away from the training ground with the proviso that if any of them wound up on a police blotter he was going to rip up contracts. He said it with a smile, though, and the players accepted Roy’s warning as the friendly reminder it was. He had a good squad, a dedicated squad, and had no worries about their conduct away from the club. This meant family time for Roy and he was delighted. The girls had just started school and for now, things were going well on that front. Maybe it was because the Jags were playing so well. Despite not having lost, they still trailed Ross County in the table. Second place wasn’t horrible but Roy wasn’t going to rest until he had erased that deficit. He did also worry about the effect his job would have on his girls. Too young for most public schools, his hope was that the kids around them would play nicely in the sandbox. Generally, kids have to grow up in age before they grow up or down in temperament, but he was keeping a sharp eye out for anyone who might seek to hurt them. Roy, of course, worked from home during that time, watching video and helping around the house. For example, taking Kate to the Tesco was fun in itself because it gave them a chance to let their hair down. Being alone with his wife for the first time since the children were born when they were away at school wasn’t so darned bad either. But then it was back to work. Hamilton awaited and Roy enjoyed working with Barmby and the younglings to prepare them for an away cup tie. SuperSeal Stadium awaited them, as did a young Accies team. Sort of a glorified youth cup event, Roy supposed, as the match kicked off. Immediately, the baby Jags dominated play, knocking the ball around the park with aplomb, flair and verve, and every other adjective Roy could think of to say they did everything but score. Quitongo, who had been good in the first round, wasn’t as good in this one. That was a bit unfortunate since, in Roy’s quest for an all-youth team he wasn’t required to field, he had only three substitutes he would consider for selection. One of them, Jamie Stevenson, was the spare goalkeeper. The others were Penrice and prospect Andrew McCarthy. So, one defender and one midfielder. Keown, Spittal, Bannigan and Coulibaly came along for the trip but had been told that barring pestilence, none would get onto the pitch. It took 43 minutes before the breakthrough game and then it was Aidan Fitzpatrick who did the deed. He found room on the right, cut that direction, and squeezed a shot between Reegan Campbell’s outstretched arm and his near post. The kids had played well and deserved their lead, and Roy was gentle on them in the changing room at halftime. “This is the kind of football we expect to see,” he told his team. “You’re leading away. Now it’s down to you to finish the deal.” Forced to open up slightly due to chasing the game, Accies left a space just big enough for Shea Gordon to get into early in the second half and the loanee didn’t miss from twenty yards, arrowing a top-corner drive home in 58 minutes that made it 2-0. But then the Jaglets let down their guards and the home team roared back into the match. A rather sad lack of communication between centrebacks Dan Jeffries and Ruaridh McIntyre led to Steven Boyd finding himself in an embarrassing amount of open space only two minutes later, and Sneddon was left with no chance. That gave Roy the chance to get off the bench and, shall we say, educate his center halves. “Just a thought,” he yelled. “Maybe next time the striker stands in front of goal, one of you might consider marking him.” It was good for a laugh, but Roy needed to address the issue anyway the next time he handled youth training. It had been a schoolboy error – they were supposed to be in a zonal marking scheme and neither player had remembered what zone he was in, so they chose neither. However, Gordon bailed out his teammates with a superbly taken strike only four minutes later, for a 3-1 lead in 64 minutes. Then he was there again, heading home Fitzpatrick’s perfect cross only three minutes after that to complete his second-half hat trick in a blistering span of nine minutes. Ronan Hughes scored off a set piece in 72 minutes, meaning the teams had scored five combined goals in only fourteen minutes, but the end result was fair. The baby Jags had 21 attempts at goal away from home and scored four times. It was hard to be anything but happy about that. IRN-BRU Cup Second Round – Hamilton Reserves 2-4 Partick Thistle # # #
  7. It seemed odd, but that was life in the modern game. The club appeared to be hemorrhaging money yet everyone at Partick Thistle just loved what Roy was doing. Roy and Kate had had a laugh about that on their way home from the ground when discussing their meeting with the big wigs. “As long as you win, they’ll be happy,” Kate observed in a bit of a “Captain Obvious” moment. “Then they won’t be able to afford me,” he joked, and she reached for his free hand as he drove. “Well, I think this has the chance to be a half-decent group,” he added. “Of course, I need the board onside so they don’t start selling players on me if they can’t turn a few more quid.” “Aren’t board members supposed to help fund the club?” she asked. It was a profound observation. “Yes,” Roy said. “Bill Shankly once said that at a football club there’s a holy trinity – players, managers and supporters. Directors don’t come into it – they are only there to sign the cheques.” “He didn’t really believe that,” Kate marveled. “I wouldn’t have liked to tell Bill Shankly what he did and didn’t think,” Roy smiled. “Anyhow, yes, he did believe that, and he managed like that.” “And you?” Roy paused and finally squeezed his wife’s hand. “I believe that too,” he said. “But the difference between us is that Bill Shankly had managed Liverpool for about ten years when he said that. I’ve managed Thistle for what, nine weeks? One of us will get away with saying that, while the other will get the sack.” Kate looked at him. “Don’t tell me that frightens you,” she said. “That isn’t the Roy I know.” Just then, they reached home. Roy pulled into the driveway and shut down the car’s engine. He looked at his wife. “There will never be a day when any board member or any chairman tells me what I can and cannot say and gets away with it,” he said. “If it means that I sacrifice my job to keep my integrity, well, then that’s what it means.” Gone was the quiet, loving Roy Kate was used to seeing around her. Unknowingly, she had managed to tap into her husband’s inner competitor – the driving force behind everything he had managed to build in his life. Question that drive, and he wasn’t likely to react well. Kate was the only person in the world who could talk to him this way now that his parents were gone, and it was a gift she didn’t utilize often. Finally, after an awkward silence, she spoke again. “I’m sorry, Roy,” she offered. “I didn’t mean to…” “…of course you didn’t,” Roy replied, his pleasant demeanor starting to return. “You just want to make sure I’m the same old Roy.” “I didn’t doubt it,” she said, opening the door to head into the house. “I can honestly say that in all the years I’ve known you, I’ve never doubted that even once.” He chuckled. No self-made man likes to be challenged, and he felt she had done. But he simply took her hand. “Sometimes it’s good for you to remind me,” he said. “And I have to be man enough to take it. Let’s go inside and get the babysitter paid.” # # #
  8. This is a very interesting idea. Just be careful when you get to Minneapolis.
  9. Kate smiled. She loved looking to her left in the morning and seeing her husband beside her. They had come home together the night before, and Roy had introduced his bride to the club’s board after the match. They all met in the Ambassadors Lounge, located in the Jackie Husband Stand, which was across the pitch from the players’ benches in front of the Colin Weir Stand. The lounge was the third largest of four hospitality rooms at Firhill – the Alan Rough Lounge, the Aitken Suite and the board room itself were the others in order of size – but it was the most intimate. Firhill itself was built in 1909 and also serves as the home of Glasgow Warriors Rugby. It’s got stands on three sides with the south end ready to expand when finances permit. That end, which is a grass berm, is known to supporters as The Bing. It certainly didn’t have the star power of Ibrox, so much of which was designed by the master himself, Archibald Leitch; or the size and stature of Parkhead, or Paradise as Celtic supporters like to call it. It was Glasgow’s fourth stadium, when you throw in Hampden Park for good measure. But to survive in today’s game, you have to have facilities to match, and so the old place got an internal facelift to host corporate clients on match days. The crowd had been decent – over five thousand, for the second home match of the league campaign – but one area where the club was going to have to start doing better was in the area of hospitality and corporate money. Rangers and Celtic would suck the life out of most clubs in Scotland in that department but to have to share the same city with the two monsters meant opportunities weren’t as numerous. And of course, getting relegated out of the Premier League hadn’t helped matters either. So while everyone met Kate, and the couple got to share its good news, they also got a bit of a primer about life north of the border in footballing terms. “I’m afraid the board meeting won’t have much good news for you,” Low said, “other than that we love the job you’re doing.” “That bad?” “Well, it isn’t good,” Low replied. “Not being in the Premier League isn’t helping the bank balances.” Roy had noticed that going back to the start of the calendar year, there wasn’t a single month save for June – when the season ticket receipts came in – where the club had shown a profit. That was cause for concern. There are clubs which receive large sums from their board members to help keep the books balanced but the idea of long-term debt was appalling to everyone at the club. This was especially clear to people like Colin Weir, who had given so much to help retire the club’s previous debt. That meant a number of potential consequences. The board was likely to keep more transfer revenue, or it could even mandate the selling of players. With the start the Jags were off to, nobody wanted that to happen. Yet the reality of the modern game is that clubs don’t have cash to throw around anymore, if they aren’t owned by Dubai tycoons. Staying in the top flight in your country is vital and since Thistle hadn’t done that the previous season, they were now having to pay the piper. The next day, Low did what Roy thought she would do. She reduced available transfer revenue to 35 percent as the club posted a six-figure loss for the month. That was to be expected. For all practical purposes, Roy was being told to win with what he had. However, there was a nice consolation prize. The Ladbrokes Championship Manager of the Month award bore Roy Scully’s name. It would make a nice bauble for his office. # # #
  10. The Disneyland reference is a hackneyed reference to Disney buying the Star Wars franchise. If you have a better idea and would like to rename the thread, which si something I evidently am not capable of doing, have at it. Carry on.
  11. Yours truly done gone and locked the old thread after merging it with a non-story post and accidentally renaming it. This is truly the height of lunacy, but at least it gives us a new community thread. Have at it.
  12. To look at Morton, it was as if they had never seen a team trying to stretch them before. From the beginning, the Jags were much more attractive to watch, especially whenever the long stuff connected. They weren’t a long-ball team, far from it, but in selected instances they soon found they could strike like lightning. Roy still had his buildup play – but it started farther up the park and the difference was noticeable. The young Chelsea forward Islam Feruz was the first to take advantage, ghosting between the central defenders to latch on to Bell’s goal kick, finishing deftly past keeper Ryan Scully (no relation) thirteen minutes into the match. There was a good crowd on hand – nearly 6,000 came out on a windswept first day of September – with more than a few light jackets to be seen in the 12-degree temperature. As fun as that early goal was, Roy’s intention was to be solid from the goal outward and that meant keeping shape. Playing with two out-and-out wingers as Roy was doing along with at least one overlapping fullback in attack meant his team could be stretched out on the counterattack if they weren’t careful. Hence, his continual instructions to players to keep their shape off the ball. And for the level of competition at which they played, they hadn’t really had significant difficulty. Morton wasn’t providing much of a challenge either. Part of that was due to a bit of a gulf in class between the sides, but the rest was due to some truly nice defensive positioning by Roy’s men. They were compact and tight across the back and since Morton was also playing 4-4-2, it wasn’t terribly difficult to match up with them on a player-to-player basis for marking purposes. The first half saw a few more decent chances for the Jags but nothing else in the goal, which gave Roy the opportunity to give his team his favorite kind of team talk. They had performed well and earned their lead, which meant he could be positive, but they hadn’t put the opposition away and couldn’t afford complacency. Roy’s team talk was therefore centered around continued application, hard work and putting in a ninety-minute shift. The second half saw the Jags continuing to play nearly immaculate team defense, holding Morton away from the goal and even from decent shooting areas with ease, but not finding a way to put the game to bed. That is, until Craig Slater took over. Not as scorer, mind you, but as provider. He put two perfect lead balls right on the toes of Chris Erskine in the 74th minute and little-used Andrea Mutombo ten minutes later. Both players took their chances and a 1-0 lead ballooned to 3-0 with six minutes to play. The fans could sing, the players could breathe more easily and a short time later, the Jags could celebrate a nice bounce-back win after a previously disappointing result. Ladbrokes Championship Match #4 – Partick Thistle 3-0 Morton # # #
  13. Simply Perfect is back! Excellent! Thanks for the comment! ___ Rangers dismissed Morton from the Betfred Cup in a rather cavalier fashion, by a 3-1 count that flattered the visitors heavily despite two goals in arrears. Rangers could have scored six or seven and as such Roy had lots of interesting video to look at after the match to see where the Blueshirts had gone wrong. He thought he found a few vulnerabilities in Morton’s back line and spent the days between matches preparing a few small variations to the standard match plan to exploit them. Roy was a possession man first, figuring that if you have the ball there’s no way your opponent can score. That meant playing for control out of the back and a slow and careful buildup that emphasized good decisions, crisp passing and sharing of the ball in that buildup until the time arrived to pass into space and run onto the ball like banshees. It was working, but it wasn’t exactly Total Football in that regard and it hadn’t been tested against high-caliber opposition. There had to be a better way. In part to avoid the accusations of a lack of tactical acumen that he was already starting to hear, Roy decided to try a few different ideas for Morton – and since he was very much his own man, he reserved the right to change them back if he didn’t like them. The main change came in the area of distribution. For the first few matches Roy wanted Bell to be very conservative, rolling the ball out to a full back or finding a high-percentage pass which would allow his team time for that patient buildup he craved. That may have been safe, but it was also dry as dust. Litmanen had quietly been working on Roy for weeks to allow for faster distribution and allowing Bell to take advantage of what he saw on the pitch. Finally, one day over lunch, Roy gave in. “Jari, we’ll try it but if we lose that way you’re probably going to come in and find every bit of training kit you own wrapped in cellophane.” “Could be worse,” the Finn said. “You could sack me.” “Don’t tempt me,” Roy smiled. But he had tried to get across to everyone at the club that he wanted to hear different ideas and would adopt those which made sense. He had to prove it. This was one way. So at the tactical briefing before the Morton match he unveiled his new scheme, which involved greater freedom all over the park, long distribution and starting the match with a positive outlook instead of the neutral approach he liked when he wanted to see how a match was going to shake out. “I’m turning you loose on this lot,” he said, and the looks he received from around the room ranged from surprised to pleased to incredulous. He then went through the plan and to a man, there was agreement that this was better. But, Roy had a qualifying statement to make as well. “That isn’t to say we won’t play in different ways,” he said. “There will be times when we’ll shackle you up to protect a lead or when there’s a particular way I feel we should play. But when we’re at home against a team we should have the beating of, I want to see what you have up your sleeves. Don’t let me down.” He had come far enough with the team that he could use that specific phrase without fear of it sounding like an ego trip. Roy smiled. “Or better yet, don’t let him down,” he said, jerking a thumb at Litmanen sitting across the room to the squad’s delight. # # #
  14. “We try not to dwell on those things. There’s a lot of season left and we showed that we match up pretty well with a promotion favorite away from home. I think this is a point gained.” Roy was answering the inevitable question from the pack of journos who seemed to thrive on making life difficult for managers. “Since they scored after you, do you think you lost two points today,” “why couldn’t you hold this lead,” “why does a bear s**t in the woods,” those sorts of questions. When someone finally asked about Adrianinho’s goal, Roy cracked a sideways smile. “Sometimes when you tell players to play for set pieces they just groan a bit but on this team, they look at who’s taking them and they grin from ear to ear,” Roy said. “That was a brilliant goal by a brilliant dead ball specialist. We have confidence in every set piece we take when Adrianinho is on the pitch.” “Does that add pressure?” “I guess I should have seen that question coming,” Roy said, in an unhappier mood. “No, it’s not a negative and it’s not intended to be a negative. Sometimes I wonder if you lot sit up in the press room during the match and look for ways to turn good things into bad things.” That put a damper on the rest of the questioning, which was just what Roy wanted. Sometimes, if you play your cards right, you can control the direction of the media’s questions. Of course, in the snowflake world of the modern player, saying something nice can lead to pressure. When Roy was growing up, players lived and died on the words of their gaffer – now most of them seemed to rely more on their agents. So the question had been valid. Roy just didn’t want to give the answer the reporter was looking for. And by burying the question, he changed the direction of the interview. He was surprised at how easily he had gotten away with it. Roy put it down to being new, with smart journalists wanting to build relationship with him. With that, the Jags got back on the coach for Glasgow and Roy got a chance to text his family on the trip. “if it makes you feel any better, I miss you,” Kate texted. Roy smiled and leaned back in his seat. That was always the best part of even a great day at the office – coming home to know that his home front was secure. Now the fixture list pointed homeward again. After a brief rest period, the Jags would host Morton – but that team had an away trip to Ibrox in the Betfred Cup on the Thursday, so he hoped Rangers would suitably soften up his next opposition beforehand. As the coach rolled toward Glasgow, Roy had a long think and then asked O’Brien to come to the front of the coach. Nervously, the new man approached and sat across from Roy. “You want to see me, boss?” he asked. Roy took a deep breath. “Yes, I do,” he said. “I just want you to know that I’m none too pleased with how the away support treated you today. I think it may have affected you and I think it’s down to me to tell you that you have my full confidence.” O’Brien took a deep breath. “I appreciate that,” he finally said. “If I’m honest, yeah, I heard them. Who couldn’t have heard them? It wasn’t great to hear, let me tell you.” “Well, I heard it too,” Roy responded. “Just remember that at least for the time being I have you as a backup to the first team so you can get your feet wet but that in no way changes how I think of you or your ability to play the game. Are we clear?” The defender nodded and smiled. “Yeah, gaffer, we’re clear.” “Good. Enjoy the trip home,” Roy replied. “You’ve got work ahead of you.” # # #
  15. Meanwhile, the old, slow center half keeps plodding on
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