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About Terk

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About Me

  • About Me
    FMS Quitter of the Era: 2005-2011


  • Interests
    Football, Rugby, FM

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  1. Howdy. Just bought FM18 so figured I'd stick my head round the door and say hello. Nice to see the old place still going.
  2. Belgium and Wales? That's Scotland's chances screwed then. As ever Mark, I'll be following along.
  3. Sorry to hear that, mate. It's that much more shocking when something so seemingly trivial and second nature is taken away and becomes a struggle. Hope he makes a good recovery.
  4. It's called sabotage. Give me the starts and I'll give you the goals.
  5. Terk

    A hometown hero

    “Christ, get that sh*te off my telly.” Amy had walked into the room as I was watching Liverpool in their Europa League campaign. Things hadn’t gone as well as I’d hoped when I moved to Anfield as a player but I still retained an affection for both the club and the city. However, being from an Evertonian family, Amy had taken enough grief about dating a Liverpool player – she certainly had no desire to sit and watch their games. I blew her a kiss and turned my attention back to the game, the second in the group stage. Having won their opening match on the road they were back in front of a packed Anfield and hoping to give themselves another boost towards the knockout stages. It was interesting to watch a side who were perfectly capable of making the most of their chances and from eight shots on target in the game, Jurgen Klopp’s side scored four goals, a brace from Divock Origi added to by efforts from Marko Grujic and Lazar Markovic. OK, so my players weren’t on the same level of talent as those guys, but neither were Morton a side like Vitória de Guimarães – hitting the target and troubling the goalkeeper shouldn’t be the Herculean task we made it out to be. The game was just about over when my phone rang with a number I didn’t recognise. It was nearly ten at night and I’d been thinking about turning in for the night when the ref blew for full time but I answered anyway, trying to sound polite. “Hi Patrick. It’s Rémi Garde.” My attempts to keep the bewilderment out of my voice almost certainly failed. Why on Earth was the Aston Villa manager calling me? “Sorry to call so late but I had a busy day. I wanted to talk about Callum Robinson.” OK, so it made a bit more sense now. “Sure, he’s doing well. Good lad.” “Yes, but when you asked to take him on loan you told us he would be playing as a striker. My scouts have been watching the videos you’ve sent and he’s on the left all the time. We have no interest in him learning to be a winger.” That explained the edge in his tone as well. There was silence on the line for a few moments while I tried to think of how to respond. “Patrick, are you still there.” “Yes, yes, I’m here. I understand you’re not happy, but he wouldn’t be starting games if we only played him as a striker. We have Kwesi Appiah who is playing that role and doing well. We felt it would be more important that Callum got time on the pitch than sat on the bench waiting for a chance as a striker.” “Indeed, but if you had been honest about his chances as a striker we would have sent him to a different team. One where he would be the first choice.” “I’m sorry you feel that way but I have to do what is best for my team. Callum’s a good player and we’re happy to have him. He’ll get some games through the middle and some out wide. If you’re not happy with that perhaps we should terminate the deal.” Call his bluff, that’ll work. “No, we are not at that stage yet. I just felt we had to put on record that we’re not happy with him playing on the left. I know you have to do best for your team but I have to look out for mine too.” “Agreed, but we’re not going to stop playing him there.” “OK, we’ll talk again soon.” I had no doubt about that, the moaning b*stard. *** When I got to the training ground the following morning, I walked into my office to be greeted by a scout report which might make Callum’s chances of getting game time as a striker even less. There was a note on top from George Adams saying that he’d be round later to chat about it and I only had time to flick through the cover page before he was knocking on my door. “So who’s this lad, Marvin Ducksch?” “German striker, in Dortmund’s second team. George Rooney has been out watching him and reckons he could do a good job for us. In the Premiership too.” That was music to my ears. “He’s scored 26 in 33 games over the last two seasons, even been called up to the main Dortmund squad and played seven times for them.” That was seriously impressive but the big question remained. How much was he going to cost? “George has had a brief word with his agent, reckons he’d be available for around half a million. He’s reasonably quick, good in the air, clearly gets goals. I think this is the guy we’ve been looking for.” “I want to be sure. Nailed on f*cking certain. And we’ve got time before January. Can you fly out and watch him a few times?” George nodded before heading for the door. “And get me some video of him.” Another nod of the head and with that he was gone, leaving me with the thick report that George Rooney had prepared. It was a thorough report and a quick glance suggested it was overwhelmingly positive but I pushed it to one side to read later and pushed myself out of my chair and towards the door, ready to go and put the players through their paces for the day.
  6. Terk

    A hometown hero

    I flicked on the TV just in time as the draw was just about to get underway. After our victory over Hamilton, I’d set my sights on a potential trip to Hampden so my only requirement for the draw was clear. Not Celtic. “So now I’d like to ask Billy Dodds to draw the first home team for the quarter finals.” Billy dipped his hand into the bowl, gave them a swirl around and pulled one out. After fumbling with it to pull out the piece of paper he held it up to the camera. “Celtic. A home draw for Ronny Deila’s side. And they will play…” Gordon Strachan delved into the bowl to consign one of the remaining seven teams to defeat. “St Johnstone.” Thank f*ck. The next tie out saw Rangers given a trip north to face Ross County, another away journey I was pleased we wouldn’t have to face. That left Dundee, Motherwell and Raith Rovers. Raith at Tynecastle would be too good to be true. “And the third tie of the round will be…” A quick mix of the balls for Billy and out came “Dundee, struggling a bit this season and hoping for a good run for a bit of momentum. And they’ll be playing…” Gordon unrolled the piece of paper he’d picked out and held it up. “Hearts, flying high in the Championship. A potential cracker of a tie.” It wasn’t quite what I’d been hoping for but better than it could have been. At least it wasn’t that long an away trip and Dundee were a much worse team than Hamilton, sitting bottom of the Premiership and looking for all the world like they'd be in the Championship next season. It gave us a definite chance of edging our way into the last four. “And that concludes the draw for the quarter finals of the Scottish League Cup, the ties will be played on Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th October.” The focus was quickly back on our league campaign though and the visit of Morton to Tynecastle. We’d have to put together a squad for the day without Igor Rossi, who had strained a stomach muscle during a gym session and would have to sit out up to a month of action. With Murray Wallace needing a rest after his exertions in the early weeks of the season it meant a rare start for Danny Seabourne, partnering Mason Holgate at centre back. The rest of the defence was our strongest options, with the first choice midfield trio of Stewart, Murphy and Towell reunited as well. However, my ever rotating front three landed on Santi Jara, Billy King and Kwesi Appiah as I continued to look for a combination which set things on fire. After a poor start which had seen Morton lose their first four games of the campaign, Jim Duffy’s side had bounced back in recent weeks with consecutive wins over Cowdenbeath, Dunfermline and Queen of the South to boost them up the table. That still kept them ten points behind us though and we had to be strong favourites for a comfortable victory. The opening ten minutes showed just why as we managed seven shots on goal, though only one of them, a clipped effort from Cameron Borthwick-Jackson from just outside the penalty area, forced Derek Gaston into a save. After that initially flurry of domination, things calmed down over the next quarter of an hour and we didn’t trouble Gaston again until we took the lead. The goal came in the 27th minute and was a perfect example of the virtue of patience. With Morton sitting deep we were struggling to find a way around them and the crowd were getting restless, as is so often the case at Tynecastle. Shouts encouraging the players to get the ball wide were clearly audible in a generally silent atmosphere, but after keeping the ball just outside their box for what seemed like an age, finally Richie Towell spotted the opening and slipped a perfectly weighted pass into the path of Billy King’s run. The winger didn’t even need to take a touch, instead just curling a first time effort in off the inside of the post, giving Gaston absolutely no chance of keeping it out. We should have had more by half time as both Appiah and Seabourne headed wide of the target when unmarked from corners, while King and Santi Jara both drew good saves from Gaston as we tried to make the scoreline reflect the domination we’d had on the game. I was never worried that we’d be punished for our profligacy though, as Morton hadn’t even mustered a shot off target and seven minutes into the second half we finally doubled our advantage when Jara cut a pass back to the edge of the penalty area and Luke Murphy drilled a powerful shot into the top corner of the net. The remaining time in the game saw us pepper the stands with yet more off target shots as we proved that it really was the worst thing about our game. Still, I suppose it’s good that it was the biggest thing we had to moan about as we cruised to a seventh successive league win which kept us firmly at the top of the table, although Rangers remained on our heels. Hearts 2 – 0 Morton (Scottish Championship, 8/36) (King 27; Murphy 52)
  7. Terk

    A hometown hero

    “This football management sh*t is easy.” My tongue was firmly in my cheek as I talked to George following Monday’s training session but my confidence was certainly high. Eight straight wins in all competitions and no defeats in my nine-game managerial career was a nice way to start things, though I was also careful about pride coming before a fall. George and I had convened to discuss what our plans might be for the January window and how he might direct his scouting pool. “I’m still not sure about our options up front. Kwesi’s done fine and Callum’s looked good in flashes but they’re both loans, we can’t plan anything with them in mind. If you can dig out a striker we can afford who might be a little less profligate with his shooting, I’d be very interested.” George was in basic agreement with me, though he thought higher of Gavin Reilly’s chances of cementing his place in the starting line up once he’d returned from injury than I did. Or, to be more accurate, than I saw him being as a long term option. There wasn’t too much time to focus so far ahead though, with another game coming up. The Championship in Scotland isn’t the sort of league in which the games usually come thick and fast, for a start it has ten fewer games than its English namesake but this was one midweek in which we’d be pressed into action as Hamilton paid a visit to Tynecastle in the third round of the league cup. Our Premiership opponents had been made clear favourites for the match and it was perfectly understandable why. They came into the match on the back of three straight wins in the league – over Hibs, Kilmarnock and Motherwell – which had left them sitting in third place after seven games. Player/manager Martin Canning, who had been in charge for some 18 months since the departure of Alex Neil to Norwich, had got his players firing and performing above all expectations. This was undoubtedly going to be a tough test of our talents. The assumption of their victory was made even more certain when we named our team and Callum Paterson was fit enough only for the bench. Indeed, such was the fatigue he’d shown in training the previous day I’d strongly considered leaving him out of the squad altogether but instead decided to have him there just in case of emergency. There were a couple of other changes made for the necessity of keeping lads fit, as Neil Alexander came in for Jack Hamilton in goal, and took the captain’s armband vacated by Paterson, while Liam Smith took the full back’s place on the pitch. In midfield, Iain Vigurs and Charlie Telfer came in for Luke Murphy and Richie Towell, while Callum Robinson came back in give Santi Jara a rest as even after an early sub against St Mirren he was still struggling to get back up to speed. Hamilton too made three changes from their weekend whipping of Motherwell but they sent out a strong team with the prize of a place in the quarter finals at stake. Given how the first half played out though, they’d have perhaps been better fielding the exact same team who’d beaten the Steelmen so easily, though at least the changes gave them something of an excuse to hang onto for our domination of the game. That domination came to fruition in the 20th minute of the match when Liam Smith, who had seamlessly filled the role vacated by Paterson and caused no end of trouble with his runs down the right flank, arrived first to a half-cleared header. Gathering the ball just outside the penalty area on the right, he chipped in an exquisite cross, finding the head of the unmarked Kwesi Appiah who nodded in his fifth goal of the season – so much for my concerns about him not being efficient enough in front of goal. Appiah almost had his second just after the half hour but we were only denied extending our lead for roughly a second. After Vigurs was brought down by a rough challenge on the left wing – something which was a recurring theme throughout the game as Hamilton regularly forced the referee to intervene – Telfer claimed the free kick and made his claim for more regular game time with a perfectly weighted delivery into the six-yard box, which Appiah headed against the underside of the crossbar. Thankfully, Murray Wallace was the only one alert to the rebound and the centre back tucked the ball away into the open net to claim his first goal for the club. We could and perhaps should have gone further in front as the game pressed on – such was becoming the story of our season – but the players seemed content to sit on their two goal advantage and play the game out. They were given a moment of pause when half time substitute Liam Caddis got in behind our defence to turn home a cross from Danny Redmond with just over ten minutes remaining but that brief hiccup aside we were in total control and no result other than our victory looked even remotely likely. We might be in the second tier for the moment, but in winning so comfortably we had proved in our own minds if nothing else that we were one of the best sides in the country. Hearts 2 – 1 Hamilton (Scottish League Cup, 3rd Round) (Appiah 20; Wallace 31; Caddis 79)
  8. Terk

    A hometown hero

    Thanks chaps. It has been a great start to the season and to beat Rangers topped it off nicely. Long way to go yet though. ---------------------- For someone who was unhappy with the drinking culture that washed through Scottish football for so long and prided himself on his professional approach throughout his career, I should perhaps have been a little stricter about the celebrations on Saturday night. After all, it was only the first of four times we would play Rangers and the sixth of a thirty-six game season. Yes, the win had put us top of the league and we had dominated a match against the favourites for the title and I could understand the players wanting to celebrate that, given that they had Sunday off to recover, but with plenty of beer having already bene drunk before they left the stadium and headed into town for the night, I could have done a better job of keeping a lid on things. Thankfully on Monday morning there were no stories to wake up to of them getting themselves into bother, though I have to admit I didn’t sleep all that well worrying about it in the intervening time. I had decided to take Sunday off as well and tried to relax at home with a newspaper and some trash on the TV but I was overly anxious and tried texting a number of the players to find out if anything had happened the night before. A few were still slightly the worse for wear as we reconvened on Monday morning for training and, as such, I couldn’t stop myself from giving them a few more fitness drills to deal with than we’d normally put them through. By Tuesday everyone was back on form though and we began to look ahead to the weekend’s game, one that might feature a new face in the squad. Former Manchester United midfielder Joe Rothwell had impressed throughout his trial period, both in training with the senior squad and the three games he’d played with the youth team. He certainly looked like he might have a future with us and as he was a free agent before the transfer window shut, we had been in no hurry to secure a deal. However, with a few English Championship clubs having watched him and started to firm up their interest, it was time to put a deal on the table and he quickly signed a two-year contract worth £900 per week. *** Although Joe didn’t make it into the matchday squad for the visit of St Mirren, he was very much in the discussion for the midweek league cup fixture we had coming up. That was the only thought I’d given to the Hamilton match though, with the line-up for the clash with the Buddies featuring my strongest side, the only change from the Rangers game seeing Santi Jara come in for his first start, with Callum Robinson dropping to the bench and Sam Nicholson moving over to the left flank. There was something of a swagger about the players after the previous week’s result, as well as the knowledge that St Mirren had only won two of their first six league games and were coming off the back of a disappointing 1-1 draw against Falkirk back in Paisley. That confidence certainly translated itself onto the pitch – if not the scoreline – in the early stages of the first half as we continued to play the dominant passing game for which we were starting to build a reputation, even in the Scottish press which still largely ignored anything but Rangers outside the Premiership. The visitors played a very narrow back four with their full backs rarely venturing outside the width of the penalty area and sat deep, challenging us to break them down. That didn’t slow us down much as we just focused on getting the ball wide for Sam and Santi to cause them problems and made sure that both our full backs were pressing on to join in the attack. Nor did their deep block defence mean we had to resort to shots from distance as, of the 11 shots we had on goal in the first 45 minutes, 10 were from inside the box. The only problem was, they weren’t very accurate, with more than half being fired well off target. However, it was the 12th shot that proved to be the crucial one, coming a minute into added time at the end of the first half. Again we attacked down the flank as Santi Jara played a pass to find Callum Paterson in space and the flying right back swung a low cross into the six-yard box which Kwesi Appiah poked home from close range. The second half continued in much the same manner and even as we made our substitutions – with Billy King replacing Jara just before the hour mark, then Iain Vigurs and Callum Robinson taking the places of Luke Murphy and Appiah respectively – we didn’t miss a beat in our frustrating domination of the match. We carved out chance after chance no matter how St Mirren tried to stop us but our shooting was as wayward as I had ever seen it. There never felt like being any threat of St Mirren grabbing an equaliser but nor could I ever feel comfortable in a one-goal lead. It wasn’t until injury time at the end of the match – and our 22nd shot on goal of the contest – that we finally extended our lead to at the very least what our play deserved. In the final five minutes the visitors had tried to press forward slightly in search of the most unlikely of levellers, but all that did was provide us with more space to attack them as King lofted a ball forward over the top of their back four and Robinson ran onto it, taking one touch to steady himself before sliding a shot beyond Craig Samson in the St Mirren goal. Hearts 2 – 0 St Mirren (Scottish Championship, 7/36) (Appiah 45+1; Robinson 90+1)
  9. Just clocked onto this. Up front, as I should be, though frankly it's disgraceful that I'm not seeing more game time after making a good start to the season.
  10. There can be only one true choice. Sherwood for England.
  11. Terk

    A hometown hero

    Although there had been plenty of wheeling and dealing on deadline day, there was only one change made to the starting line-up for the visit of Rangers to Tynecastle. Callum Robinson came into the front three in place of Billy King, while Santi Jara and Charlie Telfer had to make do with places on the bench. Both had impressed significantly in the week or so of training they’d had since joining us, but with the team having made a solid start to the season I was loathe to throw them in straight away and potentially disrupt things, particularly in such a crucial game. Everyone expected Rangers to take the title this season. They’d had two cracks at winning promotion from the Championship and come up short both times, but this was their year. Some of the kinder pundits thought we might give them a run for maybe half the campaign, but the expectation was clear; come May Rangers would be lifting the title by a good ten-point margin. Although that irritated me, I did understand why everyone was so convinced by it. Looking on paper they seemed to have the better squad – they certainly paid much better wages – and we were coming off the back of a relegation with a squad weakened by having to sell some of our best players. We had been the division’s biggest spenders in the transfer window, splashing out £2,800,000 but we brought in £5,700,000 in fees for the players who were moved out and the press were very much treating us as a team who were three million pounds worse off in talent rather than one who’d got some good deals done. While the fans around the ground were clearly enjoying themselves in the build up to the match, I was, to use an indelicate phrase, ******** bricks. The game had been picked up for TV coverage which was something I could have done without, having to go through the rigmarole of TV interviews, answering even more banal questions than the print journalists could come up with as I tried to prepare the team for the game. The opening half hour of the match was as tense as I felt. There was no arrogance about the Rangers side, they clearly respected us and didn’t want to overcommit forward in our back yard. For our part, we did our best to continue our path of dominating the ball, probing for weakness and trying to strike when we found it. In truth there wasn’t much success for either side in that first thirty minutes, it passed like the opening rounds of an evenly matched fight in which the boxers tease each other with jabs. The first solid blow landed came from us in the 32nd minute when Richie Towell found an inch of space and threaded a lovely ball through to Kwesi Appiah but his shot cannoned back off the crossbar. Buoyed by that brief moment though, we began to take control of the match and Rangers began to shrink a little further back into their shells. This was not the side who had been battering every team they came across in the season so far. And as half time beckoned we finally made the breakthrough. A run down the left by Cameron Borthwick-Jackson put the full back in space and he cut a pass back to Towell on the edge of the box. The Irishman chipped a gorgeous ball to the back post where Sam Nicholson had got away from Lee Wallace and guided a header onto the inside of the far post, watching as it slowly bounced over the line before racing into the crowd to celebrate wildly. Half time was mostly spent trying to calm the players down as they were still on a high from the goal when the referee blew his whistle for the interval. We could have hoped for little better than we’d got during the first forty-five minutes but we knew at some point they would fight back and we had to be on our guard against it. We told the players to keep doing exactly as they had, controlling the ball, looking for opportunities but at the same time not losing their shape and discipline in defence. They performed admirably. We began the second half with every measure on control with which we’d finished the first and, though it took another half hour to come, when our second goal did arrive it was thoroughly deserved. In the 71st minute, Santi Jara had been sent on in place of Callum Robinson to make his debut, with Nicholson switching to the left wing and Santi taking up a place on the right. It didn’t take long for the Spaniard to make an impact as Kevin Stewart played an inch-perfect ball for him to run onto and his finish was fired low and hard past Wes Foderingham at the near post. The game was dead and buried and all we had to do was see it out, a job which we were doing perfectly until the 86th minute. Even during the tighter opening of the first half, Rangers had created nothing notable in terms of a chance on goal, but with less than five minutes left they won a free kick for an innocuous foul on halfway. James Tavernier launched the ball into the box and no one won the header, allowing it to fall to the unmarked Luca Gasparotto at the back post, who had enough time to take a touch before sweeping a shot beyond Jack Hamilton. Out of absolutely nothing they had halved the gap and we began to panic. Rangers swamped forward in search of an equaliser and won a corner, which Jason Holt fired into the box. Igor Rossi managed to head it clear to the edge of the area, but waiting there was Josh Windass, who fired a half-volley goalwards. His effort cracked off the crossbar but the rebound fell to Gasparotto, who tucked it in to bring the scores level. The Rangers fans behind the goal went crazy and my head fell into my hands until I felt Simon Donnelly tapping me on the shoulder and opened my eyes to see him pointing towards the assistant on the near side. His flag was raised. Offside. The referee was doing his best to tell the Rangers players that a free kick had been awarded. By the skin of our teeth we had survived and with Rangers brought crashing back to Earth they had nothing left in the tanks to force another threatening attack as we played out time until the end of the match. Hearts 2 – 1 Rangers (Scottish Championship, 6/36) (Nicholson 45; Jara 75; Gasparotto 86)
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