Scotland v Wales: Strachan laughs off Thomas jibes
COMMENTS from former players from both countries have been flying around this week ahead of tonight’s World Cup qualifying match between Scotland and Wales.
Yesterday, Gordon Strachan and Chris Coleman, unsurprisingly, confirmed that they hadn’t taken any of them too seriously.
On Tuesday, Mickey Thomas, who won 51 caps for Wales between 1976 and 1986 described the current crop of Scotland players as the worst there has ever been. “Make no mistake about it – this Scotland team is the worst Scotland team they’ve ever had,” were his exact words, which were still being talked about at last night’s pre-match press conferences.
Strachan said there was no way Thomas was in any position to judge this Scotland squad against those of previous years and couldn’t help cracking a joke that made reference to the fact that Thomas, in 1993, had been sentenced to 18 months in prison for his involvement in a counterfeit currency racket.
“I just think it’s hilarious,” said Strachan at his briefing at Mar Hall Hotel. “Mickey’s brilliant. To validate his statement, I think Mickey would have to be 150 years old, to have seen every Scotland game in the last 130 years. I’d need to look at his passport and if it says 150, I think Mickey is the only man who could get a passport with 150 on it!”
Strachan added: “Mick never played with me at Manchester United – he played with me at Leeds United. He was like a spectre – one minute he was there and the next he was gone.
“You very rarely saw Mick – he was always on the go. There were too many people looking for him to stop for too long. Mickey was always on the go and he’s a funny guy.
“I’m not 150 years old – I couldn’t tell you what the other Scotland teams are like.
“I can only deal with the here and now and, as for professionalism and enthusiastic boys, then this is good, this is terrific.”
Coleman, too, was quizzed on Thomas’s comments when he met reporters at Hampden a couple of hours later. Asked if the former Manchester United winger had done Wales any favours with the remark, he said: “No, he didn’t – but that is up to Mickey.
“It is a big statement to make. I know Mickey, he is a good fella and paid to give his opinion, but I would disagree with that.
“Most of the Scotland players play top-level football. What are we judging it by, Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness? There haven’t been players like that for a long time but they are still a good team, they have a new manager and a good manager and they will have that bit of momentum.”
Another former Wales player, Neville Southall, was put in front of the media earlier this week to help promote tonight’s match and the ex-goalkeeper claimed the knives would be out for Coleman if the Welsh lost to Scotland tonight.
Coleman laughed off the comment, saying: “I don’t know where Neville has been for 12 months, it has been like that for every game to be honest,” he said.
“I don’t look at it like that. I do feel the pressure but not because I am going to lose my job, I feel the pressure because I want to win.”
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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