Following the recent upgrade of parsreview.org to a website format, this blog page will now become an archives section for all previous articles which were posted on the blog since July 2016.
They appear in chronological order, dating back to the start of the 2016/17 season. The articles, from July 2016 - September 8th 2017, are in blog format, shown in list form. Articles from July 2015 (when Pars Review began) - June 2016 are no longer available as they were on a previous webhost which is no longer accessable.
For all the latest articles from Pars Review, please now visit the various different sections within the site by using the dedicated buttons on the home screen, or use the menu tabs at the top of the screen. The layout of articles is similar to the previous blog format but each article category now has a page of its own for easier navigation.
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Above: the original Pars Review banner, used on the first version of the site when it began in 2015.
A new feature where we focus on a game that doesn't involve DAFC
Making a late decision to go to the game, the result was significantly more pleasing than the Scotland team's performance. In his post-match press conference, manager Gordon Strachan was typically prickly. Once a sore loser, he has now adopted the manner of a sore winner. Does it matter if his team keeps winning? Probably not.
A half full Hampden greeted the players and were soon cheering when Christophe Berra put Scotland into a 9th minute lead. Scotland dominated possession but rarely tested the Malta goalkeeper. There were, according to Strachan, 25 shots at goal. Few of them were serious attempts ON goal, however.
The second half was only 4 minutes old when Leigh Griffiths doubled Scotland's lead with a tap in. The crowd wanted more goals, but did not get any; expectations had to be readjusted to avoid a sense of disappointment, and so any number of football cliches were trotted out to make the result seem more satisfying than it actually was: getting the job done; seeing the game out, etc, etc.
Scotland have 2 excellent left backs and one of them, Kieran Tierney, is being played at right back to allow both players a place in the starting 11. While Andy Robertson got up the left side of the pitch with ease, Tierney had to switch to his left foot over on the right side of the park, and so was less effective.
This win plus last Friday's far more impressive victory in Lithuania means that Scotland can still qualify for a World Cup play-off place. If Strachan can guide his team to wins over Slovakia and Slovenia, he will be hailed as a kind of Scottish Mourinho: a testy little man who doesn't exude warmth but who gets the best out of his players and - as stated above - gets the job done.
One final point: quite how James Forrest was given 7 out of 10 in the Sun and Daily Record reports is a mystery. This is a player who at one point in the second half, took 3 touches in an unchallenged area near the side of the pitch and succeeded in walking the ball out of play. He must have many friends in the Scottish media.
Photos (Hampden does not allow cameras, so some of these pictures are not the usual standard for this site, as they were taken by phone, and mostly focus on the crowd and stadium).
Photos by Pars Review
Scotland v Malta Vlog, hosted by DA Talk YouTube channel: goo.gl/D5x2sm
All photos & video content by Pars Review.
The Pars Review matchday vlog is hosted by DA Talk YouTube channel: goo.gl/D5x2sm
3 headers, 3 goals and a safe passage into the next round of the Irn Bru Cup
Allan Johnston made 8 changes to his starting 11, using the Irn Bru Cup as an opportunity for fringe players and others returning from injury to be given game time, as he did in the previous round against Arbroath. Only Sean Murdoch, Lee Ashcroft and Joe Cardle remained from the team that defeated Dumbarton in the Championship last weekend.
Aird, M'Voto, Ashcroft, Martin;
Lochhead, Splaine, Paton, Cardle;
3' Andy Ryan's shot is tipped over by Buckie keeper Daniel Bell
7' GOAL! Great crossfield ball from Aaron Splaine to Joe Cardle, whose cross is headed in by Nicky Clark
34' GOAL! Splaine's cross to Lee Ashcroft is headed back and met by Clark to make it 2-0
40' GOAL! Fraser Aird plays in a cross for Andy Ryan to head in the third goal
59' Splaine's first effort is saved by Bell, then the Pars midfielder crashes the rebound off the bar - very unlucky not to score
78' Ryan's on target shot is saved by Bell
86' Cammy Gill, on earlier as a sub and making his first team debut, makes an excellent diving save from a Kevin Fraser shot
10 months ago, a full-strength Pars team travelled to Buckie and were made to fight for their 5-3 victory, with the final goal coming in injury time during a period when the home side could easily have equalised to make the score 4-4. Today's line-up was far from the familiar first team of the past few weeks. Nicky Clark, who scored in a sub appearance last week, started his first game since returning from injury.
The new-look Pars team controlled the game from the start. There were no scares, with the only save of any significance made late in the game by sub keeper Cammy Gill. In a pattern that is becoming increasingly familiar, as in many recent games the team scored goals early then saw out the second half.
There were no failures today - Lewis Martin had a good game at left back, getting up the pitch regularly; Aaron Splaine showed class in midfield - he has ability and great potential; Michael Paton never wasted a pass; and both strikers that started the game scored. Fraser Aird showed that he is an option at right back, and in the 45 minutes in which both players featured, Joe Cardle (who played in the first half) and Kallum Higginbotham (on at half time for Cardle) were creative and constantly involved. Splaine is my Man of the Match for his involvement in 2 of the goals, plus his second half thunderbolt that deserved to go in.
The long journey would have felt even longer had we not won - back home at 10.20pm! Here's to a home draw in the next round.
Tomorrow: match photo gallery & matchday vlog will be uploaded.
Photos & edits in this article by Pars Review.
Changes will be made for the long trip north with fringe players given a chance to impress
Irn Bru Cup - Saturday 2 September 2017 - Victoria Park - KO 3.00pm
Returning to the far north to the scene of last season's 5-3 Scottish Cup third round win, Dunfermline will look to progress to the next round of the Irn Bru Cup with a team that will be a mixture of regulars and squad players. Both teams have started the season in goalscoring form, so an open, entertaining game is anticipated.
Our opponents: Buckie Thistle
Wednesday's 3-0 win over Rothes kept up Buckie's average of having scored 3 goals per game so far this season in the Highland League, with 7 games played. They sit in second place with 5 wins, 1 draw and 1 defeat. Buckie won the Highland League last season and qualified for the Scottish League 2 Play-offs. They lost 4-3 on aggregate to Lowland League champions East Kilbride, missing out on the chance to play Cowdenbeath in the play-off final for entry to League 2.
Here is a link to the article I posted last season before the Buckie v Pars Scottish Cup game, about Buckie - the town and the football club: www.parsreview.org/blog/way-way-way-up-north
Allan Johnston used the game against Arbroath in the last round of the Irn Bru Cup to give game time to fringe players and has confirmed he will do the same this Saturday. Lewis Martin, who was suspended for the Arbroath game, will feature and such is his versatility in defence, could come in for right back Ryan Williamson, left back Jason Talbot, or either Callum Morris or Lee Ashcroft in central defence. With centre half Big Jock M'Voto likely to play, I would rest Williamson and play Martin at right back, retaining Morris or Ashcroft to play alongside M'Voto.
In midfield, Johnston has several options. His preference for 4-4-2 means that 2 of the 4 positions will be filled by natural wide players as opposed to shoehorning in other players into the 4 man midfield. So with that in mind, I have gone for MIchael Paton in right midfield and David Hopkirk on the left. Hopkirk has been used as a striker this season but played the last 20 minutes of the win over Dumbarton last week on the left wing, with his cross setting up Nicky Clark's goal. In the middle of the pitch, Johnston could select Paton, meaning Fraser Aird could be brought in to play on the right. To have a balance of some first teamers alongside fringe players, I have retained Dean Shiels, and selected Aaron Splaine to come in alongside him.
Up front, Callum Smith is away with the Scotland Under 19 squad but changes were anticipated in any case. We have 4 (5 including Hopkirk) strikers battling for 2 places, and I would expect to see Nicky Clark play this weekend after making his first appearance after injury as a sub last week. Andy Ryan, who made his Pars debut in the last round of this cup, scoring twice in the at game, would be my choice to partner Clark.
My team below selection means that Ryan Williamson, Callum Morris, Kallum Higginbotham, Nat Wedderburn, Joe Cardle and Declan McManus are all rested. The criteria for team selection for this game is completely different from a League game, or even a Scottish Cup or League Cup game. I would expect to see a mix similar to the team I have picked, but that could just as easily see other players rested with some of the players mentioned at the start of this paragraph starting the game. Other fringe players, such as Aird and Scott Lochhead could also play. The manager certainly won't make 11 changes - there will be some continuity but up to 6 or 7 changes could be made.
Preferred starting 11, based on comments above:
Victoria Park photo plus Graeme Stewart edit by Pars Review.
Match report/opinion with photos will be posted when we return home from Buckie.