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FM19 - The Great Glasgow Alternative

Recently retired hard man Roy Scully ventures north of the border for his first job in management. Steve Gerrard, he ain't.
Started on 29 December 2018 by tenthreeleader
Latest Reply on 3 September 2019 by TheLFCFan
"Damaged spine" in the game does sound frightening, yes! But then, this game is all about 'next man up' ... as you'll see.

Having his first choice eleven back in front of him made Roy smile. Watching them perform against the Bairns was just as enjoyable.

Coulibaly, who had had some trouble opening his Partick Thistle scoring account, got a gimme early on in the match. Storer and Storey played one of the more remarkable 1-2’s in memory to start it off.

Storer, on the right, crossed the width of the field for Storey on the left. The winger reached the byline and returned a cross into the center of the six-yard box for Storer, who had embarked on a lung-busting run to get himself in position to score.

He nodded the ball at the feet of keeper David Mitchell, who couldn’t hold onto it. He fell in a heap trying to collect the ball and Coulibaly simply barged in and scored with the entire goal at his mercy.

Right on the half hour, he did it again, this time taking a feed from Berrigan at the top of the penalty area before striding to his left and stroking home a low drive to the keeper’s left.

The strikes gave the Ivorian four goals for the season including one in the Betfred Cup – still a ways off Storey’s team lead but a very nice complement nevertheless.

The team seemed to be good for a couple of goals a match in the old-fashioned alignment but what Roy wanted to see now was solid defending. The team had showed sufficient quality to be a threat going forward but to keep the team in contention, more was needed at the back.

Roy had been through relegations at West Ham and he knew too well that one of the things that can get a freshly relegated team in trouble (and to use Sunderland as just one example, relegated again) is lack of discipline in defense.

So, with a two-goal advantage, Roy wanted to see how his team would handle prosperity.

The answer was “pretty darn well, thank you very much.”

Roy had experimented with a few different back lines, having players who could play more than one position at the back, and found he liked the look of the four men out there at that moment.

Sean McGinty, Thomas O’Ware, Tam Scobbie and Niall Keown were the four from left to right. McGinty was listed as a backup on the depth chart but didn’t play like one; O’Ware and Keown were staples and Scobbie was a loanee who was already making noises that he preferred playing in Glasgow to Dundee.

Bannigan went into the book for a particularly clumsy challenge right before halftime but otherwise there was nothing to complain about.

So Roy talked about consistency. “You’re at home, beating a team you should beat,” he told them. “Don’t be the man who changes that.”

Aside from the goals, the best news of the half was that Falkirk hadn’t put a single shot on frame in four attempts. The Jags were holding their shape in defense, regrouping and holding their width, and then hitting back on the counter when possession was regained. In short, they looked organized – everything they hadn’t been at Accrington – and that was wonderful.

So as the second half began, Roy was looking for more of the same. The chances didn’t exactly flow, but then they didn’t flow for both teams and that was satisfying.

Thistle generated a couple half-chances through Coulibaly, who was really having a nice game. Settled in to the tactic and to the team, he was a real danger man, finding space in the channels or making effective runs as he chose.

When the final whistle went, it was comprehensive and the same score as at halftime. But Roy didn’t care. It had been the kind of match that would make opposing fans grumble and that was just fine with him.

Ladbrokes Championship Match #2 – Partick Thistle 2-0 Falkirk

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Excellent result. Great to see Roy was so keen on maintaining a solid back line and keeping the clean sheet. Doing so can really help build the confidence of the side, similarly to scoring goals.
Fantastic result there, Roy really tuning into the idea that a goal saved is just as important as a goal scored. A great philosophy that great teams follow.
League form is going to be pivotal so picking up victories early on is a great start!
Solid. I think that's the perfect word to describe that performance! Goals being scored, nothing slipping at the back. Like a well-oiled machine.
The team is really playing well and my tactic is actually very simple. Frankly, I'm surprised. I gave Roy more points for motivation when I started the game and the players are listening. This has been fun so far.

One of the things that Roy had to keep in mind was that in August, his team only had one match at home, and they had just played it.

The financial figures were coming out soon and they weren’t going to look very good. But with an away friendly, two away matches in the league and two cup ties away from home in addition to the Accrington away friendly, that should have been expected.

January would be better. So would April, in which the Jags were scheduled away only once.

Ahead lay the Betfred Cup second round and the second trip of that tournament to Livingston, and the IRN-BRU cup first round match away to Kilmarnock Reserves.

Of course, the IRN-BRU cup is contested by youth players and those under 21 years of age for Premier League clubs – colt teams, in other words. Since Roy wanted the players to consider themselves Premier League players in their minds if not on actual practice, and the board didn’t care about results in this particular competition, he decided to use a young team as well. So it was a hugely different group of players Roy would be taking on the road.

He was going to get a good and extended look at his players, particularly the youngest ones, and that’s always good for a senior team boss.

The trick, of course, was figuring out how he was going to put a team on the pitch.

The numbers on the youth team weren’t great and there were only a few players on the senior team under 21, and fewer still of those that Roy wanted to risk in this particular competition.

So before the team left for Livi he had a lot to think about.

The thing about Glasgow that was a bit odd was that you could walk down a street,
into a pub or to the grocery store and find a footballer. Perhaps it was part of the Scottish “everyman” nature, but as Roy went to buy his family groceries as part of his weekly excursion, he resolved to count the strange looks he got.

The answer was three. That wasn’t a lot. If he was going to become famous in Glasgow, there had to be another way to do it.

By the time he got out of the baking goods department he knew he was going to field a strong squad. The first team would have a week off so he could take the younglings to their cup tie so there was no harm in letting it all hang out, as it were, against Livi.

He got home and found Kate in bed, not feeling well.

“The first couple of months aren’t great,” Roy sympathized, moving to get his wife a glass of water.

“I’m afraid that’s about all I can keep down,” she mused, sitting up against a backrest to take Roy’s offered beverage.

She took a sip, placed the glass on the nightstand beside her, and smiled. “But the ending is wonderful,” she said. “Don’t you think?”

“I do,” he replied, holding her hand. “I just hate to see you like this.”

“Well, you did have something to do with it.” She giggled and Roy couldn’t resist her when she did that.

“Lucky me,” he smiled.

As they spoke, their girls entered the room and clambered onto the bed to snuggle with their mother. They couldn’t quite figure out the issues behind morning sickness, especially when it didn’t happen in the morning. All they knew was that mum wasn’t well and that made them sad.

Dad was going away again the next day, which didn’t help matters either.

It was just another day in the life of a football family.

# # #
A nice, sort of warming insight into the troubles that people involved in football have to go through with all the travelling while having a family. Love the idea of team selection whilst going through a bakery department, fantastic :D Btw, huge congratulations on a much-deserved Story of the Month victory!
It seems a lovely little family. Congratulations on winning SOTM, it's updates like these as to why I voted for you!
The Scully clan is very close. Roy is very quiet about his family but they are his rock and that isn't up for debate. Someday he might need that special relationship.

And thanks for the votes. This is a really nice feeling. :)


Roy had worked around some half-decent dead ball specialists during his time in the game. He was starting to think that Adrianinho was going to take his place at or near the top of his list.

The Brazilian’s game belied his 38 years of age. He seemed to have found a fountain of youth since arriving in Glasgow.

He was so good from set pieces that Roy had changed the team’s tactic to take advantage of it. Before the Betfred Cup match he told the players he wanted them looking for dead ball situations and not only had they agreed, they had done so loudly. These players weren’t fools, after all.

So it really wasn’t a surprise to see Adrianinho score from 25 yards out just before halftime in the Betfred Cup match with Livingston. It was just artful.

Somehow, he had languished with Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the second-tier NASL in America the previous year and before that, with Brazilian second division side PON.

He seemed to be ideally suited for the Scottish game – some flair, but also a graft and work ethic that allowed him to go up and down his wing for ninety minutes without complaint. He wasn’t the best man-marker in the world – far from it – but nobody could fault him for the shift he put in.

At age 38, he was three years older than his manager and still pumping goals home, which made Roy wonder what Adrianinho had looked like when he was younger – and who else had missed seeing his potential. Ah, what might have been.

What was obvious after the Brazilian’s goal was that Livingston was having a hard time coping with opposition from a league below.

After earning a second successive promotion the year before through the play-ins, Gary Holt had a job on to keep his team in the top flight. Already struggling in the league, he was hoping a Cup win over lower-level opposition would kick-start his players.

Only it wasn’t happening. After the early goal, the Jags effortlessly kept the sheet clean until the break gave Roy a chance to talk with his players.

“Did you like how it felt beating a Premier League team on its own patch last time? Then go and do it again and see that doing it twice feels even better,” he smiled.

The team was playing extremely well away from home and he saw no reason to give them any of the business about complacency. They were the better side and Roy felt it best to simply add fuel to their fire.

Whereupon they went out in the second half and played like it. They were patient, compact, kept their shape and regrouped smartly when out of possession, looking dangerous on the counter when they won back the ball.

Not only did Roy’s men restrict the home team’s chances, they numerically cut them in half from the first half, while managing almost sixty percent of the possession in the process.

By the time substitute Islam Feruz had scored his first goal for the club since his loan from Chelsea, when the Jags had caught the home team with only one defender back in an effort to score on an 89th minute corner, the result was not in doubt.

There was no doubt which team looked like the Premier League side. It wasn’t the hosts.

Betfred Cup Second Round – Livingston 0-2 Partick Thistle

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Another stunning result and another stunning post! Congratulations on a thoroughly deserved Story of the Month award!
Interesting comment about the family unit at the start about how you might need them later...

Anyway, playing to your strengths is going to help in any situation and in football, to have such a good set-piece taker is a unique attribute to have in any league. Even better that he's Brazilian, 38 years old and called Adrianinho - the perfect Brazilian.
A Brazilian playing for a Scottish Championship side, I love that. :P

Another excellent result, with the additional bonus of a clean-sheet - which will please Roy, in particular, given previous comments made. The side seems to be going from strength-to-strength early on in the campaign.
Never mind the result, Adrianinho is firmly on his way to becoming a cult hero for the club! Another solid display and it is good to see Roy's life on and off the pitch motoring well, even if it does contain the fresh smell of his wife's vomit every now and then!
Thanks, all ... though I trust the Scully household would prefer something other than vomit to be the key word of the day.... :)

Roy’s back room was starting to look pretty cosmopolitan – and had names bigger than Roy’s all over it.

In addition to Director of Football Terry Butcher, Litmanen and Barmby being associated with the club, Roy was more than a bit surprised to see the name of Edgar Davids on the application list for a board-approved first-team coach slot.

As a skill player, Davids had few peers. “The Mayor of the Street” (or “The Pitbull”, if you prefer) was remarkable with the ball at his feet. His highlights were plastered all over YouTube – and understandably so. He was a wizard.

Ajax. Both big clubs in Milan. Juventus. To a lesser extent, Barcelona and Spurs. His resume was certainly impressive.

As a holding midfielder, Davids was also excellent, but the reason he applied at Partick was to eventually get back into management. A rather odd stint as manager of Barnet which saw the club relegated out of League Two had been enough to whet his appetite, but he was now looking for a way back in, and that meant finding a bit of self-discipline as well.

After relegation, Davids had refused to accompany Barnet – the team he managed – on Conference National away trips which required an overnight stay, which was an impossible thing for a manager to do. So, he resigned.

Now, he was re-earning his spurs and when he was asked if he would mind teaching the Jags midfielders even a small portion of what he knew, agreement came quickly.

So there was a pile of international experience in addition to Roy’s own nine England caps and one goal. Butcher, Litmanen, Davids and Barmby had combined for 311 caps and 45 goals among them with Butcher of course captaining England.

It made for some odd company. Roy was the least experienced of the group internationally and every member of that foursome of players held a higher coaching qualification than he did.

There was also the problem of conflicting egos. Davids especially was known for being strong-willed, and Butcher himself had been a former caretaker manager for the Jags in 2007, making his present job his second tour with the club.

Yet it was Roy who called the shots and that took a great deal of self-belief and self-confidence to do in a group that experienced.

The saving grace, if you can call it that, was that Butcher and Davids weren’t particularly effective managers. Butcher’s lifetime win percentage of 35.03 percent was barely beaten by Davids’ 36.1, with his best work coming at Inverness, where he won 41 percent of his matches over five years.

To offset some of those issues, Roy had gone to the board to ask for permission to study for a Contintental B license during the season, but was turned down, with the not-so-subtle suggestion from Jacqui Low that he concentrate on leading his own team.

So much for vanity. And so much for improving the standard of coaching at the club. Roy was on his own.

But Roy was used to leading men on the pitch. On a staff filled with leaders, he had to find a way – every day – to be the alpha male, the guy who set the tone and set the course.

It wasn’t easy. But those were the hires he had chosen to make. It added to the pressure.

Yet there were times when he would welcome that experience around him. He was starting to look ahead to the first match of the season at Tannadice against Dundee United, one of the promotion favorites. After taking the younglings up to Rugby Park in Kilmarnock for their IRN-BRU test against Killie Reserves, that match was next on the cards.

He figured he would have to lean on his star-studded backroom staff sooner or later. So be it.

That said, it was fun to be able to turn to the youngsters in training for a few days to run the rule over them. There were players who were going to get a good, long look.

Only the Premier League teams had to field youth sides but one of the things Roy wanted to teach his players was that they should think and act like they were still in the big time.

So he was taking an all-youth team for the first round. The board said it didn’t particularly care how Roy did, so he wanted to blood some youngsters. He wanted to play the way the Premier League boys did – with a colt team.

One of them was Shea Gordon, brought in on loan from Motherwell before Roy’s arrival. The boy looked like he could play a bit – but with Bannigan, Craig Slater and Chris Erskine all ahead of him in the central midfield pecking order, the boy wasn’t going to get as many chances as he liked to play.

So here was one. Gordon was twenty years old, and that was just fine for this competition.

So was another loan player Roy had brought in – twenty-year old Alex Pescanu from Leicester, who could play any position on the back line and figured to be a very good depth option. He wasn’t as keen to use Max Melbourne in the IRN-BRU, but he was of age and would probably be the best player on the pitch in any cup match he played in.

The rest were real youngsters, prospects, and hangers-on who were hoping for a contract but were unlikely to find one waiting at the end of their respective rainbows.
But they all deserved Roy’s undivided attention during match preparation and that’s exactly what they got.

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Stunning story so far man, really enjoying every last word of it! :D

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