It didn’t occur to me until I read the CQN this morning that today sees a return on active duty to Bratislava for Gordon Strachan and David Marshall. 11 years ago Gordon started his competitive career as Celtic manager against previously unheard of Slovak minnows, Artmedia. The scouting had been done and Gordon was privately confident of progressing but the evening turned into his worst 90 minutes in football.
Six days later Celtic came close to overcoming a 5-0 first leg deficit, but could not add to the scoring after going 4-0 up with 20 minutes remaining.
Gordon went on to win three consecutive titles and took Celtic to the knock-out stage of the Champions League twice, no manager had previously done this once, but he never really shook-off the baggage from that night.
David Marshall wasn’t to blame for what happened on the field but Artur Boruc had signed a few weeks earlier and would soon supplant Marshall as first choice.
Chris Sutton picked up an injury away to Artmedia but I’m not convinced he really took to Gordon Strachan’s attempts to improve training ground habits. The last days of the Martin O’Neill era will never be recalled as a time of intense work. Gordon’s first job was to change this. It didn’t go down well with some senior players.
11 years later you can see the echoes of that time, as Chris wrongly tells the nation Gordon has lost interest in the Scotland job. I’m not a footballer, or manager, so don’t know if it’s possible for someone to lose interest in a job. It’s got me wondering, though, did Chris ever lose interest in a job?