By Andy Munro.
With Barry Ferguson the latest departure from the revolving door that is St Andrews, the question is who will be next? Scott Dann and Cameron Jerome have been mentioned but not Nikola Zigic, which set me thinking about last year’s ‘trophy’ signing.
At the start of last season, excitement reached fever pitch as it looked as if we were signing a genuine and much needed target man to augment the paucity of resources up front – namely Cameron ‘50p head’ Jerome and Gary ‘I was once sub in a Russian Cup Final’ O’Connor.
Zigic or Ziggy as he has become (fondly?) known seemed to have the right pedigree as a 6’7” plus international and extra pleasingly. Villa apparently tried to unsuccessfully pinch him from us at the last moment. It seemed to get even better when he pronounced himself as ‘like Peter Crouch only better.’
With baited breath, we waited for his first appearance for Blues although the World Cup viewers amongst us had already watched with a tinge of concern a miss in front of goal when playing for Croatia and his general clumsiness. His first performance at St Andrews was not exactly scintillating and he lost more than his fair share of balls in the air. However we put it down to playing against a very competent fellow giant in the hulking form of Samba. Unfortunately, things deteriorated rather than improved with his ungainliness verging on the comical. At times Zigic made a Sherman tank look as graceful as Olga Korbut in her heyday. In fairness it probably didn’t help having the footballing dyslexic Cameron J trying to read his flick-ons. On the other hand, Ziggy only had to be gently nudged and he went down in instalments, Heskey style. This did not endear him to a Bluenose crowd brought up on a diet of Horsefield, Harford and Latchford.
Still, he could be a handful purely due to his size and he worked his way back into the crowd’s affections with some vital goals culminating in his Wembley performance. Then mysteriously a groin strain defied medical opinion and he was sidelined when we needed him most. In Clash parlance, should he stay or should he go? As long as we get £6 million for him I’m ambivalent about his possible departure although perhaps we should just keep him as a Carling Cup souvenir.