Andy Munro puts his passport away for another year.
In the end, a highly creditable ten points with only two losses in eight European games was a great effort and it was pleasing to end with a win against Slovenian champions Maribor. I had heard that there had been trouble previously in Glasgow (although let’s face it there usually is) when Maribor played Rangers. However, I was still surprised to see the Blues Zulus out in force – that’s until they started to sing “You’re sheet and you know you are”…and I realised that I had stumbled across some hard core Maribor fans.
There was a more than decent crowd and despite eight changes, Blues completely dominated the opening period with Maribor rarely unable to get hold of the ball – in fact it was Blues who looked the ‘continental’ side. Unfortunately, while Blues ruled the wide areas, there was little threat down the middle from the ponderous Ziggy and the unchannelled running from Rooney. It was therefore predictable that the goal came from the almost unplayable Nathan Redmond crossing for Rooney to score with an excellent header.
The rest of the first half and the second was a familiar pattern with cross after cross being spurned by Ziggy who, quite frankly, if it’s allowable to say these days, jumped like a big girl. Meanwhile Nathan Redmond had terrible luck when he smashed in a shot that hit the woodwork and near the end he left the pitch to a standing ovation. During the game, fans were receiving regular updates from Bruges and, it could only happen to Blues, that Braga had a man sent off early on when this should actually have happened in their previous match against the Blues. They did peg back Bruges but somehow we all sensed that the Braga v Bruges match would be a draw.
In truth we lost it in Braga (or should it be that Ziggy lost it with his missed penalty). On that subject, in a side with a number of outstanding performers Ziggy was the only real disappointment. I have to say that cult figure though he is, partly because of his goals against Villa and in the Carling Cup, I am fast losing patience with the genial Serbian. His headed goal attempts are few, when they happen they lack power, his movement in the box is non-existent, his flick-ons are erratic, his ball control is poor, he’s got no pace, he can’t tackle, he goes down in instalments and he’s no sense of urgency. All that for over £40k a week; at that rate he could be a merchant banker.