Friday, 02 April 2021 09:43

Scotland's results over the international weekend were a mixed bag, to say the least. A decent 2-2 draw with Austria although we could have won it, which was then followed by a disappointing 1-1 draw with Israel. In our final game, we won 4-0 against minnows, The Faroe Islands.

That leaves us with 2 points from 9 games which leave us in 3rd place, which is disappointing but is not a surprise for different reasons compared to previous campaigns under other managers. 

These games prove that Steve Clarke prefers being the underdog and his teams are at his most vulnerable when that isn't the case against these so-called smaller teams. Playing a defensive formation with 5 at the back works against the bigger teams or teams of similar ability to us, look at the result against Serbia. You then have even more evidence of his time at Kilmarnock where he overcame The Rangers and Celtic in his final season finishing in 3rd place.

These tactics do not work against teams of lower ability because we're not defending against quality attacking the opposition and the chances are they're playing the same tactics as us. 

I feel more confident of qualifying from the Euro 2021 group stages with Croatia, England, and Czech Republic compared to a World Cup group that consists of  Austria, Israel, Faroe Islands, Denmark & Moldova. I believe this defensive approach is the right way to go for the European Championships this Summer, but we need to have a different style and tactics for the World Cup Qualifiers.

When you've got players like Tierney, Robertson, McGinn, Adams, McTominay, Fraser, McGregor, Christie, Jack, and Armstrong we should be competing with Denmark for the top spot and worst-case scenario 2nd place above Austria in my opinion.

Steve Clarke has some thinking to do, I'm sure he will adapt to the situation like he usually does and will come out of this even stronger. There is nothing wrong with a plan B, it makes you more unpredictable which makes you more dangerous.

I am looking forward to this Summer, like everyone else. You might call me crazy, but this is our best chance to get a result against England. I think this will be Gareth Southgate's last tournament. He is an average manager, who doesn't like change. He plays his trusted formation with 5 at the back and refuses to take advantage of having the likes of Kane, Sterling, Rashford, Sancho, Grealish, Foden, and more. 

Croatia is also a team in decline. Modric (35), Rakitic (33), Perisic (31) and Dejan Lovren (31). We can overpower them with our youthful team combined with our aggression. Or the more realistic option would be to let them play their game and take them on the counter-attack for the first 70 minutes and once they tire out we can take full advantage.

Czech Republic is the less talented but will prove to be difficult. They will play a similar formation to us and will look to capitalise on any mistakes we will make. We have the better players and there should be no excuse for this game. I am confident we can learn from the last 3 games and apply it to this game. It will probably set the tone for the rest of the game considering it's our first one of the campaign. 

On another note, I'm just glad to finally witness our national team participate in a major tournament even if it is just watching it from home. Isn't it typical that we qualified during a lockdown too? Such a Scottish thing to do. 

Photo courtesy of the Daily Record

Thursday, 15 April 2021 20:56

According to Help Guide studies have found a strong link between social media abuse (using it too much) and mental health issues. You are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts.

I can see this being 100% factually correct because from personal experience, I've been on social media during the lockdown on average of 5-6 hours a day, 5-6 hours far too long, which is because of boredom but because I'm trying to escape the depression of COVID-19 and other negative news in the media.

Spending 20 minutes on Tik-Tok lead to approximately 2 hours on it and so on. If you've seen the Social Dilemma documentary (watch it if you haven't), you'll know that social media platforms are designed to make you want more with its colour, logo, and algorithm to recommend you what to watch next based on your own preference.

Despite blocking media outlets like BBC and SKY on Facebook and Instagram, I still didn't feel any better because I was comparing myself to other people's lives naturally like a lot of people do. Getting likes on photos I put up gave me dopamine which is a temporary measure as it doesn't last very long. Getting a positive comment on that photo is the equivalent of having a pint or taking drugs which means long-term it doesn't mean anything. 

Luckily there are ways to counter-act this if it does have a negative impact on you:

1. Clean your feed - follow your close friends, hobbies which can be anything like football to cricket, just something that you're passionate about. Delete unnecessary pages you follow and if someone's posting too much about something negative unfollow or unfriend them. This is your feed and you decide what is on it. 

2. Deactivate social media - If this really is affecting you, take a break from as many social media platforms as you want. This can be for a day, a week, or even months. I deactivated all my social media accounts for two weeks because COVID-19 news was having a negative impact on me. The constant repeat of information on a subject frustrates me. Having two weeks away from that felt like my batteries were re-charged. I still don't know to this day why I re-activated it because I feel like I'm in the same mindset as what I used to be in. 

3. Phone moderation - Switch off your phone before you go to bed and don't go on your phone until after breakfast. This has a positive impact on your mood as you are moderating instead of spending all your time on your phone. 

Image courtesy of Thrive Global

 

Thursday, 01 April 2021 10:11

Universal Rhythms was set up by Mz McKenna.

Mz McKenna is a DJ, producer, and electronic dance music enthusiast, with a 9 - 5 job as a web developer for an award-winning company that specialises in the design and development of websites for estate agents - and a recent breast cancer survivor (so far, so good).

In terms of overcoming a rare form of breast cancer (so far, so good), and as well as trying to keep busy during these unprecedented times, she has tried to turn those negatives into positives, through her escape into the music world.

Listening to, and producing music has helped her on her journey, thanks to not only escapism, but by being inspired by Chase and Status, The Chemical Brothers, Andy C, Wilkinson, Subfocus, The Prodigy, and The Beatles, especially.

She wants to give back to the music world due to this, and if she learns of at least one person whose life has been made better, in any shape or form, because of her music, she will have more than exceeded her expectations. 

If you are producing music and it makes you dance - fire it over, we want to hear it...

For more information please click on the links below:

http://www.universalrhythms.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/UniversalRhythmsUK

https://twitter.com/URhythms

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQRHoP97sHmiWkLWUtBNSJQ

https://www.instagram.com/universal.rhythms.uk/

https://soundcloud.com/universalrhythms

https://universalrhythms-uk.bandcamp.com/

 

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