Sunday, 13 November 2011

Donald "Marc Corcoran" Balatoni's All Time Thistle XI

The final instalment of the Jagscaster's All Time XI's.

Following on from the other Jagscaster's teams, I've decided to let my heart rule the head with my XI in the hope of producing something a little different. Given that I don't really remember much before the experiment of Derek Whyte and King Juan Carlos (not that there has been many memorable players since!) it has been a little tricky coming up with something new.

Anyway, here goes my XI:

Keeper: The King – Kenny Arthur
My fist ever footballing hero. When I was growing up I had decided that I wanted to play in goals. I've never been sure if this was due to my chronic lack of ability or due to the amount of respect I had, even as a youngster, for Mr Arthur. He saw off every challenger for his position and always came back stronger. Also gets bonus points for his loyalty – having been with us in every division and even gaining international recognition during his stay.

Right Back: Jean-Yves Anis
While it's rumoured that Paton thinks his talents warrants a place in a SPL team, one man who did play there for us was Jean-Yves Anis. Not always the greatest but seemed to get up and down the flank reasonably well and even though it's probably not the done thing to include a defender who suffered successive relegations I'm going for it anyway.

Honourable mention for Billy Gibson – who again wasn't the best at RB but at least always tried.

Left Back: Boab – Scott McCulloch
This was a hard position for me as we have had over the past few seasons left backs who I feel have been fairly similar – at least told to play that anyway. Due to my Centre Back pairing I'll need 'Boab' to cover and also to take a free kick. Possibly the hardest left foot I've seen in the flesh, I'm sure he's still out of puff after that lung busting run to score against Raith at Firhill. One of his 10 (apparently) goals.

Right Centre Back – Steven Craigan
Still plying his trade at the highest level in Scottish football, approaching the 'David Weir' stage of his career and doesn't look like slowing down – despite recently announcing his retirement from the International stage. What can we say about a man who totally turned his career around from joining us after being released from Motherwell to a player, 100 odd games later we couldn't afford to re-sign, such was the transformation.

Left Centre Back – Shaggy – Scott Patterson
Makes Pique look like Sandy Hodge.

Right Mid – Quinton Jacobs
A man who the great Lambini told us "Has too much quality for Partick Thistle. "This boy will play at the highest level, in the Premier League - no danger." A man who almost signed for Manchester United before joining us to score direct from a corner (I've only seen it happen live twice) had quite a distinctive running style it seems that playing out of position didn't seem to hinder his ability. If he'll play Left mid in real life, he can play Right mid for me.

Left Mid – The Bridge/Squiddy/Big Bird – Chris Erskine
While I almost went for Derek Fleming here (would have been my choice if playing a 5-3-2) , it's Erskine's ability to do the unexpected that sets him apart from the usual lack of invention and flair that we see in Scottish football. I remain convinced that while things don't always go to plan for Chris, it would be equally as boring if he did manage to skin the opposing 11 players every week.

Defensive Mid – David Rowson
Despite his advancing ages, he just seems to get better and better. Always running himself ragged for the team, he plays an important role in the team for his sheer determination and hard work. Also got a bit of a shot on him. Needed in the team as I doubt Erskine or Jacobs will be doing much defending.

Attacking Mid – Glorious Gary Harkins
Agent Harkins is half-way through his mission. Removing Dundee as a thread (though a season late ) and now doing his best with Killie, he was rather bizarrely been signed as a centre back, one game marking Graeme Dorrans at RB, before being moved forward into Central Mid/Left wing once his fitness was up to scratch. The rest they say, is history.

Striker – Mark Roberts
Simply put, where would we be without his goals? I still find it strange that Roberts never really managed to play at a higher level as his skill on the ball, movement off it and finishing ability really stood him out from some of the other 'strikers' we've had over the years.

Striker – Juan Ramon Escales
Despite only being with us for one season (due to various personal problems) I always felt that he could have been the 'target-man' that we as a team have been crying out for ever since the Gerry hung up his boots. A good touch and decent pace, was always composed when it to the crunch.

Of course this is not the best XI I could have had (yes, I'm just going to ignore the point of this series of articles) but I reckon this is a more representative XI of over the past decade or so and a reminder that I'm clearly the optimist of the Jagscast team.

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