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Found 8 results

  1. barkblue

    Winging It

    Making his Dundee debut in his teens, becoming the club’s youngest ever goal scorer along the way and having been lauded by his peers and elders are all bold boasts. And yet, it was his squirting, squirming trundler that sauntered its way through the entire Dundee United defence to nestle in their goal in the final moments of the never to be forgotten Doon Derby that will always see ‘CW33’ as part of our club’s history. That Craig leaves an impressive legacy at Dens is an understatement, especially considering he’s still only 21. With so much going his way, Wighton’s departure for a reported £250,000, doesn’t seem that much of a shock. However, unlike his manager before him, the major difference this time is that this youngster, so far, has failed to truly fulfil his potential. Most people believe that Wighton’s ultimate position within a team will be the traditional No.10 role as the playmaker sitting behind the front two; pulling the strings, tormenting opposition midfielders and chipping in with more than a few goals of his own. Hence, the question really needs to be, why have Dundee supporters, seldom, if ever, seen ‘The Wizard’, as he was dubbed by the likes of Gary Harkins no less, in that role? In truth, only his one-time Dundee managers, John Brown, Paul Hartley and Neil McCann, can answer that question. Instead, the role that the tricky ball player was most often asked to fill was one that has proved to be a poisoned chalice for many a Dee. All manner of players squeezed and squashed into a role that was never going to suit them. The dreaded wide left midfield berth… We don’t have to go any further back than last season to find Neil McCann asking the, admittedly at a much mower level, free scoring Faissal El Bakhtaoui to play on the left wing. The slightly built whippet looking a forlorn figure as games passed him by. Admittedly El-Bak would also be tried unsuccessfully in umpteen other positions, but as often as not the striker could be found struggling to take on the opposition right back and over hitting crosses into The Derry. So, obviously this is a weakness of Neil McCann’s managerial style? Well, probably yes, and possibly no, for he is not alone. From the top of my head Dee legends Jim Duffy and Jocky Scott were equally afflicted by a desire to utilise players completely unsuited to the role of a winger, as their wide left option. Don’t believe me? Well, ask yourself why Colin McMenamin, who scored a barrowload of goals for the likes of Livingston and Gretna before coming to Dundee, and Queen of the South and Ross County after his departure, had his early goal scoring form for The Dee’s ignored as Jocky asked him to protect the full back and whip in crosses from the left. After all, this was a player who needed to stop a stranger and ask him for directions if he found himself anywhere other than in the opposition’s penalty box. Something that could also be said for Rory Loy, a poacher who found himself, quite rightly, surplus to goalscoring requirements when Kane Hemmings hit a career high purple patch for Dundee. Harrying defenders and putting in crunching tackles was never on Loy’s agenda and arguably his spell under Paul Hartley’s tutelage ruined the striker’s career. Other less obvious ‘wingers’ to plough the wide left furrow at Dens include a couple of players whose own individual talent proved enough to rise above being played out of position. Leigh Griffith’s tenacity, blistering pace and accuracy from distance more than enough to hide his questionable deployment. While the glorious one, Gary Harkins, was (and still is) capable of mesmerising defenders with his fleet footwork and the merest shimmy of his ample hips. Still, like Craig Wighton, ‘GGH’ was a maestro you wanted pulling the strings from the centre of the park, devastating defences as he did so. Less successful was the man of not one goal, but of Juan, two three strikes against Dundee United, Juan Sara. Who, once the goals dried up under Jim Duffy’s direction, also found himself playing deeper and deeper and, on occasion, marginalised out on the left. With his confidence already shot through his sudden lack of goals, playing in a position that he was never suited to was only going to end one way. The DAB destroyer becoming a pale, impotent shadow of the player he had once been. However, the most ludicrous left winger I’ve seen in my time going to watch Dundee is actually one of our cult heroes. A goal scoring target man with time spent at Celtic, Aberdeen, Middlesbrough and Watford – and fresh from a reasonably prolific spell with Motherwell – Willie Falconer is undoubtedly one of the most effective, out and out, frontmen we’ve seen at Dens over the past twenty years. So what his manager at the time, the much moustachioed Jocky Scott, was thinking as Dundee lined up at home to Rangers on a cold February evening in 2000, with the hustling, bustling, centre back bursting Falconer hugging the left hand touchline, I don’t think anyone – including Jocky – will ever know. Old ladies used to ask ‘Big Wullie’ if he needed a hand to cross the street, so the only shock when the seasoned frontman spent 90 minutes falling over his own feet, hitting defenders with ‘crosses’ and losing the ball over and over, was that his manager didn’t see it coming. Rangers did and promptly left Dens with a victory of seven goals to one. To Willie’s great credit, he outlasted his manager at Dens, resisted Ivano Bonetti’s cull of Scottish players and went on to successfully partner no less than Claudio Caniggia in the Dee’s frontline. Quickly putting to rest one of the most bizarre midfield ‘experiments’ we’ve ever seen. In fairness to these strikers come left wingers, even players who were supposedly ‘meant’ to play out there, have found the position too much for them when they arrived at Dundee. Mark Gilhaney, having destroyed The Dark Blues for Hamilton Accies down the left wing on numerous occasions, looking like a lost wee laddie asking for his Mum when he pulled on a Dark Blue shirt. While Freddie Daquin is legendary for his ability to run down the wing and straight out of play. Although to be fair to the Frenchman, he proved just as adept at that skill on his favoured right flank as he did when hunting for some never to be found form on the left! And yet, last season, with the welcome exception of his top flight securing cross onto the head of Simon Murray, Randy Wolters made nearly all of these men look like world beaters. The burly, attitude packed wide-o showing up without a trick in his bag, or an end product to sell. But surely not every player to play wide left over the past few decades for Dundee has been absolutely, dreadfully awful in that role? Well, when he was played a little deeper, Gavin Swankie gave it a half decent go, while, to be fair, it’s hard to say that the much maligned Ryan Conroy doesn’t show up rather favourably against most of those both before and after his time at the club. Ryan’s wing-partner Nicky Riley, also gave it a half decent go when he was put on his less favoured side. While there’s no denying that the man of many, all and sometimes no midfield position at all, Greg Stewart, did a lot of his best work while playing down that flank. Although a certain Kevin Holt might not be so keen to agree... Hence, we might just need to go back to the gaffer, Mr Neil McCann, to unearth the last Dundee player to truly make the left wing his own. Dropping his shoulder to beat players, hitting the byline to expertly stick the ball on Jim Hamilton’s napper and scoring the occasional wonder goal, just as he did the night he helped send Dundee to the Coca Cola cup final. Which, of course, begs the questions of why our current manager, a man who spent years tormenting right backs, prefers such a narrow formation, and why can’t he find a left midfielder with even a tenth of the potency he possessed? With Craig Wighton now wearing the maroon of Hearts, who will be next to be left out in the cold? Well, we’ve already seen Jean Alassane Mendy run about lost against St Johnstone out there and, of course, one of Scotland’s most prolific goal scorers of the past couple of decades, Kenny Miller, become more and more frustrated as the curse tried to overcome him on his debut for Dundee. Calvin Miller, it’s over to you. No pressure now...
  2. Rory Loy has today joined St. Mirren on loan until the end of the season. Striker Rory joins the Championship side for the second time in his career having spent a spell on loan at the Paisley club back in 2010. He has featured 17 times this season for the club, the majority of those coming from the bench, and has scored four times including a double in the opening day victory over Ross County. http://dundeefc.co.uk/news/rory-joins-st-mirren-loan/
  3. TheDarkBlues

    Rory Loy completes loan move to St Mirren

    Dundee striker Rory Loy has completed his loan move to St Mirren until the end of the season. The former Falkirk forward has struggled for game time at Dens Park this term and was told he could move on during this window. The Dark Blues are set to welcome St Mirren to Dens in the Scottish Cup fourth round next weekend but Loy will not be allowed to face his parent club. The Buddies are stranded at the bottom of the Championship with boss Jack Ross trying to reshape his squad to keep them in the division. He has already snapped up Aberdeen youngster Craig Storie until the end of the season. With only one loan player allowed for over-21s games, another Don, Lawrence Shankland has left the Paisley club and since joined Morton on loan.
  4. The 28-year-old striker has been a peripheral figure for the Dark Blues in recent weeks and was absent from the squad that defeated Arbroath last night in a friendly at Gayfield. Now, barring any last-minute hitches, Loy will be moving to play for the Buddies. Hartley said: “It looks like he will get a loan move done to St Mirren in the next 24 hours. “That has been agreed but we are just waiting on the paperwork getting cleared up for it to happen. “He wouldn’t though be able to play against us in the Scottish Cup tie.”
  5. TheDarkBlues

    Interest in Dundee striker Rory Loy growing

    The front man has been linked with Championship pair Morton, managed by ex-Dee boss Jim Duffy, and Gary Naysmith’s Queen of the South. Dundee are prepared to let Loy, who has seen his game time limited at Dens, go. Ayr United are another second-tier club who’ve been credited with an interest in the attacker. However, with other clubs also keen, Ayr gaffer Ian McCall seems resigned to the fact Loy won’t be heading to Somerset Park. Meanwhile, former Dundee defender Declan Gallagher has signed for Livingston after being released from prison. The centre-back has agreed a deal with the League One club for the remainder of the season. Gallagher was handed a three-year sentence for assault. The 25-year-old was playing for Livingston at the time of his court case and re-joined the club last season when he was released pending the result of his appeal. That appeal was denied and Gallagher was sent back to prison in February but was released on Wednesday. He had been training with Raith Rovers during a day- release work placement. Gallagher spent two seasons at Dens, winning the Championship in 2014.
  6. TheDarkBlues

    Match Preview: Dundee V Hearts

    Paul McGowan back from ban for Dark Blues. The former Celtic and St Mirren midfielder missed last Saturday's defeat at Parkhead after racking up six bookings in the first 16 games of the Ladbrokes Premiership season. Yordi Teijsse has recovered from illness but Nicky Low - who has been sidelined for most of the season with an ankle complaint - has suffered another setback after sustaining a groin strain while boss Paul Hartley is targeting a February return for skipper James McPake after his serious knee injury. Paul Hartley has confirmed Rory Loy will be free to leave in January - but hinted the striker could still have a future at Dens Park. Loy has cut a frustrated figure this season, with the form of Craig Wighton and Marcus Haber currently keeping him out of the team. The 28-year-old has managed just six starts and will now be allowed to head out on loan once the January transfer window opens after a heart-to-heart with his boss. Hartley admits the former Rangers, Carlisle and Falkirk frontman has fallen down his pecking order. But he believes the chance of regular action elsewhere could allow Loy to resurrect his Dark Blues career later. Speaking ahead of Friday night's clash with Hearts, the Dee manager said: "Rory came to me last week to ask to go on loan and we have granted that because he needs to play minutes. "He wants to play so it will be a loan move but he needs someone to come in and look at him first. "With the age he's at, he wants to play first-team football. With Haber and Wighton playing right now, he sees his chances here being limited. "I feel he needs to go get some game time. It's been a frustrating season for him. Last year was the same with the form of Kane Hemmings and Greg Stewart. He had an injury and found it difficult. "Strikers always want a run of games to try to score, so it's important for his self-confidence he gets some time on the pitch and builds that up. For both parties we feel it's the best thing to do. "Sometimes it is too easy to sit on the bench and not play. But Rory wants to sample first-team football." Hearts midfielder Prince Buaben is doubtful as he undergoes treatment on a calf injury. Buaben was forced off against Partick Thistle on Saturday and Hearts are trying to manage the problem to allow him to feature over the festive period. Sam Nicholson is definitely out as he works his way back from knee surgery. Hearts are aiming to get their first win under Ian Cathro and Jamie Walker is sure their fortunes will improve. "Since the Rangers game, when we won 2-0 (on November 30), we have not played well at all, but with the manager coming in he is still trying to get his points across and we just need everyone to work hard," he said. "There's not been too many big changes. Usually a new manager comes in because the team has not been doing well previously, but he has come in and we were doing okay. He is trying to get his points across but he is keeping it much the same as it was before."
  7. Loy has cut a frustrated figure this season, with the form of Craig Wighton and Marcus Haber currently keeping him out of the team. The 28-year-old has managed just six starts and will now be allowed to head out on loan, as revealed in Courier Sport, once the January transfer window opens after a heart-to-heart with his boss. Hartley admits the former Rangers, Carlisle and Falkirk frontman has fallen down his pecking order. But he believes the chance of regular action elsewhere could allow Loy to resurrect his Dark Blues career later. Speaking ahead of Friday night’s clash with Hearts, the Dark Blues manager said: “Rory came to me last week to ask to go on loan and we have granted that because he needs to play minutes. “He wants to play so it will be a loan move but he needs someone to come in and look at him first.“With the age he’s at, he wants to play first-team football. With Haber and Wighton playing right now, he sees his chances here being limited. “I feel he needs to go get some game time. It’s been a frustrating season for him. Last year was the same with the form of Kane Hemmings and Greg Stewart. He had an injury and found it difficult. “Strikers always want a run of games to try to score, so it’s important for his self-confidence he gets some time on the pitch and builds that up. For both parties we feel it’s the best thing to do. “Sometimes it is too easy to sit on the bench and not play. But Rory wants to sample first-team football.”
  8. The 28-year-old striker started the season strongly, netting twice in the Premiership opener at Ross County. However, he has fallen out of favour since and has barely featured recently for the Dark Blues. Loy last played for the first team in the game against Kilmarnock at the start of this month, coming off the bench in the 82nd minute. The former Rangers and Falkirk front man was an unused sub as Dundee were defeated at Celtic Park last Saturday and he could be set to leave Dens in the January window. Dark Blues boss Paul Hartley admitted last week he was looking to bring in a new striker in but stressed that others would have to leave before that could happen. He said: “I think there will be scope to maybe get one or two players in. “We have to balance that though with players going out. “We definitely need another forward and maybe even a wide player.” Loy, who signed a three-year deal at Dens in the summer of 2015, netted for the club’s Under-20s yesterday against Hibs.
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