Posts Tagged ‘ Gordon Strachan ’

Ten Crucial Moments In European World Cup Qualifiers


With the nine automatic 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil qualification spots sealed in Europe, plus the eight contenders in the upcoming play-offs known, for many it is hard not to think how different it all could have been.

The final matchday of the European qualifying campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup saw group winners Bosnia-Herzegovina,England,Russia and Spain join already qualified Belgium,Italy,Germany,Netherlands and Switzerland on the plane to Brazil. Continue reading

Kuqi targets European football with Hibs

Hibs new signing Shefki Kuqi hit back at suggestions that he continually changed clubs in England for financial reasons and insisted that there was more behind his thinking than money.

The Kosovo born striker who left his home during hostilities and moved to Finland for whom he won 62 international caps, scoring eight goals, believes that the SPL without Rangers could help him to reach his goal of European football.

Speaking at the weekly press conference, Kuqi said: “I had a decent career down in England but the reason I was at so many clubs in England is that I was not happy to be on the bench and get paid and not care what’s going on. For me the team means a lot.

“As everyone knows football is a very short career or you can make it as long as you want. For me it’s been a case of I want to play football. There’s nothing better. You train all week and get ready for Saturday.”

“I’ve been down in England for so many years and played at almost every level down there. I played in League One last season and when Hibs came along this season I kind of wanted to have a test of Scottish football as well. It was something that interested me.

“It’s sad to see clubs like Rangers who are one of the biggest clubs in Europe, but at the end of the day, that’s football and if you don’t take care of other things off the pitch it can happen but it’s good news for other clubs like Hibs, Hearts and Dundee. It kind of opens the door for them.

“In my opinion it levels it up, and every footballers dream is to play in Europe, either the Champions League or Europa League or whatever and that gives them a chance.

During the close season Hibs fans have been desperate to see a new centre forward at Easter Road, and manager Pat Fenlon has been searching, not only for the right type of player, but also for the right type of character who can help his young stars. Kuqi fits the bill for both requirements.

“I’m here first and foremost to do a job and if I do that job well, everything else will come behind but I’ve been fortunate to play for some big clubs and with some good players and I have that experience so hopefully I will be able to help the rest of the team and especially the forwards. There are some good young players and with a little bit help I think they can have a good future.

“Leigh (Griffiths) is very lively and has a good left foot and every time he has the ball something happens. He’s done very well and as a centre forward you need a goal and that gives you confidence.

“The dressing room is pretty good. We have some good young players and also some older players. The spirit in the dressing room is pretty good and that helps everybody. As I said if first and foremost I have to do my own job but if anybody needs help or advice I will be there.”

Hibs play St Johnstone on Saturday, and the following week they go to Parkhead to play champions Celtic, but Kuqi is looking no further forward than this weekend’s fixture, even though he revealed that he he had the chance to sign for the Glasgow giants five years ago.

“When I was at Blackburn there was interest from Celtic, but Blackburn wouldn’t let me go so that was the end of it. Gordon Strachan was interested but after that he signed Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink. We have to look at Saturday and get a result before we think of Celtic.”

Kuqi has only been in Edinburgh for one week, but already he has been reminded about the antics of another robust Finnish centre forward who graced the Easter Road Turf, and in particular a certain game in October 2000, when Mixu Paatalainen scored three times in a famous 6-2 victory over Hearts.

He said: I’ve heard lots of things from people inside the club and people I have met about Mixu obviously. Everybody mentions to me the hat trick he scored against Hearts, but listen, I am who I am. I just want to be myself and do my best for the team and whoever has done something before and after me. If things go the way I want them to go, I feel I’ll have good fun with the Hibs fans here.”

Kuqi joined Stockport County in 2001 and then went on to play for Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich Town, Blackburn Rovers, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Swansea City, Derby County, Newcastle United, and Oldham, making over 500 first team appearances and scoring almost 150 goals.

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