The Monday Profile: Zander Diamond
Scouring Scotland for players has its hazards of course. Remember Craig Levein’s unhappy spell at Leicester and Tommy Burns’ at Reading? James McFadden, Barry Ferguson and others were quasi megastars in the goldfish bowl, only to act the part of “any other player” down south – sometimes even less than that, as was the case with Kris Boyd and the majority of his Middlesbrough cohorts after the implosion of Gordon Strachan’s ill judged bout of spending.
How different from the 1970s and 1980s when messrs Hansen, Souness, Dalglish, McClair and Archibald graced the fields of England, not to mention Pat Nevin, one of the stars in the latest entry to our Great Teams series?
But as the blogging phenomenon Surreal Football has pointed out on more than one occasion…”Like Gareth Bale’s PFA award, Andy Gray’s sexism, Shearer’s punditry, and Darron Gibson, the standard of Scottish football is an easy target” and even if we ourselves have urged caution in the past when assessing tartanside talent, there are layers of unfairness here.
Such reticence seems to have fuelled the thinking of Paul Dickov, quietly impressive in his early days as Oldham Athletic manager, even if the second half of 2010-11 saw a slight decline in fortunes. The capture of Aberdeen stalwart Zander Diamond represents the only first team choice from Scotland the Latics possess.
A former national under-21 man, Diamond clocked up over 200 games at Pittodrie and looked all set to move to Hearts this Spring, only for doubts over a wonky ankle to prevail. At the time, the defender, still only 26, announced his determination to look outside the SPL for opportunities. Hence, his arrival at Boundary Park.
Following an ill-judged attempt to translate the literary style of Irvine Welsh to Facebook in October 2010, Diamond might feel doubly relieved to be away from it all in Greater Manchester, but his self-professed love for Glasgow Celtic hadn’t stopped him celebrating a famous brace against the Bhoys a year and a half previously.
Either way, the signing of Diamond helps bolster a back line already boosted by the capture of last season’s loanee Jean-Yves Mvoto from Sunderland and keeper Alex Cisak. A five match unbeaten run to complete last season should be built upon in a division that arguably looks less fearsome this year.