Craig Beattie to Dundee

September 12, 2013
Image lifted fae The Scotch Corner

Image lifted fae The Scotch Corner

Why it
makes sense

For the
club

17 months
ago the striker helped Hearts to win the Scottish Cup. His appearance in the
final was an unnecessary cameo presumably enforced by the manager to extricate
the striker from his own jealousy at watching his teammates stroke the ball about with carefree fun. For when he did enter the play,
Beattie could barely run. Paulo Sergio obviously thought he’d deserved the appearance
for the work he’d put into getting Hearts to the final. And who wouldn’t
agree?

Today he is remembered for scoring the winning
penalty in the semi-final before embarking on that ludicrous, yet memorable, celebration around the Hampden track.
What is lost in the image of that pasty white torso is the impact he had on
proceedings after entering the play for the start of the second half. Suddenly
Hearts were a threat in attack – they had barely left their own half in the
first 45 – and opened the scoring after Beattie slipped through Skacel to finish. From that point on he was central to everything Hearts did in
attack and his display merited higher recognition than the simple dispatching
of a spot-kick.

The player
is still only 29 years old and if he can replicate anywhere near the form he
showed in a Hearts top then there is no doubt he would be a
sensation in the Scottish Championship. He possesses an exceptional array of
tools for a front man: size, speed, technique and the ability to finish both in
the air and on the ground. It’s these tools that made him a Scottish
internationalist when he was still feeling his way into the Celtic side back in
2005. Had it not been for his injuries there is little doubt Beattie would have
starred at the highest level. If he can keep himself fit, or even if he can be
fit enough to play in 20 games, Dundee will
have arguably the league’s most dangerous attacking weapon. The rumour that
they are paying him mainly on an incentive basis is also a smart piece of
business.

For the
player

The term ‘football scrapheap’ springs to mind. The striker’s rapid decline has been almost
unprecedented for a player still in his 20’s. Just over two years ago he was a
squad player on the Swansea
side that reached the English Premier League. Now he joins Dundee
after failing to impress at Barnet, who are playing this season in the fifth
tier of English football.

Nobody is willing to touch him until he can prove his
fitness. In order to do so he has to join a club that will be willing to play
him even when his condition is less than at its’ peak so he can build himself back up again, and we don’t just mean that with regards to his fitness. His confidence needs
to reach the heights he enjoyed at Hearts if he is going to convince
a Scottish Premiership side to take a chance on him. An alternative route is to win the Championship with Dundee, which is still not outwith the realms of possibility according to the bookmakers and could well happen if this signing works out.

 

Why it
doesn’t

For the
club

First Peter
MacDonald, now Craig Beattie. Dundee do
realise that forwards actually have to not be injured if they are going to
score goals? We talked about his talents and how far he could have gone in the
game had he been fit, but he never has. There is no watershed moment with
Beattie; no depressing narrative that paints our star-crossed hero as the victim of a leg breaking tackle or the misfortune of a bad turn and ruptured knee. He has always been an
injury prone player and he will stay that way as he enters his 30’s.

His short
stint at St Johnstone would have been laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. Beattie
stayed on the sidelines looking on and openly vented about his lack of playing
time. Then on the few occasions (four to be precise) he did get a chance he
could barely run. He insisted all along that there was nothing wrong with him
and that he was fit enough to play, only to be sent on loan to Notts County and
fail a medical. St Johnstone then presumably invoked the ‘liar, liar, pants on
fire’ clause in his contract and sacked him. Barnet didn’t seem that enamoured
with his displays either.

What’s more, it enhances the perception of Dundee supporters that John Brown is too naïve tactically to succeed. The Dark Blues may not have netted as many goals as they would have wished but their performances have been lacking in fluidity rather than the need for a predatory goalscoring, which, we might add, Beattie has never really been.

If Beattie
can reach peak fitness and stay there, he’ll be tremendous player for Dundee. However, that is the biggest ‘if’ in world
football!

For the
player

If the
rumours are to be believed and his contract is based around incentives then he
could have gone down this route further and offered himself to a Premiership
side. A team, like say, Kilmarnock would love
to have a Beattie in their squad to offer competition for places and be an option
for tactical adjustment. However, after the year he had last term there is no
guarantee that any top flight side would take him even on a purely pay-by-play
contract. This is probably the best move he could have made after his release
by Barnet.

 

Similar articles: Michael Gardyne to Kilmarnock;  Teemu Pukki to Celtic; Paul Heffernan to Hibs

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