After a period of relative stability (same manager for eight seasons, consistent European qualification) last season was a challenge. A new manager appointed last March, and the season kicked off with a degree of optimism as crowds were finally allowed back into Scottish grounds. Unfortunately the season probably peaked on the first night (a 5-1 win over BK Häcken of Sweden in the Conference League qualifiers). After a difficult campaign the manager lost his job in February and was replaced.
Previous manager (Stephen Glass) was attempting to install a more progressive style of play. With a lot of onus placed on the full backs as attacking threats in a 4231 shape. This suited Calvin’s game and contributed to a host of his early season assists.However, the defending was chaotic all season long, and this was his ultimate undoing.
The new manager (Jim Goodwin, brought in from St Mirren) has played a more constrained 451/433. It’s been a tough watch so far, and he’s already under some pressure ahead of next season.
2. Young Calvin Ramsay has been rumoured to be a Liverpool transfer target this summer, how would describe him as a player?
GS: Calvin has been one of the few bright sparks in our season. He made his debut at the back end of last season and it was obvious we had a talented player on our hands. He is a versatile full back who plays on the right and is very positive going forward. He can take corners and his delivery into the box is generally very good. I still feel he has a bit to learn defensively and improve his fitness, but we can forgive him on the fitness side of things given this was his first full season and with him being so young. With the right coaching and more game times he will only get better.
R: Fearless. Very good on the ball, both from open play and from set-pieces. We feared he was pretty one-footed until he bashed in his first senior goal in March with his left foot from 25 yards. As above, encouraged to focus on attack in the early part of the season, feels less certain with the defensive side of the game so far.
3. When did he first get into your first team and how has he developed since then?
GS: He made his debut towards the end of last season, but has played more regularly this season. See above for development comments.
R: Has been spoken about within the club for a number of years as a serious prospect. Made the bench as a (just-turned) 16 year old for the opening game of the 2019-20 season. Injuries and the team’s struggles for form meant he didn’t actually make his debut until March 2021. Started the 21-22 season with fans thinking they’d maybe see him feature off the bench, but he started most games and was a pivotal player, racking up a host of assists from that right side, and also from his dead ball delivery.
Injury in October disrupted his campaign, when he returned in December teams knew about him, had started to work out how to handle him, plus he had the almost constant transfer speculation from that point.
4. The rumour is that Liverpool want him as a backup for Alexander-Arnold, do you think he is ready for a role like that?
GS: That’s tough. I am not quite sure he is a ready made replacement to step into Trent’s shoes if he was rested. As I mentioned I still think there is a few bits Calvin needs to work on. But studying under Jurgen & TAA I am sure he will quickly improve on those areas and he will certainly give his all if called upon.
R: Obviously there’s a massive jump between the standard required in the SPFL and what’s required at one of the best sides in the world, but I do think he’s got the ability and the temperament to step up. The question marks at the moment would be over whether he has the pace to recover his defensive position, which is something Klopp’s full backs have to have, and his fitness levels. From Calvin’s point of view, he really just needs to play games to build his match experience – he has fewer than 40 first team starts to his name at the moment – is Liverpool the best place for that, or is he better suited going to the likes of a Leeds and potentially seeing more minutes?
5. Finally, Andy Robertson is a huge favourite among Liverpool supporters, what is the general thought about him in Scotland?
GS: Robbo is great, as a big Scotland fan I love his passion towards the national team and trying to get us back to another major tournament. It is great to see him flourishing in the Premiership.
R: General opinion would have been more positive prior to Wednesday night against Ukraine!
I think there’s pride at seeing someone who came up through the lower leagues here, and played in the Premier Division succeed at the highest level. He also seems to go about things the right way with his charitable work etc, although his recent decision to promote NFTs on his time line raised some eyebrows.
There’s always a challenge when it comes to International football and players spend all year focusing on playing under a very specific system, and then have to adapt to a different set-up in very short order. In trying to accommodate both Tierney and Robertson into our side I think Andy’s come off worst.