Craigan on the Learning Curve

Last updated : 04 September 2004 By Firparkcorner

NI lost a goal direct from a corner after only four minutes and by then Stephen had yet to get his first touch. An untypical hesitation on his part just before the break allowed a Polish striker an easy chance which was duly converted. The referee looked kindly on our man early in the second half when it looked as though he had committed a foul inside the box. The third goal arrived just before the hour with a three on one breakaway. Poland finished the game with ten men and now face England in midweek.

Saturday’s cap was Craigan’s tenth and the experience he gains at this level can only be of benefit both to him and to Motherwell. His contract expires at the end of this season and he must be high on Terry Butcher’s list of priorities for re-signing talks. Terry will be making his usual contribution from the pundit’s chair as England seek their World Cup qualification for the finals on Germany. Will he have a conflict of interest if Stephen is selected to face the auld enemy?

Stephen is enjoying his second spell at Fir Park. He left us in 2000 for a successful spell at Firhill before returning at the start of season 2003/4 together with ex-Thistle team mate, Alex Burns. He made an immediate contribution to our defensive setup and appeared forty times in the season. His consistent form and determined defensive style brought him to the attention of Lawrie Sanchez, the newly appointed NI manager.