It would be wrong to over react after today. The performance was extremely poor and very simelar to the loss in Perth at the end of August. I think it’s clear that whilst Erwin might be good in the box he does not have the mobility that is required to lead the line effectively. Obika is a much more difficult opponent and his fast feet and trickery always have defenders on their toes. What I don’t understand is that today our main goal scorer was left on the bench and afforded a mere six minutes of play. It’s unbelievable that Jim felt he didn’t need to add some movement to the attack and bring on someone who at times is capable of holding the ball up. Granted he isn’t brilliant at it but he wins fouls and he can do this role. Our midfield too is another area that we need to look at. McGrath apart the rest seem quite content to pass the pass side ways and back the way whilst never really hurting the opposition. We were passive in both our previous outings at Kilmarnock and last week at home to Motherwell. Doyle Hayes is a class operator but he needs to have people willing to run and take us up the park.
Too often lately our play has been predictable and far too slow. we haven’t been able to get Connolly on the ball and isolate the full back that will allow him the opportunity to create for us. Get him in behind like he did in the cup win against Rangers. Durmus too can offer width and whilst he is hot and cold he does deliver good balls at times and with Brophy in the box I’d think he will be recalled. The point being though that we don’t seem to want to play offensive at times and today we played a side that hadn’t won in 10 matches yet they’re unlikely to get an easier game all season. So where are we now?
There is no doubt that on our day we are competing in most games. The defensive side has been good and our goalie is having a great season. We do have players who can create but too often the final ball is poor or the team is set up far too cautiously. If we look at next week’s opponents Livingston have went on a tremendous run since they lost to us on November 21st. They are a team that are t bogged down with history . They don’t go into games worrying about the opposition in the way that we do. I don’t know about you but I have been feeling nervous in each of our previous three games because I haven’t seen a team that’s aggressive or in the oppositions faces - I’ve seen a team standing off and looking devoid of the creative spark that they held for a few weeks prior to Christmas . Livingston just go at teams they have no fear they have players that are at it every single week and a side that has went from being relegation candidates to top five in the blink of an eye. They are enjoying a run of form that somehow we can only dream of. These other teams seem able to go on winning runs or have seasons when they are consistently winning games against teams of a similar stature. We haven’t did this for many years and I can’t remember us ever having brilliant runs since we played in the newly formed SPL / SPFL premiership. The manager has been backed in the market and now he needs to find a way of challenging those other teams all battling to break free from the almost inevitable relegation fight. A few weeks ago it looked like we might finally have that consistency but it’s not on the same level as what Livingston have achieved.
Theyll be favourites alright next week and quite rightly so. Can Jim put out a team capable of being as aggressive and offensive as they will. Can we match them and the belief they will have ? I hope so and it would be foolish to rule us out but what is clear is that we will need to be at our very best to make the final. How often do you play in a semi final ? Not often and we need to make sure it doesn’t pass us bye this time.