Obviously Kevin McBride and to a lesser extent Martyn Corrigan are more long term casualties but the break will let Jim Paterson and Alan McCormack get patched up. Also important is the chance for players who struggled on through knocks to get fully fit. Foran came back very quickly after injury, Hammell has looked sluggish all season and O’Donnell limped off against Hearts. Even Paul Quinn and Willie Kinniburgh – who have shown no obvious ill effects so far – have been withdrawn from the Scotland U21 squad to give them some recuperation time. A healthy squad is essential for us if we are to start picking up points.
There is also the advantage of letting our two new signings settle in slowly. They will get the chance to meet their new team mates and in the case of Steve McDonald, get his fitness up to the standard required by the SPL. We are also in the rare situation of merging all the training groups into one section due to the lack of senior players available. While this is not viable over the long term it is almost certainly a short term plus. We keep on hearing about the excellent team spirit which exists at all levels throughout the club and the chance to mix and mingle with senior pros will only help our youngsters.
The risk does exist that Craigain, Smith (A), Smith (G) or Clarkson could pick up an injury representing their national side but that is something which every side has to accept. The opportunity to improve fitness levels throughout the club and to compose ourselves after three consecutive league defeats far outweighs any negatives which come with the international break. Let’s hope the time is put to good use and we return refreshed in the pursuit of three points at