Aberdeen - 24 Hours On

Last updated : 27 December 2005 By Firparkcorner

Let’s be honest here, we played some good stuff and thoroughly deserved our win but the opening spell was edgy. Aberdeen had the better of the play before their heads went down but that is not the main issue. What is significant is the way our style of play changed when we got the fortuitous opener.

The first eight minutes of the game were notable only for the aimless balls we pumped the length of the pitch. There seemed to be no coherent plan of either aiming for Hamilton’s chest/head or playing the ball into a channel for McDonald to run into. There was little thought behind these lazy, speculative launches and it invited Aberdeen to have the ball and push us back.

All of a sudden, we intercepted a loose pass, broke ourselves and scored with a deflection. Instantly, the attitude of the players changed. Our players wanted the ball, they were comfortable with the ball at their feet and they were making good intelligent runs. Our passing was crisp and while they didn’t always come off, the reasoning and logic behind them was clear. This is not a rant about playing long balls – long balls are fine so long as they are used properly. Sending the ball 60 yards over the opposition back line for Scott McDonald to chase is fine so long as he has made the run and the ball is well delivered. However, our efforts in the opening minutes were simply lazy and ill thought out.

The change in our players when we got the goal was remarkable. Yes, they were helped by the fact Aberdeen chucked the towel in but you can only play against the opposition in front of you and we played very well. It is Terry Butcher’s job to ensure the players have the confidence and belief in their ability to play good football.

We know they can do it and they know it as well. If we play aimless long balls from the start on Saturday, we will be in for a long and hard struggle against an improving
Livingston. Instead, if we start the game with confidence high – which surely it must be – and stroke the ball around like we can do, we should be good enough to take another vital three points. Our team is not perfect but we are capable of playing some good football. Let’s hope Terry has the players built up in their minds and we can start Saturday as well as we finished Monday.