There is no doubt that we did not play as well as we could and that we relied heavily on Graeme Smith again. But, the goalie is there to do a job – there is no crime in having a ‘keeper who can win you points and since making the number one jersey his own (metaphorically speaking in these days of squad numbers) Smith has gone from strength to strength. Surely he is an early contender for player of the year?
The other issue of note, which may excuse our poor play, was the unusual team selection. Foran was presumably injured which let Stevie Hammell have a first excursion at left midfield. Naturally enough Stevie seemed a little out of place but while he was by no means brilliant he probably did enough to earn a repeat of the experiment. Kevin McBride looked good in starting his first game back after his injury and most fascinating of all, Scott McDonald was dropped to the bench. Few people, if anyone, would assert that Clarkson should be in our number one forward pairing but many people would also have been pleased to see Skippy given a seat on the bench. No player is above being dropped while playing poorly and McDonald’s performance (and attitude) in recent weeks has been below par. He did look lively and determined when he came on and, if he could only rid himself of the frustrating desire to throw himself to the ground under minimal contact, the player we know and love could be back.
There is little to separate the clubs in the middle of the SPL and it should not be surprising that this frequently leads to teams cancelling each other out. In this situation, a solid goalie and a dangerous pair of strikers is often enough to make the difference. The fight for the top six will almost certainly go right to the wire again this season and many games will be terrible to watch. But as football fans, the end is usually much more important than the means. We got back on track at