Falkirk - 24h On

Last updated : 27 August 2006 By Firparkcorner

However, after a win it is always important to accentuate the positive. The defence looked as solid as it has done all season. Yes, it was against a toothless Falkirk but we played an equally toothless Aberdeen and shipped two goals. Improvement has been made. The performance of Mark Reynolds at centre half has been outstanding given that is not his natural position. He must have earned a shot at left back although it will do no one any favours for us to pin our hopes on him being a season long saviour there. But it is good to know he can at least compete for a first team place. The return of Brian McLean will be a superb boost as well. The defence really missed him and he will certainly come in against Inverness.

Calum Elliot showed enough to suggest he has promise. He is still a raw talent and as much as it grates to be developing talent for Hearts he will do a job for us in the short term. He does seem to be lacking a little confidence though and if he can get a goal soon it will help his performances no end. Scott McDonald is getting back to his best and his hard working and selfless performance was pleasing to see. McDonald lost his way for a spell but he is a quality player. If his attitude is right – even if he is playing for a move – he will get us goals.

There are still worries though. The right hand side of our team is currently as bad as it has been for many years. That will of course change when Corrigan returns but in terms of distribution there is simply no point in giving the ball to Paul Quinn. There is no need to be nasty in criticism of him as he is a reasonable defender and that is the most important thing in a right back. But as an outlet he just isn't good enough. We need to learn to play around this for the sake of both him and the team. As for Kevin McBride, what else is there to be said? He clearly has talent but whether his current form is due to his own slackness after securing a permanent move, trouble from his injury, loss of confidence or a combination of the above is irrelevant. At the minute the midfield is carrying him as a passenger and we cannot afford to do that. Whether we decide to give McGarry an extended run or shuffle Lasley or Kerr out there, keeping McBride in his current form is not a viable option.

Head tennis anyone?

The other concern is the number of injuries we are picking up. Both Quinn and Paterson went off with knocks and while a lot of our injuries are bad luck, there comes a point when questions must be asked of the training regime. Unless you're an expert it's hard to form a definitive opinion but anyone can see our squad is not deep enough to cope with losing a handful of players. If there is a change to the training that protects our players further or make them stronger and more able to shrug off knocks during games then we must look for it. The international break will give us a chance to enjoy the three points we won at Falkirk and hopefully get a few bodies off the treatment table. If we can finally put the ICT hoodoo to rest in our next match, things will indeed be looking up.