After losing the first two games of this season’s campaign the team entered dreamland in a glorious spell which saw us shoot up the table to fourth place. The run of eleven games included one loss, five wins and five draws.
Not only had we cast aside the loss of McFadden but it seemed that his departure had been an inspiration. We adopted a pressing, chasing style and gave the opposition no peace. At times we swarmed round an opponent and battled to regain the ball. When in possession there were always eager runners available and hopeful of a pass.
Winning teams don’t suffer injuries and apart from Burns taking time out to allow his stress fracture to heal we were able to field the same team for game after game after game….
We won three away games in a row – all at traditional’graveyards’.
But the momentum began to fade. After two disappointing home draws against Livingston and Duinfermline we crumbled to Killie and Thistle before losing with almost the last kick of the ball to Hibs on Saturday.
Remarkably we still have a grip on fifth place in the table.
At the beginning of the season few ‘Well fans would have believed that we would be in the top six in mid-December. The team and backroom staff deserve huge congratulations for their efforts to date. So, why the slump?
Terry Butcher says, “The confidence and belief has gone from the team. There's no fluency or the grit that we were showing at the start of the season.”.
Let’s be more specific. Craig’s enforced absence has allowed Alex Burns to regain a starting place. This has altered our strength up front. Craig and Clarkson made much from their pacy runs and chasing. The defence could send balls over the top in the knowledge that the strikers would be in hot pursuit. Toastie’s style is quite different. He is more of a holding player and seems to prefer the ball to feet. And we have difficulty supplying him with the ammunition.
Pearson has had a dip in form. During our golden spell he was magnificent at times. His runs at
However it is probable that the real answer is that the opposition have now done their homework on us. We now see teams playing chasing and pressing tactics against us. And we don’t know how to handle it.
Fortunately we have the perfect game ahead. Celtic have better footballers than us and they will look for time on the ball. Now is the time to seize the initiative and to rediscover the fighting spirit which was so evident earlier in the season.
Regardless, the team will do better with the crowd behind them. So let’s put on a show for the TV audience on Sunday.
Come on ye ‘Well.