Danny Murphy in particular looks promising at left back although the way he struggled for so long on the Airdrie mud does give some cause for concern. Molloy is a versatile player who can play in three positions and folk like that are like gold dust in a squad as tight as ours. Even if he is not a revelation, he certainly seems competent enough to fill in for an emergency shortage and he could even go on to merit a first team place when he is fully fit and used to the pace of the faster league.
The new guys make the half time draw
As for Paul Keegan, well, being totally honest it is hard to see how he fits in to our game. We have played better since Jim Hamilton left and Keegan just looks like another from the same mould. But there is no question that these guys do come in handy at times. Whether it is up against a rookie centre half who is short of a few pounds and inches or as a desperation tactic late in games, having a big guy who is useful in the air to come off the bench is probably not a bad thing. Importantly Maurice Malpas resisted the urge to throw him on against Airdrie for the sake of giving him a run as the game was clearly not suited to his style. So long as we don't expect too much from him and he is only used when the situation calls for him, we shouldn't have too much to fear for him either.
However it has to be remembered that these guys are all making a step up – and even if the Irish League is improving, it is still a step up – and they will need time to settle down. Furthermore, while we are in the middle of our season they were, until recently, in the middle of their close season.
They can do all the squats and circuit running in the world but until they play games they will not get that elusive 'match sharpness' that professionals are always going on about. It will no doubt come with time and games but it will be hard for them to get up to 100% fitness and adapt to the speed of the game if they are only making 20 minute cameos from the bench once a fortnight. Even if the players do not make great impacts instantly, they deserve our patience and support.
We have seen in the past players who have struggled badly for various reasons and eventually settled down to do job for us. Dougie Arnott was obviously the most successful but Derek Townsley was another and even Shaun McSkimming, arguably, contributed reasonably at left back and in midfield once he had shaken off the pressure associated with a club record fee.
The fans wanted Malpas to strengthen the squad and he has done so. He is, supposedly, still looking for another player during the break as well. The new players must now be given a fair crack of the whip before their contribution can be fairly judged.