Season So Far

Last updated : 16 August 2004 By Firparkcorner

Well the first loss was at Celtic Park and while we should never write off games completely, we were always going to be up against it. We put in a reasonable performance and a lot of teams will leave with defeats much heavier than we received. Against Hibs we made a poor start but brought ourselves back into the game with a good goal. We dominated the second half but lost to a goal on the break and couldn’t capitalize on late pressure. So, we have no points, but we could easily have one and it’s not too big a stretch to imagine us on three.

The main worry is that there is not one area of the team which looks to be in a satisfactory condition. The defence is reasonably solid for long spells but there is always a concern that individual mistakes could be made. All four goals we’ve lost this season have been very poor from our point of view and there is little to suggest that the current back four will manage to tighten things up. Corrigan is decidedly shaky at right back and Kinniburgh does not seem like a reliable performer either. Quinn may not be a right back but he can do well enough there for us to get by – and the difference this makes by allowing Corrigan into the middle should not be underestimated. As a second choice, even the return of David Partridge to partner Craigan would be a step up. This should be possible soon if Terry decides it’s desirable.

The midfield is interesting since right now it is Phil O’Donnell who is looking like the safest choice. His legs are holding up well and whilst he tired towards the end of Saturday’s game, he managed to get up and down the park well – even if at a slightly slower pace than he used to! Paterson looks threatening but like all wingers he seems inconsistent. His main problem just now though is that he is the only threat we have meaning he can easily be crowded out by defenders. Scott Leitch was shocking on Saturday and his passing game was even worse than usual. But he has had howlers before and bounced back. He is our captain and does an excellent job in motivating those around him. On the right hand side, we now have Kevin McBride who will surely start against Dundee. This finally adds some balance to the team and our midfield four – obviously minus Kerr – looks solid. Leitch is the battler, O’Donnell can (just about!) get up and down the park and we have two skillful and creative players on the wing.

Up front we also have problems. Our best striker had a woeful pre-season and if David Clarkson does not improve, we will struggle. This is a lot of expectation to put on the shoulders of a kid but he produced last year and has to do so again. So far, Scott McDonald has displayed quick feet and a sharp football brain and is the natural choice to take the other position. Foran looks to offer something different off the bench but Alex Burns has struggled when leading the line. There is still a role for him at Fir Park but it can only be behind another front pair – he does not offer height, strength or pace and his general play has been no better than average.

So, we do seem to have all the parts needed to turn ourselves into a reasonable if not finely honed footballing machine. Dens Park will provide a tough test and Dundee’s confidence will be sky high after a derby win. We may lose next week and maybe even the week after that. But Terry and the players have shown they are capable of turning things round and as such they deserve our full backing. Don’t panic!