It was an altered eleven that started the game with Blackman dropped and Gow given the lone role up front. Fitzpatrick was added to the midfield as we set out to frustrate.
It was clear from the off that we were going to struggle. Izaguirre missed a sitter when it seemed easier to score and hardly a minute had passed. We found it difficult to get hold of the ball and when we did all we seemed capable of was an aimless punt to gain a few seconds’ relief.
Guess who they are snapping?
Kapo and McCourt came close and twenty five minutes had elapsed before we had our first chance - an ineffective corner. McCourt produced a well placed shot from the edge of the box on the half hour. It beat Randolph and found the net at his left corner.
We reached the break relieved to be only one behind. It was clear to the travelling band in the visitors’ corner of the stadium that the experiment had not worked. Gow is not capable of playing as a lone striker and Blackman or Sutton would have been far better in that position. The change did not come at the restart, in fact we had to wait until the last fifteen before Blackman came on and the change was immediate.
In the second period we began to take some confidence from Celtic’s inability to kill the game and we started to probe. Nothing as adventurous as a shot on target but nevertheless, there was enough to get the home team ruffled. Brown showed his frustration with a bundling challenge on Humphrey on the touch line. He was cautioned and he saw a second yellow in the closing minutes for another reckless assault, this time on Hammell. By this time the referee had lost the plot and cards flew.
A rare first half attack comes to nought
Our best chance came in added time when a mighty throw-in from Craigan was flicked on and an almighty scramble took place on the six yard line. The defence came out on top and the game was lost.
On fan, ever the optimist, described our showing as “stubborn” but with an eye for the positive he also pointed out that we have just played the top three and that we now have a chance to gather points.
McCall was in the dressing room after the match to meet the squad. He’ll have to have them in a better frame of mind for the Ne’erday game against the Accies.