GLF 76: Ricky has his say on the seaon so far.
Think most of us would have taken sitting in fifth just now at the start of the season. Thing for me, and perhaps for most, is that it could easily be so, so much better than fifth. The dropped points since the start of the season have been quite amazing when you consider who have taken points from us. Hibs, who defensively are abysmal, have a 100% record with wins home and away over Motherwell. Three dropped to Hamilton, two to both St Mirren and the league’s worst team, Aberdeen. That’s 13 points that really shouldn’t have gotten away. I know we aren’t going to win every week, but that’s the big difference between where we are and where we could’ve been. Very difficult period coming up with a rake of away games during December, but the way Craig has us set up away from home means we should pick up a few points on the road. It’s a consistency thing for me, and we are struggling to find that. However, when it works, it does really well (the cruise against St Johnstone for one). One or two individuals in the side really need to step up performances a bit though.
I’ve never been one to publicly slag or tear apart members of the team, and I’m not going to start now. They’ll know who they are, and I’d like to think they know it's finger out the backside time if you want to be successful. A disappointing aspect of recent weeks has been the way we saw off those around about us but dropped these silly, silly points. I know we can’t play to a high tempo week-in, week-out but cut out the errors and we can finish third. Its wide open this year, it really is. Hearts are on a bit of a run just now, as are Kilmarnock who suddenly have come out of nowhere. Hearts we saw off very comfortably on their own patch not so long ago, and early season we won at Kilmarnock. Next two matches up are against both, see them off and we are back in the race. Lose, and it’s a long, lonely December.
I’d love to see us somehow sign Nick Blackman but obviously it’d take a very unusual series of events to see that happen. He started off slowly, but he’s proven his class with a string of terrific goals and a superb first-half hat-trick in the demolition of St Johnstone. Blackburn hopefully will let him stay until the end of the season, think that’ll be crucial to how we do. Good strong target man, not afraid to get stuck in or track back, and scorer of the spectacular. He might only be on loan, but he’s still in claret and amber! With the January transfer window up-and-coming, it’s going to be a very important time for us. Need to strengthen that midfield, and get some support in place in case Nick gets an injury or Blackburn want him back. And there’s a real risk of that given he’s third top scorer in the SPL and Sam Allardyce ain't no mug. Perhaps another meeting in a bubbly pool somewhere deep in the Middle East is needed!
All the recent carry-on from Neil Lennon was quite pathetic, but also seemed to underline who really runs the game in Scotland. Take what has happened to Motherwell twice this year. Back in February, a completely incompetent linesman flags off-side to deny a goal which was so onside it was an absolute joke. Then, recently we are at Easter Road and score a perfectly good equaliser, again flagged off-side wrongly. Now, had this happened to Celtic, Lennon would've personally supervised the hanging of both linesmen at Parkhead Cross the next day. But as it happened to a diddy team, it’s swept under the carpet and neither linesmen nor ref are questioned by anyone. On both occasions, both linesmen should at the very least have been made to account for their actions. Neither were doing their jobs right, neither were watching the line, therefore it was gross misconduct. It cost us what would have been a certain victory over Rangers as they were never getting back into the game had we got a second. Then, away to Hibs, it stopped Motherwell taking at least a point.
Last season, those two points were the difference between fifth and fourth (and having to do an extra round in Europe). This season, who knows what those at points could mean. You’ve got the hypocritical Celtic chairman demanding the removal of a ref because he denied them a penalty and told a fib. Wouldn’t have mattered what John Boyle said, we’re not Celtic (or Rangers for that matter). Reid should be censored for his comments. Aye, McDonald made his own position untenable, but it’s not Reid’s place to call for his resignation, the SFA should have the guts to do it without being “asked” by Celtic. Don’t matter how big the Old Firm are, they are essentially as important a cog of Scottish Football as we, or Dundee, or even Stranraer are for that matter.
Without ourselves, or the other clubs, there’d be no game up here – and that’d also apply to the Old Firm. What can they do if Rangers are docked points for their “fans” singing songs which are banned, or taking points of Celtic for trying to tell them how to run the game and that all their refs and linesmen are biased? Stop being scared of them, neither is going anywhere. England doesn’t want them and certainly don’t need them, or the vast baggage that comes with them. On a side note, had to laugh at Wattie Smith and his comment recently after they could only draw with Inverness at Ibrox. Small squad was the comment he used. After I picked myself up off the floor laughing, I thought I wish I could have been stood next to him and let him know that he has probably the biggest first team squad in Scotland. They have at their beck and call a pool full of International players. So to insult the rest of Scottish Football with such a pathetic comment leaves me to say just one thing to Mr Smith. Wattie, yer talking mince.
And so, ahead lies what is usually the key part of the season, the Christmas and New Year period. A derby at Hamilton, back-to-back Old Firm games, away to Tannadice and Pittodrie. Well, if we want to finish up there, knuckle down and get what you deserve!
Forever ‘Well, Ricky
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