Merry Christmas-Part Two
And so it came to pass that Aberdeen played their part in reminding us of the original story of Christmas. Bearing gifts in threes-pointswise,at least-accompanied by a donkey with a whistle,an ass playing centre-forward and a couple of sheep looking on in adoration from the stands. If only they could have found even one wise man for the dugout,they might have had a fairytale ending.
One thing that didn’t have a fairytale ending was the vast majority of our attacks. We haven’t really been firing on all cylinders recently and the injuries suffered,particularly to Eddy,seem to have disrupted our momentum a tad. On top of that,we are playing a number of players both out of position and out of their comfort zone. Now,I personally thought that Neil Lennon had got that out of his system a long time ago. He tried it a few times in his first tenure,and generally with predictable results. On top of that,surely nobody knows better than him that most players have their position,and that’s it. Last week I gave you the supreme utility player in Jackie McNamara,but no-one could ever have accused Neil of rivalling him for that title. Ronseal Neil,does what it says on the tin. It would have been a bloody waste of time playing him as a left winger or a centre half,that’s for sure!
So why is he doing it? I’ll throw a Machiavellian thought into the ring for you all. He’s schooling in public,to use horse racing parlance. Having seen how our midfield was overrun for much of the League Cup Final,he’s setting out a team to ensure that it doesn’t happen on Sunday. And he’s stuck pretty much to the same team and tactics since that day. No matter the opposition,get the players used to playing this way,get the points,open a gap and have rest and a rethink.
He will also be wanting to keep our proud record of being undefeated domestically at home-sorry,Corkcelt,I left those crucial two words out last night in my post about 6pm!-in this calendar year. Who doesn’t?!!! And if that’s what it takes,that’s what he will do.
Of course,we still have to face St Mirren on Thursday,and quite frankly,anything less than three points from Paisley will not be good enough in my opinion. That’s not taking things for granted,it’s just a fact.
And here’s another trivial wee fact for you. The fixture ‘computer’ has been playing some silly games this season with the home and away split. Usually it’s a simple turn about,with maybe two consecutive home games in each batch of eleven to be balanced out by two consecutive away matches in the next split. But not this season,oh no. Although we play at home while the huns are away-as is always the case except on occasions after the split-we have both had batches of home games followed by batches of away,or vice versa. We hardly had a home match in the early part of the season-two from seven,I think-and after Sunday we will have played two more at home than away. Our seemingly endless run of home games will be no more after we return from the break on 18 January. In the four weeks which follow,we are down for FIVE away matches against two at home,with an additional tie away to Thistle in the cup and-hopefully-the next round inbetween that and the league matches. In fact,of the thirteen league games till the split,only five are at home.
In which case,assuming my thoughts are correct,Lenny is quite right to do some schooling in public to get the players used to a system which he believes will take the points on Sunday and give us that gap.
If things go to plan,our three home matches after the split should be Rangers,Aberdeen and Hibs. Their three aways will be us,Aberdeen and Hibs. It is vitally important for us that we maintain a gap going into the split,and also before we start this run of away matches. That’s why we have looked to be so lacking in the last few matches. We have been learning to play to a system for ONE hugely important match. In doing so,we have lacked our usual sparkle-but we have been playing against teams which play the way that most domestic teams do against us-with ten men behind the ball,hope to hit on the break. We won’t be playing that kind of opposition on Sunday. They simply don’t have the defensive strength to do that and will come roaring out of the traps. They won’t steamroller us in the middle like they did at the start of the month,that’s for sure.
Sunday will be ugly for the neutral but football doesn’t always have to be The Beautiful Game. But the beauty is the prize.
As this is my last article before Christmas,may I wish you all every joy and happiness over the next few days. Tomorrow’s article is a Christmas Present to you all,a Special Guest Edition about Christmas Past.
Above article by BMCUWP. Why not get your thinking caps on instead of those stupid bloody hats they give you in a Christmas cracker? Think of a topic,write something about it and send it to us to publish as Article of the Day. We won’t let you down by losing it or something-promise! Mail it to Mahe…