Ringing The Changes
Last night provided us with a comfortable enough win-once we had scored the opener!-but I’ll get round to that soon enough. What was most striking about the occasion was the sheer number of changes that have been made to the team. Of our eleven starters last night,only Turnbull was a regular starter last season,with Rogic and Ajeti hardly being regulars then. And the same could be said of our four subs,with Soro and Bitton little more than bit part performers a year ago.
That is some turnaround in such a short time,and no,it wasn’t one of those nights when the manager decided to rest players for the challenges ahead. He was playing with the cards he was holding! As an example,we finished the match last night with FOUR full backs on the pitch and no recognised striker. Dear oh dear…
Still,although we are a work in progress,there is clearly progress being made-despite a recent run of poor results. We just have to stick with it and hope that it continues. I’ll grant you that we will play better teams this season than Raith Rovers but we can only beat what is in front of us,and as I said,we did so fairly comfortably. Although until the first goal,we were putting in a lot of effort and getting nowhere!
That goal when it came after 26 minutes though was simply class. James McCarthy looked up from a central position and threaded the ball through to the onrushing Jota,who had sprung the offside trap. He finished confidently from just inside the box.
After that,it was virtually a one way street,with wave after wave of fine attacking play just failing at the last. Until five minutes before the break when a fine run and shot from-again-Jota saw a decent save but Liel Abada was on hand to nod home the rebound. At 2-0,we should be on easy street-but where have we heard that before?
So Turnbull eased the nerves just after the break with a fine solo goal,running at the defence from deep and calmly stroking the ball home from 25 yards. The job was made that bit easier when Rovers best player Zanatta was sent off for two yellow cards,two stupid grabs at opponents in only a few minutes.
After that,AP rejigged the side,with Jota going through the middle and the ineffective Ajeti coming off along with Abada. Further was done with the arrival of Liam Scales to the left back role,which saw Adam Montgomery move up the flank,as Ralston did when Juranovic arrived. Bitton and Soro swapped for McCarthy and Rogic,but neither did much to enhance their shout for a regular starting spot.
Overall,a good night at the office,but we still managed to play some risky stuff in defence,our two centre backs in particular needing to up their concentration levels. We now move to the semi final,where we will face holders St Johnstone in two months. After last season,I’ll be taking nothing for granted.
Above article by BMCUWP