It was indeed good to start sober(ing) October with a win but jeez, it was no stroll in the park at all.
For starters I felt Ange got the team selection wrong.
At the back, I understand picking Juranovich over Ralston given he didn’t actually play midweek whereas Ralston did grace the field, but with JJ having travelled more perhaps Tony would have been the wiser choice at right back.
Likewise at left back, young Master Taylor has notched up quite the minutes already this season, and with fresh young Bernabei available, and the tie being at home, maybe the young Argentinian would have been the best option.
I cringed at the midfielders selected to begin,,we have watched that same trio labour before and their combined performance has been patchy.
We shall learn nothing more from playing them time and time again, they can blow hot and cold,, best domestic opponents yes but Calmac isn’t a great defensive midfielder who had just played midweek, and with other options on the bench again could have been overlooked for what should have been a straightforward victory.
Reo had just flown around the globe, and should have been another candidate for rest,,,it’s a mark of his quality he pulled out a good performance despite his travels.
Matt was an automatic pick given he’s fresh and in good form.
Maeda did look jaded in these eyes and shouldn’t have started in my book, while Jota was playing on his least effective side, perhaps contributing to his poor game.
The younger Abada was the obvious choice for the fixture, or Hacksabanovic. Or both.
Given the break, given the Internationals. I was really hoping for a new look side similar to what we witnessed at Ross County, where the changes enhanced the teams performance.
It never happened. The usual eleven were fielded.
I never felt we would lose the game, but the draw was clearly a possibility. It was too close for comfort.
Ange can rightly state three points, and he’s a good manager, but I wish he would rotate more often.
Saturday was always the day for it, and he shied away, despite the fact we tend to look better when things are switched up.
I worry about his reliance on core players sometimes to the team’s detriment, however he did use all five available substitutes, which reassures me he himself wanted something different out there.
Now of course he must switch it up as our Captain shall miss league games.
Inwardly I’m delighted, his hand has been forced which offers opportunity elsewhere plus Calmac could do with a wee rest now and again.
For me, it’s not a red card. Stephen Welsh would have tackled that player if he had broken through, therefore it shouldn’t be award a red as it’s not a clear cut goal scoring opportunity.
Just another example of poor or bent officiating.
As for JJ, Ive never known a player to have a 60 seconds like that, post then goal, at the wrong end. Passes to the keeper should never ever be goalbound, it’s either side of the post just incase.
I speculate the Croat squad might have went out and celebrated midweek in closeby Austria, and I’ve read matchgoers say he had a shocking start to the game, but given he almost scored and the amount of positivity he had given in the past I shall not slaughter the young man.
He must focus though, and some believe that happens best from the bench. Then again, a midweek blinder puts it all behind him considering the three points were attained.
I’d give him a chance midweek if truth be told.
However a poor performance and Tony comes in.
There’s other major talking points from Saturday.
1,,,The Welsh/Jenz combo
2,,,Our striker conundrum.
On number one, I’m starting to think our fourth choice defender (Welsh) may be loaned or moved on in the next couple of windows, traded in for a taller more athletic specimen.
Certainly wouldn’t surprise me.
I think Ange likes his attitude and ball skills, but he’s the weak point that shall be targeted by larger, more physical players everywhere.
Sentimentality aside, I’m all for upgrading central defense.
Cut out any weak points if possible, even if that means a popular youth player gets the elbow.
Welshy has a few more games in the team before the injured return, and some good performances in Europe would really help, I doubt he’ll be moved on during the campaign so he can and should go out and ram these words down my throat.
And I hope he does. Sincerely.
However if defense is going to be tinkered with, his fourth choice slot looks the likely area of action.
It’s too early to judge Jenz, who I have pegged as second choice but Ange may see Starfelt as the holder.
The striker issue needs to be aired.
We play one striker at a time, and have two good ones who rotate.
One of them regularly travels immense distances, and can return jaded.
Upon return, should his partner be injured we are left underpar, as was the case.
There’s two issues at play here,,,
Most of our goals aren’t scored by our strikers.
And who would accept the third choice striker role?
On the former, given the outfield chips in with so many, we could in theory play a winger with an eye for goal through the middle, yet never do to find out if that option would prove successful.
I posit Saturday we could have tried that trick.
On the latter, who would the role suit?
Not a young striker who needs game time to hone those skills.
Nor an aging journeyman, the last thing he needs is Angeballs high press showing his years and tarnishing his name.
Most strikers currently starting games at a decent name club won’t fancy the odd game here and there? Ten a year maybe?
It’s a very awkward scenario, third choice striker that will very seldomly be called upon, but must suit Ange-ball.
Where I sit there’s two options.
Number One is purchase another good striker with the aim of the three of them punching it out, tell him he plays well he’s in the team, and let him try to outshine the current couple, a three way battle for one slot.
Our accountant may not be on board it should be pointed out, the wage bill is already high. Another quality striker is a big ask, but if there’s a man that can twist arms it’s Ange, if McCarthy wages got shifted that could help convince the pen pusher.
Number two is to get a target man, a JVOH type of player with instructions to collect then bring our pacey wingers into the game,,not so much finish the move himself whilst adding more height to the team increasing the headed threat.
This type of player should in theory be cheaper than another finished product who’s ready to rock, their height and physicality being the main prerequisites, but yet that doesn’t sound very Ange at all.
Some type of striker must arrive, I’ve never known the club to have only two options, but who or what is very very hard to envisage at this stage. This one is truly a mystery that needs solved, I hope it’s fun to watch and it should be educational.
On Saturday the famous Glasgow Celtic won and live to fight another day. I just hope they fight a bit better from now on.
And I’ve faith they will.