Players For The Big Occasion?
Tomorrow sees us in our usual early slot for an away match in the CL,which will at least allow the faithful in Madrid a chance to have a few beers afterwards. I hope they have a wonderful night,one to remember and to which I will return shortly.
The weekend though once again gave us “the curse of the commentator”,or in this case,of the plank who writes the articles on a blog. I said beforehand that I thought that Collum was the best of a bad lot amongst the refereeing fraternity in Scotland,and then Sunday arrived! I recant that comment after his abject display that day,and although he might just be the best of a bad lot,I had paid little heed to how close he is to the median. He is an average referee at best,which should be viewed as an insult when you consider the rest of the Scottish referees. And he is still a spineless gutless wonder.
Of course,there are many better referees in Scotland. They just don’t seem to get the game time and exposure that the long-time whistlers have monopolised for so long. The reason escapes me.
Briefly,to the game. If a side,even at home,reckons that their best chance of a result is to have two banks of five against the visitors and either hit on the break or simply not hit at all and hope for a 0-0 draw,who am I to argue? Especially as Livingston did indeed hit us-often. The fact that those hits were illegal,that is neither here nor there. That they were allowed largely without sanction by Collum,that is something for which we can only guess his reasons.
But I’ve got a fair idea,as we all do.
Ange’s subtle dig about only taking penalties in training worked surprisingly quickly,though I think we can say that G-Mak should be included in the practice sessions. Much as I love him,of course! Few people around me thought ours on Sunday was a penalty,and nor did I. But with about ten minutes remaining,totally on top and two goals up,it was an easy decision for Collum.
There you go,you’ve had your penalty so STFU about it in future. Difficult to argue,but anyone who thinks we would have got it ten minutes into the game at 0-0 is kidding themselves on.
Kyogo continued his improvement with a terrfific finish,and is clearly not the type to let his head go down. (Hopefully too,he will shrug off his surprise omission from the World Cup squad) Even after missing a great chance in midweek,he looked well up for this. Greg Taylor capped another MOTM performance with a strike from outside the box while the keeper was probably unsighted. And Jota marked his return after a few weeks off.
These are good times domestically,and they would be good times in Europe too if our performances there were rewarded with the results that they have deserved. But we all know that is not the case. We play Real Madrid tomorrow,a side who unfortunately have not yet made sure of finishing top of their group. The stats tell us that we have scored with 3 out of 68 attempts on goal,which is shocking at any level.
In Europe,it is profligate and costly. Tomorrow must be about maintaining those levels of performance and vastly improving our conversion rate. I’d settle for three attempts and two goals,but wouldn’t we all! Ange will have drilled the need for improvement into our side,to keep it tighter in midfield and at the back,not to give the ball away so easily. That is easier said than done,but do so we must.
Real are European champions for a reason,but they are not invincible. There will be a significant away support there,having put a lot of time,effort and expense into the trip. The players will match that effort on the pitch,and then some. But effort does not come with its own reward at this level.
Even in a “dead rubber” of a match,one where the result will have no bearing on our final position in the group table,there is a lot to play for. I am looking forward to it,our last game in Europe until next season. It will be a difficult task for the players,quite possibly a difficult watch for the fans. And I wouldn’t miss it for the world!
Above article by BMCUWP