The clocks have changed; November is here; and believe it or not, we are a quarter of the way through this season (that promised so much) already. Manager McCall’s post tattie holiday report card reads, “Must do better” and in respect of the majority of his playing squad, theirs’ reads, “Must apply themselves more and try harder”.
There can be little doubt that there were great expectations from all of us before this season started (and I’m no exception) safe in the knowledge that Ian McCall had never “failed” in management. Having only ever bossed teams on a shoestring budget before, but this time with the backing of ET the Chairman, who put his money where his mouth (and heart) were, the Manager made a number of signings that must have excited even the most pessimistic Arab.
Football though is a game in which the role confidence (and Lady Luck) plays should never be underestimated. The SPL fixture’s computer threw up a difficult start in the shape of the HIVees, Tims, Jam Tarts and Huns in our first four games. The tone for the season (so far) was set though in that first game, where we murdered the HIVees, but missed a hat-full of chances, had Barry Robson (who until that moment had been this hack’s MOTM) sent off and lost the game by the odd goal in three to a very average side.
In the next game at Parkheid, to my mind anyhow, came an even more critical moment. Scott Patterson (who until then had looked the nearest thing I have seen to Davie Narey in the heart of a United defence since the Legend that is he retired) damaged knee ligaments and was carried off; we got humped and “Shaggy” has been out injured ever since. I believe that he was the foundation stone around which McCall was intending to base his favoured 3-5-2 formation and since then everything has been up in the air.
Throw in a general lack of pace and penetration; our new Captain Derek McInnes and most of the other new signings generally struggling with their form and fitness; some other vital injuries and a couple of dodgy penalties against Well and the BNB’s and it’s there for all to see that we are due a wee break (or several)!
Positives, aims and objectives? (1) The Sheep and Plastic Whistle are both much worse than we are, so objective # 1 must be to keep out of sight of them.
(2) We have defeated both of them away and thus have them both at home in this next quarter, so aiming to do the double again over them is vital.
(3) In spite of all our apparent failings this season, we are only 6 points from a top 5 place and 7 points above the bottom spot, ie much better than last season (but admittedly still not good enough).
So as we embark on the same round of fixtures again, let’s shake off this depression that’s evident both on this Board and in the Stands; relax; neck a “chill pill”; stop criticising and start supporting the team. Let’s move onward and upwards and believe and trust in ET and McCall, as in the words of Feargal Sharkey, “It’s gonna happen.”