Attitude seems to finally be improving. I think we’ve realised that only out-and-out hard work and enthusiasm will get us anywhere in this league. We do have some very gifted players, but this will mean nothing without the right attitude and commitment in each and every game, which we showed yesterday. Work work work!!
Our fitness also seems to have picked up a little, and we don’t seem to flagging as badly at the end of games as we were earlier in the season.
Of yesterday – we rode our luck a little in the first half – for example Derek Stillie letting Barry Ferguson’s free kick bounce off the post and back into play, but we worked damn hard in the second half and could actually have won the game, with both teams being presented with several chances to score.
In case you didn’t know, this is now a club record against Rangers – six games unbeaten in the league (we’ll, ahem, casually forget the CIS cup last year, that was Ian McCall’s fault anyway!!). We always seem to do well in the bigger games. Well, not always – last year’s cup final display left a lot to be desired, but I think it’s fair to say that we tend to raise our game against, say, Aberdeen and Rangers, more than we can do against the likes of Killie and Dunfermline. I think part of this is that the bigger games simply produce a more adrenalin-fuelled atmosphere, and this affects the energy of all the players on the field in a positive way. Consequently – a quieter game like Killie at home, seems more downbeat all over the stadium and the game seems slower. I also think for the bigger games, that players are somehow more focused – and this is where having a good manager really helps to get the right attitude instilled into the players – getting them fired up and focused enough to destroy the lesser teams of the SPL, because it’s these ‘smaller’ games that we need to do well in if we are to climb the league!!
I think we are good enough to stay around the mid-table this season anywhere between 5th and 9th, or in other words, I don’t think (hope) we will be involved in our almost annual relegation battle, fingers crossed. Of course we’ll need to work extremely hard, and we are showing evidence that we are able to do this. We’ll also need consistency, as every Arab I know is unsure ‘which United will turn up this week, the good or the bad one?’
For the first time in a long time I heard Arabs yesterday saying they were pleased with the overall effort of ALL the players, and that is very pleasing to hear. Long may it continue.