Saturday, 15 November 2008

In Praise Of Gus

It’s nearly 5 years since Gus MacPherson became manager of St Mirren, making him the longest serving manager since Willie Reid in the 1950’s. For some, this is some sort of excuse to ask for his removal as St Mirren manager, for others their reasoning is the poor form that the buds have apparently shown since beating Hamilton Accies on the 18th October.

Of the 4 losses which have contributed to the 405 minutes of goalless football, one was a highly charged and emotional affair (the away defeat to Dundee United, their first game after the death of their Chairman Eddie Thompson), we dominated the home game against Hibs (but drew 0-0), and against Hearts until Michael Stewart was sent off (we lost 1-0). On Tuesday, St Mirren lost 2-0 (at Aberdeen) in what was apparently a very poor performance, the only one of the four. This run will probably continue into the next two games, which are against both of the Old Firm (at Ibrox later on today, followed by Celtic’s last ever visit to Love Street next Saturday lunchtime). Rangers will be especially keen to gain revenge for their loss at Love Street at the start of October.

The other charge levelled against Gus is that his tactics are always negative. Personally I would prefer that we ground out a 0-0 draw than open up, throw caution to the wind and lose 5-0, which is the kind of tactical naivety that some managers are guilty of. The 1-0 win against Rangers is a case in point, with many of the fans around me complaining that we were defending too deep. I thought that we were denying space for Miller and Darcheville to run into, a tactic which worked.

Where we do have problems is in the goal scoring department. As mentioned earlier, it is 405 minutes since we scored (the second in our 2-1 at Hamilton), which masks the fact that our overall game has improved since last season. We dominated Hibernian so much that the draw felt like a defeat. Our loss to Hearts was a huge blow, as we played better than Hearts for most of the game, though we didn’t hit the peak’s like we did against Hibs the previous week.

Out problem is that even though our overall play has improved, the service to our front pair has not. Our ball into the box is either poorly executed, or our pass selection is not good. Where I think the manager can improve things here is by playing Craig Dargo more. Dargo had a good scoring record at Ross County, Kilmarnock and Inverness Caley Thistle. While he doesn’t have a great record here, his movement and the runs that he has made over the past year has hinted at better things.

Overall, I can’t understand the MacPherson must go camp. We’re in a way better position than we were 5 years ago, we are in the SPL for starters. Let’s not forget that Gus has the 5 years in charge of St Mirren as his only managerial experience. In this sense he is still making his mistakes, like any young manager does. OK we’re not playing well, but the bottom of the SPL will be tight this season, with 4 contenders (maybe more) for the drop. We are also not playing bad enough to necessitate a change of manager, the removal of Hendrie and Coughlin were logical and necessary steps. The removal of MacPherson and Millen would be none of these.

In any case who would take over, there are not many outstanding candidates who would take over. Derek McInnes is doing an OK job at St Johnstone… er… that’s it really. No I’m not convinced that Gus must go.

1 comment:

  1. Not convinced either that Gus should go, we have more strikers at the club this season than for a good number of years, only one with their shooting boots on is Mehmet which is why we are struggling to win games. Would like to see Wyness and Dargo paired up for a few games to see what they can do..