Sorry about the blogging hiatus. There will be new posts in the next few days, continuing the sporting picks of last year. Firstly though some thoughts about the League Cup semi final, in particular Sunday’s historic win for St Mirren.
|Steven Thompson makes it 3-1 to the Bud's|
Historic? Well, you would have to go back to 1959 for St Mirren’s last win over Celtic at Hampden. This result set’s up only their third League Cup final, three years after the last appearance in the final – that 1-0 loss to Rangers. Celtic were huge favourites to make their second final appearance in a row. So what happened?
Firstly, for the first time against the Old Firm since Lennon became St Mirren manager (the Christmas Eve 2011 game against Rangers doesn’t count as St Mirren came up against an incredibly poor Rangers), the players executed the game plan expertly – high line and pressing the Celtic players. What undoubtedly helped was that St Mirren did not give away an early gift of a goal to Celtic this time. St Mirren have conceded early goals each time Celtic have visited Greenhill Road since that 4-0 win – four days after the defeat to Rangers in the League Cup final. This time it was St Mirren that grabbed the first goal.
Secondly, Lennon went into this match playing a sort of variation of 4-5-1, with Goncalves, McGowan & Teale as the more advanced midfielders. This wasn’t a true 4-2-3-1 as neither Newton nor McGinn performed solely as sitting midfielders, getting forward at any opportunity. Whether this signifies a revival of last years 4-2-3-1 is anyone’s guess, as Lennon has favoured formations with two up front this season.
Lastly, I hope this does not mask the issues that still persist with this team. The current St Mirren squad is still two defensive players short… at least. We need a central defender and a defensive midfielder.
I’ll be posting about the final nearer the time, but from this distance the final looks like it’ll be a nip and tick affair.