Friday, 24 April 2015

Can't Defend, Can't Score & Can't Get A Grip In Midfield

You know, thank goodness for all of the politics.  If it wasn’t for that, I’d be up the wall with how bad we’ve been…

St Mirren players troop off after their 5-0 defeat to Motherwell
The split has come and there are still issues to be decided.  Celtic are comfortably ahead of Aberdeen in the championship race but still need to cross the finish line while the playoff place needs to be decided.  This leaves us with the team scheduled to be relegated on Saturday.  At home, where they’ve only won once all season, against Kilmarnock.

Any time I’ve seen St Mirren this season, they reminded me of the reaction to the English cricket team touring Australia in the winter of 1986/87 – “There's only three things wrong with this England team - They can’t bat, can’t bowl and can’t field”.  Well, St Mirren’s version was, can’t defend, can’t score and no grip in midfield.  We were already light at the back and in no way, shape or form did Goodwin & McAusland ever… ever look like a Premier League standard defensive partnership.  Ellis Plummer being a very young player looked out of place from the start, though to be fair I thought that he did have promise perhaps as a defensive midfielder.  St Mirren’s season on the pitch was built on the disaster that was the Goodwin/McAusland partnership.  The worst defence in the country by a mile and guaranteed to provide one defensive blunder a game to boot.

We couldn’t score because, well, we had strikers that simply did not look Premier League class.  Then again Calum Ball (who seemed to get more game time than James Marwood) just looked totally unfit and not up to the pace of Premier League football.  Not having Steven Thompson for half/most of the season hasn’t helped but then again neither has the performances in midfield.  That and the fact that our best performer, Kenny McLean, left in Aberdeen’s swagbag at the end of the Winter transfer window.  In his place we did get Alan Gow, a player who knocked us back twice and really shouldn’t have gone for third time lucky such has been his impact.

McLean apart, our Midfield has had no grip whatsoever.  John McGinn looks to have gone backwards this season, probably not helped by not having an experienced older head along side him.  The only time the midfield has looked solid has been when Issac Osborne has been fit, and that was only for about 5 games in November.  Meanwhile both of our wingers, Gregg Wylde and Adam Drury have looked distinctly uninterested by it all.  Drury disappeared during the Winter transfer window while Wylde is still here.  The one bright spot has been Steven Mallan, who has put in a couple of good performances but is too young to put together any consistency.

If that is a brief synopsis of what has gone wrong on the sporting paddock, that tells half of the story.  At the end of last season the Board decided not to renew Danny Lennon’s contract, and instead appointed his assistant Tommy Craig as manager.  However your opinion of Lennon (mine was that it was possibly time to get a new manager as his team was looking tired and the life span of managers is normally 4 years anyway – Gutmans Law so to speak) the appointment of Craig smacked of being a halfway house in that the board were not sure whether to get rid of Lennon or to get a new manager.  Instead of being the new broom, a fresh pair of eyes on the first team, we got continuity Lennon.  Instead of a young hungry manager or someone with a bit more experience, we got an old experienced coach who would have been better off staying as coach.

The BBC’s Tom English rightly fingers the Board for their decision making, particularly in the last year, saying they were “asleep at the wheel”.  Within English’s piece, there is also an element that for a club that was given at the end of the last decade a foundation stone in the shape of the new stadium and coaching facilities, that this has been squandered.  Encapsulated within this is that fact that among the plethora of attacking players that have pitched up at Greenhill Road and then disappeared, tail between legs, the last experienced out and out central defender St Mirren signed was Lee Mair in 2009.  In a sport where defence is the cornerstone of a good team, that statistic says it all about St Mirren’s not very dramatic fall from the Premier League.

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