It goes without saying that the next few matches will define this season. We know it. They know it. If we win both games this week, Celtic will have mountains to climb.
But before we play the heathens from the east we need to beat St. Mirren. The team who two weeks ago got in our face, and put us out of the cup.
And the problem we had in that nightmare of a match is also linked to how far we will go in the Europa League.
If we can’t learn to play the ball out fast from the back, with some quick accurate passing, we are going to get gubbed when we play the real top teams at the business end of the competition.
Yeh, Gerrard did make a mistake in Paisley, by putting Calvin Cassey on against a speed merchant, but in my view the bigger problem is none of our team are taking these two months to try to practice playing under pressure.
Bongani Zungu is not yet ready for Scottish football. I’m going to be blunt, but just 50 seconds into the last match with St Mirren, the South African was moving forward but decided to not pass to Aribo, who was running into acres of space, straight towards goal.
This is what I meant when I said the top teams just don’t hang about. When they see a gap, they punish.
One second is all the top teams need.
After watching Zungu, it’s clear as day that just now Zungu is still not quite up to speed. Too often Zungu just makes the wrong choice, and he had no Ryan Jack beside him to help him read the game.
So, with two self-made holes in our team St Mirren sensed blood, and being no mugs, they knew to distract us by playing loads of balls down the left, and then they quickly switched the play over to the right, to take advantage of Bassey’s lack of speed.
And that was Gerrard’s fault for not changing things…
While watching the match it was obvious from the 20th minute that things were starting to go badly wrong.
Our players were just too far apart to allow us to make short sharp passes up the field. The midfield was not linking with our strikers, and only half of the team was really linking together.
Today, we have to play a lot better, and we also need to be better at snuffing out the rough stuff.
If they are going to try to kick us off the park, why not cause an old fashioned rammie?
I love the fancy stuff, but if a St Mirren player touches one of our players, what’s wrong with the entire team getting together and getting in the St Mirren player’s face?
Yeh, one of our team will get a yellow for overreacting, but so will the St Mirren player. Perhaps one will get sent off.
Do that two or three times, and the ref will get the message…
Being honest, this afternoon we will probably gub St Mirren 5-0, but the St Mirren players will still be smirking, because they knocked us out of the cup, and that sadly is Gerrard’s fault for not doing his homework or changing it when it was clearly not working.
That said, the one that truly matters is 55, and we don’t really care what the Buddies lot think about that.