As Sunday’s high noon kick off draws ever closer, many a bear could be forgiven for feeling slightly less optimistic about our chances of winning what we all know is a MUST WIN game, given the near certain absence of El Bufalo.
Rather than dwelling on what we’re missing though, let’s focus in on the man replacing him, a certain Kemar Roofe. To say his performance at Parkhead earlier in the season wasn’t his best game in light blue would be putting it mildly, but there is evidence a-plenty that Kemar can once again raise the Roofe on Sunday.
Firstly, we know he’s not looked fully fit all season, however he seems to have put his most recent injury troubles behind him for now. That means he’s had the whole international break to get himself up to speed, and as an absolute professional, that’s no doubt what he’ll have been doing.
What also can’t be underestimated is the time he’ll have had with the group and indeed the coaching staff. The same can be said for a lot of our starters actually, we’re talking McGregor, Tav, Goldson, Lundstram and Kent, with the likes of Arfield too, not to mention Ramsey who returned to us earlier in the week.
These guys will all be fully attuned to Gio’s gameplans (we know the gaffer likes at least an A, B and C) and you’d have to think after Morelos hobbled off against Dundee, that Roofe would have featured in and indeed be at the forefront of one, if not all of those plans. That bodes well, in that there’s been plenty of time to prepare a gameplan suited to Roofe as opposed to Alfie.
Speaking of the Dundee game, Roofe’s introduction completely changed the game in our favour. The man is on a different level in terms of being in the right place at the right time in and around that penalty area. Though not officially credited with any assists, the part he played in both goals at Dens cannot be overlooked, his on-target header parried into the path of Ramsey for the equaliser, before a good touch and another shot fell for Goldson who as a side note finished it like Maradona to give us the precious 3 points that day.
That was on the back of that scrappy 1-0 against Aberdeen at Ibrox where again, Roofe showed up when we needed him, having that awareness to be exactly where he needed to be to give us the win late on. Where most players (possibly including Morelos) might’ve been drawn to the far post as Kamara sent that cross in from the left, Roofe read the delivery, knew where his teammates were and knew where he needed to be to stick the ball in the net – predatory instinct that can’t be taught.
Then of course, there’s last season’s performance in the 4-0 demolition where he was simply unplayable. He bagged himself a brace that day and went on to finish the season strongly and actually finished the season as the league’s top scorer from open play with 14 goals.
In summary then, in Roofe we have a professional with a terrific attitude and commitment to the club. He also has a point to prove, a tremendous footballing brain, predatory instinct, previous against that lot, big recent contributions, oh and just in case, we know he can score from the halfway line.
Sure, losing Morelos is a blow, but we could do a lot lot worse than having Kemar Roofe to come in and replace him and make no mistake, he’ll have his battle fever on like the rest of them tomorrow. Time to stand up and be counted and that’s what Roofe does best.