Michael Beale has given an intriguing explanation for his starting XI and subs for the cup final, with, tellingly, a suggestion he was ‘right all along’.
Beale was speaking pre-Killie about the fact the team wasn’t at its best at the weekend, and that he could have started Cantwell and Raskin (and Jack), but had this to say about the changes:
Now, the implication here is that in fact Beale was disappointed with the impact of the three subs, that the XI now on the pitch was in fact less effective than the one he started, and that it failed to trouble Celtic’s goal.
And he’s absolutely right – because he’d taken the misguided gamble not to start them in the first place.
He talked about momentum, that there was some kicking in then we scored, before his changes ruined that, according to him. But the problem is bringing midfielders on when you’re 1-2 down isn’t going to be that effectively simply because you’re changing parts when the whole machine didn’t work.
It’s a bizarre explanation, and seems to be once again rather throwing the players under the bus (despite claiming NOT subbing at half time is the very opposite of throwing them under the bus) and blaming the players who came on for losing the momentum he believed he’d gained since the goal.
Is he wrong. Factually, no – the team just didn’t threaten Hart enough in the second half, despite the goal – and who knows, if he hadn’t changed the midfield, we might have scored again.
But that’s clutching at straws – he made the fundamental error of starting with a broken midfield, and trying to replace it too late.
Would it have fixed things had he changed it earlier?
Probably not – he should have started with the three he finished with, but we will never know. It’s all hearsay at this point, pure conjecture and supposition.
We lost, and that doesn’t change no matter how much we chew on the topic.