In a close title race – and this sort of is, although I feel quite comfortable with the lead we have – there has to be a greater tendency to do so. Clubs across the world have done this, and players across the world have lived to regret that they did.
Tonight, when Hibs visit, we will be missing an estimated fourteen first team players.
That number is so incredibly large and intimidating that you kind of despair.
How can any club cope with that? When a team has more than four international call-ups the SFA allows you to apply for a postponement. This is infinitely worse. An entire starting eleven, plus subs, will be missing tonight and that, to the best of my knowledge is unprecedented.
Nevertheless, our club has to resist whatever temptation there might be to throw people into the heat of battle when they are only half-fit. For example, it is natural for us to want to see KT back in the team just as it is perfectly valid to will the club to ready Bayo for action when he cost us £2 million.
But it would be wrong to push people before they are ready.
This is how short term injuries turn into medium term ones and how medium term injuries turn into the kind that can people out for months. It will do us no good. The squad can cope – just about – as long as we don’t end up with more players on the treatment table.
Some players are on the way back, but it will take time to get them back up to speed. Easing them back into the team is essential. I hope we handle their returns sensibly; I am sure we will. Brendan tends to handle these things well.
We have enough about us to win the game regardless of how many players are out. The next two games are both at home; Kilmarnock should be the target for some of those who are back in training, like Tierney and Ntcham. Anything else would be daft.
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