That was the best performance in months today.
The verve, determination, the will to win, the sexy football, the great goals, it was all back, and back with a fury, and not a moment too soon.
On another day that would have been a cricket score.
For today we’ll take a 3-0 victory and some top, top displays from a team which looks like it’s finally found its groove.
One dark point. One big black mark.
The injury to Jullien. I hope it’s not a bad one, because that upsets the tactical arrangement somewhat for Saturday, making it impossible – or nearly so – to play Ajer at right back. Indeed, the manager now faces a number of critical decisions which I’ll talk about in the next article.
That aside though, we look in mood.
The man of the man award, as voted for by the sponsors and the fans, went to Turnbull who was, again, absolutely superb.
He scored a great goal and turned in an inspired performance which has guaranteed him his starting slot at the weekend.
But I beg to differ with everyone who voted; the man of the man, for me, was Soro by a country mile and not only for his quite magnificent goal but for everything about his game before he was subbed off. He was brilliant today, tough in the tackle, sharp in his passing, hardworking … this was the game where, more than any other, he showed us what he’s got.
The irony of it all is that he’s by far the most likely player to miss out at the weekend.
Lennon could be courageous here and give the armband to McGregor for the day, but I suspect he’ll go with Brown within this same team shape.
Soro, however, has given Lennon something to think about, and he will not be easily dropped.
Scott is no longer an automatic pick.
Barkas did what he had to today.
Unlike some of friends of mine, I thought his decision making for the moment that got Jullien injured was pretty spot on and he came out to meet a striker with the ball later on in the game again, and that narrowed the angle sufficiently to prevent a goal.
He comes off his line and that’s not the worst thing a keeper can do.
Up front, Griffiths was unlikely a couple of times and Eddie was as well.
There was a great interplay between our attacking players and that made the difference today.
Edouard took his goal exceptionally well when it finally came … and the through ball was from Leigh of course. He looked a bit disappointed with himself when he took his seat in the stand, but honestly he can hold his head up because he was excellent again today and looked very sharp.
Callum and Christie did a power of work. McGregor in particular has really shone since being liberated from that dodgy defensive midfield position whereby all he has to do all day is cover for Scott Brown. In his new role on the left of midfield he looks far more comfortable and a far bigger asset to the team.
As I’ve said before, this shape suits our squad as it stands, and it also forces us to ditch the ridiculous cross-balls into the box nonsense and focus on those passes through the defence, and today that was deadly. I expect it to work just as well on Saturday.
There ought not to be the slightest question of us going to Ibrox with any other playing system.
It has delivered for us big time in the past few weeks.
There are questions the manager will have to answer, but if they’re not largely resolved in his mind by now I don’t know what he needs for them.
Because barring injuries, the weekend’s team picks itself.
Yes, it’s the prospect of injuries – or God forbid the bug – which are going to be a niggling worry all the way to the line-up being announced.
Short of that, I say we’re ready to go.