A section of our fans has picked a new whipping boy, and as frustrating as that is there’s a point to their griping this time because James McCarthy hasn’t yet proved himself worth a starting slot in the team.
Part of that is his being injured and fighting for fitness.
Part of it is that when he has been in the team he still looks well short of the pace and the level needed.
But there is no doubt that McCarthy does have the skill-set needed to be a top class player. In fact, when he’s on his game – when he gets back to that level – he will be the second best midfielder in the country after our own Callum McGregor.
McCarthy has played at a better level than this and proved himself a top footballer. With a little patience I expect to see him in this team. If Bitton is injured and Rogic is not yet fully fit he might well be the man in the middle on Sunday.
We are all entitled to expect a big performance if that turns out to be the case.
Because he needs one.
He must have his frustrations.
He must feel as if he’s not had much of an opportunity yet.
But James Forrest has been out for many months and when his opportunity came in the cup semi-final he seized it. He is capable of that. The reward he got was a place in the starting eleven in midweek, and he fully deserved it and in his work for the second goal justified it.
James McCarthy has to see things the same way.
He’s going to get chances, it is up to him to show us and the manager what he can do if and when he does.
For the fans the job is even more simple; to give him the space, and the support, that he needs.