The thing that came across most last night, from almost the minute of kick-off, was how much bigger and stronger than us they looked last night. They certainly made use of it.
They bullied us in so many parts of the pitch. They did so easily.
This is a problem that we have. This team is still made up of small players who can be muscled out of the game. Half of their team was well over 6 feet. We couldn’t compete with that physicality, and there are only two ways to solve that problem.
The first is that the current players get stronger. That can be done, but it takes tremendous effort and the right kind of training. The second is that the manager brings in players explicitly for their physical characteristics.
It’s obvious that this won’t be the model, and so this team is simply going to have to get tougher and stronger on its own.
This isn’t a time for having major doubts. This team has been good enough to reach the summit of the SPFL and to win the first trophy. We are still on course for a storming domestic campaign.
But this is not perfect. This team has not reached its peak yet.
But the problems which remain are coming into focus, and there are teams here in Scotland who have bullied us during this campaign, so we can hardly say that this was unexpected. It has been a worry from the early stages.
Teams are going to suss this if they haven’t already.
They are going to get in our faces, stop our natural game, harass us at every step … and so we either get tougher or we’re going to have more nights like last night. The manager and the coaching staff need a plan. I hope they have one.