Back again then folks. Back at Kilmarnock, on that appalling surface which does nothing for good football and which any other league would have outlawed. I have never liked watching us on these horrendous surfaces. Now the league has two of them again.
What a horror show they are for teams like us, teams accustomed to playing the ball on the deck. Injuries on them are far more common than on grass. When Hamilton dropped out of the league, taking not just a plastic pitch but a vote with them, we had a chance at voting for a change that phased them over a couple of years.
Of course, we didn’t because Scottish football is a place where a lot of people will bitch and moan but won’t actually stick their necks above the parapet and actually do something. So we’re stuck with this issue, and with these horrendous surfaces.
So tomorrow we ride to Rugby Park, where we’ve got a patchy record. Much of that, I’m moved to say, was about Steve Clarke and the way he used to line teams up against us. I’m really not all that concerned about a Derek McInnes team, although I expect he’ll put as many people behind the ball as possible. We should still have enough.
The other worry, that plastic pitch aside, is the officials.
Especially on a surface like that, you need the ref to be harsh on any over-physical challenges and we know we’ll get that from a McInnes team alright.
The officials have to be willing to flash cards for the more egregious challenges, and make that clearly early in the game … Kilmarnock will set out their stall in aggressive fashion from the start, so the ref has to show what he will and won’t allow.
I still say we’ve allowed too much over the last year or so, because Ange doesn’t want to go off on one about officials. He’s a good man, is Ange, and it was only towards the end of the last campaign, after some high profile incidents, that he finally did remind refs that it is their job to protect players from unsavoury tackles.
A wee reminder yesterday would have been good. I hope this won’t be one of those scenarios where the lament comes after the game, when someone is facing a long lay-off.