There are those who think we’re one dimensional. I absolutely disagree.
But we have a team that was built to play a certain way, and when we revert to any other “style” of football it is little wonder that this team does not function nearly as well.
The strengths of this team over the start of this campaign has been its pace and its movement and its aggression.
Our players wanted to be first to every ball and when we got the ball it was moved forward at once, and everyone who didn’t have it was running with it and pulling opposing players with them, creating space into which attackers roamed free.
That it took us more than an hour to register a shot on target today was an indication of just how poor we were.
The games we have failed to win domestically in the last eight or so months, since we started beating sides with regularity, have all been characterised by the same failings; not just failings to do right the things we usually do, but by failing to do those things at all.
I knew from about ten minutes into that today that we were making it hard for ourselves with the number of backwards passes, the lack of movement off the ball and the general pace of our game.
We did not do what this team was assembled to do.
When this team plays like that, it struggles. It struggles badly.
Because the whole concept of Ange-Ball, for which this side is constructed, is to play that certain way.
The system is built on opening teams up with speed and movement. All the slow build up does is negates our biggest strengths and allows our opponents to get people behind the ball.
That’s what St Mirren did today, and they did it very effectively. It stands out a mile that in a first half with 80% possession we didn’t get a single shot on target. We allowed them to assume a fixed defensive shape and once they did that you could see that we were going to struggle and then their goal allowed them to sit even deeper.
Ange was exceptional in the presser after the game.
I’ll be writing about it in a moment. But he identified these same basic issues. The most important thing he said was that he never gets carried away when we win and so won’t get carried away when we lose.
Which is the same for all of us.
This wasn’t “a bad day at the office” because it affected too many players, and the team as a whole didn’t do the basics … but nor was it “coming” as some have ludicrously suggested or is proof of a negative trend as others have attempted to make out.
It was a horrible, horrible display and they happen.
As long as they don’t happen often.
We have lost ground today, but we are what we were before the game, the best side in this country by a mile.
That performance, as bad as it was, doesn’t change that.
So long as we recover from it when the matches kick off again by getting back to doing what it is that we do best I have no fears of it being any more than a blip when the campaign ends.