When do you start to think that this team is in trouble?
When they lie down and die. When they give up fighting. When they stop doing what they did today.
You could see that late equaliser coming today.
But there is something about this team that as long as there was time left on the clock there was hope. Because Ange is right. We never stop. We can’t stop. The whole of this country wants us to blow this.
So even on a day when it seemed that we just couldn’t get anything right in front of goal, and when the defending at the end was frantic and panicked, we dug deep into this team’s immense reserves of courage and will to win and did what was expected of us.
For most of the game the finishing was rushed and lacking control. And there were headlines being re-written when St Johnstone got their equaliser, because in the eyes of some folk this team is not at the races right now. But this was a day in which we were vastly the better team until we lost all sense of composure for ten minutes at the end.
But you know what? We were the better team here.
Earlier on in this season we were putting the ball in the net with regularity.
All of those chances we passed up today, we were scoring with them. If we weren’t creating chances, if we were running up against brick bunker defences, and getting nothing I would be really concerned.
But when your side is getting shots on target and making the opposition work you’re getting the basics right and a team that does that is going to win games and thus trophies.
For a lot of people, that performance will be proof that we’re sinking into mediocrity. I said before the game started that the important thing was to win, and we’ve done that.
A “statement” result and performance would have been nice, of course it would have, but the three points were all that mattered and do not underestimate the manner in which we did it.
Because we dug in deep today. We played to the whistle. We didn’t stop.
There is steel in this side as well as silk and I did say before the game that it might be steel that was required.
The performance was not great. The nerves were clearly on display, and especially at the back when they came forward and we were hanging onto the lead.
But guys, that was the mark of a side that wins things, a side that wins championships. Our big Greek striker is a legend in the making, easily the best penalty box player in this country and the best six yard box finisher we’ve had here in years.
Kyogo might be the better footballer, but when you are looking for a late winner, something that requires nothing but instinct, that predatory quality, he is the guy you want.
In a team like this, one which battles for everything it gets, he is lethal.
That was a big, big victory.
When I catch my breath I’ll write more on how big.