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Thoughts from the Championship - 22/10/18



Falkirk at least have an excuse to change goalkeeper
Sending out new signing Prince Buaben with his name spelt 'BURBAN' on the back of his shirt really doesn't help dispel the general feeling of incompetence surrounding Falkirk at the moment. But in the hostile Cappielow atmosphere, stoked by Morton's feelings of betrayal towards Ray McKinnon, the Bairns gave as good as they got in the first half; whilst Gary Oliver hit the post for the hosts, Zak Rudden - who looks like a real prospect - should have scored for Falkirk.

Sadly it all went wrong in the second period. Too often this season Leo Fasan has cost his team goals (not that he's the only one) but the keeper had a terrible moment of madness as Michael Tidser raced through on goal. Had he charged out he might have got to the ball first, but instead he hesitated and then found himself outwith his penalty area as Tidser got control of the ball. The seasoned midfielder did the clever thing by taking it round the goalie, who brought him down and earned an inevitable red card. It was curious that McKinnon claimed afterwards that experienced ref John Beaton had called it a handball - it clearly was a foul, but not a handball, and Fasan certainly didn't help himself by looking as guilty as a puppy sitting next to a pile of poo. After that it was a siege until Bob McHugh finally nicked a deserved winner for the home side.

Fasan's upcoming suspension should mean that David Mitchell, who made some decent saves in relief, should finally get his chance to stake a claim. It will be interesting to see if there is a sharp drop in the number of cheap goals conceded as a result.

Billy Mckay is firing on all cylinders
Josh Mullin justifiably got the plaudits for a terrific - and ultimately decisive - solo goal in Dingwall. It was Mullin's sixth goal since moving north in the summer and if the wideman has any regrets about leaving high-flying Livingston it isn't showing.

Mullin's exploits did somewhat overshadow those of County's other goalscorer. Billy Mckay's opener was a lovely snapshot half-volley into the top corner, the instinctive finish of an on-form striker. And that is what Mckay is. He has scored five in his last three games now and looks increasingly like the forward who used to score for fun in Inverness...and his teammates now seem capable of creating chances for him to feast on. If the Northern Irishman is indeed back to his best, he will score a hatful this season and get his team promoted in the process.

You can't miss Lyndon Dykes
It's hard to miss Lyndon Dykes at the best of times now that the Australian has turned himself into a peroxide blonde, but the Queen of the South man drew attention for plenty of other reasons at East End Park. Best known as a forward, Dykes has increasingly been used in central midfield this season and the combination of size, strength and speed that he offers in that area is quite scary - even more so as he gets more familiar with the position.

On a day where the Doonhamers sat in and frustrated the Pars for long periods, Dykes did a great job breaking up play...no more so than to set up the visitors' smash-and-grab winner for Josh Todd by winning the ball back with a shoulder-barge on Malaury Martin which was simply filthy. It would be easy to be overshadowed by Stephen Dobbie but in both looks and actions Dykes is very hard to miss.

Partick Thistle need to find goals from somewhere
The figure in the dugout may have changed, but it was the same old story for Partick Thistle on their travels - a fifth consecutive league defeat away from Firhill that leaves them third from bottom and just two points better off than their conquerors Alloa. Thistle have scored three times in those games - but all were consolation goals in defeats at Dundee United and Inverness. In fact it's one win in seven in all competitions and the lack of confidence was plain to see at the Recreation Ground.

A goal threat would help a bit. Thistle's forwards have a total of one league goal between them this season and Miles Storey, who has started all ten of their league games, remains barren. The introduction at last of Souleymane Coulibaly, who made his debut on Saturday as a sub, brings some hope; admittedly, the Ivorian looked really rusty but with Storey looking like a lost cause and Kris Doolan possibly a fading force Thistle need him to get up to speed quickly if they are to salvage their season.

Laszlo might actually have left Dundee United in decent shape
Csaba Laszlo will not be mourned in the slightest by supporters of Dundee United, but his legacy may prove a bit less toxic than expected. The Hungarian probably wouldn't have got the best out of them, but his last two signings have made a real difference to the Terrors at both ends of the pitch. Rachid Bouhenna has looked solid at centre-back and will only improve with more game time, while Pavol Safranko has impressed up front, keeping Nicky Clark and Craig Curran out of the team. His aerial prowess showed up again with a bullet header to score against Caley Thistle and he did a great job of leading the line alone again - which in turn allows United to play a bunch of creative midfielders who can provide him with ammunition.

The Slovakian may be the best thing Laszlo ever did for United, though it will be Robbie Neilson who reaps the benefits.

Lawrie Spence has ranted and spouted his ill-informed opinions on Narey's Toepoker since September 2007.  He has a life outside this blog.  Honestly.

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