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Having sat through Saturday's game and let the dust settle here are my thoughts at least.

 

1. We started the game with our midfield jogging and SJ racing around.

2. SJ hit the ground running with just about every pass coming off. Always easier when there is not enough pressure on the ball with time to play the ball in to the front players and our defender being left with a man to mark and on occasions a further two players running past.

3. When the game starts like this keeping the ball is vital to take the sting out of the game and to allow some "resting in possession". In the first half hour Devine passed only to SJ unfortunately and Doran also lost the ball in the wrong part of the pitch too often

4. After the second goal we actually started to look to keep possession and on occasions made SJ look ordinary without ever really threatening (and when we got into good positions took the wrong option too often)

5. Much of the critisism of Polworth is a bit unfair. He started weakly but this was due in part to the nature of the way we were playing however the reason he was kept on was he linked the back to the front relatively effectively. Aside from this I prefer him played in a deeper role (against Charlton he walked through the game against a solid experienced and competative midfield).

6. I agree with Renegade that we are not good at reacting in game situations to tactics and make subs too late (which seems to be the way modern Managers are taught as this seems par for the course).

7. I disagree re Greenhalgh from last week. I didn't think he added too much and did not look ready for this level yet (may change yet). With two forced changes it is always easier to keep other players in position to try and maintain balance (I actually prefer Ross in the central position but understand why he was not played here). Unfortunately he disappeared in the second half completely

 

In summary, too many players had an off day but we could have probably made some early changes to tactics to offset the issues. We also had players on the bench to make some positive changes earlier though I am not convinced this would have made a difference.

 

SJ scored two well worked goals but we then gifted them two really poor ones in the second half (both their goals in the first half came from errors). At any level this is not acceptable.

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Can I just remind everyone that we are second in the league, three points below the wealthiest club in Scotland.   Why all the despondency at this early stage? Why give so much criticism to a mana

lets just forget it these games will happen. The results were kind as well we still lead motherwell and Aberdeen and i believe yes we have been poor but i think we will be more consistent than some ot

We missed the overlapping runs from raven. The passing and distribution throughout the park was poor, nobody made runs into space or gave options for passing. Too often playing high balls which the st

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As others have alluded to, Devine in at right-back was a strange move, particularly when you consider Saints were playing the likes of Hasselbaink and the extremely dangerous Stevie May.  As I mentioned previously, defensively he was alright, but his distribution of the ball was pretty poor and going forward he was as penetrative as a broken pencil!

 

But here's the thing people;  what was wrong with playing Meekings at right back?  At Tannadice at the start of the reason, Raven went off towards the end and had to be replaced by Devine, where he went into centre-back and Meekings changed onto the right.  Now, if it's a good enough set-up to see out a 1-0 win, then it's good enough to start a game against St Johnstone who were thumped 4-0 by Dundee United a few weeks ago.  I can understand trying to keep the centre-back together but if we've got the strength-in-depth everyone keeps talking about, and what I believe we do have, then I do believe we would've had a stronger team set-up on the field with Devine and Meekings swapped round, and maybe wouldn't have received such a thrashing.

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Can I just remind everyone that we are second in the league, three points below the wealthiest club in Scotland.

 

Why all the despondency at this early stage?

Why give so much criticism to a management that has found the right players playing in positions that has got us to the top of the league.

Yes mistakes can be made, we all make them and sometimes you have got to play these mistakes out to learn from them, not just dismiss them straight away as some of you would like.

 

So here we go again ..............get behind the team/club ......................... we are still doing well... ..........and we can still prove we are a better club than most.

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Butcher obviously wanted to keep the strong CB pairing of Meekings and Warren togther.

 

That's fair enough, but I think the pairing of Warren and Devine would have been almost equally as strong and Meekings on the right would have made the whole defence stronger than the one we put out on Saturday.

 

As I said before, if it was good enough to see out a win at Tannadice, it was strong enough to start at McDiarmid Park.

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I am of the same line of thinking. It would have been the better of two not overly great options but I do see, kind of, why the CB pairing wasn't disrupted.

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I agree Renegade that is possible but you say almost equally as strong! What does that show? uncertainty ? and that is where the management team come in. They are there training and coaching the team, they see a lot more than we ever will, it has to be their decisions their heads are the ones that will roll if they get too many wrong, not ours!!! Up till now they have done a great job. Maybe our expectations are a little too high at times and maybe it is easy for us to criticise when things do go wrong. We all think we know a lot about football, tactics and players but not as much as TB and Co who are on the spot with them.

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I agree Renegade that is possible but you say almost equally as strong! What does that show? uncertainty ? 

 

Means that while Meekings-Warren-Devine-Shinnie wouldn't be quite as strong as the regular Raven-Warren-Meekings-Shinnie set-up, but it certainly would have been stronger than what we put out and maybe we wouldn't have received such a tanking.  Playing anyone out of position in any defence is usually a bad move.

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Wasn't at the game and I have only seen the goals on TV. Did Devine actually cost us any of the goals as they all seemed to stem from central or left sided positions for St Johnstone?. Where I think we did lose some impetus is we were without the forward runs Raven makes so effectively this season (but didn't always do last season). No matter if Meekings or Devine played right back, we would not have replaced the runs Raven now makes so I think the whole debate is a bit of a red herring to be honest. Sounds as if too many players had an off day and no amount of substitutions can change that.

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No goals came down the right side if I mind right but they did get a lot of joy down that part of the pitch.

 

More telling though was that Devine was unable to get forward to support Doran as well as Raven does therefore Hasselbaink wasn't pushed back as much leaving Doran with both left sided Saint Johnstone players to contend with when he tried to attack. Nullified one of our better attacking players.

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Means that while Meekings-Warren-Devine-Shinnie wouldn't be quite as strong as the regular Raven-Warren-Meekings-Shinnie set-up, but it certainly would have been stronger than what we put out and maybe we wouldn't have received such a tanking.  Playing anyone out of position in any defence is usually a bad move.

 

I agree that we couldn't have done so badly, but this is all with the benefit of hindsight. When I saw the players take their positions, I was pleased that Terry hadn't broken up what was proving to be the best central defensive pairing in the SPFL.

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Even playing Meekings at RB, would we have seen the Raven style overlapping runs? Thats where we were missing down the right and Devine's distribution at times was poor.

 

Biggest problem with Sat was not loosing as thats part of the game, but the way we lost - out-played in every area, looked disorganised and made an average St J team look better than they are. We should have known about the threat May posed and had a plan to deal with it.Last year we took a tanking to Motherwell 1-5, but IMO we player better that game than at St J and Motherwell were a far better team. This is hopefully a wake up call for all and we can swiftly get back to winning ways, but I do worry about the squad depth as nobody I have seen come in this season have been overly impressive............so far.

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We should also bear in mind that we don't have the budget to be able to have top class players to bring in from the sidelines when injury strikes. Our first XI is our best XI by some distance. As soon as suspensions and / or injuries kick in the quality of the players that come in as replacements are not as good as those they are replacing so we might well expect to see a wee dip in performance as a result. It's whether that's enough to get us through games and sadly on Saturday it wasn't.

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