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So, what's changed?


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What a difference a week makes. A failing management team and a bunch of underperforming players out in a series of half hearted and pretty shambolic performances, then all of a sudden we step up a few gears and get a good away point and a great home win - the kind of turnaround that you normally only expect to get when there has been a change of manager, like when Butcher came in.

There are probably numerous factors behind the improvement, but what do you see as the main reason(s)? 

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The Championship would result in pay cuts and job losses and perhaps wilderness years. The reality has sunk in. New players have been very positive. The old work ethic has returned. The supporters have stuck with the club despite some clear frustrations. Richie shaved off his beard!!!

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Small things all add up. Firstly, Richie has found a shape that works, packing the midfield with energetic players and pace out wide. Secondly, everybody has upped their game, fighting for every ball and covering for each other. Thirdly - and this cannot be over-stated - Billy Mckay. He hasn't scored many (yet), but his work-rate, intelligent runs, ability to hold the ball, link play and rush defenders, is massive. What a difference when the ball is cleared and a blue shirt is there first to bring in the midfield and get an attack going. Compare that to when we hat Doumbouya, when he rarely got to the ball and when he did, it bounced back to the opposition for them to launch another attack.

Edited by PerfICT
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We may have confidence and belief now, but we didn't during or after the previous 2 games. If you think that is the cause, where did it suddenly come from?! I think the the reasons are less psychological and more to do with tactics.

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31 minutes ago, PerfICT said:

Small things all add up. Firrstly, Richie has found a shape that works, packing the midfield with energetic players and pace out wide. Secondly, everybody has upped their game, fighting for every ball and covering for each other. Thirdly - and this cannot be over-stated - Billy Mckay. He hasn't scored many (yet), but his work-rate, intelligent runs, abiliry to hold the ball, link play and rush defenders is massive. What a difference when the ball is cleared and a blue shirt is there first to bring in the midfield and get an attack going. Compare that to when we hat Doumbouya, when he rarely got to the ball and when he did, it bounced back to the opposition for them to launch another attack.

^^^ This, particularly the stuff about Mckay. Excellent post. 

Just last night's simple action of sticking with the same team from Tynecastle despite more experienced players coming back into the frame also probably had some impact, psychologically. McCart and Mulraney showed real increases in confidence on the field last night, having been shown that Foran has confidence in them. Mulraney in particular is starting to look like he could be the player we hoped he would be after his performances in the League Cup.  

Edited by alternative maryhill
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The suspension issues we had against Hearts turned out to be a big boost for us.  Gary Warren has been a superb player for us since he signed but he's been sub-par this season and McCart and Laing have done well in the two games, albeit with some shakiness.  Vigurs dropping out from the XI at Tynecastle allowed us to play with Draper, Tansey and Polworth as the midfield heart and we've been far better for it.  Tansey in particular has looked much more dynamic and his pressuring and tackling in both those games was excellent.  Draper didn't have his best game at Tynecastle but his strength was important last night and Polworth offers a lot more pressure higher up the pitch than Vigurs.  Against two side who seem to like to play keep-ball this has worked well and taken some of the pressure off our back four.

As above as well, Billy Mckay is a huge factor.  The difference in quality between him and any of the strikers we've had so far this season is massive.  That again takes pressure off the defence as he disrupts moves by pressing the defenders and he keeps the ball when it's knocked long to him.  For someone who's pretty small he's certainly a great targetman.  He's also capable of threatening the opposition goal, as we of cours saw in the final minute last night :) 

Mulreany certainly gave his best performance for us last night, especially impressive considering he was opposed by Lee Wallace, one of Rangers best defensive players.  I thought he had a good game against Hearts - offered an outball for his team-mates and tracked back really well.  He didn't get much joy against the Hearts left back but showed he can win free kicks, bagging the one that we scored from.  Previously he looked a bit lost, didn't seem to have much undersstanding about him to add to his pace but he showed last night that he's learning.  If he can put himself into dangerous positions using his pace then he can be a proper asset.

 

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When you have a goalie who can all of a sudden pull off great saves, defenders who can defend, someone up front who had the abity to score goals and a lot of good stuff happening in between all of that, then the confidence soars like an eagle.

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Billy Mckay  - not just for the reasons well set out above, but also because he makes it very plain what he thinks of the service he is getting - or not getting, and sets the bar for pressing and trying to win lost causes. 

It has to be said, whoever at the club got him back when they did deserves a massive pat on the back.

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What's changed? Well I can report that every win this season has been while I have been overseas. 

The only sensible course of action is to send me overseas for every game for the rest of the season ;-)

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We've also played 2 teams that are on terrible runs at the moment and there's been very little expectation on the players . We've also had a wee bit of luck for a change , you can beat skill but you can't beat luck.

Edited by DALNEIGHCALEY
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There seem to be a number of reasons which have helped in producing improved performances.  Hopefully we can build on this and maintain the 100% commitment through to the end of the season.  But just as we suddenly seem to have found a bit of form, so too can other teams.  Hamilton would seem to be favourites for the drop but despite having won only 3 games all season, they rarely lose by more than 1 and it won't take much to convert some of their draws into victories.  County are on a really poor run of results but have not been playing too badly. Again, they rarely lose by more than a single goal and I don't think it will take much to improve their fortunes.  I really can't see them going down.  Motherwell seem to be the joker in the pack here.  Going into February they were in the top six but have been absolutely woeful since then.  One wonders what has changed there!  It's still very much a case of any 2 from 7 going down even if the odds are shortening on the bottom 4.  It is very unpredictable and any of the sides in the bottom 7 could suddenly run into form or lose form.  The one thing for sure is that if we want to stay up we'll need a good few more performances like Saturday's.  Whatever it is that's changed needs to stay changed.

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Sometimes it just happens. I remember a coach saying that you watch your team sometimes and wonder where it all comes from. You see them next time and wonder where it all went! It's football. 

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On 2/25/2017 at 2:25 PM, IMMORTAL HOWDEN ENDER said:

Lets add in CONSISTENCY - Apparently that was the first time that we played the same X1 twice running this season. Lets keep that going and even if there are injuries let stick to the system.

I do not think McCart is eligible against Celtic. In addition Carlos and Jake picked up injuries against Rangers.

As an aside, we played Rangers for most of the game without our top scorer when Carlos went off injured.

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I think there are three main factors. Firstly, Liam Polworth is a fantastic and fantastically committed player who has been wasted for most of the season by being played out of position when he has been played at all. The last couple of games have shown beyond doubt just what a difference this round peg can make when placed in a round hole and it seems that the manager has got the message and if he's continued to be played in his most effective position for the rest of the season I'm convinced he will reward the manager by continuing to make a difference.

Secondly, Billy McKay brings with him not only his obvious goal threat but an ability and willingness to run tirelessly for 90 minutes getting into threatening areas and pulling defenders out of position in a way that the other strikers we've played this season, whatever other qualities they may have, simply aren't capable of.

Thirdly, OFW has recently regained his confidence and, with it his form which in turn has made a big difference to the confidence of the defence in him. My only comment on Friday's  defensive selection is that, as decent as Laing and McCart are, I would not play either of them ahead of a fit Gary Warren. I appreciate that Warren has not been in the best of form but neither had those around him and there's no reason why his confidence and form won't improve with the others. On his day, there are not many better in the league.

We can't be complacent. There's no doubt that we are still in a bitter relegation dog fight but recent events make me, for one, think it's a fight that we have much more chance of winning than appeared likely at the beginning of the month after that abject defeat at Hamilton.

Finally, we the fans must continue to play our part as we did on Friday.

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