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The Paisley Road to Glory


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3 hours ago, Fat Eck said:

Glad you enjoyed it, Tannochsidebear and thanks for pointing out where you disagree with me - more than fair comment and it gives me a chance to clarify on those two points.

I'm not feeling Bassey is a bad player. Quite the opposite. I think he's a great player for his age (21 on Hogmanay!) - a really exciting prospect. I just feel that night in Paisley - after a couple of wee defensive switch-off moments at Falkirk in the previous round which couldn't distract from a great all-round performance but would've been punished by better opposition - confirmed he's still more in the "potential" bracket than a like-for-like swap for Borna.

You're absolutely right, our League Cup exit was his only bad game and he's not the only one who was slightly off it that night. What I was trying to say is the bigger and harder the game* the more unfair it is to field the likes of young Calvin in a side with other changes to it. If he keeps developing he could easily end up being better than Barisic. He's just not there yet, for me anyway, (and it's no criticism to not be as good as a class act like Borna) but needs more matches where he's the only second-stringer on the pitch. He needs more careful nurturing.

My general point is that Paisley - our first defeat of the season - didn't prove we suddenly have a bad squad. Rather it showed how that squad is best utilised. Like most people, as we got into December without a single defeat across three competitions (and all our pre-season friendlies), I was starting to believe we were a couple of signings away from having two completely different starting XIs, one as good as the other. I think that night told us we had some players who could be swapped with no drop in standard and some squad players who needed more time, more games and/or to be utilised more sparingly.

Re SG chucking the League Cup I do say, at the start of the second last para, "Gerrard didn’t deliberately chuck the League Cup". But he probably felt he had no choice, the schedule being as intense as it is, and the league title being the priority, other than to field the slightly more experimental team he did in Paisley. Stevie G doesn't know how to chuck stuff - he knows you can't switch it on and off. It's all or nothing with him. 

But he also knows you'll end up winning nothing if you run your best players into the  ground by the half-way point of the season. All I'm saying is he's been given more insight into what games afford him the chance to rest which players. I'm as sure as I've ever been that we're in the safest of managerial hands.

Which, if you know my history on predictions, is just asking for trouble but - I cannae help it - Stevie G has us all believing.


*While we've often found St Mirren away a bit of a struggle down the years, as a club, it's only recently been established that Jim Goodwin might seriously know what he's doing at this level, so I in no way blame anyone at Rangers for thinking this was a game in which we could rest a few first choice bodies.

Thanks for the clarification and I can see what you mean. Yes Bassey is young and not in the same league as Borna who to my mind can be one of the best left backs in the world if he continues his progress and gets the right move at the right time, but I don’t believe it was an error to play him in Paisley or that we seen evidence he couldn’t cut it in that environment. I think given the level of his performances to that point we were optimistic we have a real talent and we have to give him enough game time to nourish it. I think he just had a stinker that night, pure and simple. It happens! Especially to players who haven’t yet had 20 first team games in their career.

 

The other main point is that I don’t believe for a single second that SG takes any solace from our elimination that we may have a slightly better chance in the league, or that, even subliminally, he gambled with a weaker side that night. I saw that side and thought it looked stronger than I had feared we would play, given the known niggles and suspensions that had been discussed in the build up. I hardly slept a wink that night I was so angry at our defeat, and I guess SG was similarly put out. St Mirren played the game of their life and we had too many below par performances. I still don’t see that side as being much weaker and it most certainly should have been good enough to beat a physical but pretty poor St Boo side.

 

I am pleased with our response in the 2 games subsequently, and we find ourselves back in Paisley tomorrow afternoon with an early chance to set the record straight. I wonder how different the side will be to the cup game? After all we have a 6 pointer on Saturday and this is only worth 3!

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I'd say we have to start with our strongest available XI tomorrow.  

 

My big concern is the two matches at Tynecastle last season, where we lost in a similar manner, twice, in quick succession, against a rough'n'ready football side.  We need to win tomorrow's match - simple as that.

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