Fear not, the Return of our Talisman will Secure the Crown.

Last updated : 11 November 2010 By Sherbrook Loyal.

Yes, we should be six points clear but we're not and we're just going to have to deal with it.

I've already written off the Hibs defeat, it's been on the cards all season and we thoroughly deserved our humbling.

We’ve flattered to deceive in pretty much every SPL game this season, other than at Parkhead, and the 3-0 reversal is probably the proverbial kick up the (ahem) we need.

We must remember that we top the table, despite not having played very well for most of the domestic season!

So, it stands to reason that when we find a bit of form we’ll pull away from Lenny Gaga’s Celtic team, which is destined to implode.

My main concern is Walter Smith’s reluctance to play kids over guys who are dead on their feet — it cost us in the Manchester season and it could happen again.
However, his comments in the press about the loss to Hibs being his own fault as he should be blooding youngsters, gives me hope that he will remedy this situation.
We all know his Achilles heel is his reluctance to play young guys ahead of seasoned pros, no matter their ability or fitness levels, but I do think he now realises his error.

It’s all very well moaning about a small squad but the argument is rendered void if you don’t make the most of what you do have.

There should be absolutely no excuses from us: it was our decision to go for ‘quality’ over ‘quantity’.

It is perhaps worth considering cashing in on Allan McGregor and using the cash to bolster the squad. Neil Alexander — whilst falling a little short of McGregor — is more than good enough for our needs and it would be sensible to source Weir’s long-term replacement now, rather than in the summer, and add another couple of players.

In the immediate future, it sounds like Papac will be out for a week or two.
Of a greater concern is the news that Edu has apparently injured the same knee that kept him out for a number of months — we can only hope it’s not as serious this time.

Edu’s injury means we’re unlikely to see it for a while, but I never want to see Lee McCulloch and Edu as our central pairing again: not for as long as our Sun still burns.

The lack of central creativity is no use in the SPL, a league in which teams sit back in numbers and invite us to try to open them up. Long-term, Steven Davis must play in this position beside either McCulloch or Edu and, for now, it's time to get Kyle Hutton in alongside Davis. We could also help ourselves a lot if we started to play Vladimir Weiss on the right, so he doesn't have to keep cutting inside.

My other main concern is our reliance on Kenny Miller. He’s started the season brilliantly domestically, if not in Europe, but he’s showing signs off going off the boil now.It’s imperative that, first, James Beattie returns to take some of the strain and, secondly, we get Nikica Jelavic back firing on all cylinders.

Beattie will score some important goals before the season’s over, it’s just a shame he’s not managed to hit the ground running because of poor fitness and injury.

The main reason we will the league, however, is Jelavic. The guy’s a class act, has settled into his new surroundings immediately and seems to have already become a talismanic figure. It will give everyone — the manager, his team-mates and our support — a huge lift to see the big man back.

I've said it all along... as long as we're within, say, three points of Celtic by the time Jelavic returns, we'll win the league. Even if we do progress to the next stages of the Champions League or the Europa League, we’ll soon have a couple of months of a break which will allow us to concentrate our efforts on the SPL. We’re also traditionally excellent over the Winter period: so let’s take a step back from last night, regroup and come out fighting like the champions we are.

The fact is, we’re competing to an excellent level in the Champions League, our big summer signing and quite possibly our best player is injured and we’ve got limited resources — yet we’re still top of the league.

Just wait until we really get going!