Mid Season Report Card

Last updated : 14 January 2005 By Blue Dog
I will start by stating the bleeding obvious – central defense is a
worry. Only Andrews, Malcolm and Khizanishvili can fill the role, and
on the evidence of the Scottish Cup game just passed, that is really
cause for alarm! Andrews was massive all game, and it was a shame for
his two errors to be involved in two goals, but Zurab once again did
not seem to be able to impose himself on the game. The boy is talented,
but I just don’t know if he will ever come to grips with the physical
side of his play. So, that’s one quality centre back for the shopping
list, and preferably one that can lead his defense as well…Andrews and
Zurab need this sort of influence to be at their best, I feel.

One of the real surprises for me though is lack of talk about bulking
up our midfield options. For two years now we have bemoaned the lack of
midfielders, and this problem is more acute than ever.

When I speak of midfielders, I am not talking about forwards who play a
little deeper, like Buffel and Djordjic. Sure, players like that are
important, but who is going to do the hard yards up the middle? Only
Alex Rae and Ricksen have filled this important role all year to any
satisfaction, although big Bob did a good (lucky?) shift for us in this
role. Gavin Rae is still to return, but I still feel one more player of
quality is required.

Of course, by the time you read this, Big Eck may have answered my
prayers in the transfer window, bringing back Barry Ferguson and buying
Nesta. (Sorry Barry lovers, but getting him back for 3.5 mill is about
as likely as Nesta coming to play for us. If he wanted to move and
Rovers would accept that price, there would be definite interest from
the top clubs in the Premiership.)

The midfield issue becomes more acute when you consider Alex Rae’s age,
and the fact that Ricksen hasn’t signed…crisis alert! Crisis alert!

I would like to congratulate the club on the capture of Thomas Buffel.
I have heard nice things about this player, and he certainly looked
lively in the Scottish Cup game…even if he blew his one main
opportunity. But, a creative player who serves up good delivery to the
forwards has been missing since the departure of Ronald De Boer, and
the likes of Novo, Prso and Thompson will appreciate some gifted

Let’s hope it is gifted then, eh?

Blue Dog Of Avoca