THAT MONDAY MORNING FEELING - What's It All About, Walter?
The Kris Boyd saga took another twist on Saturday when, with the Rangers needing a victory at Aberdeen to put more pressure on FC Semtex, the manager dropped our top goalscorer to the bench. Hardly surprisingly, the Gers were pretty toothless up front and it was not until the closing stages, with Boydie on for the ineffective Kenny Miller, that we threatened to make the breakthrough. But it was not to be.
So another two precious points have been dropped when we really should be turning up on the heat on the unconvincing league leaders. Both Jimmy Calderwood and Gordon The Garden Gnome must have had a right wee giggle when they saw the Rangers line-up. Aye, we sure know how to make things hard for ourselves.
Walter's thinking on this really confuses me. Sure, sticking Lee McCulloch into a holding role in midfield offered protection for the back four, whilst also enabling Barry and Pedro to bomb forward in support of Miller on his own up front. But I'm convinced Kris would have been able to play the lone striker role just as well. Indeed, his physical presence would have given Severin and Diamond much more trouble and, with Pedro, Barry and young John Fleck buzzing around the edge of the box, opportunities are sure to have fallen his way.
Boydie is a percentage player, the longer he is involved in a game, the more chances will be created and, sooner or later, he will put one away. One chance and one goal is all it would have taken on Saturday but, instead of the full 90 minutes to make his impact, he was restricted to the final half-hour. Only when he started to put himself about in the box did better chances start to be created and, while hindsight is a wonderful thing, there is every likelihood that a full shift from Krissie would have resulted in the victory we needed so badly.
A low cross which swept just beyond Boyd's outstretched leg, a header which struck a defender and Nacho's shot which smashed back off the post had us all on the edge of our seats as the clock ticked away and the biggest disappointment was that, if the game had gone on for just a few minutes more, you felt a winner was inevitable. Yet, while we headed home feeling a bit let down by it all, Walter was on TV and radio bumming up the team's performance.
Hey, Walter, you are in a results business and it is a harsh fact of life that Saturday will be regarded as two points dropped, rather than one point gained. Having failed to win any of our five games at Shittodrie since his return, a mood is being created where we no longer go there in a confident frame of mind and, from his team selection this time around, Walter was more concerned about containing the game than going out there and winning it.
Or was he trying to convince us that it would be no big deal to lose Kris Boyd? If we had managed to nick a win with the big fella on the bench, it would have been acclaimed as a tactical masterclass from Walter, with the onus being on the responsibility handed to Lee McCulloch and the way Rangers handled the threat the Sheepies' pose from set pieces. Apart from a later header which had us all on edge, they didn't win a worthwhile aerial challenge in marked contrast to way they rag-dolled Septic a week earlier.
But despite dominating the game, we failed to get the goal we needed and, rather than a masterclass, Walter's tinkering with the line-up can only be seen as a mistake, a gamble which didn't pay-off. So instead of sitting tight on our rivals' tail, we are four points adrift and the Great Unwashed have wriggled of the hook again.
How many more times are we going to let this happen, Walter?
LITTLE BOY BLUE