Partick Thistle's big issue was that they were shite at the back and, as much as they played some nice passing football, they didn't really control the flow of the game. Teams like Saints were happy just to watch them knock the ball about in front of the defence safe in the knowledge they were likely to score at the other end. The same was true in the early part of Dundee's relegation season when their fans were sure they just needed a better striker than Moussa to turn things around. But they had clownshoes like Darren O'Dea at the back so you knew you were going to get chances.
Saints probably were the better team in terms of controlling the game yesterday. I don't think we gave away much of anything at the back again and certainly in the second half didn't look like we'd concede. The Motherwell goal was a nice bit of football but Kerr does brilliantly to block the initial chance - only for it to pop up beautifully for O'Hara to smash into the net. That's the kind of thing that's happened quite a lot this season - where we've conceded from a rebound (yesterday, Hamilton's goal from the shot that came back off the bar) or from a non-chance (Vigurs v County) - is that bad luck or is there something we're not doing right?
The difference between yesterday's game and the likes of the County/Dundee United games is that we didn't turn the superiority in the middle and comfort at the back into real, clear cut chances. Kane needs to do better with his at the end but even then the defender may well have stopped it if he'd kept it down. Plenty of crosses put in yet again - and I actually felt the delivery was better yesterday than it has been - but there's nobody really attacking it. That's where you want a Callum Hendry, but we know how his form has been. If we had last season's Callum Hendry firing at that rate we'd be in the top four.
I don't think I can fault the structure, how well drilled the players are or how they're applying the system. The high press we employ leaves the opposition either likely to make a mistake - see our goal yesterday - or having to launch it long, which we are more than happy to deal with. The balance across the team is great and we look so comfortable most of the time. But the decision making at the top end is the big issue. There was a point in the first half yesterday when May turned on the ball and basically had a three on two - with a tricky reverse pass for Wotherspoon or an easy ball into Conway the options. He tried to reverse it to Wotherspoon and hit the defender. He couldn't have missed the pass to Conway. As the second half wore on Wotherspoon's crossing absolutely deserted him and everybody in a blue shirt lost the ability to play a 5/10 yard pass with any confidence.
I think when Motherwell brought on Lamie and basically gave up on any thought of winning the match we should have brought on Hendry for May and either Kane or Melamed for Wotherspoon. Hendry's job would have been just to stand between the posts and attack every cross that comes in, and the rest of the team would have been trying to feed McNamara or Tanser to get the ball into the box. Instead we spent our time overplaying it, losing possession in dangerous areas or - when we did get the cross in - ballooning it out of the park.
I'm a believer in this system - it is obviously working in terms of giving us the upper hand in virtually every game we play - or at least neutralising the threat of our opponents - but the end product has to improve drastically.