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Francesc Fabregas

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Francesc Fabregas last won the day on December 19 2016

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  1. Forbes hasn't disappointed me because he'd played as I expected him to. Dumbarton fans were very cool about his departure and he wouldn't have been a player I'd have gone for. Tam Orr and Sean Crighton have been the biggest disappointments. I had high hopes for them both and they've yet to deliver!
  2. Yeah, I agree with Nigel Blackwell's overall point, and there's a lot to be said about giving Stephen Swift the time to make his mark, but the fact that we're consistently failing to get the better of the division's mediocre sides is troubling. After the 1-1 draw with Cowdenbeath last month - a side who, by the way, hadn't played or trained in two weeks and had to field a makeshift XI - Darren Christie said something along the lines of it was only a matter of time before we give someone "a real doing". I disagreed with him because while we dominated possession, we only created a handful of chances and rarely tested their goalkeeper. It was the same against Elgin City on Saturday - we saw a lot of the ball but failed to get in behind or put them under any real pressure. We haven't really played well in a single league game this season, despite the fact the manager has tried out so many different formations and personnel. It's that lack of clear thinking that worries me the most. Take the signing of Ross Forbes, for instance. He's been brought to the club on a two-year contract, presumably on a handsome wage, but the manager doesn't know what to do with him. He's been played in four different positions (a deep-lying playmaker, a second striker, and wide on the right and the left) and hasn't made an impact in any of them. Chuck in the signings of Nat Wedderburn and Declan Hughes, two other players who want to do the same thing as Forbes and sit in the middle of the park and knock the ball around, and you really have to question how this team has been put together.
  3. I'm running out of patience with Stephen Swift and his management of this football club. Yesterday's defeat to Elgin City, whilst a little unfortunate, summed up a lot of the failings we've seen time and again this season. A brand new starting XI, players suddenly brought into the team, players fielded out of position, our best player dropped, a confusing game plan, a laboured performance, and a missed opportunity. When I saw the starting line-up, it gave me the impression of someone who's throwing things at the wall in the hope that something might just stick. Ross Lyon is the fourth player we've deployed at left-back this season while Michael Miller, a player brought in to add some much-needed dig to the middle of the park, started at right-back - he's the fourth one we've used there too. We haven't even reached the end of the first quarter! James Lyon and Ross Forbes were given unfamiliar roles further forward, with neither player looking comfortable and both removed just after the hour mark. Tam Orr, who continues to struggle, was asked to operate as a back-to-goal centre-forward, while Robert Thomson sat on the bench for 67 minutes. It didn't make any sense to me. Elgin are a poor side and were there for the taking and although we had a lot of the ball, it was all a bit sterile and I don't remember us creating many chances beyond Nicky Jamieson's goal and Adam Brown's dismal effort that he somehow hooked over the bar. I watched the manager's post-match interview and it felt as though he was talking about another game entirely. "I don't feel as if we're far away," he said. "We're playing really good stuff - I think the fans will see that. We're a good team [...] I think we just need to keep playing the way that we're playing and defend a bit better and we'll get there." With respect, I disagree! A lot of the problems stem from the summer signings. I'd have to check back at previous transfer windows but I think this could well be the worst recruitment drive we've embarked on. Swift has brought in some good players to the club but on the whole his squad is so unbalanced and lacking in key areas that we look a lot less than the sum of our parts. We've played 14 competitive matches so far this season and we've only seen the same starting XI used in consecutive games once (Cove Rangers and Annan Athletic at the start of the month). How are we expected to build consistency and understanding when the manager doesn't know his best XI and chops and changes things on a weekly basis? We'll just have to batten down the hatches until January and turn over the squad then. But will Swift last that long? It gives me no pleasure to say this but the whole thing reminds me of Scott Booth's time in charge of the club between 2014 and 2015. I see a lot of similarities between the two - a uniformly agreeable appointment and a lot of initial enthusiasm followed by confusion, mediocrity and rancour, with the manager out of his depth, second guessing himself and floundering. The big difference six years ago, however, was that our SPFL status was not at stake; the prospect of dropping into the Lowland League terrifies me. There is no way we should be in this position given the money we've spent so far this season. It is not acceptable. Our upcoming run of games is a presentable one and if we don't see an upturn in form then I think the consequences for the manager could be brutal.
  4. I think we might tried it against Partick Thistle in the League Cup group stages, with Bernard Coll as the left-sided centre-back and Jamie Mills at wingback. It wouldn't surprise me to see us go with again on Saturday - it's something I suspected might happen when Adam Corbett played well in Sean Crighton's absence - but changing it up would seem like the manager overthinking things and second guessing himself (much like the back four that started against Stranraer last weekend). I broadly agree with the starting XI and formation Neilly suggested above.
  5. Aye, Davie Wilson's done quite well since he's come into the team. I'm not sure if he's actually a good goalkeeper in his own right or he's good in a "at-least-it's-not-Ryan-Marshall!" way but it's one less thing to worry about.
  6. It'll be interesting to see how we set up for this match. I've seen this side six or seven times so far this season and I still don't know what our best XI is or what's the most suitable formation, so I don't see any point in trying to guess. So many players are out of form or not pulling their weight, but the alternatives don't really inspire much confidence; at the moment, we look like "Robert Thomson and 10 other cunts". I don't think I'm at the stage where I'd "take ninth place if you offered it to me right now!" but another poor showing and I won't be far off. Like Hard Graft above me, I'd like to think we'll see Adam Corbett and Nicky Jamieson partnered in defence - the pair complement each other quite well and I've not seen anything from Sean Crighton to suggest he merits returning to the team. I do wonder, however, if Corbett's substitution at the weekend will play into Stephen Swift's thinking and we'll see the return of Crighton and Jamieson at centre-back with Ross Lyon restored to right-back. Elgin City are in spotty form at the moment and it's encouraging to read that Kane Hester might not be available for the match - he's a good player and is likely to cause us problems - but there is still quality in there from the likes of Brian Cameron, Russell Dingwall and Tom Grivosti. I'd love to see a quality performance coupled with a win but I'd be delighted with the latter at the moment. I think this will be the first time in a long time the manager will be under pressure (I can't imagine he was under any pressure during his four years at BSC Glasgow - without wishing to be cruel to their supporters, they do seem like a bit of a pointless club) and I'm keen to see how he responds to last weekend's display at Stranraer. He certainly said all the right things in his post-match interview but it has to translate to something tangible on the park because I think we're getting a bit fed up with what we're seeing from his team.
  7. In other, more palatable news, we've been drawn at home to Huntly FC in the Scottish Cup second round.
  8. There are a lot of interesting points in here. I wasn't at yesterday's match but I have watched the match highlights (which appear as though they were filmed by the team who brought you The Blair Witch Project). When I saw the starting XI, I was surprised to see Sean Crighton back in the team with Adam Corbett shifted out to right-back to accommodate the captain. This tactic worked well enough against Annan Athletic last weekend and allowed us to see out the final 17 minutes, but I have no idea why the manager saw fit to utilise it from the start against Stranraer. Corbett and Nicky Jamieson looked as though they were developing a decent partnership at centre-back, while Crighton, I'm sorry to say, has been roundly disappointing since he joined the club. He seems to make everyone around him play worse and, on top of that, doesn't seem fit at the moment. It was interesting to listen to Stephen Swift's rationale for making a double change in the 43rd minute. "I could have taken anybody off," he said in his post-match interview. Fair enough, Corbett and Mikey Anderson might have been playing poorly, but you're hooking two of the youngest, quietest, most low-maintenance players in the team, so it's easy to embarrass them (because that's essentially what making two non-enforced changes before the interval is, an embarrassment). If Swift wanted to send a message, he would have substituted Crighton or Forbes but that's a trickier thing to do with greater consequences. I've said it numerous times in this thread but the manager's signings have been largely poor. He said in first interview that he wanted to play a high-intensity brand of football with his full-backs pushing high up the pitch - that all sounds great, but then why bring in a squad of players who can't fit into your preferred system? No-one really looks comfortable in their role (the goalkeeper and the centre-backs aside, maybe). The squad is large but it's unbalanced and lacking in key areas. There's no point in talking up your squad depth when you're third-choice striker is Ryan Tierney. Too many players are underperforming but there's no-one credible to come in and replace them. I don't think the manager knows what his best XI is and that's why we're seeing players coming in and out of the team on a weekly basis. There are times when I think he's second guessing himself and overcomplicating things (fielding Corbett at right-back yesterday, for example), and there are times he gets it plain wrong. The thing is, I don't know what our best XI is either - I honestly cannot think of a system or a formation to get the best out of the players we have. I haven't lost the faith in Swift yet but I haven't really seen anything to suggest we're moving in the right direction. Yeah, it was great to beat Annan but we followed that up with arguably the worst showing of the season so far. If we don't take, say, seven points from our next four matches then I think we're going to have to sit down and have a serious conversation about what's gone wrong this season.
  9. The manager certainly talks well in his post-match interview; let's hope it translates to something tangible against Elgin City next weekend.
  10. Yeah, judging by updates from the game, it appears we played like a crock of shit. I didn't understand the starting XI, nor did I understand hooking two players two minutes before the interval, but it certainly tempers the optimism after last week's win at Annan Athletic. As Vimto90 above me writes, we have two colossal fixtures ahead of us.
  11. You're right, it feels fantastic to finally get the first win of the campaign. I don't think we particularly deserved all three points but that doesn't matter - I hope this can be a springboard to climb up the table and push for the top four. Other than the game against Kelty Hearts, we haven't been thrashed (although Ryan Marshall's performance that afternoon had a lot to do with it) and we probably could and should have taken more from the previous matches. From what I've seen so far, there are no other standout sides in the division; every side should be aspiring to finish in the play-off places, including ourselves. The tactical switch midway through the second half was interesting - I thought Stephen Swift might have overcomplicated things by shifting Adam Corbett to right-back to make way for Sean Crighton but, by and large, it worked and we were able to keep Annan Athletic at bay and hold out for the win. David Wilson made a big difference in goals and even although he's not the most imposing of 'keepers, he did what he needed to do, organised his defence well and played his part in the win. It was interesting listening to him order around his backline - standing behind the goals in the game against Edinburgh City, I don't think I heard Marshall instructing anyone around once. Marshall's signing should be investigated by a Fifa anti-corruption taskforce because I still can't get my head around how he pitched up at Ochilview. I'd also agree with your point about Robert Thomson. Every time I've seen him, he looks so far ahead of everyone around him and the way he was able to shift between the two defenders and find Adam Brown for our second goal was so good. I wish I could say the same thing about Tam Orr, who's really looked out of sorts since he joined the club - although he scored, he spent most of yesterday's game in offside positions and didn't really contribute much. I think we have an overreliance on Thomson up front and we need Orr, Brown, Darren Christie and Euan O'Reilly to contribute on a more frequent basis than they're doing just now. I'm pumped for next week's game against Stranraer. If we win this, it puts a wee bit of space between ourselves and the foot of the table, so it's imperative we go there and show the same battling qualities we did yesterday.
  12. That was a brutal game of football between two mediocre sides. I'm not sure we entirely merited the three points but I do not care - it's a tremendous feeling to get the first win of the campaign under our belts and, with a run of presentable fixtures ahead, I'd like to think we can begin to pull away from the bottom of the table. Second-half goals from Tam Orr and Adam Brown were enough to give us the win, although Bobby McCartney's late header made for an uncomfortable finish. I was down the far end and wasn't best placed to see our goals, although Orr's looked like it was prodded in from about three yards following a stramash and Brown's appeared to take an enormous deflection before hitting the back of the net. It's hard to tell how well we played - this wasn't the kind of game for fancy football, even if Annan's approach play was, at times, easy on the eye - it was about scrapping, clearing your lines, pushing up, winning battles, gaining yards, and we largely did this well (up until McCartney's goal, at least). Everyone should be complimented for their effort today. David Wilson made a big difference in goals and, even although he's not the most commanding presence, did well throughout. A goalkeeper who saves shots - can you believe it! Nicky Jamieson was the best player on the park and thwarted Annan at every turn and was abetted well by Adam Corbett and then Sean Crighton at centre-back. Michael Miller added some much-needed legs into the middle of the park and Robert Thomson turned in a great shift up top and chipped in with a lovely assist for Brown's goal. The game seemed to pass Cammy Graham by, however, and, despite his goal, Orr just hasn't really got going yet for Stenhousemuir. Based on that performance, I'm surprised by how well Annan have started this season. They shift it around well but, when it came to the showdown, it was all about getting the big lads up to noise things up. Stenhousemuir didn't relent, however - I suppose it makes a big difference when your opponents don't defend as generously as Stranraer or Stirling Albion. Maybe those podcast boys were onto something, eh, Philosopher? Let's kick on from here and see what we can do!
  13. No. He's currently injured after hurting himself in training with Thistle and was last seen limping about with a moon boot. He might be back in action by October-ish.
  14. Can anyone comment on how the team looked on Saturday up at Cove Rangers? I'm not sure how much I trust our matchday tweets as a barometer of a success performance.
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