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Mr November

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Everything posted by Mr November

  1. Yeah this is the big thing for me. That’s now three seasons in a row where we’ve finished just short of Raith, Partick Thistle and Cove without beating any of them. Ultimately we just weren’t as good as those teams, particularly in the first two seasons, and lacked a bit of quality in tough games against them. Up until the last game when we rested players we actually had a better record against the rest of the league than Cove. Repeating that will be hard and it’s always tricky to overcome teams with much bigger budgets like Falkirk and Dunfermline but that has to be the aim because as we’ve seen, the play-offs just aren’t for us!
  2. I'm sure there was talk that we were interested in McLean last summer. I like him, I'm not sure how good he actually is but he's always a handful for our defence and certainly brings something different to our current strikers. I feel like he's been around for a while now but he only turns 24 next month. I don't think we'd be able to bring in a player as good as Megginson but Gallagher, Smith, Salim, McLean and a quick backup like Jordan Allan would be strong for this level.
  3. Simon Murray was excellent in the play-offs but he only scored five league goals this season and while he's a much better striker, Megginson only scored one more non-penalty goal than Calum Gallagher. Interestingly Megginson and McAllister scored 24 non-penalty league goals between them while Gallagher and Smith managed 27 for us. Obviously penalties count but our strikers don't get the chance to boost their numbers that way. Gallagher has his faults but he's a reliable League One goalscorer and unfortunately players like Murray and Megginson are just out of our budget. Who knows if we'll keep them but Fordyce, a physical centre back and McCabe in midfield would be an excellent base to build from. We saw in the play-offs what a difference someone like Charlie Fox made at the back for Queen's Park.
  4. I think we usually get a list of players who haven’t been offered a new deal shortly after the season finishes, last year we got it on 26th May after the play-off final on the 21st May. We then usually hear about players who’ve re-signed or left over the next few weeks as well as the new signings. This year might take a bit longer if Murray has interest from elsewhere though.
  5. After seeing a picture of Dom Thomas in the Celtic end at Tannadice a few days after Dunfermline were relegated, my first thought was that I was quite pleased our games were before the Europa League final! I was hoping we’d hear something tomorrow night, perhaps we still will, but it may well be next week now. I expect we’ll be waiting a bit on certain players anyway who’ll no doubt have plenty of offers.
  6. Talking of the cups, it's quite funny looking back at the team that beat Motherwell last year. The ill-fated 3-5-2, Wardrop and Quitongo at wing back, a midfield three of McCabe, Agnew and man of the match Matty McDonald and Salim up top. Even Dean Ritchie got a (very short) run out!
  7. In terms of next season, obviously a lot depends on keeping key players but I'm hopeful the part-time contingent will stay along with some of the better full-time players. Currie has his issues in goal, we've seen that in the play-offs, but he's proven himself to be a good League One keeper and given some of the jobbers we've had in goals before, I'm happy to stick with what we have rather than risk a new keeper. Cantley has been fine when he's played so while an experienced backup would be nice, I'm pretty happy with both keepers. Watson's had a very good season overall and while he needs competition (the rumoured Scott Taggart would be an upgrade), he's a good right-back at this level. I thought this would be a big season for Kerr but he's struggled with injuries, though I'd be inclined to keep him for another year. Fordyce is an obvious must keep. Walker and Lyons can leave, Walker tries hard but ultimately isn't at the level we need just now and Lyons just hasn't worked out. Paterson and MacDonald's loans are up but I'd be keen to keep Paterson permanently since he's leaving Celtic, he struggled in the play-offs but is a good player with potential to develop. We need to improve at centre-back even if we keep Kerr and Fordyce, playing McCabe there worked well but we can't rely on someone else filling in there all season again. Midfield is probably the biggest concern. Easton, Frizzell and McCabe have had excellent seasons and will no doubt have a lot of interest elsewhere but obviously we'll do all we can to keep all three. Agnew struggled in the play-offs, possibly coming back from injury for important games too quickly, but he did pretty well before then. I'd rather he was a sub next season but a good option to have on the bench or to cover for injuries. Devenny and McGill's loans are up and Ritchie and McDonald have barely played. I'd happily keep McDonald as a squad filler, we need guys to pad out the squad and he's generally done well in his limited playing time. We need a couple of natural wide players this summer though. There's been plenty of times this season, the final included, where I think we lacked some pace and directness out wide from the bench. Salim and Smith are already under contract for next season which is good news. Hopefully Salim can have a full pre-season this summer, if he's fit then as the old cliché goes he'll be like a new signing. He has his doubters but Gallagher is a very good striker at this level and an obvious keep. I'd assume that Pyott will finally be away and while I wouldn't be surprised if he left Celtic, Afolabi's loan is up and I'd rather stick to the memories of his performance against Montrose than see another season of him. Allan and McGill are two I'm uncertain on. I'd probably keep Allan, he's not quite up to it as a main striker in a game like yesterday but he's a good option as a 4th/5th choice to bring on from the bench and he's generally done well against the weaker teams in the league. Gabby McGill was pretty rubbish in the play-offs and has been unlucky with injuries but he's probably done enough over the season to show he has decent potential. I'm still not sure how good he actually is but he brings some chaos which is always fun. Salim, Smith, Gallagher, McGill and Allan would probably be our strikers sorted for the season. Is that enough for a title challenge? Possibly, if Salim can score a few. Will we find a better striker outwith getting lucky with a young guy on loan? Probably not.
  8. I agree. Frizzell and Easton are brilliant but McInroy offered something slightly different to them that we weren’t able to replicate after he left. I think most fans would agree we had a strong 10/11, with the right wing position being the main area of concern with no obvious player for there. Gabby McGill had his moments out there but clearly isn’t a wide player and no one else seemed suited to playing there. The midfield diamond we had when McInroy was there was probably the most balanced team we had this season.
  9. For all there were some comments about the Queen’s Park support, it was them who made all the noise yesterday. Our end was pretty noisy at home to Montrose despite having a big support in but that was mainly down to anger in the first half, which at least created some atmosphere, and then the great comeback in the second half. Yesterday’s atmosphere was very flat. The game was pretty cagey which didn’t help and the atmosphere always dips when the day trippers are there (not criticising them, it just happens) but for all we near enough filled the main stand, you’d never have known there was anywhere near that many there based on the noise.
  10. I think this is pretty much where I’m at too. Things might change in time but ultimately, as much as I’ve enjoyed this season more than any other since my first (03-04), I’ll remember us losing in the play-offs and that Fyvie goal in the Cove game more than going 20 games unbeaten. It’s a real sickener but while we can’t fault the effort all season, ultimately we’ve lacked a little bit of quality in the big games. I think Murray may well go but I also think it’s telling that Raith seem keen to go for Kevin Thomson ahead of Murray. Turning Airdrie around, alongside the job he did at Dumbarton, is probably more impressive than winning the league with Kelty but ultimately coming close but not winning anything isn’t as sexy as winning a league, even if you’re by far the best team in it. We’ll see what happens over the coming days. If we can keep Murray and a decent chunk of the squad then there’s no reason why we can’t be up challenging again next season. It’ll be a very tough league but not every time will get their managerial appointment or signings right. It’s a strange feeling tonight. Normally when we lose a play-off final I’m annoyed, either at a manager, players or both but I find it hard to be too upset at anyone in particular. The effort was certainly there, we just lack a bit in the big moments which is frustrating but there’s not much we can do about it.
  11. I’m gutted but no complaints with the result over two legs, Queen’s Park undoubtedly the better team. I’ve posted before but I’ve now seen Queen’s Park 11 times this season and the three I’ve seen in the play-offs have been by far the most organised and hard-working. Owen Coyle seems to have a difference and after a season of losing leads and looking pretty weak mentally, the players certainly showed up when it mattered.
  12. Yeah this is spot on. Whereas Quitongo and McHugh helped Queen’s Park get further up the park, every one of our subs weakened us. It was pretty clear we weren’t scoring in extra time with a front two of Allan and McGill. The game always had the feel of extra time and penalties but I can’t say I felt confident at all after they equalised early on. A really disappointing way to end a very good season up until now but no complaints with the result, Queen’s Park undoubtedly deserved it over the two legs. People will complain about the play-offs and us being so far ahead of them in the league but that counts for nothing in knockout football. They were organised, dangerous on the attack and stopped us playing at our best. Charlie Fox was the best player over both games, decent on the ball and won every header. A real colossus at the back for Queen’s Park. Queen’s Park are my local team and I quite like to see them do well, just not today! I hope they do well next season, they should improve and I’m glad we won’t be playing them. As far as Jai Quitongo goes, he got a lot of abuse on Thursday night for being a “wife beating b*****d”, which he heard and laughed at, but never heard anything racist directed at him at either game. It’s disappointing if he has been abused in that way and I really hope he hasn’t. I knew he would be very up for these games given what’s happened with his brother and if he has been racially abused he’s well within his rights to get it right up us.
  13. To be fair, most of us have said it’ll be a tough game on Sunday. If we play at our best then we should win, the league table shows we’re a better team, even if Queen’s Park have improved in the play-offs. A couple of people might be getting carried away slightly but most of us have seen seven games against Queen’s Park which have been fairly low quality and know what to expect on Sunday. We might not be prime Barcelona but at our best we’re a lot better than we showed last night.
  14. Yeah I’m not expecting there to be more than a goal in it either way and extra time looks a real possibility. I expect Queen’s Park to be organised again and press us high up the pitch but being on a better surface might allow us to play around that better than last night. Equally, we can be a bit too open at times, especially down the wings, and we need to be careful as we saw how dangerous Queen’s Park looked on counter attacks last night when they were pressing and intercepting slack passes. I think Murray might go with the same team but I wonder if Afolabi might start. Fox and Grant are very physical and strolled it last night against Gallagher, who I’m a big fan of but struggles up there on his own against two big units. I wouldn’t be too surprised if he started Afolabi through the middle and Gallagher out wide, with McGill dropping out.
  15. I agree on McGill, I like him but it wasn’t the game for him. We were pretty flat tonight and I thought Jordan Allan would have provided a lot more energy out there than McGill, who was pretty poor and never really got going. Neither are natural wide players to be fair, we don’t really have any at all, but on a night where our passing wasn’t slick I’d have fancied Allan to get in behind their defence.
  16. Airdrie’s best spell of the 2019/20 season was playing a 4-2-3-1 with the three being Callum Smith and Dale Carrick out wide and Kurtis Roberts in the middle. Three hard workers who track back, win the ball and drive forward. If you can get him in a system like that you’ll love him. I’m still not entirely sure how good he is. He fitted into that Airdrie team really well, he loved to press high up the pitch and drive forward with the ball but he never seemed fit enough. Indeed, in his one solid run in the team I don’t think he ever completed a full 90 minutes. I wouldn’t expect lots of assists from him but he’ll help push the team up the park and he likes a shot from distance. Fans generally seem to really like him, our fans were constantly moaning about him not playing and then being released but he wouldn’t get near our current midfield. He’s an improvement on some of the jobbers that Clyde had this season though and I think he’ll be a good signing.
  17. Very much the cagey game I was expecting but with even less quality from Airdrie. I thought Airdrie started stronger but faded as the half went on and Queen’s Park had the only real chance. We never got going in the second half at all and after Queen’s Park scored I thought they looked likely to go on and score a second. I’m not convinced it was a penalty but Ferrie’s daft enough to give the referee a decision to make. We very much got away with that there and getting that late goal when we never looked like scoring could be vital. Queen’s Park played very well, very organised and worked hard off the ball. They caused problems whenever they broke forward with pace and seemed very up for it. A similar performance to their first leg against Dunfermline but with a bit more quality due to the pace of Murray and Quitongo. We were oddly careless in possession tonight. McCabe had his worst game in a long time and him and Easton wasted a lot more passes than usual. The pitch doesn’t help obviously but I feel like we made it a bigger issue than it was. There was a lot of strange decision making overall at both ends of the park, players panicking for no real reason. I think we’ll be much improved on Sunday, hopefully without the two goal head start this time. I’m glad that’s my last trip to Firhill for the season though. As someone who lives in the southside, driving up there takes a lot longer than it should every time so fair play to the Queen’s Park fans who have to deal with that every home game compared to them being local. I’m still not convinced it will be given the state it was in when I walked past yesterday but hopefully Lesser Hampden is ready for the start of next season.
  18. Talking of Gardyne, I might have misread it but I'm sure I saw someone on our facebook page saying he looked like Messi. I can't imagine yer man Lionel would be too pleased with that comparison!
  19. I think Murray will be aware of that, especially given MacDonald was taken off after half an hour to try and stop that, but it's definitely something we need to stop if we want to win the final. I'm not too concerned by their last two goals, as our tactics were wild at that point, but the first three Montrose goals were so soft and a result of a few players making basic errors. I think Watson will be back in from the start which should help with that and how open we are going forward does leave our full-backs a bit exposed at times but even so, we need to be much stronger in those situations. Watson should help at set-pieces too, as both Fox and Grant are strong in the air and something like that could be the difference in a tight game. You've mentioned it elsewhere but Queen's Park will probably play a bit deeper than Montrose. In their first leg it was very much a 4-1-4-1 with a fairly flat midfield four based around being organised and working hard as a unit, whereas Montrose left their wingers high to exploit our lack of cover there in the first leg and then had full-backs bombing forward along with the wider midfielders in the second leg which we couldn't cope with. We haven't had to deal with Jai Quitongo too much this season but if he plays his pace and directness will be a threat, and given everything that's gone on with his brother I'm sure he'll be right up for it. Given how much he seemed to shout it, maybe we should bring back Kenny Black to just shout "STOP THE CROSS" every time the ball's in our half. Actually, given his play-off record, maybe that's not the best idea...
  20. Yet another player of the month award. I was a bit surprised at Gallagher winning it but five goals in four games is a great record. Hopefully it’s not the last thing he wins this season!
  21. I think Watson is a certainty to come back in. MacDonald was the weak link over the two legs and Watson's physicality made a big difference when he came on. I think he’s a better all round right back too and better suited to this game, so hopefully he is in. Assuming there’s no new injuries, I think the only other change will be Gabby McGill back in for Scott McGill. I’d consider bringing Kerr in for Agnew with McCabe moving up but I think these games, the first leg at least, will be much less frantic than the Montrose games and I think Murray will go for Agnew’s experience in there to retain possession and keep things steady. Kerr would perhaps add a bit more height for set-pieces, which Queen’s Park are a threat from, as well as allowing McCabe to give us a bit more energy in midfield.
  22. I think this will be a very different game for both teams compared to their semi-final opponents. From what I saw on Wednesday and yesterday’s highlights, Dunfermline didn’t really threaten Queen’s Park too much while we scored six goals yesterday through our quality, pace and most importantly determination. Saying that, Queen’s Park have kept two clean sheets while we conceded three very soft goals to put Montrose 3-0 up. We really can’t afford to do that again. The teams know each other pretty well at this point but Murray and Agnew were there on Wednesday and they’ll be well aware that Queen’s Park will be much improved from the dross that stunk out the 2-0 game a couple of months ago. The other games between the teams have been very tight this season. It’s hard to read too much into the first three games now, our team, both individuals and style of play, is very different to those games but even the 1-0 and 1-1 games since then were tricky. Airdrie have had the edge in the games so far and are a better team, the league table shows that, but as we saw for large parts of our semi-final that doesn’t count for much in knockout football and we’ll have to be at our best to win this. I’ve got no concerns about fitness despite yesterday’s extra-time. While the adrenaline helped, our players looked fitter during it and some players looked like they could have went another 120 minutes. Hopefully McCabe and Gallagher are ready to go for Thursday night. I don’t think it will be pretty but we’ll bring a lot more to the game in terms of quality and effort than Dunfermline did. It’ll be tough but this is the best chance we’ll have of going up and we can’t let yesterday’s drama be for nothing.
  23. We’ve spoke about it before on here but Gallagher knowing exactly where to be in the right place is an underrated skill. His goals aren’t usually as eye-catching as some of the other goals we score but he’s a player we can always count on to pop up at vital moments. Yesterday was his 100th appearance and he’s been a very important player in that time. Every year in the play-offs a player we all think isn’t great seems to turn up and have a good game or score a vital goal at some point. Derek Holmes down at Ayr, Kyle Hutton at home to Alloa, Jack McKay against Cove and now Afolabi against Montrose. If he can keep that up next week then he’ll have a big impact on the final.
  24. Yeah five forwards. Half time onwards was pretty much a back three of Watson, Fordyce and Agnew dropping in. Once Afolabi came on it was very much five up front but to be honest Callum Smith spent a fair bit of time tracking back down the left wing, Frizzell spent ages as a left wing back and even Fordyce seemed to be up winning flick ons for a bit. Murray’s done that a few times, sometimes it doesn’t work (the 1-1 home game against Clyde a prime example) but it worked perfectly yesterday.
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