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Mr November

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Everything posted by Mr November

  1. Not too convinced about this one but I suppose we are pretty short in midfield with Kerr and now Turner out.
  2. While everyone else was out playing football, Paul and Jack McKay must have spent their childhood practicing endless throw-ins. I didn’t watch today’s game but glad that McKay played alright, if he can do a job at right back for the rest of the season then he’ll be a much better signing than any of us expected. Agreed on Scott Brown, I liked him last season too and he’s definitely the type of player we could be doing with. The hybrid set-up should be a good fit for players like him so I’d like to see us try and sign him in the summer.
  3. I think it must be something like this, maybe 4-4-2 with Connell up front. Currie McKay - Crighton - Fordyce - McCann Ritchie - Turner Robert - Carrick - Connell Gallagher If Murray hadn’t talked about Jack McKay playing right back on the website then I’d be pretty baffled but that seems like the obvious lineup to me. As far as Murray’s team selections go, this one isn’t that odd to me and other than switching the McKay’s (I’m guessing Paul is injured?) is probably the team I would have picked.
  4. I'd love to see the reaction if someone suggested Ian Murray had attacking tactical awareness in the Airdrie thread I can't say I know too much about the players Clyde and Peterhead have brought in but I still fancy Dumbarton to finish above Forfar and perhaps even Clyde, as the extra game in hand may not be as much help as usual given how many games are being crammed in. Is Chris Smith injured? I certainly don't think he's a great option and I'm aware it was probably a one-offbut based on performances he's been the best keeper I've seen in this league this season.
  5. I think we've done ok in terms of the fixtures, good to only have one Thursday game, especially against Dumbarton who have a lot of games to play with a very small squad. I'm not convinced a 22 game season will happen but I feel we'll definitely need something from those last two games to confirm play-offs or hopefully more. For most teams having two home games to finish the season would be a good thing but given our record that might actually work against us! I feel much more confident about the rest of the season after today's signing though, feels like exactly what we need. I'm really interested to see how we line up on Saturday. I'd probably be looking to play something like this Currie Fordyce - Crighton - Kerr - McCann McKay - Turner Robert - Carrick - Connell Gallagher Fordyce did a solid job at right back last season and I'd much rather see Kerr moved back into defence. McKay and Turner would give us good drive in midfield, McKay can sit a bit deeper and Turner can push forward. That front four were excellent against Forfar earlier this season, with the option of moving Connell up and playing a front two if required. I suspect the lineup won't be too far away from this, though I think we'll have McKay at right back and Kerr in midfield.
  6. Clyde 1-3 East Fife Dumbarton 0-0 Forfar Athletic Falkirk 1-1 Montrose Partick Thistle 1-1 Cove Rangers Peterhead 1-2 Airdrieonians
  7. This is a brilliant signing. I like MacDonald but Kerr, Fordyce or McKay can all do a job at right back so I’m not too bothered about not bringing him back. We all know midfield is our problem area and Kyle Turner was excellent at this level with Stranraer. I really wanted us to sign him a couple of years ago but not surprised he ended up at a bigger club. He won Championship player of the month as recently as November, so I’m surprised Dunfermline are letting him go but I’m certainly not going to complain.
  8. I think the assistant manager issue is a really good point. His best spell at Dumbarton was when he had Jack Ross as his assistant. People like to claim that Jack Ross was the brains there but that Dumbarton team were awful before Ian Murray was appointed (even worse than a truly dreadful Airdrie team), including Jack Ross' spell as caretaker. The way he managed to turn them around and just miss out on the promotion play-offs the following season was remarkable. The impression I get from the way they worked was that Ross would take a lot of the coaching while Murray focused on the management side of things, which is something I feel he hasn't been able to do at all here, particularly last season when he seemed to be coaching about 20 full-time players himself a few days a week. Dealing with that while also integrating part-time players in and managing the team can't be easy and I still think that's one of the main reasons we improved when Colin Cameron joined, rather than some of the ideas the usual conspiracy theorists have. At the very least he clearly seems to need someone to challenge him and bounce ideas off though. I agree that I'd be happy enough to see him get a full season with him as the main man in terms of recruitment and a proper coaching set-up, as I think there is definitely a good manager in there. Saying that, I can't say I'm fully convinced we will ever be more than play-off contenders under him, which possibly means it's time for a change. I suspect the board will probably give him another season anyway, as given the uncertainty over the last year or so, keeping someone who's done an ok job is much less of a risk than bringing in someone new who might not work out.
  9. I think most Airdrie fans would happily see him leave at this point, though I'm still a bit unsure whether that would be a good thing or not. I was really excited when we appointed Ian Murray. He obviously had a very poor spell at St. Mirren but the job he did at Dumbarton was outstanding and I hoped he could have a similar impact at Airdrie. When he joined us we were sitting 6th after the first round of fixtures, albeit only two points off bottom and 11 points off top. We were a bit of a mess at the time, Stevie Findlay had signed a new team of average League One jobbers on seemingly decent contracts but they never really clicked. When Murray came in we had lost four of our last five games and were generally a bit of a mess. The football under Murray that season was pretty awful, there were a few games where we were fantastic but on the whole it was pretty stodgy, solid at the back but nothing going forward. After a mixed start he consistently stuck to a 5-4-1 formation that season given how poor we were defensively, the aim generally seemed to be keep things tight and sneak a goal rather than going out to attack teams. We almost snuck into the play-offs but ultimately we just weren't good enough and lost far too many games at home, generally without scoring. He had a pretty poor start to the 2019/2020 season. Whereas previously he'd staunchly stuck to the same system he flipped between a back five and back four for the first quarter and the team were a bit all over the place as a result. Eventually things clicked in a game up at Forfar where Nat Wedderburn had to come off injured, Kurtis Roberts came on and suddenly we looked a much better team. I'm not sure whether Murray had actually planned this when he made the change or it was just a fluke but either way, we finally looked like a good team. Including that Forfar game, we went on to win six games in a row, playing some great football throughout and even going top of the league at one point. The rest of the season was pretty much a mixed bag, some good performances, some not so good but we were on course to finish in the play-offs with a reasonable chance of going up given our record against Falkirk that season. Unfortunately, there hasn't really been any progress this season. It's very much been a case of continuing where last season left off, a mix of great performances but also some very poor ones. Overall, I think Murray's done a decent job at Airdrie, albeit not as good as I had hoped. The club had been a mess for a good few years before he came in. We've had seasons of having a very young (and not very good) full-time squad, a team of youth players and then experienced League One jobbers but Murray has turned us into a solid play-off level team, which is more than can be said for most of our recent managers. However, he's also been well backed by the board with a move to a hybrid setup, the biggest squad in the league two seasons in a row (albeit a lot of those players are young players who never played) and a new contract last season at a point where he didn't really deserve one yet. It's hard to judge him in terms of recruitment given we've had a Director of Football throughout his time here and more recently links with certain agents but our recruitment has very much been a mixed bag. We've consistently had the same issues under Murray which I think is the most frustrating thing. He's still very young for a manager but he's pretty experienced now and should really be learning from his mistakes. We've lost 14 home games throughout his time here without scoring a goal, 10 of which we lost 1-0. It's generally always the same story of being ok defensively but being completely unable to break teams down. This has been the case for teams lower down the league as well as teams at the top and ultimately is what has cost us in all three seasons, Raith beat us 1-0 three times last season but only finished 5 points ahead of us. I'm not necessarily against Airdrie keeping him on for next season but I can't say I'd be upset if he left. In each of his seasons he's pretty much performed to the minimum level expected but nothing more than that, though on paper that's certainly more than a lot of other managers have achieved. I think he'd do fine at Ayr, he'd certainly keep you up but I'm not convinced he'd do much more beyond that. I don't think he'd take it but in terms of managers in this league Stewart Petrie would be a much better choice.
  10. He’s out of contract at the end of this season so I expect any compensation would be minimal, though he seems to quite well thought of by our board so I doubt they’d be desperate to let him go with our season still in limbo. Admittedly he still hasn’t had a full season but Murray’s done a reasonable job at Airdrie without ever being spectacular. I think his time at Airdrie probably looks pretty good on the face of it: stabilised us and made us a bit more solid in his first season, had us on course to finish 3rd and 4th in the following seasons and we’ve generally always been around or in the top four throughout his time. However, I don’t think there would be too many fans who would be sad to see him leave, as his time at Airdrie has been full of poor tactical decisions and strange recruitment (admittedly not all his fault). I think he’d do an ok job at Ayr and would probably keep them up this season but I’ll be surprised if he gets the job.
  11. It probably doesn't help that over the last five or six years we've been part-time, full-time and now a hybrid but we really need some consistency over the next few years. We've gone from Bollan's solid part-time team on a presumably fairly low budget, the full-time disaster under Wotherspoon which was mostly young players, Findlay's mid-table League One jobbers and now the current hybrid set up. Most teams at this level have a lot of transfer activity every year but I think there's a lot to be said for having some consistency in the squad over a few seasons rather than drastically changing things every summer. I think the next few years are a great chance to build on that. I think this is probably a bit easier as one of the better part-time teams but Alloa and Abroath are very good examples of having a settled core group of players in your squad every season. Both teams have had a fairly settled squad for the last four or five seasons now which is undoubtedly a big part of their success during that time. Montrose are another good example, slowly building on a proven group of players every year and constantly improving. There's no point keeping players who clearly aren't what we need (I'm not advocating for Thomson or O'Reilly to get new contacts) but I think we should be trying to keep solid professionals like Fordyce, Carrick, Currie, Gallagher, Crighton etc around for the next couple of seasons and trying to build around them. We definitely shouldn't be going completely full-time any time soon, so while we are at least running a hybrid system the aim needs to be being the best part-time team in the country and look to build from there. Having a settled group of experienced players who can set standards for the younger players around them can only be a good thing. It's good to have young players like MacDonald, Edwards, potentially Robert and McCann that can come in, play regularly and then move onto bigger clubs but having a settled team around them ensures that we're not left building an entirely new team every summer and waiting until halfway through the season for things to fully click. I had hoped we were moving towards that last summer, with the same defence, McKay, Gallagher and Carrick all still here this season but unfortunately it hasn't really worked out, other than Currie, Robert and Connell none of the new signings have really done anything of note and we didn't improve the main problem area in midfield. I don't think we'd have been hugely better off if he was still here but why not keep Kieran Millar for another season and use Josh Kerr as a defender rather than bring in Dean Ritchie and Harlain Mbayo? There's definitely a balance to this as we don't want to keep a full team of guys who have shown they aren't good enough to win promotion but having some consistency would only help us move towards that.
  12. I think that was Scott McLaughlin on the Pele Podcast a few years ago. The players were contracted to the last game of the regular season so were all out of contact for the play-offs. The story was something along the lines of contracts had to be at least one month long and after the final game the players were asked to sign contracts which were backdated by a couple of weeks so the contracts would only run until the end of the play-offs. The players were understandably annoyed at this and wanted contracts for the full month, which they eventually got but a contract dispute before the biggest games of the season is hardly ideal. I know Ballantyne loved cost-cutting but not contracting players for the play-offs when we'd been in them the previous three seasons is wild. The main thing I remember about that game was Steven Canning's handball on the line . Robert Dalzell has a good pic of that here.
  13. I see someone’s posted an article on the Facebook page from one of the papers saying Stuart Millar has resigned. Seems quite abrupt and strange given only last week we were signing players with his comments in the announcement article. Interesting times ahead.
  14. Stokes and O’Reilly are hardly regulars though. I’m not convinced we needed another striker, Gallagher hasn’t really got going yet but Connell’s done quite well and Roy is just back from injury. I’d much rather we brought in a midfielder, which is clearly still our biggest issue, than signed a striker who was poor previously and doesn’t seem to have improved since then going by his stats. We could also do without the conspiracy theories when him and his brother both start.
  15. I posted similar on the Airdrie thread but I think MacDonald’s a better player than Edwards was when we sold him, certainly more consistent. He missed the first few games last season but once he was in the team he made the right back position his own and was generally very impressive for a player in his first full season. He hasn’t been quite as good this season but the team as a whole have been poorer defensively which probably hasn’t helped. He’s also been covering at left back recently and has played in midfield a couple of times too. He’s quite hit and miss going forward but he’s good at getting up and down the park and generally pretty solid defensively. There’s definitely potential there for him to become a Championship level full-back.
  16. Kyle MacDonald has signed for Dunfermline but will stay with us on loan for the rest of the season. I expect any fee will be pretty low but good to get any sort of income in these times. I was really impressed with him last season, for a young player in his first full season he was pretty consistent and was an important part of a fairly solid defence. He’s not been quite as good this season, so I’m surprised to see him move upwards but can’t fault him moving to a bigger team. It looks good for the club if we’re able to bring in young players, give them first team football and sell them on to bigger clubs. Obviously we sold Josh Edwards to Dunfermline last season but that’s now MacDonald and probably Robert too. For what it’s worth I think MacDonald is a better player than Edwards when he left us and he now seems to be a fairly regular starter for Dunfermline, so perhaps MacDonald will go on to do well there as well.
  17. Yeah there's definitely plenty of players that I'm not fussed about at all. I figured with a few weeks break this seems like a reasonable time to look at the new signings so far and how well they've done: Max Currie - I think Currie's been pretty solid without ever being spectacular. Some good saves and he's rarely let us down so far, pretty happy with him and for me he's an upgrade on Hutton. Harlain Mbayo - He seems like a great guy off the park but what was the point in signing him when we had a settled defence and Kerr or even McKay can cover there when needed? Looked ok in pre-season but was very poor in his one competitive appearance. Euan O'Reilly - Hasn't really got going at all. He's quick and works hard but doesn't seem to have much end product. I always know Murray's ran out of ideas when he makes a double/triple sub with O'Reilly coming on. Dean Ritchie - Hasn't played too many games but I think he's done ok so far. I don't think he offers anything we didn't already have but he's a decent enough player. I find it a struggle to pick out players at the best of times on Pixellot but I think a player like Ritchie will be even harder to notice. Thomas Robert - By far our biggest success. When he's on form he's a joy to watch, though he still has plenty of days like Saturday where he struggles to make an impact on the game. I think that's to be expected in our team, especially for a player in his first season in professional football, but an undoubted success so far. Griffin Sabatini - Very hit and miss unfortunately. I mentioned him earlier but he's had a couple of games, particularly the 2-0 defeat to Alloa and the 5-0 win over Clyde, where he's been one of the best players on the park but too many other times he's completely anonymous. I think that's partially down to the way we play, he likes to drop deep and play through teams which doesn't really fit with our defence or team as a whole, but he's not really showed enough overall for me. Eoghan Stokes - Probably our worst signing so far for me. Still time for him to change things but he's been anonymous when played in a deeper role and hasn't really contributed anything when further forward. To be fair to him he hasn't had much playing time but when he has he certainly hasn't showed anything to prove he should be starting more often. Kyle Connell - Still quite raw at times but he's popped up with a few goals and I'm really pleased he's here until the end of the season. Gallagher and Roy haven't really got going yet for different reasons so Connell's been our best forward so far. Overall that's not too great, is it? For me Robert, Currie and Connell have done well but the others have a lot to prove. I certainly don't think we're much, if at all, worse than last season but it's disappointing that so far we don't seem to have improved at all.
  18. I was halfway through typing out a big reply moaning about our midfield but at least having games on gives me something to moan about! I suspect this may go on well into February unfortunately, making finishing the season on time a bit of an issue. What a way to bow out for a weeks, a drab 1-0 Scottish Cup defeat to a side in the league below. If you look at our best form last season and under Murray as a whole, the team was set up in quite a simple way. A decent keeper in Hutton, two solid centre backs for this level in Crighton and Fordyce, two young full backs who'll get up and down the park in MacDonald and McCann, two solid ball-winners in McKay and Millar with McKay breaking forward sometimes, a hard-working three of Smith, Roberts and Carrick and then Gallagher leading the line. Nothing fancy or complicated, just playing players in their best positions and having an organised team who are solid, hard-working and quick going forward. Football at this level can be quite a simple game and playing five players out of position isn't required when we don't have anyone out injured. I think it's quite clear that midfield is still our biggest issue, as it has been for a few seasons now. To be honest, the last decent midfield I can remember us having was the fairly narrow midfield of Docherty, Fitzpatrick, Fraser and Gilfillan in Gary Bollan's last full season. I quite liked the look of Kerr and Sabatini as a midfield two in pre-season but it's fair to say that they haven't really worked out in competitive games. Kerr's had a few decent games but on the whole playing him in midfield hasn't really worked. Sabatini's had a very mixed season so far, a few excellent games where he's looked remarkably composed for a player at this level but he's been completely anonymous in plenty of other games. I think that's at least partly due to how we play, Sabatini often seems to drop deep to collect the ball and tries to play through teams which doesn't really fit in with the rest of our midfield. Carrick's done well as the central attacking midfielder but I don't think he works playing deeper as he seemed to on Saturday, while I'm not convinced about Stokes at all let alone in a deeper role he seems unsuited to. He's far from a fans favourite but for me Paul McKay is by far our best central midfielder and as you allude to, playing MacDonald and McKay in their best positions and bringing McCann back in at left back seems an obvious solution.
  19. I make that the 10th time we’ve lost a home game 1-0 under Ian Murray (Stenhousemuir x2, Forfar, Arbroath, Brechin, Raith Rovers x2, Montrose, Edinburgh City x2), as well as four other games we’ve lost at home without scoring (Forfar, Elgin, Alloa, Dumbarton). It’s really frustrating that the same issues keeping happening over and over again and Murray seems unable to fix it.
  20. I can’t believe you haven’t mentioned the key January signing that season
  21. They're really going all out to get a bid for Robert in this window
  22. Seems like Moore started twice and had seven sub appearances, scoring once, with Burke making seven starts. This seems like a poor Albion Rovers team so it’s not hugely promising if neither of them managed to become regulars or be kept on, though I guess Airdrie could have chosen to recall them. Either way I agree that they may well be loaned out again this month.
  23. Confirmed that Kyle Connell will be here until the end of the season. I’m delighted with this, he’s steadily improved over the past couple of months and he’s popped up with a couple of important goals. Gallagher hasn’t really got going yet and Roy’s just returning from injury so it’s really important to make sure we have another good option up front. I think @RandomGuy. posted in the St. Johnstone thread that based on stats Connell looked really promising for this level so far, so hopefully he can continue to improve as the season goes on.
  24. I see Stuart Millar has said that Thomas Robert is signed on a long-term contract. He won’t be here next season either way but good to know we’ve got a better chance of getting a decent amount of money for him. I think a good sell-on clause is the most important thing.
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