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First Quarter Thoughts


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Nine games played by all, and things aren't entirely as we expected.

Team of the Quarter - Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Surprise of the Quarter - Dunfermline, with Hamilton a close second

Team Riding Its Luck - Kilmarnock

 

Revised Final Placement Prediction:

ICT

Partick

Raith

Arbroath

Killie

Ayr

Dunfermline (assuming a management change by Nov 1...if not, move to ninth)

Queens

Hamilton

Morton

 

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Raith Rovers, first quarter results 5-2-2, second place.

After a shocking collapse versus the Accies on opening day, and a shaky first month of play, the ship seems to have been steadied. The lost of Lewis Vaughan was a crushing blow to many Rovers fans, but the recent recruitment of Ethan Ross has put the wind back in the fans sails. With a solid defence, and a knack for playing a sweet passing game, the thing the Rovers have missed the most is a premier scoring threat. Other than a nasty habit for allowing late goals, the overall play this quarter has been mostly solid, but concerns remain about the departure of Dylan Tait in January, and a lack of depth in the midfield.

As it stands, not certain the Rovers are a true challenger for the top spot, especially if ICT keep up the unreal rate of points earning, but certainly look good for the money to nick a playoff spot.

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Tale of two manages really.

Under Hopkin everything was going wrong. Pretty erratic recruitment and team selection with horrendous tactics. Luckily he went in the huff and fucked off otherwise we’d probably be bottom of the table right now.

Duffy has stabilised us for now. Tactics are still questionable although we are definitely capable of playing football when we get the right players on the park.

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A strong quarter for us, better than any we had last year despite losing so many key players. The games we've drawn or lost, we've not looked a million miles off the pace (the only one I can't comment on is Caley away). Plenty of reasons for optimism. If we can sort out the defence leaking goals from the 75th minute onwards, then we could be in line for a very good season. The club has shown a bit of ambition pushing the boat out to get Ethan Ross - we'll lose Dylan Tait in January when his loan spell ends. Had we not drawn in that freak result at home to Accies, we'd be breathing down Caley's neck. 

It should be mentioned we've played a few teams when they've been at their weakest. Morton still have McPherson in charge, Ayr had Hopkin, Arbroath had a half fit Noubile and no Nicky Low. 

Edited by Broken Algorithms
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Top 4 of ICT, Killie, Partick and Raith, not sure of what order,
If we can keep Low fit and maybe add 1 or 2 in January there is no reason we can't finish 5th which would be a fantastic achievement,
Dunfermline will surely get better and climb the league but after the 1st quarter I'd say Hamilton and Morton could be in trouble

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The only surprises from our team performance in the first quarter of the season are that we're not bottom of the table yet and that we've actually put together the nucleus of a decent team. Our problem is that we handed a two year deal in the summer to a slaphead dinosaur for heroically beating a crap Airdrie side in the playoffs. If the board need to suck it up and cut their losses on that then we stand a fair chance; if they don't, then we don't either. 

Adding Oksanen and McEntee to our previously weak lineup should be enough to have scrapping in and around 7th-10th. Despite the current table, we're actually doing no such thing under McPherson. Four of our six points were in the opening fortnight of the season. 

The huge individual surprise so far is that Jack Hamilton has actually been by some distance our most consistent and effective performer. Which doesn't exactly bode well for what might happen if he starts flapping about, given that we're already in a total nick of a position while he's playing well. 

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A little frustrating. Our performances generally have been ok and I feel we should have more than 9 points. Late goals cost us draws against Killie and Inverness we probably deserved, certainly against Killie, and we were the better side for the majority of the game at both Thistle and Ayr today and lost them both. 

Saved our three poorest performances for Palmerston in losses to Accies and Arbroath and a dull win over Dunfermline. Arbroath are the only side to beat us by more than a goal. 

I see plenty of potential in what is fundamentally a very young side and am hopeful we can improve our points haul in the 2nd qtr but every point will be precious for a while and we need to start picking up the odd draw instead of losing games. On the assumption Dunfermline eventually start winning games, I doubt anyone will get marooned. Next week's home game v Morton already has the look of something vital.

 

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3 minutes ago, Skyline Drifter said:

A little frustrating. Our performances generally have been ok and I feel we should have more than 9 points. Late goals cost us draws against Killie and Inverness we probably deserved, certainly against Killie, and we were the better side for the majority of the game at both Thistle and Ayr today and lost them both.

Equally you got away with 3 points from us when 1 would probably have been fair.

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8 minutes ago, Enigma said:

Equally you got away with 3 points from us when 1 would probably have been fair.

Meh, it wouldnt have been terribly unfair but I still think we deserved that win. We were the better side for more than half the game and our keeper made one save all game. Raith having a lot of fruitless possession in the last half hour does not an especially fortunate win make. 

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Queens' win at Cappielow was hardly convincing either, so this has a distinct rose tint to events.

Bonus mewling point for mentioning how young your team is, as the rest of the division of course resembles 92/93 Serie A in having seasoned international veterans all over the park. 

 

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I wasn’t aware QOS were that young? They’ve got loads of players that have been in around this level for at least a couple of years and Cooper and Gibson a few years more.

In fact the team that started against us only had 2 players under the age of 21 and one of them was Harry Cochrane who was been about for a few years now. As VT says they’ve got a couple of seasoned guys over the pitch so I wouldn’t say they’re working with a much younger team than the rest of us.

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Weirdly content given we started the season with statistically the poorest manager in our history.

I'm making that up but 1 league win in 13 games is atrocious. Once Hopkin took the huff and fucked off (after we badgered and berated him for 90 mins on the way to losing at home to Raith Rovers without puting up a fight). We expectantly appointed our very own slaphead dinosaur (Jim Duffy) to turnround the train wreck.

How's it going I hear you ask? Well we've won 3, drawn 1 and lost 1. In that time we've stopped the hoppyball long balls and actually tried passing the ball on the deck. Who would have thought that actually thinking about who you pass the ball to rather than launching it the way you are facing would bring such success. 

Given the binfire of a squad that Hopkin had left us with and our central midfield being soft as shite and our defense always being one brainfart away from defeat I am content with having 11 points from the first quarter. 

We really need to keep the momentum and try to get to January in 5th/6th with a buffer over the bottom teams. Then we can strengthen and hopefully kick on and settle for midtable mediocrity. 

I'm currently on the Duffman train and I'm loving it. Let's see how I'm feeling at the end of Q2.

episode 14 GIF

 

Edited by Trogdor
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As predicted after a few games we look very good going forward and very ropey at the back. We do seem to have improved there slightly though and if we can keep our first choice back 4 of Foster, Mayo, Akinola and Holt free from injury and suspension until January I would like to think we'll be in and around the top 4.

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Think Queens should definitely have had more points than 9 from first round of matches but snatching defeats from the jaws of victory is what we have been doing for several seasons.I sense most of our fans are pretty sick of it now - it is a completely new squad every season but the same weak game management seems to be passed from squad to squad with monotonous regularity.

Difficult to draw firm conclusions elsewhere - most of the teams we have played look pretty even in terms of ability. A year where an unfancied team could go all the way and win it.

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1 hour ago, virginton said:

Queens' win at Cappielow was hardly convincing either, so this has a distinct rose tint to events.

Depends on your definition of convincing. We were comfortably the better side and Morton's 2nd is ruled out any other week of the season for a foul on the keeper.

1 hour ago, D'Jaffo said:

I wasn’t aware QOS were that young? They’ve got loads of players that have been in around this level for at least a couple of years and Cooper and Gibson a few years more.

In fact the team that started against us only had 2 players under the age of 21 and one of them was Harry Cochrane who was been about for a few years now. As VT says they’ve got a couple of seasoned guys over the pitch so I wouldn’t say they’re working with a much younger team than the rest of us.

Todays team had 3 players under 21 starting and another 4 players who ARE 21. You dont think a team with 7 starters under 22 yrs old is young? Of the 4 over 21 , two are 24, neither of whom has played at Championship level before. The other two are Alex Cooper (29) and Wullie Gibson (37).

And Cochrane may have made a breakthrough as a teen prodigy but he hasnt actually played all that much 1st team football in the intervening years.

Appreciate Gibson skews the average but I'd be surprised if its not the youngest side in the division. Even amongst the subs only Josh Todd and Ally Roy have any significant experience.

 

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