SPL Fanzone: The supporters have their say

CELTIC

I FINALLY realise there’s more to our latest defeat than attitude. Fair play to Hibs, they used the same tactics to defeat us as we did to beat, and then nearly draw with, a superior Barcelona side. It’s far easier to set up a negative system to obtain a result than to use tactics which deal effectively with a resolute defence. Lenny has been caught out a few times by teams setting out to defend and hit on the break. He’s young and still learning, and we don’t have a Messi or a Larsson to unlock defences in an instant. But that doesn’t explain why Izzy went missing for the Hibs goal.

DUNDEE UNITED

IF SOMEONE had told me back in August – following consecutive 3-0 wins at Tannadice over Hibs and Dundee – that we wouldn’t win another match at home for the remainder of 2012, I would have have laughed in their face. But, sure enough, that’s what has happened, and Sunday’s horrific 4-3 defeat to St Mirren has left many Arabs exasperated.

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Peter Houston was getting a lot of stick from the stands at the final whistle and, while it’s too early to say our Scottish Cup-winning manager should get the boot, he does need to get our defence sorted out. And fast.

We’ve now conceded 32 goals already this season – 11 of them in our last four matches – and only our struggling neighbours from across the road, with 40, have let in more. Stopping Niall McGinn today will be a struggle.

Colin Pearson

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HEARTS

It may be the season of goodwill but there was very little festive cheer when the Jambos arrived in Dingwall to be told that the game had been postponed. It was an absolute disgrace to call this game off an hour before kick off and the SPL should be reimbursing both fans and the club for travel costs incurred. However, it is indicative of a wider trend where the fans that actually travel to games are given very little consideration – strange kick off times, long journeys at inappropriate times of year etc – and the SPL really needs to get a grip if we want to encourage fans back to games.

It looks as though Ryan McGowan may be leaving the club but, hopefully, he will be able to fit in once last appearance against Hibs to remind them of the 5-1 in the biggest derby ever. It’s a big game and McGlynn needs to get his first derby win under his belt. Happy New Year to all Jambos.

Broxburn Jambo

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MOTHERWELL

Motherwell fans were treated to another thrilling comeback on Saturday but were also given the opportunity to say farewell to Jamie Murphy. Though it’s not 100 per cent confirmed that he will be leaving, a southbound departure now seems inevitable following the game against Celtic. Murphy’s goals and assists will be missed but there should be considerable pride at Fir Park for producing not just another good player, but a true professional who clearly has a lot of feeling for the club. Murphy’s commitment in playing as many games as possible before leaving deserves tremendous credit. A broken leg or cruciate ligament injury may be unlikely on Wednesday, but not impossible and suddenly his big money move would be in tatters. Wherever he ends up, Motherwell fans will wish him well.

Derek Wilson

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KILMARNOCK

IF YOU did not actually make the game on Saturday then you would be forgiven for thinking that Killie threw away two points at Fir Park after going up two goals and then losing two in two minutes in the latter stages of the game. In reality, we gained a hard-fought point. I doubt whether many of us would not have accepted a draw prior to kick off as Motherwell were sitting second in the table, so let’s not grumble. Borja Perez scored another fine goal and, while I admit that he is not my favourite player, he has proved his worth in recent weeks. It was all the home side after that and it was against the run of play that we doubled out lead. Stuart McCall threw caution to the wind and went with only three at the back and it worked for him.

Still not a bad festive period for us – undefeated with two wins and two draws against quality opposition.

Barry Richmond

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HIBERNIAN

The last week has more or less summed up the rollercoaster of emotions that is being a Hibs fan. After a decent draw at Kilmarnock, most of the home crowd expected to get back to winning ways when Ross County came to ER on Boxing Day. What we got was a jaded-looking, uninspiring display from a Hibs team completely bereft of fight or ideas and the 1-0 reverse was a serious blow to all concerned.

Especially so, since, just a few days later, Celtc pitched up at Easter Road looking to run off into the distance with the SPL title. But, in true Hibs style, they pulled out a battling performance and, reasonably easily, held off the challenge from the league leaders to give Pat Fenlon what he described as his ‘biggest win’ since he arrived. Next up is a visit to our cash-strapped, face-painting neighbours for the New Year clash. A similar performance to the one that did for Celtc will be required tomorrow.

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Dave Farmer

CELTIC

I FINALLY realise there’s more to our latest defeat than attitude. Fair play to Hibs, they used the same tactics to defeat us as we did to beat, and then nearly draw with, a superior Barcelona side. It’s far easier to set up a negative system to obtain a result than to use tactics which deal effectively with a resolute defence. Lenny has been caught out a few times by teams setting out to defend and hit on the break. He’s young and still learning, and we don’t have a Messi or a Larsson to unlock defences in an instant. But that doesn’t explain why Izzy went missing for the Hibs goal.

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And we’ll face the same approach from Motherwell today. Hopefully, Lenny can utilise the pace of Forrest or really experiment and put on McGeouch. It would be nice to see him move from a good to a great manager and tackle these games with a different approach.

Dave Devine

ROSS COUNTY

SO Hearts are looking for compensation from the SPL for Saturday’s postponed game in Dingwall! That’s just ridiculous! It was Hearts’ own decision to travel to the Highlands the night before the match for an overnight stay that would have cost a lot of money – something they have very little to spare at the moment. But, to me, this overnight stay was a luxury and not something that the SPL should be forced to pay for.

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Some teams treat a trip to the Highlands as an adventure to the edge of the earth, when it is nothing more than a three-hour bus journey.

As for the decision to call off the game, it seemed a little strange. The majority of the pitch was perfect, with just a small area in front of the home dugout causing concern. Even this area saw the ball roll smoothly, although there was very little bounce of the ball in this area.

Alan Ross

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ST JOHNSTONE

It’s been a seriously frustrating month so here’s hoping the New Year marks a turn in our fortunes and start it with a win over Dundee today. There have simply been far too many draws. And it can hardly be argued that we’ve been scraping points in games we could have lost. For the most part we have been creating chance after chance in these games and just been failing to convert. Hearts, Ross County and Inverness have all taken points from McDiarmid Park when they really should have left defeated. Hibs even took all three points despite only managing one shot on our goal while countless chances went begging at the other end.

I believe we have good strikers at our club. They’re all creating opportunities but they’re not scoring. The solution? I really don’t know. We can only hope Steve Lomas has the answer.

Jamie Beatson

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ST MIRREN

IF YOU had offered me four points from our last two games I’d have bitten your hand off. Inverness is always a hard place to go and we had to go on Boxing Day (thanks to whichever SPL brainiac thought that one up) with several players out through injury and suspension to face the side second in the table. We put in a fantastic display and were well worthy of the point.

To follow that up with a win over Dundee United was terrific. It looked as if we’d messed things up when we conceded twice just before half-time but we responded terrifically to get just our second away win of the season. Our defenders seemed to be concentrating on scoring rather than keeping the ball out of our net and I’m sure everyone is relieved David van Zanten got the winner. Hopefully we can continue the run against Kilmarnock today.

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Stuart Gillespie

INVERNESS CT

It’s been a topsy-turvy year for us in many ways. Surviving the relegation battle and a further cull of the playing staff has seen us come out the other side with a stronger than ever team. To be sitting in second spot in the table at the end of the year is a truly remarkable achievement and one that we never expected but will savour.

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The biggest challenge now is to keep this going throughout 2013 and to finish in that much sought after top-six spot. Visions of European football could also persuade several players to sign on the dotted line for extended contracts, but more work has to be done on the field before that happens. Our game in Perth showed that tiredness will have an effect as we looked mentally drained from all the games so far.

The postponement of the Highland derby is disappointing but the rest will do us good.

Dave Wilson

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ABERDEEN

For some unknown reason, Motherwell appear to hold a hex over us when it comes to league games. After knocking them out of the cup a couple of weeks back, few supporters who made the trip to Lanarkshire expected to see us so comprehensively beaten, but beaten we were, perhaps some players had one too many helpings of Christmas pud the day before.

It was refreshing, then, to bounce back against Dundee, where Niall McGinn grabbed a well-deserved hat-trick. However, the season-ending leg break suffered by Andrew Considine summed up the revolving-door nature of our injuries. Next up is the other half of Dundee and a chance to improve on our mediocre home record and build some momentum.

Steve Wilson

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DUNDEE

Good riddance to 2012. We started the year a long way back in the First Division promotion race, got a once-in-a-lifetime chance of promotion then messed it up big time and a quick return to the First Division is almost inevitable. Indeed, reading between the lines, manager Barry Smith appeared to be admitting that survival is a long shot now, when interviewed after a poor performance in the 3-1 home defeat by Aberdeen. There are rumours that he may not be given much more time.

If Barry, a great club servant, is to be replaced, it will be a sad day, but maybe the time has come to try something different. Even a win against St Johnstone today wouldn’t be enough to convince the fans that we can escape the drop. We need a run of wins to even catch the teams above us.

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The Club 12th Man