SPL Fanzone: The view from the stands

Fans of the 12 SPL teams air their views on the weekend’s action

ABERDEEN

It MIGHT just be the novelty of it, but Friday night football remains a great idea and appears to have struck a chord with most fans who have experienced it so far. Anything that gets the fans’ approval has to be praised and encouraged and, whilst the fare on show at Pittodrie wasn’t the best, the viewing of it was helped by that Friday night feeling.

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Craig Brown was quick to point out our good away record – and those results speak for themselves – but it’s the home performances that most Aberdeen fans see regularly and Brown needs to bear that in mind for the remainder of the season. With the league still bunched, there is still time and games available to make something of the season and it’s not impossible that we could see Thursday night football next season.

Steve Wilson

www.afc-chat.co.uk

CELTIC

Strangely enough, I thought Celtic had their best home performance in Europe this season. They created more chances and did well in an attacking sense. However, individual errors cost us dearly and, sadly, if I had to put money on a defender making an error, I would have stuck it on Efe Ambrose! I am only surprised his cavalier approach has not been punished more frequently. And, maybe, with his enforced absence, Forster wasn’t completely up to speed. I did not expect eight goals on Saturday but it was good to see such an open game. Being totally churlish, my only complaint would be that, again, both goals we conceded came right down the middle. It was also great to see Stokesy back amongst the goals. Though Commons weighs in with the odd goal we have lacked someone else to bother the onion bag on a regular basis.

Dave Devine

HEARTS

For the second week in a row, Hearts lost a centre back to injury whilst still in the first half, and the loss of Barr and associated delay seemed to take all momentum away from us. In addition, it meant having a back four that has never played together and this proved very costly in the goals we conceded.

I felt the manager got it badly wrong on Saturday, with a lightweight-looking midfield and the changes made at half-time didn’t seem to have any real impact. Younger players will be inconsistent and Saturday was a learning experience for some of the squad, but the manager needs to help them out in terms of tactics and setting up the team.

We need to start picking up some points to build some confidence and momentum ahead of the cup final but the ongoing issues with Ukio Bankas and supporter discontent with the manager is not exactly providing the behind the scenes stability that we need.

Broxburn Jambo

HIBERNIAN

It WAS pleasing to see the players react in a positive way to the capitulation at home to St Johnstone by grinding out a win away to St Mirren. Leigh Griffiths once again provided the few moments of genuine skill as well as firing in the only goal of the game from the penalty spot. Scottish football really needs a few more players like him around to brighten up the league.

Hopefully, this win will see us produce more confident performances. When this team plays the ball along the ground we look good, it’s just not been happening often enough recently. Having Jorge Claros back in the starting line-up certainly improved the midfield in that respect. We have a tough trip to Tannadice this weekend. Given the horror show we produced there on the opening game of the season, this should answer a few questions about how much we have improved.

John Robertson

www.hibs.net

INVERNESS CT

Terry Butcher hit out over the low attendance for the midweek game against Kilmarnock and the question of whether the city of Inverness deserves an SPL side. Praise should be given to those that did show up, including those hardy soles from Kilmarnock. We have a lot going against us. The ground is unattractive to spectators and poorly sited, but there’s nothing we can do about that at the moment.

People may have unrealistic expectations. They see the best of the English Premier league and European competitions every week and then come to the TCS and expect the same. Unfortunately, fans are not going to get football consistently at that quality, although what they do get is often pretty good. The match-day experience is not great and needs a better atmosphere. That, in turn, requires more people and standing areas. It’s a vicious circle.

Dave Wilson

www.caleythistleonline.com

KILMARNOCK

AN EVENTFUL week for Killie away from home, with a late equaliser in Inverness and a record-breaking fifth consecutive win at Tynecastle. More than 100 Killie fans made the epic midweek journey up north in terrible conditions. Hats off to them. Kenny Shiels showed his appreciation by going into the away end before the match and thanking those who travelled, a reflection on what kind of guy he is.

Saturday’s victory was only a surprise in the sense that, by the law of averages, Hearts were due a result against us in Edinburgh. They must hate the sight of us by now. The bookie in the stadium certainly does as he had to send out for more money to pay out all the Killie fans who backed the Heff as first goalscorer (another visit, another hat-trick) and Ayrshire’s finest to continue their run.

Let’s keep it going and hope a wee cup run is on the cards as well.

Barry Richmond

www.killiefc.com

MOTHERWELL

So THERE I was on Monday evening about to pen a piece for The Scotsman. Stuart McCall had announced in the afternoon pre-match conference that he had still to talk to James McFadden. He intended to have a word after the United game. No story yet.

Then came the announcement. Cyberspace exploded, the official website was swamped and the messageboards and twittersphere took off. Motherwell fans were aware of his talents before he made his first-team debut – there had been some stunning performances from the tricky 16-year-old in the second string games. The relationship between Faddy and Motherwell fans easily survived his departure to Everton. We always had an inkling that he might return some day and it’s a real bonus that he joins us as we try to consolidate our second place in the league.

John Wilson

www.FirParkCorner.com

ST JOHNSTONE

And back to earth with a bump. Two back-to-back wins against teams who started the matches above us in the league – with six goals into the bargain – should have given us the confidence to go up to Dingwall and attack. And so we did but, unfortunately, our shooting boots were left in Perth.

Last night we played Celtic – and I’ve been looking at that game as potential bonus points from a game in hand rather than a must-win in any way. However, the league is so tight that we could be waking up this morning anywhere between third, with a win, and seventh, with a heavy defeat. Our next three games are against the bottom three – St Mirren, Dundee and Hearts. If we want to finish in the top six, and make a run for more European football next season, we’re starting to get to the crunch and points from those matches are a must.

Jamie Beatson

www.weareperth.co.uk

ST MIRREN

THE game against Hibs was a dire match between two disappointing sides. We’ve lost to Hibs three times this season but I’ve been far from impressed with them when they’ve come to Paisley. Not that they care about that – they came and got the three points, while we had two attempts on goal and Ben Williams could have nipped off to watch the planes at the airport in the second half.

The result leaves us needing something of a miracle to make the top six. Had we won we’d have been just four points off it, now it’s seven with as many games left. We need to win against St Johnstone to have any hope. Our defence hasn’t been too bad – only conceding two goals in the last four games through penalties. We need to start creating chances as we have two strikers who are more than capable of sticking the ball in the net.

Stuart Gillespie

www.saintmirren-mad.co.uk

DUNDEE UNITED

many fans have been left disappointed by the ticket allocation for the cup game against Dundee. With fewer tickets available than season ticket holders, there were always going to be some who missed out and it took only three hours on Monday for the United fans to snap up their lot. There were, plenty of tickets left for the home end, meaning that those who had missed out headed up to the Dens Park ticket office for a home end brief. United fans have been left wondering why, when Dundee were struggling to shift their tickets due to their league form, they didn’t allocate the whole of the main stand to United fans? Instead, United fans will now be housed in patches all around Dens Park, which could lead to trouble, although United fans will just need to sit on their hands until we score.

Jamie Kidd

www.dundeeunited-mad.co.uk

ROSS COUNTY

The SPL has really tightened up over the past two weeks, with now only 11 points separating second place from 11th. This just adds a little more to the argument against next season’s proposed mid-season split. Had the split taken place this season, then Dundee, Ross County, St Mirren and Kilmarnock would have already have been excluded from the race for Europe. Since then, both Ross County and Kilmarnock have gone on a good run and climbed the table, St Mirren have also kept tabs on the pack of teams chasing Europe and are not out of the race.

I learned an interesting statistic this weekend. In league games where Paul Lawson has been selected in the starting 11, Ross County have not been beaten since April 2011, a 2-0 defeat by Cowdenbeath. That makes it 41 league starts for Paul Lawson without defeat – a remarkable achievement.

Alan Ross

www.thejailender.com