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Andy_P

2018'19 Game 8: Livingston (H) Saturday 6th October 2018

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Today's game threw up a lot of talking points and I'll cover our team's performance later after some reflection.  There were however, other understandably less discussed issues.  I thought Collum had a very poor game throughout and he simply lost control in the first half.  Dolly Menga was very fortunate indeed to see half time as he gave Collum 2 opportunities to red card him, both of which were ignored.  Had he been given an early bath I've no idea how else we would have shot ourselves in the foot.  Didn't see much wrong with Livvy's chalked off goal although Carson was not pleased at all.  

I wonder if Livvy will attract as much negative media attention for their robust style of play (and gamesmanship) as we did last season.  That said, they haven't beaten media favourites in semi finals! (transferred  from anothr thread).

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I have to say I didn't see any opportunities for Menga to be red carded. 

As for the game itself,  it was obvious from our starting 11 we were going to create very little, and that is how it turned out. Fortunately, Livi had an equal lack of creativity and the only "save" I remember Carson having to make was a ball that came straight at him (and I think was probably meant to be a cross).

Our biggest issue (amongst the many) was nobody up the park for an out ball. Time after time we'd gain possession only to lump it up the pitch into empty space because we didn't have a single player in an advanced position.

First time anybody put their foot on the ball and passed along the ground to a Motherwell player was when Bigi came on.

Oh, and Main was rotten. 

 

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The outrage on here is understandable after yesterday.

I'm a fan of Robbo and can understand why he wanted to ensure that we didn't lose, but I don't understand how Livi can look like the better team at our ground with lower level players. They looked able to actually make passes and hold the ball for longer than 10 seconds. How, with the increase in transfer revenue from players sold and cup finals, we've managed to assemble a team and formation that can't play football is baffling. 
Again, a few decisions went against us. We definitely should have had a penalty in the first half for a blatant handball and the red card is harsh considering some of the challenges that went unchecked in the game. But despite that, we never threatened at any point. Main, Cadden, Tait, Aldred & arguably Campbell look shadows of the players they were last season. We don't have any width, invention, penetration or guile going forward. We feed off scraps and try to get lucky and at the moment, we're not very lucky.

I'd give Robbo a bit more time to try and turn it round. Still has a bit of credit in the back for me and deserves time whilst there is still teams in this league doing worse than us, but something has to change.

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My expectations and hopes for yesterday's game were more modest than many on here I suspect.  All I was looking for 3 points, irrespective of how we played.  Sadly that was way beyond us.  As it turned out it was the poorest Well side I've seen for several years.  In addition to the long ball, our sole outball was Cadden and of course Livingston knew it.  I'm not Frear's biggest fan but I think yesterday was tailor made for him.  Maybe he was injured?   

Livvy could have been 2 or perhaps even 3 up inside the first 10 minutes.  Our defence was shambolic with the midfield sitting far too deep.  We did recover a bit after the initial period and for a short spell looked like doing something as we scored against the run of play. That bright spell soon disappeared though. 

For the rest of the first half and all of the second Livvy steamrollered us and pinned us back.  I cannot understand how Stephen Robinson could see much in the way of positives.  In everything his footballing ethos stands for we came a poor second best.  Our off the ball work rate was poor, we were physically bullied and indeed intimidated and we failed to pressurise their defence.  Despite the glut of midfield players in the squad they simply didn't show up and almost played in the South Stand, they were that deep in the second half.  Overall, I'd give pass marks to Carson, Aldred, Hartley and perhaps Bowman.  

I wasn't looking for great football just 11 players fighting for the side and getting stuck in but they couldn't even achieve that.  We had no Plan A never mind Plan B.  The sight of a player, in the second half when we were down to 10 men, shirk two 50/50 challenges, really annoyed me as it did quite a few POD Stand punters.   If I'd been SR he would have been hooked PDQ.  

Charles Dunne's return will help matters but our troubles lie far far deeper than that. 

Yesterday's failure to win was a huge blow and if we can't pick up full points in our next 2 games then I think SR' coat will be on  very, very shoogly nail indeed.   The fans will simply not put up with this much longer.  I like SR as a person but he is running out time and the goodwill he earned last season, quickly as a manager.    

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52 minutes ago, Yorkyred said:

Surely it’s first and foremost to pay off the debt and move forward from there. I would hope we will then see further investment in the playing squad and a better standard of footballer. Let’s be honest while we carry on signing none league, and lower league players from England we’re relying on a lot of luck because a percentage just won’t make the step up. Looking at who we signed this summer we have hardly pushed the boat out.

Agree with this, the football is a hard watch, but we stayed up a few years ago because of loans from Les etc, now it needs to be paid back. Dundee Utd went down because of this, so we are a step ahead of them.... I don't get this sizeable budget Robbo supposedly had. 

Hopefully the powers that be know the full details and don't listen to some fans knee jerk reactions. 

I don't think everything is all right.... I would like to see if any of the youth players could improve things... E. G haven't been impressed with Donnelky or Taylor Sinclair.... So could any youth players sit on the bench and come on and make an impact?? 

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Harley gave away yet another needless free kick on the edge of the box that led to the goal, and I'm pretty sure he did the same against accies.  Aldred needlessly gave the ball away just before McHugh's second yellow, literally passed it straight to a Livi player. 

As for McHugh, I felt a bit sorry for him tbh. I'm not going to defend either card as they were well deserved but he was visibly frustrated after being clattered a couple of times and getting absolutely nothing from Collum. He's clearly one of the players who's committed to digging us out of this hole.

We've stopped doing absolutely everything that got us success last season. Even down to Carson's distribution. Last season he was releasing the ball quickly setting off runners down the pitch. Now it's slow, predictable hoof ball out to the wings that's inevitably coming straight back. 

I also thought there was a noticeable difference in Cadden when he moved into the middle after the red card. His energy levels seemed night and day. We need to give him the best possible chance to affect the game and it's not where he's starting. 

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Wasn't at game yesterday as was in Dunoon to see missus running ultra marathon. Looks like I had a lucky escape. Sounds a rotten game. Not in the get rid of Robbo gang yet but getting fed up with his comments. Nothing seems to ever be his fault. Sorry Steve but you pick the team and sign the players so it's up to you to get the fans back onside.... COYW

 

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Just for a little levity and a totally neutral commentary on yesterday’s game. This is the Alba cameraman in the Cooper just before halftime.

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Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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4 hours ago, Yorkyred said:

Surely it’s first and foremost to pay off the debt and move forward from there. I would hope we will then see further investment in the playing squad and a better standard of footballer. Let’s be honest while we carry on signing none league, and lower league players from England we’re relying on a lot of luck because a percentage just won’t make the step up. Looking at who we signed this summer we have hardly pushed the boat out.

I just don't buy this budget argument. 

One of my consistant criticisms of Robinson that is he has brought in poor quality fringe players yet not used our own youth players.  That in itself is a huge waste of money. 

Guys like MacLean, Hastie, Maguire, Turnbull, Livingstone, Scott are being paid by the club and in some cases have been ready to step up for two years now but aren't being used when we are also paying to bring in guys like George Newell, Ellis Plummer, Liam Grimshaw, Deimantas Petravicius, Stephen Hendrie, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, Liam Donnelly, Alex Gorrin, Christian Mbulu .etc, who are hardly ever going to play and don't add anything to our squad when they do (or did).  

Put together all those wages of all those youth players and all the fringe players brought in (plus agent fees and the other expenses involved in 'free' transfers) and you don't come to the conclusion that our spend on players has been at all financially efficient.  

We are spending  a lot of money on players to virtually no effect on the teams play, so if debt repayment is keeping us down why are we so wasteful with our present player budget?

Then you can also point to us having multiples of certain types of players while lacking completely other types of players so there is no balance and a tactical inflexibility inherent to the present squad.  If we have approximately 50 paid professional players at the club why is Richard Tait been playing out of position for more than a year?  

There are huge financial inefficiencies in the way we have built our squad and used our resources so it really doesn't cut it for me to use it as an excuse.  Instead of being used to excuse it should be seen as a failure.

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Just watched the lowlights there and there was no foul on Carson for their disallowed goal. Their man simply stood his ground. We got lucky. Aldred's pass straight to a Livi player in the lead up to McHugh getting sent off is ridiculous.

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5 hours ago, Pepper said:

 

As for McHugh, I felt a bit sorry for him tbh.

I like McHugh as well but he should have been off for the elbow. After that he flew into two daft challenges where he just got the ball and jumped into the Menga tackle. It was a crazy 15 minutes.

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1 hour ago, DEWELL said:

Just watched the lowlights there and there was no foul on Carson for their disallowed goal. Their man simply stood his ground. We got lucky. Aldred's pass straight to a Livi player in the lead up to McHugh getting sent off is ridiculous.

It was put in via the players arm apparently.

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McHugh could have really let us down yesterday, and having him, Hartley, Aldred and Donnelly all on the pitch at the same time is a liability. There isn’t an ounce of composure between them. Donnelly is rated by two people - Baraclough and Robinson, so that’s all you need to know.

Right now is the first time in quite a few years that we don’t have a player we all want to see, or that you could point to as our “best player”. Who are opposition managers warning their players to look out for? Someone mentioned the Malpas era before, and I can see the parallels. Hopefully we have a Ross McCormack languishing in the reserves ready to step up.

It is good to see bowman finishing with some confidence though. Last season he was mainly doing the dirty work and wasn’t making chances for himself, but that’s a couple of good finishes in a week, which he can hopefully build on.

Main looks injured. He isn’t moving right and was plodding along until he was replaced. Our system really needs pace upfront to work, and we don’t have that anywhere in the squad.

I don’t like the idea that our midfielders can either be passers or tacklers. If Bigi can’t do basic midfield defensive work he shouldn’t be on the pitch, and if Campbell, McHugh or Rose can’t hold onto the ball or pass it ten yards, neither should they.

I think we will know exactly what we are in for once we complete this round of fixtures. But I don’t see the bottom four being anything other than us, Dundee, accies and St mirren, and all four are capable of beating each other.



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1 hour ago, fizoxy said:

I don’t like the idea that our midfielders can either be passers or tacklers. If Bigi can’t do basic midfield defensive work he shouldn’t be on the pitch, and if Campbell, McHugh or Rose can’t hold onto the ball or pass it ten yards, neither should they.

I think we will know exactly what we are in for once we complete this round of fixtures. But I don’t see the bottom four being anything other than us, Dundee, accies and St mirren, and all four are capable of beating each other.
 

Good post.  You can get good all rounders like the late Phil O'Donnell but they're not that common.  I agree about Bigi though.  Yesterday he wasn't interested in 50/50 challenges and you can't have that when you're under pressure and especially down to 10 men.  As someone said to me yesterday before the game - he's good to have in the side if you're better than the opposition but if you're not then he doesn't pull his weight.  Time to give young Turnbull his chance if we want creativity. 

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2 hours ago, Kmcalpin said:

Good post.  You can get good all rounders like the late Phil O'Donnell but they're not that common.  I agree about Bigi though.  Yesterday he wasn't interested in 50/50 challenges and you can't have that when you're under pressure and especially down to 10 men.  As someone said to me yesterday before the game - he's good to have in the side if you're better than the opposition but if you're not then he doesn't pull his weight.  Time to give young Turnbull his chance if we want creativity. 

The problem now is that Turnbull should have been brought into the team when we were in better form or playing lesser opposition.

Now, if we do turn to him, he's being brought in at the worst possible time to introduce a young player.  You can't reasonable expect one young player to turn around a team that is massively under performing all across the park, has won 1 league game out of 8 and seems to be in a state of disarray.  You need experienced players to guide young players through the game, not the other way round.

Guys like Turnbull should have played regularly in the League Cup matches and then been brought off the bench for league matches when there was less pressure on the team. 

Of course THAT didn't happen because of the short sighted mismanagement of our youth development by someone who's not interested and will only throw in youth in desperation when his own neck is on the line.  But it's not all Robinson's fault.  The people behind him need a sharp slap to the side of the head as well.  It should be part of a Motherwell manager's remit to develop youth.  But heaven forbid we have any kind of long term coherent strategy for the club outside of snapping up English non league players, crossing our fingers and hoping two or three coming through the mass import revolving door are good enough to sell on.   The people steering the club need to get the finger out.  Imagine we'd spent as much time and effort constructing a footballing strategy as we have constructing a social media strategy for a team that's almost unwatchable at present. 

As for McHugh, having seen the highlights and just how bad the elbow on Gallagher was I think this guy just needs ditched.  He should have been sent off at Kilmarnock last week, got away with it, should have been sent off for the elbow, got away with it, and then put in about another 2 or 3 borderline yellows, got away with them, before eventually getting sent off.  You can't have someone that stupid on the pitch when you are in our position;  then you look at the goals he sold recently at Dundee and against Hearts one of which resulted in a team mate being injured, potentially seriously, but luckily not.  You'd think when he put himself out of the game for 6 months with another ridiculous challenge it might have knocked some sense into him.  And for Robinson to come out and say it was a soft sending off, well that's just proof that the guys in charge have stopped watching matches and are seeing what they want to see.

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15 minutes ago, grizzlyg said:

Yet another Hartley free kick leads to a goal. Sorry but if he could play as well as he can talk he would be a world beater

Wouldn’t we all.

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2 hours ago, Ya Bezzer! said:

And for Robinson to come out and say it was a soft sending off, well that's just proof that the guys in charge have stopped watching matches and are seeing what they want to see.

It's called looking out for your players. Good managers do that - great managers made a career out of it. That's why guys like Wenger and Fergie never saw their own players commit a foul or give away a pen.

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