Complacency. The thing every manager dreads at this stage of the season, especially when you’re as far ahead in the league as we are.
Last night was a very poor performance – make no mistake about it. It was filled with too many lacklustre performances, at the back especially. Two schoolboy mistakes made Bilel Mohnsi look like Paulo Maldini and Hibs had to do virtually nothing to earn a 2 goal lead.
You could find a mistake in every goal but those first two were complete gifts. As I tweeted at the time, it looked as if the back four and keeper were still on the bevvy from the weekend – maybe they were!
The way I see it, the lads have earned the right to a few bad performances. Not just because of Sunday, but on the season as a whole. We have romped the Scottish Championship, Won the Petrofac Cup and are in the final of the Scottish Cup with a shot at European Qualification. To say we have progressed from last season is understatement of the century.
The usual suspects will again overeact to last night’s result, but even our best ever squads have take the foot of the gas. The season we clinched 9 in a row, we failed to win 5 of the remaining 9 games. With Walter Smith’s Rangers 10 points clear at the top in 2010, Derek McInnes’ St Johnstone hammered us 4-1 at McDermid Park. No matter how good the team is, complacency is always an issue.
With regards to the cup final, you’d expect us to be 10x better than we were last night. Hibs didn’t even play well- they didn’t have to. Infact it was a calamitous game of errors in all honesty. If both teams perform as well as they can do, I’ve no doubt we’ll come out on top. Waghorn will be a big bonus.
There’s no game like the Old Firm. The players found that out last night. Not only has it drained them physically, but Sunday was mentally exhausting. We’ve actually failed to win the next match following an Old Firm in 3 of the last 6 meetings.
Of course Hibs played at the weekend (a day before us), but the intensity of playing the team at the bottom of the premiership is greatly lower than playing the team at the top.
Kenny Miller looked very frustrated. At 36, it’s difficult for him to give 100% twice in 4 days. On reflection, it would have made sense to give Michael O’Halloran a start through the middle or maybe even Billy King.
“It was a one-hit wonder. He could hit it another 100 times and not hit it as well.” This was a direct quote from Celtic’s Craig Gordon talking about Barrie McKay’s stunning strike past him on Sunday.
You’d think they’d learn to shut up given the weekends match.
McKay was tremendous again. His close ball control and through balls were a joy to watch. I voted Jason Holt as my player of the season but I’m begging to change my mind.
His Old Firm strike on Sunday will obviously be remembered more than last night’s but both were equal in terms of quality.
In the goldfish bowl of Scottish football and especially the Old Firm, players can let the adulation get to their heads but McKays attitude has been top class. He looks like a player who is loving his football.
You could argue the only thing missing from McKays game is a few more goals but if he continues like this, what a player we have. Surely a stick on for the next Scotland squad? Our fans often moan about players not taking shots from outside the box but we’ve seen some incredible goals from distance this season.
Guard of honour
So Hibs didn’t give us a guard of honour. None of us will have sleepless night’s granted, but it is slightly disappointing to see a distinct lack of class. None of us are Alan Stubbs biggest fans, but always considered him to have some sort of dignity when it comes to football and tradition. Guess not.
Alloa on Saturday
On Saturday we lift the Championship at home in front of a sell out Ibrox. It will be the final home game of a long and emotional 4 seasons in the lower leagues of Scottish football. It’s also likely to be the last home match for Nicky Clark, Nicky Law, Dean Shiels & David Templeton. It’ll be nice to see them go out with a convincing win.
I think the squad needs refreshed. Young Zelalem has done well coming on in the last two games and should start the game on Saturday. Danny Wilson could also do with a rest with Dom Ball moving to centre half.
Would also be nice to see young Burt get some game time along with a few other academy players considering the league is now over.
A recent tradition of Rangers has been to make the last home game of the season Flag Day. So on Saturday, bring along any old or new flags you have lying around the house. Mention it to your mates. Let’s give the players and management a colourful end to a marvellous campaign at Ibrox.
Onwards and Upwards.