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Andy's Blues Blog

PREPARING FOR THE HIGHLAND FLING

27-04-2009

Saturday’s disappointment at St Andrews left Blues agonisingly close to the Premier League, and they could still go up on Sunday at Reading. Yet Andy Munro is already preparing for “the Hghland fling” on manager Alex McLeish.

It’s a bit difficult to say but even harder to think about it. Yet before the match, all seemed set fair and we were all asked to wear our colours and I even put my Blues shirt on – normally only worn for 5 a side football on the basis that wearing it to matches normally is a bit Man U!

Anyway, Stans was a sea of blue and, with the sound of KRO almost registering on the Richter Scale, everything seemed in place for a Bluenose promotion party.

Unfortunately, after a bright opening, which in fairness is unusual for the Blues, we started to labour a bit.

We had to play Djimi Traore due to injuries and now I can see why he was a legend (of the wrong sort) up in Scouseland. Dim (as this surely must be his real name) would make even Martin Taylor look positively ballerina like in terms of grace and his balance was even worse than the days of Mario ‘I can’t stop falling over a four leaved clover’ Melchiot.

This was coupled down the left with Keith Fahy again being played out of position on the wing.

Luckily the right hand side was far more cohesive with Stephen Carr and Seb playing some excellent one twos to open up the Preston left hand side. In central defence Jaidi did well in the air despite a few 50 pence headers whilst Frankie Q added a touch of footballing ‘savoire faire’.

However it was the midfield which was a bit of a worry because whilst Lee Bowyer and DJ weren’t playing particularly badly they never really seemed to have a proper grip on midfield. Certainly the service to the front two was unexceptional and with Gary O’Connor not the fastest thing in the box and James Mac a bit lightweight better quality service was needed.

On the subject of Gary O’Connor, the brightest part of his display was a pair of fluorescent orange boots – Gary ,if you wear boots like that you’ve got to play like a MacRonaldo rather than a Ronald MacD.

A goalless first half was about a fair reflection and the early part of the second period continued in the same vein with both sides struggling for ascendancy and playing fairly average football.

Then Cameron came on and made an immediate impact with the strong running that typifies his game but it was Keith Fahy who scored the opening goal with a fine header.

Unfortunately Bowyer and one of the Preston players were sent off and Blues started to fall apart.

The scenario cried out for the influential Lee Carsley but he was left kicking his heels on the touchline – it seemed as if McLeish and his backroom staff couldn’t make up their minds – as there are three of them I would suggest next time they put it to the vote!

Soon afterwards Preston equalised with a great shot from the edge of the area but Keith Fahy was partly to blame for not closing the scorer down and this typified the Blues tempo – either they were too tired or lacked urgency in one of the most important matches of their lives.

Either way Preston seemed increasingly up for it and it was no surprise when they scored from a great freekick – something Blues had failed to produce from the deadball all game.

Even with Super Kev , we huffed and puffed and although we had several chances it was not to be and in truth we didn’t deserve anything. I don’t think that we will go up and, in the final analysis, I don’t think that we are good enough.

Lack of desire, lack of decisive decision making at critical times, lack of urgency, disjointed team work, lack of fitness and sharpness, signing too many players of pensionable age which compounds the fitness problem and finally the lack of inspiration from players of supposedly high quality.

All these are management problems and I’m afraid my view is that Alex and his team have been a major disappointment and look set for the Highland Fling at the end of the season.

As the disappointed fans left the stadium I’m afraid it was very much a case of ‘They came to bury McLeish not to praise him!’

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