Andy Munro enjoys his Friday night at St Andrews.
It would be no exaggeration to say that this was one of the most enthralling encounters I’ve seen down at St Andrews in over fifty years of supporting the Blues.
Two teams going hell for leather, both with two pairs of talented wingers – Cotterill and Gray (Blues) and Ince and Russell (Derby). Not to mention a supporting cast, in Derby’s case, costing millions.
Extra spice was added by the Ram’s multi million-pound strike force of Bent and Weimann, as ex-Villa players assured of a feisty welcome from the Tilton Road. Incidentally, whilst the crowd was slightly down due to live TV transmission, Derby brought an excellent away following. However, in noise terms it was no contest especially when the Rams equalised for their following to be verbally annihilated by a spine tingling and defiant rendition of Keep Right On.
The first half saw Blues the better side for the first 25 minutes only for Derby to come on strong for the latter period. During that time it was noticeable that any Derby success was from attacks down our middle where we know somebody dominant is needed alongside the ever-impressive Morrison.
Both sides played excellent flowing football and both keepers made impressive saves but Derby’s keeper could do nothing about a Gleeson pile driver. In terms of Gleeson, he is growing in stature with Mikel alongside him. I, for one, need to eat a large dose of humble pie on that score!
The second period saw no let up although Blues should have gone two up and killed the game when Tora fluffed an open goal. However, a draw was a fair result in a game that would have graced any Premier League ground. A man of the match would be hard to pick although, despite some magnificent performances, Donaldson continues to blossom both in the air and on the ground and, despite the lack of goals, looks a noticeably better player than last year.
Finally, on the subject of strikers, we’ve now signed a Great Dane to bolster our options up front. Two transfers now which aren’t freebies and a team that’s unbeaten to date. In the Carsson Championship era, post-Hughton, it doesn’t get any better than this.