Andy Munro detects the Blue shoots of recovery at St Andrews.
I suppose a seven-nil loss would have been technically an improvement but, before the 12.15 kick off, most Bluenoses were probably expecting a gritty backs to the wall display before we succumbed by one or two goals.
In fact, we did even better with a hard fought draw at a place that is rarely a happy hunting ground. Gary Rowett made just four changes and in doing so gave a few players a chance that they didn’t deserve but, as he said when interviewed, everybody was starting off with a clean sheet.
Certainly, the side showed more backbone than last time out (mind you that wasn’t difficult) and played some very decent football at times. Randolph redeemed himself a bit with some great stops as the match drew to a frantic close and the new lad Morrison looked a more than decent acquisition.
So what will Gary have learnt from his first match? Defensively, we are competent but certainly not watertight – the full backs are adequate although Grounds particularly is hardly out of the Rowett School of Overlapping. Randolph is a great shotstopper but both him and the back four in front of him won’t be fronting their own chat show, anytime soon.
In midfield, Cotterill is the man most likely to create and Koby Arthur is on the cusp of being a first class player. Centre of midfield is more problematical with both Davies and Reilly busy but both lacking real physical presence and power. Gleeson is the classier but the question is whether he can exist in a 4-4-2 formation with just one minder playing alongside.
Up front, Donaldson works hard but lacks pace and is only average in the air. In fact Wes Thomas certainly gave the Wolves back four more to think of when he came on.Disappointingly but predictably both Shinnie and Brek O’Shea drifted in and out of the game and were too easily muscled off the ball.
As for the bench, it was great to see the name of the talented Reece Brown read out but disappointing that there was no sign of Denny Johnstone. More worryingly, no sign of Demarai Gray again although (hopefully?) it’s perhaps because he’s picked up a slight knock.
Plenty for the new manager to ponder but it was refreshing to hear him interviewed, speaking clearly and looking straight at the camera, unlike you know who.