Temple Of Saints - Crisis Time

Bells League Division One 23/08/2008

Partick 4 Saints 0 - League Table Here

Team : Main, Caff, Smith, Anderson, Rutkiewicz, Craig, Millar, Hardie, Peaso, Savo, Samuel
Subs: McLean, Irvine, Holmes, Swankie, McKoy

After the previous weekend's utter debacle at home to the Pars, Saints hit the road this week for the delights of luvvie-land at Firhill. Partick have had a decent start to the season, despite being run by a jobbie and our record there last year wasn't exactly what you'd call impressive - bit like our form so far this season. But there was always the eternal optimist in your average Saints fan that said that maybe, just maybe, the players had receive the well-deserved foot up the derriere that they so obviously needed after the total collapse against Dunfermline. There was no doubt in my mind that even this early into the season, this one had dropped into the cliché bucket labelled "must-win" - we might only have been three points off the top as Off The Ball started at lunchtime but we certainly couldn't afford to drop further behind given our form against our opponents in the coming weeks.

So with Saints out to impress the fans were served up with what has to be the worst fucking excuse for a performance from a bunch of so-called professionals in years. If you thought last week was depressing, it was like a bloody 7-2 win over the Scum compared to the amateurish shambles today. From one end of the park to the other we achieved nothing, made mistakes galore and simply refused to compete or show any hunger or motivation. There was a decent travelling support there today but yet again the players in blue let them down. McInnes and Docherty have to shoulder their portion of the blame as well as we yet again were second to every fucking ball. Christ we bloody well made Ian Maxwell look cultured. Last week might have been a blip but today is a full-blown crisis and the really depressing thought is that the eleven that started today were possibly our best eleven players. Right now you'd be lucky to find a Saints supporter that would pick them ahead of a bunch of U-14s for the forthcoming trip to Livingston. It's that bad.

Martin Hardie was back in the side after missing out last week thanks to the mystery virus, but Kevin James took over the empty bed in the McDiarmid hospital wing for the next few weeks joining Jody and the Mooner on the absentee list. But there was a new face as the cross-border registration had come through for Crispy McKoy to make his debut albeit from the bench. Dapper Dan Smith kept his place at left back for his final chance to impersonate that man of many faces - "A Trialist". Up front Savo and Peaso started along with Sammy while Ando came in at right-back for Irvine, dropped to the bench and Caff replaced James. No place in the sixteen for Sheerin or the Republic of Ireland's new U-21 star Andy Jackson. The main change (geddit?) was between the sticks as Alan returned to take over from Euan "Whipping-Boy" McLean who, if nothing else at least had a Saturday night to look forward to when he'd feel safe looking at some of the post-match Internet postings.

Don't ask me what the formation was - your guess is as good as mine although Samuel did seem to be in the "lazy bastard winger" position for large parts of the game. For a change, Firhill had the semblance of grass on the playing surface and in spite of all the midweek showers which had seen the rain falling like keech into a shoe, the ground was at least playable. So the match started with Saints kicking off - within ten seconds we'd kicked the bloody ball out the park which demonstrates the level of wonderful silky soccer on show. Peaso was the first player fouled but Craig wasted the freekick and then Craig himself committed a foul with the freekick held by Main. We did manage the first shot on goal in the third minute when Ando was fouled by Harkins. The freekick forward found Hardie at the edge of the box and his neat turn and volley went just wide of goal. But with the odd glimmer of hope amongst the faithful it took only another couple of minutes for that old feeling of gloom to return. A bit of defending from Saints shaky enough to start singing "This Ole House" ended with a Fissel corner. Ex-Saints player Simon Donnelly took the kick and after a half-hearted header out (and with no marking on the posts), the ball fell for another ex-Saints player in John Robertson who sent an overhead effort almost in slow motion past everyone and into the top corner. You could almost hear the Partick TV commentator reaching for the Kleenex.

Still we had some hope but that was quickly dashed with any sign of decent build-up, as in the 8th minute, usually ending in a daft schoolboy mistake which usually let Partick have another free run at the Fragile Four at the back. Even when we tried to get forward the lack of movement off the ball or willingness to take any sort of fucking responsibility was nothing short of shocking. Too many prima donnas in blue seemed to think that the ball was always going to fall at their feet without them having to lift a fucking finger - yes Liam Craig and Collin Samuel I'm talking about you. Sammy lost the ball in the 13th minute to set up another Partick attack that ended in a cross going out. Ruti, who was having the sort of nightmare the boo-boys have wet dreams about, conceded a soft corner but Liam at least headed that out. Caff was also getting in on the act though and missed a simple ball after a Partick kick out - luckily the cross went out.

Midway through the half we managed some decent build up with Ando starting the move and Hardie, Samuel and Millar taking the ball forward before the latter was tackled on the edge of the home box as he hesitated over the ball. Sammy had a run after that but again we failed to create anything once the ball was in the box. Things went from bad to worse on the half hour for Ruti as Partick easily dismantled another Saints attack. A break up the park found Ruti on the ball but he managed to slip on it allowing Partick through and their striker fired in a decent effort that brought out an excellent save from Main to tip the ball wide, before he held the resulting corner.

Peaso picked up the first booking for a daft tackle from behind as things went from bad to worse. Samuel lost the ball next allowing another Partick attack which ended in Main punching the ball clear. Nine minutes from the break and Rusty chased a ball to the byeline with Donnelly only to lose out - the cutback was blocked before hitting off Rusty and somehow spinning out for another corner. That ended in a free header that Main saved. Suffice to say the Saints fans behind the goal weren't subdued in their criticism of the Saints defender.

Ando tried to set up Sammy who had a shot held and then surprise, surprise, Rusty went on a great run up the wing from the Saints half to force a corner. That was wasted as Liam went in late chasing a loose clearance. Partick had another attack in the 43rd minute with Lennon given loads of room to try a low shot that Main got down well to block.

Half-time saw no changes in either the numpties in Saints shirt or their so-called tactics that were being employed. Within a couple of minutes of the restart Millar was skinned on the corner but the cross was missed by everyone. A minute later though Rustybitz conceded a soft corner. The ball into the box gave the Saints defence umpteen chances to clear their lines but yet again they failed to do so and the ball fell at the edge of the box to Maxwell, who, being an ex-Saints player, let rip with a dipping volley that saw Main static as the ball went past him into the corner to give them a second goal.

Almost immediately Holmes replaced Peaso although how Samuel managed to stay on the park beats me. Saints had a bit of urgency all of a sudden with Liam forcing a corner that Tufty Hare held. Samuel had a run in the box but ended up being crowded out and fouling a defender. Craig had a shot blocked and Samuel had one blocked after getting on the end of a long ball - that last attack ending in another Partick counter-attack which ended in Caff picking up a booking. Millar was fouled in the 56th minute and shock, horror we almost created something from the freekick as Craig chipped the ball forward for Hardie but his header went over not coming even slightly close to hitting the target. Partick hit back within a minute with Ruti slipping all over the box before the ball was headed clear to a Partick player who tried another volley that went just over the bar with the keeper nowhere. Saints next effort came on the hour mark as Millar won a corner which ended in the ball going deep for Rustybitz and ironically, he came close to scoring with a cross cum-shot into the box which Tufty just tipped over. The follow-up was wasted though as Saints went back to normal.

Del made his second change in the 61st minute with Irvine replacing Rustybitz as Ando moved to the middle of the park. Within a minute Gary had sunk to the standards of his teammates as he was skinned on the wing with the cross in only blocked by Caff (probably by accident given the awareness being shown by the Saints defence). Savo had an effort blocked as we pumped long balls forward but in 67 minutes the game was killed off. Craig managed to hesitate too long and lost the ball on the halfway line. Partick went up the park and crossed into the area where the Saints defence again spectacularly failed to clear the danger. The ball broke out and found Paton on the right and he let rip with a long-range volley which in almost a mirror image of their second goal went across and into the net before the Saints defence could utter an "Oh Shit". That was enough for a lot of the travelling fans.

Millar picked up a yellow next for a soft foul as Saints began to lose their discipline and shape. We were well beaten by now and five minutes after the third, decided to allow tradition to be maintained with another four-nil Firhill scoreline. This time Ando conceded the corner, the ball came over, bounced around the box like a Tigger on acid before Harkins fired in a low drive which seemed to bounce off Main before ricocheting off the inside of the post and into the net. At this point it was definitely getting beyond a fucking joke.

Craig was taken off (to cries of "Just Fuck off") to be replaced by Nick McKoy for his debut and about the only applause the Saints fans were able to give on the day. A tall gangly midfielder he seemed to play more of a defensive holding role not coming forward too much but certainly he won plenty of balls in the air and didn't waste too many passes in his short spell on the pitch, firing a long-range shot wide in the 74th minute. But we were struggling to create anything and even put up the semblance of fight on the day.

Hardie was fouled in the 84th minute and when he took a quick freekick was pulled back by referee Tumilty. Cue some petulant dissent and a deserved yellow card for the midfielder - he was actually bloody lucky it wasn't red. Millar took the freekick and it was cleared. Irvine tried his luck with a cross next but Holmes saw his header out for a corner. That was headed down by McKoy for Samuel but he chickened out of a challenge with the defender and the home side cleared their lines. Partick had one final break up the park two minutes from time but McKoy did well to get over and put in a good tackle to prevent the final humiliation.

Fuck knows where we go from here. Forget about a man of the match award - Swankie might get it for non-participation. Main, Millar, Smith and Ando were the only ones approaching average while Savo huffed and puffed to little effect. McKoy certainly looked okay when he came on but let's face it, even a piece of fake glitter can sparkle in a pile of shit. We were simply not good enough and the management have to come out and recognise this - training needs to be upped and the prima donna mentality of being an individual in the side has to be removed. We're already in full-blown crisis mode shipping the sort of crappy goals that could be the difference between first and second come April. Or 9th and 10th the way things are going.

Get it fucking sorted Saints.

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Team P W D L F A Pts
Scumdee 4 3 1 0 4 1 10
Livingston 4 3 0 1 6 4 9
Partick Thistle 4 3 0 1 6 2 9
Dunfermline 4 2 1 1 5 2 7
Queen of the South 3 1 1 1 3 2 4
Saints 4 1 1 2 4 9 4
Airdrie United 4 0 3 1 0 1 3
Morton 4 0 2 2 4 6 2
Clyde 4 0 2 2 4 6 2
Ross Co 3 0 1 2 3 6 1

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