So the Magic Hat finally has a dent in it. I say “finally” because Sevco’s League Cup defeat to St Johnstone a few weeks back is rarely mentioned in the media, and the recently-besmirched David Weir said the reverse “could be a good thing”.
First of all, let’s say well done to Hibs. [And yes that includes the Hearts fans who read this blog. I saw you cheering earlier on Twitter…].
It is a long-running and (obviously entirely unfounded) joke that Hibs bottle everything, but today they didn’t. Staring down the barrel of going 11 points behind the greatest team that football has ever known, and to whom they had already lost 6-2 and 1-0 this season, they conjured up a deserved 2-1 victory.
Hibs are on a great run and if they keep it going, the race for automatic promotion from the Championship could yet be closer than most people have assumed. [NB I am assuming that none of the contenders will throw a curve ball into proceedings by running out of money before the end of the season].
As for the Magic Hat, it will be fascinating to see how he deals with a defeat to a close rival. The Warbmeister has already said he doesn’t know how his side didn’t win the game, which is a curious thing for him to say given that he is
- a tactical genius
- a student of the game; and
- a man who can presumably count up the number of goals scored.
After the defeat to St Johnstone Warbo spoke of ‘random luck’ and hilariously commented on how his side deserved more respect than they had received from the (fawning) media following their ‘excellent’ start to the season.
And as for the media themselves, it will be interesting to see if they pose any challenging questions to Warbo about the defeat and its implications. Yes, Sevco are still 5 points clear at the top of the Championship, but the size and the manner of recent victories hasn’t been what it was. The games have been closer and the performances have been more disjointed as teams have adapted to their style of play and refused to be rolled over.
Today’s defeat is a perfect opportunity to start asking The Warbmeister what his ‘Plan B’ is. He has spoken (respectfully) about not focusing too much on opponents because (respectfully) it is all about how his side prepare for and play their game.
Well that’s fine Warbo. But you lost to your nearest rival today. And they didn’t even have Scott Allan playing for them! 😉
So maybe you and your apparently introspective approach aren’t the be all and end all of global – or indeed Scottish Championship – football…
Still, at least we all know that your plans don’t include acquiring more than one or two players in January as you don’t want to ‘upset the squad’. A claim that makes me wonder whether Dave King’s war chest contains money or comfort blankets…
Finally, it wouldn’t be right to conclude this blog without making reference to something that the media said before today’s game.
Step forward The Evening Shark-Jump, who published this epic headline yesterday.
The article is based upon pretty standard quotes from Wes about the importance of goalkeepers concentrating and never knowing when they are going to be called upon. He also spoke of aiming to get promoted and do well in the Premiership. He also said that any international aspirations he might have are ultimately dependent on performances at a higher level, including in Europe.
But it was the typical ‘movie synopsis’ introduction to the article from Chris Jack which really caught the eye:
“IN any 90 minutes, Wes Foderingham’s contribution often comes down to just a few seconds. It is in those moments where he is at his most valuable to Rangers.
For much of the season, the defining instances have been few and far between for the Light Blues keeper. He has played his part, but not had a starring role. Last weekend was different, though. And this one could fall into the same category. Foderingham was arguably Rangers’ top performer against St Mirren on Sunday, the 24-year-old pulling off a series of impressive, important saves as Mark Warburton’s side emerged 1-0 winners.
Having maintained their advantage at the top of the Championship standings, the Gers will now look to extend it against Hibernian tomorrow as the top two teams in the second tier meet for the third time this term.
If Foderingham has another low-key and fairly quiet afternoon at the office, it will bode well for Warburton’s side as they attempt to make it twelve wins from twelve league outings. If he is called upon, he is ready, though.
Where in recent weeks teams have set out to stifle Rangers’ attacking intentions, the onus will be on Hibs to attack and test their defensive capabilities. It is an examination Foderingham is confident the Light Blues can pass.”
Nice build-up Chris! So how did Wes get on?
“The goalkeeper was caught flapping as the former St Mirren midfielder swept the resulting corner over his head, leaving Hanlon to strike the winner.”
And as you can see…