Based on the amount of chances created in Saturday’s defeat at Pittodrie, I felt the performance was good enough to take a point back down the road with us.
Aberdeen put us under some pressure in the second half and got their rewards by finding the winner when they were in the ascendency. However, it was the Hibs players who began the match with more composure, only to concede a goal after just four minutes, which put us on the back foot early on.
Eoin Doyle certainly underlined his ability with a quite magnificent strike to get us back on level terms, albeit against the run of play, but this gave us a platform to build on in the second 45 minutes. Our attacking play was perhaps not up to the same level it has been in previous fixtures this season but we created enough, particularly towards the end, to find an equaliser.
However, I believe our defensive frailties were exposed far too often where Aberdeen were able to capitalise on this by finding the back of the net. We defended far too deep for my liking and this enabled our opponents to deliver several crosses into our penalty box from wide areas.
There will be disappointment within the camp as it has been almost two months since we last suffered a league defeat. However, we must regroup and make sure we get back on track and pick up three points against Dundee at home next week. Dundee may be sitting at the bottom of the table but they have produced some spirited performances in their return to the SPL and have already tasted victory in the Capital this season. They will no doubt be confident of repeating this feat when they arrive at Easter Road this Saturday.
The weekend’s results once again reinforced the inconsistency around the league at the moment. Who would have thought Dundee United would be sitting second bottom in the league table after thrashing us on the opening day of the season, or Ross County scoring four goals away from home in Paisley but ultimately having nothing to show for their efforts after losing five goals of their own? The league is most definitely proving to be something of an enigma at this stage so far and is throwing up all sorts of surprises.
I think the emergence of youth has had a significant contribution to this inconsistency. It’s refreshing to see so many clubs in the SPL now putting faith in their youth academies and allowing those the opportunity to show exactly what they have learned and developed as young, aspiring footballers. This is a gamble that can often pay off, seeing a young striker come off the subs’ bench to net the winner in the final minute. It can, however, also prove extremely costly as a 17-year-old defender makes a desperate lunge and concedes a penalty kick. It’s about finding the right balance in the side and I think Pat Fenlon has succeeded on this front with the faith he has shown in promoting several of the under-19s into his first-team plans. How these young men develop over the course of the season, only time will tell.
The opportunities on the continent for youth players to showcase their attributes are much more plentiful and this is shown within international squads where the average age is getting younger every year. But this merely reinforces the faith shown in the clubs’ scouting systems where players’ signatures are secured with every intention they will one day be pulling on the club shirt and playing for the first team.
This is the way forward for Scottish football. We must invest in youth for the benefit of both club and country. The days of paying substantial transfer fees and attractive wage packets are long gone due to the current financial quandary. The desire to win is one aspect that remains unchanged and that goes for all SPL and Scottish League clubs. This is now the moment to revolutionise the game with youth coming to the fore.