The manger will expect there to be a few knocks along the way as he tries to impose his own vision on the playing staff and how he wants his side to play.
But in saying that, a home game against Partick Thistle is a fixture, prior to Saturday’s encounter, he would have been confident of winning and taking all three points. It is, of course, still early days and the whole overlook with what Terry Butcher has at his disposal will continue to be an ongoing process. The change of a new manager can sometimes be overlooked within a football club as some simply expect miracles to happen overnight, but this is far from the case.
That’s what brings such great hype to the game though – there are so many differing opinions from all quarters. Time and time again when a change of manager occurs, players’ careers can often flourish under a new man at the helm where under previous regimes they had been overlooked or were simply not given a chance to stake a place in the starting XI. If we cast our minds back to the likes of Brian Clough who resurrected the careers of so many footballers, he saw something in those players that many others had failed to pick up on. This is why the players must give themselves every opportunity to impress, be it in training or in a competitive fixture.
Having been on both sides of the fence, it was interesting to learn what can actually put a manager off a player or those little pieces of magic that in fact appeals to the boss. These behind-the-scene aspects have always really engrossed me as one coach said to me that ‘players are all different creatures and must be treated accordingly with mood swings, quietness and nerves all features of sportsmen that need to be studied so that all resources can be used to achieve every player working to their maximum’.
I’ve heard of players who can’t be spoken to for a number of days after a defeat, such is the hurt they are feeling. Over the next couple of weeks, the manager will begin to form his own opinions on who he wants to remain at the club and those who no longer have a future at Easter Road.
We travel to Celtic Park on Saturday in a better frame of mind than we were a couple of weeks ago, but we must be wary of how prolific the champions are at the moment in the scoring stakes having scored 12 goals in their previous two fixtures. They are certainly reinforcing the gulf in class they possess over the other clubs in the Scottish Premiership. Of course a positive result would be most welcomed but a spirited performance would also keep the momentum going.
I think Saturday’s draw with Thistle reinforced my opinion that our home form is what’s most concerning and perhaps going into the cauldron that is Celtic Park may just suit the players. It may take considerable time before we can assemble a side capable of going on the road and collecting all three points on a regular basis. Every victory should be taken gratefully as we try to improve week in, week out. However, most importantly, we must produce enough wins to keep us climbing the league table.
We were drawn at home against Championship side Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup fifth round last week, a fixture that presents a decent chance of progressing to the quarter-finals. However, we cannot afford to approach February’s tie with nothing less than 100 per cent commitment as Raith are challenging near the top end of the league and are vying for promotion to the top tier next season. With Celtic and Aberdeen being paired together, and Dundee United possibly welcoming the visit of St Mirren, the number of Premiership teams in the hat for the last eight will be among the minority. Dare we dream once again?