Gary Mackay: Don’t panic in topsy-turvy SPL campaign

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On the back of a couple of good 
results, you’re always there to be shot at, and we were well and truly knocked off our pedestal at the weekend.

The manager’s taken a bit of criticism and people are questioning some of his team selections, but what more can John McGlynn do? We had two very good results playing with pretty much the same team in the previous two games. Now I admit I wasn’t overly convinced with the balance of the midfield on Saturday, but the manager is entitled to keep faith with a team which had done the business against Livingston and Dundee United. In fact, there are plenty people that adhere to the old adage about not changing a winning team. In a very tight league where every team is capable of beating each other, there’s always a good chance a positive 
result will be followed by a negative one.

After the game I spoke to a few Kilmarnock fans and asked whether they thought they won because they were good or because we were poor and their view seemed to be that their team had played particularly well.

Having said that, I definitely think we miss the presence of Darren Barr in midfield. He gives us more of a balance in there. Kilmarnock’s midfield looked far more accomplished than ours and the boy Gary Harkins was a really pivotal figure in the game. Up front they had Cillian Sheridan, who is a proven goal-scoring 
striker, and that was the big difference 
between the teams on the day.

We still have a serious goal-scoring problem. Callum Paterson is a promising young player who did superbly well at Tannadice the previous weekend, but as a 17-year-old, we can’t rely on him to produce the goods on a weekly basis. He will have some weeks where he is good and others when he is not so good. John Sutton, for me, remains the man to build our attack around, although we need to do it in a way that plays to his strengths. As I said a few weeks ago, we should be looking to see how Motherwell got the best out of him two seasons ago and try and replicate that because scoring goals is a massively important of football.

Alternatively we could push the boat out and get Rudi Skacel back. Rumours were rife that he was set to return to the club last week but it appears to have been knocked on the head by the club. In our current predicament, we should do all we can to get him back because it would give the team a much-needed lift and it would also give the 
paying supporters a massive boost. He would provide us with an instant goal threat.

Hopefully we can get back on track next weekend, but it certainly won’t be easy as we’re away at Celtic. They have a big Champions League game in Moscow this week, so it might be that we’re catching them at a good time. Not many people will give us a chance after Saturday’s result but we’ve done reasonably well at Parkhead over the last few years. Not many people gave us much chance of winning 3-0 at Tannadice last weekend, so we’ve definitely got it in us to pull off an upset.

Right now we always seem to be one good result from kicking right on and one negative result away from imploding, but I can say wholeheartedly that that’s exactly how I expected things to go this season. When the club spoke about the way they intended to go, it was evident that things weren’t going to be plain-sailing. We need patience from the supporters and we need everyone to stick together. There are likely to be more days like Saturday ahead, but there will also hopefully be a few more positive days like the one we had at Tannadice.