From Joy To Despair
It has been a while since I have genuinely come away from a game of football full of disappointment when I knew that the team could do so much better.
Unfortunately for me, Saturday would be that day!
Just a few days earlier, we had visited Glasgow for the first of two visits in the space of a few days to take on the Scottish Champions, Celtic. Considering the past few performances against them, especially at Parkhead, I was hoping that we could try and keep it tight and not be on the end of a cricket score, especially since we would be playing a few of the fringe players in the game.
In came Craig Wighton, Cammy Kerr, Nicky Low and Julen Etxabeguren and while on paper it would seem that the team were not playing to their full strength, that was not how it panned out on the pitch.
Despite a very nervy few moments in the opening half, the team done well to contain everything that Celtic threw at them and even created a few opportunities. The second half we then managed to limit them to one or two shots on target while putting them under pressure as we chased that winning goal.
We even threw on the big guns near the end in the form of Hemmings, Stewart and Harkins as the team started to smell blood from the floundering Celtic team. We came inches away from the win in the dying few minutes when Kosta ran onto a Stewart corner but despite being unmarked in the six yard box, put his header agonisingly wide of the post. Harkins then had a chance right at the death but his shot went high and wide.
At the final whistle there was a mixture of feelings. A great team display and a great point but also a feeling that we should have won. One cheeky fan even posted on the UWTB Facebook page that the coach was ‘like a morgue’ for the journey home.
There were so many positives to take from the game. Scott Bain claimed his fifth clean sheet in six games, the pairing of Etxabeguren and Kosta in the centre of defence was solid and youngsters Wighton and Kerr had their best games in a Dark Blue shirt. This was all achieved with our best performers sitting on the bench. This gave every Dundee fan a massive boost for the Scottish Cup clash and rightly so. It was just unfortunate that all the good feeling surrounding this point would not bare any fruition.
Now we move onto Saturday. Whatever hope we had of taking something from this tie against Rangers was extinguished in a measly thirteen seconds. Kevin Holt sloppily lost the ball and even though we had a good twenty-five minute spell near the end of the first half, it set the tone for the remainder of game.
Make no doubt about it, the team froze, some players worse than others. It was a shocking display from them and while I am never one for slating individual players, the team have rightly been so for the few days since by the fans.
The amount of space we let Rangers have was shocking. We let them pass the ball about and control the game. Do not get me wrong, Rangers are a good side and when they come up they will be in the top four no problem but we made them look so much better. It was very frustrating to watch.
So that was that, another Scottish Cup campaign that ended in disappointment, a coin to the face from some friendly Rangers fans from the top tier above us and a journey home with two Rangers supporters in which I was rightly mocked. All on my birthday weekend!
This game will not define our season though. I have seen so many overreactions by people over this result that you do not know whether to take them seriously or not. A few weeks ago Gary Harkins would be the one to fire us into the top six and hopefully a fourth place finish but now some people are wanting him dropped from the team. There are also fans that want Hartley sacked despite this being his first defeat in nine games. Utter madness if you ask me and it is somewhat tiresome to hear after one defeat.
So we move on to the game which is against Heart of Midlothian at Dens Park this Saturday. From what I have seenw this season, Hearts have not really been easy on the eye but they get the results and that is all that matters. Especially since they are sitting third in the league and pushing for second.
It will be a very tight game, that is a given but I have the feeling that we will come out with the victory here. The team do owe the fans a performance after the horror show in Glasgow and I am sure Hartley will have them fired up to deliver it.
MON THE DEE!