Standing Free – Half way point – 2.3

AFC

You’ve seen how well we’ve done in Europe so far in season 2, but now we’ve reached the proper half way point of the domestic campaign. This edited database has a winter break factored into it, however it seems to have shortened this year. Like I keep saying, I keep finding issues that would have been ironed out beforehand if I were any better at the editor!

League form

On the whole, we’ve been good in the league. Good, but not great. Another 1-0 loss away to Celtic means we’re still looking for our first league victory over them. That 6-1 away win against our ‘New Firm’ rivals, Dundee United, was coming. In the two draws prior to it, against Motherwell and Hibs, we’d absolutely dominated the games but just couldn’t do enough to get the wins. I hate a 0-0 draw. More often than not, we’re solid defensively, dominate possession but just can’t make the breakthrough.

That final league match before the break was so annoying. Annoying in the sense that Falkirk more than deserved their win. We were poor, and almost sneaked a point but lost out in the last 10 minutes again. Me giving an in-game shout for the team to concentrate not going to plan on this occasion. To end the first half of the season with a defeat just puts a dampener on the season so far.

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If we had sneaked an undeserved draw against Falkirk, we’d be sitting top of the league at the half way point.

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Despite Celtic’s win against us, they’ve struggled overall I would say. You’d expect the reigning champions to assert themselves in the next season. Instead, it’s Hearts setting the pace, and they’ve deserved it after only losing once so far in their 15 games. I’d go with indifferent as the word to choose to describe our form. We’ve ground out some good results, been devastating at times, and disappointing at others. It may be time to look at a plan B tactically.

Domestic cups

A reminder here that the League Cup is a group stage in this edited database. In the non-FM world, it’s just played out before the start of the season proper, but in this database, it gets played across the first half of the season. Also, at the Scottish Cup 2nd round stage, most clubs enter and it becomes a mass free for all. No seedings, no preferential treatment. A straight up knockout competition.AFC 2.3 3

We cruised into the quarter final of the League Cup, finishing top of the group after 5 victories from 5 matches. Playing the likes of Nairn, Elgin and Brechin gives me the opportunity to give youth players a chance, there’s no squad rules for the cup competitions, plus a few fringe players from the first team.

The Scottish Cup has also been pretty comprehensive so far. 3 rounds negotiated, 15 goals scored, 0 conceded, albeit against Albion Rovers, Deverondale, and Inverurie. I especially enjoyed the Inverurie game as two of our youth prospects got on the scoreboard. Andrew Clark came through in the first intake last year, and Darren McDonald was the young central defender I signed from Clyde.

Next up, in both cups, Inverness. I really need to edit this database, Scottish Cup games being played during the week, shocking.

Players

Or player I should say. I’m only going to call out one player so far as the standout in the first half of the season. There’s been good performances across the board, but this man is just head and shoulders above the rest. Any guesses?

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Sweet, sweet Mihailo. A £775k summer signing, now worth £1.8m after just half a season. When the vultures come calling, we’re going to make a very good profit. But until then, we’ll just enjoy his all round brilliant play. He most definitely does dictate our tempo as his PPM suggests. His versatility has come in very handy too, as injury ruled Graeme Shinnie, our regular left back, out for quite a bit of the first half of the season, meaning this man has been filling in at left back. Otherwise, he’s normally been slotting in and pulling the strings as our playmaker in central midfield.

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