Captain’s Log with Jim McAlister

Captain’s Log with Jim McAlister
by Jonathan Mitchell

Good afternoon. I hope everyone is well.

A lot has happened in our last two league fixtures, at home to Ayr United and away to Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday. The Ayr game was a strange one to play in.

For 70 minutes we were probably the better team and showed good character to hit back after going a goal down with a well-taken finish from our wee student, Charlie Telfer. It was great to see him get off the mark.

Obviously losing Midge and Tidser to injury was a blow, but it didn’t seem to upset our rhythm and it was great to see young Reece Lyon get his reward for doing well in the reserves by making his home debut.

From the goal onwards I thought we were in control of the game. Even taking the penalty miss into consideration, we were on the front foot for the first 20 minutes or so of the second half.

What happened from 70 minutes onwards was absolutely unacceptable.

You can’t go from being the team on top at home with the score at 1-1 midway through the second half and lose the match 5-1.

We analysed the game in great detail on the Monday and it was clear to see that every one of the goals was preventable, each one coming as a result of an error on our behalf.

It was a steep learning curve for us all, and, as a squad, we need to make sure that it never happens again.

The manager tailored training towards eradicating those errors in the week leading up to the Inverness game and the boys responded by working extremely hard. I think that showed with the way we defended during the game.

We were underdogs in the Highlands, and understandably so after our last result, but travelled up with an inner determination to show that we had learned from our mistakes and prove that it was a one off.

We started the game very well, containing Inverness while creating chances any time we went forward – and we got our just rewards with wee Charlie finishing off a fantastic move.

The only downside was conceding on the stroke of half-time. After that, and with the Ayr result fresh in the memory, folk may well have been expecting us to go under.

But we showed real character and determination at the start of the second half by creating a number of chances, the best attempt coming from Kerr Waddell, the Arbroath diehard seeing a great header cleared off the line.

We finished the game on the backfoot but defended our box well and when called upon goalkeeper Ryan Scully produced the saves required. At the end of the day, a draw was probably a fair result when you analyse the game.

It was important as a squad to show a reaction. I think we did that, and we must take a ruthless streak into our next game when he host Falkirk after the international break.

We crowned our manager of the month for September in the team’s fantasy football competition – and the winner has been on at me for a few days now asking when he’d get his mention.

So well done, Bucky! It was a very comfortable victory, to be fair, and the big man has set the standard at the top now. It’s his to lose.

It’s frustrating that we don’t have a game this weekend due to the international break, but the gaffer has arranged a closed-doors match against Rangers at the Hummel Training Centre.

That will be a good test for us and keep the players ticking over as well as giving those who haven’t been involved a chance to show what they can do.

Hope you all have a good weekend.

C’mon the Ton!
Jim