Captain’s Log with Jim McAlister

Good afternoon, everyone. It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve been able to write my captain’s column, and let’s just say a lot has happened since then!

First of all, we had the Partick Thistle fixture in which we suffered our first defeat of the league season, losing the game 1-0 at Firhill.

After everything the boys had dealt with in the 24 hours building up to the match, I thought the team, to a man, was excellent, particularly in the first half.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get the goal that our good play deserved and Thistle managed to punish us by scoring early in the second half.

It was an excellent turnout from the fans. You supported the boys from the first minute until the last – that backing was hugely appreciated. Thank you.

We started the week managerless and chairman Crawford Rae asked me, Midge, and Tids to plan training and take the sessions.

When we got to work on Tuesday, we put on a tough session for the boys and the attitude and effort was top drawer, which made it a lot easier for the three of us. It was the same on Thursday.

For Friday we planned a bounce game amongst the squad, which worked out very well with the new gaffer, Jonatan Johansson, appointed the previous day, as it enabled him to get an early look at the boys in a match situation.

The week was very interesting from a senior player’s point of view as we were given a real insight into the preparation and thought that goes into planning training sessions. It really was eye opening.

I have the utmost respect for anyone who takes on a player-manager role because it is extremely tough to combine both elements, albeit enjoyable at the same time.

After the bounce game, we headed up to Hillington for some team bonding involving players and staff arranged by Crawford, and it proved a good, competitive afternoon.

Wee Midge went in as the pre-race favourite. He was there a few weeks previously and was setting lap records, or so he told the boys.

Wee Chucky [Ross MacLean] was also chirpy but failed to live up to his promise. I also heard Gary Oliver tell some of the lads he had been karting with his mates and set one of the fastest lap times in Europe!

But we had a chuckle about that claim after witnessing his performance. If Friday was anything to go by, it certainly wasn’t karting he was doing.

The event involved two 10-minute heats and it was a very decent standard overall. In group two, Charlie Telfer won his first heat only to absolutely crumble under the pressure and finish sixth in heat two.

Midge struggled under the weight of the favourite tag and missed out on a place on the podium. When all was said and done, the top three was tighter than big Gats on a night out.

Only a couple of hundredths of a second separated the top three. In third place was Bob McHugh, who got off to a good start with the new gaffer by wiping him out in both heats.

But the gaffer recovered well to have the last laugh by pipping him for second place and coming close to claiming top spot. I only managed to hold on to first place by one hundredth of a second.

I must give a wee mention to Denny Johnstone. The big man must have thought he was out for a Sunday drive and nearly got black flagged for going too slow. It was a great afternoon all in and a big thanks goes to Crawford.

With no game the following day, it was Monday before we had our first proper training session with the new gaffer – something all the boys were really looking forward to.

It was impressive how quickly the board were able to bring in a new manager, and his playing and coaching CV speaks for itself.

Monday and Tuesday’s training sessions were excellent and hopefully we can put everything into effect against Dundee United at the weekend.

Everyone is eager to impress the gaffer, get him a positive result in his first game in charge, and restore the momentum we had built up following the win over Ross County.

Safe travels to everyone following the team up to Tannadice.

C’mon the Ton!



Image: Ross Cameron