Captain’s Log with Jim McAlister

Good afternoon everyone. I hope this finds you well.

Since my last column, we have had played two fixtures, away at Tannadice and at home to Dunfermline Athletic on Saturday.

We travelled to face Dundee United having had our first full week’s training with the new manager, who had us well prepared and well drilled for the challenge.

The team started the game positively and got our just rewards when big Bucky [Gregor Buchanan] was fouled in the box and Tids slotted home the penalty.

If you asked any of the boys on the field that day I’m sure they would agree that we actually felt extremely comfortable dealing with everything United threw at us in the second half.

And, on another day, we could have even killed off any hopes of an equaliser by scoring a second goal to tie up the three points.

After dealing with about a dozen long throws – well, that’s what it felt like! – United finally broke us down, scoring in the third minute of stoppage time.

As we kicked off from centre the referee blew for full time and you could probably tell by the reaction that we were absolutely gutted to draw 1-1.

To concede a goal so late on after the whole team had put so much into the game meant it certainly felt like a defeat.

Another way of looking at it, however, is that we have taken four points out of six against two of the title favourites so far this season, and came within around 20 seconds of all six.

The United game was put to bed on Monday – but not before we analysed the video and learned from it – before turning our attentions to another difficult game, against Dunfermline.

Peter Houston was added to the manager’s backroom staff the day prior to the Pars’ visit to Cappielow, and it was an appointment that certainly impressed the changing room.

Housty’s experience in the game, both as a manager and an assistant manager, can only be good for us and the gaffer.

The game, from our point of view, saw us put in what we consider to be our worst performance of the season so far.

We were a tad fortunate to get away with a point after young Tiff pulled us out of a hole with a fantastic hit after cutting in from the left-hand side.

It took that goal to finally get us going and we could have even nicked it at the end when Gary Oliver hooked a half-chance over the bar.

Taking stock, there are a couple of positives we can take from the game. Firstly, as poor as we were, we dug in and stayed in the game and still managed to pick up a point, and that’s a good trait to have.

Tiff’s late equaliser also helped maintain our unbeaten home record, stretching it to five matches in all competitions, which is going to be invaluable going forward.

Speaking of matches at Cappielow, I witnessed our reserve side play Celtic on Tuesday afternoon after training, and I couldn’t write this without giving them a mention.

They won 3-1, but it could easily have been more. Not only was their superior hunger and desire there for all to see, but they also showed excellent quality as well.

The boys scored three fantastically well-worked goals and it will do their confidence the world of good knowing they more than matched a team including players who have played in Europe and the World Cup. Well done, lads!

Another huge congratulations goes to team-mate Lee Kilday and his partner Chloe on the birth of their baby girl, Quinn.

Lee has certainly had a spring in his step this week and understandably so. But as a dad of two myself, I can’t wait to see him in a few weeks when the sleepless nights start.

Just like fatherhood, there is no let up when it comes to the Ladbrokes Championship and this week sees us host league leaders Ayr United.

It’s another very difficult game but one we look forward to as it offers us a chance to get closer to the team at the top.

Having already played them in the Betfred Cup this season, we know exactly what to expect and hope to reverse the result from that summer’s day down at Somerset Park.

Enjoy the game.

C’mon the Ton!