Groundhog Day

It’s Groundhog Day today, Some furry animal called Phil has popped up and there’ll be six more weeks of winter as according to the American tradition.

It’s coming up to the weekend with Scottish Cup and Six Nations fixtures which to me, indicates that spring will soon be with us.

Groundhog Day though, always makes me think of the Bill Murray film in the nineties where he experiences the same day and same events over and over.

In the Gus MacPherson era at St Mirren, that seemed to be a call in the press by the manager for a ‘reaction’.

Saturday sees Ross County visit Paisley in the Scottish Cup and it’s very much Groundhog Day for St Mirren in terms of again looking for a lift from a cup tie.

Similar sentiments were expressed by the Saints Faithful before the Hamilton Accies cup replay, that a cup win could see St Mirren kick on and get the season going.

Saints are on 27 points in 9th place in the table, just below Dundee Utd and Kilmarnock on goal difference. Two points ahead are Aberdeen in sixth and Inverness are tenth a point behind us with a nine point gap over second bottom Hibs and Saints are a full ten points ahead of the newly John Potter free Dunfermline.

So far, so good and for all the media praise of the performances and football played by Danny Lennon’s side, there’s much head scratching amongst the support as these performances haven’t quite gathered the expected number of goals or points that they deserve.

The transfer window has come and gone, Dougie Imrie comes in as a useful addition to the squad and Jim Goodwin’s services have been retained for another two and a half years after some flirtation with Hibs.

No young players were tempted away despite the speculation over Kenny McLean.

Disappointment seems to be the reaction from saints fans on the winter transfer window and a popular shout has been for a big striker and a big centre half to come in.

Saints did have a sniff though at former striker John Sutton, who has escaped Hearts for Australia.

On the big defender front, some positive news over Darren McGregor’s recovery and he’s reported to be near a come back.

As for the cup, County represent a tough test as the current leaders of the first division, although, their gathering of points has slowed in recent weeks, but with a few ex-saints in the side, they will be a tricky opponents.

Danny Lennon’s poor record against lower division opposition in the cups is known by supporters and there’s concern about a recent run of form that has been less than convincing.

That Christmas Eve win over Rangers apart, Saints are 9 SPL games without a win.

Including the win against Rangers, only 7 points accrued in last ten SPL games since St Mirren beat Dunfermline in mid-November.

A positive result certainly needs to pop up like that groundhog rodent and this time spark the season.

How does Danny Lennon do that?

Changes in personnel and formation will be needed after McLean’s injury and with Goodwin likely to still be out another few weeks, but will there be further changes to try and tighten up at the back and to give Saints a better platform to attack?

For me, a steadying of formation to a more rigid or stable 442 would be welcome.

Is it maybe time for a return for Hugh Murray sitting in with Barron in centre midfield until Goodwin is fit again?

Perhaps a settled partnership of Imrie and Thompson upfront with support from McGowan and Carey to get balls into the box.

We’ll see if the manager makes changes or if, finally ‘everything clicks into place’ against County on Saturday.

Interesting times ahead and hopefully this time a cup result can propel saints marching on with eight SPL fixtures ahead before that SPL split in April.

As for our Rodent friend. We’ll see if he’s right about that six weeks soon enough.


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