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Started on 18 April 2019 by Imagine
Latest Reply on 17 September 2019 by Imagine

On the back of successive seasons only winning the double and not achieving too much progression on the European stage my frustrations were starting to show. This meant that for the first time in a long time we had a proper clear out of first team players. Half of our core defenders left the club in the summer of 2032 as we set about rebuilding from the back. Murray McAllister played with us for around nine years, Adam Munro and Kenny McAvoy were each with us for a decade, full backs Blair Thomson and Jamie Dair were with us for eleven and seven years respectively. The departures of McAllister, Munro and McAvoy left a gaping hole in the centre of defence as these guys were three out of my four key centre backs. Ross McCrorie was the fourth but he too needed replaced due to his advancing years and he was asked to accept less playing time this year and as a result he decided he would retire upon the seasons end. The departures of Dair and Thomson left us needing rotational options in the full back areas too. We were fortunate enough though to have players returning from loan spells, on the fringes of first team and in the youth set up that we believed could fill the void left by aforementioned. Shaun McStay and Ricardo Macedo made the step up from the youth team, Colin Noble and Bobby Cowie emerged from the fringes of first team football to full rotation and Martin Wilson done the same after his productive spell on loan at Ross County. With us needing that extra bit of ability and experience added to the side we decided to splash a rare bit of cash and bought David O'Donnell from Blackburn to complete our new look defence. Reese Camm was the last first team player to depart as he followed the path of Jamie Dair by going out on loan.

I was much happier with my squad going into the season as I felt we had freshened the side up pretty well and looked good for it. Our season got off to a flier as we won all our competitive games up until the 1st of October where we succumbed to defeat to a stubborn Motherwell side. In the following two months we were defeated three times across three competitions. Hibernian took us to extra time in the Scottish League Cup and beat us as we failed to win the competition for the second year running. We were also beaten in our return tie with Chelsea but we managed the better result over both games which set us up to finish 1st in the group ahead of Chelsea, despite their 10-0 victory over Napoli. Celtic then beat us in the league and narrowed our lead at the top but our eight game winning streak opened the gap right back up again before Hearts decided they wanted in on the action and beat us in the New year. The rest of January and also February saw progression in the Scottish Cup and an unbeaten run in the league. During this period we also played Manchester City in the Champions League and we were knocked out rather weakly yet again. We were on the receiving end of resounding defeats to both Edinburgh clubs during the latter stages of the season and Motherwell beat us again too which signaled danger for us as Celtic had closed the gap on us again. Thankfully we were able to win our two games inbetween our draw with Celtic which was just about enough to secure us the league title for the 15th time in a row.

This was a season in which I felt we really struggled as we lost nine games and drew four but in reality, the games that we did actually win weren't convincing enough for me. It was just all too close this year and required me intervening constantly in terms of criticizing the players, giving them angry team talks and also issuing warnings and fines over poor performances. It simply wasn't good enough. What may have been a major factor in our struggles could have been the absence and ultimate lack of form of Tony Herd who was sidelined with a two month abdominal injury as well as well as two or three other niggling injuries he picked up. These injuries seem to have set Tony back quite a lot as he went from a player without any cons to his name to a player lacking in confidence in big games among a couple of other slight issues. It would seem that we didn't set him on the right path when he came back from injury as we threw him straight back into the team and didn't allow him to do some rehab work on his return. With Herd being the focal point of my team I am now worried that he is on the decline and unlikely to break the records set by Ally McCoist, Sam English & Sandy Archibald. I can only hope that next season he stays injury free and gets some goals in pre-season as a confidence booster after his poorest season yet.

We say goodbye to our captain of eleven years this summer as Ross McCrorie has taken the decision to retire from the game completely after 339 league appearances, 18 goals, 15 league titles and 15 cup wins. We will sorely miss his presence in the dressing room, on the park and off the park too as he was a fantastic leader for many years. His departure fills a void I'm not quite sure how to fill as of yet. On a bright note, Dean Wilson had a fantastic season for us as he picked up four individual league awards as well as being named in the team of the year. An indicator of how the season of 2032-33 went in the Scottish Premiership was Bobby Docherty winning the golden boot despite only scoring 15 goals, the second lowest amount by the golden boot winner in fifteen years.

Given the state of our last season it's fair to say that an overhaul could be on the cards yet again or it might actually be best to give our newer and younger players an extra season together to gel. All I know is that something has to give, we need to step it up a gear across all competitions now and the players have got to know that.

Records to beat
Sandy Archibald - 513 League appearances
Ally McCoist - 251 League goals
Sam English - 44 League goals in one season
Bill Struth - 18 League titles

Ross McCrorie - 339 League appearances
Tony Herd - 348 League appearances
Bobby Docherty - 308 League appearances
Tony Herd - 235 League goals
Bobby Docherty - 197 League goals
Tony Herd - 37 league goals in one season
Christopher Burns - 15 League titles

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