Craig Brown has done an excellent job of getting badly-performing players to concentrate on the basics, and utilising the team’s strengths to mask its weaknesses. Key to this has been a stable 4-4-2 formation, placing the onus on the midfield to keep possession of the football, releasing the strain on our weak and unassured defence.
So why on Saturday, in a semi-final, did Craig play the outdated 5-3-2 formation, ceding possession and initiative to Celtic’s gratefully rampant midfield from the kick-off? Brown had built the game up as being less important than the SPL games that surrounded it, but surely it wasn’t the time for experimentation. Brown switched back to 4-4-2 at 0-3, plainly realising he made a mistake, but has refused to take the blame for the defeat.
It was a painful loss for the large travelling support to take; moreover because it was foreseeable as the line-ups were being announced. Hopefully that’s the experimenting over.
See the published version of this article plus fans of other SPL clubs' responses to their team's performance at: http://sport.scotsman.com/newsfront.aspx?SectionID=14223, and in the Scotsman newspaper every Wednesday.