Wednesday 18 September 2013

Accies vs Cowdenbeath - SPFL Championship, Sat 21 Sep 2013

Eight competitive games into the season is an arbitrary time to be taking stock, but it’s a while since we went into a home game that most Accies fans and nearly all neutral observers expect us to win – and that alone speaks volumes.

Alex Neil took charge for seven league games at the end of last season, won 5, drew 1 and lost 1 – the loss coming in our previous encounter with Cowdenbeath, when we led 1-0 until a red card for Ryan saw us play more than half the match with ten men and ultimately lose 3-1. The points tally of 16 was a significant contribution to our year’s total of 51 – more than 2 points per game, versus just over 1 point per game for the season up till then.

It was hard to judge Neil as a manager on just those seven games, but the eight so far this season have exceeded them, in terms of points, goals, performances and bravura.  Who would exchange Neil’s exuberant Accies for the same group of players who struggled last season under Billy Reid?

Neil himself admirably keeps his feet on the ground.  In his post-match interview at Kilmarnock, following our League Cup win, arguably the highlight so far of his time in charge, he said it was all right as long as we are winning.  This remains the question mark – football is all about confidence, and what will happen to this young team’s confidence when we lose a couple on the bounce? Not that there’s any sign of that, but over a long season, injuries, suspensions and luck all inevitably play their part.

It is astonishing how much better the team looks, and the credit for that lies chiefly with Alex Neil.  I was among those who defended Billy Reid to the last – I felt he deserved it, given his record as Accies' most successful post-war manager – and I feared managerial change could set us back. Neil was a risky appointment, untried and unknown, but he has exceeded all expectations: his fifteen game record in all competitions so far is won 11, drawn 2 and lost 2 – the form of title challenges and cup runs.

Our very young defence looks remarkably settled, with Cuthbert and Canning marshalling the youthful trio of Gordon, Devlin and Hendrie; in the middle, Gillespie, Crawford and McKinnon all look brighter, with Andreu a more than useful addition; and Keatings up front has staked his place. Who misses Stevie May? There suddenly seems to be depth to this squad, and competition for places all over the park. Most significantly, we carry a range of attacking threats that our opponents must fear.

Cowdenbeath might have been more motivated than Accies on the last day of last season – needing a win to stay up, while for us it was about little more than pride, but that will be different this time.  Accies will want revenge, and I predict a reasonably comfortable Accies win – perhaps 2-0.  With pretty much a full squad to choose from, and in impressive form, that is no less than we now expect.

Congratulations in advance to match mascot Duncan Ryrie.


  1. Well we got the 3 points and the goal was a cracker but to be honest Cowdenbeath must be wondering how they didn't leave with a share of the points. Can't imagine they will want to see the video of their missed sitter nor will Curier want to see his missed opportunity at the end. Whatever sometimes you have to grind out results and thats what we did today plus a bit of luck. Thats what championship winning seasons are about. But a crowd of 817 is not good. Less the 71 Cowden fans thats 746 Accies fans Where are they?

  2. Great to see the same XI start for the fourth game in a row. It was a cagey first half, but I felt once we got the opening goal, it would open up and more would follow. How wrong could I be? Neat pass from Crawford, clinical finish by Ziggy, enough as it turned out to win the game. But thrills and spills before then. The loss of Ziggy upset our formation, the double substitution more so, and but for comically bad shooting by Cowdenbeath, there would have been no win to celebrate. Assuming Ziggy and Gillespie, who also took a knock, are fit, I'm sure Alex will want to revert to the same starting XI on Tuesday - and rightly so.

  3. The Hamilton Advertiser twitter feed suggested that Accies should have been out of sight by HT - not really the tale being told above. I'm just happy to see 3 points added to the tally and am now looking forward to another possibly tiring distraction on Tuesday night. TOTL.