Sunday 12 October 2014

top of the league!

Ian's close-season blog post, below, assessing our prospects of "staying up" in the top flight, now looks strangely pessimistic, in spite of his conclusion that he's "confident we can survive". What a difference the confidence of our team has wrought.

With a quarter of the season gone, Accies have been in unexpected breathtaking form, and we stand clear top of the league on merit. Top scorers, best defensive record, unbeaten since the first game, headline-grabbers as the first away league winners at Celtic Park for nearly two years... the list of our accomplishments goes on. And special mention to Ally Crawford, hitherto a target for frequent abuse from many of our fans, and now the SPL's top goalscorer. Crawford currently looks like one of the most threatening midfielders in the SPL.

The problem with all of this is that it invites predators, and there is already much speculation that we could lose the likes of Crawford, Andreu and Gordon in the January transfer window. Not to mention the architect of this success, "Sir" Alex Neil. Despite his total managerial experience amounting to less than one-and-a-half seasons, Alex has made a huge difference to the way we play football and the results we've achieved.

Building on the good work of Billy Reid, Accies' most successful post-war manager, Alex has accelerated the promotion of young players, trained them to retain possession, developed a free-flowing passing style, and instilled a fearless, winning mentality. For me, he has been the stand-out Accies player of the last decade, but he's already eclipsed his on-field exploits in his short spell in the dugout. It's now surely just a matter of time before he surpasses the peak of Billy Reid's reign, 7th in the SPL, and leads us to a top six finish.

Well done to everyone at the club for making this one of the most pleasurable times to watch Accies.

On a personal note, this has been my first blog post for a while, and it may be some time before I post another. The reinvention of the Acciesworld forum has made it, for now at least, a more civilised place to visit, and I look forward to spending more time there. A downturn in our fortunes could change that, but it's hard to see any such downturn looming. I still believe there is room for a multi-user blog as well as a discussion forum, and I hope others will take up the open invitation to post here.