Where do I even begin?
I had to work yesterday and when kick-off came I checked my phone and…County were already down a goal?! How was that possible?! And to Gary Mackay-Steven as well? Not good.
I checked my phone a bit later and all I saw was “2-1,” and I thought, “well, at least we got a goal…”
Then, later still, I took a quick peak on my way to lunch and saw, “3-1,” and figured I’d scroll through the bad news on Twitter while I ate.
The first tweet I saw was about the red card to Efe Ambrose (he’s been a one-man disaster since joining Celtic, has he not?) and that’s when I had the first inkling that it wasn’t Celtic who were pouring on the goals, IT WAS COUNTY!!
Needless to say I spent the remainder of my lunch reading every Tweet about the match and waiting for the final whistle. After work I raced home, read more tweets, searched the net for highlights and generally had the same thought over and over again for the rest of the day, “How do you not love this club?” How, indeed!?
Now that I’ve had a day to digest all that happened I keep coming back to the same thought. I don’t know if we’ll win the cup, I don’t know if we’ll progress in the Scottish Cup, but I do think that we may look back at yesterday as a watershed day in the season, and maybe in the history of the club.
Yesterday’s win had a very different feel than the victory over Celtic in the 2010 Scottish Cup. First, there was nothing “miraculous” about it. The lead up to the 2010 match had the feel of, “Imagine if we beat them…,” while the lead up to yesterday’s match felt more like, “We can beat them.” There’s a big difference between those two approaches to a challenge.
Second, the situation positively reeked of preparation. Jim McIntyre has brought the right players into the club and has played them in such a way as to get the most out of them. He has done it without playing favorites- despite what a few supporters might think- and he has done it without bringing in a coach-load of “sign and hope” players during the transfer window. We brought in only one player during the January window and that was because he wanted to return to the club (which says a lot about where County are as club at the moment). McIntyre put him right into the line-up and what did he go and do? He only scored the winning goal!
I guess what I’m getting at is that I think, whether County win the League Cup or not, the knock-on effect from yesterday’s match is going to be HUGE this season and perhaps beyond it. This is now a club that can now fuse the “belief” and “spirit” that was instilled in them by Derek Adams (credit where credit is due) with the man management and tactical savvy that McIntyre has brought to the club.
“Why not us?” is no longer the breezy response to what might appear to be a difficult situation. Now, it is a serious question. “Why not us?” We’re fit. We’re prepared. We’re playing for each other. We’ve got quality players all around the park. We’ve got loyal support at home and away. We’ve got the best chairman a club could have.
So, why not third place?