Sunday 7th April, 2013 at 9:40pm
As you can imagine, and in sharp contrast to some recent away games, it was a sombre team bus that headed back to Glasgow from Livingston yesterday.
[link:HOME] spoke to manager Alan Archibald as the team bus pulled out of the Livingston car park and his initial assessment probably summed up how we were all feeling at the time.
“The way that it panned out that was a sore one. Losing on penalties is not a nice way to lose a Cup Final by any means especially after we got ourselves back in it in the last minute. They showed a bit of character there but it is a sore one to take. I feel for Conrad to be honest with you. He was one of our best players on the day and he’s been one of our best players all season. He showed a lot of courage to step up and take the penalty. We’ve all been in that position and it is a lottery by that point. We had six names written down of players that would definitely take a penalty and that’s all that you can ask for.”
Did Alan think that when Kris Doolan equalised with almost the last kick of the ball that our name was on the cup?
“I did. We hadn’t played up till then to be honest. We didn’t get anywhere near the way we have been playing all season. We didn’t pass the ball at all and maybe the occasion got the better of some of our lads.”
Only very rarely did Alan think his side had been the better of the two teams.
“I thought that we started extra-time the better team. It was probably the only spell in the game when we were the better team.”
Conditions weren’t ideal yesterday but as the manager correctly pointed out that was something that both teams had to contend with.
“I don’t think either side has played much football today although both have had good seasons. I don’t think the ball got passed about at all. I don’t know if that was down to the wind or the balls and the surface probably didn’t help but that’s an excuse for both teams; it certainly isn’t an excuse for just one. I thought that they played the conditions better than we did. ”
An explosive finish saw Aaron Muirhead sent off after seeing his penalty saved. Alan was able to provide us with his take on what occurred.
“I didn’t see it happen but by all accounts he’s headbutted the lad. He’s taken the penalty and the lad has rushed up to him and Aaron’s first reaction is to lash out. I was disappointed with that and I was more disappointed with his reaction after that; he was getting involved with the crowd. That’s why I was having a go at him as he came off the pitch. I just wanted him to get down the tunnel before he got himself into more trouble. He’s a young lad and he’ll need to learn from these things.”
At the moment we are unsure what punishment Aaron will receive.
“He was already out of Wednesday’s game and at the moment we don’t know what other games he will miss. No doubt Ian Maxwell will be able to let us know about that in due course but it is a blow to be without him.”
On a more positive note Alan continued;
“I think Ross Forbes and Christie Elliott both made a big contribution when they came on. I felt they changed the game for us a wee bit. Christie brought a bit of energy to the team. He got the ball down and he drove at them and it was a wee bit of brilliance from Ross to set up the goal.”
We move on now to a huge game on Wednesday against Morton. Said Alan;
“If you can’t get up for that game you’ll not be up for any game. It’s now a massive game for us, it now becomes another cup final for us. We’ll need to see how they recover from today when they never really showed up. They’ll not be able to do that on Wednesday night.”
A couple of days ahead of that game there are already doubts surrounding the fitness of some players.
“I think we’ve got a few that are struggling. Christie Elliott is a doubt, someone stood on his ankle. Then there’s Stuart Bannigan who came off during the game and I think Jordan McMillan is already a doubt. He’s been unwell since last week and I haven’t actually seen him since last Thursday. We’ll see how things are when they come in on Monday morning. It was always our plan, win or lose, to have the players in on Monday as we start to plan for the Morton game. I know we’ve had a lot of midweek games but you want to get the players in as quickly as possible and start the recovery process.”