The Dark Blues nearly crashed out the Scottish Cup this weekend to Inverness CT. Here is the five things we possibly could have learned from our Scottish Cup game.
Neil McCann’s Substitutions
When the Boss gets substitutions wrong, he tends to get them wrong big time and against Inverness CT he proved this. One can only hope that when he replaced Scott Allan and Paul McGowan both players were either nursing an injury, or it was a tactical change to keep the players fresh for the midweek game against Hibernian.
Both Allan and McGowan’s body language when walking off the park suggested they were not happy about being replaced, and you couldn’t blame them either. There were plenty of other candidates for the role of the substituted.
This leads me to wonder if McCann just makes changes for the sake of making changes, and Allan and McGowan are his go to players for replacing.
McCann cost us a the win after he replaced McGowan with Wolters. We then changed shape after he moved Wolters into a right wing position, which then left us a man sort in midfield and it took two minutes for ICT to equalise after that change.
Scott Allan is not a winger
The term round peg in square whole fits the way Neil McCann utilises Scott Allan. When Allan’s name is on the team sheet, he is either on the substitutes bench or he is played as a left Winger.
You will not get the best from Allan when he is being played like this, if we are going to have him on the sub’s bench all the time, we might as well send him back to Celtic and this doesn’t serve the player or the club any good.
Playing Allan on the left wing is just as equally bad, as he is NOT and never been a left midfield/ winger, he is a play maker, the number 10 of the Harkings variety. Put him behind our strikers and he will create chances all day long with those inch perfect passes and little back heals.
Sometimes you get the feeling that Scott Allan is an afterthought when it comes to the team selection, let’s just stick him here because we don’t know what to do with him type. When it comes to the midfield, we should build a team around him to draw out his strengths and as used as a play maker otherwise, hand him back to Celtic.
Sofien Moussa is not a football player never mind a striker.
Every manager has that one player who is hyped up and comes with a certain expectation of this is the next big thing, and Moussa definitely came under that category. Before big Sofien Moussa signed there was rumours that Dundee FC would capture a marque signing, a star of biblical proportion who could finally take the mantel of god of goals: Kane Hemmings. However, Moussa has since flattered to deceive and it quickly became apparent, he was not what we were led to believe.
You have to question whether Neill McCann had actually seen Moussa play before signing him. Jocky Scott signed Chris Casement before watching him play, however give Scott some credit, he soon realised pretty quick that Casement wasn’t good enough and that was the end of days at Dens for the Right-back.
A quick look at Sofien Moussa’s Wikipedia stats and you quickly get the impression Moussa wasn’t that elusive goal scorer after all. The fact that he had only scored a total of 13 goals over 7 years with over a 130 appearances, you would think the alarm bells would be dinging like merry hell right away.
So far Sofien Moussa has scored 8 goals for the club, which first reading you would think that wasn’t that bad. However you would be wrong. Expect when he scored a hat-trick against Cowdenbeath in the Betfred Cup, most of his goals in the Premier League have come from the penalty spot or off the back of his arse.
The fans so want to love this guy, there is no mistaking that, they want nothing more than to shout ‘MOUSSA! MOUSSA! MOUSSA!’ all day long especially after he has grabbed another goal for us. The sad reality is, the fans are starting to believe he is so far out of his depth he requires a periscope just to see what is going on around him. At times is seems he has a square head when it comes to heading, two left feet which look like they have never kicked a ball and he thinks the off-side rule doesn’t apply to him.
I think the problem most fans have with him is the fact that McCann seems adamant that Moussa will work regardless of what he should be seeing on the park. His name seems to be the first on the team sheet regardless of how he played in the game beforehand.
Either bring in a striker or play the young lad Henvey, at least he has shown where he knows the goal is.
Darren O’Dea should step aside in his defence duties
Darren O’Dea in his day was a great player and a good servant to his country, today, not so much and it is now showing on the Park.
Either O’Dea’s form has dipped drastically from last year or this is proving to be a season to much at this level. At the ripe old age of 30, he is showing signs of slowing down and getting frustrated with his own playing. Testament to these facts that this season, is that he has been shown 8 bookings and two sending off in 14 appearances.
O’Dea also seem to be having trouble with the way the manager wants to play the ball around the back to draw out the opposition. You can see he is not comfortable playing this way and the fans are quick to show their displeasure when he make mistakes because of the way he has been asked to play.
We have other defenders at the club, such as Hendry, Meekings, Waddell, Gadzhalov and Etxabeguren who would be more comfortable with the ball at their feet and playing the way McCann wants. The fact that we now have around six players who can play in the central defender role, you wonder have far O’Dea will have slipped down in the pecking order.
McCann is now favouring a Hendry and Meekings partnership when both players are fit. With the possibility that Hendry could be off before the end of the January window, one has to assume that Waddell will take his place once Waddell comes back from injury?
Neil McCann knows what he wants from his team
No matter what happens, Neil McCann will always be a Dee Legend regardless of the outcome of his managerial career at Dens Park. There is nothing that will ever change that for me, and the fact that he decided to come out of retirement to help this club in its time of need, speaks volumes on how he feels and loves this club.
He took an absent of leave from his job at Sky Sports towards the end of last season as we as a club who looked a dead ringer for the play off place (if not automatic relegation) and he lifted the players, club and supporter’s confidence and spirits which helped to get those important wins to stave off that play off threat.
This season however has not been a bed of roses for him as a manager as he went about changing the mentality of the way we as a club think and play. The players that he has brought into the club have mostly went down well with the supporters. Kamara, Parish, Allan, Aurtenetxe, Deacon, Hendry, Meekings and Spence are player who have impressed the most, with Hendry and Kamara getting most of the plaudits from the fans.
Neil McCann wants his team to play exciting attacking football, you can see that in the way we setup with 2 – 3 strikers at times. He likes the ball to be played along the ground and not this hoof ball up to a target man his use off playing wide. While the football isn’t perfect, it is a long way off from Paul Hartley’s last season in charge where we have 10 men constantly behind the ball regardless of who we were playing.
At the start of the season we were shipping goals, this was either down to the way we were playing, the players or a mixture of both. You have to believe that this was a learning time for the so called ‘Rookie’ manager as he was stilling bedding into full-time managerial life.
He then went about making some hard changes. Parish for Bain, Aurtenetxe for Holt, and Meekings for O’Dea and these produced results on the park nearly over night. We became a lot more solid defensively and started to get a few clean sheets and some important wins against the so called bigger clubs.
We have a much better team than last season, we are one or two players away from have a decent team that with a lot of hard work could start to push up the table. That top 6 place is only 4 points away, but it would require us getting a lot of good results against teams around us. But, in all honesty, I would just prefer us keeping away from those relegations spots and let McCann learn and build on the success and failures for next season.