Saints 1-2 Inverness Caley Thistle
It is time for a change of manager. If we stay up, Gus MacPherson is not the man to take us forward. If we go down, he is not the man to bring us back to the SPL. For far, far too long he has failed to deal with basic problems - a lack of width, a lack of goals, a lack of urgency, a lack of pace, a lack of height, a lack of a decent set piece taker. We have stumbled on without these attributes in our team for the best part of two years. It looks as if our luck is about to run out - and we can have no complaints.
Today summed things up. Despite a decent start, where Jim Hamilton looked competent for the first time in months, we lost a goal from a set piece after 11 minutes. Roy McBain's header might not have been over the line, but it was given. Was there a response? A desire to equalise? No. We kept passing the ball about from side-to-side, back but rarely forth, before punting it in the general direction of our big strikers - who were usually beaten by even bigger defenders. There was an urgency in a Caley Thistle team who were right up for it. They were far more direct - what we accomplished with three or four passes, they managed - and were willing to try to manage - with just one.
How we weren't further behind by half time is a mystery as we certainly tried to help Caley Thistle out with some terrible defending. John Potter and the awful Mo Camara were the main culprits - and we have another two years of Potter to look forward to. It's debatable whether he's up to the first division any more, let alone the SPL.
Camara was torn a new one repeatedly at the start of the second half by Dougie Imrie. At one point the pair had a tussle and Imrie threw a hissy fit at Camara. he then repeatedly skinned him, almost scoring twice, before Camara was replaced by David Barron. He left to sarcastic cheers - it's the third time in the past six weeks he's been replaced by Barron. He has been utterly terrible - but he's another who might be with us next season.
Caley Thistle continued to push, Imrie continued to torment. We did sod all. occasionally one of our players had a shot, but few were willing. Then, with 20 minutes left, Billy Mehmet crossed, Hamilton tapped home and we were undeservedly level.
Then some genius, Gus style. He took Hamilton off. I'm the first to say he's been poor in recent weeks, but he had a decent first half and he scored. The decision had already been made before the goal - and this seemed to be the justification for the change. So if someone scores a Maradonaesque goal, leaving a trail of defenders in his week, he'll still come off if the decision has been made? Wyness replaced Hamilton, while Sean Burns replaced Garry Brady.
We should have gone for it. We should have rained in shots. We pushed a bit, forced a few corners (and we know how they usually end up), before being caught out by one. Howard saved the initial effort, but some poor defending allowed it to fall to Ross Tokely and he gleefully fired it home. Of all the players to score a goal that puts us in deep brown stuff, it had to be the most hated opposition player of the last ten minutes.
We nearly grabbed another equaliser, another totally unmerited one, when Burns produced one of the best corners of the season that found Cuthbert, but his effort was cleared off the line. And that was that.
Disgraceful and completely unacceptable - but was it that much worse than several other performances this season? Our lack of someone to take responsibility, the lack of a decent crosser, our willingness to knock the ball about even when we are losing is an absolute joke. It's been going on for too long. Something has to change - but it's almost certainly too late.