I was speaking to a friend who supports Newco about their recent decline. His reckons the goalkeeper situation has a lot to do with it. Allan McGregor was a big part of their success last season, now 40, time has caught up. His shot stopping ability has stopped, speed of foot movement has slowed and, as we saw at Celtic Park, he does not command his six yard box.
As a consequence of all of this, confidence of those in front of him evaporated. They play well when on the counter, but pushing up field is dangerous.
We’ve been there. Last season we had the year of three keepers, none of whom convinced the manager to give them an extended run. Not only was our defence unconvinced by the man behind them, they did not know who they were training to play in front of a few days out.
So much went wrong in 2020 it would be harsh to overstate any one element, so don’t misunderstand. But the antics of Fraser Forster, who watched his pal, Craig Gordon, reject an offer to play backup to him at Celtic, to accept a deal on half the money at Hearts, before changing his tune and returning to Southampton is troublesome.
When we watched Joe Hart make that early save on Sunday, we are reminded of the importance of the last line. Without Joe, we would be second favourites for the title right now.