John Baird understands fans frustrations as Caley Thistle slump continues
A FRUSTRATED John Baird has warned his team-mates it is up to them to give the Caley Thistle faithful something to shout about.
Boos from the stands ushered the players off the pitch in the 3-1 defeat to Livingston on Saturday, as the mood took a sour turn on home soil.
Understandably, the fanbase has had little to shout about of late and directed their anger on the players at the final whistle.
Individual players were also jeered, Baird and Mark Ridgers being two of them, but the former Falkirk striker understands the frustrations.
“Us as players need to get supporters going – it’s not up to them to get us going. If you perform on the park they’ll be easier on the players,” said Baird. “I can totally understand their frustration. This is a team that won the Scottish Cup and played in Europe over the last couple of years and now we’re producing what we’re producing. It’s not good enough.
“We’ve got aspirations to be at the top end of the table but you can’t have them if you don’t win your home games on a Saturday.
“We’ve played three games and drew one – it’s not good enough. We can say we’re going to do this or that but it’s only actions on the park that determine where we’re going to end up.”
The game was grimly predictable, in that it followed the theme of Caley Thistle dominating the ball without doing any great damage. A defence clearly lacking in cohesion was always likely to make it a ropey afternoon for those in the stands and so it proved, with three cheap goals given away.
This theme occurred at times last season under Richie Foran and Baird said it needs to be ended, given that the Caley Jags will likely dominate a lot of games this season.
“I’d be surprised if we didn’t dominate most games at home. Teams are going to come and sit in and hit us on the counter,” he said.
“If you look at the games we’ve won this year, we can’t keep saying we’re dominating games and not winning. Anytime we’ve come up against anyone in the league we’ve not won, that’s no disrespect to Brechin but I don’t think they’ll be anywhere near even the playoff spot.
“We’ve not stamped our authority on the league yet. The good thing is it’s only six games in but if we don’t start moving we’re going to be in trouble.”
Baird was at pains to point out it was a team-wide problem conceding the goals they are. The Caley Jags have now shipped 14 goals – the joint-worst defensive record with Brechin City.
“If we’re losing the goals we’re losing as a team, it’s very difficult to win games. I’ve had a chance in the first 40 seconds and it ends up having a bearing on the game,” he added.
John Robertson bemoaned the difference between training and match-day performances, with a reluctance to pull the trigger creeping in when they play competitively. He labelled it trying to score an “Arsenal goal”, instead of smashing the ball in as they would do during the week.
“There should be more than enough for us to get results,” said Baird. “Monday to Friday is just as important that we apply ourselves in training to sort it, as it is on doing the business on a Saturday.
“It’s decision-making on the park. Maybe they’re trying to give someone an easier opportunity. It’s not really going to get the right noises if you play someone in to get a better chance.
“I’ve not been in a situation like this for a good few years and it needs sorted.”
Robertson promised to make a raft of changes for the visit to Dumbarton next week, after claiming he had given players enough time to bed themselves in.
He also criticised George Oakley and Jake Mulraney indirectly for their lack of influence on the game.
“You’re asking substitutes to go on and make an impact,” he said. “Carl Tremarco got up and down the line like we asked but the other two barely registered a touch.
“These are the guys that are knocking the door asking why they’re not in the team and when they go on, they show you nothing.”