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Riding the crest of manager's wave of good decisions

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Chris Jardine | 17:18 UK time, Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Given the choice of which one of our first three matches we would win, I'm sure we would all have chosen Saturday's against East Stirlingshire. Given the choice of which match I would be left out of from the three and that is the last one I would have picked.

It's been a long time since I've been left out of the starting 11, but that horrible feeling has never changed.

I felt very hard done-by, but I was also expecting it. I'm asked to play a certain position for the team and that was needed more than ever against a First Division side in Partick Thistle.

It was always going to be a defensive performance in that game and prove difficult to express yourself in a more attacking and creative role; to a certain extent, the pressure was off.

It's common knowledge that the club is expecting more from us this year and the play-offs is a realistic target, so the pressure was most certainly on to get a victory in our first league match. With that, I was left out and my place went to Mike Jack (pictured). The other change to the team from the previous week saw David Cox come in to replace Pat Walker.

After 20 minutes, the lads were 3-0 to the good with a goal from Jacko and two assists from Coxy, so there could be no banging on the managers door on Monday night!

jack595.jpg

Seriously, Harry Cairney was proved correct in his decision and that five-minute blitz in the first half won us the game, so it was job done. I won't pretend it was pretty for the rest of the match, because it wasn't always. As I have said before, we got ourselves in front and earned the right to sit in and put the onus on to East Stirlingshire. It's not always going to be pleasant to watch, but it's results that matter.

We got told before the team was announced that a friendly had been arranged for Monday against local South of Scotland side St Cuthbert Wanderers. After the victory on Saturday, my attention turned to that one as it had, in my opinion, become even more important than the Partick Thistle game.

It's easy to lift yourself for a game like that but harder for a game that you end up winning 11-1. You have to show the manager and coaching staff you have the correct attitude at all times and are willing to put a shift in no matter who you come up against.

It was a full-strength squad we used, with the ones who did not start on Saturday getting a full 90 minutes. The only players not involved for us were David Cox and Steven Sloan; they came on for half an hour for the opposition as they were short of players!

I've just realised that it was my first full match since our pre-season game at Dalbeattie Star on 3 July - I've been subbed in every match since!

I think our squad is pretty much finalised for the time being. Young Steven Lawless will be due back at Motherwell soon, so the only movement could see another striker coming in.

We will hopefully have Graeme Bell returning after his recent operation, so if this goes to plan then Harry may very well be content with what he has. This is definitely the strongest squad we have had since coming in to the Scottish Football League and I think everyone will play their part.

The manager has said that things will be changed around when necessary, so players will be in and out. I certainly hope this is true after Saturday.

This weekend's trip to face Arbroath could very well be one of those matches where players are shuffled around once more. We are away from home and Arbroath banged in five goals at Elgin last week and we know how hard a place that is to go.

Paul Sheerin has made what look like very good signings on paper, so we might have to play a wee bit differently. We might have to be a bit more patient than last week and sit in at times; now I wonder who might be able to help with that side of things?

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