Livi'ng on a Prayer

Livi’ng on a Prayer

Well that was the Livingston game.

Phew!

What a palaver!

A bright enough opening spell saw Celtic take the lead with Callum McGregor smashing a great shot in from 20 yards. Then Celtic seemed to sit back a little and the players began taking 2 and 3 touches rather than moving the ball on as quickly as possible. This trepidation allowed the solid Livingston players to regroup and shut us down and despite Eddy hitting the post with a nice attempt, we would sadly go in level at half time after Livi scored from a gift from Fraser Forster.

Im really not interested in folk moaning about a foul shy or the Livi player daring to be within 3 feet of our keeper. Forster is a big lump of guy and if he is going to commit to winning the ball 8 yards off his line then he has to win it or take everyone out of the play when attempting to do so. What we saw was Forster run off his line,  jump up high, get his hands on the ball but then drop it right at the Livi players feet. The Livi centre half duly lifted it over his shoulder and into the net as a bewildered Forster tried running around his blind side wondering where the ball had gone.

Just fucking PUNCH it next time please big man!.

It was really frustrating to concede such a goal. Livi hadn’t been in the game and we had controlled every area of the pitch. Cue one daft shy thrown deep into our box and calamity. Self inflicted damage yet again.

Sure enough, this gave Livi some heart and they started to grow in confidence and come the second half, it would have our heads in our hands.

Now..We have to talk about big Jullien.

What a season he has had.

Scoring goals for fun.

Winning us the league cup

The big Frenchman has done really well since arriving but there sadly lingers a “but”.

He just doesn’t seem to like the physical challenge of a big burly in your face centre forward. Its that and/or the evidence suggests that after 1 mistake, his confidence collapses and he becomes a wreck of a player at times.

Last night we saw Jullien return to the Tony Macaroni stadium after an earlier defeat where he got rag-rolled by their striker Lyndon Dykes. After that defeat, Jullien apologised and said he had learned a valuable lesson.  On last nights second half performance, it seems he had learned hee-haw.

The first half had been fine. Jullien won the high balls down the middle and seemed to be composed. After the break however, it all went pear shaped.

Livi played the ball deep down the right hand side and Dykes raced on with Jullien coming over to cover. Dykes was closer to the corner flag than the goal yet somehow, Jullien panicked and rather than shadow and hold him up, he tried some kind of hardman forearm smash tackle thing than ended up with the Frenchman falling on his arse. Dykes said “Thank you very much” and strolled into an empty box to set up his teammate racing in to score the second Livi goal.

After that, Jullien was like a skittish kitten. Easy balls punted down the middle were treated like hot potatoes, passes to colleagues were ignored for a kick or head out the park. All sense of composure was up in the air and he was making Dykes look like some sort of world beater. It was horrific to watch. At one point someone even compared him to Jack Hendry…it was that bad!

Thankfully though, Livi wouldn’t score again so we were looking down the other end of the pitch for action.

Celtic huffed and puffed but it was no beautiful display. Lenny said we were brilliant after the game but that was clearly just hyperbole and deflection. Up front, Eddy was trying but looked tired. Elyanoussi and Christie were popping up here and there but doing nothing worthwhile. Forrest was playing as a right back more than a right winger. In the middle, Calmac was going from side to side while Broony was watching the action whilst standing beside Ajer and on the left Taylor was trying to get forward but his final ball was finding no-one bar the far side linesman or a Livi defender.

It was clear changes were needed and thankfully on came Frimpong for Taylor with Jamesie switching to left wing. Frimpong immediately started running at the Livi back line and the team in yellowy mustard began going back and back and back towards their keeper. It wasn’t dazzling football but it was pressure and we then brought on Rogic and Griffiths in pursuit of a goal.

Eddy had a chance or two with a nice turn and shot and a free kick attempt but it would be as goal maker that he would earn his money. As the clock passed the 90 minute mark, Edouard ran onto a Forrest pass down the left hand side. Eddy found a burst of speed and skipped pass the Livi defender before pulling the ball back across the 6 yard line for the advancing Rogic. The big Aussie kept calm and passed the ball into the next through a desperate Livi defenders legs.

The point was saved!

Phew indeed!

Then the News came through that Rangers had got beat at home by Hamilton…whodafunk it!

So all in all a positive night as we go 13 points clear but we will be back at Livi more than likely, lets hope we find the game-plan and attitude needed to secure the win there and get that bogey off our back.

 

Ratings

Forster 5 – Dreadful mistake. A few saves but a game he will want to forget as soon as possible.

Ajer – 6 – Not much to do but didn’t get to make many advancing runs.

Jullien – 4 – Shambolic. Needs to toughen up bodily and mentally or learn to manage tough opposition better.

Bitton – 7 – Arguably our best player. Covered well and tried to advance as often as he could to help attack.

Taylor – 5 – He tried but hes a defender being asked to play as a winger..a work in progress but keeps going at least.

Forrest – 6 – Came into game near the end but wasn’t in the game much first half.

Calmac – 7 – Got the goal and tried pushing forward but midfield was all much of a muchness.

Broony – 6 – Won a good few tackles and got stuck in but cant help think we are missing Ntcham alongside him.

Christie – 5 – On, ran about,  sent in a few set pieces, did nowt else of note really

Mo – 5 –  Like Christie, ran about a bit but no real impact

Eddy – 7 – Looked tired but still found the class needed to set up the winner on 90. Hopefully rest him after 60 mins of Saturday.

 

Subs

Frimpong – 5 – Made a good impact. Due a start on saturday.

Rogic – 5 – Scored the equaliser, could he get a run linking up front with Eddy as they gel really well?

Griff – 4 – Led the line and freed up Eddy. Worth a start before Mo on Saturday versus the Buddies.

 

Manager – 5

Took a while to make changes after the Livi goal to go 2-1 up. Cant really fault him for Forster and Julliens mistakes as neither were caused by anything tactical, purely players poor decision making. Could have looked at changing formation earlier as we seemed very lightweight with Christie and Mo and we are crying out for someone who can actually put in a tackle.  Left hand side needs consideration and lots to consider in regards going to Ibrox where we will meet a similar pressing game.