As Monty Burns on our latest podcast said, it seems Lenny is getting to lead the team out at the Scottish Cup Final.
Every Celtic fan, least the ones I know or hear on Twitter, cant quite believe it.
No-one has seen any glimmer of hope or a spark here or there that suggests that the combination of the current Management team and Players can produce a single win, let alone a run of 20 odd games as some Celtic fans are daring to suggest out there in Cyberspace.
But hey, we are where we are.
We are 13 points behind with 2 games in hand and we have a Cup Final and a New Years game at Ibrox to face before next Board review and any chance of real change ( barring another disaster or two in next few SPFL games).
So, in finest Ready Steady Cook tradition, lets open the plastic bag of shite and see what appealing concoction we can come up with in respect to a 4 week plan of action.
1: Play Turnbull.
When in doubt in football, go back to basics. If you need a midfielder with desire who can run and create, play him…in midfield!
I would drop Brown. The club captain still has his use but lets bring Scott on to close out games, not to try and win them from the first whistle. Play Turnbull and Macgregor and when one goes forward, the other covers, when needed. Half the time we really dont need 5 guys failing to mark one robust centre forward from an Scottish opponent.
Turnbull showed he can run with the ball as well as play give and go football when he appeared against St Johnstone. Let the guy stake his claim and build the midfield around his energy as we really need runners and some football intelligence in there at present. If game is near won, bring on Brown and also Soro for Turnbull and McGregor or Christie and really use the squad for prepared tactical needs rather than sheer desperation.
2: Dont go Gung-Ho
Lenny has help create mad situations of “Pick Any 6 from 9 permutation” where Mo, Christie, Rogic, Eddie, Ntcham, Frimpong, Laxalt, Griffiths, Ajer have all been charging into the opponents penalty box. Utter madness and of course its just ended up with players running into each other and our balls having nowhere to go in a crowded box.
Lets stop the cavalry charges and play a little bit more intelligent. Build from the back…get the midfielders running BEYOND the strikers, not running INTO the strikers. Lets ensure midfielders cover for rampaging wing-backs, not go stand out on the wings beside them leaving them nowhere to go and also massive gaps at the back. Let us play facing the opponents goal…no more 5 forwards with backs to goal going nowhere with the ball.
3. Prepare / Clinch
Silly as it sounds, at present we just dont look prepared when facing opposition. We line up in same unstructured way and have no impression that players are aware of the challenges ahead. Lets concentrate on handling the opposition first and then deal with how we are going to win the game.
1-0 will do. Every time!
Now is not the time for caring about Goal Difference, now is the time for stability and steady progress. We have been knocked down a few times so far, now we just need to hold on and stand up straight hoping that the Bell rings to allow us a breather.
For the Cup Final, lets not be complacent. Lets be watching Championship leaders Hearts every weekend, Let us know their tactics, strengths and weaknesses with as much exposure as possible, Let’s be ready for them playing the game of their lives and ensure our players know exactly what this game means to the Club.
Lets be frank, we have looked like a Sunday morning side composed of folk who have brought along a mate from work for a game. There are no signs of a relationship anywhere on the park.
We need to see Barkas and Centre half pairing ( pick one and stick with it please!) gel.
We need to see a centre midfield actually control midfield, not 5 yards in front of the centre halves.
We need someone to help Ryan Christie with give and go football and help Eddie break through the lines.
Lets concentrate on individuals roles within the team, rather than a team full of individuals
5: Wings Schmings
We need to address the clear issues out wide. We dont have Forrest on the right and we dont have a left winger, Mo is a drifter who likes to cut inside.
I doubt Mikey Johnston will play for Lenny again after that “Fuck off!” retort so we have the shambles of Laxalt, Mo and sometimes Calmac or Eddie out on the left, all within 5 yards of each other and opponents smoking cigars.
Don’t we have any left wingers in the reserve pool?
Laxalt needs some restraint as his overlapping without getting back is leaving massive spaces at the back so lets try and ease him back a touch allowing some more space for Mo to dribble into.
On the other wing we currently have Christie getting frustrated, Frimpong going nowhere and El Hamed looking clumsy.
Lets leave El Hamed defending and promote Frimpong up the park as he clearly cant defend.
Lets free up Christie to play inside and be the midfield guy who helps Eddie and can actually run passed Eddie to score.
Get Christie and Mo running their heart out and Rogic can replace him on 70 mins
6: Partner Eddie
I’ve said before but if we can get Griff starting, start him. Along side Eddie. Let Edouard drift if he wants, within reason and let Griff run the channels and take the corners and they can jostle for free kick duty.
Ajeti isnt working and Klimala is a dud so lets utilise our two best forwards as much as we can whilst providing a solid backbone behind.
Again, use subs like Rogic and Klimala when needed to rest star players once game is won.
7: Just dont lose
Some may gasp at this, some may swear, but I honestly believe that we don’t need to win at Ibrox. There I said it. In my opinion, we just need to ensure that we don’t lose. A share of the points may not be perfect but its another anchor on which to build. To achieve that, i think we just need to take care of a few essentials:
- Shut down short ball to Goldson. Eddie/Griff/Ajeti needs to split centre halves and pressure McGregor to send it out wide. Rangers copy our old tactic of keeper chipping it out to wing-backs when pressed. So in that case..
- Keep Barisic and Tavernier at half way line or double up inside our own half. Lightweight forwards wont suffice here so Rogic and Mo can sit down, we need shoulders and energy to harass here. Laxalt needs told where his limits on running lanes are!
- Shadow Kent. He thinks he is Pele but when you see him under real pressure, he gets upset and hits the deck. Intense pressure, Turnbull and Calmac can take turns but stopping the ball even getting to him will soon see a petted lip appear.
- Counter at speed. Get the ball to Eddie and send runners like Turnbull as soon as possible. If Griff is fit, send the ball into channels and make their defenders turn. Both Griff and Eddie know how to score counters at Ibrox.
- Set pieces – be brave. Stand your ground, take your man ( known well in advance and no mismatches!) and be steadfast. No shrinking violets need apply
That takes us up to New Year and time for the next “review” according to The Board. Whether Lenny, Kennedy and Strachan all last that long is determined by results but its in their hands to make it happen. If they fail, they go. If they succeed, then they may live to fight another day. Only time will tell but for now, we can only hope we pick up wins in the League and Cup in 2020 before we head to Ibrox and face the real test.
Interesting times indeed.
Leave your thoughts in comments sections below, but save the “Lenny Out” notes as he is here for now and theres nowt to change that.