Celtic got some much needed practice at pulling back a two goal deficit yesterday. Inverness took a two goal lead before a patched up Celtic side got a goal in each half, through Mulgrew and Matthews, to level the scores.
Its worth noting that both goals came after neat passing along the ground instead of the traditional sidieways pass to the full back . In fact , when Thomas Rogic tried a couple of shots from outside the box in the first half , you had the feeling Lennon was going to call for a time out so he could ask what was going on.
In the past , Lennon was accused of micro management when he was putting a team together, players had to stick to a system, and there was no diversification. That seems to have been the case this season, except for a couple of instances yesterday. Indeed, there were evn a couple of forward passes that seemed to surprise the recipient, and the key is to keep varying the style, and that way Celtic will become less predictable.
The two goals lost were avoidable at best, and sloppy at worst. Another new defensive pairing showed that Lennon and Mjallby are unsure of who to play there, and as a whole the defence are unsure what to do at set pieces, hence the return to standing around waiting to see what will happen, or zonal marking as it is called in the coaching manuals. In one coaching manual, its in chapter 4, entitled “zonal marking; a waste of time.”
Fraser Forster continued to play as though someone had tied his shoelaces together, while Ambrose and van Dijk gave us the rare opportunity to see the Nigerian try to compensate for someone elses mistakes.
Emilio Izzaguerre couldn’t get his crosses right, but still kept trying, when it would maybe have been kinder to just give him a rest ready for Wednesday, while Adam Matthews was simply outstanding on theb right. In fact, Scott Brown was given the man of the match at the ground, and he should do the decent thing and give it to the Flying Welshman.
After all, if Lustig continues to prefer the right back slot, then Matthews could be shunted into right midfield ahead of Brown, where he could be absolutely devastating.
However , for now, Matthews at right back, and Lustig in the centre, the Swede replaced van Dijk ( and stabilised the defence ) in another bizarre Lennon switch yesterday, but at least it prevented the Dutchman from doing any further damage. Bizarre in that we were still trailing at this point, and it also meant a re shuffle-or at least it seemed like a re-shuffle sort of happened.
With Izzaguerre at left back, that defence should be cool and competent enough to keep the Khazaks at bay. Especially if they have one or two tricks up their sleeves.
As for the rest, Brown and Ledley did okay yesterday, Kayal did play, so I’m told, but went off fairly early. The man of the midfield was Aussie Thomas Rogic, who looked as though he will add something different to the side. Forward passing, shots, tackles etc.
Incidentally, a friend of mine is just back from down under, and when he speaks, he puts the emphasis on the last word in every sentence, like the girl he met over there. Doctor says its a sexually transmitted inflection.
Anyhoo, the big fellow Balde can certainly win and shield a ball, but it does tend to bounce off him a bit. He’ll get better, while others may disagree, but Tony Watt seemed to let himself down again, while Charlie Mulgrew didn’t want to do anything that the boss hadn’t told him.
Bahrudin Atajic made a cameo appearance, and also looked promising, while James Forrest had his best afternoon of the season, and gave himself a chance to get back to full fitness.
One positive from the game, the sustained pressure at the end of the first half was more like the Celtic we know they can be. Ninety minutes of that on Wednesday and the tactically astute Karagandy boss won’t know what hit him.
As for my day out, the Gallowgate hasn’t changed much since my last visit-which surprisingly was the Valencia game all those years ago- and I think at least one of us got exactly the same beer he did that night.
The Sarry Heid was the first port, with the rebel parade passing by so I stood outside the bar , taking photos of my thumb with my phone. On then to the Emerald, the Phoenix, Bar 67 and the Hoops bar, all fairly quiet, except for occasional singing, and all displaying notices banning sectarian chanting.
A campaign is needed to put the fun back into bigotry, otherwise these pubs will close.
Three of us went to the game, one of us saw it. After a pint of fresh orange-ordered by mistake as my colleague was struggling to talk by then, the vitamin C , alien to my system, began its work and I felt a wee bit off.
Walking from the Hoops bar to the ground, the other two were unable to pass Kerrys Bar without calling in, and I didn’t see them again until after the game. to be fair to them, they had been walking for eight minutes and probably needed a rest.
Sitting in 412 meant that about twenty feet below me was the Green Brigade and the drum, but it was hardly noticeable above my screaming. Still, remeber that game when the drummer inspired the team to an historic victory ?
No ? Nor fecking me.
Ditch the drum. Keep the banners and the singing. It wouldn’t be so bad, but he only knows one beat. Which matches none of the songs and sounds like the noise your upstairs neighbours make when they are moving the furniture around.
But, it was still a good day out, and I even got home for about nine thirty, largely because my passengers mercifully fell asleep, like little babies. And moaned when they awoke, also like little babies.
“You don’t even know the score, do you ? ” I asked one.
“You sound like my dad, ” he replied ” When I was younger, used to come down on a Sunday, he’d be reading the paper, ,and he would ask me if it was a good game. I used to say, “whats it say in the Sunday Post ? ” ”
Meanwhile, it appears that a deal has been struck to bring Teemu Pukki to Celtic, £3m being the price, and that will help someone else at Schalke take his place on the bench.
Still can’t get excited over buying a second stringer from another side, and hate this lets hope for the best attitude it seems to highlight ith the management.
As the saying goes, you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince, and the idea is to sign players to do a job for Celtic, not the bank.
Lennon says he wants a couple more in by the end of the week, which will no doubt boost the confidence of those who line up to face Karagandy on Wednesday.
John Thompson was the legend in the question yesterday, today its someone a bit more recent.