Celtic lost 2-1 to “rangers ” yesterday, largely because it appears the manager doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing, whereas the rookie Scouser, often the butt of jokes on here, has got the hang of playing Celtic.
All season we have been warning that complacency could cost us, and despite being fortunate to overcome an enthusiastic and well organised “rangers ” in the League Cup, Neil Lennon didn’t change a thing, and sent out a team who looked nervous, uncomfortable and dare I say it, intimidated by the opposition.
The sight of James forrest cutting inside whenever Frimpong was in possession was clearly a management tactic, but down the right, where “rangers ” are vulnerable, Frimpong was left in possesssion with little or no options available.
At Hampden, Gerards men hunted in packs and crowded out the midfield.
Lennon had shoehorned Olivier Ntcham into the side in the run up to this game, presumably to get him. Brown and MacGregor used to each other so that they could counter the “rangers ” tactic of flooding the midfield.
Then, bizarrely, he left him on the bench yesterday, and “rangers ” promptly flooded the midfield and Celtic never looked like they would gain any sort of hold in there.
Lennon hadn;t learned from the Hampden game, where Celtic were outfought and out thought.
It’s as simple as that.
Complacency has set in amongst the management, and the stories that Lennon no longer runs the team , leaving it to his back room staff raise two questions ..
Firstly, has Lennon lost interest due to Lawwell holding the purse strings tightly again, bearing in mind that Peter gets paid more the more money is in the bank, or has he lost the trust of the players, and they are only paying him lip service ?
More worryingly, is there conflict between coaches and management ?
That possibility gains credence if you consider Ntcham being played in the run up to this game, for the reasons outlined above, and then dropped, presumably because the manager has had the final say, and overruled the coaches, who clearly knew the game would be won or lost in midfield.
If the management have become complacent, the players will follow their lead.
I told a little fibber in the diary last week when i said that the players were moaning about the other pitches they play on, when in fact it’s Celtic Park they don;t like playing on, as they consider it to be the worst pitch in the league, which is saying something.
Last week, I felt it could have been counter productive to mention that, but this week, it seems that the management don’t even care about the state of the pitch, which is another sign of complacency.
Complacency which was evident yesterday as the players all seemed to think something would happen, but none of them really looked like they would grab the initiative and make it happen.
Maybe it was just that they all had an off day, but to me it seemed like they’d regressed to the sidieways football in the hope that an opposing player would leave a bit of room for them to break through, and that wan;t going to happen.
Even more worryingly, the vast majority of supporters, going by twitter , are calling it one defeat, and reminding us that we are top of the league, one cup is in the bag, and in the knockout stages of the Europa League.
It is one defeat, but it has handed the initiative to “rangers “, who having made an arse of this position last year , seem to have learned from it and although their team is full of journeymen, they are certainly greater than the sum of their parts.
They are learning, we are not.
This is as precarious a position as any Celtic have been in for many a year, and thats largely because the board, the management the players and the supporters don’t seem to have grasped the severity of the situation.
Even the groundstaff are guilty of negligence.
If “rangers ” have sussed out how to play against us, then everyone else will be doing it in January.
We have taken them too lightly for too long, and they have imprived over the last twelve months beyond recognition, whereas Celtic have been doing the same thing , week after week, and steadily it has become much harder to win games, as teams get closer and closer to if not matching us on the pitch, certainly nullifying the way we play.
So, whats the solution ?
Where do we go from here ?
Thankfully, the winter break is now upon us, and tired minds and legs can take a break.
But, we need one hundred per cent focus when we come back. We need to add a few more arrows to our bow, by utilising fringe players, and altering formations and shape.
Martin O’Neill was noted for sticking with his favourites, and was reluctant to try anything else with anyone else, and Lennon is the same.
New faces are needed, as we don’t seem to have the right blend on the pitch.
Kris Ajer is a great player, but he lacks the discipline to be a centre half. We need some baby eating beats alongside Chris Julien.
Boli Bolingoli isn’t what we need at left back, we need a left back.
Ajer should be in midfield, learning how to be Scott Brown.
As for the forwards, Oddsone Edoaurd would be twice the player he is if he had someone alongside him.
That someone is not Leigh Griffiths, as was shown yesterday when he elected to shoot rather than put the ball in the box from a wide left free kick.
He was never going to score from there, and it shows he is interested only in Leigh Griffiths and not in the team.
Perhaps a change to 3-5-2 for domestic matches, although to do that we need to bring in a striker, and if I was Lennon i’d be looking at the French under 21s, and see which one Eddy fancies playing with.
Failing that, we’d better hope that Lawwell and Desmond have realised the gravity of the situation, although I’ve got something that may -or may not-surprise you when it’s published later today.
In short, I think the Old firm are back, and I think it’s what our board wants.
Elsewhere, and Rod Stewart, the adenoidal racket maker may well be the epitomy of the attitude in the prawn sandwich section, judging by this tweet…
. Could have gone either way . Would someone please tell Morelos to just stand up and play football? If he must dive please go to the nearest swimming pool. – Sir Rod
The competition from over the river is stronger now than at any point since their formation, and as they grow in strength, they are more and more referred to as Rangers, and the events of the early years of this decade are airbrushed out of history, a shameful acceptance of cheating and fraud.
They got away with it, and the media are encouraging it
Money talks, not only at Sky Tv, or at the Scottish football authorities.
But at Celtic, and Celtic PLC appear to be welcoming them back.
If Celtic fail to win the league this year, it will be because of neglect off the field , and complacency on it.
Lennon needs to get his act together, before it’s too late.
That is, if its not already too late.
Yesterday, we had this..