Posted on Friday, 12th November 2010 by admin
If we were doubt before, we certainly aren’t now. Neil Lennon’s ‘let him settle in’ period is well and truly over following Wednesday night’s poor performance at Tynecastle. Whilst I will be the first to admit that I didn’t want Neil Lennon anywhere near the Celtic job, I was also the first to defend him following Braga, Utrecht, and Rangers. However I feel its time I chalk this poor result down as the manager’s fault. Why? Because Neil Lennon made the exact same mistakes he made against Rangers.
Now don’t get me wrong, the team Neil Lennon picked on Wednesday night should have been more than capable of putting 3 or 4 goals past even a very fired up Hearts side. However, it was the way the team shaped up, their match tactics, everything was wrong. Stokes suffered horrendously on the right against Rangers and did so the same on Wednesday. Didn’t Lennon see the terrific link up play with Stokes and Hooper on Saturday? Why fix it if it simply was not broke? The key mistakes were made before even a ball had been kicked in anger.
What really worried me about Lennon was his substitutions after the Ledley sending off. We had lost arguably our best central player, which surely called for a similar player to replace him in the central area. However Lennon proceeded to take off our right back and our right winger and replace them, meaning we had new wingers but a huge space in the middle of the park. Lennon tried to plug that by moving Maloney in one but that did nothing, Izaguire was having his poorest game in a Celtic jersey trying to kick Templeton never mind trying to take the ball off him. Then McGinn tried his luck on the left in the last 10 minutes and all he found as Samaras getting in his way. Surely if Juarez replaced Samaras, we could’ve went 4-2-2-1 with Ki and Juarez sitting and Maloney and Stokes supporting Hooper?
Well thats probably why I’m not paid to make these decisions.
As much as Celtic were poor on Wednesday night, the referee was just as poor. He made countless wrong decisions, all against Celtic surprise surprise, leading to Celtic being reduced scandalously to 10 men and then to the surprise of everyone (even Craig ‘f the Celtic’ Burley) he denied Celtic a stonewall Penalty when Stevenson mistook the Penalty Area for a Volleyball Court and flicked the ball away from Gary Hooper and Hearts cleared their lines. Surely the linesman seen it? I seen it and I was watching from Dumbarton!
Back to Ledley’s dismissal, what was the difference with his challenge and the challenge Lee McCulloch received a booking for in the Old Firm game? One was made by a player wearing a Celtic top, and the other was made by a player wearing a Rangers top. Celtic should appeal Ledley’s red card, and play him in the next game regardless. Now the penalty, this is as clear a handball as you were ever see. The referee Craig Thomson was quick enough giving a penalty against Rangers for handball when they’re 3-0 up with 10 minutes to go, but wont give a penalty for an even more clear cut handball when Celtic are chasing the game with 20 minutes left? And a mention for Craig Burley’s ‘Hooper’s having a bad night anyway so it would’ve have mattered’ comment. No matter how poorly Hooper was playing, it won’t stop a top class striker pinging one into the back of the net on the volley will it?
Whilst I’m at it, the media have over exaggerated Celtic’s result to save the neck of Rangers, who were utterly embarrassed by second bottom of the league Hibs, THREE NIL….AT HOME!
But don’t worry. Off night for Rangers – Crisis For Celtic
Now those fans screaming Lennon out, take a wee rest people, your work has gone unnoticed, Neil Lennon has done a remarkable job for Celtic in the short time he has had the job, I have never been so confident in my team to perform away from home in years, even before Wednesday I was predicting a comfortable victory for the bhoys. Just one or two mistakes are costing Celtic at the moment, but they are mistakes Lennon, will get them right in future. I don’t agree with the policy of blaming the players for Wednesday, they were obviously told to play to a certain way, which was Lennon’s fault entirely. But that does not mean the Lennon Out brigade have reason to come out. We are not dealing with a ‘well he should know better’ manager, we have a young inexperienced manager who will make mistakes, its better he makes them in November than in March/April.
Although Lennon needs time, Wednesday night will serve as a warning that more poor decisions like that might lead to more concerns.