Posted on Monday, 11th March 2013 by admin
There’s something about Derek Adams and Ross County which Neil Lennon and Celtic cannot seem to handle.
Lennon’s first duel with Adams came in 2010 in hell. Otherwise known as Hampden. The highland outfit made light work of a pathetic Celtic team to progress to the Scottish Cup Final. In August 2012, a last minute Kris Commons goal rescued an undeserved point for us at the start of the season. On Saturday, once again, Ross County triumphed over us, when after 20 minutes, it seemed the game was done and dusted. But we should have known better, after all, our captain at Victoria Park was bumping his gums about getting the title wrapped up nice and early for more ‘holidays’. How’s that worked out, Joe ?
A large amount of the blame for Saturday’s loss has to be dished out towards the manager – a man who, for some reason, still holds a considerable portion of power over our fanbase.
I’ve re-watched Saturday’s game twice now and there’s so much wrong with this Celtic team just now that if you said ‘this lot reached the last sixteen of the Champions League’ to a footballing ignoramus they would call Carstairs for you to be sectioned.
First point - Tactics. What formation did we actually play ? BBC Alba states it was a 4-4-2. Many papers insist it was 3-5-2. The fact that this isn’t crystal clear says it all! Efe Ambrose was no doubt starting in defence but drifted out so far from his position that he ended up belting out drunken rebs with the Green Brigade. Dylan McGeouch, whose best running at defenders and delivering in the final third, seemed to be told to defend more and as a result was swamped and overran down the right and it was no surprise he was replaced with 25 minutes to go. Stokes, so deadly at domestic level in the last few weeks, seemed to be punted out to the left wing and his contribution and all round game was severely hampered. Gary Hooper offered nothing the entire second half yet was left on the pitch. His touch, movement and link up play was poor yet Neil Lennon gave him pass marks. What’s going through his head ? Same criticism can be leveled at Joe Ledley as well, who performed like the captain of the Costa Concordia and not of Celtic FC. Extremely poor stuff.
There was no balance in the team at all – Stokes and Mulgrew frequently challenged for the same ball resulting in greeting at each other and an opposition player taking full advantage of their errors. We couldn’t seem to be able to clear a ball properly and because of this the home side were able to apply pressure on a regular basis. You can bring up money differences between both sides on the park, but one of them were able to put their foot through a ball and protect their defence. They ended up winning the game.
Next - Laziness & Believing our own hype. We’ve been here before with the ‘Euro Hangover’ crap. See here : http://thecelticblog.com/2012/11/blogs/guest-blog-the-euro-hangover-a-valid-excuse -
Many players chucked it at 2-0. Yes, we created a few chances when Ross County equalised but so did they. In fact, they created more and played football on the deck. When Hooper scored to make it 2-0, watch the ‘Easy lads!’ celebrations. It was like they were all meeting up for their weekly Nandos. A TOWIE-esque montage of back slapping, fake laughter and high fives 20 minutes into a game. I was half expecting Joey Essex to turn up and do something stupid. Pretty much every 50/50 was won by a Ross County player and at 70 minutes they’d all had it and packed it in. Even Kris Commons, who I am a massive fan of, came on at 65 minutes and didn’t bother at all. It’s unacceptable and it’s happened far too many times this season for this to be an overreaction to one defeat. I think we’re a very spineless team. From Inverness in 2011, to Ibrox in 2012 to St Mirren at Hampden in 2013, we have a squad who believe in the bare minimum and stroll about the park with an air of misplaced arrogance. Perhaps I myself am deluded, perhaps they are just an ordinary team and I’ve been sucked in by the hype like they have. Yes, some of them are very talented but talk of £15m-£20m for some of them is laughable. They’re in for a serious culture shock when they move away from us, eventually, to a more professional football club who don’t tolerate bursting a gut for 45 minutes and then going through the motions. Growing up watching Celtic field guys like Paul Byrne and Pat McGinlay wasn’t ideal, but they gave everything they had, and you appreciated it. Watching Ledley and Mulgrew fail to give their all on the park on Saturday was yet another reason I’ve became more and more apathetic with Lennon’s Celtic. Speaking of which, onto him now.
The Manager - Time after time our articles on here seem to be very critical of ‘The Gaffer’. It’s not a witch-hunt. He’s proven that he’s no more than just a very average manager. His trophycount so far is not impressive – although that could change this season if we finish the season strongly with a slightly more respectable four trophies out of nine won domestically. After each loss this season it’s the same old ‘Raging. I’ll shake it up. These players let me down’ patter. What about yourself Neil ? You rarely make a gamechanging substitution. You don’t seem to have a plan B to combat games like Saturday which are crying out for a Sutton type player to do the business. We’re too lightweight and it’s his fault as he has bought these players. He says ‘Certain players seem to not care anymore’ – but why does he still play them ? He said this after St Johnstone, Motherwell and now on Saturday. Does he not notice it in training ? Do they just reserve not giving a toss on matchdays ? Three seasons in, and he still does more chopping and changing than Xzibit and the Pimp My Ride crew. He’ll never have a settled team because he kills the momentum of the squad by dropping players who are coming onto a game and denting their confidence. Despite all this, he gets away with his shortcomings because he happened to be in charge of a Celtic team who beat Barcelona. Any criticism of him and you’re dubbed a ‘hun’ or a ‘zombie’. It stinks. He is given praise on here and in general when we do well so why can’t there be any questions asked when things don’t go to plan ? Ultimately the buck stops with him. I won’t hold my breath on him ‘sorting it out’ either. He’s said it far too many times and every second week there seems to be something else to point the finger at him about.
Summary - I’m still not giving up on Celtic. I love the club, but I am at the end of my tether with Neil Lennon and many of those players. The Scottish Cup Semi Final in April is undoubtedly massive.