Rugby Park Draw A Self Inflicted Wound

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Tonight we saw the very best and the worst of Ronny Deila’s Celtic.

We started the game like a well oiled machine, and had we taken our chances and scored an early second goal you get the impression we would have buried Kilmarnock.

The Ayrshire side are truly dreadful and one dimensional.

That didn’t stop them scoring twice and overcoming our shockingly bad defence.

It will have Malmo’s manager – who was watching in the stand – smiling widely.

We do this to ourselves at times.

Izzy has been out of sorts for months.

We’ve dithered on finding a left back and giving him competition to focus the mind.

Tonight, he stumbled late in the game and conceded a penalty, which shocked no-one who’s been watching him of late.

Efe Ambrose, who I sometimes think gets a raw deal from our fans, had every one of the weaknesses in his game – especially his tendency to switch off at crucial moments – shockingly exposed. He was dreadful, absolutely dreadful, and has done himself no good long term.

We have a midfield that is overloaded and other areas of the team which are bleeding out accordingly.

All this talk of us going for Martin Odegaard on loan for a season looks like so much nonsense on a night like this when you would have killed to see a half decent centre back and someone pushing Izzy on the left.

By the way, the midfield didn’t exactly set the heather on fire tonight either.

But what worries me most is Ronny Deila’s tactical inflexibility in sticking with this often ineffectual 4-2-3-1 formation.

That formation works when you have really exceptional players who are on their game, but when the opposition sits and defends narrow and deep you long for battering ram football to break through them.

And in particular you long for two up front.

I like Ronny.

Everyone knows that.

I think this is the guy, who’ll take us far and fast.

He’s got great instincts and good ideas … but there are games, and an increasing number of them, where sophisticated concepts have to take a back seat to a hardnosed and less complicated approach.

Sometimes you do need to be direct.

This isn’t the last time we’re going to see a performance like this.

Frustrating. Infuriating. And un-necessary.

There’s not enough movement up front, not enough options for a midfielder who wants to make a forward pass.

What you get are teams putting two or more players on your lone striker and wingers trying to cross the ball into a penalty box full of opposing jerseys.

If a numpty like me, who sits in front of a keyboard all day, can see this … why the Hell is our manager sticking with a system that, on nights like tonight, isn’t going to work?

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the performance fell away when Commons went off either.

He is the one creative outlet in the midfield capable of creating chances “in the hole”.

We need to be thinking ahead, right now, for the day he leaves the club.

Tonight could be put down to a blip, to a lapse in concentration from our defenders, to an inability to take enough of our chances, but this is an all-too-familiar song we’re singing.

Too much of last season was characterised by the same disjointed football and the same gaping issues.

Ronny needs to break out of his one dimensional approach.

Our front men to up their game.

Our midfield needs to stop switching off when it makes simple passes.

And our defence … God helps us, our defence needs to sort itself out and quickly.

Tonight I’m pretty cheesed off.

I know tomorrow I’ll feel better.

But some of that was just so stupid tonight, and so predictable beforehand.

What makes it worse, of course, is that we were given a game tonight by a team that on another day we ought to have taken five off, and it comes in the same week where John Collins’ comments to one of the hacks have been scrutinised like a piece of particularly damning courtroom testimony.

From now until the end of the week, the hacks are going to make Deila and Collins eat them with a large helping of humble pie.

And we did it to ourselves. It’s just awful.

People will say it is better that it happens now than this time next week.

That is so much excuse making.

Some of that shouldn’t be happening at all.

Fingers out all round, Celtic.

Get it together, fast.

We play like that against the Swedes and we are in big bother.

Congrats though to the supporters tonight.

You were magnificent.

The team owed you more than that dismal display.

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  • jacko says:

    Spot on article………..especially about Ambrose…….,should have gone a good while ago.

    • Happyhoopybhoy says:

      Surely Iffy and dizzy should never get near a Celtic shirt again. No amount of competition is going to get Izzy back to pre-injury standards.Wee Jamesy was just electric tonight. That’s the kind of play we’ve been crying out for.

  • Aldo67 says:

    So frustrating watching events unfold.i felt the minute bitttton went of and bringing on an attacking mid changed midfield too much and left back4 exposed.we didnt need to chase the game just close down and see it out.poor sub not enforced.not needed.
    Thought giffiths did well.advertising board got better of him tho.its only game 2 in a long season long way to not do this kind of switching off in CL.
    Slan aldo

    • Blantyre Bhoy says:

      Totally agree that it was a rather inept performance, without Scott Brown drive and win-mentality we looked like half a team.

      Izzy and Ambrose are well past their best, so time to move them on.

      Why Biton was subbed with five minutes to go shows our manager got it wrong by putting on another attack minded midfielder.

      I don’t feel good about our chances of beating Malmo based on this crap !!!

  • Charlie says:

    Where you even watching the game? Vvd was running forward leaving gaps at the back giving efe a bigger workload. Efe was solid tonight clearing balls and putting pressure on the Kilmarnock players. Too many Celtic fans have a negative mindset when it comes to ambrose, you should support the players at all times when they are in a Celtic top.

  • Bhoy1967 says:

    Emillio n ambrose gota go but with the amount of attacking midfielders we got i like the new strategem of 1 up front, any other game 6 or 7 could have been scored sometimes shit happens

  • colin51 says:

    well I’d rather we play this bad in our league games than vital European games. As hard as next week and following Wednesday will be to qualify, I believe the players know what is at stake and raise their game massively

  • dex m says:

    Good piece james agree with everything tho i wouldnt call the green brigade chanting ira songs for ninety minutes magnificent , this does the club no favours , leave it for green nights and on the bus not live on t.v giving the hacks more ammunition to bring us down.

  • Lisbon lion 67 says:

    Emillio n ambrose gota go clear to see, but with the amount of attacking midfielders we got i like the 1 up front

  • Hugh Burns says:

    I said in these pages earlier today I expected to win quite easily tonight but in the same breath that when Killie and most other teams we play rise to the green and white that is in front of them Yes we should have been out of sight in the first 20 minutes but once again shot ourselves in the foot. Ronnie boy will have to learn too change this when other things are not working. And I at almost 70 would have done better than Efi Ambrose . My God a disaster waiting to happen .And every one watching knew that Emellio was going to give away a penalty.!!!.

  • Andrew says:

    Dismal display?! 15 shots, 7 on target, 60% possession, yet a couple lapses in concentration and is dismal?!

  • Welby says:

    We are nieve and I fear if we do make the champions league we will get done over. I worry that Ronnie is all style and little substance.

  • James connelly says:

    Well said.izzy&ambrose are up front in spl isnt good enough.we need a quality striker as wgat we have is average

  • peter carroll says:

    Effe and Izzy are easy scapegoats. Effe should never play c.b. however 15 on target suggest 2 goals is not ideal. stop blaming individuals we winor lose as a team and support that were very loud tonite , however I cant imagine any player being motivated by constant rebel songs, not that I am a stranger to them however tonite has given the media ample opportunity to vilidate ou club.

  • Skyisalandfill says:

    splitters every one of you. Believe in the Ronnie revolution or else.

    I’m a believer but the defense was rotten and we need to take our chances.

    Nir Bittons goal was a thing of joy.
    Whether he’d get that chance against Malmo is another question.

    HH the celts are here.

  • Al says:

    LG 9 shots at goal 5 on target 1 goal is this a great striker

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