It takes a special kind of stupid to go in front of the media and suggest a game-plan for your opponents to use in the coming game.
It could only have come from him.
Brendan would never have done this.
But that’s why he’s a sought after manager at the top of his game and Caixinha is a virtual nobody managing at Sevco.
Morelos is not a great player. He is a typical penalty box goal scorer; good marking and some hard pressing will dissuade him from making too much of an effort. This is a player who has never been under pressure before. A little of it, and he’ll fold.
This was easy enough to see. But Pedro couldn’t help pointing out even more weaknesses to us. He couldn’t help himself suggesting the player was easy to wind up, and predicted that Celtic would do just that. This has to be one of the dumbest things he’s done yet.
Brendan reacted superbly to Caixinha’s latest idiocy.
He said the Sevco boss wasn’t telling him anything he didn’t already know about the player; indeed, Brendan sent our assistant, Chris Davies, to watch the game on Tuesday night. Caixinha has never bothered to watch Celtic, not since he dumped the green and white hoops of his Mexican club for the blue of Ibrox anyway. His daft remarks about PSG having nothing to teach them weren’t just for show … he genuinely doesn’t believe there’s anything to learn about us.
Our management team is not as arrogant, or willing to tempt fate.
When asked about Morelos today, and Caixinha’s assertion that we would “try and provoke him” Brendan came back with a quick-fire response designed to wind up Morelos and the manager both, and all the while he played the “Who? What, me, guv?” card of innocence.
No-one does it better.
He is a master at manipulating situations like this.
“I don’t think he needs any help in that, watching the game the other night against Partick,” said Brendan. And as if that wasn’t enough to get right up the hooters of everyone in SevcoLand, he added a final flourish. “We really concentrate on ourselves.”
And that in a nutshell is the difference between the sides. He sent Davies to get some feedback, but the focus inside the club will be on how we play, not on what they might do. Davies went looking for weaknesses; there were plenty to find. We don’t have to stop Sevco … they have to stop us.
Chris Sutton made a similar point – although not as eloquently as Brendan – the other night when McCoist said Sevco’s defensive situation would determine our line-up. Sutton wasn’t buying that for one minute. He said, and he was right to, that Brendan won’t care who plays in the Sevco team at the weekend … his plan for the game will remain the same. We’re going to go at them from the off. We’re going to squeeze them for the whole match.
Caixinha has already given away part of his strategy, in leaving Miller out on Tuesday and saying he was keeping him fresh for the game. Dembele didn’t play last night, but that doesn’t mean that he will or that he will come in and Griffiths will drop out … both could play.
In fact, the more firepower the better, and recent games have tended to suggest that we’ll go with two up front instead of the more conventional Brendan 4-2-3-1.
If it hadn’t already dawned on Brendan that Morelos could be a weak link he’ll certainly know now though.
We have a couple of players in the squad who just love that stuff, Scott Brown most prominent amongst them. He’ll be looking forward to the midfield battles more than most, but when he gets close to Morelos watch up for a little verbal there too.
It’s nice of Pedro to keep filling us in on these wee things, as if we don’t already have enough knowledge to put them away. We’ve left nothing to chance, but every little helps and I’m sure our manager is wholly appreciative of his Sevco counterpart doing his bit.
During the same press conference, Brendan also tackled the thorny comments from Craig Bellamy, which I covered in an earlier article. They are worth reproducing, because to say that our manager didn’t miss doesn’t do full justice to his comments.
They ought to be read and considered by every Celtic fan, and every hack in the country.
“”Craig is a guy I respect,” he said. “He was a very good player who came up here, so he understands what it is like up here. I am not up here to work on my next move from Celtic. I am here because of Celtic. I love my life here in Glasgow, I enjoy working for this club and preparing my team along with my staff for us to win and win well. I am not overly bothered what it does for my CV.”
Not overly bothered with what it does for his CV.
Music to our ears, right?