Today was a shocker, and let’s make no bones about it. Too many alterations to the team, too many players taking the day off, and too much focus on preparing for the next game. And once again, it has happened at home.
Celtic’s unbeaten run, when it ends, will end at Celtic Park. You cannot watch our form at home these past few months and have the slightest doubt about that. We spent £2 million on a shiny new pitch so that we could do what?
Turn in displays as abject as that today?
Right now that looks like Scottish football’s biggest waste of money outside Carlos Pena.
We’ve dropped points at home for the third time this season. It’s not on. We’re just not playing well enough at our own stadium, and that’s all the worse considering the huge numbers of fans who turn up there week in week out expecting to see our best football.
In midweek, at Aberdeen, we were magnificent. Absolutely magnificent. I make no bones about it. And in the Scottish Cup against Hibs, at Hampden, we were at our very best. Today at home we barely got out of second gear. It was a very poor display, especially middle to front.
We created chances, sure we did, but the game is about finishing them.
It was good to see certain players in the team; this is what we’ve got a big squad for. But you can change too much, and especially in a game where you know the opposition is going to fight and scrap for every single ball. That’s what happened today.
This is a team that even on a day like this still didn’t lose the game, but we are eleven games into a league campaign where we’ve already drawn three matches. That is not the form that swept away all opposition last season. It’s not the form of an Invincible side. Aberdeen are a single point from us; those of us who scream about our lack of a challenge, I hope they have the good grace to say tonight that we’re getting one and not from the omnishambles in Govan.
But because of our own laxity, Aberdeen are a single point from us, in spite of us having won at their ground just days ago. And the footballing disaster area is now just six points off the pace. Today we never looked in danger of losing the unbeaten run … but draw enough games and someone will catch you anyway.
This is going to be a long season, and with the high probability of European football after Christmas, it’s going to be important to build a solid, unassailable lead before we start thinking of resting half the first team for games such as this.
The bottom line is that we need to put together our own run of wins, especially at home.