That was shocking today. Shocking.
There are players in this team who I do believe think they only have to turn up and collect a win bonus. Today turning up is exactly all some of them did. Had we won that match it would have been more than they deserved. The second half, in particular, was deplorable.
Graeme Murty is perhaps the worst managerial decision in the history of Scottish football.
Today we made it looked like an inspired choice.
He had Brendan Rodgers’ measure.
For the first time in the domestic game our manager got it badly, badly wrong.
Not in the initial team selection – except for leaving out Ntcham I agreed with all of it – but during the game itself.
Questions require asking about what he was doing today.
We played against a central defence held together with crazy glue. He persisted in playing one man up front long after it became clear to everyone watching that it was not going to work. He shuffled the midfield, but he kept a team shape that was having exactly zero effect.
Wilson is a dreadful defender; he was booked early in the match and was ripe for terrorising.
Not one player was told just to run at him.
Kranjcar is the selection that proves Murty himself has no clue. That was the equivalent of them playing with a man down. He did nothing of any note in the game; if he scores more than a 4 in the press ratings someone is kidding on.
And yet we were the team who consistently lost the ball in the middle of the field in the second half.
Let’s get it right; Sevco did not become a good team and Murty did not become a good manager.
He will not last the season.
But in fact, all he has to do is last until Ibrox and hope Kenny Miller is fit. Yes, Kenny Miller. Had he played today, instead of Morelos, we would have lost and the manager would not have avoided the serious questions he will because it was a draw.
Morelos is not a good player. He reminds me more and more of his out of shape Scottish counterpart Boyd. He is not a big game footballer. He lacks the composure to be one. He runs around a lot but has no actual skill to speak of.
Murty’s game plan is dreadful to watch; long punts up the park. It is very reminiscent of the dire stuff under Walter Smith. It worries me that it has proved effective today. It really worries me that they would have won the game had they a better player up front.
A team playing 1980’s style football and with a strictly second rate team has come to our home ground and held us, and quite easily. Their keeper barely had a thing to do in the second half. The Griffiths for Dembele change which a lot of people seemed to think would make some blinding difference didn’t because the team selection was never the problem.
The tactics were. And that’s down to the manager.
Murty has come to Celtic Park twice and played exactly the same type of football. For the second time he’s got a point. He can talk all he likes about learning from our games against Hearts and other sides; actually he took a chance that the same approach as got him a draw last time would be just as effective here. It should concern all of us that he was correct.
Sevco gave 110% today and all sorts of shite will be written in the papers about how this turns a corner. They have turned more corners than Lewis Hamilton. Good teams do their talking on the park by turning in good displays every single week. That’s what built our run, that’s what won us a treble. We will not win this one playing the way we did today.
But nor will this Sevco team sustain a challenge. They are rank rotten, capable of raising their game for one off fixtures but not a team you are ever going to fear going on a sustained run. They haven’t got it in them and their manager is one dimensional.
Scott Sinclair was rightly substituted today. He was dire. Callum McGregor and Stuart Armstrong finishing the game was simply down to how bad he was, because neither of them would have had any complaint had they been off as well. Forrest was a victim of a playing system that tried too often to go through the middle of a packed defence.
Sevco are going to milk a 0-0 draw at Celtic Park for all they can. We are damned lucky that they didn’t win. They will beat us this season unless Brendan adapts for the Ibrox game, and for the first time I genuinely wonder whether we’d win a cup tie.
Perhaps the break will change the dynamic of this team and we’ll charge out of the traps in the second half of the season. Perhaps not. Our poor form can be traced right to the start of the league campaign; we still have not won four games in a row.
Think on that as we go into the break; we have not won four league games in a row.
That is not the form of champions.
We are lucky we don’t have a serious challenger yet. Luck will not last.
Today we got away with one. Points have been dropped. The media has its “momentum with Sevco” story to warm them through the New Year. That wasn’t even a case of “if only we’d taken our chances” because they will be saying exactly the same.
We gave them too many chances. We’re giving too many players chances too. If some have question marks over their futures then if we do nothing else during the window we should sort those out. If Dembele is hankering after a move, give him one.
I want players willing to die in the ditch, not guys looking for an easy way out. If he wants to go let him talk to one of his suitors; right now that’s West Ham United and Brighton if you believe the media. Let’s find out what his level of ambition really is.
Now the team heads off for two weeks. They need it.
Some of them looked like they already had their minds on the beach. It’s the job of the manager to sort that kind of nonsense out. Even without serious competition, if Aberdeen win today we’re in a title race. Again.
This team is nowhere near the level of last year.
Neither are our manager’s tactics.
This campaign is not going to produce his next best-seller.
Perhaps we should be grateful for that.