Celtic lined up with an attacking team today.
I say that because it’s important to start with that information. From the stats you would not be aware of it.
The three at the back gives us options we would otherwise not have. We had firepower in that side. Enough to have won the game. But a staggeringly back-footed, appalling display has seen Kilmarnock take three points that they richly deserved. Towards the end we should have been awarded a penalty; it would have been a travesty had we been given, and scored, it. We got exactly what we were due from that. Nothing.
Possession does not win football matches. Not when every pass goes backwards. Not when forwards attempt to beat a man once time out of every five times on the ball. We registered our first shot on goal in the very last minute of regulation time.
That statistic is disgraceful.
That is not Celtic.
Lower league teams play that way and it was horrendous to watch.
When our players got forward, they made trouble for the Kilmarnock defence.
But we didn’t do it enough.
Strike that, we didn’t do it at all.
And let’s be clear on this too, Kilmarnock did nothing special here.
They put men behind the ball.
They formed a solid line. This was not the stuff of genius, but it worked shockingly well.
Steve Clarke deserves all the credit though. His team were more potent. They held their shape. They kept working hard and they got the reward they were due. They could have scored more and we would have had very little to complain about.
Our injury situation continues to get worse, but that had no impact on our football.
Our forward going players were abysmal when they weren’t anonymous. There are no positives whatsoever to take from this display, although Hendry looked fine and Musonda showed some lovely touches early on. It wasn’t nearly enough to be optimistic about.
I’ll talk about plastic pitches later; that was definitely a contributing factor in our losing two players.
But it was not a contributing factor in our losing three points.
We did that ourselves, with one of the most boring, predictable and negative displays I have ever seen from a Celtic team.
When we passed the ball back continuously, with no player near a Celtic man on the ball, for nearly five minutes when the clock was counting down and us trailing by a goal I was as angry as I’ve ever been watching one of our teams.
I don’t know what the captain or the manager thought of that; not much, considering that neither made the slightest effort to change it. I can only presume they were happy with it. Hey, they get paid either way I suppose.
Congratulations are due to Steve Clarke though; he has managed in a short time to turn his team from relegation battlers to a team with a genuine chance of qualifying for Europe. He is the manager of the year stand-out at the moment from where I sit. He has achieved in that spell what Derek McInnes has singularly failed to do in the last two seasons … he has beaten Celtic and Sevco at home, simply by having a more committed team.
That’s what really good managers are capable of.
Well done to Kilmarnock for having the foresight and vision to offer him their job, and for doing the sales pitch that got him to take it.
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