Dreadful. Turgid, awful stuff against a typically packed defence. Whereas we knew what to do when we had ten men last weekend we didn’t know how to break down a team that had ten. And for most of the match at that. That was not good to watch.
And so it goes on. We may be well backed by sites like www.tipsfix.com/ this team has not won four league games in a row. This team is selling itself and the fans short turning in performances like that. Our one consistent factor in this campaign has been a total lack of consistency. It is not good enough.
When the media was putting us under pressure these last few weeks we rose to it. We responded. We got ourselves together and we played like our lives depended on it. We can react to difficulty and adversity. Our problem comes when we’re clear and it seems that we’re coasting towards the finish line. That’s when we turn in dreck like that.
It can only be complacency. The idea that they just have to turn up. How many more times this season is that myth going to be shattered? What’s it going to take? A shock in the Scottish Cup? Ironically enough I doubt it; those are the occasions we can raise our game for. Raise them above this level anyway, and that’s why I have no problem saying that I think the root of this is that when we’re not under pressure we tend to take our foot off the gas.
Some of our players need to realise that just because we have a cushion it doesn’t mean everyone should have a lie down on it and go for a wee sleep. Too many of our players decided that this was a good day to down tools early. And for some of them it was very early indeed. Callum had his worst game in a Celtic shirt for ages. Dembele? Non-existent.
A challenge is coming. From somewhere, although I doubt very much that it will be Ibrox for any number of reasons. It might not be next season but it’s coming, and the danger is that if we have another season like this and still win the title our players are going to fall prey to the idea that we don’t even have to be particularly good to win the league … and that’s when we’re going to be wide open for getting caught and the crown taken from us.
Brendan got all the plaudits last week and he deserved them; today I wholly disagree with his after-match remarks, especially where he says that “I was pleased with the approach.” Really? All that slow negative passing the ball back? Cause it was brutal to watch.
There are Celtic fans who will say that days like this don’t matter; of course they matter. Days like this are why we went to Ibrox with the media going on and on about a title challenge in the first place. Days like this are where you give the opposition a chink of light. It was a day like this – Dundee Utd snatching a draw from Rangers – that gave us a lift following a dire weekend back in 2008 when Motherwell had beaten us at Celtic Park, a week after we’d lost at Ibrox. Had Rangers taken the three points that day I don’t think we’d have had a prayer.
See what I’m saying? Give the opposition nothing. On days like today you’re supposed to stamp your authority all over them and make sure they’re in the hole. I’m not suggesting there’s a chance that Sevco or Aberdeen will catch us … but the question shouldn’t even arise.
That was not disappointing as much as it was infuriating. There’s no excuse for just not showing up like that. The fans who travelled to watch that game deserve better, and good luck selling a full quota of season tickets if fans are to expect this in the next campaign.
I’ll say it again; we have failed to win fully one third of our league games. We have not won four league matches in a row. We are going to be champions, but that is not the form of champions and sooner or later on the march to ten in a row this kind of form is going to put us in trouble … Brendan worked a wonder last season and no-one expected us to match that.
But we should be better than this.
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