Before I get to the main point of the piece, let me say this; that first half was dire.
The tactics were utterly predictable and depressing.
I knew it was going to be a long day the second I saw the team selection and the tactics. Both were woeful.
Is Neil Lennon really the last man to know that Leigh Griffiths cannot play the lone striker role? And it is grossly unfair to the player to plant him in a packed penalty area by himself and then aim cross balls at him.
To see how well this tactic works, look at our corner kicks to shots on target ratio.
Today we had 14 corners and five shots on goal … it does not work.
Before the match, Lennon said he ditched the two up front because Edouard had picked up a toe knock.
It’s almost as if we didn’t have a £3.5 million striker sitting on the bench and another, in Bayo, in the stand.
Lennon ditched the two up front because Forrest was fit and he doesn’t like to leave him out of the team.
With his preference for Ollie Ntcham over Rogic, who is a better player around the penalty box, it makes us weaker up top. When Christie plays in the hole the system works better, but I’m never going to love it because of the number of attacks which are wasted playing hit and hope into a mass of opposition footballers.
Forrest has been awful for months now. No player – except maybe for McGregor – is more badly in need of a long spell out of this team, or at the very least a threat to his place in it. Forrest walks into that team every week when fit … Lennon’s over dependence on him and McGregor is worrying and it’s doing neither player any good.
On top of that, I hear talk every single year about how difficult it is to bring in players in January, and about how hard it is to find better footballers than those we have in the current team.
I have been a late convert to the cause of Jonny Hayes, and I understand his worth as a squad player, but honestly, if we can’t find a better option out there than him, if he’s really considered good enough to be a Celtic player and people inside our club are alright with that, then I wonder just what our scouts are looking for in a wide player.
He and Forrest huffed and puffed a lot today, and wasted a lot of crosses.
Other than that I can’t think of what contribution either of them made.
I fear we’re going to endure more of this nonsense, until it costs us something.
Today it very well might have, but for a smart substitution which shouldn’t even have been necessary had the manager ever watched Griffiths try to play the single striker role.
Griffiths has had all the ink in the past week, and that’s perfectly fair and valid.
He’s been entitled to it and I’m glad he got the praise and credit he deserved.
But it’s easy to overlook that Eddie scored in the Rugby Park game too and today he proved that he’s still the best striker in this country by miles, with two goals almost as soon as he was on the pitch.
Edouard is clearly suited to the single striker role.
He scored with his head today and with a piece of technical brilliance which is what he’s renowned for. I sincerely hope there is a plan for the summer, a plan that involves making this guy a monster offer to stay for at least two more years.
Because he should be here when we secure the tenth title.
We got the points today, and that will be enough most weeks.
But I said in the article earlier that the decisions Lennon takes when he has a full strength squad will tell us what the rest of the campaign has in store, and in the first half we were shockingly predictable in our entire approach. Had we persisted with it, Ross County would have felt emboldened to have a go.
Odsonne Edouard made the difference, as he so often does.
He is worth his weight in gold … and clubs this summer should be told to take their gold somewhere else.