In Order To Get Our League Campaign Back On Track, Our Club Needs Leaders On And Off The Pitch.

Image for In Order To Get Our League Campaign Back On Track, Our Club Needs Leaders On And Off The Pitch.

Leaving Celtic Park after the NewCo game was a strange experience.

Aside from the near ghostly silence which expressed disappointment, what was also clear was the delusions under which some Celtic fans still remain.

Comments heard included claims that “They were lucky”, “they’ll be found out soon”, and “they’re not even that good”; not the majority view, but certainly expressed.

If Celtic are going to continue what is so far a very successful season, changes are needed in the squad, and quickly.

The Ibrox club are a much improved team.

Any Celtic supporters waiting for their collapse are likely to be disappointed.

There are two ways to win football games: by being more skilful than your opponents, or more aggressive. And of course the best teams do both.

In recent years Celtic have dominated this team through skill alone; quite simply, we have been the better footballing side, and it’s shown.

1 of 10

A Celtic player goes in for a 50/50 ball and the oppositon player comes over the ball with his studs raised and takes it and snaps the Celtic player's leg in the process? What is the correct response?

But this is an Ibrox team with more ability than before, and, importantly, also more fight.

That is Celtic’s current problem.

Whilst there are players of real skill to be found at Parkhead, there is a lack of leaders, full of strength and aggression.

Scott Brown aside – and possibly Ajer too – how many of the first choice XI can be considered fighters, capable of really digging in when required?

It’s perhaps an unfair comparison, but the Seville side was light years ahead of this one on those terms.

Not only did Martin O’Neill’s team have the ability to play, but people like Larsson, Sutton, Thompson, Mjallby – and of course Lennon – were all leaders.

The same cannot be said for this side, who can no longer simply rely on being technically better than their nearest rivals.

That is one of the challenges for Lennon and the board this month; how to bring in players not only of quality but also with the aggression that’s needed to win.

And it’s something which needs sorted soon.

Wingers capable of challenging and pressuring opposing full backs, midfielders who will constantly chase down and intimidate opponents, these are what Celtic now needs.

Whilst Celtic are in Dubai on the winter break it seems less urgent, but it is almost two weeks since the loss and there’s just one week until the next game.

New players need time to settle, and this is a team very much in need of reinforcements.

Although November and December brought a great domestic winning run (until the end), in truth the players have looked tired for some time now.

The break will partly help with this, but so will new recruits.

And these have to be players that the manager is willing to play.

McGregor and Forrest in particular have been overplayed, even when we’ve had people such as Ntcham, Rogic and Sinclair that could have stepped in.

Equally certain players that don’t seem capable of playing at this level (for the time being, at least) also need removed.

The departure – and treatment – of Scott Sinclair remains an incredibly strange one.

Obviously the manager and coaches see him each day at training, but it’s difficult to believe he would have offered less than Lewis Morgan, or even Leigh Griffiths.

Sinclair, even though not a striker, was worth 20 goals each season to the club. Yet at a time we’ve been struggling for successful wing and forward players, we have dispensed with his services.

However his departure does free up the wages which can be used to make necessary changes.

Because what is also needed is a mental lift, something to remind fans of the genuinely positive situation the club is in.

Top of the league, League Cup winners, flying high in Europe. It’s an impressive record.

But if the window goes without any signings there will be a shroud of disappointment, and even anger, hanging over Celtic.

More than anything else, it will feel like an enormously missed opportunity.

Instead one or two signings – especially if they are of an obvious first team quality – would transform this mood.

Fans and even players would be reminded of the club’s strength, of the remarkable success which has been enjoyed, and is still to come.

Celtic are potentially 23 games away from a fourth consecutive treble, which would also mean the achievement of nine-in-a-row.

Europe itself also offers much promise.

The quiet frustration which marked the final departure from Celtic Park last month won’t be recorded in the history books.

So it’s up to Celtic to make sure that what is written down is a story of success and glory.

Matthew Marr is a Celtic fan from Glasgow. He is a frequent contributor to the site.

Our new quiz is out, where you get to be the SFA official in a number of scenarios …. click here or on the link earlier in the piece … and please share.

Share this article