Back At The Top Of The League … But Serious Questions Remain About Celtic’s Defending.

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Tonight we sit at the summit of the SPL, but it’s not because we didn’t work hard to prevent that outcome.

First was the manager’s dire team selection and then there was the display from our defence, which in recent weeks has seemed determined to do its utmost to cost us as much as it can.

The main culprit today? Kris Ajer.

I don’t want to turn this into a beat-down of a player I’ve already criticised this morning, but I’d very much like to see a better player in his position as soon as possible. Ajer looked, at times today, like a guy wandering around wondering where he was meant to play.

Don’t get me wrong, he adds something when he comes forward and takes the ball into the midfield, but at the back he looks, at times, like a lost soul.

Yet he’s not alone in that this season.

Our positioning is dreadful. Forget sports psychologists, we need a defensive coach about as badly as we need anything. It’s hard to believe John Kennedy was such an accomplished centre back … why do we look vulnerable these days to every single ball into the box?

Livingston are a poor side, but we gave them light at the end of that game when we conceded the second goal.

The poor header at the end, when their guy had acres of space to aim it, was a moment of stark relief and stark terror at the same time; a better team than this is going to cause us more trouble than we can handle if players are going to stand around looking for others to bail them out, as so many of our backline did here.

Why are we so lousy at the back right now? What is it about our manager and our coaches that they cannot organise a defence, or find a player on the pitch who can do it for them?

There was some joy to be had in that game, apart from the fact we’re top of the league on the same number of games as the much vaunted Ibrox hype machine.

Remember all those ludicrous headlines about how we’d be eleven points behind and under all this pressure?

Yada yada yada.

Think we’ll get an apology? Or even an acknowledgement that we cope no matter what they throw at us? Of course not.

But we look at the table tonight and that’s what counts.

On top of that, we had Callum’s 50th goal in the Hoops, an excellent achievement for him, in one of his best performances in a while.

We had an excellent goal from Ryan Christie and another – the best of the bunch – from Albian Ajeti.

Let’s pause for a minute on him, because he was absolutely brilliant today.

He showed us, in flashes, what a class act he is and what a massive asset to the team he’s going to be.

I thought he was one of the best players on the park.

His goal was absolutely class.

Overall, this was a good enough day only because we won and we saw some individual performances which were very welcome.

But the manager’s starting line-up was a shocker and the defending was bad at times bordering on criminal.

Above everything else, we need to get that fixed. We’re losing goals to teams like this; we will really pay a high price when we face anybody half decent.

If we get to the Europa League groups and draw anyone moderately dangerous the experience might be painful.

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