Football teams are the sum of the parts, and we’re lucky we have more talented footballers than Aberdeen.
It is not yet clear if it will be enough over the course of this campaign.
We rode our luck today, in a dire second half which we are very fortunate to have emerged from with three points. The bad away run is over, and I suppose that’s what counts, but I saw no reason for any overload of confidence for the rest of this extremely difficult month.
And to think that it started so well.
When you have a player like Kyogo in your team, the defence has to be ever alert. Turnbull’s ball across goal was quite sublime, but the Aberdeen defence weren’t caught up by the quality of the pass as much as they were by the movement of the Japanese striker.
This is the difference between someone like Ajeti – who I more and more suspect needs to play off another striker – and someone like Furuhashi, who is super-alert and can drift around finding the space to exploit. He has the first touch and the deadly instincts of Larsson; more and more that is the comparison that people are going to make.
He has the work ethic of the Swede too.
There were points in that first half where he seemed to be popping up everywhere.
The boy covered some amount of ground, and always he was a threat.
Bitton had a decent first half as well, patrolling his position, making key passes and interceptions.
He did fall for a little Scott Brown theatricality at one of the corners, and he should have got his header on target from the first of the game … but he would have been satisfied with his first forty-five minutes in the Celtic midfield for a while.
The second half, of course, was a brutalist nightmare, the kind of performance from the whole team which was stunningly inept. Serious questions need to be asked about what in God’s name our coaches do to prepare this side.
According to Sky, we have conceded six goals in the league this season. Five of them have been from cross balls.
This problem stalks us.
It has stalked us since John Kennedy and Gavin Strachan walked through the doors.
It is absolutely abysmal that we cannot sort this out, that we cannot solve such a basic football problem.
If Ange is content to have these two jokers as his background team, then his judgement has to be questioned. If he’s been forced to accept them then he faces paying a high price for not standing up for himself. I would not put my future in the hands of those two and I am astonished that he continues to gamble with his reputation by retaining them.
There is evidence of their malignancy in more places than just the set pieces. Ange wants this team to play fast attractive football, with movement off the ball. When we did those things today they worked, and in particular for both of the goals.
But entire stretches of that match were played with all eleven of our players standing around waiting for the ball, instead of moving to open up space. There were some moments in the match, especially when we had the ball in our own half, where the lack of movement had players lingering way too long in possession or pushing it backwards.
That’s a serious problem that our coaches didn’t look like they had a clue how to resolve.
Jota saved us from a dire international break and the manager from the kind of firestorm that a lot of coaches do not survive.
His decision to bring on Ajeti instead of Giakoumakis was inexplicable. The tactical change itself worked because he pushed Jota wide right and forced him to cut into the box, where he was waiting when that late chance presented itself.
But the same problems and issues haunt us, the same problems and issues that haunted us in the last campaign. The manager has changed and the personnel has changed, so what remains the same? The coaching does.
The style of football has not progressed; it has gone backwards.
In spite of the victory today so has this team.
There are still big, big problems with this side, and that coaching team has a lot to answer for.
The manager needs to impose his will on this quickly or this entire campaign is going to disintegrate into a shambles that will make even the diehards in our support consider a scorched earth campaign against the people running the club.