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Celtic’s Wounds Are Not Fatal, But The Break Is Coming At The Right Time.

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That, last night, was the result that had been waiting for us.

I thought we would avoid it, with the resilience this team was showing, but the fact is that months of mounting injuries finally took their toll last night. The media is spinning this as some kind of moral victory for St Mirren; in fact, we had more first team players missing than they did and no-one in the media cares.

Don’t get me wrong, we had enough on the pitch last night that we should have taken care of them, but it’s a fact that we were missing a recognised striker, that our two best wide players are out and that our most creative midfielder was missing.

This is a team on the bones of its arse, and the makeshift solutions aren’t getting the job done.

Mikey Johnson is the case in point; he looks miles off what a Celtic player should be.

I love watching this guy when he’s part of a team playing well, but he lacks the mentality to be a match-winner.

You know what I mean. He can breeze around the pitch when the weight of responsibility isn’t on his shoulders but he will never step up on a night when it’s all on the line.

He’s a luxury player, and we need guys who can grind it out.

The St Johnstone game is now a major worry.

Had we won last night I would be less queasy about the bottom club in the table, but we can’t take anything for granted now.

I’ll be relieved with a single goal win to take us into the three week break.

And that break is coming at the right time.

None of us wanted this – and let’s be clear on that – but for once the global situation might have done us a big favour. This team needs some time to recharge the batteries. Players need an opportunity to get fit.

New signings need to be brought in, giving us new options. That opportunity is there now.

By God, we need to seize it. We need to beat St Johnstone with whatever warm bodies are available to us. We need to get past that final game and into that break no further behind. Do that, and we have time and space to breath. A lot can happen in those three weeks.

I expect a lot to happen. On both sides of the city.

There are new considerations for the club across town, new factors to ponder and worry about.

Believe me when I tell you that they would have swapped the two points from last night for the chance to take to take on a depleted Celtic at Parkhead in front of no fans.

That game behind them, with a seven-point lead, they’d have seen the end in sight, although there’s a long way to go.

Instead the lead is six, and that game still looms.

There is no guarantee that their squad will be intact. Ours will be, and stronger. And there’s stuff on their horizon which makes every decision they make fraught with peril. This isn’t over by a long way.

So although this isn’t an ideal situation, if we get by St Johnstone the extended break, and the way that game is rescheduled might be the best thing to happen to us.

Our injury crisis is sufficiently serious that if there were three games left, including theirs, we’d be in real trouble and there would be major reasons for concern.

Last night looks bad on paper.

But overall, yesterday might just be the day our luck – lousy for the whole of this year – started to turn.

Just in the nick of time.

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12 comments

  • Ciaran says:

    It is impossible to play football against a team if all they do is kick the ball away and have 11 men behind the ball.

  • Geoff says:

    Agree
    Victory on Sunday
    Every player man up for one last effort
    Crucially rest and reenergise every player
    Reset hopefully with quality additions
    Sevco will also hit a spell of dodgy form but they can always call on the 12th man in an emergency
    HH

  • Iljas Baker says:

    Mikey Johnston I think is more than a luxury player. On a number of occasions last night he was the only one capable of taking on men and getting past them. He did it on Sunday too. His problem is his final ball and to some extent his fitness. I think Ange sees something worth pursuing. He can be coached to improve his final ball and he has good role models now in Kyogo and Jota. Our problem last night was that young Moffat had no experience of playing against a team that has 11 men behind the ball. And Abada is not a dribbler. There was our front three then and no wonder we scored zero.

  • Sean mccaffrey says:

    That rangers mob, don’t lose a lot. So 6 points is a lot I think. I thought maybe that a change of manager, it might destabilize them, but they have been rock solid under van bronckhorst, he looks a more than capable manager. That moffat last night was garbage, I worry it will be the same against st johnstone, lots of the ball, but not a clue what to do with it. We are under real pressure now, I’m not looking forward to the satt johnstone game at all. Thank god the rangers game is off that’s all I can say. I dread to think what would have happened with that pathetic team last night

  • Sean says:

    Moffat was very ineffective, there crossing was garbage, we hardly had any chances to score at all, I am not looking forward to st johnstone at all, if we don’t score right away, it’s a real worry. We have struggled for goals recently, and that is a worry. I’m glad we won cup, that’s a decent start under Ange, I just worry the league is maybe to premature. That rangers mob have a siege mentality. I thought with new manager during season, would have destabilized them, but I think it’s actually galvanized them. We need at least 6 players for a title win, as them last night could have been still playing the now, and not scored.

  • SSMPM says:

    We all hope the new additions in Jan are the real make a difference deal because its as clear as day this squad is not good enough to win the league. I’m not apportioning blame on Ange, as he’s been managing an inherited crock, but he’s in charge of the dross and only just sneaking wins was bound to catch up and did. If we can get a win against the other Saints then we’re still in it, just, if not well I don’t want to go there.
    Now is Ange’s time, its up to him, the January sales, what comes in and what we must rid ourselves of. We need a clear out so as the 1st team and our squad replacements/subs are of a better standard than last night proved. 3 or 4 players may not be enough. We’re all hurting but God I wish him well. HH

  • Jim Duffy says:

    How I wish someone at Celtic had the foresight to keep a hold of Johnny Hayes he is exactly what our team need now.

  • Mark B says:

    We dumped simunivic Hayes to save a small amount
    . They were far from ideal but we still need a tall centre half and a left back.

  • Mark B says:

    Our rivals will put four past them. Six points is massive in this league absolutely massive. Yes we need recruits but some must be tall aerially excellent players we have zero threat or defence from set pieces. We need at least 6 players. 3 players five foot seven or eight will not be sufficient.

  • Ian MacPhail says:

    This situation was nagging at me, then I remembered that Billy McNeill played a front three of small wingers during a run of important games in 1979-80. (I checked TheCeltic Football Companion for this). After an injury to centre forward George McCluskey, the front three of Provan, Doyle and Lennox were played for 5 matches. Rangers (A) 1-1, Dundee United (H) 1-0, Hibs (A) 1-1, Aberdeen (A) 0-0, P Thistle (A) 1-1. McCluskey returned after that and Frank McGarvey was signed soon after.
    I had a feeling of dread when I saw the team last night had the three small wingers. ??

  • jrm63 says:

    The front 3 were useless for different reasons. Abada is not good enough and neither is Johnston. Abada cannot beat a man and Johnston cannot pass or score. Moffat is young and too small if he is not beating players. He looks like a reserve player. If we play that front 3 on Sunday we are in trouble. The weather did not help. Yes its the same for both sides if both sides are trying to actually play football. Bitton and McGregor were trying to play the same role and that did not hep either. Not looking forward to Sunday

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