Celtic Still Lacks Any Plan B For Days Like This When Plan A Fails You.

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If leagues are won late in games then they are frittered away in the long brutality of entire games with barely a shot on target. How does a team with so much firepower in it fail on every level on days like today? Their keeper was barely tested; indeed, someone remind me if he was tested at all? Hibs offered nothing up front, but they did what they had to.

That was abysmal. It migh prove to be costly. Extremely so in the context of a season like this. On four occasions we’ve scored late this season to win 3 points; that’s great as far as it goes, as long as it is winning you points, but the two nil-nil draws in the 20 games before today bore a striking, and awful, resemblance to a couple of those … and were exactly like today.

This team still lacks a workable Plan B. Ange wants to play pretty football and its is great to watch and great when it works but when teams can get their players behind the ball and lock us out this is what it looks like instead; dire, dour, unimaginative, awful.

Plan A is brilliant to watch. But on its own it may not be enough. Most weeks we will have enough to break teams down … the concern is that we cannot afford too many days like this, and even with our penchant for winning games late we still have too many of them.

Today we used one substitute. One. Watching a game which, with the team on the park, was clearly going to end in only one way. The manager has to carry the can for that; that’s two dropped points and that’s down to his decisions. When this guy gets it right boy oh boy it is something to see, but without a better plan for breaking down these teams we will drop points and if we drop enough of them then titles are lost and questions start getting asked.

There are two types of manager; pragmatists and ideologues. I am terrified of Ange the Ideologue at times because in Europe his tactics leave us terrifying vulnerable to counter attacks and in the league it creates days when you continue playing tippy-tappy football long after it becomes obvious that it isn’t going to work.

I think the ideologue will win out … we will win this title because the ideas are good and the team he’s assembled is the best in the country, but at a club like this you also want to see ruthless pragmatism win the day some of the time … his team selection in midweek showed some sense of that. His decision making today … I don’t even know what to say.

This never looked to me like a performance where we would win three points. Too much of the game was spent with the tactic I lament most; crossing the ball into a packed penalty box. Teams can read that play all day every day and you are basically reduced to hoping for one lapse to win you the points. In Europe you saw how Bodo defended; at that level you’ll be lucky indeed to get that one lapse if they can hold a defensive shape. And so it will prove in Scotland today where even the bare minimum of concentration can keep us out at times.

Would a more direct style get us results on days like this? It couldn’t hurt to try. He risks turning an ideology into a tyranny instead though, where the team is forced to keep doing the same thing over and over and over again even when it isn’t working simply because of his rigid adherence to one idea. More flexibility is required here in a league where teams more and more come to view us as too great a threat to attack and sit behind the ball instead.

If we’re going to win this title we cannot afford many days like today and if this guy seriously isn’t interested in trying something new, and especially on a day when we haven’t even properly tested their keeper, then we are not going to do it, it is really as simple as that.

As good as it is to watch Plan A, when it is so obviously not succeeding what else does this guy have in his locker? I love this guy and I love what he’s trying to do … and as much as it appals me to write this, I saw what Van Bronckhorst did at half time in midweek against Dortmund when his team was under the gun. He didn’t just hook players and put other players on in a like for like swap. He altered the entire system and it got them the result.

Worryingly, I have yet to see Ange win a match due to a substantial tactical alteration. Tell me where I’m wrong. Show me the match which he substantially changed with a different style or tactical approach. If I asked you to show me games where we’ve done the same thing for 90 minutes until our patience was tested to destruction I can show you several; Dundee Utd, Livingston, St Mirren and now Hibs. But for Ralston’’s late winner you could have added Ross County.

This manager will be judged on a lot of different criteria. This will be one of them. I think often of Lennon’s cluelessness at changing his team-shape to get a better result than we were looking at, and then I think of Rodgers, who even at Ibrox with ten men had enough savvy to change the formation and system and secured three points.

When you looked at the bench late in the game what you saw was not a lack of options but a lack of like for like swaps to change the outcome, but that is not the same thing. This manager is enjoying the long honeymoon, but to persist with that today leaves him no defence when it comes to explaining away why we dropped two points.

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  • Guchi Boy says:

    We were UTTER SHITE.. END OF!! Maedas the new Ajeti, if he’s a loanee get him tae Fuk! Giakoumakis injured aganes a Mystery anaw?? We need Kyogo back Toute Suite coz there wiz NUTHIN there 2day!!

  • John smith says:

    I fear more dropped points midweek and against Livingston at the weekend,and in my honest opinion Huns are better than us,,just saying,,,,,

  • Smokey says:

    Abysmal it certainly was and you are right about Ange carrying the can… 1 sub?
    Tell me what Hatate done today and not for the first time he was woeful as was Mcgregor and Jota,
    High balls in to Maeda? Porteous strolled the match.
    Hibs time wasting from goalie to a few others was unreal but we deserved nothing from game.
    Midfield non existent

  • Henry says:

    Only saw the second half but this has been coming. Performance levels have dropped since the Rangers game. We are crying out for a Lubo player, we never score from corners, and much of the crossing is terrible. A lot to work on. And I agree with Guchi Boy, Maeda hasn’t shown enough for me,

  • jrm63 says:

    There is no plan B. The only system he has is to overload the flanks and cross. It only works if the crossing player hits the byline with the defence turned and facing its own goal. Just like Rangers. If GG is out even short term then we have major problems. Hatate’s loss of form is staggering – dude to dud. We have no attacking threat from the middle 3 whatsoever though CalMac is just overwhelmed and doing better that can be reasonably expected.

    He is an ideologue – we do not have ball-play centre halves to press up the play and break lines. We have missed Ajer We need two full backs who can get to the byline, beyond Jota and Abada and cross . Does he keep playing 4-3-3? I think he will. The back line has to be 10 yards forward from where it is at the moment.

  • Darren James Kerr says:

    Just a poor team end of. There is no winning leagues with garbage like Maeda, Hatate, McGregor, Jota, Rogic, Taylor etc. Weak as piss. No midfield presence. Front three soft as shite midgets.

  • Martin says:

    I’m not entirely convinced that bench had anyone on it who would have changed the outcome today. I cannot understand why we were playing crosses with what is a team wholly unsuited to it. But that could’ve been fixed at half time without a single change of personnel.

    Perhaps the only positive change on that bench was bringing Ralston on for Taylor. And that’s really worrying. We had absolutely no attacking power on that bench. I have no doubt with GG we’ d have won… But we didn’t have him. And what we had instead was nowhere near being an alternative.

    You win games by scoring goals. It was obvious from the 12th minute today we weren’t scoring a goal.

    • Peter Cassidy says:

      Maybe all the high energy play has caught up with a few of the players or most of them you need to be really fit to continue for 30 plus games plus cups etc but I thought we had strong bench well who could we say today could change things ??? We got carried away on the bigot result and not really pushed on since then europa was really poor and dundee who are rank rotten and today hibs $hit ange needs to step up and get them firing only a few games left leauge is there for the taking are we up for it I hope we are????.

  • Saulgoodman says:

    That was embarrassing! Embarrassing from ange embarrassing from hibs , a team of hammer throwers wasting time cheating from 1st minute , they got the result they wanted , embarrassing bench, embarrassing from rogic hatate maeda , jota only started playing last 20mins maeda runs about a lot but I’d prefer abadda thru middle , doesn’t look like this team + manager are ready for this run in we’ve been poor last 5 games …

  • Roonsa says:

    What a buncha fandans you all are. Complete and utter entitled fandans. We are still top regardless of what happens elsewhere today. It wasn’t great today but the comments on here are shameful. I urge all of you to engage your brain before sharing your opinions because I am embarrassed reading most of that from the comments section.

    • Michael McCartney says:

      I agree, disappointing today but some of the negative comments way over the top. A bit of lethargy about the team at the moment let’s hope Ange can snap them out of it . Our two main strikers Kyogo and GG were unavailable and I hope at least one of them is back soon. Forrest should have been brought on and Abada played through the middle for the last 25 mins.

  • Tom Foolery says:

    lol many panties getting in a bunch here. sevco drew so no damage done. I would like to ask a question though. Why on earth dont we play Abada through the middle. Maeda offers nothing either out wide or through the middle and Abada is certainly no wide player but he does make great why not play him through the middle?

    • Roonsa says:

      You did the sensible thing and kept your powder dry till the huns game had finished ,Tom. What a bunch of panic merchants read this blog.

      • Darren James Kerr says:

        The performance both by team and individuals was piss poor and has been for a few weeks. The bench was pathetic. It should make you sick seeing goons like Forrest, Bitton and McCarthy hanging around. Pure wage steelers. Don’t give a hoot what the orcs do in their games.

        • Roonsa says:

          If you take the positives like, for example, we have Kyogo to come back for the run in and Gioukamakis was missing today (through illness) then we are in a good place. Performances after European excursions tend to be on the poorer end of the spectrum. I know Celtic saved a few players but it’s obvious to me that we do have an issue with games that follow European matches. The huns have the same issue and they’ve got more games to play on that front – that will give us an edge.

          Celtic caught a break today. It’s a good thing. If we beat St Mirren and living we go into the Scottish Cup tie against United in a very good place.

          The way people were talking earlier on it’s like we’ve been found out and the game’s up.

          As for not giving a hoot what the orcs do, that’s complete nonsense. We want them to lose for obvious reasons. Their loss is our gain. Hence it makes sense to keep an eye on what they are doing.

    • 18871888 says:

      We’re also one game nearer the end, so today’s results suit us better. Some of the criticism is valid, though. Becsuse the wiz’s form has shaded there are no through balls being played into the box, and Hatate, after a good start, and Maeda are not contributing nearly enough – allowing for their endeavours in the J league, possibly they’ve played too many games. We’ll win this league, but need to improve in the summer to get back to the levels we need to be to start to get success ( and funds) in Europe.

  • Joseph Mcaleer says:

    Does Ange need a proper No.2 to get a slightly different angle on games. Someone from say Bodo.

  • Iljas Baker says:

    Okay so some of the comments are over the top but the majority are based on observation of the play. And not just of today’s game. When was the last time we played well?

    Players appear to have regressed (Hatate, Jota, Maeda, O’Reilly) and Ange seems incapable of motivating them or coming up with something different to do when teams double up on Abada and Jota and nullify any threat they pose. His post-match comments are a real turn off these days.

    The team plays like complete strangers to one another, no cohesion whatsoever. The high useless crosses into the box suggests those on the wings can’t even remember whose playing the striker role or that the opposition have skyscraper of a goalie and big defenders

  • Jack says:

    Celtic were too lightweight up front without Giakoumakis yesterday. He would probably have muscled his way to a goal at some point. Abada, Jota and Maeda couldn’t lay a glove on the big, highly up for it, Hibs defenders. Hatate and Rogic probably a bit lightweight too yesterday. I’d have had O’rielly on from the start. Not enough big guys like when we had Sutton, Hartson, etc.

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