There is no question that this Celtic team looks a little flat at the moment.
You can see that in some of the sloppy football we’re playing and the drop in the pace at which we move the ball around the pitch. Something is off, but it’s easier to work out what isn’t the problem than to identify what is.
So many people in the commentariat are looking at lazy answers.
One sports writer claimed today that we looked “exhausted.” Nonsense.
That is certainly not an issue and I don’t know how that person can have arrived at that conclusion. I didn’t see evidence of tiredness yesterday, just an inability to break down a packed defence by crossing the ball into a penalty box filled with Hibs players.
This tactic has resulted in the same lack of punch at various times this season.
It is almost certainly going to result in a tense and annoying afternoon in Livingston at the weekend. Teams know that if they can shut us out for a while that things start to get antsy.
The players didn’t look tired, they just looked bereft of imagination.
The last few weeks have been difficult. I think we got rocked a little at Tynecastle and Pittodrie, and then the European results have given us the jitters.
That’s perfectly normal for any club which goes through a sticky spell of games and especially when we started to concede daft goals at home and abroad. Maybe we were just overcautious yesterday.
I think it was important to keep a clean sheet; that’s been done now and the defence will feel better for it.
The other morale issue will be solved when we put a few past an opponent again. Far worse must be the morale issues across the city where they are throwing points away on a regular basis.
It will take one comfortable win – it could even be secured in midweek – to start the ball rolling again for us.
It’s not inconceivable that if we do well on Wednesday that we could take our newly restored swagger into the game at the weekend and breeze past Livingston without blinking. On Sunday we stopped the bleeding at the back … we just need to start putting teams away again without falling into a rut.
But I see no evidence that this team is either wilting under pressure or “out on its feet” as one eejit claimed the other day. We simply came up against a team which did its defensive job well and kept us at bay.
This is football. It happens.
Whilst I think we still lack a Plan B for these games, and need to fix that problem soon, no real harm was done and that sense of having gotten away with one should be another little shot in the arm to our morale, as well as a disaster for theirs.
This team has plenty of gas in the tank, and even if we don’t, this is where the lack of European games will suddenly start to matter. Whether they are tired or not, our players can use the break and we should be looking to capitalise on it.