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Another Abject Display Leaves Celtic With Work Still Do To Win This Title.

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There are two things here; there’s the game today and there’s the bigger picture. I’ll write about the bigger picture later, where the horizon is positively sunny and my disposition a hell of a lot better as I approach my task.

Right now, let’s talk about that display at Celtic Park this afternoon.

That was rank rotten.

It was, again, an inexplicably gutless display, just as the semi-final was. And it was worse than the semi-final because at Hampden we made them work for what they got, whereas today we sat back and allowed them to play football.

Where was the pressing game? Where was the intensity? I saw a Celtic team content to sit in its own half and let them have possession.

This is not a great Ibrox team by any manner of means, but they are dangerous and how often do we have to let them create chances before that sinks in? Why have we, twice in a row now, abandoned our attacking, front-foot philosophy to play like a team that hits on the break? It doesn’t suit us. It doesn’t work for us.

Has Ange and the coaching team bought into this whole “we’re playing Europa League semi-finalists here” guff?

Jesus, I hope not because that would be ridiculous.

But twice now we’ve played like a team that has bought into that hype, a team that believes it. Perhaps more than the Ibrox club itself believes it. Twice now we’ve shown them too much respect.

I am honestly pissed off about that today in a way I wasn’t angry a fortnight ago when we flogged the chance of a treble because we backed off them and let them control the game. I thought lessons would be learned, that we’d start on the front foot, that we’d put them under pressure from the off, that we would take advantage of tired legs and run them ragged.

I am shocked that for two games in a row we’ve played the same dire system, of allowing them possession and control, backing off to let their players run at us … with the consequences obvious considering what we endured at the national stadium.

If Sakala scores that one late – and we invited it, we encouraged it, we gave him all the time and space in the world again and again and again – we’d have been looking at a final game of the season scenario, and zero room for error along the way and nobody would have been able to point to anything other than that we did it to ourselves.

The manager has spoken after the game and said that they needed the win and that a draw leaves us in “a very strong position.”

True. Undoubtedly true. But worrying just the same.

That is the most concerning thing he’s said since he became manager, far more worrying than anything that he’s uttered before, because it strongly suggests that he thought that strategy of sitting off them was the correct thing to do today and at Hampden … and we’ve been damned lucky not to have lost them both.

It was a vastly greater gamble today to sit back and soak up pressure than it would have been to press forward and take the game to them.

The manager chose the wrong one.

If Sakala had scored he would have real questions to answer as to why he did that … and because that was so close to presenting us with a nightmare scenario, I don’t think he should avoid those questions.

That was abysmal.

We were lucky to get away with that.

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42 comments

  • Cyril Donohoe says:

    Fair comment ,however if Maeda converts 1 of his chances it would I believe led to a different post match analysis as in Hamden we failed to vonvert chances n the pendulum swung away from us. Spurning chances has to be addressed

  • Sheila Millar says:

    Fed up with the passing about at back Nearly cost us dear today

  • Smokey says:

    Very lucky to escape with a draw even taking in to account the Maeda misses
    Have been saying for weeks now that Hatate is our weak link….he gave possession or lost the ball on at least 6 occasions….everybody says he needs a rest….why play him in the first place…
    Big Joe 2 great saves but ball at his feet a no/no

    HH

  • Matt says:

    Absolute rubbish from us, not a pass mark for any of them, I was dreading that we would gift them another goal which we nearly did, what is going on trying to get the ball up the park when Joe Hart has it, we made them look good, never saw us giving away the ball as much as we did today, Ange should not have said they needed to win as all season he has said we only concern ourselves with what we do, the big Greek should have started the game and that is not hindsight as when I saw the team I said that, really pissed of after watching that.

  • Alexander Munn says:

    This is a poor Celtic team

  • Hans says:

    So they were terrified coming to Celtic Park?? You write some rubbish.

  • Mark B says:

    We are playing a Europa semi finalist they are a very good side. Apart from the 3-0 game the last half dozen. Games have been very close. We are not as good as we think we are. Delighted to escape with a draw so we can go on to win the title sums it up. One shot on target. They had 14 shots to our 5. Better to admit they are decent and we need to further improve in the summer. Even if we keep Jota and CCV.

  • Tom Foolery says:

    Poor performance but we have to remember that some of these guys have sweated blood for the cause over the course of the season. I think it’s clear to everyone now though that A) we need 5 or 6 players of better quality than what we have at the moment. B) Ange at some point in these types of games has to realise the system will need to be changed as right now we’re ultra predictable and C) Tony Ralston just isn’t good enough. Sure he will give 110% every time he pulls on that jersey but he just aint good enough…even with the extra 10%. As for today, sure it was poor but at the end of the day there’s no harm done in regards to our end goal for the season.

  • Pedro says:

    Think the plan was to exhaust them before Thursday?

  • bigboab says:

    Huns were playing for their wages next season and some their future. Huns have a squad that has been settled since Gerrard, albeit coming to an end, but settled. This was their shot at glory woth £40 million to ease their financial mess.

    Celtic have players and new players settling in to the system and will gel and cement a style of play which will reap rewards for many seasons. A team barely unrecognisable from last season will be picking up a double, only two seasons ago we collected a quadruple, hail hail and heres to a new era.

  • Alan O'brien says:

    We’re you watching a different game? We should have had 3 by half time and a shout at another couple in the second half….. as Alan morrison and juco James say…. negative variance….last week a win or a draw and we’d be happy. We got the draw…. are we not happy? And you like a movie reference….. “are you not entertained?” Fair result ……

  • Larsson says:

    Great result, that’s the title

  • Jorge says:

    I believe Hatate is a quality midfielder but appears to have lost a bit of pace. That he so obviously needs a rest and is still being played is a major concern. Either the manager doesn’t see it or has no faith in any alternative. What does that say about David Turnbull?

  • Dave Yader says:

    Have to say that they are actually a pretty good team evidnced by getting to a Euro semi and making Leipzig look average – and thats without a recognised striker. So that needs recognition. What I’ve noticed though is that the team stamina/fitness against them looks lower and I’ve noticed that since last season. I also wonder why occasionally Ange cant change tactics.

  • Sean says:

    There is not much between the sides and players, that can happen. There is no way in hell they were scared to come to our stadium, and a seen Chris Sutton says it was comfortable for Celtic, at times I don’t think he is the brightest, he must have been watching a different game from me. Rangers were the better side, especially second half, think it was eachy peachy first half, were couple of chances we should have taken, especially Maeda. A draw suits us, I knew it wouldn’t have been easy today. Like a keep saying, when they play that game, it’s not easy to beat them.

  • Charles says:

    If’s and buts. It was a bit scary but if maeda had taken his two chances in the first half it would not have been as bad. I agree when we press how we did at ibrox we are a better team so I dont understand why we sat off them today. At this moment the league is ours so we should enjoy the next few games and get ourselves set up for next season

  • Martin says:

    Nerves and lack of belief. A winners medal will make a huge difference. The Ibrox club came in knowing that their title chances are microscopic anyway, so could play with no fear and just go for it.

    We shouldn’t have sat back, that’s true. But the result is enough. Just.

    We need 3 or 4 more players and in these games especially we need a Scott Brown type anchoring that midfield. Hatate needs a rest. He’s clearly talented but utterly done.

    The sad thing is we gave them some belief today. We can still win the league next week but it would be nice if it had been fully in our hands.

  • Stuart says:

    Don’t agree with the match analysis. Whilst Celtic were poor second half with better finishing the contest would have been over before their equaliser. If the intent is to press then the midfield need to do more. Hatate is exhausted and neither O’Riley or Rogic are capable/willing to press. 4-3-3 doesn’t work if only McGregor presses against their two holding midfielders. I thought the forwards and defence did fine but midfield was hopeless.

  • kellybhoy says:

    If salkala had scored! he didnae!, if Celtic hid took their chances in the first hauf and a couple in the second the game wid hiv been oot of sight, they didnae.
    End o’ day, we scored wan and so did they.
    I thoot it wis a game of two haufs,
    Weave no been beat at Celtic park aw season and it disnae mater how we played the day, it’s ower the course o’ the season that counts, Celtic will get even better and stronger fur next season.Seems like there ur a couple o’ knuckle draggers oan here slagging big Tony and telling us we were lucky tae escape way a draw, wur the animals no lucky tae escape wi a draw?
    As fur another clown way a name ryhming wae hun, posting that this is a poor Celtic team! six points clear, three games tae play, best record in the leauge, (that’s why wer’e tap) away in crawl back tae yer ludge.

  • Paul Fitzgerald says:

    For me, our problem continues to be our full-backs. If we had Frimgpon or Lustig or Tierney, we dominate, we press, we’re aggressive, we’re on the front foot and we squeeze, and we support the midfield. I understand the romantic notion of Ralston but if we think he’s the answer God help us. And we need to replace Broony! Urgently! And a left-footed centre-back wouldn’t go amiss either

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