Keith Jackson turned in another masterpiece this morning, an article so dense that it could only have been written by someone who is completely ignorant about how football works and completely opposed to even the idea of looking beyond surface explanations … except in the case of his favourite club, where he dreams up all manner of mad scenarios.
In his world, Celtic is a limited team and Ange is in denial about this.
In the same universe the team which has been pumped three times in three Champions League games, a team which is almost certainly out of the tournament already and won’t even secure third place in the group, is one which is being held back by a manager who is impose limitations on them.
Jackson joins the growing chorus – all of them dumber than a box of rocks – telling Ange that his style is not suited to Europe, that it gets found out, that he has to be more “pragmatic.”
Aside from this, he’s also the latest to fantasise that Callum McGregor’s absence could be a catastrophe this team might not be able to recover from.
Let’s start from the first of his barmy contentions, that Celtic is a limited team and that Ange simply refuses to accept it. The manager has been clear – he has been unequivocal – in his denunciation of that performance in Germany.
Perhaps these hacks are simply deaf, or just too stupid to get it, but Ange himself spelled out the reasons for his anger; the team did not play in the style he is trying to get them settled into.
Far from being too gung-ho – which is what so many of these lazy hacks have concluded was the problem; what game did they actually watch? – Ange’s frustration was high because we didn’t play enough according to his principles. I agree with him.
This proves, again, that the Scottish press does not fundamentally understand the game they are supposed to cover.
They can watch the same performance as the rest of us, the same performance as the manager, and conclude that the result is explained by A-B-C when, in fact, it was explained best by X-Y-Z.
How anyone could conclude that it was a “gung-ho” approach which cost us in Germany is an absolute mystery when it was clearly the result of sitting too deep, passing the ball backwards and letting Leipzig control the tempo of the game.
Every one of these armchair experts thinks they know more than our manager does, but when they can’t even decipher his after-match comments and his own analysis of the game, when he laid all that out in plain English, they clearly aren’t qualified to critique him or the system he has chosen to play.
The man’s own words are clear; he adopts this system for his team because it works.
Sitting back against these teams will get you destroyed.
Ibrox’s team has been trying that strategy out; how far has it gotten them? Jackson’s answer to that is that they should try and be more attacking … again, this shows a fundamental misunderstanding of football which is breath-taking in a career sports journalist, albiet one of limited intelligence and with no formal qualifications.
Van Bronckhorst’s side has been constructed to sit in and play counter attacking football.
It’s what got them to their European final last season.
If he changes that style now, then the three games that follow will result in ever more savage beatings.
What Jackson fails to understand is that against a vastly better standard of opposition than they’ve faced before they are reduced to cannon fodder. No tactical change will reverse that situation.
His call for Kent to play in midweek because he’s the club’s best hope of getting something from the game is far more revealing than he seems to be aware.
He is not the only one, of course, who suddenly thinks he knows more than the Celtic manager. I’ll be talking about another of these idiots later today. No prizes for guessing who.