It’s always nice to get an expert opinion on something. But how many times have sought somebody’s views, listened to them for five minutes and realised “this person doesn’t have a clue what they are talking about”?
Even worse when you haven’t specifically solicited someone’s advice and they offer it anyway and don’t have a single sensible word to say.
This morning, Matthew Lindsay of The Evening Times has offered his take on our European campaign, and so many hacks did at the start of it he has suggested that we will get nowhere under the current approach. So we should change it. In fact, according to him we have to change it … which will have Ange reaching for the tactics board I’m sure.
Or maybe not. I rather suspect he’ll ignore this.
One of the reasons he’ll ignore it is that Matthew Lindsay is barely qualified for the job that he currently holds. He has not the least bit of knowledge or skill or understanding when it comes to tactics and tactical analysis. Our manager has forgotten more of that stuff than he will ever know, and of course Lindsay’s prescribed solution is pitifully dumb.
“A little more emphasis on containing and less of a focus on creating would not go amiss,” he says, which has all the substance of air and the smell of something noxious briefly drifting in it.
What does it mean?
Sit back and give a team that already had too much of the ball even more of it? Perhaps he didn’t notice that we made some basic errors for the third and fourth goals. The third comes when there are no fewer than six outfield players between the scorer and the goal. The fourth is a ball across the face of goal which a defence should deal with better.
The fifth is a classic example of what happens when too many players are already behind the ball and a guy is allowed to take a shot from the edge of the box without being closed down. That’s the team not doing the basic stuff Ange instructed them to do.
What isn’t immediately clear from these goals is how sitting back would have made our position any better. This was simply a consequence of a better quality team doing the things that elite teams frequently do when they come up against non-elite teams.
If we had sat back in all six of those games we would probably be no better off for it, and there would be none of the optimism that the fans feel for the next evolution of this team. Ange will not change our approach; our approach was not to blame for that pasting that we took. What we saw was a gulf in quality on the night, that’s all.
This is a media which lauds the tactics of a football throwback like David Martindale. It should not surprise us that they struggle to understand that our basic football philosophy is the correct one and that Ange is right to say – as he has said repeatedly – that our best hope of matching these teams is to go for their throats and try to take them on.
Dundee Utd are coming to Parkhead today, after losing by nine clear goals to us earlier in the season in a game where they tried to contain us. Watch what they try to do today. Watch the results of that effort. Since we hit our stride last season after a shaky start, so many, many teams have attempted to sit back and soak up pressure … nearly all have paid a high price for it.
These people simply do not listen when Ange lays out his rationale for doing things this way. You can sit back and wait to be picked off and then destroyed, or you can adopt an offensive posture and try to shake these teams and put them on the back foot.
We have seen our side draw two games and lose four, but we have gone down swinging, we have gone down fighting, and because we did that and because we know that with some better finishing that we could, and would, have gotten more from some of these games there is no despondency around Celtic over our performances.
Lessons have been handed out, and lessons will have been learned. From what happened on the pitch. From the chances we failed to take. From the ABC stuff that we didn’t do right.
But there are no lessons to be learned in the columns of daft Scottish journalists who are still struggling with joined up writing but somehow think they are tactical gurus. “A little more emphasis on containing and less of a focus on creating” is the sum total of their genius.
I doubt Ange has anything to learn from these people.