Keith Jackson’s column today was pretty interesting for once. He clearly doesn’t like the appointment of Michael Beale, and he has long-standing issues with the way the club across the city is being run. But I did not expect him to turn the guns on The Mooch as quickly as he has done. He did not miss him this morning, let’s put it that way.
What I found most interesting was when he compared The Mooch’s tactics to those used by John Barnes when he was at Celtic Park, and indeed when you look at their team line-up that’s exactly what it looked like. Which didn’t impress Jackson at all.
“(In truth), Beale’s first 45 minutes were a head scratching mess,” he wrote. “Having promised to make big changes with some bold, innovative ideas, it did look very much like the manager was rolling out a system which was first put into practice in Glasgow shortly before the end of the last century. It was John Barnes who introduced the idea of a 4-2-2-2 formation at Celtic back in the summer of 1999. And he was saying his farewells eight months later.”
Jackson’s suggestion that The Mooch deploy 37 year old Steven Davis as his Callum McGregor is not so much about desperation – although it reads that way – as it is a cold, rationalist view of the Ibrox squad. Davis might well be the best they’ve got in midfield … that’s damning, but it’s the first realistic assessment of how impoverished that team is.
He points out that the next two games for their club are perilous; the visit to Aberdeen tomorrow night and the one to Ross County on Christmas Eve. As Jackson doesn’t expect Celtic to drop points in either of our two home games he wonders if this title race will even get as a far as the 2 January match; that has to be keeping him awake at night.
Dropped points will, in his words “in all likelihood prove to be catastrophic.”
And that’s why The Mooch is already feeling the heat.
To have been 2-1 down at home in his first match is something that cannot be ignored, although they turned it around in the second half. If they do drop something in the next couple of matches there are going to be problems, big problems.
This guy, and a couple of others who have believed from the start that appointing Beale is a mistake, are sharpening the pencils. And their knives.