Celtic Does Not Have An Issue With “Squad Depth”. Today Was Just A Poor Display..

Image for Celtic Does Not Have An Issue With “Squad Depth”. Today Was Just A Poor Display..

Every time we struggle in a game, there is a tendency amongst some folks to get hysterical about it all. I understand that, in part.

But I hope that tonight everyone outside the mainstream media – who will enjoy every second of this, I’m sure – calms down a little bit and resists the urge to go off the deep end. Especially on the thorny issue of “squad depth.”

This is the stick we’re going to get beaten with.

The “squad” as a whole isn’t good enough.

But good enough to do what?

We’ve been over the course when it comes to Europe.

We know the squad depth isn’t good enough for the Champions League, but that’s a big environment and squads with much more in them than ours aren’t good enough on that stage … we all know the board needed to give the manager proven quality instead of projects for playing there but that wasn’t Atletico Madrid today, that was a piss-poor Hibs team who didn’t even get up the park.

There is nothing wrong with Celtic’s “squad depth.”

And the manager did not err in bringing on Oh, Mikey Johnston and Forrest. Oh has to begin scoring goals, it’s a fact, but leaving him on the bench isn’t going to bring that one minute closer. Forrest came closest to winning the game. Johnston is just back from a Republic of Ireland break where he got rave reviews.

Yes, we left Yang on the bench, and there was no Holm amongst the subs. What does that prove? That the manager doesn’t rate these guys?

Not at all. Naming subs, like naming a team, is an art form. He wanted Turnbull on the bench because Turnbull’s been there, seen it and done it. He wanted Forrest for the same reason. Mikey deserved his chance. Ralston’s inclusion paid off because he got on. Oh is our backup striker. Phillips is our other defender.

We have great squad depth for playing in Scotland. That wasn’t the problem today. You cannot slag the guys who come on to change the game for failing to do it because they aren’t up to the job when the reason they came on in the first place is that the first eleven wasn’t getting the job done either. These guys are good players … they are not outstanding players, if they were they would be playing every week.

But every single person on our bench would have walked into that Hibs team today and into every other team in this country.

Every other team.

And before the Ibrox whingers start on that, you’re still playing Scott Wright so get out of my face.

It was a bad day against a team that made no effort to try and win the game.

They were content with a draw from the first minute, and the media is praising them to the nines for it. The manager’s comments after the game echoed my post-match review; we were far too slow in our passing and in our movement and that only actually changed when the new guys were on the pitch.

The other criticism which will be offered by some is that the manager should have played a B team today after the exertions of the midweek match.

That’s a laugh because the same people making that argument are amongst the ones telling us these guys weren’t even good enough to come on as subs. Sometimes managers give in to that demand and then get accused of having made too many changes.

The internet would have been aflame before a ball was kicked if he’d done that today and he would presently be getting crucified for having done it.

We weren’t good enough. As a team. As a squad.

The manager offered no excuses for it. He knew that wasn’t acceptable and he allowed the players no alibis. That’s what you want to hear from a manager on a day like this, acknowledgement of what we saw with our own eyes. The man is no happier about it than we are, and it’s up to him to fix it.

But this is not a time for going on a rant about the squad itself.

This squad has suffered serious injury issues the likes of which I’ve never seen and we’re sitting tonight with an eight point lead. That may change tomorrow but for tonight it’s a fact and this is the squad that got us there. It will certainly get us to January in good shape and we can take it from there.

Share this article


  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Because some of the support don’t think the bench is strong enough disnae mean we’re ‘hysterical’. It’s a valid and realistic opinion, built on performances over a period, no just a knee jerk reaction. Ye can defend players like mikey johnston, who was say ‘outstandin’ against Gibraltar. No exactly the best of world class opposition. Aye, he has his trickery, tho his end product is almost non existent and ahm no alone wi that opinion. And would you be content havin Oh in for weeks if god forbid, kyogo gets an injury ? We cannae expect tae win every game and ahm more than confident of league and Cup success this season. Tho would feel a lot better if (and ah know there’s nae guarantees of a new players success) if we added a few new faces in the new year.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Not a great day at the office for sure but we had a helluva shift in midweek while Hibernian were free…

    Let’s see what Sevco do tomorrow after their European exertions against The Scumbos who’ve had a free week…

    They’ll probably prevail (whistle, flag and monitor aided and abetted) and that might just jolt Celtic a bit –

    You are allowed an off day and ours just happened to be today at a ground where Brendan’s record is frankly piss poor to be honest…

    Ach well – ma wee granny up there will be happy with that point for her beloved Hi-Bees –

    But no more domestic slip ups any time please Celtic…

    NO MORE !

  • Michael McCartney says:

    8pts ahead, okay maybe 5pts by tomorrow night. we’ve been away to Ibrox, Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibs and Motherwell in the first 11 games of the season. There is no need for any panic over a disappointing away draw. I’m confident that by January we’ll probably be more than 5pts ahead, then a couple of reasonable signings for the 2nd half of season and the title will be won by April.
    The team from Ibrox will drop pts before we play them next, even allowing for Tavernier’s penalty gifts.

  • Eddie Whitelaw says:

    It’s not the time to rant and rave about squad depth, but Celtic should not be bringing on two wingers, with no skill and no pace, I understand they were trying hard, but they are not good replacements for the standard we are used to. It was a bad performance, with a European hangover, which we have seen before, but don’t be mistaken that this was a poor performance related to just being a bad day, Forrest, Johnston and Ralston are not good enough for Celtic, especially going forward. As usual we have a great balance sheet and a good team, I would like it the other way about.

  • Stevie says:

    This is down to the board James. Lawwells projects didn’t get a look in today, with BR preferring to bring on our players who have been there for years instead. Guys who haven’t made the grade. Maybe apart from Forrest who is past his best. It’s of no coincidence that Lawwell’s projects were snubbed the day after it was apparently announced that the board received a 62% pay rise. We don’t want to overspend as you know, we only want improvement on our weakest positions. It wont break the bank to find a better LB than Taylor or a younger keeper than Hart. If our squad players were able to readily replace our starting 11, we could have freshened up the team a bit but obviously the manager doesn’t trust the players he has at his disposal… in his own words, the players he is paid to develop.

  • Sophie Johnstone says:

    Nothing hysterical about it,We were awful today when you are giving Mickey Johnstone yet another chance to show in his mid 20s “potential” and Instead of turning to youth we bring an ageing Forrest on then that shows you rhf manager doesn’t fancy the young players in the squad I praise Celtic when merited but I can criticise too,lack of a decent transfer budget biting us in the butt

  • Mick says:

    Surely you’re joking not one of those 5 subs are anywhere near good enough. Rodgers said he wanted strength and experience when he came back the board have shafted him. It’s a worry when JF and MJ are starting in front of Yang-and I’m not sure he’s the real deal but I think we’ve seen this movie before and it didn’t end well.

  • John Smith says:

    James,,if Celtic are finishing a game with Johnson , Turnbull and Forrest on the park ,then to me that is an issue,,,

  • Chris McDougall says:

    We were shite. Start to finish, a bore fest. Could’ve played for days and not looked as if we could’ve scored. And that is pretty bad.

  • Dora says:

    That was a classic example of a European hangover, Celtic were awesome midweek against one of the heavyweights of European football.
    Sunday aft kick off would have suited us so much better but, like you’ve said James-it was just a bad day on the road which hasn’t been the case lately.

    To be in this position right now…every Celtic fan in the globe would have settled for this b4 the start of play in august….par for the course-kick on Wednesday!

  • Bigchunkylardass says:

    Squad strength is always a thorny issue, good players, who are not startin every week, and see themselves as good as the starters very quickly want away – like big GG last January.
    So then yi either insist they stay longer – like we did we ½ the squad in the covid season, an look how that worked out, or yi let them go, maintain squad harmony and have as good a level of player, who know they’re gonna have a battle ti be a starter, there for injury cover.
    Also, is there 1 Celtic supporter who would have seen or wanted scales as a starter this season?
    We had a bad day at the office – it happens tae the best oh us, we move on

  • Matt says:

    Hello James, love your articles but wow. It’s very clear we have a problem with the squad. Just playing the guys that are not good enough doesn’t mean they will always get better. Brendan sees these guys every day and now it’s quite clear they are not Celtic class ( I could be wrong but I don’t think so) He went to the safe Scottish players bet, he can rely on they players as subs to do a job. Unfortunately that wasn’t good enough. If you think we have a good enough squad then I honestly wonder how much you know about football. I don’t like saying this but just because people write about football doesn’t actually mean they know a good player or not aka the daily hun writers. Again sorry love your articles wow, just wow

  • Martin says:

    We were poor and our focus was all wrong, even with the starting 11. But you must be joking if you don’t think we have a squad depth issue. You honestly think BR wants to play the same XI 4 games in a row within 10 days? We have a very unbalanced squad, too few striker options, no LB options, no GK challenge and debatable quality across our options on the wing.

    The subs did slightly improve things for the last 10 minutes (or did we just shift approach?) but there’s no way those are the subs used if our squad depth was better.

    In January our 3 best players are probably away to the Asian Cup (along with Yang, Oh, Tilio which is less of a loss). Are you seriously happy that we can cope without them? Heck we’ve failed to even score a goal domestically when Hatate hasn’t played this season.

    Recruitment has remained “hopeful punt” since about 2006, with the only brief shift during Ange’s first window, which I’m increasingly viewing as an anomaly borne out of desperation to rebuild a depleted squad quickly. We need a “first team quality and a hopeful punt or two” policy instead. We didn’t need to sign anywhere near as many players as we did this summer. 6 or 7 of them will never see action. If we buy 3 players each window one of quality, one medium risk punt and one development punt we will improve the team, spend less and increase our “hit rate” on development players.

    We also need to drastically review the youth setup. I get we can’t expect to get people first team ready through the B team setup, but we can get them identified and loaned out. It has been years since a youth player came into the team properly. That’s dire.

    As for this 1 game? Meh… We were exhausted, Hibs played anti football and Easter Road is BR’s bogey ground. I can move past it, but it can’t become a pattern.

Comments are closed.