A Dire First Half Turned By A Celtic Side Which Seemed To Remember How To Play.

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The first half was as bad as I have seen Celtic play in a long time. How long? Years, I think. Because we saw none of that under Ange, even in the earliest days of his tenure when he was still building his team and finding his feet. We were all over the place.

I lamented at half time how if you had created a checklist of everything we’ve been doing wrong over the past few weeks that you could have crossed off every single one of them.

No movement off the ball. – Check.

Aimless crossing into the box. – Check.

Slow build-up play allowing the opposition to organise themselves. – Check.

Dire failure to capitalise on set pieces. – Check.

Conceding one from a set-piece. – Check.

And Joe Hart, flapping and costing us. – Check.

These are things we’ve all talked about.

In that second half, the play was much crisper, the movement much better, the speed much faster.

The second and third goals aren’t only great examples of swift movement by players but of a team which is mentally a step ahead of the opposition, and that as much as anything characterised that first half display; a sort of lethargy which had us playing like every player had his legs encased in concrete. That fell away the minute we equalised.

I was glad it was the captain. Hell, I was glad just to see us get the goal, but that’s a leader playing like a leader and grabbing a bad situation by the scruff of the neck.

It was as if he shook the whole team out of whatever it was that was wrong. From that moment on I didn’t believe that there would be any other winner. We were on top from then on.

Matt’s goal is beauty. Forrest’s goal shows again what a fantastic squad player he is. He knows what he’s doing, he’s a consummate pro who has scored so many, many goals for us that the moment it dropped to him there was never a doubt that he would bury the ball in the net.

That’s what he’s been doing for years as the critics – me included at times – have given him stick. Forrest has been a magnificent player for us.

I am going to praise Mikey Johnston and not just because he gave us much more than Yang did; he moved better, he gave the ball away less, he ran at the defence instead of trying those daft crosses. It was a good substitution.

I am going to praise the manager for the decision to make that change.

There’s a ruthlessness about Rodgers in times like these and it sent a clear message to people to buck up their ideas. The decision to take off Turnbull, who seemed one of our best attacking threats, was ballsy … bringing on Oh is what changed t he game, and letting him impose his physicality on their defence.

I really like this boy, and I would love to see us go two up front more often.

I was furious at half-time, in no small part because it really was a self-inflicted wound.

We weren’t at the races at all. The manager has just said as much in his after-match interview, and his anger at those 45 minutes is obvious and justified – the angriest he’s been in his career as a manager, is how he put it. But we got there, and then some, with a far better display after the break. We’ve re-gained our lead and put the pressure back where it belongs.

That’s all you can ask for, that and the sort of effort we finally showed.

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  • Gerry says:

    You’ve said what myself and probably thousands of fans saw and thought from first half. First 45 was as poor as I’ve watched for a long time and I said to a few pals, that it was essential for us to show loads more energy, fight and two strikers on. I was pleased for wee Johnston and thought he did really well…that allied to big Oh’s introduction allowed us a pathway back into the game.
    It was a huge 45 mins for us and delighted to put the pressure back on them.
    It was also refreshing to hear Rodgers post match interview and the fact that he’s highlighting there’s no place for lethargy or complacency from ANY player. Hopefully we can focus on the positive comments regarding his relationship with DD, and that the January window will prove to be fruitful.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Good win in the end but as you say the first half was dire – We’ll need to be on the ball v Hibernian in midweek…

    Now we can watch as The Cheats with whistles flags and monitors bail out Sevco once again !

  • John L says:

    Kilmarnock, Hibs, Motherwell and today they managed to serve up about 60 minutes of mince, that was truly woeful, we really need to get a grip as we won’t get away with this every week Yang took about 10 steps backwards today and the less said about Hart and Taylor the better. We got there in the end, thank the Lord

  • Frank says:

    John L spot on. Yang a way to go but the other two are a liability defensively

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