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Celtic Sleepwalks To Three Points And Closer To A Disastrous Unravelling.

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Today was wholly unsurprising to those of us who have watched this transfer window inch closer to the end with mounting anger and dread. The fractured state of the football department is clear on nights such as these. The doubts can be held at bay for a while, and by some good performances and results, but they are never kept out for very long.

This is the most incoherent season I’ve seen from Celtic in more than a decade. The weight of the mistakes we’ve made is crushing. We might yet be on the verge of the biggest of them all. The need for reinforcements of significant quality was screaming at us. That we look almost certain to close out this window without them is horrifying.

That was not a good performance today, no matter what the manager or anyone else has to say. That was rank. For Rodgers to actually praise the performance and blame the state of the pitch – shocking, by the way, and another indictment on those in charge of the club who want to do everything cheap in spite of the enormous cash surplus we’re sitting on – and then to suggest that Palma’s missed penalties unsettled the fans and the team suggests that he’s either saving the real stuff for the meetings behind the scenes or he’s no longer playing with a full deck of cards.

We were wasteful, lax and far too slow today in everything we did. They had the better chances late in the game. We scored our only goal with an early deflection. Without it, I do believe we’d have dropped points this afternoon. The number of players who got pass marks today you could count on one hand, and only then for effort, not quality.

Let me tell you what troubles me most. One of the lowest scores on the day would have gone to Kyogo, and not for the first time this season. He was ineffectual bordering on non-existent. He played the full 90 minutes. The only reason he did is that there was nobody on the bench who could have stepped up and filled his spot. Furthermore, had we had a full squad to choose from, including Oh and Maeda, I still wouldn’t have been convinced by either change.

Kyogo has turned up this season in a handful of matches, and in many others he’d have been as well taking the afternoon off. He doesn’t fit Rodgers’ system at all, and that becomes more and more clear the more you watch him flounder in it. This is no longer a case of finding a backup for the guy, we need someone who better suits the style. It’s bad enough that we’re essentially betting the house on number 8, but when number 8 has only showed form on a handful occasions that strategy stops being risky and starts to look insane.

It is unconscionable for those in charge of our club to have left the manager no option but to play a non-functioning player for the full match this afternoon, but that’s where we are. The window is another day closer to shutting, and Rodgers sounded genuinely clueless about what is going on behind the scenes. Or maybe he no longer cares.

I know this much; the recruitment department is not operating according to the football departments need at this moment in time. The summer was bad, with so many cheap signings and none of the immediate first team quality we were entitled to expect.

The January window is so much worse, because it’s clear that either the manager hasn’t won his battles at all, that he hasn’t set down a marker, that the same people who screwed up at the start of this campaign are still arrogant enough to believe they know better than he does, or the head of recruitment is an incompetent who only got the job through daddy.

Let’s be honest, neither of those scenarios is appealing. Neither offers much hope for the next few days, and worse; neither outcome is good for next season either. Let’s put it this way; if Rodgers wins this title with this team and no further reinforcements, the geniuses in the boardroom will simply take that as more evidence of their own brilliance and nothing will change. If we don’t win the title, Rodgers head will roll, they’ll blame him for not properly working with the players he was given and the next guy won’t even have a say in the matter.

I’ve been doing this job a long time and everyone know I tell it how I feel it and there’s no point in anything else, so I’m going to lay it out. The team-building has been so unstructured and unfocussed that its already hamstrung us. But if we don’t add the striker and the left back we need before this window shuts, we’re in a lot of trouble.

And if on top of that failure, Ibrox signs Shankland from Hearts, we won’t win the league. Because we’ll drop enough points between now and the end of the season that they’ll edge in front simply because they have a penalty box finisher and we don’t.

Then the coming summer becomes a mad scramble to rebuild, with top players certain to leave and the manager will clearly have to go with them, leaving us facing yet another summer of uncertainty brought about by the lack of strategic thinking at the top of our house.

This entire season has been a mess so far. A shambles. Do I think we’ll turn it around in four days? I absolutely don’t. Right now, we’re lucky to be sitting top. If the next four days play out the way they look like going, and we win this title anyway it will be in spite of policies which look like self-sabotage. You can see the writing on the wall ten meters high.

And I think we’re sleepwalking towards disaster anyway.

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  • Sid says:

    Absolutely spot on James, you hit every nail on the head I was looking for after reading the title.
    One point I will add is that if or when disaster strikes and the Celtic fans allow the manager to carry the can, then the support have also failed the club. 60M gross negligence should be a complete clean sweep and I only include the manager because he should be continually highlighting the need for reinforcements. You reap what you sow.

  • Dan says:

    Phil nails it with “managed decline”, our board think of two teams when making decisions.

  • Roonsa says:

    One word: sabotage.

  • William Welsh says:

    We’ll said James.

  • Michael says:

    Brendan if he doesn’t walk then he becomes part of the problem.
    He needs to grow a pair or in his own words it’s TERMINADO!!!!

    • Neil Smith says:

      Maybe it’s me??? But why the hell can’t BR not shape the team to play their strengths??? Playing like this does not work… Previously our up front players scored for fun. Problem I think is Rogers’s, fit the formation n tactics with what’s available, previous manager would have this lot mororing

  • Michael McCartney says:

    The next 5 games are going to make or break our season, the signs aren’t good, none of the Asian Players are likely to be back by the end of this week.
    The lack of activity in the transfer market for cover and to freshen things up is shocking,
    The results at home this season for a Celtic Football Club rich in resources in comparison with every other club in Scotland are just not good enough.
    I hope I’m wrong, but the saying that things are never as good the 2nd time around looks like it’s going to be proved right as far as BR goes.
    The team from Ibrox isn’t very good but back in the day Jock Stein was quoted as saying we have to be a LOT better than them to overcome the bias built in towards them in Scottish football. Hate to say it but we’re not a lot better than them at this time.
    Hopefully tomorrow morning a bit of positivity has returned, but honestly that was a woeful display today.

  • Bob (original) says:

    I’m now thinking that even if BR was given 4 quality players this window,

    as he indicated he needed, then the displays might not be any better?

    It was a tough watch today, and it simply reinforced a gnawing feeling

    that we are actually watching the BR team from February, 2019.

    We are repeating all the same comments / complaints today:

    it’s all about possession, side to side across the pitch, can’t take on

    your man, can’t shoot from outside the box, slow / ponderous tempo, etc…

    We are watching BR tactics from 5 [five] years ago!

    Forget about developing ‘project players’,

    BR himself doesn’t appear to have developed himself and his tactical

    capabilities in 5 years?

  • Chris McDougall says:

    I know Shankland isn’t “next level” but he scores goals. In this season, when the deid club are gambling with players they don’t have to pay for until the summer, we should gamble on Shankland. He’ll score for us and they won’t have him.if we get him, we will win the league. Simple really but perhaps not for our charlatans…..

  • Owen Mullions says:

    Brendan is part of the problem. The more I see and hear of him, the more I’m convinced he has come back for a nice retirement fund to top off his tan and polish his teeth. I don’t think he has any genuine interest in Celtic. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice…?

    • Jamie Struthers says:

      Couldn’t agree more. He speaks with no passion or drive. Didn’t want him back in the summer and still don’t. Boring football and no ambition from the club.

  • brian cavanagh says:

    Hi James

    blaming the board is easy – the manager picks the team – questions have to asked

    1 -very low conversion from possession – similar to his second year with Celtic

    2. playing across defences – easy for 10 men behind the ball

    3 lack of inventiveness up front – all BR job – yes the board has to take responsibility for no transfer – but it doesnt pick the team and it is not a bad team

  • JAMES W MCALLISTER says:

    So true and why doesn’t Rodgers have the balls to demand what he needs.. Lucky to get away with that today ???

  • Sam Fulton says:

    If Brendan Rogers thinks that Mikey Johnstone is a Celtic player then he doesn’t know about football.And Johnstone isn’t the only one.Then you see that Rangers are still behind and that says it all about them.

  • Andrew Lamb says:

    Hi James, you are the only one of the alternative voices I listen to, and I totally agree that this has got disaster written all over it. That was a horror show today, I feel County deserved a point. We won’t be happy it seems until we give Sevco 60 million and further rise from the ashes to pose a challenge that should never have been allowed to happen in the first place. The 5 way agreement is working I think. Get Lawell out for good.

  • James Archibald says:

    I suppose signing shankland is out of the question? if they have a chance to sign him then sign him ffs I know that wee troll naismith would baulk at the idea but if the money men over there think about it you never know but lawell will probably think he knows better HH

  • Dennis laverty says:

    Totally agree with everything you say but if we give sevco the league and the big purse champions league the board will be out on their arses fan revoult mark my word

  • Bunter says:

    For the first time this season I now feel Sevco will win league title and gain the fruits of champions league qualification. God it’s hard to write that. But for months we could all see Kyogo was struggling and we need a Hartson/Sutton type centre forward. We needed competition at left back for Taylor and a more mobile goalkeeper. We got nothing. This board needs to go.

  • John Howie says:

    We won’t win the league!!!
    The Celtic board do not back Rogers one bit!!!!

    … They want him to fail so that they can get their pal, Neil Lennon, who will do as he’s told, back in charge!!!
    Get rid of Lawwell and his son!!!!

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    If that performance is anythin tae go by, the rest of our seasons in real doubt. Beggars belief that once again that lot are sittin up there at Celtic Park and doin nothin about it and allowin it tae happen. If nothin credible happens players wise before this window shuts, this is deliberate. Nae doubt about it imo.

  • JimBhoy says:

    Tough watch, If this does not serve as a warning to Brendan and board then there is something seriously wrong at the moment.

    Coaching players to be better is more strategy than tactic, what we need now are flexible tactical options that allow changes to be made in games adding quality where it is needed.

    If Brendan see getting trying to get the best out of some younger players as what is needed NOW he is on an ego trip.

    If Brendan is happy with the effort, quality etc today he is working to another agenda.

    We are barely clinging onto a lead.

  • Johnny Green says:

    Yes, it was a very poor insipid display with the only plus being the victory and gaining a much needed 3 points. We huffed and puffed our way through the game and won ugly. However, for all those predicting a Hun Title win all of a sudden, get a grip of your knickers, for if you watched them against St Mirren their performance was every bit as bad as our own, in fact worse, and I certainly am not concerned about them ousting us as we still have a better more balanced squad than they do. We should of course be strengthening the group, but there is still no need to press the panic button just yet, the Huns are a slight threat but still nowhere near good enough to wrestle the Title from us,

    Keep the faith……we will be true to thee till death,

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