Celtic Finally Finds The Grit And Guts In This Title Race With Idah Providing The Magic.

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I was writing a very different article at half time, after one of the most profoundly disturbing first 45 minutes of a profoundly disturbing season.

The second half was not just better, it was night and day. For the first time going into the latter stages of a game I thought we would get the three points.

There were a couple of performances to talk about, but before we get to them, I want to talk about the manager and the way he handled himself.

I said, on Twitter, at half time that he had 45 minutes to save his job. He took off Kyogo at half time, and I think might have been more to do with his getting injured that it was tactical, but it was the absolute best thing that happened to us all afternoon.

There are people who keep on asking me why I retain confidence in this guy, and where the proof is that he’s an elite manager.

I mean, other than his Invincible Treble, his other trophies in Scotland, his second-place thrill-ride as manager of Liverpool, his European places for Leicester, his getting them to a European final and, oh yeah, his FA Cup. Other than that, they mean?

The better question I think is this, and someone asked me it this week; would having his own players in this squad really make that big a difference? It’s worth reminding ourselves that this is a guy managing someone else’s team right now; he has had very little opportunity to stamp his own imprint on it. But Adam Idah provides at least part of the answer.

Idah is not the top-class striker we needed in January. Which doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the potential to be. But Rodgers gave those above him some very clear instructions as to what his January striker should be able to do. He needed to be physical and fast. He needed to give us something we don’t currently have in the team.

And that entire second half was built around Adam Idah.

His physicality, his work-rate, his ability to hold up the ball, to play with his back to goal and keep possession, bringing other players forward. It doesn’t matter whether Rodgers took Kyogo off because of the injury or not; bringing on Idah meant changing the system slightly to suit him … and he fits what Rodgers wants to do like a glove, and that stands out a mile.

So yes, give Rodgers his own players and I absolutely believe that you will see a different Celtic side. The trouble is, he has to win this title. Without being able to do that the point is moot. If we lose this he won’t be here when next season kicks off.

There are going to be people moaning – yes, even after that, people will be moaning – about Kuhn and others. Nicholas Kuhn is still finding his feet.

He’s playing in a team which has changed its formation and system three times since he’s been at the club. He’s not played enough matches to form partnerships or develop a good understanding with his team-mates. Yang, who came on, is a different sort of player; what I like is that he’s physically strong.

Palma needed a goal and got one. I enjoyed his goal although the equaliser was as good a header as a Celtic player has scored since Giakoumakis was here, and Idah’s second reminded me of the big guy as well, but I enjoyed Palma’s because of how it was done; those direct balls across the goal, they caused havoc today and we got all three of our goals from them.

We need more of that. We need more of the speed and aggression that characterised that second half display. We need more of that grit and guts, and that was the first time we’ve seen that grit and guts in a while and it was very welcome.

This team has shown that it has the stomach for the fight, and we’re going to need that all the way to the finish here. But for the first time in weeks these players look like they are up for it and relishing it and that they can handle it. I believed in them in that second half, and now we need to take that same attitude into the Dundee game in midweek.

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  • Jimmy Y says:

    Kunh was terrible I’m surprised it took BR. So long to hook him. Idah and Yang changed the game. Nice to see a bit of fight in the team now. If we finish the week with 2 more wins its game on for the title.

  • Pauline says:

    Spot on James

  • Pauline says:

    We need to keep this attitude from the second half and I do find it hard to believe that sevco can carry on winning ways as they to me are still not great

  • Adam Thomas says:

    Sorry James two goals in the dying embers of injury time against a pass poor motherwell doesn’t fill me with optimism, but time will tell .

  • Roonsa says:

    Hmmmm, James. I dunno. I think I am just traumatised after another late win. I’m not sure I can take too many more of those games. Sure we played better in 2nd half but it really couldn’t have gotten much worse. And if Motherwell had held on for a point then I am not so sure you would have been saying what you’ve just said. Although, you’re your own man so that might very well have been the case. I can’t look into your soul, only you know that.

    Also, I don’t know if you heard Brendan’s post match interview on Radio Scotland with Jane Lewis. I was only listening because I was in the car and I switched on the radio to hear what was being said. I see that the Record have already picked up on it. It was pretty bad. To refer to her as a “good girl” as he cut short the interview — not great at all. Pretty cringey actually.

    It’s all fuel to the fire the media are keeping going which is the point Brendan was trying to make. But he made a right cock of it.

  • Jim Duffy says:

    Much better today especially the second 45,don’t know if kyogo is injured but it was fortunate he left him off second half,we keep going,at 90 minutes I thought the game was up but we dug in so yes we’re still in it.

  • Michael Clark says:

    It is like night and day because we now have an ariel threat in Idah which we haven’t had since Georgios Giamaukas. We still would have been waiting for that equaliser had he not been on the park. Don’t get me wrong I think Kyogo Furuhashi is by far the best striker in the SPL but this guy give’s us options

  • Frankie says:

    Every man and his cop are after Brendan, when he came back surely he spoke to DD to assure him he was in control with no interference from liewell at least at the end of games he goes to the fans where is liewell and his cronies never seen shitebags, liewell comments could not get the players that were looked at utter pish does not want to spend over 2 mill, a born liar , so let’s back Brendan to the hilt and the players he has, take it out on the snakes at the top

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    First half poor again and thought aw naw, here we go again. Second half was a lot more like it and gave my own personal faith for this season a welcome boot in the arse. A lot more like the way we should be playin. If we can keep that up and gettin results along with hopefully a full squad again, we’ve a good chance.

  • Captain Swing says:

    We need a ‘Boston Celtics 1969 playoffs’ end to the season (google it if you’ve never heard of this – an ageing Celtics in decline made the play off finals against the odds and from a professional pride hardwired into them, conjured up an unlikely series win against a superior LA Lakers team) but wins like that can be the spark that at long last lights the fire within them….. we hope!

  • DEREK BAILEY says:

    Totally agree with you James. I have said all along Brendan has had a team foisted upon him. And his management track record is elite, some folk just like taking a kick without thinking it through. Yes other managers can get a ” tune ” but the whole Celtic team are having to learn a new and different system. And Brendan is showing dignity by not out and out calling the board for the inadequates they are but patience will run out unless drastic changes now ! Get behind Brendan everyone, he is our manager.

  • Gerry says:

    Look, today was the proverbial game of two halves. First half was utterly atrocious and I was appalled watching it.
    Second half was so much better. Give kudos to big Idah obviously, and Yang for providing a spark on the right hand side. I agree that Kuhn is finding his feet, and certainly has to do a lot better! I thought Iwata was good today and I hope he can get a run of games now ! I’m presuming he was replaced due to tiredness rather than tactical ! Good to also see CCV back and he brings the presence we require. Whether Nawrocki or Welsh should partner him, is up for debate, as I wasn’t impressed by Scales at all.

    After 45 mins today, the league was heading towards Liarsville, with another weekend ruined.
    The second 45 demonstrated, ( without getting carried away or shot down by the pessimists,) that we certainly still have enough in us to get this title retained. We move onto Wednesday to see whether we can continue to get some consistency and confidence into our play and hear whether the ‘in form,’ Killie can perform and get a ‘ result’ against Sevco!

  • Dan says:

    Don’t think an elite manager would need two deep injury time goals against a side like Motherwell. Our squad needed additions during the transfer window but what we have is a lot better than what a side like Motherwell can field. The manager has to take criticism for the struggle we currently see.
    And then there is Maeda, listen I admire the guy’s work ethic and he runs his heart out, but Celtic cannot play a player who’s touch, composure, and crossing is often worse than pub league players. The ball bounces off him and he misses chances that are harder to miss than score. I’ve wished this player well for ages and always hope that when he has scored he will kick on but it never happens.

  • Michael McCartney says:

    two late goals and one missed certainty all from getting to the bye line and turning their defenders towards their own goal, defenders hate touching the ball and the hesitation gives the attacking player an advantage. More of that please Celtic, and we can turn this season around.
    CCV fit for the run in can make a big difference, he’s a big miss when not playing. Idah is another lad who looks as if he can give us more options upfront.
    At half time I thought it was all over but those two late goals can maybe give the team a lift and build confidence. It’s a big ask but 10 victories and one draw gives us the Title, we’ve all got to get behind the team.

  • Peter Cassidy says:

    Still lot of points to win or lose just keep winning that’s all can do now as long as we don’t drop anymore points till the bigots game.The big lad up front took both goals very well just gives that strength we lack in the forward line at present.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Aye Bloody Hell – What a dramatic day at the office then !

    Not good for the ticker in the slightest…

    Hopefully this sets us off on a clement type winning run (Glasgow Derby Apart) –

    But we won’t have cheats with whistles, flags and monitors on our side to bail us out !

  • Iljas Baker says:

    I believe Idah and Yang should start from now on. Kyogo was a hero last season but he’s no longer doing the business. One up front it has to be so as not to completely lose the midfield.

    Having said that I am not sure that Idah and Yang will perform consistently- Yang hasn’t been consistent and Idah hasn’t scored in all games. To some extent it depends on the whole team performance and there in lies the difficulty. They’re still getting know one another and form is inconsistent with new style of play and new manager’s demands. I would guess players like Lagerbilke and Mawrocki are okay but don’t have the dig/aggresssion BR demands. Scales will have to do for the rest of the season. Let us hope BR can by sheer will power get performances out of this makeshift team until the league is won.

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