I was surprised Ronny Deila thought immediately after the game that Dedryck Boyata’s red card was valid, from the angle behind the goal it looked a well-time tackle, but let’s deal with the manager’s complaint against the player, who put a challenge in when wrong side of the attacker.
We’ve see three Celtic central defenders in this position in recent weeks: Efe against Ross County, Erik against Inverness and Dedryck last night. Erik was outpaced by Jordan Roberts but instead of risking a challenge from behind his opponent, he stayed on his feet and forced Roberts to shoot under pressure. Efe clumsily barged into his opponent and Dedryck went to ground.
All three got their starting positions wrong, which could have cost a goal, but Ambrose and Boyata compounded the problem by attempting a recovery, also from a wrong position. Sviatchenko chose to put pressure on the player and leave matters up to his goalkeeper. Erik made the right decision, Efe and Dedryck made wrong decisions.
And before Erik relaxes in the glow of praise, it was his unnecessary barge into an opponent which conceded the foul which led to the corner kick Accies equalised through. Don’t give away stupid fouls and you don’t allow opponents to fire the ball into your box.
And yes, the goal we lost came from a corner kick (I’m assuming those who were animated earlier in the season about zonal marking somehow overlook the same lack of ball-winning skills from the same players now we’re marking man-for-man). I’ve never known a team to lose so many goals from corners. We have a collection of players who cannot follow the flight of a football when launched into their box from a corner.
I know there’s a belief that you cannot practice penalty kicks, as the pressure of hitting them during a match changes everything. This is nonsense. Our poor penalty conversion rate over the last five or six years has cost us trophies. Ironically, John Collins has the best penalty conversion rate of any player in Celtic history (who’s taken more than 5). You would think he’d be able to sort this.
Poor technique is a consequence of poor preparation.
When Leigh Griffiths opened the scoring from the penalty spot it came as a great relief, as until then we were unable to create a genuine chance. A big part of the job at Celtic is breaking down packed defences away from home. There are largely two ways to achieve this:
1. Master the act of quick and precise passing
2. Have target men and wide players who are excellent at crossing the ball.
If we don’t have either play in our locker we’re going to drop a lot of points.