The Newco team who knocked us out of the Scottish Cup yesterday were barely competitive, which shows just how straightforward Celtic are to beat. Ryan Kent sold Scott Brown then Stephen Welsh to create the chance that led to the opening goal. The defensive disorganisation at the second goal was a collective failure on the part of Diego Laxalt, Kristoffer Ajer and Jonjoe Kenny, although the latter was least culpable. For a critical period in the middle of the first half, we were not compact enough to halt Newco on their occasional forward runs, which cost us the game.
John Kennedy’s big call was giving Laxalt the left back role. It was a mistake, rectified at halftime by the arrival of Greg Taylor, who made a goal-saving tackle. Greg is not going to threaten the two incumbent Scotland left backs, but he gives all he has for the jersey. Diego is one of many who will take their last stagecoach out of town next month.
Our 0-2 defeat at Celtic Park earlier this season, when we failed to register an attempt on target, was definitely the most inept performance of the decade. By contrast, we created enough high value chances to win two games yesterday. The Welsh and Ajer double chance, the Elyounoussi and Edouard double chance, the Elyounoussi chance when Edouard put him clean through and the penalty. These and more were all passed up. Did any of us celebrate the penalty award with expectation of a goal? Not in my house. The lack of confidence was palpable.
Chris Sutton reckons Odsonne Edouard looks “almost like he’s not interested” – and having watched Chris walk around the field after Celtic lost possession in his last two seasons in Glasgow, I’m prepared to believe he knows when a player is not interested.
Odsonne has been wanted by Leicester for a year, his languid appearance perhaps a final sting in the tail of February 2019. He could be in for a shock. Since the Leaving of Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers has coveted the now-available Tottenham job above all others. There may well be a new sheriff in town at the King Power when the transfer window opens.
Compare and contrast the sheer effort from Leigh Griffiths. Give me a man with something to prove every day of the week. Leigh won the penalty because he was playing on his toes. His chest and volley effort was a low percentage chance but the agility he showed is a lesson to the rest of the squad.
More on the consequences of England’s managerial merry-go-round on Celtic later in the week, and we will pick up on the breakaway European Super League proposal. Today is only about a fifth successive Scottish Cup win evading Celtic; we just did not deserve it.