Celtic have played lower league opposition three times this season but last night was surely the most ineffective performance we’ve seen from a football team in some years. Dunfermline limited Celtic to two goals and – to be fair – Jim McIntyre spotted a defensive weakness at corner kicks, which his team were able to exploit twice, almost leading to a goal on one occasion, but there was none of the coordination and skill we faced against Falkirk, Ross County and arguably, Peterhead.
How they had the audacity to walk onto a football field dressed as Brazil we’ll never know.
After the first Dunfermline corner ‘scare’ (I’m being generous) I watched the setup for their second half corner attempt. Celtic had 10 defenders inside the box, including Fraser Forster, against five Dunfermline attackers. Defensively, we looked well setup, but the delivery was particularly good, an in-swinger, dipping beyond the far post into a secondary zone.
Defending zonally (which I am in favour of with a small concession to man-mark one or two key threats) involves protecting the key areas in front of goal, where opponents are most likely to score from. This compromises peripheral areas, in particular the acute angles before the front post and beyond the back post. When you get a good delivery from a corner kick, as Dunfermline provided last night, forwards can attack the area in front of the near post looking for a glancing header, or rush to the back of the six yard box, from where they can deliver a reverse ball into the primary danger area.
For all their frailties, they figured out how to get the better of Celtic at corner kicks.
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