I watched Hull batter Leicester City on TV last night without putting the ball in the net. The sheer volume and quality of chances entitled Hull fans to some consolation in the valid football adage, ‘these days happen’. Those absent from Celtic Park on Saturday are likely to assume we similarly battered Ross County, but they would be wrong. County defended throughout but were never under anything close to intense pressure.
This is one of the right times of the season to have a performance like that, they are of little use in the first week in February, when the transfer window is closed. Clues abound as to where we need to strengthen, most pointing to the forward line. John Guidetti’s drop in form over the last month has dropped like a stone, but he’s still comfortably holding onto the striker position. Neither Stokes, Griffiths nor Scepovic are putting pressure on a young off-form player.
There is also the playmaker position, which appears to be on the bench. Kris Commons has been dropped before in his Celtic career, often for important games in Europe, where more industrious, but less talented, players were chosen. I spent most of Saturday’s game waiting on Kris coming on, but if his general level of fitness counts against him for a starting position, his lack of 90 minute outings since his injury earlier in the season means that his late-game cameos look even less industrious.
As I’ve been saying since July, we only have one playmaker and if he’s not playing or off form, we’ll struggle. With a match-fit Commons on from the start yesterday, we would have won comfortably. I’m happy to accept we need a playmaker who’ll cover 15k in 90 minutes, so sign one, but if we’re going to let Commons go, or wither on the bench, sign two, before we end up dependent on one man again.