The most pleasing aspect about last night was the manager’s reaction afterwards: “Yet another soft goal”. “We don’t defend a basic ball into the box”. But, before Cristian Gamboa and Craig Gordon pick up the tab for a bad night in Lithuania, more went wrong. Much more.
Goals change games and you can be sure games will change when Celtic are defending the way they are right now. Gamboa losing his man for the goal was in keeping with what we should expect. Cristian is good going forward but is not the most diligent at the back. We need a backup, backup, right back. Right?
Despite all that’s going wrong in defence, I am just as concerned about how the midfield is operating. Our passing was again poor. Olivier Ntcham opened the scoring after two minutes and opened the Suduva defence late in the game for Moussa Dembele to shoot wide, but for the rest of the game his passing was as inaccurate as it was against AEK and Rosenborg away.
Callum McGregor, so often a key to unlock packed defences, was ineffective. I would like to see him play the deep lying playmaker roll over our next three games. There he can dictate the pace and accuracy of our passing, leaving space for Rogic to play in front of him.
Moussa Dembele is our best striker, but the shape of the team left him isolated and looking just as out of sorts as Odsonne Edouard did at home to AEK. We have potent strikers who see little of the ball.
On the positive side, Suduva were as poor a team as I can remember playing in recent seasons – and I include the Gibraltareños (as they will be known after March) in that. We will reach the Europa League group stage. How effectively we compete there will be determined by the arrivals over the next seven days.
Dinner for four at the Walfrid at Hamilton game on Sunday!
Courtesy of Intelligent Car Leasing, we are raffling a table for four at Sunday’s game against Hamilton Accies in aid of your Foundation. If like me, you watch football in the bitter cold and wind, even in July and August, this will be a fantastic day our for you and three friends!
It’s a free bar. And you get the chance to support the Celtic FC Foundation.
To win, contribute to this MyDonate page. Suggest a minimum of £5 donation, but donate less if you cannot afford that. Your money does straight to the Foundation as they prepare for the difficult winter period ahead.
Then, please forward your confirmation email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the words “Central defender” in the SUBJECT line. Competition closes at 11.00 Saturday. Winner will be informed on Saturday afternoon – so include a phone number if there’s any chance of missing your email (it’s happened).
Good luck, and remember: Central defender.