CELTIC great John ‘Yogi’ Hughes admits his concern over the Hoops’ leaky defence that has shipped eight goals in three games.

However, the legendary goalscorer, the seventh-highest in the Parkhead club’s history with 189 strikes, also believes he has detected signs of recovery in Neil Lennon’s side.

Big Yogi, speaking to Celtic book author Alex Gordon for another CQN EXCLUSIVE, said: “There was certainly a bit of spirit in the ranks that was missing the previous week in an unacceptable 2-0 loss. That was hard to watch. This, though, was a team willing to get its sleeves rolled up and refuse to lie down.

“Aberdeen can make it difficult for anyone on their day on their own pitch. It can get a bit blowy up there. Trust me, I experienced it over the years with Celtic and if I remember correctly, the Dons players used to train on the nearby beach to get used to the high winds.

“They would knock the ball about in the blustery conditions and they were well prepared for a game of football at a slightly sheltered Pittodrie on match day.

“Back then, when the gales were in evidence, you had to play the Dons and the elements, their infamous twelfth man.

“I watched the Dons game at home on TV and you wouldn’t have seen the tell-tale signs of the wind playing a part.

“If you have experienced it, you could see the weather conditions were giving Shane Duffy, among others, problems. This was his first time playing at this venue and that can be a shock to the system.

“I am not making excuses for the defender, but I feel in normal circumstances he would deal with the ball up the left that led to their second goal.

“He has a head start on Scott Wright when the ball is played forward. To me, it looked as though it does not run normally, it slows up. The Dons player would, of course, have had a good idea what to expect.

“Duffy, in normal circumstances, would have either knocked the ball out for a shy or rolled it back to his keeper. However, if you look carefully, you can see he is alarmed to see the ball not running true. By the time he has identified that problem, Wright is upon him. The Dons player gets the ricochet from Duffy’s clearance and shifts the ball inside for Sam Cosgrove to get a shot.

“Could Scott Bain have held the effort? Maybe, but I’ll cut him some slack and say he did well enough to push the ball away.

“As luck would have it, it went straight to Ryan Hedges and he bundled it over the line. On another day, the ball will spin elsewhere, but that’s the way the cards are falling for Celtic at the moment.

“Any luck that is coming their way is all bad.

“So, are their hopes of 10 in a row blowing in the wind? After 11 games? There may be some who would dearly love to see Neil Lennon and his troops wave that white flag, but it’s not going to happen.

“Yes, there is work to be done, no doubt about that. But we might look back at this Pittodrie encounter as the one that helped Celtic turn the corner.”

TOMORROW: Why I agree with Neil Lennon. Big Yogi gives his verdict. 


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