Overall I was pleased with many aspects of Celtic’s play yesterday. We dominated large parts of the game and got in and around the Hearts penalty area often enough to score the proverbial barrel load.
Hearts scored a good goal. The flick from Beattie and run from Skacel were both exquisite, although a deflection off the blameless Kelvin Wilson was crucial. Enough has been said about the second Hearts goal already. Defensively we were good.
Midfield also played well, to a point, forcing Hearts into retreat for all but the opening 20 minutes of the second half. Ki Sung-Yueng should have scored twice but he’s never been a player for back post headers and I was more surprised he found himself in that position than he missed both opportunities. He is a player who continues to impress.
The question we should turn our attention to is why Celtic didn’t score more goals?
It is probably not an exaggeration to suggest Emilio Izaguirre is the best left back at the club in 30 years. Skilful and intelligent in possession, Celtic look composed when he is on the field, but he’s being kept out of the team by a free transfer from Aberdeen because Charlie Mulgrew is manufacturing the most crucial item in the game – goals.
I’m close to advocating ‘Give the ball to Charlie’ tactics. He has the ability to fire in remarkably dangerous crosses and has an instinctive awareness that the purpose of the game is to score goals. Kris Commons shares this awareness but Kris has had a wretched season and is still rescuing his game from injury and early season loss of form.
In these circumstances, Neil Lennon cannot afford to play Izaguirre if it involves dropping Mulgew as this would severely hamper Celtic’s ability to put the ball in the net. If the manager wants to use Emilio, particularly in Europe next season when retaining possession will be crucial, Charlie has to play left midfield.
Scoring goals is the primary responsibility of the strikers. None of Celtic’s current crop are impressing at the moment, but we need to look further upstream first.
We have an outstanding original canvass painting of Neil Lennon available for purchase on eBay to kick start our summer charity fundraising. This year the beneficiaries will be Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, Martin Chambers Foundation and The Neuroblastoma Alliance, Aberdour PS PTA, The Haven, Blantyre. The painting, by US based artist, Joseph Gormley, is an outstanding memento of our manager during these times.
Buy a hard copy of CQN Magazine, issue 7, by clicking on the button below. You can read online here.