Shortly after Elfsborg cracked one against the crossbar last night I quickly scanned the Celtic team and had a thought. For the second season in a row we are taking on the Swedish champions but we’re missing two of last season’s big performers and none of this season’s new signings were ready for action. In short, this was Celtic 2012 minus Wanyama and Hooper. No wonder we looked unstructured.
Joe Ledley brought some vision to central midfield when he arrived, hopefully banishing the Brown-Kayal partnership to hidden corners of our mind once and for all. Anthony Stokes playing at the front of a wide diamond was equally effective. With the signing of Amido Balde, bids in for Kevin Doyle, and the addition of a wide-delivery-expert Derk Boerrigter, clearly Neil Lennon has a different plan for the months to come….. so there’s no real need for me to state the obvious.
Defensively we looked solid after a shaky opening few minutes. I’m not the only one who was a bit nervous about Efe Ambrose after he was (again) caught underneath a long ball, but he settled quickly. As we know to our cost, being great for 87 minutes is not how Champions League reputations are made, you are judged on your how vulnerable you become in your weak moments.
I said yesterday that Samaras and Commons were the two players who could cope at this level, which became plainly obvious during the game. Georgios was the one player who frightened Elfsborg, they either swamped him with four defenders or fouled him before he got near goal.
Kris is simply the most intelligent footballer we have. He is not the fastest, will never have the best stats, but he understands how games are won and is able to act accordingly. Without these two players Celtic would be distinctly vanilla.
Thanks to those who sent over their 1254125 Great Scottish Run details, I’ll have them on the page later.
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