Last night’s performance was not good enough, not by a long way. Early endeavour evaporated once the obligatory goal was conceded from Molde’s first attempt at goal, again. The cynic would have known we were beat, even then.
Another make-shift defence was deployed, as Jozo Simunovic retired injured, again, after three minutes. Tyler Blackett was drafted into central defence, unsuccessfully. He was hooked in the second half after casting anxious looks around him throughout his time on the field.
The point was put to me last night that we have the worst defence in European competition. That’s a fanciful assertion to make, but we must have the worst goals conceded to chances ratio. Molde looked capable of scoring every time they got up the park.
The ‘Abandon zonal marking’ brigade got their wish, as Celtic drifted from marking four, to three, to two zones at corner kicks. The sight of Celtic defenders bunched with attackers at the far end of our box was strikingly unusual. We still lost a goal from the second ball at a corner, and panic and mayhem remained on subsequent occasions.
Passing was awful, symptomatic of a team playing within themselves (trans: hiding). Stefan Johansen’s booking looked like a vain effort to be seen to be doing something, he surely didn’t think anything else but a booking would follow.
I was annoyed at Nir Bitton for his red card. There was no need to haul the player down. He was running wide, on his left, and it would have taken a spectacular effort to threaten goal. The foul was the act of a tired mind (trans: frustrated and out of ideas).
Everything positive you’ve read or heard about Kieran Tierney was on show. He’s 18-years-old and demonstrated what a good full back looks like.
‘What now, Ronny?’ was my thought as I left the stadium. Then news filtered through that we’re not actually out of the Europa League yet. Molde are through. Ajax, though a point ahead of us, are as good as out. They would need to beat us at Celtic Park, but in doing so they would remove any competitive-edge from Celtic’s game, and Celtic would then need to win in Istanbul for Ajax to proceed.
Therefore there is every chance we’ll win our first game against Ajax, and then we have a Puncher’s Chance against Fenerbahce. You have I have lived through Sion and Legia, we know Celtic survive in European competition far longer than they should. Hold onto your towels….
I’ve an interesting piece coming up later on Level5, PR to Newco Rangers and the Ladbrokes SPFL, but we’ll give this one time for a kick-around first.