CELTIC are “too predictable” and the midfielders are performing “like robots”, according to former fans’ favourite Joe Miller.
The Hoops fired blanks for the second time this season against Livingston in the hugely disappointing and frustrating scoreless stalemate at Parkhead on Saturday.
It followed the 1-0 loss in West Lothian in September when David Martindale’s spoilsports took the points with their only shot on target in 90 minutes.
Keeper Max Stryjek, who has not been overworked in three hours of facing Ange Postecoglou’s side, made certain of another clean sheet when he easily saved Giorgos Giakoumakis’ feeble penalty-kick in stoppage time.
THE GREAT ESCAPE…Giorgos Giakoumakis has the chance to atone for his penalty-kick miss as the ball drops at his feet.
OFF TARGET…Giakoumakis looks on in horror as he screws his six-yard effort wide of the post.
FALL GUY…the misfiring Greek striker collapses to the ground as the Livi defenders sigh with relief.
FLAT OUT…Giakoumakis lies on the ground while Cameron Carter-Vickers (right) drops to his knees in despair.
The home side had a remarkable 85 per cent of the possession, but could not convert that dominance into goals.
Miller, a star of Billy McNeill’s league and Cup-winning team in the centenary year of 1988, watched the Livi match and the 2-0 win over St Johnstone the previous week in the east end of Glasgow.
The one-time goalscoring winger said: “I’ve been at the last two games where both sides parked the bus – tactics that would get the game stopped – but it’s up to Celtic to break that down.
“It seems to be the same way it’s been for the last two years. It’s too predictable.
“Possession football is fine, but you can’t set up in the last third of the park to try and break teams down and put balls into the box when there are 10 opponents in there.
NO WAY THROUGH…Giorgos Giakumakis gets a close-up view as Livi defender Jack Fitzwater heads clear from Anthony Ralston with keeper Max Stryjek beaten.
“It might look good that they are dominating possession, but there’s no space there to exploit. It’s difficult when you have wide players – Jota, Abada, Ralston all parked in the last third – it’s congested.
“They need to find a different way to play in those situations. It’s too repetitive.
“Sometimes you have to invite a team to come out. Other times you need to win a game ugly – if that means launching it up the park quickly, taking the opposition by surprise and allowing a different type of player to battle for things – then so be it.”
Miller, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “Giakoumakis is a good target man and was probably needed for Saturday because of the physicality of Livingston’s defence.
SPOT-KICK SINNER…Giorgos Giakoumakis reflects on his timid penalty miss.
“I probably would have played Kyogo and him together from the start. Giakoumakis could have been that man to win knock downs for Kyogo to run onto when they wanted to mix it up.
“But they just seem to want to have tippy-tappy football round the box.
“The midfielders just want to play this passing game. But they are playing like robots.
“A team like Livingston taking four points off you in two games just isn’t good enough.”
Celtic’s next Premiership outing is against Dundee at Dens Park on Sunday. They had no problem scoring against the Tayside outfit in August when Kyogo Furuhashi hammered in a hat-trick in a landslide 6-0 triumph.
The Hoops can expect to find more stubborn resistance on this occasion.