On Friday we spoke about the mental energy deficit Celtic players would have after coming through the previous week’s upsets and triumphs. Neil Lennon picked up on the theme after the Aberdeen game, giving his players due credit for coming through a difficult week in rude shape.
Credit to Aberdeen, who scarcely crossed the halfway line during the opening period, but had the better of the second half at Celtic Park on Saturday. It is easy to point to the missing McGregor, Christie and Rogic, and to a lesser extent, Ntcham, and realise why Celtic were so lacking in creativity, putting things right in the short term is a different challenge.
I am grateful for the return of Nir Bitton after such a lengthy absence, but he is not the player we need or are missing. Changes were required at halftime, but the last thing we should have done was to remove Ewan Henderson, our creative mid, leaving Bitton and Scott Brown playing holding roles. This only served to invite Aberdeen forward.
Neil is still figuring out how to use his forward players. We tried various combinations of Oliver Burke (central then right), James Forrest (right then central), Scott Sinclair and Mikey Johnston, with Odsonne Eduard and Timo Weah making second half appearances. We appeared to be throwing players on to see what would happen. The result was as disjointed as it sounds.
Odsonne Eduard always improves the team when he comes on from the bench, but his impact is not as easy to measure when he is on from kick-off. I expect he will start at Dundee and against Newco.
James Forrest is 27 years old and whatever else you can say about him, he is a winger, not a central defender or a full back, and not a No. 10. We have a solid partnership of Kieran Tierney and Sinclair on the left. Jeremy Toljan, our new right back, should be developing a relationship with Forrest, not Forrest, then Burke, then Weah, or as it transpired, no one at all.
Celtic FC Foundation dementia work
Your Foundation deliver projects in Glasgow and Edinburgh in partnership with Alzheimer Scotland and The Eric Liddell Centre and need to raise fresh funds to ensure the work continues. To this end, the Hail, Hail Trail takes place between 12 April and 25 May. To participate, you are asked to do get sponsorship for walking a total of 130 miles (around 3 miles per day).
I do a lot or reading about running, but the literature continually says that walking is the best thing we can do for ourselves. It has health benefits that are difficult to get any other way.
So if you need an excuse to get off the couch, or if you are already walking a dog and could incorporate a good deed into your routine, sign up here.