IT TOOK Brendan Rodgers all of 60 seconds to react to Luis Palma’s penalty-kick miss against Motherwell at Parkhead last weekend.
The Honduran’s rather leisurely attempt from 12 yards was all too easily pushed away by keeper Liam Kelly low at his right-hand post.
The spot-kick was awarded in the 66th minute of an encounter where the Hoops had toiled against a stubborn visiting side whose commitment to entertaining football was zilch.
A breakthrough at that moment would have changed the entire dynamic of the match. Stuart Kettlewell’s side would have had to abandon the dull, defend-at-all-costs outlook and contribute a little more going forward.
OOPS…Luis Palma watches Motherwell keeper Liam Kelly dive to push away his penalty-kick.
Undoubtedly, that would have left space for the champions’ more creative players to get to work on an afternoon where their collective ingenuity was not too obvious.
Palma blew the opportunity – and moments later was hooked to make way for Mikey Johnston.
Of course, it may have already been in the manager’s mind to make the switch, a tactic he employs often with his wide players.
On this occasion, though, the squandering of a spot-kick by the maverick summer signing may just have hastened Rodgers’ decision. It didn’t help that the hosts went on to drop two points in a disappoiting 1-1 stalemate.
Palma has received some worthy plaudits in recent weeks and he has made a major contribution in some games with his deft touches to set up goals such as the delicate lob for Matt O’Riley to take on the drop to open the scoring in the 4-1 triumph over Hearts at Tynecastle in late October.
And it was a well-driven cross from the left that presented Yang Hyun-jun with his first goal for the club with a header to get the 6-0 rout of Aberdeen underway a couple of weeks ago.
WHOOPS…Luis Palma celebrates one of his five goals for Celtic.
Plus Palma has chipped in with fairly spectacular strikes against Well at Fir Park, Kilmarnock, Atletico Madrid and Ross County. And he made a good job with his penalty-kick against the Dons, showing previous spot-kick culprits Reo Hatate and David Turnbull how it was done.
You could set the flamboyant forward’s run-up to music, but his attempt against Kelly was in the feeble category and would have been frowned upon by Rodgers.
Maybe, just maybe, Palma was beginning to think life in the Scottish league was too easy, flashes of eye-catching brilliance would suffice.
And, possibly, a wake-up call has been delivered to remind a player of genuine quality that only complete concentration is acceptable at the champions.
The ball is now at the talented feet of Luis Palma.