Let’s be clear, Morton are not a good football team, nor are Hibernian, but the former’s 0-3 win at Easter Road last night demonstrates the uncertainty principle of any game. Turn up with less than 100% hunger and you will find yourself out of the cup.
Celtic cannot afford to field anything less than their top team a week on Sunday in the Scottish Cup quarter final. Morton are a better team now than they were three years ago when they last won at Celtic Park – and we’re everyone’s favourite soft spot.
I watched Manchester City win comfortably away to Dynamo Kiev last night. It finished 1-3 but 1-5 would have been a more accurate reflection on the chances made. The result and performances didn’t reflect the relative merits of each team. Dynamo are not that bad, City not that good.
City are horrible away from home this season. They have scored 13 goals in 12 away league games, winning only five. More curious is that they also won 1-3 away to Sevilla and 2-4 away to Borussia Monchengladbach. That’s 10 goals in 4 (in total) Champions League away games, not far shy of their 13 goals in 12 Premier League games, most of which were against inferior opponents.
Here’s the thing, Dynamo, Borussia, Sevilla all fancied their chances against City. They pushed high up-field and were shredded as a consequence. Premier League teams don’t make that mistake.
Cup competitions are different from the league, success is all about getting to the next round, and to do that you need to pose a threat, but all three of City’s opponents failed to comprehend the consequences of pressing forward.
All I could think of was our efforts in Molde and Malmo. We took both games to our opponents and were skelped as a result. Away to Ajax we defended deeply and gained a credible draw, at home the open spaces of Celtic Park behind us were exploited by Ajax to our cost.
Dynamo, Borussia, Sevilla and Celtic didn’t know when it would have been wiser to prioritise defending their own 18 yard box. It’s a big lesson, one which has been evident since Warsaw.