Time for the good, the bad and the ugly from yesterday. Given the nature of the game, I will naturally focus upon the latter 2 first. Yesterday was Celtic’s lowest xG output, 0.30, in a league game through the 15/16 season, according to Wyscout. That’s too high, IMO.
They have Eddie’s injury time shot from just inside the 18 at 0.11 xG despite having 2 defenders right on top of him- shot was blocked. I think it is probably a bit high, but given the overall situation, that is a minor quibble. Killie were similarly on “fire” with npxG of 0.42- an absolute disgrace to watch, generally. I projected selection and tactics would be wrong in this Twitter thread before the game- yuck.
Christie’s goal had xG of 0.04, FYI. 70% possession led to basically nothing. We crossed the ball 31 times into a box where we had no players who are adept in the air. Perhaps Klimala is or will become, but haven’t seen it yet. Two of the most dangerous crosses went to Forrest.
This is where I come back to how supporters default back to anchored biases when adversity hits. We need better players, the board is cheap, player X is shite. So who was actual shite and who wasn’t? This will be a good way to test your own bias. First the obvious: Jullien was terrible. I am not going to run through all the numbers with all these players or we’ll be here all day. He is usually a boss in duels both on the ground and in the air and yesterday he was the one who was bossed. Christie was bad outside of the free kick. He won a below usual rate of dribbles and duels, while turning the ball over 20 times vs career SPFL avg of 15. Those are the two who jump out as “bad.”
Interesting thing about Brown was that yesterday was more in line with last season- or at least in the neighborhood. Volumes were down a little but efficiency was comparable- his lack of creativity just stood out more because of the train wreck unfolding, I suspect. Probably the biggest recipient of abuse I have seen which is unfair was Ajer- he had a “good” game – so did Edouard. Both had above average volume and efficiency in activity stats, which suggests any narrative about them not turning up or being disinterested is BS. The rest of the players I would describe as “ghosts”- that usually happens when the system is horribly wrong.
So that was the bad and the ugly- what on earth could be the good from that hot mess? First of all, despite my sloppy tweet yesterday, we drew the game when we could have dropped 3 pts instead of 2. Second, the changes Lennon and Kennedy made were too late for the game….but not the season. My entire point I have been on the war path about has been that a reckoning was likely coming and that a course correction was necessary to avert potential “disaster”- meaning CL qualifying exit and the risks to 10iar that would likely introduce.
Yesterday was a better time to have a reckoning than vs a Cluj in CL round 2. Lennon and Kennedy saw what needed fixed and eventually acted. They just need the courage now to follow through in a sustained way, and we need a legit 2nd striker to pair with Edouard. As saying goes, it is darkest before the dawn. I’ve seen potential disaster on the horizon for months- yesterday was the first time things switched from getting darker to a new ray of light.
Our best chance at CL group stage and 10 in a row may have started yesterday in 80th min.