What I found fascinating is that Lennon said after the game that he changed the formation a bit so that we could stop play going through the middle so easily, putting Brown and Kayal in front of the defence and Juarez slightly ahead of them, so we had essentially five players protecting the goalmouth. It seemed the most sensible option to take, but if you cannot work as a unit in doing the simplest of tasks, then you will get punished like we did. You could have put another 10 players in the middle and the result would have been the same.
Another thing that screamed the obvious was that our range of passing equalled to that of Elgin’s (Probably a little harsh on Elgin, so apologies). Lennon was the master in just playing the simple passes and retaining possession, all while keeping things calm; why has that not transcended onto the players?
Watching the current team play like that almost brings a tear to your eye, as the fans will follow the team wherever they play and shell out fees that can add to up half of their monthly wage for one away trip, and for what? Year after year, we embarrass ourselves on Europe’s showpiece events. What’s the saddest thing of all though is that while we were all devastated and shell shocked at the result, it was also entirely predictable at the same time.
I would like to take a moment and applaud Peter Lawwell: You have finally completed the ultimate downturn of our football club since you arrived in 2003.
Exactly 10 years ago, to this very day, we beat Rangers 6-2 at Parkhead and the O’Neill era had truly begun. We bossed the league and were not afraid to buy players out of our reach. Now, we are getting thrashed by mid-table teams from average leagues and getting most of our enjoyment as a Celtic fan at the ‘demise’ of our biggest rivals.
Ever since Gordon Strachan arrived, the spending has gone down and down until the free transfer has now become our most popular signing. What do you expect your defence to do when four fifths of it cost the same as a polly bag?
And as much as I love Neil Lennon as a Celtic legend, how much work and effort really went into finding the best possible candidate for manager of Celtic Football Club? I can think of five suitable candidates straight away who would have jumped at the chance to manage one of the world’s most notable clubs. Obviously money is essential to the game, but it’s staggering to see how it’s the single most important factor in every decision we make.
Going back 10 years or so, just look at the players we had; Larsson, Sutton, Mjallby, Balde, Lambert, Petrov, Agathe and were inheriting the likes of Thompson, Lennon and Hartson later on. Now, we dream about the likes of Robbie Keane, Shay Given and even a defender like Ivan Ramis of Mallorca, who we were close to signing in January, when in reality we are getting the third choice goalkeeper from Newcastle in Frazer Forster, an average striker in Antony Stokes and possibly an even worse left back than Lee Naylor; Charlie Mulgrew.
So, a round of applause for Peter everyone, enjoy yet another season without the Champions League (If you physically clap I’ll be cyber pleased, if you don’t then you’ll get the cyber version of ‘whatevz’).
To a more cheerful note, as I type this I’ve just found out that Macro Fortune has left the club! Given last night’s performance, I’m non-plussed to why he played if he was leaving, but I’m happy nonetheless as he’s been an average signing if there ever was one. He had more bad times than good and produced only the odd bit of magic, I only hope the club get the majority of the fee that we spunked on him last year (To go into the bank and remain there, obviously).
So what now for Celtic? We all knew that the league was the utmost important thing this season, and that Europe would merely be a bonus, but a nice bonus at that. After putting on the green-tinted specs, I can now say that we can fully concentrate on the league, which in no way is that a good thing.
What the club does need to do however is come up with a big name player, to appease the fans more than anything. Basically, we need Robbie Keane mk II. If not, the attendance will remain the same, the feeling about the club will remain the same and the level of play will remain the same. We need a superstar who can get backsides of seats and cheer the team on, as Paddy McCourt can’t be relied upon solely for it. So, eh, Robbie, if you’re reading this, fancy coming back?