Before the game kicked-off I feared that wouldn’t be able to cope with Rangers’ more attack minded players and so it proved, with the second half performance a particular embarrassment. So who is to blame for this terrible result? For me, most of the blame has to be put on Neil Lennon. He has tinkered with his system against Rangers on at least 5 occasions and it has only been a real success once – when Samaras played up front himself last January. However, if you keep doing the same things over and over again you will be sussed out – and Samaras was his usual ineffective self today. The midfield picked by Lennon was also a puzzler. Why take out two of the best midfield players in Ledley and Forrest to accommodate a patently unfit Scott Brown – who inevitably got injured? I know Lennon is a fan of his ‘agression’ but for me Brown flatters to deceive to often in big games – this being another example. The defence was also a disappointment with Kelvin Wilson having a poor game and Loovens being inevitably rag-dolled once again at Ibrox.
The use of subs by Lennon was another disaster. Charlie Mulgrew was moved to left-back in place of El Kaddouri – despite the fact that Mulgrew had been a red card in waiting since the start of the second-half, so exposing him to Naismith’s pace was asking for trouble, and inevitably Mulgrew was sent-off.
I cannot understand why Celtic continue to show so much ‘respect’ to Rangers when we play them – we are playing a team whose players are roughly as good as ours. We’re not playing Barcelona so why the need for change? Why didn’t Lennon just say ‘screw it’ and go for Hooper and Stokes up-front? Why did he once again use players who failed in the past like Samaras and Loovens? And worst of all, why did Celtic revert to the long ball when our passing ability brought us Hooper’s goal? These are all questions Lennon has to answer very quickly before Rangers are over the horizon.
One final point – slightly unrelated to this – I feel that sections of the Celtic fans’ obsession with Rangers’ financial troubles is taking away from the bigger picture. Yes, they may be going into ‘administration’ but on the field, which is where it counts, they seem to have a better team than us. So forget about what HMRC are up to next or what some idiot who works at the Daily Record has done and concentrate on the fact that once, when it matters most, the players and management have let us down again.