The annual ‘Its Happened Again’ show
Its become a regular feature of the summer by now.
End of June, kids finish school.
Middle of July, ‘they’ march.
End of August, the first good team we meet beats us.
Last night seen the Lennon and Lawell experiment exposed, all its flaws and frailties laid bare for the world to see. Once again very early on in the season, we were not prepared for what was to come, giving us more questions than answers of our footballing department and those who call the shots. It has happened too many times to be a coincidence now, we clearly have problems, and last night also seen some of those problems bubble over into the public arena, never a good sign. Not usually anyway and most unlike us if truth be told.
Firstly credit to our opponents, their manager was a fantastic striker in his day, and they clearly relished the win, Gratulálunk.
One look at them told you they would not be physically outmuscled, just as well we weren’t going down that route. Like any Eastern European team they were very technically efficient, and we knew beforehand they had pace, a deadly combination and so it proved. I thought their right back handled James well, usually being close by when he received, and all their forward line can hold their heads up. None of them seem like they would look out of place at a bigger team, and it shows there are players out there, thousands of them. They wait only to be found.
Our line up, this is when the palpitations started.
The famous Glasgow Celtic went into a must win European tie at home with no striker on the park. Levein is still getting ridiculed on sites for that one. I had been demanding two strikers thinking let’s try and win the game, we got zero.
Our usual right back was replaced by his taller rival for the spot, our latest centre back we had been grooming was dropped for the player he replaced who was dropped for poor form, our bit part French midfielder was given a starting role as vital link man between midfield and the midfielder come striker up top, also our smallish left back who has failed to impress got the nod against a tall team who exploit poor ball skills.
It had heart in your mouth written all over it.
Celtic took thirty minutes to get going, during which they had scored while showing patches of quality. We found a resolute, well drilled opponent who always had an outball, and that player usually had the skill and know how to make the ball stick to him plus the guts to drive at the defence. Every counter was supported, players breaking at pace with purpose.
Our first half period of dominance seen a lot of wing to inside to more inside to other wing and repeat type of play. The trained striker timing his run was missing, glaringly so, and they were holding resolutely at the back, showing some nice one touch passing in the middle plus up front when offered the opportunity, a well drilled unit at the rear holding strong.
Half time was going to be very important for our dugout, and in fairness the team appeared with a spring in their step, which did produce our goal.
We hadn’t been creating clear cut chances up to that point, mostly restricted to shots from around the edge of the box, and it was one such shot that took a nice deflection and floated over a keeper who had came off his line, so one each and it was on.
The goal energised our play and gave some belief, and we did look to have an edge for a while, continuing to attack, trying to force the issue. Three times I counted Ryan slipped through and whizzing the ball across the goal face, to a striker who was not there!
Having failed to take further advantage of our second spell of heavy possession, we were always susceptible to the sucker punch, even if you didn’t want to believe it could come.
El Hamed had one subpar moment, the keeper doesn’t cover himself in glory just when we could do with it, and the winner bulges the back of the net.
Same ol story etc.
Except afterwards Lenny informs us it was poor individual performances plus some of those playing didn’t want to be here, and they should make their mind up!
Last night was not the night for rash statements, or words said in the heat of the moment, it was the time to appeal for calm from all quarters and assure the faithful that events would be reflected upon. To give of a semblance of professionalism and accountability at the very least.
Neil has chosen poorly, and will probably regret it in hindsight. His recent ‘excellent at times’ re Tannadice also rubbed people the wrong way and making public inhouse clashes will not have served his cause well at all to fans or players I imagine.
Public mudslinging is for other clubs, not ours, and that should be impressed upon him.
But lets look at his statement that some wish to leave.
Is that not part and parcel of life at a big club?
If you feel that desire to depart would impact upon their performance then dont pick them surely, and if you did does their performance not rest upon your shoulders, just like Efe against Juve?
And who exactly?
A quick scan suggests Kris or Olly being discussed, two of our best players on the night!
At times one could see why Kris is being talked about for a big money move, his turning defense into attack runs from deep are a pleasure to watch, he was clearly trying, so what’s the point in digging him out? Zilch but deflection.
And how about asking them why they want to leave instead of bitching about it?
The very last thing Kris needs right now is a non coaching motivator who is getting left behind by the modern game,, he needs real coaching to see how far he can go in the game. I didn’t see one team huddle from our trio in the dugout, why not? Communication looked minimal between them.
Kris costing only hundreds of thousands while surely bringing in eight figures rather than pulling a Messi is very commendable,,I mean what more could we ask for?
But oh no let’s have a bitch because he wants to go?
What a bloody cheek!
Olly should have the midfield built around him, one of the few that can play first touch passes, something that is essential to thrive in the modern game, but yet let’s use him as a bit part player rotating him in and out of a trio that used to work well but hasnt in quite a while! Yet in a roundabout way slate him for having the temerity for wishing to move on after four years in a land where it hasn’t really worked out professionally, what great management skills. What’s next, don’t talk to injured players ala Shankley?
As for our strikers, or lack of them, if it wasn’t so serious it would be comical. Klimala spent the off season bulking up and working on his game to be ready early, good man and initiative taken. After hardly playing he isn’t fit enough not only to start but have any time? Ajeti couldn’t have gave us a half? He cant run 45 minutes?
Again more questions than answers.
Last nights defeat was a long time in the making, the seeds have been sown over many a transfer window and recruitment decisions, but we simply must let this season play its course so those involved see their project through to the end,if only to see exactly where it has taken us.
There’s one big prize to be scooped or blown.
Lets see if all their planning and know how delivers it.
The above by Mahe.