Ross County 0-5 Celtic
A trip to Dingwall is always a daunting fixture,and although the scoreline suggests otherwise,Saturday was really no different. I think it’s fair to say that we lined up with,if not necessarily the guaranteed personnel over the season,very much NL’s preferred formation.
I’ll deal with that first. If playing three at the back,how does he shoehorn in the talents of Frimpers,Jamesie and Mo to two wide positions? That’s not to mention the likes of Elhamed and Taylor,who,though much-maligned here and elsewhere,I think is a better player than he is given credit for. I think Neil believes that too. Who do you leave out and who do you play out of position?
If we have two wide men,who fills the middle? Well,if you have three players who seem to be guaranteed a start-that’s Broonie,CalMac and Jamesie,just in case you’ve not been paying attention-which kinda narrows down the choices. On Saturday,it was decided to throw James out wide left,with Frimpers on the right and Ollie joining in with Broonie and CalMac in the middle.
I Wanna and The Yeti led the line.
And it didn’t take too long for the formation to take effect,Eddy playing a push and move one-two on the edge of the area before being tripped in the box as he went for the return. He toyed with the goalkeeper in his run up,and the goalkeeper could only “take the knee” in response. He was about five minutes late,of course. Quite funny to watch.
Fifteen minutes later,it was two. CalMac played in a pretty harmless looking free kick from the left,and although it arrived in a dangerous area,it looked a fairly easy clearance for the defence. They made a hash of it and when the ball dropped,that was all The Yeti needed. Just a sniff,first time,two nil. This lad looks like he has an air of opportunism in him,and doesn’t need too many invitations to shoot when given the chance.
And that was that at halftime. Two up and cruising,except that it doesn’t tell the full story,not even close. The Rosco lads were well up for this,and had a good few efforts of their own,only the woodwork and some fine keeping allowing us to maintain that advantage. This is a team who had been scoring regularly so far this season,even if hardly setting the heather alight. And they had only conceded six goals prior to Saturday. 2-0 May have flattered us at halftime but there were plenty of reminders that we shouldn’t quite wrap the points up and chuck them in the kit hamper. Not yet,anyway.
That moment arrived an hour into the match,with another to be sure moment five minutes later. CalMac swung in a corner from the right and our debutant captain in waiting rose head and shoulders above the rest to nod home. Not a bad way to start,Shane. I hope you keep up your goal a game ratio for the rest of your duration,and that it isn’t a short one either! In fairness to Christopher Jullien,he was barged in the back as he went for the ball,but Duffy wiped out the entire defence and anyone else with his leap. Chris was still claiming for a penalty before he realised what had happened!
Number four,five minutes later,was a straightforward case of CalMac teeing up Ollie to drive into the left of the box before playing it low across the six yard line,with Kris Ajer first on hand for the tap in. Four up,and certainly cruising now. Neil Lennon celebrated by getting the subs warmed up-it was that time of day,and there was no real urgency required either. On came The Polish Paddy and Ryan for our front two,with CalMac and Broonie soon being replaced by another debutant,David Turnbull and Ismaila Soro. Mo replaced Ollie too,which seemed to slightly unbalance the side,but that’s a quibble. It’s always good to see new faces,or even unfamiliar ones,in our team and it’s an interesting thought that of our finishing eleven,probably only Ryan,Jamesie and Kris were regular starters a year ago.
Patryk started as seems to be his habit these days-by missing a nailed on chance as he got up to the speed of the game. I’m sure he won’t let that worry him,I’m not too bothered either as he usually gets the sights adjusted on his shooting boots. And with fifteen minutes to go,he added to his tally in The Hoooops-which must be a very high ratio for time on the pitch by the way-after Mo took advantage of a shocking pass in midfield,took a touch on the run before squaring inside to Paddy to fire home in his usual manner.
Five nil and a good day at the office. Ross County tried manfully in the first half in particular,and certainly gave us a scare or three. This will happen with such an attacking line-up,and particularly if we persist in sending all of our central defenders up for set pieces. Witness our fourth goal in particular,and ask yourself how we are supposed to defend against a break with,erm,no defenders left in the defence? On the plus side,of course,three of our goals came from set pieces,and two of them from our displaced centre backs,so who am I to grumble? Well,wait till you hear me if it costs us. If I can spot it,so will opposition coaches.
Apart from that minor one,I can’t think of any negatives. The positives are obvious really,that I Wanna always scares the bejaysus out of defenders no matter where he is,and The Yeti is an almighty predator in the box,half a chance and it’s gone. CalMac looked more busy and creative than ever,Ollie was the tower we know he can be. The back three is a work in progress though,and will take some getting used to.
Ach,maybe I’m still scarred by The Cup Final in 2002.
Man of the match for me would be CalMac. Just don’t tell Shane Duffy that.
Above article by BMCUWP. Usual rules if you have an article for us. I know there’s loads of you working on one,so strike while the iron is hot! Mail it to MAHE