Brendan giving the Celtic players a few home truths was a long time coming…
Brendan Rodgers comes across as a decent guy, a real people person and good man manager. But don’t let that fool you, he can also show a ruthless streak as the players witnessed first hand at McDiarmid Park yesterday.
You can’t really blame him as the first half performance against St Johnstone was totally unacceptable. Brendan likes his players to dominate the opposition and move the ball at pace and precision, and none of that was evident in a dreadfully poor first 45 minutes.
How many Celtic supporters at the game or watching on television will also have been as angry as the manager as that half-time whistle went? Plenty! Brendan duly tore a strip off them and it showed as we turned the game around in the second half with a decent performance and three fine goals. It was good to see that the players took his criticism on board, but it’s still worrying that they needed a kick up the backside in the first place.
Rodgers told them that with the greatest of respect to St Johnstone, this Celtic team had failed to score against them in a game and a half. Brendan demands quality performances, he’s a perfectionist and is used to working at the highest level of football. He admitted that yesterday was the angriest he’s ever been in his footballing career.
He said: “Some players want to be too comfortable and just do enough and that’s not enough at this club, you have to have that mentality, that intensity from that the first whistle.”
Whilst praising the players for their comeback he has fired them a long overdue warning shot. Let’s hope they heed that warning. For our sakes and their own. You also get the impression that the team that started on Sunday might not be the same as the line-up in midweek for the visit of Hibs to Celtic Park.
Mikey Johnston for one is surely going to replace Yang, who looked completely out of sorts yesterday and is going to have to work his way back into the manager’s favour at Lennoxtown. Luis Palma was holding his hamstring as he left the pitch so could be a doubt and both Oh and Tomoki Iwata are surely deserving of a start?
Why not go with Oh up top and play Kyogo and Mikey Johnston on the wings with goalscorers Callum McGregor and Matt O’Riley further forward and Iwata in the holding role?
Anyway, here are the match highlights from Sky Sports…
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) December 3, 2023
And here’s what the Celtic manager had to say to Sky Sports after the 3-1 win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park yesterday afternoon…
Q: Brendan, can we get your overall thoughts on the performance and the result, please?
Brendan Rodgers: “Well, it was a really good reaction in the second half. It was probably the angriest I’ve been at half-time in my career as a manager. The intent and the mentality weren’t there, we were too comfortable. The second half is what I would expect, there was a much better energy and tempo to the game. Callum McGregor was absolutely brilliant in the second half and his goal – which looked like it was coming – sparked the reaction. In the second half, we were what I would expect us to be.”
Q: Just on that first half, was it a surprise, given before the game we were speaking about setting the tone early and having that tempo?
Brendan Rodgers: “Yes, it’s ambition. Some players want to be too comfortable and just do enough, and that’s not enough at this club. You have to have that mentality and intensity from that first whistle. As I said, the reaction was very good.”
Q: We’ll get into the second half in just a minute. Just to sweep up the first half, in terms of that goal you conceded, is that something that players have to do better? I know there was talk of a foul. What was your thoughts on it?
Brendan Rodgers: “There was no foul, we were soft. We got bullied at that moment. It’s a good ball in from Carey, but it’s a corner that we’d looked at working in the first half and we get nowhere near that aggression. Their keeper came and took it free under no contact and theirs was a good ball in, they surrounded the keeper and then we didn’t defend it because we weren’t aggressive with it.”
Q: A great second half, how much did Mikey Johnston’s introduction help in that?
Brendan Rodgers: “Yeah, he was outstanding. Bright on both sides of the pitch, he was excellent. He’s one that if he can improve on his tactical ideas in the game in terms of his pressing and understanding where to be then you can see the talent that he has when he does have the ball. In duels and 1v1s he’s very good. I thought he was bright and was really positive when he came into the game.
Just an Ordinary Bhoy
And if you missed Sandman’s Definitive Ratings this morning then catch up using the link below… Jamesy LOL!