WELL we’d better discuss it. Celtic could and probably should have beaten a highly motivated Hibs side at Easter Road but instead had to settle for a point after a late push for a winner proved fruitless.
The solution? Lenny needs to look at playing two up top. Odsonne Edouard has 20 goals to his name this season but he’s been asked to fight the battle in the box almost all by himself.
If James Forrest is being told to be a winger again and Jonny Hayes is throwing in crosses as quickly as he can the odds on Edouard scoring from these tactics are too high to persist with.
Did you notice that it was Weah who put Edouard in for the best chance of the match in the closing stages? Timo and Odsonne know each other from their days in Paris together and playing the two of them together up top could be a solution to the goalscoring problem for Lenny – that’s three goalless draws against Aberdeen, Livingston – both at home – and Hibs on the road.
Kilmarnock will park the bus on Saturday and Celtic need to avoid the same pitfalls. And there are one or two players who are so out of sorts that they should be nowhere near the team at the moment. Naming names, Olivier Ntcham – a player who seems to look a very good player or a rather rubbish one and we have go used to seeing the two sides of him but seldom anything in between. That was not good enough today from the Frenchman.
Scotty Sinclair has always been a favourite on this site but it has to be said that as a confidence player he’s struggling and there are surely better options on the bench.
Another player who has been getting some stick on social media is Emilio Izaguirre but that seems rather unfair. He started hesitantly but was decent enough for the rest of the game without being outstanding. The last time we were at Easter Road on league duties, Izzy was playing some sort of wingback role and Hibs took full advantage so if he sat back today to concentrate on his defensive duties who could blame him.
It’s not his fault KT wasn’t able to play and he is the designated back-up left back that Lenny inherited from Rodgers.
One change to that starting line-up could have made the difference – rather than bringing in Ntcham, Timo Weah could have started.
Oli Burke would have been a better option from the bench rather than Scotty Sinclair and if Emilio wasn’t picked then Jerry Toljan could have played at left back.
Neil Lennon clearly wasn’t happy. “We are going for the title – the holidays aren’t here yet,” he said.
“Forget about the noise out there – ‘You can win it here, you can win it there’.You’ve got to win the games and that’s what is angering me at the moment.
“We are up and down and the attitude of some of the players is not making me happy. I’ve told them what I expect from here on in.
“Are the gloves off now? Yeah, it was a case of that for sure. Before the game they were fine. I just didn’t like our approach to the game.
“We looked a bit lackadaisical, we lacked physicality at times, we lacked energy and we lacked quality. Simple, basic decision making was not there, particularly in the first half.
“The second half was a lot better. When the game opened up, we looked as if we were going to score and score at will. We are dictating our own destiny here and we have to dictate it a little bit better than we have shown in the last two league games. That’s it.
“I don’t know if there is anxiety there. There shouldn’t be. We certainly haven’t passed it on, if there is,” Lenny said, as reported in Scottish Sun.
The recent win against Rangers seems to have resulted in certain players reckoning that the job’s done. The Celtic support has been singing ‘Scott Brown won the league at Rugby Park’ where his late winner opened up an 8 point lead. This evening we are 9 points ahead with only 4 games left but the league was NOT won at Rugby Park and we now need to beat Kilmarnock again to get us within touching distance – but even then there’s still another point from the last 3 games to be win.
These final three games are at Pittodrie, Ibrox and at Celtic Park against Hearts on what should be trophy day. Speaking about this complacent attitude Lenny had this to say: “It wasn’t from our point of view, no. Maybe it is the general consensus out there.
“I’m not getting panicky, I’m not getting anxious about anything. We are not there yet. I believe eventually we will get there.
“We don’t want to run before we can walk but we have to approach the games with a better tempo.
“What did I say at half-time? That’s not for public consumption. But I wanted more. We didn’t start the game well, we were pedestrian.
“After 20 minutes we looked a lot more like ourselves but we were slack in the final third. A bit tippy-tappy for my liking throughout the course of the game.
“The game opened up when Hibs started to tire but our decision-making was poor at times – difficult to comprehend.”
Here’s what Lenny had to say to Celtic TV after the match…
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