Phew! Well, you would have to say that it was a great game of football and good television, and in normal circumstances, a draw at Aberdeen is not the worst result in the world. But these are not normal circumstances, and we have to look upon this one as a disappointment. Not a disaster, but a major disappointment. Disaster may be the word we use, if we don’t win next Sunday.
Maybe I wasn’t the best referee in the world when I did all these schoolboy games in my youth, but I wasn’t convinced about any of the three penalties. The first one, in particular, looked like nothing more than a clumsy clash involving Olivier Ntcham, but Ntcham should still know better and be aware that some players know how to go down, and also that Willie Collum loves to be the centre of attention!
Collum did not really have a good game. Aberdeen had reason to complain about that Shane Duffy push in the back before Leigh Griffiths scored, but there were other pushes he missed as well for both sides. And one clear corner that Aberdeen should have had in the second half was given as a goal kick.
But let’s talk about the good things, shall we? The goals were great, well taken by Callum McGregor and Leigh Griffiths. Why on earth was Griffiths not on from the start? And the team did fight, far more than they did last week against (the)Rangers, for example.
Scott Bain is worth another go in the goal, Kristoffer Ajer was OK, Jeremie Frimpong had some good runs but is not yet a complete player and really must work on accurate crossing, Tom Rogic was good but the jury is still out on Diego Laxalt. Ryan Christie made a difference to the team from last week, and took his penalty well.
The bad news is obvious. Albian Ajeti was non-existent. The only time we saw him was when he got caught out offside twice. Olivier Ntcham had hard luck with that snap shot in the first half but was otherwise anonymous, and Moi Elyounoussi was a major disappointment, on one occasions actually getting in the way of a goal bound drive!
Yet all these players, I am convinced, can do a lot better. And the error prone Shane Duffy? That was really a very bad mistake for Aberdeen’s second goal, and he never really looked comfortable. Maybe Scottish football is a lot more difficult than you thought, Shane! Time for the “long hard look” and come back fighting! And yes, yes, we know you love Celtic. We all do, though, but you have the chance to do something about it.
So where stand we now? Once again, I must appeal to the “Sack The Manager” brigade to give Neil a chance.
Some players have let him down and he has been unlucky with others not being available for whatever reason. It is also true that he has made a few bad choices in team selection, and one just has to hope that he will realise soon what his best XI is. He really has to get things right for next Sunday. The Europa League game is important, but the Scottish Cup (even though it is last year’s!) is paramount.
Is it worth getting Premier Sports for? Undeniably, if we can’t get it any other way. The Scottish Cup is part of Celtic’s DNA. This is why we must get things right next week.
Aberdeen have recovered from their phenomenally bad start to the season. You have to say we made a mistake not holding on to Jonny Hayes, and there is a spirit and enthusiasm about Aberdeen with a distinct lack of big heads. The die is cast for next week, and it would be a fool who would call it one way or another. But Celtic still have the more talented players, and should pull through.
SKY Sports? Dave Crocker is enthusiastic and certainly know his facts, but there are times when Andy Walker exaggerates. For example at the first penalty he had Ntcham “clambering all over him”. Really? “Clambering”? Kris Boyd and Paul Hartley actually know their stuff, and both talked about the need to try things out on the training ground. Lennoxtown therefore should be a really busy place before and after the trip to France!