Well, well. You can hardly say you were surprised at that, can you? I mean, we knew the pitch being from the dark ages would slow our play up – just as it always does – but the rough-house tactics used by Martindale and his gang of outlaws was quite awful. Three cards in the first-half alone tells the story of a team who weren’t interested in playing their own game, but rely so heavily on putting the other team off you wonder why their manager is in a job.
The challenge on Rogic from behind was particularly poor in my opinion. Clearly no attempt was made to go for that ball by the Livingston player. The referee was also pretty neglectful in his duties to protect the players from Martindale’s hammer throwers; several fouls on Celtic players subsequently waived away for play-on.
But to be honest, the most pathetic thing was the time-wasting performance from Livingston when we hadn’t even reached the second-half of the game. Take nothing away from Shinnie’s finish however, expertly executed to put the hosts ahead at the break.
Celtic really need to get a grip when they come to this place though – how many times are we going to go side-to-side, back to the defence, then someone puts a long, high, hopeful ball into a box of ironmongers’. Yes, we’re all totally aggravated at the state of this pitch and the questionable tactics used by the opposition, but is that a good enough excuse for manifesting the exact definition of insanity?
This is the first time I’ve called into question Ange’s tactics myself. You would have to be honest though and say it’s not without merit. The bizzare decision to throw Bitton on for Welsh was dumbfounding – not to mention his reticence to switch Jota to the right where he was so effective against Betis.
We knew this rebuild was significant and would take time, but sweet Jesus that was distinctively poor from Ange and the team today. I felt as if it was going to be an episode of Scooby-Doo, with Ange getting his mask pulled of at the end to reveal a Neil Lennon interior. Our recurring nightmare has not ceased to exist, leaving us in a less than fanciful position in the league.
If we have aspirations of challenging for this league, we need to have a serious rethink over our approach to these games. More steel required for a start. The attackers were akin to a football version of ‘The Seekers’. Soft. Soft. Soft.
I’ll tell you what though, if this keeps up, ‘The Carnival Will Be Over’ before Saint Nick arrives!