Matt O’Riley was the man that fired the Hoops into the lead at McDiarmid Park on Sunday afternoon and kept the team on track after a few disappointing results of late. After dropping points at home to Motherwell last weekend, the squad were eliminated from European football this year in Rome against Lazio the the following Tuesday which rounded off a dismal campaign.
Rodgers admitted post-match that he was irate at half-time and that this current Celtic team managed to elicit feelings that the Irishman has never felt before since he made it in the professional game as a coach. It was a sobering revelation for everyone involved at the club and a stark warning that this season to date hasn’t hit the required standard that we’ve come to accept from any Celtic side over the years.
If it wasn’t for our main rivals for the Scottish Premiership being so poor, that situation could look entirely different and O’Riley has defended the manager’s outburst, stating it was needed and certainly appropriate.
At his media conference this afternoon alongside the boss, the Danish international said: “I think it was probably needed, a bit of a wake-up call that was probably coming. We played too slow, not enough intensity in our all-round player and I think it was justified in what he said.
The reaction was good in the second-half but hopefully it doesn’t have to happen again. It’s a busy month, game after game you’ve got to be at it. When you play for a club like Celtic, it’s important to let go of previous games and move on to the next one.”
When asked directly on whether or not he or any of his cohorts retaliated to the severe rollicking by Rodgers, he replied: “No. I don’t think it really helps to answer back. He’s the one who can probably see the game from a bigger perspective. He’s also been around in football for a long time so I’m sure he knows what to say and when to say it.
“I think we took the messages on board for the second-half. You’re not really prepared for what the manager is going to say at half-time. But like I say, I think it was probably needed based on how we were performing in the first-half, so no complaints from any of us.”
The less said about that half of football, the better. It could be a blessing in disguise for Celtic, as many supporters have felt that domestic wins have masked the deep-seated issues at the club around recruitment and whether the manager has a squad competent enough to drive on and improve.
The European games have been a real slap in the face and a reminder that despite the dominance at home, our record in Europe is simply not good enough. The worry is, if the men at the top get far too complacent again and it starts to seep into all aspects of the club.
And if you missed Sandman’s Definitive Ratings this morning then catch up using the link below… Jamesy LOL!