James McCarthy ‘struggling in training’ with intensity of Ange Postecoglou’s sessions…Ange Postecoglou’s honeymoon period over as Livingston loss was ‘inexcusable’, says Kris Commons…just two of the stories dominating the Celtic agenda today in the aftermath of another away-day defeat for Celtic, this time at Livingston.
There is no doubt that McCarthy had a very poor game yesterday, he looked and played like a guy just coming back from having Covid and you have to remember that he’d been released by Crystal Palace in May and had been training along until he signed for Celtic last month.
Indeed that training alone over the summer is exactly the same reason why deadline day striker Georgios Giakoumakis has yet to make an appearance – and he’s not had any Covid problems that we are aware of.
Celtic have a complete lack of depth in the squad and with Kyogo, Callum McGregor and James Forrest missing we are struggling. And that’s not the only area of concern – at left back Greg Taylor is out medium term with a shoulder problem that requires surgery, Adam Montgomery played in the hot, high tempo Europa League match in Seville on Thursday night so Boli Bolingoli was played ahead of Liam Scales, who incidentally was also deemed not to be quite ready by the manager, despite playing in all of Shamrock Rovers’ European matches ahead of his £600,000 move to Glasgow.
Montgomery sat out the game at Livingston as indeed did Anthony Ralston – who only returned from his own medical issue (Covid maybe?) for the game against Real Betis. Welsh didn’t play in Seville but started at Livingston and Liel Abada started and Nir Bitton came off the bench after playing no part in the Europa League opener due to religious reasons.
So what Ange Postecoglou was trying to do was freshen up the team, protect some of the younger guys like Montgomery and even Ralston but his options were limited. Scales and Giakoumakis are presumably going to be seen sooner rather than later in action for Celtic and the injured stars should be back over the next few weeks. They are urgently needed.
Celtic can’t be expected to compete for three competitions domestically and attempt to progress in European football with such a threadbare squad, but no-one will know that better than Ange Postecoglou.
If McCarthy had been training himself on Glasgow Green, then pitched up at Lennoxtown already in the same physical condition as the highly demanding Australian expects from his players then either the Irish international is super-human or Angeball is hype over substance.
McCarthy struggled yesterday and had a poor game, like so many of the players after Livingston scored. But Postecoglou doesn’t need Kris Commons to explain to him that football is a results based business as he is well aware that he needs to deliver results while progressing with what is a major rebuild at the the football club.
Number of problems tactically with yesterday, but this midfield is a shadow of itself without McGregor. No real competition or depth at No 8 either. While Christie and Ntcham’s departures were foreseeable, not replacing them is backfiring significantly.https://t.co/7NP3JlDpaZ
— Kieran Devlin (@NoNotThatDevlin) September 20, 2021
The other claim in The Athletic today is that neither Postecoglou or the Football department at the club had anything to do with the signing of McCarthy. We know we’ve had an all powerful CEO for the past 17 years until recently who dabbled in the transfer market, fancying himself as a Director of Football in all but name. That’s how Celtic has been run over the past decade or so and we all know it to be the case.
Celtic signed a dozen players in the window – the two boys from Sheffield Wednesday for instance had nothing at all to do with Ange and they’re not the only ones. If McCarthy is in this list, which also includes for instance Joe Hart, then that the old way of doing things but hardly surprising given the state of flux at the club this year.
Ange Postecoglou has to change that and when he’s got his own people around him the signing decisions will be his and his alone.
The Athletic say that their information on McCarthy comes from Dressing Room sources – worrying in itself – but McCarthy hasn’t turned into a flop signing because of one bad game and he’ll be well aware that the manager wasn’t the man at the club who wanted to sign him.
McCarthy started because Ange was out of options, although as we said last week, someone should have reminded him that Nir Bitton is actually a number 6 and not really a central defender at all.
In his Daily Mail column Kris Commons had this to say: “As they continue in their new relationship together, I doubt there are many supporters feeling a great deal of love and affection towards Ange Postecoglou this morning.
“Yesterday’s defeat at Livingston was a damaging affair for the new Celtic manager, wiping out a lot of the goodwill afforded to him by the fans. It brought to an end any sense of a honeymoon period. That’s all over and Postecoglou is now firmly under the microscope.
“Why? Because, for any Celtic manager, failure to beat the team who were bottom of the table at the start of play is totally inexcusable. Plain and simple. I know Celtic were missing a couple of key players in Callum McGregor and Kyogo Furuhashi. Postecoglou also opted to rotate his squad and freshen it up after European exertions in midweek.
“But that won’t wash. Not when you’ve just lost to the team who, prior to yesterday’s result, had been the worst team in the league over the first few weeks of the season. Even accounting for one or two players being absent or rotated, a massive club like Celtic should still have more than enough in reserve to get the job done at Livingston,” Commons added.
This rebuild was never going to be easy or quick. The shambles Ange inherited was delivered by many of those who are still in power and employed at @CelticFC The changes that must happen for our club to move forward on and off the park may not happen while they remain. HH
— Celtic Gossip (@CelticGossip) September 20, 2021