Celtic 1 Motherwell 0…
This one was not very good for one’s nerves. Things were hardly helped by the dismal collapse of Hearts before most supporters buses left home, but that is really irrelevant because Celtic have to win their own games anyway.
Credit should be given to Motherwell for at least taking the game to Celtic, but they must be condemned for their over-aggressive approach, particularly in the first half, where quite a few of them were lucky not to be more seriously dealt with by Mr Anderson, whose somewhat eccentric (and occasionally over fussy) approach to the game managed to upset both sides.
Celtic started off well in each half but the fatal failing of being unable to score the goals that our pressure warranted reared its ugly head once more. One of these days we will pay dearly for this, although yesterday, it has to be said, saw us take the field without a recognised striker.
Tom Rogic has scored many fine goals for the club, not least yesterday, but please don’t anyone tell me that he can be described as a “striker”. He missed quite a few chances yesterday with a particular tendency to put the ball over the bar, and on one ludicrous occasion, kicking the ball with the wrong foot! A fine player, nevertheless, and he has been particularly good this season working with fellow Aussie Ange Postecoglou. (They will be enjoying the Ashes, incidentally!)
The goal itself revealed intelligence from both Turnbull and Rogic. We could not tell whether he was going to have a blast for goal or to try to find someone’s head. The Motherwell defence were similarly puzzled, and no-one could have predicted the gentle slipping of the ball across the penalty box for Tom to score clinically.
The defence is technically very competent, and there has been a definite improvement in defending set pieces. How I wish that Joe Hart would pick up the ball oftener! He is going to come a real cropper with that one day. Greg Taylor had one of his better games, I felt, but I keep finding David Turnbull difficult to analyse, varying from the very good to the very bad every five minutes, as distinct from Callum McGregor who was more consistent.
And poor Jamesie seems to be injured again. He wasn’t having a great game, but I felt that he might just have been the man who could have delivered the second goal that we were all craving, and which could have settled our nerves. And why was Mikey Johnston brought on and taken off again?
Nice to see Anthony Ralston again, but we really must find a way of solving the goal scoring problem. This sounds odd when we scored 3 against Dundee United and Real Betis, but with a 1-0 or a 2-1 lead, accidents will happen. The final whistle was once again greeted with relief.
And so to the far North on Wednesday to take on the improving Ross County. A bit too far for most supporters in December, so let’s hope we can get the game on some sort of television!