I thought that Wednesday night’s match against St Mirren was a difficult watch and was full of frustration, though I was obviously happy with the three points. With that performance in mind, I was hoping for a big reaction on home soil this afternoon and I have to say that I think the team played a lot better.
Lennon changed the line up again. Personally, I think it’d be advantageous to find our best 11 and stick to it for a run of games, but who am I to judge the boss? I also felt that we should have started with a natural striker alongside Ajeti, rather than Christie playing up there. What transpired, was that the starting 11 played well and Christie scored. Like I said, who am I to judge Lennon’s decisions?
Celtic moved the ball around much quicker than we did against St Mirren and I felt that it was already a more enjoyable watch just a few minutes into the game. The flashpoint came just after 15 minutes, when the ball struck the Livingston defender’s hand in the box. Quite rightly, in my opinion, the penalty wasn’t awarded – but I felt Christie should have buried his effort anyway, which would have rendered the defender’s arm irrelevant. From that move, Livi hit on the counter and got a penalty themselves. This one, I did feel was a penalty as Ajer’s arm was raised. That’s one of them things, which is unfortunate, but I do think we switched off in allowing Livingston to get in behind in the first place.
Thereafter, Celtic reacted well and instantly equalised through Callum McGregor. McGregor had a good game and it was encouraging to see him pushing further forward and having an influence on the match. I don’t think he’s been at his best this season, but he showed what he can do today and long may it continue.
It was McGregor to the fore again for Celtic’s second when he slipped a lovely pass inside the full back for Greg Taylor to cross for Christie. Someone that I thought shouldn’t be upfront in place of a natural striker such as Klimala, Christie was in prime position running across the front post to tuck the ball home – how delighted I was to be proved wrong.
Like McGregor, Christie too had a good game today. He got his goal and played the ball through for Ajeti to make it 3-1. What superb move that was and an even better finish as the Swiss striker took it first time, starting the ball outside the post and curling it into the roof of the net. That’s four goals already for Ajeti, an outstanding return considering that he is yet to play a full 90 minutes.
There was late disappointment when Livingston scored a second. The strike itself was top class, but it was very poor allowing the player to not only get the ball in the first place, but then to pick his spot without a defender within 20 yards of him. We’ve conceded a lot of goals recently and those defensive frailties almost cost us in the final seconds when Livingston missed a free header from ten yards!
Overall, I thought we moved the ball well and played a lot better than in midweek. Frimpong is a bright spark on the wing with his pace, Elhamed played a lot better than his last outing, Ajeti kept up his goal scoring streak, and both McGregor and Christie returned to form. On the other hand, Brown was anonymous again (I recently wrote an article about giving him time, but that is beginning to run out) and we were vulnerable at the back. 3-2 makes the game appear close, but it wasn’t at all. Celtic could have won by a much bigger margin, but three points is all that matters and now we are top of the league without even hitting our stride.
Hopefully Hibs do us a turn tomorrow and we can look forward to European action in midweek.