A classic example of a game of two halves…
Yesterday’s clash with St Johnstone was always going to be difficult, yet it turned out to be even tougher than expected, especially in the first half where Celtic failed to show up.
It was quite literally a game of two halves. During that first 45 minutes we were absolutely dire. We looked lacklustre and devoid of ideas. We were slow and lethargic, and the players looked like they would rather be anywhere other than the cold surroundings of McDiarmid Park.
Some showed that they could do with a refresher course on the rules of the game, especially offside and the coaches must surely address our defending ar concern kicks because ever since Motherwell were gifted that equaliser, both Lazio and St Johnstone have spotted that as a major Celtic weakness, as will Hibs on Wednesday night.
St Johnstone fully deserved their first half lead. Not only did they frustrate us, they had a go as well, it wasn’t a shock when they took the lead, although from our own point of view it was a disaster. It was a goal that an amateur side would have been embarrassed to concede. From the defenders to the goalkeeper it was a total shambles.
Like Motherwell’s equaliser at Celtic Park last week, the players looked disjointed and disorganised, it is something that’s rather concerning. An angry Brendan Rodgers, not surprisingly, gave the players a piece of his mind at the interval and it worked. The ineffective and always offside Yang was replaced by Mikey Johnston and Republic of Ireland man brought a much more positive attitude to our attack down the right wing.
Oh was also brought on after the hour mark and his presence up top with Kyogo – who could have had a hat-trick yesterday – also helped turn the game in our favour.
Callum McGregor fired in a terrific effort to bring us level and after that it was one way traffic. Matt O’Riley continued his fine form by firing us in front with a goal of the season contender. The build up was impressive as was the finish from Matt, on his weaker right foot as well.
Joe Hart made up for his part in the loss of the opening goal by producing a fine stop at blank point range in injury time, and from the following counter attack James Forrest hit a fine goal to ensure the three points headed back to Paradise. That third goal had a quality assist from the under-used Tomoki Iwata, who surely merits a start sometime soon?
From staring a defeat in the face at half time, to grabbing three great goals and with it the three points at the end showed terrific character and resilience, the mark of Champions. But let’s not kid ourselves here, there’s still a lot to improve on.
The squad will sit down and analyse the game as they always do after every match. That first half watch is going to be tough to sit through for the team. It was embarrassing and it must not be allowed to happen again.
One other point, If Kyogo stays on the halfway line at corners then that will a) keep him out of the way and b) occupy a few opposition players keeping them out of our penalty area, thus reducing the traffic around Joe Hart’s goals.
Just an Ordinary Bhoy