“That can’t happen,” says Murdo, “It’s zonal marking, we work on it and it’s how we do it,” explains Broony

Scott Brown yesterday looked back in the 1-0 defeat at Ross County and seemed to echo his manager Neil Lennon by insisting Celtic played better on Sunday night than when we won 5-0 up in Dingwall earlier in the season. It’s an argument that convinced few if any supporters on Sunday night as John Hughes gave Neil Lennon, John Kennedy and Gavin Strachan a tactical lesson.

Photo: Jeff Holmes

Big Yogi made sure that Kris Ajer was marked so that left Stephen Welsh with the ball and Celtic attacking down the left hand side with the wasteful Diego Laxalt seeing so much more of the ball than Jonjoe Kenny on the other side of the park. And the goal was simply down to a manager doing his homework on the Celtic weaknesses. Add into that some extraordinary bad finishing and nothing performances from the likes of Odsonne Edouard and you start to understand why John Hughes’ side deserved the three points. It was a job well done by a side fighting for their Premiership lives.

Surely one of the three coaching staff could see how the game was going and change the formation and the personnel? Not likely this season is it and jut about everything said post match, especially from the manager, just made the entire situation worse.

Photo: Jeff Holmes

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“Ross County had a game plan, stuck to it and they fought well throughout the 90 minutes,” the Celtic captain told the MSM, as reported by Glasgow Times. “We could have squeezed the game. It was a slack decision from us. It’s small margins of error and we’ve got to take responsibility for that.

“When you go up there, it’s always a tough game. We went up there at the start of the season and we didn’t play too well and won 5-0. At the end of the day, you’d probably take that (rather than) us playing well, playing nice football and not scoring the goals and losing a set-piece at the end.

“I thought we defended quite well throughout the game but it’s one set play and it’s those small margins in football that, you lose concentration for a few seconds, and he scores a header at the back post and gets a run on the lads. It’s something that’s pretty much been throughout our whole season,” Scott Brown said.

Listen to Murdo MacLeod speaking to Sky Sports outside Celtic Park yesterday about the Celtic defending at set-pieces…

“That can’t happen,” Murdo said. “He was between me and Kris,” Broony explained. “It’s zonal marking, we work on it and it’s how we do it. We keep a line. It’s part and parcel of football. People want to do zonal, others want to do man marking. We do a mixture of both. We can stop the run, we can head it better. We need to look at it and right it tomorrow.

Photo: Vagelis Georgariou

“It sums the season up. It has pretty much been our season to be honest. You go two, three, four wins in a row then have a defeat. It’s been hard for us to take to be perfectly honest. That’s not Celtic, that’s not us. We know we’ve not played as well as we possibly could have.

“We could have scored two or three goals against Ross County but we’ve got to take it on the chin and defend set-pieces a lot better as a team as well.”

On the chances missed Ryan Christie has been getting pelters for his sky-high sitter and various other efforts but alongside him Odsonne Edouard – one of the main Celtic wantaways (but the one who never receives any criticism, unlike the rest) was Celtic’s answer to The Invisible Man on Sunday night in Dingwall.

Photo: Jeff Holmes

Sky Sports had scheduled that game to suit their wider weekend audience and any manager down south interested in signing the French striker may have been a little less interested going to their bed on Sunday night.

“Every team misses chances, but we need to create a few more chances as well,” Broony said. “The chances we created were from their mistakes. We need to play better as a team. We just need to make sure the final ball is spot on and put on a plate for somebody.

“You go late, into the 91st, 92nd minute. We’re peppering the goal and we’re forcing mistakes and errors. To be fair, we still did that. It just wasn’t clear cut chances that were falling for us, it was half-chances and we maybe didn’t do enough in the final third for us to say that we deserved to win the game.”

“We’ll take it one game at a time and we look forward to playing again this week. We’ve got to focus on that game and make sure that we’re ready. The gaffer’s got to make sure that he’s got the best team out there possible and that we get a result and get back to winning ways as quickly as possible.

“That’s what this club is all about and this season’s not been great for us to be perfectly honest and the performance against Ross County probably sums up our season. We played not too bad throughout the 90 minutes, concede a goal and lose 1-0.”

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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