‘The Battle of Pittodrie’: A rollercoaster of emotion that could be the Genesis of Ange’s tenure

Holy moly. That was intense. In a game that we all knew was a must win to put Angeball back on track and deliver our first three points on the road since Valentines Day, I am delighted to say we’ve done it!

A game which held an aura of horror, remembering the awful defeat of last season that helped derail our push for an historic tenth title in a row, we emerged victorious. It wasn’t exactly pretty, it wasn’t exactly without panic, but Sweet Jesus, we got the job done.

It was undoubtedly a rollercoaster of emotion; I for one was kicking every ball watching this one, knowing how vital a victory would be today.

My heart rate is still racing writing this one…

First up, I thought Kyogo Furuhashi put in a shift and he took his goal extremely well. The cross from David Turnbull was fantastic, although again he drifted from the game for large parts – as did several others.

I thought Abada could have been much more involved than he was, he and Ralston’s link-up play can be really slack at times. Nonetheless, we got there in the end I suppose.

Jota has an incredibly annoying knack for fouling players, or at least giving the referee the option to give the foul – his hands were all over the players he was tackling. To be fair, that goal made up for any fouls committed.

The defence again was really shaky at times during the match, and have to learn when it is, and is not appropriate to play out from the back. I totally understand the principles that are being imbued by Ange Postecoglou.

However, playing a game of chicken on your own penalty box when you are pinned back heavily is churlish to say the least. Carter-Vickers is strong in the air and in the challenge, but too often today he looked suspect passing the ball into midfield. Starfelt, I thought, kept it simple and benefitted from this simplicity at times, clearing his lines when under pressure at certain times just to be sure. I think the David Turnbull incident against Leverkusen might have been playing on his mind today.

Alas, the goal conceded. Typically Celtic, in its basic ignorance of the fundamentals of the game. Bitton was the culprit on this occasion for not dealing with his man appropriately, especially considering the discrepancy in size between he and Lewis Ferguson. I thought overall though, that Bitton played well in the middle of the park and connected the defence and midfield far better than in previous games. He was tidy and uninspiring if anything, but just what was needed after Thursday. Montgomery should also never have been on that post, whilst Joe Hart should have delegated better with his years of experience.

Second half was really slack passing-wise, and we can count ourselves lucky that Aberdeen are not exactly on it at this moment in time either. Ange bringing on Rogic changed the dynamic in the centre of the park, as we couldn’t find that penetrating pass; consequently resorting to the waves of sideways passes that was an unwelcome feature under Lennon last year. Rogic, as he is so capable of, found that half yard and threaded a beautifully weighted pass into Adam Montgomery, who fired back across the Dons box for Jota to stab home for a desperate three points for Ange and the Bhoys.

Madden was an absolute nightmare too, turning the game into a horrid stop-start affair at times. Some of the fouls he called were highly suspect, and why he referees so many Celtic games is a mystery (well, maybe not so much). Regardless, we came through unscathed for another win in the league which keeps us in touching distance from the rest currently. They weren’t kidding when they said Angeball would be a rollercoaster journey.

This result today could be the Genesis of Ange’s tenure, giving him the booster he and the squad needs for the winter months ahead, until he gets to that January window. The international break is upon us now, so it puts us in a reasonable place, which is all we were really asking for at this stage. I’m away for a lie down now. Phew.

Paul Gillespie

About Author

I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.

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