Celtic put Liam Scales up to face the media yesterday, probably based on the Irishman’s decent form over recent weeks, meaning that he is one of the few who are not coming in for criticism for their individual performances in recent domestic matches – the first half against St Johnstone, the second half against Kilmarnock and the whole sorry game last weekend against Hearts.
The Celtic squad and coaches have had a week to prepare for the visit of Livingston and in that time they have had their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership reduced to just two points, having played a game more than theRangers.
At last week’s media conference John Kennedy, standing in for Brendan Rodgers, emphasised that after the defeat at Kilmarnock the group would do as they always do and focus on the performance and not the result. Well the results have been terrible before and after that reminder and if anything the performance was even worse as it was not Jekyll and Hyde performances with half a game decent and the other shockingly poor, it was a more consistent horror show of a performance for the entire match – at Celtic Park – against Hearts who couldn’t believe their luck as they picked up a win at Paradise for the first time since Tony Mowbray was messing things up in 2009.
The Celtic Star is on fan media duties this week but we did NOT receive an invitation to speak to Liam Scales yesterday. We have however been invited to speak today at Lennoxtown to the manager, so we’ll see what Brendan has got to say about sorting out this mess and getting the season back on track.
“We are going to bounce back. We are not going away completely. We’ve had a couple of bad results but we know if we win our games it’s within our hands. We are not going to just fold now,” Scales told the media conference yesterday afternoon.
“We know it’s not good enough for Celtic. The pressure is there and you know you need to win games. Over the course of a season it’s not disastrous if we bounce back and do well. We just need to fix it now,” the Irish international defender added.
“We feel we sometimes expect it to just happen without taking it by the horns, being aggressive and going and winning. We can’t just show up and it’s maybe where we need to brush up.
“I can see where the manager is coming from with what he said after the Hearts game. It’s not nice to hear obviously but performances haven’t been where they should probably be. He makes a good point. It hurts as a player to hear that. We need to change that and not let that be the case again.
“Everyone knows it hasn’t been good enough or the level we’ve got to in the past. At half-time at St Johnstone the manager wanted an immediate reaction and it worked. But a couple of days after the game there’s no point still being angry and having shouting matches.
“It’s really just about working on the training pitch, doing video analysis and working out ways to be better. Fans have seen how well we can play but it’s a matter of imposing ourselves on teams rather than just thinking it’ll happen,” Scales stated.
On the reaction of supporters last weekend Scales said: “I think it was a build-up of losing the previous game and the two games in a row. They’re entitled to have a go if they feel like it’s not good enough. Clearly it wasn’t good enough. They spend a lot of money coming up to Christmas and we need to be better for them.
“I don’t think it was over the top. It hurts but that’s where we need to improve — for them. You could sense in the stadium after the game there was anger and disappointment, rightly so.
“We know what the fans expect. We know there are massive demands to win here. That’s why it’s such a successful club and why we’ve had such a good period the last few years. It’s easier said than done but we know we need to be better and to turn the corner.”
Watch Liam Scales’ media conference below…