What’s not to like about winning the cup and securing a never to be repeated 3×4 in a row? First things first, congratulations to all the players and good to see Neil Lennon enjoying the moment afterwards. It was only bettered by seeing that bottom feeder Naismith running straight off the park after Ajer converted the penalty. As we have seen, he can dish it out but goes missing in times of adversity; some leader. Anyway, there will be plenty time to gloat on his and others’ “disrespectful” antics.
What did we learn from the game? Have we progressed or turned the corner? I have to confess I missed the first half and only saw the car crash that was the second half and extra time. However, this is not a time to be negative and I understand there were plenty of positives in the first half. Suffice to say, it is concerning that we keep making the same mistakes. A total inability to defend balls into the box and see out games. The midfield getting overrun and Christie giving cheap fouls away inside our half to heap even more pressure on the defence. There is a fragility throughout the whole team which you can see and feel.
The last thing In Nielsen’s half time talk would have been get into their faces for the next 10 to 15 minutes, don’t let them settle. Neil Lennon may have mentioned this and, if not, the players are experienced enough to recognise it and react accordingly. As soon as they scored, the Hearts players could smell our fear.
After the other 3:3 game at Pittodrie, Callum McGregor very honestly said in a post match interview that we lacked a bit of confidence to see out games. After a couple of months and numerous car crashes on the pitch, that quotation still has traction. So, the overriding issue is that the players are still lacking confidence, for whatever reason. Whilst we may not agree with the tactics, the formation, the manager, the coaching staff, the Board, a common factor in the recent run appears to be a lack of confidence.
I guess it has affected the hard core more than most, the same hard core that Neil Lennon strangely singled out in his post match conference on Celtic TV. I am no psychologist, but surely the best way to get confidence back into a team is to bring in some fresh young players to share the load. You cannot keep playing the same fragile players and hoping things turn around. Whilst yesterday’s result will be a boost for all the players, I suspect the manner of the victory will have done hee haw for their confidence. It certainly hasn’t improved mine; the relief of not losing outweighing the joy of winning.
We will find out soon enough how this season is going to pan out but for the moment lets celebrate the win and join Neil in dedicating it to Peter and the Board, tongue firmly in cheek. YNWA.