Celtic 1 – Molde 2
One of my fellow bloggers, Joe Black, suggested after watching Celtic get beaten in the away tie by Molde that they were rubbish and not one of them would get in the Celtic team. I can’t argue with that. Ronnie Deilia whose impressive record of winning the Norwegian title with a little known team, the equivalent of managing a team such as Hamilton, and winning the Scottish Premier League, said the very same thing. None of the Molde team are good enough for Celtic. In our Europa League section Molde have 10 points. They have beaten Celtic in back to back ties. They have drew with Ajax at home. We got a decentish result in Holland, or in other words we weren’t soundly beaten. Molde have beaten Fernebahce away. We drew with the group favourites at Parkhead, after being two goals up. This is a familiar pattern. We regularly lose one or two goals in European competitions. Last night we lost two. Could have been more. Eighteen-year-old Kieran Tierney was the one shining light that Celtic have made progress under Deila. Celtic have breezed Scottish football. Salaries are a conservative ten times more than their rivals. But it’s got to be asked, are any of this Celtic team, Tierney apart, good enough for Celtic.
Walk me through it. Craig Gordon? Decent, but seems to have went backwards. Came out and flapped at a cross ball last night and nearly cost us a goal. Good kick outs. Good reflexes. You’d expect that and a bit more from a Celtic keeper, but when was the last time he made a save that mattered?
Michael Lustig unlucky with a header, which brought a great save from the Molde keeper. Spectator with Boyata as Mohammed Elyanoussi hit a strike from the edge of the box to beat Gordon. I don’t like Celtic players to be spectators. Attack and be a participant or you are just not Celtic class. Lustig is often injured and can’t be relied on defensively.
The problem with Dedryck Boyata is that he’s not injured enough. We’ve already bought him from Manchester City and can’t wrap him up in a box, with Effe Ambrose attached, in a two-for-one deal- and send him back with a ‘no-thanks’ note.
Jozo Simunovic lasted around three minutes. He played 90 minutes in the away tie against Ajax, where he did ok, but tended to get bullied by centre forwards going for high balls. That doesn’t fill me with confidence. But we’ll wait and see. So far so bad, something of the Daniel Prodan about him.
Tyler Blackett, a replacement for Simunovic. Let me put it this way. When the choices of a replacement are Blackett or Eff Ambrose, the latter who regularly sells at least one goal in every big game and is congratulated when he doesn’t, and when the replacement finally turns out to be Blackett, then you’re pleased. But after the game you wish it had been Ambrose. That’s how bad Blackett played. Blackett’s been on the fringes of Manchester United’s first team. He’ll be on the fringes of Celtic’s first team. That’s how bad we are. I imagine Celtic will not be extending the loan deal and they’ll be looking upstairs for some clause that can send him back early.
Michael Tierney. Last ditch tackle. Ran all night. Went forward. God bless you. Celt through and through.
Kris Commons. I’m biased here. I like Celtic midfielders to score over thirty goals in a season. And he did it here. Flukey, but they all count. If he scores he stays and plays. If he doesn’t score he doesn’t. Simple. Didn’t come back on for second-half horror show.
Stefan Johansen, played a deeper role than normal, played like he normally does of late. Shite. Certainly not a patch on the Scottish Player of the Year winner he was last year. Whatever’s happened to him he’s going backwards. Inhabits a Celtic shirt but doesn’t fill it.
Nir Biton had an early goal chopped off for offside. Another player that has went backwards. Decent at times – but that was last year. Injured all the time. In a second-half reshuffle in a managerial masterstroke in which we replaced substitute Blackett a couple of times just to make sure he was coming off, Biton went back into defence. Maybe try playing him in defence at centre half. Not doing it in midfield. Was sent off here. Talk of him being a transfer target. The way he’s been playing he can fuck off now.
Tom Rogic is a big boy and he was playing in that advanced midfield role, only he wasn’t. He didn’t do much wrong, caught ball watching (like the rest of the team) at Molde’s first goal. Didn’t do much right. The clock’s ticking on his career at Celtic. Needs to pick up his game big style.
Stuart Armstrong. Invisible. Left Celtic playing with ten men (or nine men and Blackett). An intelligent guy. Celtic don’t carry deficits.
Leigh Griffiths is our number 9 on merit. He’s scoring a goal a game. He was flagged offside and interfering with play for the Bitton shot which was ruled off for offside. That’s understandable. A few minutes later he’d the ball in the net, also ruled off for offside. Unlucky with a header. But like any Celtic striker, 30 plus goals a season should be a minimum. He’s half way there before Christmas. Good start. Promising.
Our management duo, non fatman and robin. Taking Blackett off for Blackett was good. I’m not really buying into all this fitness thing. What are other teams doing going to McDonalds and eating cheeseburghers instead of training? Daniel Hestad bullied our defence to score and had a comfortable night and he’s forty. Class should tell in the end. Keep getting beaten and losing the same type of goals over and over, we will follow you. They might have the answer stored somewhere in the fat cave, but they better bring it out pronto. It’s not disrespectful to talk about the treble. It’s stupid not to. Just as its stupid not to think if things don’t improve in Europe our directors aren’t no jokers and they’ll change things for the dynamic duo. Roar. Roar.