I’ve been accused of a lot of things, but I’ve never been accused of being a football player. Last week I read this was a big week for Delia. Three games that would set the pattern for his – and our season. Ross County beat us and put us out of the League Cup. Aberdeen beat us and drew level on points this weekend in the league. And East Kilbride, while they didn’t beat us, took the honours. I expected to win by four or more goals. We won 2-0. I’d also have expected some fringe players to have started. By fringe players I mean the best young Scottish talent such as Christie or Allan, or both. Who did we get? Charlie Mulgrew.
I’m not slagging Charlie. He’s decent enough to be a Scottish international. But he’s not good enough for the Celtic midfield. He might be able to find a spot in the middle of the Celtic defence. Certainly, he looks better in the air than Simunovich (who is injured again). We’ve already seen what Blackett and Ambrose, who started here at right back, can bring to the party, and we’re no longer laughing. Boyatta came to Celtic from Manchester City’s reserves and started badly and it’s been all downhill since then — his speciality finding the opponent players with his passes out of defence. But, for some reason, I think he might come good. Let’s face it he can’t get much worse (finger’s crossed). Our recent signing Sviatchenko looks decent on the ball. That’s good, but he got beaten in the air for Aberdeen’s second at Pittodrie. In fact, Aberdeen while at one point in that game having only twenty-percent of possession, looked like scoring every time they got a corner. The great mystery isn’t that they won, but that they never scored more from cross balls. Celtic centre halfs are like Dracula cowering from crosses.
Bobo Balde despite not being able to kick a ball with either foot would go straight into this Celtic team. With 95% of balls lumped forward from the back, you’d be almost 100% certain he’d win it. But he wasn’t the best in the air. That honour goes to Paul Elliot. When playing Rangers they’d have two men, man-marking him. One in front and one behind him. And he’d still score. If he hadn’t been injured at Chelsea I’m sure he’d went on to be a fifty-plus England regular (so maybe it is a blessing then). Van Dijk wasn’t as good in the air as either of these two, but he was the best header of the ball in Scottish football in the time he was here. A partnership with him and either of these two would be ideal. What have we got now? A poor team that can’t defend. A team that will win the league but won’t qualify for Europe this year or next. We need look at the management duo now to have any real chance to do something and we really need to be looking at our defenders. Ironically, an eighteen-year old boy is our best bet. An amateur team today made us look bang average. I used to laugh at Rangers mounting a challenge. I was deluding myself. Time for a root and branch change. Start at the top.