I wasn’t sure what to expect here. Davie Logue said he was more concerned about Kilmarnock on Sunday and the treble-treble. Well, where do I start? Celtic weren’t terrible and they weren’t outclassed. They just did what Celtic do, have some passages of play and gave away amateur goals. It was easy enough to win seven games on the bounce and concede no goals when playing St Johnstone three times and teams from lower divisions. Valencia were unlikely to be overawed by Celtic being able to pass the ball for ten minutes around the park. Valencia drew with Barcelona away and they are the Harlem Globetrotters of retaining the ball for fun.
The problem with passing the ball around at the back is you need to have the players to do it. Toljan has had an easy enough start in Celtic colours. But he does have a tendency to bring the ball backwards. Too much for my liking, especially when playing it back to the keeper.
Scott Bain has ousted Craig Gordon from the number one spot. His passing has been great and his goalkeeping good. He had no chance with any of the two goals. But his passing was rotten and he piled pressure on an already wayward defence.
Emilio Izaguirre has looked great when playing the lower leagues. But when you look back at big games he either makes a mistake or is posted missing. Here he was a bit of both. Izaguirre played onside Ruben Sobrino who didn’t need disco-lights to find his way to the goals. His pass for Cheryshev was as you’d expect at this level, leaving the latter with a tap-in. 1—0 down at half time.
Three minutes into the second half and game over, tie over. Again it comes from the left-hand side, Izaguirre’s side. Johnny Hayes would have been a much better option and should play here until Tierney is fit.
Izzaguirre’s performance was matched by Brown’s. The Celtic captain at this level just isn’t good enough. When not playing passes to the opposition, he lost tackles, and lost control of the ball so many times over ninety minutes that players like Iniesta have not lost over a long and distinguished career. There’s no substitute for class. For the record Brown was robbed by substitute Francis Coquelin. The ball was played in behind the Celtic defence. It was whipped over by Cheryshev who picked out Sobrino.
Our central defence despairing. Jozo Simunovic doesn’t want to play the ball from the back. He’s not very good at it and not a great defender either. A replacement for Virgil. That’s almost funny.
Dedryck Boyata is the opposite of Jozo, he does want to play football from the back, but makes the kind of errors that would make Scott Brown cringe. He’s good in the air, but Celtic play the ball along the ground. In a high pressing game like Ibrox or last night, he’s more liable to play in the opposition that create a chance. Izaguirre is always posted missing. Boyata is always found wanting, big time. Big-match jitters begin but don’t end with Boyata. Wanting away, fuck off then.
Callum McGregor was alright without doing anything much, which isn’t really alright.
Sinclair had one great run, which turned out to be a dead-end, which kinda sums him up.
Forest had three penalty claims turned down. I’d have taken the three of them, but none of them seemed clear-cut.
The substitute Timo Weah, probably had the best shout for a penalty, but by then we knew the tie was already done.
Ryan Christie was also taken off. Nobody noticed he was on the park. He’s regressed big-time. A replacement part that is no longer doing the job.
Oliver Burke was found wanting in the basics of controlling the ball. His enthusiasm carried him some way, but at this level, it’s never enough.
Odsonne Edouard, on for Christie after sixty minutes, spent the next thirty minutes trying to nut-meg Valencia players. Good idea, when it works, but it didn’t.
Treble-treble? Not sure. Might stumble over the finishing line in the league. I’d say that’s an eighty-five percent probability. Scottish Cup sixty-forty.
I think last night confirmed what Rodgers already knows. He’ll not be here much longer. End of the season, no matter how it goes, and I think it’ll be nos vemos más tarde.