Celtic 2—1 Charlton (friendly).

Celtic were two goals up at half-time. Karamoke Dembele and Albian Ajeti scoring in another low-key game at Dragon Park. We also had two shots cleared off the line. Ajeti, the better of the two, rounding the keeper and unlucky not to score at the start of the game. Callum McGregor wore the captain’s armband, and I’m sure he’ll keep it. Celtic played with four at the back. Welsh and Bitton in the middle, Ralston at right back and Taylor on the left. In games like this which Celtic invariably dominates that doesn’t matter too much. But we know other teams will recognise the keeper isn’t going to go long and play it from the back, the opposition team will step forward. In our new look Celtic, the goalkeeper in order to create space is asked to push up out of the area and receive passes from defenders. Barkas looked adept and cool enough on the ball. As I’m sure Bain will too. The problem they had was they quite simply didn’t make enough saves that mattered, as McGregor did over the other side of Glasgow. Similarly, Bitton a central midfielder playing in defence passes the ball out well. What he doesn’t do well is in the physical art of defending. More than fifty percent of the goals we lost last season were from free kicks and corners. Neither Bitton or Welsh are good enough and were found wanting. But that’s what we’ve got for now.

The second half saw two new teams emerging. Bain in goal and Montgomery dropping back to cover at left back. He’d played further forward in the first half. Mikey Johnstone came on to play in front of him. Ntcham, remember him, well, he’s back in for Soro. Turnball, who had a decent first half, also came off.  Christie coming on to play further forward. No Rogic, not sure what’s happening to the Aussie. Must be injured again.  Edouard up front. Celtic still dominated, but not to the same extent at the first half. Mikey Johnstone looked the most dangerous player. Maybe this will be his season (I’ve been saying that for three seasons, he’s so talented). He hit the inside of the post in 74 minutes. Osaze Urhoghide, who’s a big lad, may do a turn for us in defence. He also had a shot saved by the Charlton keeper.  A few minutes later Charlton got a goal back. Connor Washington running onto a long pass to finish under the legs of Bain. Celtic saw it out. But Bain had to make a fantastic save.

Mooney came on late in the game. But Dembele looked a handful and had a great first half. We’ve went from having no wingers to having stacks of them. Edouard missed his usual sitter from six yards, a cut back from Johnston.  Ajeti looks dangerous. We’re going to play from the back and it’s going to be interesting. Edouard, Christie and Ntcham can go now.  Wait and see who we will bring in. Some encouraging signs but too prone to fling goals away with a makeshift defence. And we all know what happened last season.  

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