Games are never settled after a minute, but they don’t half give away the direction one is going to go.
Punters had barely taken a seat at yesterday’s match when Olivier Ntcham bottled a 50/50 with Andy Halliday, and the aftermath of it was telling how the game would be played out.
A meek and mousy Ntcham let himself be bullied by Halliday early doors with that particular challenge, and him and his teammates smelled blood from there, and Celtic never recovered.
By the time Ryan Jack put them 1-0 ahead, we could have easily been four down.
In September, our 1-0 win was the biggest doing I had seen. Rangers gave us that back yesterday. It was a comprehensive battering, and it hurts today as much as it did at full time on Saturday.
We had nothing. No creativity, no fight, no ideas. We turned up thinking Rangers would, as always, do something stupid to gift us a win like they had done in a few previous encounters at Ibrox, but not this time.
Why Edouard didn’t start after his virtuoso display against Aberdeen only the manager will know. Why Scott Sinclair managed 90 minutes is beyond me, and why Scott Brown wasn’t hooked at half time is the biggest mystery .
I am usually not one to point fingers at the manager despite what I think of him, because he clearly knows more about football than me, and anyone who reads this. That is a fact.
Yesterday. however, was the first time I was left scratching my head at his buffoonery and left me wondering was it a deliberate ploy to use as a weapon against the board for funds in January ?
Look at the resources he has at his disposal though, and you’re thinking will he even be trusted with money if he gets it ? The decision to put our best midfielder at left back, and let Ntcham and Brown break up our play time and time again was utterly baffling. Hayes would have been fine starting there, letting McGregor control the game for us in the middle of the park, or even at half time when it was obvious we were being completely dominated in the centre of the pitch, Tierney should have been flung on to stabilise us.
It’s our fourth league defeat of the season, yet we are still top with a game in hand before we saunter off to Dubai again which is bound to be murder for content if you follow the Celtic FC social media accounts. Do yourself a favour, and don’t.
I do not think there’s a case for alarm bells, because this team will inevitably get the finger out when they need to, and deliver yet again but it won’t be in style unless certain players are moved on because the loyalty cards are well and truly used up with them.
Lustig, Brown, Sinclair and Ntcham can surely not now be considered first picks anymore.
If we go into 2019 relying on those players on a weekly basis, we’ll have learned nothing from yesterday and the manager will just be resorting to being stubborn for the sake of it.