These days, a Celtic defeat is as rare as other TJDS contributor, Reidzo, buying in a round at the pub, so when this happens, there’s a genuine state of shock and disbelief at the events that have unraveled.
Brendan Rodgers’ side went down 1-0 at Rugby Park on Saturday and the most galling aspect of the day was the fact it could have been another Tynecastle had Killie put their chances away, in which they had plenty.
Steve Clarke’s side were well worth the win, and after recovering from an opening ten minutes in which Celtic threatened to run riot, they controlled the game and really asked big questions of the champions, who for some reason looked like they expected Killie to just give them plenty of time and space on the ball.
Scott Brown, who bitterly snapped because Kilmarnock’s players celebrated beating a team who are not used to losing domestically, seemed particularly stunned that Clarke’s men snapped and hassled him and the rest of the midfield at every opportunity, ensuring our creativity and fluidity was stifled.
Kilmarnock didn’t simply stand by and marvel in awe at us, and when teams do that to this Celtic side, they seem stunned and shocked at the audacity of this bold move.
Last season, we didn’t see much of that, mostly because things just clicked into place every week, many players were having the season of their careers and other teams had yet to figure out the team and the way that we played.
This season, more teams are figuring us out, and they know that we don’t perform well if you close us down quickly and nullify the threat of our wide players. Of course, it doesn’t help when the manager starts our best player this season, James Forrest, in a wing back role instead of further forward on the right side of midfield.
So in terms of this season, are we having a blip every now and then, or is this becoming a major issue, where more defeats like Saturdays will be occurring ?
I’d like to hear what the readers think, as I believe it’s somewhere in the middle.
Our league title status is not in jeopardy at all, and we’ve already reclaimed one cup this season, but there’s certainly been a problem with consistency, and with the Champions League group stages out of the way, many people would have expected us to turn on the style after the Anderlecht home match before the winter break, but that didn’t happen.
Our squad’s massive, and I’ve said this quite often on the site, but when you have such a huge squad like we do, and decent players are sometimes not even making the bench, you’ve got to wonder is that affecting the team as a whole ?
For example, Odsonne Edouard, so effective against Hearts in midweek, suddenly finds himself subbed at Rugby Park, all to accommodate Charly Musonda, who has somehow just waltzed into the squad for a tough away game on a pitch that suited the hosts more than ourselves. Furthermore, the woefully ineffective Scott Sinclair thrown on ahead of Callum McGregor, who would have brought a balance to our play, left me scratching my head in bemusement. Quite a strange move from the manager in my opinion.
Going forward, the manager must start fielding his strongest eleven available and stop chopping and changing the system to shoehorn other players into the team.
Yes, this team have achieved some feat domestically, but the goodwill feeling towards them is declining frequently, and if they don’t get the finger out as soon as possible the Zenit games could be a horror show.