You’ve got to hand it to Celtic, when this team get beat, it’s a comprehensive bodying. There’s no lottery about it, no hard luck or narrow margins, it’s an outright doing.
Sure, Saturday’s defeat at Easter Road wasn’t as emphatic a trouncing as the one in December in Edinburgh across the city at Tynecastle, where Hearts ran out 4-0 winners, but make no mistake about it, we were dominated by a Hibs team who were well and truly up for the game, whereas, not for the first time this season, this Celtic team were passive, flat and uninspiring.
For a match in which we needed to win to clinch seven in a row, I could not get my head around the abject attitude from the off, and instead of coming out of the blocks flying, we seemed to react to how Hibs started, instead of focusing on our own game.
Brendan Rodgers criticised his sides display and specifically remarked that we expected too much time on the ball.
Something I have noticed is that if teams hassle and harry us, such as Hearts back in December, Motherwell twice at Fir Park and Kilmarnock back in February, the team seem to be in a state of shock and disbelief.
Contrast Saturday’s performance to last Sunday’s display against Rangers at Hampden. Graeme Murty’s hopeless side sat off us so much, and applied no pressure, ensuring Olivier Ntcham, who needs a lot of time on the ball, could dominate proceedings.
John McGinn and Dylan McGeouch aren’t idiots though, so it’s telling they don’t play for Rangers, and they targeted the Frenchman time and time again, dismantling his gameplan and specifically ensuring he couldn’t run the game at a canter.
Their tactic worked, and it was the midfield battle that Hibs won, which was a key factor in their victory.
It was annoying that we couldn’t mix it up at Easter Road and go toe to toe with Hibs physically, and again my criticism that we are too nice as a team seems..............correct.
Thankfully next weekend the team have the perfect opportunity to put Saturday’s disappointment behind them and just turn up to win the league against the clowns from Govan and we’ll focus on that throughout the week.
Also - Celtic’s player of the year awards were at the Hilton last night, and here’s how they went.