clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Celtic fail another major test...and alarm bells should be ringing.

No fans thankfully saw this first hand in the stadium.

Celtic v Rangers - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

In 2006, Vito Spatafore Jnr (The Sopranos) took an almighty risk in a shower, and suffered negative consequences as a result of his stunt in front of ‘classmates’.

In 2019, Peter Lawwell may not have plummeted to the literal level of that character’s actions in the same setting, but his gamble may well prove to be fatal in the long term.

Earlier today, Rangers recorded successive wins at Celtic Park for the first time since 1995, and even the most delusional ‘remember the 90’s’ rebounder could not deny it was more than deserved for them.

For the third meeting in a row, Steven Gerrard tactically ousted our manager and while the fortunate, but hilarious, Betfred Cup win papered over that glaring problem, the last two home defeats to them have led many to now ask the question; is Neil Lennon taking us backwards at an alarming rate?

The answer, at the moment, has to be a decisive YES.

Forget that we’ve been knocked out of the Champions League, at an earlier stage than last season and forget that we trail Rangers by four points in the league. Last season, we had a fluidity to our play. There was a default gameplan utilising our wide players, to progress onto a style where we’d be aggressively clinical in the last third of the pitch, with Elyounoussi, McGregor, Forrest and Edouard ruthlessly merciless in front of goal, examples being against Aberdeen and Motherwell. If that didn’t work, we were resilient, and broke down teams with an intense energy even in the dying moments of the match, such as as New Douglas Park and Pittodrie.

Unless there is change immediately, this season could very well be Celtic’s very own ‘Game Of Thrones Season 8

We have resembled a successive trophy winning side for all of 135 minutes in total this season, against Hamilton on the opening day, and in the second half against Hibs. Other than that, it’s been tedious stuff, resembling Gordon Strachan and Ronny Deila’s final campaigns in their tenure as Celtic managers.

Tiresome, repetitive and predictable.........but enough about my articles, that’s been the type of football on display too! If it’s not pedestrian paced sideways passing resulting in the ball going back to the goalkeeper a few minutes later, it’s a dreadful lack of intensity and purpose.

It is simply, not good enough.

There’s a malaise at the club which has been manifesting since the Ferencvaros defeat, resulting in expensive loan transfers to appease the fans and show we mean business, instead of taking care of that in advance, from bizarre infights between fans on the role our captain plays, to Lennon himself being incensed at a potential mole within the club.

Of course, none of this would be mentioned on this blog if we had won today, but that’s the nature of modern day football, it’s a results based business and what Celtic are very good at is bouncing back from a ‘crisis’ quickly, usually because we have some idiot team like Motherwell or St Johnstone to play, resulting in a quiet but efficient canter with everyone saying ‘ah well, they bounced back! It was just a blip!’

However, look at our run of fixtures for the next couple of months and you’re starting to wonder if this team will be able to shake off today’s result and move on quickly.

The manner of this defeat was galling, and it’s rightly led to many fans questioning Neil Lennon being the right man for the job.

Notable red flags were:

* Rangers being allowed to dictate the tempo of the game for the third meeting in a row.

* Celtic letting them away with getting out of their own half with very little pressure applied.

* Refusing to change the system at half time, when it was blatantly obvious it wasn’t working.

* Not being savvy enough to commit fouls in smart areas of the pitch (like Rangers did), but instead constantly giving them away in positions they’re at their most dangerous.

* The obsession with switching the play to the wings, playing long high balls to Frimpong and Laxalt, who are hardly tall and imposing figures. (Rangers do this, but their full backs are physical, tall and used to this system and have been now, for eighteen months)

* Introducing David Turnbull with seven minutes to go, when it was clear the midfield needed fresh legs and another dimension long before that.

‘Twitter managers’ get a bad rap, and it’s usually because the majority of them are mouthbreathers obsessed with Koka Noodles and the newest flavour of Fanta, but today I’d have trusted any jackanory blogger or podcaster attached to the fanbase over Lennon and his management team.

As our manager said himself, we looked like we’d just been put together yesterday at the last minute.

If this was a one off, I could say ‘Mashallah, it happens’, but it’s a repeated pattern against Rangers now, and while the next clash isn’t until January 2021, right now Neil Lennon has to concede that Steven Gerrard has bodied him once more and work on a different system for the visit of AC Milan on Thursday evening.

The Italians are now top of Serie A, and beat Inter Milan earlier tonight, and if any of their scouts watched us today, they’ll rest Ibrahimovic and call up Silvio Berlusconi in attack for a laugh.

Who knows, he might even buy us in the shower after the game.