Last night felt very ‘Tartan Army’ didn’t it ? #LostTheGameWonYourHearts
Glorious failure if you will, but we can at least take positives in the fact that this 3-5-2 nonsense is surely now going to be killed off after our second half performance against Milan, albeit you have to also accept their concentration levels lapsed, and they went down a couple of gears. In fact, the one moment in the second half that they decided to up the tempo, they went and scored. So let’s take baby steps before we say ‘we’re back with a bang’.
Here’s how I rated the players out of ten last night for their performances, not their looks:
Vasilis Barkas: 5
It’s quite a unique for a man being a height of 6’5 yet having the presence of one of the Time Bandits, but fair play to our Greek goalie! It’s too early to write him off, although the initial signs aren’t exactly encouraging when his distribution is worse than Howard Marks. Hopefully us switching to a back four will help him settle into the side.
Stephen Welsh: 5
Outjumped for the opener, and poorly positioned for the second. Again, not the worst defender on the park for us, but when Jullien or Bitton are even remotely fit, he’s going to find it hard to get back in the team. I suspect a January loan deal for him elsewhere, if we do end up recruiting another centre half.
Kris Ajer: 7
His AC Milan audition went very well, despite the scoreline. Ajer made several vital interceptions and generally read the game impressively. Bonus marks too for not celebrating the blocks he made like it was a last minute winner.
Shane Duffy: 4
“Shane Duffy? Better aff wae his sister Jane Duffy!” screams your father, who doesn’t have long left now. Sorry to hear about that. Ireland’s captain was as impressive as I am athletic, which as you can imagine, is far from the case. He was culpable for all three goals on the night, and even in a back four, looked well below the standard required for a Celtic player. I can’t even end on a high here by saying ‘at least he’s up against Aberdeen on Sunday’ because at this rate, I’ll be eating my words as rapidly as my inevitable sausage supper when an on loan striker from Leeds has me vying for the days of Glenn Loovens and Jos Hooiveld.
Jeremie Frimpong: 5
What’s going on with him ? I’ve seen a better delivery off Hermes! After a bright start, he deteriorated from the game and only sprung back to life in the last ten minutes, but his final ball was constantly subpar. Looks a shadow of the player he was at the start of the season, and may be worth considering Ajer at right back in a defensive four at the weekend, with Frimpong being benched. It’s still worth remembering, he’s nineteen and our overreliance on him speaks volumes for his quality, despite the dip in form.
Diego Laxalt: 7
An energetic display, and was harshly subbed at a period in the game where we looked good for an equaliser when Milan’s concentration levels waned. He’ll be a good acquisition for us, although like Frimpong, occasionally his crossing was questionable. Dracula was better with them!
Callum McGregor: 6
So off the pace in the first half, and displayed a comically poor attempt to stop Diaz scoring the second for Milan, yet was much better after the break, although if Turnbull had been introduced, and McGregor deployed behind Ajeti, who knows how the game could have panned out. Encouraging to see glimpses of him being back to the standard we expect to see at least.
Scott Brown: 6
A similar performance to Saturday. He wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t great either. I’m not going to make a smart ‘joke’ or that, it’s not worth it. We all know he’s going to be playing a lot this season, Neil Lennon won’t read this and think ‘You know what, Stevie’s right, the Twitter managers are right, why didn’t I think of what that blog and every other one is saying earlier’. We just have to deal with that.
Olivier Ntcham: 7
Yet again, in the ‘number ten’ role when it’s clearly not his ideal position. He dictated the tempo in the second half, and he was very comfortable on the ball. Weirdly berated by social media’s try hard accounts, but the stats show that he was nowhere near as lamentable he was made out, but don’t let that get in the way of a bizarre obsession with him not being Zidane in every game. And I actually think he was a disgrace on Saturday, before I’m accused of some ‘love in’ with him. It was an improved display, more than a revolutionary one.
Leigh Griffiths: 3
Looks shockingly unfit yet somehow was on the pitch ahead of Elyounoussi and Christie, and I can only deduce that he has something incriminating on Lennon. The sooner we see ‘wee tea cake’ elsewhere, the better I’m afraid. Of course, he’ll shut the doubters up with another goal against the dross of the league and will be ‘back’ for the millionth time in his Celtic career.
Albian Ajeti: 5
There’s certainly a player there, but he was well marshalled by Milan’s rearguard, although his hold up play was encouraging. I’d be starting him against Aberdeen if Edouard is unable to make it.
SUBS: Elyounoussi, Rogic, Christie - 7. The Prophet Mohamed and Christie made a massive difference in the second half, and combined well for the goal. Christie’s corner was perfect, and Mashallah Moi’s header brilliantly executioned. Rogic did well in flashes too, although him being ‘THE ANSWER’ after a decent half hour has to stop as well. He’s a good option, yes, but even Jimmy McNulty in The Wire was capable of moments of genius intellect, only to self destruct repeatedly. One game at a time, eh ?
Taylor & Klimala : Bismillah.
Oh and podcast news on the way depending on how Sunday goes.