Celtic’s Tannadice collapse sums up season so far
November 23, 2009
Normally when I blog after a Celtic defeat, I try to look at the positives from the performance. I also do my best to remind people that Mowbray needs time in his new role, and that the squad he is using is still that of the former manager. However, after yesterday’s collapse at Dundee United, even I’m becoming fed up with reading and writing that.
For the first time since he took over, I’m questioning whether Mowbray is actually up to the job. Yes, there were periods of the game where we were well on top. Mogga is probably right in his post-match assessment that the ‘best team lost’, and I’m sure he has stats to back himself up. However, football matches are won with goals, not statistics. And when I think about our defence, quite frankly I despair.
Once again, two basic goals conceded because of a lack of a commanding centre half. Who was organising the defence at the two corners? Why were there two free headers from 5 yards out? Why didn’t we learn from the chance they had earlier in the half when they hit our crossbar? All of these questions need to be addressed, and very, very quickly.
As an ex centre-half himself, Mowbray must be tearing his hair out. We are quite possibly the worst defensively that I can ever remember us being, and some of the goals scored against us are so simple I wouldn’t fancy us to keep a clean sheet against my nephew’s under 10s side.
Before I begin to rant, I’m going to try and look for any positives yesterday. Well, that’s that done because as far as I’m concerned there weren’t any. (Actually, that’s a bit harsh. Hinkel played ok, as did N’Guemo and McGeady was decent first half, whilst Robson was decent second) But let’s be honest, we can’t have an entire team of passengers and expect to win silverware. it just isn’t going to happen. However, the biggest problems at the moment are certainly at the back.
It’s clear to me that Gary Caldwell’s contract demands have got to him, and they are affecting his performance. Unusually, I’m with the board on this one. Gary Caldwell does not deserve a new contract. I’m certain we can find a better defender than him for the kind of money he’s after. He’s been shocking for both Celtic and Scotland this season, and I’d suggest we get him out in January. Then we have McManus, who is also a liability in my opinion, and I’m yet to be convinced by Loovens. Even Darren O’Dea looks a better bet than any of these three, so it’s clear to see we need at least two central defenders in January.
That being said, if we carry on leaking goals the way we are, the title will be out our grasp by January, so we need to do something now. The first thing is work on playing a man-to-man marking system, the next is to switch away from 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3, playing an anchorman in the centre to offer the defence more cover, and allowing McGeady to get further forward. The third is to dropkick Marc-Antoine Fortune as far out of Celtic Park as possible.
His attitude absolutely stank yesterday. It was summed up by McGeady’s run and inch perfect through ball, to which Fortune lost and then blamed Aiden for his pass! He just doesn’t look interested to me, and whilst poor form can be excused, lack of effort cannot.
Mowbray needs to make urgent changes for the game on Saturday, and his players need to start taking responsibility. With a few more results like the Dundee United one before Christmas, Mowbray may find himself looking for a new job come the new year.
For his, and the club’s sake, I genuinely hope it doesn’t come to that. Particularly as John Barnes is out of work…