An honest assessment…
March 1, 2010
Apologies for my break in blogging. I spent much of that time researching for my commentary of the Suwon Bluewings v Gamba Osaka, but more on that later. I’ve been especially quiet on the topic of Celtic, simply because I’m sick of repeating myself, but after yesterday’s Old Firm I guess it is only right for me to address them again, so here goes.
What a mess we’re in. The club has me tearing my hair out in despair right now, and our lack of quality and leadership is evident for all to see. But before I get into that, I have to talk about the fans actions in the minute silence for Gerry Neef, the ex-Rangers keeper who died last week.
Regular readers will know how I felt about the actions of the mindless few at Falkirk on Remembrance Sunday and I feel exactly the same this time. By disrupting the silence, these “supporters” shamed themselves and our club. My father-in-law believes we should go to a minute’s applause for all these periods of respect, to ensure the idiots can be drowned out. Whilst I totally understand his perspective, I still think this can be massively inappropriate. Instead, I’d suggest those who booed are pointed out by our own supporters and ejected from the ground. Now this may infringe the ‘right of protest’ in the country, but when inside a football ground you have to abide by its rules. If you don’t like it, stay at home and don’t embarrass your club.
And on to the game itself. Like many other Celtic fans, I felt greatly aggrieved by Scott Brown’s red card. Indeed, Kyle Lafferty has ‘form’ for play-acting, and I’d like to think the SPL will look at this, but once again it seems the major decisions have gone against us. Quite how Bougherra managed to get through 90 minutes I’ll never know, and yesterday I felt quite bitter towards referee Dougie McDonald. However, that truly is deflecting blame, and instead, we should be looking at the players and the management team.
In a match we HAD to win, we didn’t even win a single corner. We had 4 attempts on goal, only two were on target, compared to the 14 efforts on goal Rangers mustered. Quite simply, (and I say this through gritted teeth) Rangers were far superior to us on the day. As a result, the championship has certainly passed us by for another year.
We are bereft of quality in the midfield, with no creative spark, nobody with the desire to dominate the opposition, and utterly shambolic at the back. The amount of times a simple through ball destroyed our defence is no joke at all, and reminded me of the earlier game at Ibrox. So what does this show us? It shows us that despite giving Mowbray the time I and many others called for, he’s not up to scratch.
As an ex-central defender, he should have us organised at the back, yet all season long, the defence has been our achilles heel. His vision of expansive, attacking football can only be played with a water-tight defence, yet Mowbray seems to be incapable of this. I have toyed with the idea of allowing him another season to get it right, but now I want him gone as soon as possible. He seems to make some utterly bewildering decisions, too.
Looking at our side, and our form going into Ibrox, Ray Charles could have told you to leave McGeady out. His form is abysmal, and a period on the bench is just what he needs. Then there are our options up front. In a match we had to win, we needed to go with our best goalscoring line up. That does not include Fortune. Morten Rasmussen has proved already he is capable of scoring goals, yet he’s been brought in to keep the bench warm. Why? A front two of Keane and Rasmussen was the best opportunity we had of nicking a goal in a game where chances were at a premium, and if Rasmussen had the opportunity Fortune had, I’d have backed him to at least work the goalkeeper.
However, we’d have had an even better chance if we had changed our system to 4-3-3. If we had played narrower in the centre of the park with three central midfielders, it would have allowed us to really get on top of Rangers. This would not only help our young central defenders, it would also enable us to use the pace of Keane and Kamara down the channels, with Rasmussen playing in the 6-yard box. And if I can see this, why can’t Mowbray?
This next paragraph may be deeply unpopular with a section of our support, but say it I shall. Can you honestly tell me that you think Gordon Strachan’s Celtic side would have been effectively 13 points adrift by the first of March? Anybody who answers ‘yes’ is either a liar, a fool, or a Rangers fan.
Quite simply, to be 13 points behind Rangers to a team including Gascoigne, Laudrup et-al is horrendous, but understandable. To be 13 points behind THIS Rangers team is just downright incompetent, and Mowbray should pay with his job.
I’m all for backing a manager, but that manager has to be up to the job. Mowbray has given a clear indication that he is not. Pack your bags ‘Mogga’. The time has come to stand aside.