Celtic have pretty much self-imploded in the past season and a bit after winning 9 titles in a row. This wasn’t exactly something that was a surprise, given the ongoings at the club, however it’s definitely an interesting situation. You could see the beginning of a decline when Neil Lennon was appointed as manager.
He came in initially for the rest of the season to replace the Leicester bound Brendan Rodgers, however after a pretty toxic last 3/4 months as Hibs manager, it really should have stayed until the end of the season. Lennon had lost the dressing room at Hibs, and anyone could see that the job at Celtic for him was very short term. Come in, get a short lift of results and carry them to the end of the season, then hire someone permanent. However, Celtic wanted to either go for the cheap option, or stick by a legend. I’m not going to decide what the decision was made on, but it was a bad one. Lennon can motivate, he can coach, however tactically he’s always been naive. Celtic needed bigger, better.
They also held on to Lennon for ridiculously long despite it being evident the situation was not working and was getting more and more hostile every week. Add to that the months without a replacement, it just seems a bit of a shambles.
Ange comes in, and I’ll be honest, I like him. I think he’s a good coach and seems to have a distinct style of football and pressing high. A style that can and does work in Scotland, with the right players.
The players at Celtics disposal last night looked more like a reserve team setting up to play Civil Service Strollers rather than a European tie starting XI.
For starters, they have no idea who their #1 is. Bain? Barkas? A new keeper? No clue. Welsh at the back is a good young prospect, as is Murray, but neither should be Celtics first-choice centre back. They’re youth players that are taking the roles on. Fullbacks, Ralston and Taylor. Neither, again, should be the first choice at Celtic. Taylor is okay, but that’s about it. He doesn’t do anything brilliant, he doesn’t do anything bad, but he’s not good enough to be first choice. Ralston, he’s spent time out on loan and not exactly set the heather alight whenever he’s played elsewhere. Another one that’s decent at best. I’ll go out on a limb here and say Ange actually done well to get the result he did, with the squad he has.
Celtic are starting to look million miles away. They need almost a whole new back 4, another central midfielder, another winger and a decent striker. Edouard doesn’t seem interested in the slightest. Their fans will be hoping that the fee’s from Ajer and the eventual sale of Edouard will help fund the replacements they so desperately need.