Celtic 0-0 Livingston
Saturday 16th January 2021
Depleted Celtic welcomed a Livingston team on an eight game winning streak to the East End of Glasgow looking to secure our first win in 2021. The Hoops still without 13 first team regulars and the manager after the disastrous trip to Dubai that saw Jullien test positive for Covid and in turn an isolation period for anyone with close contact to the Frenchman. That has presented last ditch opportunities to fringe players and youth and it is safe to say it is harsh for these Bhoys to be put under the microscope in this manner. Take a bow Mr Lawell and your apologies are like hollow echoes in the wind at this stage and considering you had the perfect opportunity to remedy the glaring issues as far back as September last year.
There are so many factors and problems that have surfaced in a season that should have been so prestigious for Celtic Football Club and the fans alike. We have been singing the song like a religious hymn for going on five years now. Ten in a Row would have surpassed our previous Nine in Row and would have been up there on a personal level as the European Cup win in 1967. A milestone that most likely would never have been equalled or surpassed. The banner in section 111 on an August day 2019 that warned the PLC “DON’T SLEEP AT THE WHEEL” should have been a reminder of motivation to do everything within the rules to deliver on that front. Not only have the board failed but they also blatantly refused to bow to fan pressure, believing that to do so would show weakness on their side. In fact they would have had the full backing of the support for acting at a time when we could still win this league, when a blind man could see the calamity unfolding. The dressing room was not a happy place and the attitude of the senior players and the management are also to blame in abundance.
After an uninspired draw with Hibs on Wednesday it was on the shoulders of a similar team to face Livingston today with coach Gavin Strachan overseeing operations. The team undoubtedly picked by Neil Lennon saw two changes from the Hibs game with Bitton and Ralston favoured over youngsters Welsh and Harper with Rogic as lone striker. I made notes on this game literally minute by minute and to be honest none of it deserves space in this report as we watched two teams play to an average level without any real chances made. Livingston were confident and direct and pressed high to keep Celtic boxed in and calling on two banks of defence. It took a while for the Hoops to get any sort of passing together but to no avail.
I will mention that McGregor put the ball over the bar in 15 minutes, Frimpong hit straight at the keeper in 20 minutes, Livingston hit the crossbar in 80 minutes of that Young Okoflex could have won it for Celtic in 84 minutes but just couldn’t stretch that leg out a further half inch when a ball came across the front of the Livi goal line. The rest of the bits in between are not worth noting the underwhelming performance from both teams. I’m not here to slaughter this team as it is a situation out of their control. The senior players like Duffy, Rogic, Bitton and McGregor need to look at themselves. It further cements the fact that Celtic this season are a team without leadership. Soro and Turnbull are exempt in this criticism but nobody outwith wants to take control and inspire teammates around them to pull together. The play is literally static, no movement off the ball, no runners, players waiting on a pass and don’t get me started on throw ins, when you are more likely to spot Shergar bolting across the pitch than a man in green and white hoops. One shot on goal from each team. Pathetic and especially from our lads.
This is a situation that needs sorted immediately. Out with this management team. Lawell, Bankier and Lord Parkhead can also pack their bags and check out. Restructure this club from the top down, install a new management team that oversees team decisions themselves without interference and let them see what they have to work with. The league is done and the huns have it won but we need to be prepared fresh and ready for next season and that includes qualifying for Europe. We wait until the season is done then we have failed to prepare. We can have no excuses for next season after this lesson and the lame performances and the buck stops with Dermot Desmond. The club have been fortunate that the fans have been locked out or the circumstances could have been much different. The fans have backed the board with season ticket money and the men in power have shown nothing but contempt toward the faithful. This was not just a league title lost or a bit of a dip in dominance. No, this was the Ten in a Row season that would have been the biggest season ever for some generations and the fans who weren’t around for 1967. We now sit 20 points behind the huns and unless their is an improvement on the pitch, we could struggle to finish second. Not acceptable Celtic and you have sold the fans short again.