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James Forrest return provides width & crosses

Updated: Apr 5, 2021

Celtic v Falkirk (Review)

Celtic 3 (Forrest 56, Christie 58 and Elyounoussi 79)

Falkirk 0

John Kennedy had a few changes for this game with Rogic coming in for McGregor, Griffiths coming in for Edouard and Forrest coming in for Elyounoussi. This therefore was our 41st different line up of the season in 47 games.

The formation looked to change quite a lot during the game but I'd say the most constant was;

- Bain

- Kenny, Welsh, Ajer and Laxalt

- Brown

- Christie, Rogic and Turnbull

- Griffiths and Forrest

- Ajeti, Soro and Elyounoussi came on as subs

A 442 diamond with Turnbull on the left No.8 for the first time however it was very fluid with Turnbull moving into the No.10 position at times and Rogic moving to the right No.8 and Christie moving to either left No.8 or even wide right at times. Forrest moved across the front line and had crosses into the box from wide right and wide left but was main the left forward.

When Soro and Elyounoussi came on we moved to a 4231 with Christie wide right and Elyounoussi wide left.

I'm sure Celtic would have been keen to rack up a 5+ goal victory to give the team a bit of needed confidence and to give the forwards some goals under their belt. The fact we couldn't do it against a League 1 side shows that there are definitely deficiencies in this team more than the pressure of 10 in a row and the lack of coaching from Neil Lennon.

In the end the performance was ok with 41 shots at goal which is a 130% increase on our average this season and a 52% on our highest of 27 (versus Dundee Utd). However only 9 were on target which is less than we had against Dundee Utd (12). This year we have had 37% of our shots on target but in this game that was only 22%. Even with those 9 on target most of them were easy saves for the keeper and straight at him. We did obviously score 3 goals though with them. Against Dundee Utd 16 of our 27 shots were in the box (59%) and against Falkirk this rose to 66% with 27 of our shots coming from inside the box.

There was a lot of blocked shots but given the fact 27 of our shots were in the box only getting 9 on target was not a good performance stat from this game.

Our best spell coming from 45mins to 60mins where we had 5 shots on target.

One good stat was that we had a 231% increase on our average crosses from within 18 yards of the by-line with us having 21 in this game. It's good to see this tactic used against low block teams and is something I've been crying out for all season. Forrest making a big difference in the team with 5 of them. Griffiths had 3 and Christie had 3. One of Griffiths that didn't count was to Forrest for a tap in but it was incorrectly called as offside.

Despite Griffiths being unlucky with the above offside and being denied a stonewall penalty by Beaton he was for me our worst player. 1 shot on target from Griffiths given we had 41 shots as a team and given we were playing against a League 1 team is not going to get him back into the starting 11.

Our best player (and a welcome return to him) was Forrest with 9 shots, 2 on target, 8 of them in the box, 5 key passes and 5 crosses from within 18 yards as mentioned above. Providing width even from playing in a front two position.

Not to mention the opening goal that got us on our way. He has been badly missed this season.

Turnbull also had a decent game with 8 shots and 4 key passes and Kenny also had 4 key passes and he had 4 crosses from within 18 yards of the by-line as well.

We had 12 corners (previous best this season was 11 and average is 6.3) and we had 80% possession which is 2nd only to our opening game of the season versus Hamilton where we had 81% possession. (Average this year has been 66%).

Our xG on the game was reported by as 3.45 with Falkirk on 0.05 (although that is a strange on given they are recorded as having 0 shots at goal).

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