Updated: Mar 3
Ross County 1 (White 71)
Again the line up was changed from the win against Aberdeen. Rogic and Brown coming in for Ajeti and Soro. (Rogic and Brown came on for Ajeti and Soro against Aberdeen so we must have been wonderful in that 2nd half). Oh wait it wasn't. We had only 52% possession in the 2nd half versus Aberdeen.
- Kenny, Welsh, Ajer and Taylor
- Rogic, Turnbull and McGregor
- Christie and Edouard
Griffiths, Laxalt and Elyounoussi all came on as subs.
In the 8 games after the Dubai 2 games (v Hibs & Livingston) our lowest touches (692), our lowest total passes (499), our lowest passing accuracy (77%), the lowest final 3rd play (24%) and our lowest passes in the final 3rd (170) all came in our match versus St Johnstone. We had only 2 shots at goal in the whole 2nd half versus St Johnstone. The significant thing about that St Johnstone game was that we played Christie up front. This is not a dig at Christie it would be the same criticism if Turnbull was played up front.
The St Johnstone game was the first time Ryan Christie was played up front since the previous St Johnstone game at Celtic Park on 6th December. A 1-1 draw that ended up with fans outside the ground chasing the team bus. Was there no lesson learned?
So after a winning run of 5 games but showing signs, at times, of struggling to score we pick a team against Ross County with a midfielder up front again despite numerous signs this hasn't worked.
However it wasn't just playing Christie as a forward that was our issue in this game. John Hughes's tactics identified Ajer progressing with the ball as a risk and aimed to nullify this. Ajer had only 71 touches in this game versus an average of 85 for the previous 7 games (103 verus Kilmarnock). Compare this to Welsh who had an unbelievable 120 touches. 71 v 120 and that imbalance came from Hughes's tactics and Lennon done nothing during the game to change it. Welsh had 69% more touches than Ajer.
My man of the match for Celtic was McGregor. He had the most possession of the game (11.5%), the most touches (125) and the most accurate passes (101). His pass accuracy was 90% and he had 13 recoveries. I don't have the wyscout stats but I'd assume his progressive runs and progressive passes would have increased on recent games as he seemed to look like he had more urgency and creation about him.
Will Celtic spend big money on a new Manager/Head Coach? Maybes aye, maybes naw, however every supporter (whether qualified or unqualified) could tell you playing a midfielder up front was a mistake.