Ross County v Celtic (Sat Sep 12th 2020)
Ross County 0
Celtic 5 (Edouard 4 PEN, Ajeti 20, Duffy 59, Ajer 64 and Klimala 75)
Celtic's took the lead early in 4mins and lead the game for the remaining 86mins. The first was achieved by Edouard winning a penalty then converting that penalty himself.
The second was from a McGregor free kick and Ajeti converted from the second ball.
The third was a corner from McGregor to Duffy to score with a header on his debut. Ntcham then assisted Ajer and Elyounoussi assisted Klimala for the 4th and 5th.
Duffy received a Man of the Match rating due to 86 touches, 2 shots at goal, 1 goal, 1 key pass, 5 out of 5 aerials won, 2 tacktles out of 2 won, 8 clearances made and 90% pass accuracy from 61 passes.
Celtic had an NP xG of 2.84 while Ross County's was 0.99 which was the highest of any opponent we had faced in the league so far. Celtic had 18 shots with 10 being on target. Possession was 58% (our lowest of the season so far), Passing accuracy was 87%. Celtic had 7 corners and touches in the box were 34. Total Passes were 545. We had 160 passes into the final third and overall possession in the final third was 28% (these were the lowest for us this season). Being criticised for his team selection the last game (no changes from the previous game and no forwards again) Neil Lennon had Edouard back to keep the fans happy with a striker playing. Duffy was also available to make his debut after signing on loan from Brighton.
Neil Lennon didn't just select new signing Duffy and Edouard back in from injury he also changed the shape of the team to a 3-5-2. Was this his preferred formation and he just couldn't line up with it until he had 2 forwards fit?
I would assume so and I don't think it was down to wanting to pick 3 centre halfs due to the arrival of Duffy as he'd dropped Ajer a couple of times already this season.
So 2 players had to drop out to accommodate the extra centre back and extra striker. Those 2 players would be the wide forwards from our 4231. Elyounoussi was dropped (which does beg the question of why we signed him if planning to play a 352). Also dropped was Taylor to accommodate Forrest. Forrest was played as a left wing back. Christie had been moved up front the last couple of games after having 2 man of the match performances beforehand ... but now he was dropped and couldn't get a game back in midfield.
So out from the last game were, Taylor, Elyounoussi and Christie with Duffy, Ajeti and Edouard coming in.
This was Ajeti's first start as a Celtic player. Celtic lined up with; - Barkas - Duffy, Jullien and Ajer
- Frimpong, Ntcham, Brown, McGregor and Forrest - Ajeti and Edouard
Elyounoussi and Christie were brought on as subs keeping up their appearances in every game. Klimala was brought on keeping up his appearance in every league game. Turnbull and Soro were brought on for their first taste of action this season.
Klimala came on for his 5th sub appearance in 6 (only missing the Ferencvaros game - the game we didn't play a forward in the starting 11). Some interesting notes from this game;
- Christie dropped after being Player of the Month for August and after playing out of position for the last couple of games
- Duffy made his debut and Ajeti made his first start. It was also the first action of the season for Turnbull and Soro.
- It was the the first time we had played 3-5-2 this season which we can only assume is down to the fact it was the first time we had 2 fit forwards (with the exception of ever present Klimala who hadn't had a start yet).
- A 5-0 win and an NP xG of 2.84 might seem a great success story, however ......
- Ross County's NP xG of 0.99 was the highest of any opponent so far this season
- Our possession of 58%, we had 160 passes into the final third and 28% of possession was in the final third which were all the lowest of our season so far.
- Did Neil Lennon feel the pressure of playing Duffy and Ajeti too early?