St Johnstone 1 (Rooney 50)
Celtic 2 (Edouard 60, 62)
Rogic failed to stop a cross coming in, McGregor gets in Taylor's way and Taylor is outjumped for St Johnstone to take the lead. Rogic not defensively sound as a No.8, McGregor not great defensively and Taylor (while playing at his best) not having the ability to be a towering Celtic left back are all topics not new to us.
Christie then had an assist which was as good an assist we've produced for a while and then Taylor managed another assist. Just as well Edouard finished both chances as that was our only 2 shots at goal in the 2nd half.
We lined up with;
- Kenny, Duffy, Ajer and Taylor
- Rogic, Turnbull and McGregor
- Christie and Edouard
Our 36th different line up of the season.
Griffiths and Elyounoussi came on as subs. Griffiths was 4th choice forward during the week with Klimala coming on before him and now Ajeti goes from 2nd choice forward to 3rd choice. Why did Ajeti not come on as a sub? It is baffling. We should have not bothered appealing his ban.
Playing a formation with 2 forwards but not playing 2 forwards is very frustrating to witness as a supporter. Especially when we predict it won't work and it doesn't. Some may say Christie's involvement in both goals and Edouard scoring both goals is testament to the partnership working. I disagree. The stats below are my reason for disagreeing.
We had only 10 shots at goal the whole match. Only 3 times this season have the shots been lower than 10 (the 2 post Dubai games and Rangers at home). 24% of the game being played in the final 3rd is joint 2nd lowest with that Rangers home game. The lowest being the post Dubai Livingston game with 22%. 23 touches in the box was our lowest since September if you exclude the Rangers 2nd January game and 2 post Dubai games. There was only 13 passes in the final 3rd in the first 15 minutes of the match. A stat that suggests the team were struggling to get to grips with the structure. Christie's touch map below (for his 76mins as a forward) indicates how he was coming deep for the ball and out of position as a forward. This is understandable (to a degree) due to the fact he's a midfielder but it didn't help the structure of the team.
Christie's average position in the match was actually further back than Turnbull's.
Not only did the Christie up front tactic not pay off in our forward play it also disrupted our rhythm with Turnbull, Rogic and Christie all happy to play in the same areas and this along with Edouard liking to drop deeper it wasn't good for team structure and fluidity.
I've not watched the game back again for detailed analysis and don't think I will as it was that turgid. If you see any flaws in my initial thoughts then please let me know.
We only had 692 touches in total today and there are only 5 games worse than this all season. (The 2 Rangers games, the 2 post Dubai games and Aberdeen away). Our passing accuracy was 77% which was 3rd lowest of the season (after post Dubai Livingston game and Rangers home game). Our passing accuracy in the final 15 minutes was an astonishing 52%.
Some positives in the game I can take away are in regards to width. I've been screaming out for width and hitting the by-line all season. We simply don't do enough of it. Christie's cross came from near the by-line and surprise surprise we have opposition defenders turned and score a goal out of it. We also had Taylor's cross from within 18 yards of the by-line and we had 9 corners. 9 might not seem a lot but it is our 3rd best since October and the most we have had this season is 11.
However symbolic of our season was that despite Turnbull proving to be an outstanding and consistent corner kick taker and Christie being the joke of the fans with his crossing (and shooting) Christie took 1 of our corners. Just as Christie went to take the corner and fans were raging at the thought Christie produces possibly the worst corner you could ever see.
Like the Motherwell game we manage to hold on to the win which is an improvement but I was looking for the team to get better ahead of more challenging games against Aberdeen and Rangers. Our performance went considerably backwards even if you give St Johnstone the credit they deserve.
Player Impact Graph below with accurate passes and touches plotted. Duffy had the most accurate passes (61) with Ajer having the most touches (87). Taylor's poor passing accuracy of 53% is highlighted by him being high up in the rankings for touches but low for accurate passes.
Stop - playing 2 up front with 1 forward
Start - playing the players who are here for the long term (Soro & Ajeti)
Continue - improving on getting width into our game with more corners and more crosses from the by-line.