Familiar problem, fringe man answers call; 3 things we learned from Celtic win vs Alloa

By John McGinley

January 22, 2022

Celtic are through to the fifth round of the Scottish Cup after a 2-1 victory away to Alloa Athletic.

It wasn’t a pretty night at Recreation Park. Wild challenges and a bad pitch had to be navigated by Celtic, who were probably lucky to only come out of the match with three knocks.

Still, it’s job done and the Bhoys can look ahead to stiffer challenges on the horizon, starting with a massive fixture at Tynecastle on Wednesday night. With a rotated team, new and returning players, what did we learn from tonight’s encounter?

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Those missed chances

Look, I’m grateful for the win tonight. I’d never moan too much about that. However, we really need to start killing games off.

Celtic were cruising after 78 minutes tonight, two goals up. Yet Alloa managed to find their way back in the game by pulling one back. It made things far nervier and more ragged than they needed to be.

This came after a catalogue of missed chances that should have been buried by both Giorgos Giakoumakis and Daizen Maeda. You can’t say we didn’t create this evening.

It’s a familiar problem that Celtic badly need to fix or we will drop plenty of more points against tougher opposition in the remainder of the season. This never seems to change regardless of who is playing.

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Abada does it again

Liel Abada’s strike of genius from outside the box was the true highlight from tonight’s match. The Israeli international’s scorcher from distance was his 11th goal of the season. Those have been complemented by eight assists.

Incredibly, Abada has now scored in every competition that Celtic have played this season. From the Champions League qualifiers through to tonight, that equals five.

He’s shown up time and again for the Bhoys this season despite his young age. Sure, there are concerns about his consistency, but that will come with experience. I’ve been delighted with his signing and there’s more to come.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

Fringe men answer the call

Celtic need competent back-up players. We know that from all the injuries we are picking up this season. Some of the players in this squad won’t feature every week but when they do they must perform.

Pleasing then that the most telling connection came between Liam Scales and Giorgos Giakoumakis in the first half. The Irishman’s raker of a cross was expertly put away by the Greek.

With Greg Taylor needing pushed and Giakoumakis likely to be our attacking focal pointing the coming weeks, it was definitely one of the big highlights of an ugly night in Alloa.

In other news, Owen Moffat scores stunner as another hits hat-trick in 6-goal Celtic B win.