Ineffective Turnbull, fresh issues; 3 things learned from Livingston 1-0 Celtic

By David Walton

September 19, 2021

Another trip to Livingston and another defeat for Celtic after we came undone in a 1-0 loss this afternoon.

The result in West Lothian wasn’t in the script as the Hoops suffered another away-day defeat that undoubtedly leaves supporters majorly disappointed.

Celtic dominated the opening stages without managing to find the breakthrough. However, after Andrew Shinnie opened the scoring for the hosts, the Bhoys never looked likely to get back into the game.

Here, we take a look at three things we learned from another poor 90 minutes at the Tony Macaroni Arena:

There is no perfect centre-back partnership for now

I’ll hold my hands up. I’ve been calling for Stephen Welsh to return to the Celtic first-team consistently over the last few days.

Carl Starfelt has made some worrying errors and looked as if he needed to be taken out of the spotlight. However, Welsh returned today and made a bad, bad error for Livingston’s opening goal.

Celtic can take a big step under Ange tomorrow

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Celtic can take a big step under Ange tomorrow
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To put it bluntly, the Scotland U21 international was simply too weak for the opening goal as Andrew Shinnie got the better of him too easily. It simply added to our defensive woes in what was another worrying performance from the backline.

Of course, Cameron Carter-Vickers put in another fine display as he continues to impress since arriving on-loan from Spurs. But as we continue to build up these partnerships between all three men, for now it doesn’t look as if we have one specific pair to rely on.

The truth is that the stats don’t lie. Four conceded in Betis. Two at Tynecastle. Another two in Jablonec and Alkmaar. Things aren’t getting any better in the early stages of the campaign with regards to the backline.

Hopefully it’s simply going to take time. For now, however, Postecoglou simply can’t trust any partnership not to make errors.

Celtic have an away-day problem and it’s time to acknowledge it

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Celtic at Celtic Park are an absolute monster it seems. 18 goals have been rammed home as Dundee, St Mirren, Ross County, and Hearts have all been swiftly put to the sword.

But away from home it’s been a different story. We’ve now lost at Hearts, Rangers, and Livingston domestically. Same goes for European trips to Midtjylland, Alkmaar, and Betis respectively.

The performances have undoubtedly improved on our travels of course. Many were left satisfied with the display in Betis for example. But you can’t deny that the Hoops have a knack of finding ways not to win away from Parkhead.

Even today, Celtic dominated the opening half-hour or so. We were in total control and an opener looked inevitable. Yet we lose the opener and all of a sudden the tempo drops and the menace we had in the final third evaporated for long spells.

Ange Postecoglou has lost six of his seven away matches. That’s becoming a concern, and whilst we have plenty of issues with regards to squad depth, this is still a game we should’ve been taking 3 points in.

Livingston came into today bottom of the league and without a win this season. This result can’t just be brushed off as a lesson.

David Turnbull needs to start living up to his Celtic responsibility

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Today was the kind of match in which Celtic needed the likes of David Turnbull to turn on the style and provide us with a breakthrough.

Instead, you could say the Scotland international was totally anonymous. Despite receiving the ball on plenty of occasions in dangerous positions, there was a hesitancy about his decision-making.

We’ve seen this too often from Turnbull under Postecoglou. He has an upgraded level of responsibility this season than he did last year. He’s supposed to be our biggest attacking threat from the midfield. Yes he may have five goals this season, but three came at home to St Mirren whilst another two against Jablonec at Parkhead.

When we talk about away-day blues, Turnbull is a massive part of that. His performances deteriorate and he isn’t the influential figure we often see at Celtic Park.

Postecoglou needs to start getting some consistency out of him. Many more performances like we saw today and an upgrade will be necessary.

In other news, Ange Postecoglou explains Bolingoli inclusion, Starfelt absence; discusses Celtic squad depth