It’s not just the surrendering of the title yesterday that John Kennedy has to answer for as Celtic fatally slipped up at Tannadice.
We all knew at some point the league was going to be over. That’s just the way of it. Even a win yesterday and a derby success in two weeks’ time wouldn’t have rescued the title. The damage was done well before captain Scott Brown took his first step on the Dundee Utd turf.
Yesterday’s performance, for the most part, was actually decent. Indeed, it was a much livelier affair than the 1-0 win against Aberdeen just a week previous. Odsonne Edouard, Ryan Christie, Diego Laxalt, and Callum McGregor all had glaring opportunities to put us ahead.
Fair enough John, there’s nothing you can do about profligacy. It’s not as if he can run onto the pitch and bury the opportunities for his attacking players. Nope, that comes down to player responsibility, and getting the number of openings we managed yesterday yet failing to score isn’t on. 27 shots the Hoops had in the end.
However, what Kennedy does need to answer for are two things in particular. Firstly, what on earth happened in the final 30 minutes or so of yesterday’s game? Why, after taking David Turnbull off, did we suddenly start giving the ball away recklessly and turn it into an end-to-end contest?
Turnbull and Brown substitutions made Celtic a lot worse at Tannadice
Why, after Scott Brown was hooked for the final 12 minutes, did the team look as if it had no shape to it whatsoever? It was as if after Turnbull and Brown exited that there was indeed no midfield.
We had McGregor, Tom Rogic, and Christie all far too advanced as we refused to sit anyone deep in order to keep control of the midfield. Whenever Utd then managed a clearance it was far too easy for the likes of Lawrence Shankland to hold the ball up and lay it off to his attacking midfielders.
Kennedy cost Celtic with poor tactical decisions at Tannadice
Utd could easily have netted one or two in the final half-hour. Had they not been so inaccurate with their final ball, we would’ve really embarrassed ourselves. In the end, we got away with it big-time.
You can argue Kennedy was throwing caution to the wind, but was it merited? We had total control of that football match for an hour yesterday. The goal looked like coming if we remained patient. Why there was a tendency to tinker how it was going makes no sense. Especially considering it left us with no shape whatsoever. If Kennedy had a plan, the players either didn’t know about it or couldn’t understand it.
But the final 10 minutes was the most concerning of all. The vast majority of that period saw Utd hold onto the ball in our final third. They were winning throw-ins, corners, and free-kicks. Celtic, meanwhile, were showing a real lack of urgency in pressing the Tangerines.
We weren’t in their faces, we weren’t closing them down or outnumbering the player in possession. We seemed to just sit back and wait for a loose pass. This at a time when we were minutes away from officially losing the league!
It was an absolutely shocking lack of intensity at a time when we should’ve been forcing the issue.
The first hour yesterday was a fine Celtic performance just without the goal. A goal that looked more likely to arrive than not. The final half-hour? Full of changes for the sake of changes, terrible game-management, a sudden loss of shape, and a lack of urgency.
Please explain what happened there, John. The Celtic supporters deserve to know.