Michael Stewart has criticised John Kennedy’s Celtic approach in yesterday’s derby against Rangers, feeling he reacted poorly to the red card issued to Callum McGregor.
McGregor was sent off midway through the first half in the build-up to Rangers’ opening goal.
Celtic initially responded well with an Odsonne Edouard effort, but as time in the match went on the home side exposed Celtic regularly. The Bhoys had no clear plan to deal with them.
It’s always difficult going down to ten men against a competitive side, but Stewart reckons Kennedy could have done more to combat Steven Gerrard’s outfit.
He feels Celtic got the shape all wrong and allowed Rangers to play to their strengths, with their sitting midfielder spraying the ball out to the wide areas.
Speaking on BBC Sportscene last night, he said: “Steven Davis had far too much time on the ball. He’s got too much quality to give him that space.
“What they should have done, in my opinion, is close down the full-back areas with your wide players, go 4-4-1 with Edouard as your striker and get Edouard to sit on Steven Davis.
“When you break and you win the possession, which is the key thing against Rangers when you transition, you’ve got two wide players that go and attack those areas in between Simpson and Barasic on one side, and on the other side Goldson and Tavernier.
“I just looked at it and I wasn’t sure what the tactics were. Even John Kennedy after the game saying they were giving up the wide areas – I found that baffling. As you said, that’s where Rangers are strong.”
It was almost as if the Celtic coaching staff didn’t understand that Rangers are at their best when players like Davis and Tavernier have space ahead of them to exploit.
That should be no surprise. That’s been obvious all season even to a casual observer.
Whether Kennedy’s instructions weren’t getting through to the players, or he simply got it wrong, we’ll never know. Back when Neil Lennon was in charge, he hinted in some interviews that the dressing room wasn’t taking on directions.
Either way, it’s not good enough. Celtic need a tactically astute manager in the door as quickly as possible in order to improve the discipline and approach of this group.