Brutal statements and bemusing line-ups; 3 things Celtic need to give up for Lent

By Euan Davidson

February 17, 2021

Lent is upon us, Celtic supporters.

Whether it’s chocolate, smoking, swearing or a myriad of other habits, people from all walks of life are giving up something for 40 days and nights. For the record, I’m giving up pasta. I’m writing it here, on a public forum, to keep it as a record for posterity.

In modern times, some choose Lent as an opportunity to take up a positive habit; jogging, charity work, or what have you. It’s a meaningful and useful thing, but in the context of Celtic, some self-reflection is needed.

As a club, you see, Celtic have developed some bad habits over the last year that are well worth giving up. Let’s pick 3 things that our beloved Bhoys could cut loose for this solemn, contemplative time of the year.

“And then I wrote nothing for 500 words!” / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Club statements that don’t go anywhere

From a communication standpoint, it’s fair to say Celtic haven’t particularly impressed so far this year.

We were promised a mid-season, New Year, indeterminate time-scale review. Instead, we got a lot of waffle out of our chairman. When protests emerged outside Celtic Park, we got a vague message of “togetherness”. Even after Dubai, Peter Lawwell’s tepid, blame-shifting apology was met with disappointment, and quite rightly too.

In fact, the most actual, concrete information we got out of the club was the announcement of Peter Lawwell’s retirement. There was actually some meat in there. We knew, in no uncertain terms, what was happening, and there was no conjecture.

It made for a refreshing change of pace. Instead of the deflection and death by legal-speak, we got something to sink our teeth into. The fact that it was unusual is something in itself.

So, Celtic Football Club, please give up the padding and just communicate with fans in a direct, unequivocal manner. We need answers about our manager’s future, and accountability when things go wrong.

Celtic defender Shane Duffy / (Photo by Rob Casey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

The set-piece comedy routines

Please, Celtic, I’m begging you:

Teach the first-team how to defend corners and free kicks. Time and time again, Celtic have resembled a jigsaw: they’ve gone to pieces in the box.

It can’t be beyond the capabilities of the coaches at the club to work on set piece drills. During the dismal 2-2 draw with Livingston, Sky Sports reported an alarming stat: 53% of our goals conceded came from defending set pieces.

That means that over half of the goals we’ve conceded have been entirely avoidable. Imagine how the title race might look if we’d managed to simply mark players and have defenders on each post. It’s not like they’re direct free kicks, we’re talking corners and indirect set pieces from miles out.

I realise I sound like a broken record, but every time the Bhoys concede a foul, it’s a worry. And it’s been a problem for years; Ronny Deila and Brendan Rodgers were affected by this deficiency too.

So, c’mon. Sort it out. It’s the season for it, after all.

Scott Bain’s lucky number comes up / (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Constant line-up changes

It’s February. Does Neil Lennon know what his Best XI is? I’m unsure.

This is more pertinent to the start of the season, granted. However, it’d be inaccurate to suggest that team-sheet announcements aren’t a massive source of anxiety, even now.

The goalkeeper carousel has got to stop. Neil Lennon has to pick a number 1 (that isn’t Scott Bain) and stick with him. For much of this season it’s felt like Rod Stewart is performing the draw to pick a goalie.

Yes, injuries and Covid have played their part. There’s no getting around that. But part of Celtic’s problem this season has been remarkable inconsistency. Chopping and changing the team ad nauseam can’t be helping, and Lenny surely has to know that.

Consistency is all we ask.

While we’re here: if anyone from the club is reading this, please order the team by position and not number. It’s annoying and there’s literally no need to do it that way.

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