Several derbies ago, Celtic had to watch on as Rangers won at Parkhead for the first time since 2010.
After that game, captain Scott Brown set out a demand. He made it clear that Celtic had to find a different way of taking on the Ibrox side. This call came after the Hoops had also been dominated in the Betfred Cup final back in 2019. The performances weren’t good enough.
Speaking after that derby game that ended 2019, Brown said via the Scottish Sun: “It’s the performances against Rangers that we need to make sure we improve on. For us, we know what we need to do and what we need to improve on.
“They closed the middle of the park, as they always do when they play against us, and we couldn’t get our wingers into the game quickly enough. We need to learn now, because that’s two games in a row now where they’ve probably outplayed us.
“We’ll figure out how we’re going to play against Rangers the next time and we’ll bounce back.”
These comments from Brown were reassuring at the time.It sounded as though the players had taken the 2-1 game into account and knew how to combat Rangers in the future.
It took Celtic too long to figure this out
But we saw an even more insipid performance at Parkhead between the two sides back in October. Granted, Celtic were missing several top stars due to Covid-related set-backs. Yet even so, we knew what we had to do apparently. And yet the game-plan remained the same.
Now Lennon has finally changed it up and come up with a system that Rangers can’t cope with. The diamond formation with Ismaila Soro as the deepest point and David Turnbull as the highest looks so promising.
With Celtic also playing with a two up front at Ibrox with Turnbull heavily advanced, they sucked the life from the Ibrox side. How we lost 1-0 is anyone’s guess, but there was no denying who the better team was.
The problem is Celtic have taken far too long to figure this out. Celtic had much of the same personnel available to them back in October. Yet still we went with one up front and lacked any real legs in the engine room.
That’s what we’re now counting the cost of. Brown’s demand for a different style against Rangers has finally been met. And it looks like one that’s about to reap us future rewards in the upcoming derby games. But 10 is now at its most critical stage due to how long it’s taken the club to figure this out.
The club, therefore, cannot complain with the fact the positives are being way overshadowed by the negatives. The fact the right answer to this fixture was right under our noses in October is highly frustrating.