Obviously, Celtic manager Neil Lennon was hamstrung in his team selection today for the visit of Livingston.
Missing all of our main attacking options, the Bhoys were at least able to pick a senior defence and midfield today. Soro and McGregor maintained their places, while there were starts for Frimpong and Laxalt.
Despite having so many youthful options, Lennon, from home, managed to pick a team that annoyed the Celtic supporters. Rather than picking a pacy option up front, Rogic was entrusted with leading the line. Ralston was entrusted at right back, with Frimpong playing further up.
As an experiment, it wasn’t a total disaster. However, it was an immensely disappointing afternoon from a Celtic perspective against Livingston today.
Rogic problems for Celtic v Livingston
Rogic managed 25 touches of the ball – only one of them was inside the box (WhoScored?). Instead of picking someone like Armstrong Oko-Flex or even Mikey Johnston up front, Lennon picked arguably the slowest player in the squad.
The Australian is good at many things: shooting from distance, innovative through balls, maintaining the same haircut for his entire career. His best qualities are not malleable enough to make him a striker. It was a baffling choice.
Celtic needed to press and penetrate if they were going to get anything from this game. As good as Rogic can be, he can’t do those things particularly well. For one thing, his stamina is questionable, and so the need to both run between lines and pick up the ball from deeper positions a la Edouard is probably beyond him.
Why, with Harper and Dembélé on the bench, was this clearly inadequate tactic used for the entirety of the match? Perhaps we’ll never know.
You don’t need a UEFA Coaching License to figure out why Lennon’s tactical approach didn’t work today.
What does Stephen Welsh have to do?
For whatever reason, Stephen Welsh hasn’t gained the trust of Neil Lennon.
You could argue he got it right today, with Duffy and Bitton defending comfortably for most of the match. Livi had no real clear-cut chances apart from an early Ambrose threat, and Hazard had a quiet game.
But Welsh is a more dynamic option, and he’s never disgraced himself in a Celtic shirt. Why didn’t he start this game ahead of Shane Duffy?
The Irishman completed a frankly dismal 54% of his passes, attempting Hollywood ball after Hollywood ball. His decision making in possession was baffling.
Where Welsh might have distributed to his wing-backs, the Ireland captain instead attempted needless diagonal balls and it cost Celtic possession. He had a poor game.
Look, I don’t want to consistently hammer the big Irish defender. Especially when he keeps a clean sheet. However, so many of Celtic’s moves start from the back, and we were limited by Duffy’s decision making.