John Kennedy has now had two games in charge of Celtic, and fans must be rubbing their eyes after watching them.
Not only because the performances are likely to have given you some eye-strain. But because you may have believed when the camera panned in on Kennedy that it was actually the ghost of Neil Lennon you were seeing.
Celtic and Lennon parted ways almost a fortnight ago. It was meant to symbolise the club’s desire to change. Kennedy was given the role until the end of the season. It was done on the basis that John was his own man – an experienced coach who had learned from several managers to help mold his own style.
However, what we’ve got over the last fortnight is the total opposite of that idea. Instead, we’ve been given bemusing starting line-ups, poor game-management decisions, and bemusing substitutions.
Ring any bells? These are exactly the same reasons fans started to fall out with Lennon. Whilst Kennedy will have his own thoughts and reasons for the decisions he makes, to supporters they just feel like a lack of common sense.
It started promisingly against Aberdeen last week when John went with two up-top. A breath of fresh air considering Lennon had reverted back to a one-striker system in recent times.
Patryk Klimala started against the Dons and then wasn’t given a single minute against Utd yesterday. And even more conceringly, Celtic again went back to one up top.
John Kennedy needs to show Celtic fans something different
In addition to that, Kennedy has continued Lennon’s trait of leaving some of our better players out. Once again, Scott Brown was selected over Ismaila Soro – a player who is the future of our defensive-midfield position.
His game-management decisions were also all over the place at Tannadice yesterday. David Turnbull, the player who had helped the Hoops boss large stages and was central to all of our attacks, was hooked for Tom Rogic. It looked an incredibly random substitution to make. Especially with Ryan Christie still on the pitch.
And what did John do when Celtic really had to go for it in the closing stages? He waited, waited, and waited again. Then he decided to sub on Leigh Griffiths for the final six minutes. Finally, Celtic went with two up front, but only for an extremely brief period.
James Forrest was also thrown on with 12 minutes to go in what was another desperation sub. Left on the bench come full-time were Albian Ajeti, Klimala, and Soro. All three should’ve been thrown on a lot earlier given the situation we were in.
Kennedy lost total control of the game yesterday via his own decision-making. Similar to what Lennon’s been doing before him.
It’s difficult in these early stages to pick out what it is about Kennedy that makes him different from the former manager. Sure, they come across differently in press conferences. Whoop-de-do. It’s just a shame their on-field displays have so far been a mirror image of each other so far.
You would almost think Kennedy was Lennon’s assistant or something…
Celtic fans have to see something fresh. Something against the norm. Something that Lennon wasn’t doing before Kennedy took the reins. Everything has been far too similar to how the former manager operated. Kennedy has plenty of options at his disposal. It’s time for him to start using some variety.