Mikael Lustig’s Aberdeen performance yesterday was one of the highlights of the day.
Celtic deservedly secured their seventh consecutive trophy as they beat the Dons 1-0 at Hampden Park – lifting the Betfred Cup for the third year in-a-row. Ryan Christie got the only goal of the game against his former club, and in the end it was always in cruise control for Brendan Rodgers’ men.
One of the other highlights of the day, however, was Lustig’s performance. He’ll maybe be known more for having a go at Lewis Ferguson and Derek McInnes. Outside of that, however, his performance was terrific.
He bombed down the right as if it was 2012 and constantly went up to support James Forrest. Some of his poor decision-making was still evident, but it was rare.
Added to that, he kept Gary Mackay-Steven quiet throughout the first half. Not once did Lustig allow anyone to breeze past him, as he stood up to the task well.
The victory over the Dons was Lustig’s 255th appearance for Celtic. Despite being at the club for nearly seven years, many feel he’s overstayed his welcome.
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In truth, he probably has done. His performances over the course of the last couple of years have been dreadful in the main. Too easily caught out defensively and too slow going forward and tracking back, it’s fair to say his best days are behind him.
The manager is still a big fan
Brendan Rodgers likes him, however. He’s the club’s first-choice right-back with a lack of options available for a replacement.
It’s essential Celtic get some work done in January in that area. Only Cristian Gamboa and Anthony Ralston are available in reserve, and the pair have just 40 Hoops appearances between them.
Putting an accurate figure on how many goals Lustig has been responsible for is impossible. Despite that, however, he’s consistently caught out of position and lacks the pace to catch modern-day wingers and full-backs.
What he has done yesterday, however, is put himself back into some fans’ good books. Whether it’s enough to earn that new contract remains to be seen. It looks as though,however, that he has just saved his Celtic career.
What must be certain is that any new contract signed is only as a back-up. Continuing to stick by him as number one down the right because of one performance would be madness.
Lustig rolled back the years in impressive fashion yesterday. It’s important to remember, however, that he simply can’t do it consistently.