Neil Lennon believes shocking Celtic performance eclipsed 5-0 display vs Ross County

By David Walton

February 22, 2021

Neil Lennon believes that last night’s shocking Celtic performance was better than September’s 5-0 win in Dingwall.

The Hoops slumped to one of our most embarrassing defeats of the season just hours ago. County, bottom of the Premiership before last night’s game, easily kept Lennon’s side out despite barely enjoying any of the possession in a 1-0 reversal.

Celtic managed to hold 73% of the possession and fired in as many as 20 efforts on Ross Laidlaw’s goal. However, only four of them ended up on target – a tally County were able to match [BBC].

It was a stark contrast to September’s 5-0 mauling of the Highland-based outfit. On that day, the Hoops managed five different goalscorers and 10 efforts on target. Albeit they didn’t dominate the ball as much several months ago [BBC].

Yet Lennon still believes last night’s defeat eclipsed the performance back in September in an outrageous analysis of the two games. Speaking to Sky Sports last night, Lennon said the following:

"Carl Starfelt to Celtic is a big possibility" | Swedish journalist Anel Avdić

“It encapsulates our season really. We dominated the game and missed some unbelievable chances and then we can’t defend a set-play for whatever reason. After that we then miss a couple of great chances.

“It’s a head-scratcher tonight for sure. We were totally dominant. We came up here, as I said to you before the game, and we won 5-0. But we didn’t play anywhere near as well as we did tonight. And we got nothing for it so it’s a difficult one to stomach at the minute.”

Neil Lennon incorrect regarding Celtic performance; nothing dominant about last night

The only aspect of the game last night that was more favourable than September was the possession stats. However, that means absolutely nothing and certainly doesn’t mean that we were in control of the game.

Celtic fans should never stand for being happy to accept us simply controlling possession at a place such as Ross County. John Hughes made it perfectly clear that the Staggies were going to sit back and allow that to happen.

In this same fixture at the start of the season, Celtic cut County open in a variety of ways. Whether it was close link-up play around the penalty area, crosses into the box, or just direct running from the attacking midfielders – we looked a proper football team.

Albian Ajeti celebrates putting Celtic 2-0 up against Ross County in September (Photo by Paul Campbell/Getty Images)

Sure, County may have created more chances in the 5-0 game. Vasilis Barkas arguably had his best Celtic performance in that one. But the truth is that Celtic were much more incisive and made for much better viewing from a Celtic supporter’s perspective.

It became clear very early on last night that there was no plan B. No real alternative strategy to breaking County down. If the ball to Odsonne Edouard’s feet wasn’t working, we were struggling. Yes we had 20 shots on the night, but many of them were from distance and woefully off-target.

To say last night’s display was better than a 5-0 hammering of the same team just months ago, you’re simply kidding yourself on. There was nothing enjoyable about yesterday’s performance. But Lennon probably knows that.

In other news, Celtic fans have been rallying round Greg Taylor after a mysterious incident last night.