Ryan Christie’s comments on Celtic’s naivety were absolutely spot on last night.
Celtic were winning the tie on three separate occasions against Cluj yesterday. We started in front on the night, before Odsonne Edouard and Christie goals also put us in the ascendancy at different stages of the contest.
Yet we all know what let us down last night – individual defensive errors. The first goal comes from Callum McGregor failing to track a run, whilst Scott Brown was at fault for handling inexplicably in the box. Scott Bain would then make a howler by parrying a simple enough looking strike straight to Billel Omrani for the third too.
Christie was clearly angered with his defence after the game. He told the Evening Times that losing the first goal was “naive” due to the fact cross-balls were Cluj’s strength.
You could tell the front-man was clearly trying to hold back in his anger. But behind his mask of frustration, you can sense there is a infuriation with how his team-mates went about their business.
Ryan Christie’s comments showed real frustration
It’s not been talked about much due to the result – but we produced some fine attacking football last night. Christie, James Forrest, and Edouard didn’t deserve to be on the end of that result. They were sublime in the second half, with Christie, in particular, dragging us forward on his own at times.
The attackers led by example, and they’ve been totally let down by an inept defensive display. You couldn’t fault anyone in the final third for effort, even if young Mikey Johnston struggled to get into the game at times.
It must be extremely difficult for the attackers to bite their tongue after last night. Their chance of competing with Europe’s best is over for another year. It’s an absolute disaster for them, and yet it wasn’t their fault on the night.
Christie did well not to actually pinpoint the defence and point the finger of blame at them. He consistently referred to the errors as being made collectively. But at the end of the day, it’s not the attackers’ job to keep the ball out of the net.
Behind the scenes there may very well be some finger-pointing, but publicly, you can expect it to remain a collective disappointment.
It’ll be interesting to see how the fallout of this plays out. We need the players to compose themselves, as the big games don’t stop coming.
Celtic now have a monumental Europa League qualification tie against Sheriff or AIK. Allowing that to be a sideshow would be a criminal error. And we can’t afford too many more of those at this stage of the campaign.