St Mirren star rubs salt in wounds; Celtic decline summed up

By David Walton

February 2, 2021

Celtic’s decline this season has been well debated amongst the support.

Not just compared to last season either. Nope, last year’s runaway title-winners were good, but they still weren’t as quality-packed as Brendan Rodgers’team from 2016-2018 in particular.

Much has been made of how this team compares to the invincible. The difference is depressing to say the least. However, Rodgers’ title winners of 2018 would also be running all over this ridiculous set-up of Neil Lennon’s.

Just ask St Mirren goalkeeper Jak Alnwick. The former Rangers stopper who was in nets for a 5-0 derby drubbing off Rodgers’ side in 2018. It was a glorious day in which Celtic secured seven-in-a-row. And even though Alnwick actually had a decent game, Celtic still could easily have netted 10 on another day.

He’s been comparing both that experience to Saturday’s 2-1 win at Parkhead against Lennon’s Celtic. It’s fair to say they both differed. As quoted by the Herald, the Buddies man said: “It was a much busier day back then. We got beat by five and it could have been 10. It was relentless that day.

“But it wasn’t like that on Saturday. When you go to play the Old Firm clubs you expect to be busy, but that wasn’t the case. I am happier when I’ve got nothing to do! It was a total contrast to coming here with Rangers that day. It was a huge disappointment back then. Personally, I might have had a decent game, but it’s never nice losing five to your big rivals and it was a sore one.

“So there was a bit of me that thought it was nice to walk off with a win this time with St Mirren. It’s two different teams, but I was delighted with the result.”

St Mirren man Alnwick hardly broke a sweat at Parkhead

Celtic managed 19 shots at the weekend. Only four of them were on target. Odsonne Edouard managed our only goal of the game with a fine low strike. However, outside of that, you’ll do well to remember Alnwick springing into action.

A decent low stop from David Turnbull was his only other notable moment in the game. He was forced into absolutely nothing else. And that couldn’t have been any further from the truth during that 5-0 rout of Rangers back in 2018 that he played in.

On that day, the Hoops managed 13 shots on target [BBC]. As five of them flew into the net, Alnwick had a host of moments where he had to save his side from further humiliation. He produced some fine stops to deny Tom Rogic, Callum McGregor, and Olivier Ntcham just to name a few. The goals that day came from Edouard, James Forrest, Rogic, and McGregor.

Celtic celebrate during 2018’s 5-0 routing of Rangers (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

All of the players listed above are still with the club. Outside of Forrest who’s out, they’re all playing regularly under Lennon too. Yet the difference in performance levels from players who should be nowhere near past their peak is scary.

Alnwick’s comments are simply ridiculous. Not in terms of the player himself looking foolish, but because we should never have allowed them to be said. Celtic should’ve been making sure we built on such a position of strength back in 2018 and 2019.

You can probably pick several matches out and see a massive difference in performance levels compared to now. But when you compare Saturday’s defeat to that superb April afternoon at Celtic Park – it shines a light on how far this club has fallen.

In other news, we take a look at how much Everton reportedly wanted for Jonjoe Kenny permanently.