The key mistake Celtic boss made last night that's gone under the radar
Not much about last night can be placed on Ange Postecoglou, especially when you consider how well he’s battled through the festive schedule with so many players injured.
Celtic were without a host of first-team stars for the 0-0 draw against St Mirren last night. Of course, what can’t be ignored is the fact the Buddies were in the same boat. They also had a host of fringe players and youth academy prospects in their squad yesterday.
Postecoglou told the BBC post-match that he doesn’t rest players. That everyone who wasn’t in the squad simply wasn’t available for selection. And whilst that’s all well and good, there were 2 first-team regulars who looked as though they were indeed rested.
Both Greg Taylor and Josip Juranovic were sat on the bench and made late substitute appearances in the game. Taylor came on for the final minutes whilst Juranovic bagged around half an hour. 2 experienced first-team stars who could’ve seriously helped with the quality of delivery we were putting into the box.
Celtic’s game-plan last night appeared to rely heavily on the wingers and full-backs getting into crossing positions and testing the St Mirren backline. With St Mirren absolutely flooding the central area, Celtic had to try and stretch them as much as possible.
However, the crossing on show from the likes of Liam Scales and Anthony Ralston just wasn’t up to scratch. Only after Juranovic came on did Celtic’s crossing from the right and from their dead-ball situations improve. No, it didn’t lead to a winner but it led to some more anxious moments for the St Mirren backline.
Greg Taylor and Josip Juranovic were on the Celtic bench last night
Taylor himself didn’t have any time to make an impact. However, he was also clearly fit to feature. He shouldn’t have been on the bench if he wasn’t. And whilst many Celtic supporters aren’t overly keen on Greg as a number 1 left-back, his crossing range can be extremely dangerous. Given the fact he’s just coming back from an injury lay-off of course, you could perhaps understand the manager wanting to safeguard him.
But the fact is we can’t overly-moan about an injury crisis when we have a pair of experienced internationals sitting on our bench. With only 2 games to go until the winter break before last night, both should’ve been in the side.
At the very least, it would’ve given Celtic a lot more quality in their deliveries down either flank.
Giving the likes of Scales and Moffat an opportunity was understandable. But these are must-win games given the intensity of this title race. Not featuring 2 of our most senior pros was a big mistake, or at the very least Juranovic.
Nobody is saying it would’ve definitely ended up being a Celtic victory. But we certainly would’ve had a greater chance of taking the points.
Ange has been next to flawless since arriving in the summer, but he’s not beyond all critique. Last night was a bad one, and keeping fit first-team regulars out of the side was a decision he likely wouldn’t make again.