Without question, Celtic woefully underperformed against their arch-rivals in the 2-0 Glasgow Derby loss at Ibrox [BBC Sport].
Though John Kennedy will take a portion of the blame, he should not be fully held responsible for yesterday’s events. The Hoops have been under-par in every derby fixture this season, losing three and drawing one [Sky Sports].
Tactically, many supporters may look at the interim manager’s decision to adopt the 4-4-2 diamond as a cause of defeat. However, this is a by-product of the poor recruitment structures at Parkhead this campaign. Failing to sign a right-winger to supplement injured James Forrest forced Kennedy’s hand. This left Celtic with no natural wide men on the right-hand side and with no option but to use the 4-4-2.
Collectively, the mentality of the performance needs to come into question. Defensively, the Hoops back-line were too slow to react to Rangers offensive play. Conceding two unbelievably cheap goals, the players on show need to shoulder responsibility for not putting pressure on the ball. Arguably however, Celtic’s biggest issues occurred in the opposition half.
Celtic’s inability to be ruthless has cost them potential derby results this season
Despite a perceived poor performance, John Kennedy’s side have created more clear-cut opportunities than Rangers in the last two clashes. Statistically identical, both games yielded 16 attempts for Celtic and 9 for their adversaries [BBC Sport][BBC Sport].
Ruthlessness has been a problem at the Celts all season long. Missing a penalty and three guilt-edge chances in the Scottish Cup battle, collective responsibility needs to come from every level.
Ultimately, the interim boss has effectively increased chance creation since taking the reigns. More composure in-front of goal is needed from the Hoops forward players in order to convert these chances.
Tapping into this sentiment earlier this year, Kennedy told the official Celtic website after the wasteful 0-0 draw away to Dundee United [Celtic FC]: “When you’re so dominant in a game, you’ve got to punish the opposition when you have the chances, and we’ve not done that, so it keeps them in the game.”
These issues have only multiplied in recent weeks. Celtic could have feasibly won the Rangers clash on second-half openings alone yesterday. Kennedy will not be the permanent manager come 2021/22, though whoever is his successor will have much work ahead to get the Hoops firing on all cylinders.
As previously stated, John Kennedy will take a share of the blame as head-coach. However, collective responsibility is needed in order to rectify these problems going forward.