Premiership giants Celtic started the season as the favourites to retain their throne, and in turn, pick up what would be a record-breaking tenth straight league victory. However, despite kicking off the campaign in a positive manner, things took a turn for the worse on Saturday, when Neil Lennon’s men fell to their first defeat of the campaign. More than the loss itself, it was the manner in which they lost, and the opponents that they faced, that made such a big difference. The Old Firm derby is never an easy affair for either side, but few would’ve predicted what was to come at Parkhead that evening.
Steven Gerrard’s Rangers side have been at the top of the Premiership table since the start of the season, albeit by virtue of a single point. Now though, the Ibrox club are in a much more comfortable situation. Although the Celts have a game in hand, Rangers are four points clear at the top, which means that their destiny is in their own hands. The match started with the away side in the ascendancy, and at no point were Celtic able to take control of proceedings. Despite having a solid majority of the ball, their use of possession was poor, to say the least.
The early headed goal from Connor Goldson did come completely with the run of play, and it must be conceded that the Ibrox club deserved to open the scoring when they did. The lack of a killer instinct in the attack was apparent to see, as Mohamed Elyounoussi missed a truly glorious opportunity to bring the Hoops back into the game. The second Goldson goal completely killed off the fixture, and although Lennon made several substitutions, none of them were able to produce anything meaningful in the attack.
Here Are 3 Things Celtic Must Do To Have A Shot At Winning The Title:
3 Things Celtic Must Do To Have A Shot At Winning The Title
Sort Out The Defence
While many will argue that the defensive fragility was because of all the injuries that they’ve had to deal with over recent weeks, it’s still worth considering that the likes of Shane Duffy and Kristoffer Ajer have looked suspect over recent weeks. While the former’s lack of mobility and dynamism is something that can be exploited, the latter’s aggressive style could come back to haunt them. Unless Lennon can make them more tactically aware in the coming weeks, things could get quite difficult at the back for them as the season wears on.
Add More Width To The Attack
Having just Jeremie Frimpong and Deigo Laxalt offering all of the width that Celtic produce is not a viable option. Considering the kind of players that Celtic have at their disposal, it’s essential that they utilise the wider areas of the pitch. Although it must be conceded that some first-team attackers were unavailable for selection on Saturday, Lennon has preferred to play with a flat five across midfield, which then means that they have only two players taking up space in the wide areas. Switching things up in terms of formation, so as to accommodate a couple more wide players, would bolster their attacking capabilities as well.
Inject Some Grit And Desire Into The Midfield
Rangers started the fixture against Celtic with just a three-man midfield line, while Celtic, on the other hand, had five players across the middle. Despite having two wing-backs as passing options as well, Neil Lennon’s men struggled to contest, let alone win, the midfield battle. There was a lack of desire that was apparent through the midfield line, and the lack of quality was a frustrating watch as well. Scott Brown looked like the only player who showed the willingness to work for the team, and that’s something that Lennon will have to instil into his roster in the coming weeks.