It may be madness to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result, according to Einstein, but equally, surely it is worse to change something that nearly worked and has been proven to work in the past?
Celtic haven’t been great this season and have shown on numerous occasions that they are not the same side they were last year. Even the last two Old Firm games have shown that. We SHOULD have won both of them, without question. Murty had managed three games v Celtic before the weekend and each time got his tactics bang on, high intensity, pressing high up the park and fast counter attacks with quick delivery to forward areas.
Every game they have dropped points in has been the same, put them under pressure, they aren’t as good as they think they are. They are, however, good at breaking teams down who sit back and let them dictate the play. Worst of all, none of this is a secret.
I backed Murty until the end of the season but looking at the shapeless performance, the attitude of the players and the increasing negativity towards him I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go now. However, this is a Rangers board that seems intent on prioritising everything over the appointment of a well-respected, competent manager.
In the immediate aftermath of the disastrous Scottish Cup Semi Final v Celtic I’ve yet to see any respected analyst (note “analyst”, not pundit) able to explain what exactly Rangers and Graeme Murty were trying to achieve on Sunday.
We finally got the extra man in midfield but what did we do with it? Nothing, we did nothing with it. To have phases of play with Docherty, Dorrans or Halliday wider than Candeias and Murphy stinks of someone trying to be cleverer than they are. It looked as though the Rangers midfield weren’t up for the battle. To me, it looked as though the Rangers midfield didn’t believe what they were doing was going to work or that they wanted to follow through with the instructions they had been given.
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When you see players pressing in ones and twos you realise it’s not tactical and can see the frustration of wanting to press but not being allowed to, yes players should take individual responsibility but not to the detriment of team instructions.
Which brings me onto individuals. It would be easy to collectively destroy the players but I don’t think they all deserve it.
Foderingham didn’t have that much to do in the grand scheme of things, had no chance with either goal but I’m still not sure if he can organise a defence though and his distribution wasn’t great.
Tavernier and John, defensively I honestly thought they were ok. Both wingers got changed, and the ones that came on didn’t get to the by-line either. Offensively it was as bad as I’ve seen them play, John got almost no ball going forward and Tavernier misplaced more passes than I care to remember.
McCrorie was hung out to dry by Martin, that doesn’t excuse him for individual errors, but you’d like to think he will learn from them. Martin should’ve controlled the back line and not let McCrorie get constantly isolated with Dembele. McCrorie has great potential but having Martin next to him is not the answer. How can he concentrate on his own game if he sees a Scotland captain next to him unable to follow runners, unable to clear the ball and falling over without anyone near him? We need a centre half to do what Davie Weir did for Danny Wilson. At least Cardoso wouldn’t shy away from tackles and headers regardless of his positional weaknesses and he has a bit of pace.
The rest of the players were ineffective but if you are starting attacks from your own box, you are increasing your chances of being broken down and turned over pretty quickly. I’ve already touched on it, there were several occasions where players pressed on their own and were screaming out for back up but it never came. Morelos’ body language is rank but you can’t fault his effort regardless of whether you like him or not, he caused problems but was so isolated.
It must be remembered that this Celtic XI only had two players that Brendan Rodgers signed since the 2016 semi-final starting, compared to the Rangers XI that has added significant “improvements”, this damning indictment points to one major difference – the quality of manager. The best thing that happened to Celtic in recent years was us beating them in that game, perhaps this result, and the manner in which it came about, could be our Deila moment and the board realises what needs to be done.
I’d like to think for the last Old Firm game we won’t be sitting off inviting pressure and that we will play with a higher tempo, players higher up the park attacking their weaknesses. It has become painfully obvious that the players weren’t happy with what was going on on the park and with decisions that were made before the game started, this has to be resolved.
Are wholesale changes needed? No, but a change in attitude, determination, tactics and work ethic is desperately needed for the remaining games of the season, but also, and more importantly maybe the small issue of a new Manager capable of instilling these changes.