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[FT] Rangers 0 - 1 Celtic


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22 minutes ago, JohnMc said:

I'm afraid I'm also questioning the mentality of this side. I was also reminded of Tommy Burns Celtic against Walter Smith's Rangers, they'd play us off the park for long periods but we'd still win. That's a concern for me. 

 

Dropping points to Aberdeen during the week was a disgrace. There was a lack of leadership and a lack of sheer will to win. When Aberdeen got a lucky goal they grew in belief and we visibly drew in. That's a worrying trait. 

 

It was different yesterday, we were unable to get a goal despite numerous chances, almost all falling to the player we'd want them falling too. But let's be honest here, that was a makeshift Celtic side upfront. Their only forward was a winger who looked half decent when in the Championship but well out of his depth in the SPFL. This severely hampered them, make no mistake, and allowed us to control the match. We were unable to make this count and my concern is they won't be that poor again when we next play them. Yesterday was our chance to land a blow and we didn't take it. 

 

I'm not suggesting wholesale changes, but we do need to make changes. There's a lack of leaders on the pitch for a start. I like Tav but has he got the sheer drive to be a Rangers captain? Be honest, will he do what Scott Brown does to help change a match? Are our centre-halves commanding? Do they scare the opposition, do they control our box at set-pieces, do they hurt the forwards they're up against? Lastly where are the moments of magic from Kent and particularly Aribo? Aribo clearly has a wonderful touch and a great close control, but we need to see that create something during a match. When I first saw him I thought we'd bought a player similar to Sone Aluko. Not in stature obviously but it terms of what he'd bring to the side. The ability to beat a man, to create space for others, to hold the ball and draw a foul, and more importantly to provide that wee piece of quality that wins us tight matches. I'm not seeing that, he's fine at playing one-twos with Kamara but he's not hurting the opposition and that's what we need. 

 

I accept we need to be careful of knee-jerk reactions fuelled by bitter disappointment, but football matches between evenly matched sides are won by small margins, and, in my opinion those are largely in mentality related. Personally I've not taken any positives from yesterday. 

I think you make some good points. 

 

You may have a point about Tavernier, but I'm not willing to throw him under a bus quite yet; he's a good player, and has been a good servant.

 

I think you are mistaken about Aribo, though: he was never an Aluko-type player, which I mentioned at the time we signed him because people were thinking similarly, he's actually a box-to-box player, a destroyer-type that plays deeper, like Kamara. He's a good talent, with a big future, but he's not settled yet.

 

(Kent didn't do much, but I did say yesterday, there were 4-5 players around him every time he had the ball; that's not a bad thing.)

 

I think the obvious position to improve is Arfield's. If we can get that player you thought Aribo was into there, then we'd be vastly improved. 

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I'm taking positives from it. There has been talking of them playing badly on the day but I don't think they did, they have been in good enough form prior to this game. They simply looked bad because Rangers were simply too good for them. That's going to remain in their heads for the future.

 

We didn't take the cup on the day but I don't put that down to mental deficiencies or small margins. It was just one of those days where absolutely nothing went our way. The ball didn't go our way, they had a goalie playing the game of his life, (the goalie broke my heart comes to mind) and nor did the refereeing decisions go our way. Such a litany of bad luck can't be expected to occur repeatedly.

Aside from being more clinical in taking chances and getting this penalty taking thing sorted out I really don't see much that needs to be changed following this disappointment. Ironically despite winning they would appear to have more to be concerned about than we do. 

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Having had time to reflect, I think what yesterday told us that our squad isn't nearly as strong as we like to think it is. They had Ntcham, Rogic on their bench and Griffiths who didn't even make it. With Davis likely being out for a few games we lack cover in mf; defence we are ok but Barker and even Ojo, who looked promising when he came, are not the quality required. 

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I’ve been disappointed with our management response to yesterday’s game. 

Can you imagine Lennon’s response if they’d lost to an offside goal, a penalty which should have been re-taken & denied at least one further penalty?

The harsh reality in Scottish football is that dignified silence gets you nowhere

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A day's reflection often clears the head a little and if I were Gerrard trying to lift a losing squad I'd be trying to decide which of the positives from yesterday to emphasise first. I'd certainly be upbeat. We outplayed Celtic, we had better players all over the field and we were only beaten by an illegal goal. Sure, we didn't take the cup home but we should be going into every game now fully aware of these facts and in no doubt that our time is almost here. The support has to be part of that reassurance to and I'm sure I'm not the only one today feeling a mixture of disappointment, pride and expectation. Our upcoming trip to Parkhead is one to anticipate with confidence. I've always said if we were still in contention come January then this would be our year.

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Yesterday was a rare chance to see Rangers face Celtic at a neutral venue, while both sides were in top form and equally motivated for the occasion.

 

Under those conditions, our players proved that they are a better team than this mob and should have no doubts whatsoever that they can win this league.

 

Make no mistake about it, that was the toughest game Celtic have had this season and it will have come as a shock to every single one of them how one-sided it was and they now know they will have to fight tooth and nail for this league title because our boys are clearly up for the fight.

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Before the final, I thought our tempo was paramount to possible success. The first 65 minutes, our tempo was spot on. Ra Sellik go down to ten men, we fail to score the penalty, and our tempo begins to slow down. 

 

Lennon identifies it during his post match comments. He lauds their ten men performance, recognising they struggled to compete with eleven men. Of course, they retreated into their last third. We were reduced to passing the ball sideways, relying on Barker and Tav' accessing the bye-line. Generally, our crossing became woeful. Both probing and threading stopped too, Kent was withdrawn into starting attacks from the centre circle. Tempo needs direction, it's dynamic.

 

Just saying, when Katic came on, I thought they will throw him up front. Jullien has to mark him, leaving Morelos and Defoe to feed on secondaries. Further, our midfield steps another few yards forward to feed on edge of the box secondaries. Anyways, after sixty-five minutes ra Sellik controlled the match tempo. Count the minutes lost to perceived injuries, cramp, bye-kicks, throw-ins, ........ etc.

 

Solve the question of maintaining tempo(in many cases where do you place the extra man), and we will continue to progress.

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