Angry, annoyed and other feelings come to mind as I sit and dissect what was a shocking performance by Celtic away to Europa Group D whipping boys Astra. A deflected shot by Johansen put Celtic ahead and we never looked like being troubled at the back. I am sorry but Scepovic is and will never be good enough for Celtic. At the start of the 2nd Half he was in, all he needed to do was pass the ball into the back post from 5 yards out but shot way over the bar, Mulgrew hit the post and again Craig Gordon got us a point. With minutes to go a Griffiths goal was chopped off for reasons only the ref will know. Had we hung on Ronny’s stock would have risen tonight and all would have been well. Now we have to wait, play league games and keep winning to keep the confidence high. Aberdeen away on Sunday is not ideal, we must win that one.
With the fog being as bad as it was it would be easy to blame the fog, the same fog both teams had to play in. Celtic controlled the game for large periods but one thing so far under Ronny that is a constant is we can never kill a team off. At 1-0 up surely Ronny got a message onto the players to say ‘Salzburg were 4-1 up’ All Celtic had to do tonight was hang onto a 1-0 against a really poor side. We had chance after chance to create in the final 3rd but we kept giving the ball away, the main culprit tonight was Charlie Mulgrew, I am saying for sure Kayal would do better in there. Like Lenny before and now Ronny both see something in Mulgrew to play him in-front of a superior midfielder in Kayal. With Commons and Stokes ill and injured and Guidetti unable to play in the group stages this was Scepovic’s chance to show what he can do, he blew it. Griffiths done more in the time he was on.
I am still very angry at Celtic right now. We could have been sitting with 2 games to go in the Europa League and out the group with room to spare. Now we must beat Salzburg at home on 27th November. If we fail and have to go to Dinamo Zagreb looking for even a point I think we will fail. In reality a point probably will be enough at home to Salzburg but as we have been seeing all season, Celtic can’t finish teams, we get 1-0 ahead and have chances and sometimes lose late goals. I sat watching knowing Salzburg were on10 points and safe and I just knew we would make it hard for ourselves. We are on 8 points from 4 games, not too bad but we must now go and beat Salzburg who will maybe be easier to play against as they are through. We had 1st place in the group in our own hands tonight. Look back at the goal we lost and it was Mulgrew giving the ball away near the half way line. This was a time in the game where I was screaming at the TV for Celtic to slow things down. We were rushing things 1-0 up away from home in Europe.
Sadly we blew it and will have to wait 3 weeks and hope we can beat a very in-form Salzburg side. As I say, if we get beat at home from Salzburg, we can bet Zagreb who are on 3 points will get to 6 points away to Astra. Meaning we could in the end have to travel to Zagreb looking for at least a draw. The most annoying this is we had it in our hands tonight. We lost the midfield AGAIN with about 20 minutes to go, what is wrong with Kayal? Why is Griffiths not starting some games?
TCN Man of the Match: Craig Gordon