Davie Hay has identified Celtic’s weakness was in their 2-1 loss against Rangers at Parkhead last Sunday.
Celtic have now had a week to reflect on their last Sunday at Parkhead against the Rangers. This was their first home loss in the Glasgow Derby since 2010 and the second time that Steven Gerrard’s side have dominated them in the course of a month.
Hampden Park should have set the alarm bells going after the Hoops were completely outplayed in the Scottish League Cup final. But an inspired Fraser Forster in goal meant that Celtic walked out with the trophy and the performance was swept under the rug as an off-day at the office amidst the celebrations.
There has been no hiding over the past week though. In fact, it is very possible that this is an overreaction on the part of the fans and by the end of the season the club will create history by winning their ninth straight league title. But one thing is for sure – Celtic have not been able to cope with Rangers’ physicality over the past two games and must make some changes if they are to shift the momentum back on to their side.
Davie Hay has identified the midfield as Celtic’s weakness last Sunday. The Celtic legend wrote in the Glasgow Times:
“From Celtic’s point of view, they have to find a way to get their midfield back on top in these games. Rangers don’t make it easy for Celtic in that area and there lies the crux of the problem.
“Celtic have to meet that challenge. Rangers have set out their stall to close down the Celtic midfield and stop Scott Brown and Callum McGregor playing and Neil Lennon has to find a way to help them influence the games more once again.
“Those two played well in patches, don’t get me wrong, but I thought that Olivier Ntcham might possibly have played, and Ryan Christie would have started wide. I can see the thinking behind Christie starting centrally, but he was off the boil.
“It’s easy to say that in hindsight, but in Old Firm games it tends to be the winner of the midfield battle that wins the game – and that’s what happened last Sunday.”
In hindsight, Olivier Ntcham could have certainly helped bring some solidity to the Celtic midfield in the derby. But that is not the only area of concern for the Hoops. Both attack and defence let them down as well and it would be wrong to just pinpoint the midfield.
One can only hope that the club recruits some solid players in January. The title race is much closer than first anticipated and we cannot just sit around waiting for the Rangers to slip up. Especially not with nine-in-a-row hanging in the balance.