After the Celtic’s 2-0 defeat in the Glasgow Derby, the former Rangers manager has described some of the Hoops players as “rabbits in the headlights”.
Alex McLeish, who won the league twice when managing Rangers from 2001 to 2006 and managed the Scotland national team as well, lashed out about some Celtic players’ performance against his former club over the weekend.
Losing 2-0 to the Rangers was an absolute nightmare for the Hoops, who are currently pursuing a historic tenth-straight league title. Currently sitting second in the table, four points behind their Glasgow rivals (with one less match played), they will have to prove their mettle in what is looking like a tough fight for the league throughout the rest of the campaign.
Speaking with Football Insider after the shock result, McLeish called out some of Celtic’s new signings that played in the match, saying:
“Some of the new signings looked a little bit like rabbits in the headlights. That’s something that Neil Lennon will be speaking to them and going over. The analytical guys will be going over the performance levels and looking at what they could have done better.”
Likely speaking of Vasilias Barkas, Diego Laxalt, and Shane Duffy, McLeish continued:
“They obviously didn’t trouble the Rangers defence as much as we thought… The guys that have come into the Celtic team, even though they haven’t played in front of a massive crowd, an influential crowd, at the weekend, they’ll still have been taken aback and reminded how important these Old Firm clashes are.”
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Vasilias Barkas has been solid thus far for the Hoops for the most part on the season, with five clean sheets through eight appearances. Despite some of the mistakes being put on him at times, some of the fault must also lie with the Hoops’ defensive play.
Diego Laxalt had only joined the club on loan a few weeks prior over the international break, and it is entirely understandable (while unfortunate) for him to struggle some through his first appearance for the club. His performance was not terrible though and a cause for hope on a day when nobody seemed up to the mark.
Shane Duffy, however, may have underperformed against the Rangers but it is entirely too early to write him off as McLeish seemed to.
Speaking on how these additions should move forward, McLeish finished by saying:
“I’m sure it would have been an eye-opener for the two, three guys who played and if they’re going to cement their name in Celtic colours then they know they need to play at a better level.”
Obviously, Celtic will have their work cut out for them with a tough upcoming stretch of matches, but Hoops fans should look to see these new additions continue to progress in play, and it could very well show itself when the club faces the Rangers again some time down the road.