Hoops have it all to do
Before we start, we appreciate it is still very early on and we are in no way ruling Celtic out of the running this season….or indeed for the second leg. Trophies and medals are never won in July so let’s not get carried away but based on the first competitive match of the season, Celtic do not look to be improved from last season.
The sponsor on the front of the shirt may change and some of the names on the back may be different but it appeared to be the same old Celtic as the 2009/10 season. The first goal they lost came from a shambolic decision by the officials, the second came from a corner that couldn’t have been defended in a weaker manner and the third goal was a huge blunder by Lukas Zaluska.
If David James’ agent has anything about him, he will march into Celtic Park and ask for an extra few grand per week after that showing from the Polish stopper. In all fairness, Zaluska had nothing else to do all game apart from pick the ball out of the net three times but it’s hard to put a positive spin on that.
In trying to look at the positives, Efrain Juarez had a strong debut although he may have dipped later on as tiredness take over. Apart from that, it was hard to see any positive signs from Celtic…Cha Du Ri never really let anyone down but too many players once again failed to show when it was required.
Celtic captain Scott Brown managed a performance entirely fitting of his Celtic career to date, as did Glenn Loovens. In the middle of rebuilding his squad, Neil Lennon should listen very carefully to any bids made for these players. Jos Hoiveld was no great shakes alongside Loovens but he still managed to stand well above the Dutch defender.
Charles ‘Charlton’ Mulgrew….or Charlie Brown as one wag at the bar had dubbed him….lived up to all expectations placed upon him. A sweet left foot cross, a shot that will have goalkeepers scrambling but absolutely no defensive talent or nous to speak of.
However, it would be harsh to single out any player as being particularly worse than the others. It would have been easy for many to quip during the second half that they never knew Maloney, Ledley, Yeung or Samaras had been brought on.
3-0 down probably suggests that Celtic have too much to do in the home leg, even if Braga showed they had nothing special about them. The problem was, they still managed to look far more cohesive and together than Celtic.
It’s early doors but the 4-3-3 / 4-5-1 hybrid didn’t work for Celtic and the tactics or formation will need to be worked upon…and quickly.
The Emirates tournament gives Neil Lennon two more opportunities to tinker before the home tie and who knows, if Celtic grab an early home goal, they could set up an almighty European comeback.
If that happens, the thunder may be back at Celtic Park. On tonight’s showing though, it may be more damp squibs and weak showers than thunder!
Are Celtic bound for the Europa qualifiers?