UK news Julian Taylor: Neil Lennon will have to ask big questions of below par Celtic after failing to fire a shot in tame Old Firm defeat last news
MetiNews.Com - The drawbridge was pulled up at Celtic Park by bleak necessity - but it was a tantalising taste of old days as Rangers stormed the defences, extending their lead at the top of the Premiership with a surprisingly comfortable victory in yesterday's Old Firm clash.
Breaking News ! "The drawbridge was pulled up at Celtic Park by bleak necessity - but it was a tantalising taste of old days as Rangers stormed the defences, extending their lead at the top of the Premiership with a surprisingly comfortable victory in yesterday's Old Firm clash. In so far as this particular fixture is concerned, it is obvious that streetwise Steven Gerrard has Neil Lennon's number.Rangers now have the resilience and chutzpah on their trips across Glasgow, reminiscent of Walter Smith's steely 1990s teams who regularly emerged triumphant from a hostile bunker.Two goals from Connor Goldson crowned a merited win for the consistent Ibrox men, expected to learn their lessons from last season's dip. That's now two games in a row where Rangers have beaten Celtic at Parkhead.Admittedly allowing for significant mitigating circumstances, when was the last time Celtic were so flat? It is a worry filtering within the club's supporters, demanding no slip-ups in the quest for 10 in a row.The narrative all week was overloaded on the apparent ill-fortune engulfing Celtic in relation to how Lennon's squad were afflicted by a combination of Covid-19 and injuries.Naturally, Odsonne Edouard and Ryan Christie would have normally been the first names on the manager's team sheet, with the former in particular proving to be Rangers' nemesis.In terms of attacking personnel, the Frenchman was sorely missed - and with Patryk Klimala starting the derby, it represented a downgrade.The Polish striker, making only his second start of the season, is yet to win Lennon's trust. Yesterday vindicated such doubts, as the enforced partnership of Klimala and Mohamed Elyounoussi flopped.That the Celtic line-up had been leaked on Friday night added fuel to Lennon's angst, an ominous sign of things to come.Without Nir Bitton and Hatem Elhamed as well, this was a major personnel test for Lennon, who, ordinarily, wouldn't be offering greenhorn Stephen Welsh an opportunity in a fixture of this magnitude, alongside Shane Duffy and Kristoffer Ajer in a back three.Other than a lob by Elyounoussi which went over the bar, Celtic's response to Goldson's early goal was strangely lukewarm.Even Callum McGregor and Olivier Ntcham, those proven Parkhead architects, struggled to open up the Light Blues, the latter going through the motions. Celtic certainly missed their partisan crowd too, for that elusive X-factor.Rangers' own selection issues were less intense, but it was still surprising to see Ianis Hagi on the bench with Brandon Barker starting.
. Substitute Jordan Jones, Barker and the sometime errant Alfredo Morelos are cases in point.While the tempo was as intense as expected - primarily dictated by the visitors - an actual game of football slid out amid the slugfest, with Rangers' pace in Ryan Kent and Borna Barisic breaking the lines of Celts' 3-5-2 system.The essence of character, though, is a predominant feature in this most defining of fixtures, irrespective of personnel. Captain Scott Brown has it in spades of course, but his afternoon was laboured, charged with cajoling a makeshift, timid team. Goldson, in contrast, was imperious, and along with enforcer Glen Kamara grows with the high standards set by Gerrard.Yet Celtic still had the enthusiasm of Jeremie Frimpong - identified as a major threat to Rangers - as well as McGregor and Ntcham, so why were they so risk averse in large parts yesterday? Looking ahead, this must concern Lennon, who had an increasingly frustrated look after Goldson doubled Rangers' lead. For all the champions' normal quality and virtual impregnability at Parkhead, attempting to retrieve the damage against a Gers team so solid at the back this term was always beyond them.As this competitive season progresses, the Ibrox men look in control within Gerrard's 4-3-3 system; Celtic, on the other hand, are weighted with confusion and yesterday certainly proved how they cannot adjust and thrive without key men.Christopher Jullien, Edouard, Christie and James Forrest will slot back into Lennon's first choice XI, a matter of urgency. Are the treble winners going to appear as off colour in the derby as they were yesterday? NO shots on target. Frankly, that is a stunning - and dismal - statistic which cannot be ignored as merely a side ingredient of a forlorn day.There is so much football remaining this season and, overall, a four-point deficit is hardly insurmountable from Celtic's perspective. However, unlike Gerrard, Lennon has to ask deeper questions regarding creativity and formation in bigger games. It is clear he must deal better with inevitable absentees when injury and fatigue strike.Rangers, with their confidence and know-how, had all the answers to slovenly Celtic's predictability - and the implications for everyone at Ibrox are now better than ever."
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