Celtic Need To Forget Refereeing Decision & Look At Own Lingering Issues

People can often criticise a referee and blame their decisions when a team loses a big match.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon did as much as his side slumped to a 1-0 loss to city rivals Rangers, a defeat which leaves the current Scottish Premiership champions 19 points adrift of the current league leaders.

“Morelos might have got a shot off but it would have been from a very narrow angle,”

“It’s not even in the box. I thought he was too quick to get the red out”

BBC Sport

Now the decision to send off Nir Bitton has sparked a great debate on social media. Many believe ref Bobby Madden got it right and many others thinking he got it wrong.

In my opinion, for what it’s worth, I wasn’t surprised by the red card but wouldn’t have been surprised had I saw a yellow being brandished instead. It’s one of those decisions that goes down to the individual ref’s interpretation.

That being said Bitton was caught all ends up and he made the initial big mistake that gave the official a decision to make. I also think Lennon has to question why Kristoffer Ajer was so far away from his defensive partner and behind the run of play, I feel his poor positioning helped sway the ref’s mind.

But that one man deficit didn’t cost Celtic the game, they had time to change tactics and steady themselves against any possible onslaught, which never actually happened.

The biggest issue that cost Celtic the game was poor defending at a corner, which has been symptomatic of their poor (by their own standards) season so far.

They didn’t win that first ball into the box, the flick on caused panic and Callum McGregor couldn’t stop the ball hitting off him and falling into his own net.

You also have to question forward Odsonne Edouard’s decision making when he decided to leave the front post as soon as the corner was swung into the box. That left goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas exposed and meant he couldn’t stand his ground and wait for that second touch, he instead had to cover that front post that the Frenchman had vacated.

The Hoops have conceded far too many times from corners and it happened to them again yesterday. With Christopher Jullien now out for a few months due to injury (Source Sky Sports), they will need to bring in someone else who can command that penalty area especially when crosses come in.

The absence of Jullien and Bitton’s sending off meant that Lennon had to bring Shane Duffy on and once again the big money loan signing failed to convince us that he’s the reliable centre-half that Celtic need.

Some in the Celtic faithful feel yesterday’s performance was enough to give them positives for the remainder of this campaign and they believe that they can catch Rangers.

While the Green half of Glasgow were the dominant force and the better team for much of the game, they still struggled to create too many clear-cut chances after the 25th minute.

That has to the quietest Old Firm derby game I’ve seen from Edouard, who usually puts The Gers to the sword. That too has followed this season’s narrative, as Odsonne simply hasn’t been as impactful as he has been in previous years.

The Light Blues defence didn’t look overly overworked, even as their midfield often lost the battle in the engine room.

Plus losing to a passive Rangers side or an ordinary Gers team shouldn’t be a sign for optimism. That is a danger, as it’s usually champions that can scrape together wins in vital games even if they aren’t at their best!

Against AC Milan and Hearts this term, Celtic dominated early on and then gave their opponents a chance to get a foothold in the game. That again happened yesterday. When they were on top they couldn’t press that advantage home and they failed to grab the vital goals they needed.

As The Hoops begin to sun themselves in Dubai as they prepare for a monumental second half of the season, serious questions of the team and the management team have to to be asked.

The softened centre-backs need to buck up their ideas. The goal shy attackers need to click back into place.

If Celtic are seriously going to close the gap, never mind catch Rangers, then they will never to sort themselves out and forget about any excuses!

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