David Potter’s March Report: Celtic 1 Aberdeen 2


Posted By kevingraham

Posted in Articles, Match Reports

David Potter's Match Report


Well, if we didn’t know it before, we know it now that we are in for a fight if we want to regain the Scottish League. There was an element of bad luck when Considine cleared off the line in the last few minutes, and the refereeing of Craig Thomson was eccentric (but not biased), but the bottom line is that Celtic could well be five points behind a strong Aberdeen side by next weekend, and we will now have major problems.

Two refereeing decisions were debatable at least. The red card to Johnny Hayes was hasty, and surely a yellow card would have sufficed. The Aberdeen penalty was, frankly, soft. It was silly of Boyata to go anywhere near the attacker in this circumstances, but it was still a very weak challenge and no penalty. On the other hand, Thomson was right not to gave a penalty against Charlie Mulgrew. He couldn’t really get his arm away from that one. And although he would have been technically correct to give Andy Considine a red card for Celtic’s penalty, a yellow card was the sensible decision. But it matters not. The referee is paid to make decisions. We simply have to cope with them, and remember the words of Jock Stein that if you are 5-0 up, refereeing decisions do not matter so much.

There were some good performances today, and we could argue that a draw would have been a fairer result, but, over the 90 minutes, we never really looked as if we were the better team. For a short period after the dismissal of Johnny Hayes, we took command and in the first half we looked good most of the time, but we lost because of a silly penalty to give away, a weak attempt to defend a free kick late in the game, and bad luck when a ball was cleared off the line immediately afterwards.

This result need not be fatal, but it is now vital how we react to it. One fears a “death wish” performance on Thursday against Ajax – but then again that is not unusual for a Celtic team away from home in Europe – but what will be of more concern will be the visit of teams like Dundee and Hearts in the near future. The points deficit can be coped with at the moment – but we dare not let it get any wider. I had felt that it might be a three-horse race this year with Hearts involved as well. Recent events have caused me to doubt that, but their next two games are against Aberdeen and then us. We will have a clearer idea how many horses are in the race by the end of next week.

Craig Gordon – 7/10 – rightly castigated by Andy Walker for his part in losing the last goal. Perhaps he does not yet have enough confidence in his central defenders

Michael Lustig – 8/10 – good, and it was nice to see him offer commiserations to Johnny Hayes after the harsh red card

Dedryck Boyata – 7/10 – not too bad over the piece but occasionally a touch of naivety, notably in that penalty. He really should learn that if a referee gives a penalty to one side, he will be desperate to give one to the other!

Charlie Mulgrew – 9/10 – good

Tyler Blackett – 7/10 – like Boyata, he still has a lot to learn. He must take a share in the blame for the loss of the last goal

Scott Brown – 8/10 – still not back to his best, and lucky not to get booked

Nir Bitton – 8/10 – generally quite good, but on at least two occasions in the last few minutes had a chance to shoot and declined to do so. We know he can take goals, so why not have a go?

Stefan Johansen – 9/10 – good. One of his better performances, but needlessly booked

Tommy Rogic – 7/10 – a few good touches but did not dominate the game

Gary Mackay-Steven – 7/10 – had his moments, but the hurly-burly nature of the game was not suited to his more elegant style of play

Leigh Griffiths – 8/10 – took his penalty well, and had a good first half. Disappeared for a while in the early part of the second half, but unlucky at the end

Efe Ambrose –  7/10 – OK but again an unnecessary booking

Nadir Ciftci – 5/10 – one of these days I will apologise and see why Celtic bought this man. Not today however!

James Forrest – 8/10 – you always feel that something can come from this man, but there are times when he doesn’t seem to make up his mind whether to cross or to shoot, and he ends up doing neither

Referee – Eccentric, and in many ways the Man of the Match in that his decisions mattered. He had a good first half, and generally got the minor things correct. We cannot blame him for the loss of three points, however. We did that ourselves

Aberdeen – the best Aberdeen team for some time. That may not be saying too much, but they certainly have League winning potential

Atmosphere – I heard inanities about “sign on – you’ll never get a job” from one side and things about sheep from the other. You despair about Scottish education some times, don’t you?

TV presentation – the opinionated Andy Walker tended to get most things right

The future – Celtic must bounce back. There is now little leeway for further error. The defence must be tightened up, and Ciftci must now be given a run in the team – or forgotten about. But the attitude must be improved for Ajax, and we must take the game to them. No more of these wishy-washy performances in Europe! Let’s show them what “Celtic” means


  1. kevingraham
    Posted September 13, 2015 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Since we lost against Malmo we seem to have had a crisis in confidence, in what direction we are going and the players seem to be struggling with the system. Much like this point last season.

    We are not doing anything well and Aberdeen were better all over the pitch. They fully deserved to win. Worrying times.

  2. happyhoopybhoy
    Posted September 13, 2015 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Mulgrew 9/10? Not possible! Not capable! He is in good company with several other duds.

  3. Sparky7510
    Posted September 13, 2015 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Mulgrew is just not good enough, I’m afraid. Not sure he ever really was! Gms had a stinker & looks off the pace. I think boyata was a bit unlucky with the penalty, shinnie certainly bought that one. Bottom line, the inflexible nature of our formation is causing us problems. I don’t see us dominating teams at the moment & we always look short in midfield. Opposition players seem to have so much time & space compared to our boys. Gordon’s poor decision not to come for the free kick & the defenders failing to clear their lines was a recipe for disaster!

  4. Posted September 14, 2015 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry David but your marks are unbelievable.
    There wasn’t a plus mark to any of them.
    Slow unorganised no imagination.
    You can’t play Brown Bitton and Rogic in the same midfield. They are too alike.
    We are in Scotland 442 should be all we need. Not changing zonal marking is criminal.
    He has to go before it’s too late.

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