It was St.Mirren for Mowbray. It was Inverness for Barnes. Will this be Ronny’s watershed game?
Needing only a draw at the home of our only title challengers Ronny set up the team exactly as he does for most other league games and once again things started quite promisingly with the front four looking quite sharp and linking well.
But for all the control we had on this match it failed to result in a goal. Johnny Hayes, by contrast, wasn’t too bothered with keeping possession and out of nothing his long range strike had the Dons 1-0 up. Time to turn to the manager and see if his long-awaited Plan B had finally been perfected.
We had to wait until after the interval to see the master plan, by which time a poorly defended Aberdeen set-piece had them 2-0 up. Celtic’s response came in the shape of Deadline Day signing Colin Kazim-Richards.
To be fair, although he might have seen red for a brainless stomp on Shinnie (if it was accidental then the resulting yellow card was mystifying) and clearly lacked in the silky skills department, he kept the Aberdeen centre-backs more occupied than they had been in the first half.
Instead of a guts ‘n glory fightback, however, the game petered out and we rarely troubled the home ‘keeper. Griffiths scored a great goal before the end but Aberdeen deserved the three points on the night. Comedy defending from another ball into the Celtic goalmouth should have seen the home side score another goal from open play and McLean could easily have given them a penalty (and waved a red card) at the death. A 4:1 defeat would definitely have seen sales of pitchforks go through the roof at the Parkhead Forge this morning.
There’s no question that the players have to take some of the blame for this defeat. At least against Ross County they showed a bit of application. But they don’t pick themselves for the starting eleven and once again the manager will cop most of the flak. This group of players came within 90 minutes – and a shocking refereeing decision – of reaching the Champions League. They are capable of so much better. The question is whether this management team can get the best out of them.