Celtic are through to the quarter finals of the Betfred Cup after a 2-1 win after extra-time against Dunfermline, and will now play Partick Thistle next at Celtic Park.
It was a frustrating afternoon for Neil Lennon’s men as they came up against a Dunfermline side who played with ten men behind the ball, and to their credit defended everything Celtic threw at them very well. The first half was an uneventful one for the Hoops as they struggled to break down Dunfermline, with Ryan Scully only being tested with a couple of long range efforts.
The breakthrough came for Celtic early in the second half as Mikey Johnston’s lob from just outside the box found its way into the top corner of Scully’s goal.
From there the Bhoys kept most of the possession and hunted for the second goal, as Dunfermline began to come out of their defensive shape on the look out for an equaliser. The away side eventually got this through a great counter attack when the ball was cut back too Tom Beadling who neatly finished past Gordon.
As the game was taken to extra time, tension grew further in Celtic Park, Taking the hoops till the second half, courtesy of a deflected James Forrest goal.
Here are four things I have chosen to focus on from this game:
Neil Lennon under pressure?
Celtic’s early season high was short lived as the Bhoys crashed out of the Champions League on Tuesday night, with a good reaction expected, the Hoops looked very lacklustre. Poor passing, struggling to create chances and where sloppy in possession. Could Neil Lennon be under pressure to get the season back on track, with qualification for the Europa league and a win at Ibrox the only way to regain the trust of the Celtic fans?
Message has been sent to the Celtic board, it’s time for them to react.
As much as the performance on the pitch alone should be a message to the board that recruitment is needed to create competition for places, especially in defence, the green brigade banner speaks for a number of Celtic fans. Ten in a row is no certainty and with performances like Saturday’s, nine in a row could be in doubt also. Is there a change in structure needed at Celtic to keep up with the modern game?
Mikey Johnston’s contribution.
It was always going to be a big season for Mikey as he looked to push his way in to Celtic’s starting 11, with Scott Sinclair seemingly owning that LW position. However he now looks to be maturing as a footballer and is an exciting prospect to watch; he frightens defenders when he runs at them and can spark a team into life with his play. A bit of individual brilliance from him resulted in Celtic opening the scoring on Saturday, although he had a tough afternoon against a compact defence. Has his emergence and recent form secured that position for him, and ended Scott Sinclair’s time at Celtic as he looks for a move back down south?
After a slow start to the season, James Forrest now looks to be up and running following a Player of the Year season. He’s now scored a goal in each of his last four games, let’s hope this continues as the hoops hunt for nine in a row and title number 51. A player who used to split opinion in his early playing days, he’s now becoming a big park player, he scored the winner in Saturdays 2-1 win against Dunfermline in extra time.