Poor state of Scottish football highlighted by Celtic loss

November 27, 2013 in Europe, Scottish Premier League by William Kent

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Last night saw Celtic cement their place at the bottom of their Champions League group, after suffering a 3-0 defeat dealt by a particularly poor Milan side - despite the scoreline suggesting Milan would’ve dominated the game.

celt1

Whilst some consideration has to be given to Celtic due to their involvement in this years ‘group of death’, their poor performance this campaign just further highlights the current dire state of Scottish football. The SPL’s relegation candidate, Hearts, is almost confirmed being 12 points adrift already and as usual Celtic are strolling away with the League title - it’s not even December yet. Along with SPL being in poor condition, Celtic’s Champions League troubles could also be down to failing to replace star men Victor Wanyama and Gary Hooper, along with captain Scott Brown’s three game suspension. This ultimately deprived the side of talent that could’ve made a decisive difference in all five games. The best side in the league sold their best players - a statement that doesn’t particularly bode well for the SPL’s already deteriorating reputation.

The Champions League will always be Celtic’s main priority, especially until Rangers inevitably join the SPL in the coming seasons, supplying Celtic some kind of challenge. But now they’re out, with not even the Europa League a possibility, there’s just the Scottish Cup worth making a fuss about. It must be boring being a Celtic fan - winning the league is nice and all but is a whole lot more sweeter when you beat someone to it. It’s like playing 5-a-side but winning 20-0 every week: after a while it just gets boring.

With regards to the game itself, Celtic played well but just couldn’t take their chances, with Neil Lennon blaming his players for ‘snatching’ at their opportunities. 20 shots to Milan’s nine, five of which were long range efforts. Celtic had more possession, a better pass and tackle completion rate but just couldn’t find the net. Goals from Kaka, Mario Balotelli and Christian Zapata sealed victory whilst Milan’s best player was their goalkeeper, which says all about Celtic’s performance. It was one of those games when it just didn’t happen for the Hoops whilst Milan managed proved they’re still a European giant to contend with, doing what all great sides do and grinding out results despite playing badly. I feel Milan are an underrated side in Europe - apart from the 2008/09 season, they’ve made at least the second round every year since 2002, even making three finals. My tip for this year’s dark horse.

Balotelli-Celtic

This was also Milan’s first victory in eight games, not only relieving pressure on coach Massimiliano Allegri but also putting the club in a better position to challenge for qualification to the next round with their last fixture being against closest followers Ajax. Finishing top also isn’t out of reach. Whilst Celtic still have the possibility of ending on six points - a far more respectable point tally considering the group - I hope this year’s failings really does help in bringing more attention to the current poor state of Scottish football.

Stats

Celtic tackle completion - 82%
Milan tackle completion - 70%

Celtic pass completion - 84%
Milan pass completion - 76%

Celtic possession - 53%
Milan possession 47%

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