Celtic pay the price for failing to deliver St Ledger and Ramis
15 February 2010 09:46
When he took the job Tony Mowbray promised 'to play football the Glasgow Celtic way'. Saturday's game saw goals from Kamara, Fortuné, Keane and McGeady, as we attacked with flair, but unfortunately Celtic's other hallmark trait, the Sieve, is still very much in evidence. The joy of playing in front of a sieve.Just after his appointment as Celtic boss Tony Mowbray said that it would probably take three or four transfer windows to build his side and to stamp his own footballing philosophy on the team. He promised to instil an attacking verve to Celtic and his squad at the end of this second transfer window would seem to accurately reflect his oft-quoted philosophy regarding the beautiful game. With less than twenty minutes on the clock and his side 4-2 in front at Pittodrie on Saturday it would be fair to say that most Celtic fans would have been happy with the aforementioned attacking verve on show. But that defence? Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!Three players out of what is perceived to be Mowbray's best back four were missing as the makeshift defence capitulated in the 4-4 draw against Aberdeen. The failure to secure the signings of Irish international Sean St Ledger and Real Mallorca's formidable centre half Ivan Ramis on transfer deadline day meant that the manager was forced to field an untried back line of Caddis, Thompson, O'Dea and Braafheid at Pittodrie. The ad lib defence never looked comfortable and new bhoy Braafheid was especially culpable as Celtic snatched a draw from the jaws of victory - his inexplicable hand ball inside the box in the 75th minute breathed life back into a beaten Dons side - and Darren O'Dea's performance showed just why he couldn't hold down a first team slot at Reading. Mowbray will be hoping that Loovens, Hooiveld and Hinkel can recover from injury before this weekend's crunch game against Dundee United. We are ten points behind the Huns again and arriving at their midden a week on Sunday any further behind would constitute a nightmare scenario."We hope the likes of Hooiveld and Loovens will be back for Saturday." said Tony Mowbray. "But I could not sit here just now and say for sure they will be fit to play again by then. We will have to wait until the week goes on before the situation becomes clearer in terms of injured players."Georgios Samaras replaced Robbie Keane in the 73rd minute of Saturday's game. The idea was for the tall Greek striker to supplement the defence at set pieces as Mowbray sought to see out the game. It made no difference - every time Aberdeen came forward they caused panic within the ranks."We just ask somebody to go and head the ball." said Mowbray. "It's not as if Aberdeen are a huge side. They don't have great height in their side. We were looking for somebody to take the lead, to go and be dominant, and that didn't come to fruition.""It's there, it's evident to see," concluded the Celtic boss. "We knew before the game about our defensive problems. We didn't stand up to what came our way. We scored some great goals and we lost poor goals."