Peter Lawwell’s summer frustrations came home to roost today with an abysmal Celtic display against Hibs. The 2-0 scoreline didn’t flatter the hosts.
At last month’s AGM the club chief executive described the summer transfer window as frustrating as he watched players move elsewhere resulting in the failure to reach the group phase of the Champions League.
Celtic entered the summer transfer window in their strongest ever position thanks to successive trebles and the Virgil van Dijk windfall.
At the start of September the bank balance was swelled by £20m from player trading.
Four months after the window closed the team was given the runaround by Hibs, sit behind a club that struggle to attract 5,000 to home matches and could be leap-frogged by a tribute act that has been a laughing stock for six years.
Weaknesses in two key positions cost Celtic dearly today.
There is no option at right-back other than Mikael Lustig, in attack other than 20-year-old Odsonne Edouard there is no one.
Lustig’s absence today meant that the team had to switch from a 4-2-3-1 formation to 3-5-2.
Half of the Celtic team were played out of position.
The left-wing combination of Jozo Simunovic and Emilio Izaguirre was exposed within a minute as Hibs took the lead.
Kris Ajer and Scott Sinclair on the other flank weren’t much better.
At his age Edouard has did well for Celtic. Being expected to carry the team throughout December is asking far too much.
Even against a teenager and Efe Ambrose the French striker made little impact.
Hibs were up for it today as they stated in the opening minute, like the early season matches at St Mirren and Kilmarnock it was obvious after ten minutes that Celtic weren’t on their game.
The system didn’t suit the players, other than James Forrest no-one looked close to their A-game.
After going two goals behind two substitutions were made, neither Johnny Hayes or Lewis Morgan has made a meaningful contribution this season. That never changed.
Mikey Johnston provided some belated spark but by the time he was introduced most of his team-mates were resigned to defeat.
Hibs have been in horrendous form recently, picking up six points from their previous eight games. Today they were without four or five first choice players after losing last season’s midfield.
After a worrying start to Celtic’s season things appeared to be coming good with an impressive run of results coinciding with the introduction of Ryan Christie.
There are four matches left before the winter break, 10 or 12 points will be required to go into the new year with a lead.
January will be critical, a third transfer window without bringing in first team starters might end up as much more than frustrating.