Celtic lacked urgency and quality against Kilmarnock

Celtic have been losing their grip in the cinch Premiership trophy over few months after dropping some uncharacteristic points, and one of the main thorn’s in Celtic’s side this season in Derek McInnes’ Kilmarnock side came back to sting Celtic once again.

Prior to this season, Brendan Rodgers had only lost once to a Derek McInnes side (that loss coming on the final day of the season in 2018 when the league title was already wrapped up), but this season it has been McInnes who has had his number, holding 2 victories and a draw over invincible-treble winning boss.

Celtic were booed off the park once again on Saturday as frustrations boiled over with Rangers eventually drawing clear of Celtic at the top of the table with a victory over St Johnston the following day, but what went wrong against Killie at the weekend?

Poor individual performances
One thing that has been a problem for Celtic on a number of occasions has been the inconsistency that has followed Celtic this season. Players coming in and out form has been an ever-present, and this Saturday was no different. Luis Palma has been hot and cold this season with his numbers sometimes masking a spell of games where he lacks the same productivity, and he was hooked at half-time after a dismal first-half showing where he couldn’t seem to keep a hold of the ball.

Daizen Maeda was no better on the opposite wing, with his lack of real technical ability costing him the chance to get forward and have a real influence on the game, being replaced by Nicolas Kuhn who continues to fail to impress with another lacklustre showing.

The German wasn’t the only substitute who struggled, with Alexandro Bernabei replacing Greg Taylor who had returned to the starting line-up with a positive showing, and the Argentine was caught out at the back-post allowing David Watson to bring Kilmarnock level late on.

Lack of initiative
In the second-half, it was clear Kilmarnock was growing into the game, and there was very little players in a green and white jersey looking to show for the ball and grab the game by the scruff of the neck.

The team should have dug in and brought a fighting mentality to a game that was coming to be a struggle, but nobody showed it.

Poor attempts to close down the Kilmarnock press and not enough creativity or variety in attack meant that Celtic looked toothless at the end of the 90 minutes.

Changes of shape
Much like the trip to Paisley the week prior, Brendan Rodgers deployed Kyogo Furuhashi behind Adam Idah and the game-plan was effective yet again. Despite the 1-goal advantage, the game was all Celtic and the team looked to be heading towards an important 3 points.

However, a change of shape saw a reversion to old ideas that had proven ineffective over the last few months, and it produced the results that many supporters where expecting as the performance levels dropped and the team welcomed the pressure from Kilmarnock, with an equalising goal almost seeming like an inevitability.

James McKenzie // @JamesWHMcKenzie

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