Every player rated as Celtic slump to goalless draw with St Johnstone

Celtic dropped their first points on Saturday in just their third league game this season.

The inquest began immediately, with fans inside the ground letting the players know exactly what they thought of the uninspiring performance, whilst social media went into meltdown all weekend.

And then Monday arrives, and we are left to ponder the performance of the individual players and the team collectively.

What went wrong? Who played well? And are any of Brendan Rodgers’ changes working?

 

Here’s how we rated the scoreless and toothless draw against St Johnstone:

Joe Hart – 7

Joe Hart had nothing to do for 72 minutes. That in itself is not surprising when last season’s treble-winners are playing a team who finished 9th in the table. Not only that, the Saints have also failed to beat lower-league Dunfermline, Stenhousemuir, Ayr United and Stirling Albion this season.

But in the 72nd minute, these two sides were equally matched. In the ‘goals scored’ stakes, at least.

It’s at that point, when Liam Scales is skinned by 20-year-old Dara Costelloe, that Joe Hart must earn his spurs. Thankfully for Scales, and for us, he did just that.

Nine minutes later, Hart was forced to save the blushes of Scales once again, this time after a rinsing from Jay Turner-Cooke.

Hart was in the firing line not too long ago. He looked suspect against Ross County on the opening day, which led to many Celtic fans prioritising a replacment goalkeeper during this transfer window. So what’s changed?

It would appear that Brendan Rodgers has told him not to take risks with the ball at his feet, to clear his lines when necessary.

It sounds like too obvious a change. But watch Hart under Ange Postecoglou and you will quickly see that he would never put his laces through the ball; not when there was a shimmy, back-heel, or stray pass to make instead.

Rodgers has simplified Hart’s role, and he looks a far better keeper as a result of this tweak.

Alistair Johnston – 7

We have missed the grit, guile, and offensive qualities of our Canadian international all season.

His reintroduction before the first Glasgow Derby of the campaign is a huge boost for a Celtic side playing like they need a reminder of how to increase their tempo during a game of football.

Johnston looked full of intent from the minute we kicked off, and was Celtic’s driving force down the right for the first hour of the game.

When he went off, we offered little down that flank.

Welcome back AJ. Fancy playing centre-half at Ibrox?

Greg Taylor – 6

Remember that Greg Taylor who was one of the most improved players under Ange Postecoglou? The one who secured cult status during a tête-à-tête with Alfredo Morelos, leading to fan-made t-shirts of the left-back? What happened to him?

Brendan Rodgers stopped playing him as an inverted full-back.

On Saturday, Rodgers returned Taylor to the inverted full-back role. And guess what?

Taylor had his best game since Ange left.

Liam Scales – 5

Scales looks comfortable on the front foot, but he was asked to defend twice at the weekend and failed to do it.

If he starts against Rangers, I’ll be petrified.

Gustaf Lagerbielke – 7

The Swedish international has quietly dropped into the Celtic defence over the last two games due to our injury crisis.

He has looked assured, regardless of who has lined up alongside him at centre-back.

Ibrox will be a very different test, but he has shown that he’s capable of stepping up to the challenge.

 

 

 

Callum McGregor – 5

Another sluggish and below-par performance from the captain who struggled to influence the game.  McGregor showed some glimpses of urgency towards the end but it is clear to see that he is finding the transition from Angeball to Brendan 2.0 more difficult than anticipated.

Matt O’Riley – 7

Despite missing several good chances to score, O’Riley was arguably Celtic’s best player.  The Dane consistently took up good positions in attack and linked well with teammates.  On another day he could easily have walked away with the match ball.

David Turnbull – 6

Turnbull had a decent first 45 minutes and alongside O’Riley provided an attacking threat from midfield, all too often, however, his final ball let him down.  His influence waned in the second half and he was replaced on the hour by Sead Hakšabanović.

Daizen Maeda – 4

An altogether dismal performance from the Japanese forward who contributed very little in the hour he was on the park.  A 32nd minute effort that ended up in with the Green Brigade summed up his contribution.

Kyogo Furuhashi -5

Other than an 11th minute effort that drifted wide of Mitov’s goal, Kyogo was starved of any meaningful service from his teammates. Try as he might to get involved in the play by dropping deep, today was an extremely frustrating match for Kyogo.

Yang Hyun-jun – 7

Where Maeda failed to trouble the St. Johnstone backline, Yang was a constant threat with his direct running and ability to beat his man.  Whether hitting the byline or cutting inside, the Korean was lively and one of Celtic’s biggest threats going forward.  Subbed off on 68 minutes for James Forrest.

Substitutes:

Anthony Ralston – 4

Replaced the returning Johnston on 60 minutes and put in his usual fully committed performance but was not able to provide the same attacking intensity as the marauding Canadian.

Liel Abada – 5

Brought on replace the misfiring Maeda, Abada had a decent final half hour but found it difficult to find space behind the packed St. Johnstone defence.

Sead Hakšabanović – 5

Showed some decent touches and quick footwork but ultimately flattered to deceive when it came to providing a final ball or shot.  The Montenegrin’s effort cannot be questioned, but his ability to change a stuffy game is still up for debate.

James Forrest -5

Misjudged a Ralston cross late on and could only loop a header harmlessly over the bar when in a very good goal-scoring position.

Alexandro Bernabei – 4

Ran around a lot and gave the ball away a lot.  Offered very little in defence or attack after replacing Taylor with 15 minutes to play.

Kevin McCluskie & Paul John Dykes

1 Comment
  1. Agree wae the ratings given. Maeda was shocking, Kyogo is being wasted in the system (?) he’s been asked tae adapt tae. And Matt O’Riley should huv burst the net wae the efforts he hud.

    Onwards and upwards oan Sunday 🤞🏻🫣😆🍀

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