What do Celtic need to change against Motherwell?

For the first time this season, Celtic now find themselves sitting behind Rangers in the cinch Premiership. Supporters had prepared themselves for a title race with Celtic dropping a plethora of points outside of derby matches, but frustrations from the support are starting to reach a boiling point with the club on a downward spiral.

Celtic are looking for a turning point, with the expectation from supporters being for the club to try and win every single game before the trip to Ibrox on April 7th, and that starts with Sunday’s trip to Fir Park to face Motherwell.

Celtic’s previous trip to Fir Park this season was far too close for comfort. Luis Palma scored his first goal for the club from the bench in the 87th minute when his cross-turned-shot found it’s way past Liam Kelly.

Blair Spittal equalised for the Steelmen in the 95th minute and many Celtic supporters had succumbed to more dropped points, but Matt O’Riley had the final say on the day in the 97th minute as the away end was sent into raptures.

Celtic would drop points against Motherwell in November, with an 86th minute David Turnbull penalty being cancelled out by a 90th minute Jonathan Obika equaliser.

Celtic cannot afford to let more points slip away on Sunday, with another slip up at this point potentially proving to be fatal in the title race with a Rangers win stretching the gap at the top to 5 points.

With last weekend’s performance being nothing short of lacklustre, what needs to change for Celtic for a massive game on Sunday?

More from Matt O’Riley
O’Riley has seen success at this ground previously this season, but Celtic’s most consistent performer of the first-half of the season has been cutting a lost figure in Celtic’s midfield.

Whether it is a case of him being burnt-out or having his head turned by the January links to Atletico Madrid, O’Riley isn’t performing to his optimum and turning in another frustrating display against Kilmarnock.

He hasn’t been living up to the incredibly high standards he set for himself in the first six months of the season, and his influence on the team has been waning.

When the Dane isn’t at his best, Celtic aren’t either, and a return to form for Matt O’Riley would be key for Celtic with the need for victory at this stage in the season heightened.

Stick with the shape
Celtic started with Kyogo playing behind Adam Idah once again last Saturday. The tactical tweak had worked in Paisley in the Scottish Cup Fifth Round, and it was working again against Kilmarnock, but the performance levels from the team dropped off massively in the second-half.

The drop-off coincided with substitutions from Brendan Rodgers that saw Celtic revert back to their old shape, which unsurprisingly to many saw Celtic welcome unwanted pressure from Kilmarnock, ultimately conceding a late equaliser.

Rodgers cannot afford to continue with the old system that clearly isn’t serving the team well, and taking a risk and continuing with Kyogo behind Adam Idah should be the way forward.

James McKenzie // @JamesWHMcKenzie

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