Despite an impressive record in the North East in recent times no-one expected Celtic to find it easy against Aberdeen today and that proved to be the case this afternoon.
Barry Robson has his side well drilled and looks to have recruited well over the summer as he aims to kick on in his first managerial role but a big win on home soil evaded his side on the day.
The game was in the balance until a Matt O’Riley goal six minutes from time made sure the points would be returning to Glasgow, but what did we learn about Celtic on Matchday Two of this season’s Scottish Premiership?
Brendanball Needs Time
History tells us that Celtic under Brendan Rodgers can be a joy to watch and there’s nothing to suggest that we won’t see more of the same second time round.
The man himself is older and wiser than in his first spell at Celtic Park, but it’d be highly optimistic to expect his system to click into gear immediately on his return.
Especially as the majority of his squad have been indoctrinated in the unique ways of Ange Postecoglou for the past two seasons.
We’ve seen his new look side cut their opponents open at times in his two competitive games so far, and were it not for some misfiring in front of goal it’s fair to see our goals for tally could easily have been double figures.
For now though we’ll need to settle for seven, which isn’t a bad return, and it’s pleasing to see midfielders amongst the scorers with O’Riley and Turnbull both grabbing two goals each so far.
Where Rodgers will demand quick improvement however is in his defence, with all three of the goals conceded so far belonging firmly in the “could have been prevented” category.
At times we’ve looked disjointed, though with two of our regular back four – the injured Alistair Johnston and the now departed Carl Starfelt – unavailable then that’s understandable to an extend.
No one expected us to line up with a back four of Ralston, Welsh, Nawrocki and Taylor at any point this season, but that’s what the second half at Pittodrie gave us.
It’s a line-up that could give us some anxious moments were it to be what we see in the Champions League but credit in particular to Welsh and Ralston who played their part in today’s win.
There’s no doubt that we’re a stronger force with Johnston and Carter-Vickers in place and it sounds like Gustav Lagerbielke may be joining the party soon too.
Greg Taylor Just Hasn’t Got Going
Which bring us to an area of the pitch which many are currently describing as our “problematic left back position”
This may seem harsh on Greg Taylor – a player who was mentioned in certain circles as a potential Player Of The Year last season – but there’s no doubt that he’s fallen way below the high standards he’s set himself over the last two campaigns.
“Angeball” was a system which seemed to get the best out of the Scotland international, and given his days playing as a midfielder in his youth he took to the new role like a duck to water.
Rodgers seems keen to revert to a more traditional approach with his fullbacks though and so far Taylor has failed to impress.
He’s got credit in the bank with the supporters for what he’s achieved in the Hoops so far, but it’d be naïve to think the manager isn’t shopping for alternatives as we speak and he’ll need to up his game in the weeks ahead.
There’s less to say on Alexandro Bernabei at this moment in time.
His Celtic career has been “mixed” to say the least, and after sleeping in for a team meeting he’s already fallen foul of the disciplinarian that is Brendan Rodgers.
Yet to play competitively under Rodgers he’ll likely be given further opportunities to impress in due , but he already finds himself at a crossroads at this relatively early stage in his Celtic career.
Is Kyogo Furuhashi Getting Even Sharper?
It’s a tall order to improve on a 34-goal season but it looks like Kyogo is fully focused on doing just that.
Following a trademark opening day goal after a typical Liel Abada assist he showed all his guile to add another to his tally against the Dons.
The Japanese striker has developed a very deliberate habit of placing himself in an “offside” position when not involved in the play – before then springing to life and causing chaos for defenders.
Nicky Devlin was the unfortunate “victim” today as his attempted header back to his keeper was immediately pounced on by the ever alert hitman.
With one touch to set himself he then dispatched the ball high into the net beyond the helpless Kelle Roos.
With two goals from two games he’s comfortably on track to hit the dizzy heights again this season and you can also add an assist to his record following his cultured pass for Matt O’Riley last week.
Making an impact on the Champions League however – where he failed to register a goal last season – will be high on his list of targets.
Listen to the latest episode of The Celtic Exchange Weekly as we discuss Rodgers’ Tactical Tweaks, Two Goal Turnbull and Starfelt’s Imminent Exit!
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