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Hibs 0-3 Celtic: Comfortable victory over poor opposition

January 20, 2011

Celtic got the three points they needed thanks to a fairly decent performance against a poor, lacklustre Hibs. The home side hadn’t scored a goal in 2011 nor tasted victory since mid-November last year and it showed.

Both sides went for 4-4-2 which is a bit of a change from what Celtic usually face against most SPL sides as they generally prefer to flood the midfield or have additional spare men in their defensive line – as Hamilton did last week. This meant there was a direct match up all over the pitch – i.e. each individual coming up against a direct opponent – and in situations like this the side that has more quality and/or wants it more should usually prevail, which is what happened. It’s a cliché but the perhaps the most crucial aspect of this match-up was in the centre of midfield, where Celtic had re-introduced captain Scott Brown to partner the impressive Beram Kayal. The pair provided adequate protection to their back four and had the energy to support the attack, a good all-round midfield performance from them. Neil Lennon singled out the Israeli in particular for praise:

“You saw on Saturday that Beram manipulates the ball well, and he had an end product for a lot of the stuff he was doing… he got us into the game when we were struggling for the first 20 or 25 minutes. There was no real fluency to our play. We were a little bit groggy up front, which we expected. But I thought Kayal grew into the game and dragged the rest of them with him.”

This midfield battle is also covered quite well by gibfootballshow.co.uk in their match report of the game. In addition they point out McCourt’s almost total lack of defensive and positional awareness – something we have discussed on here before – which was quite apparent again. He often dropped very deep in search of the ball, in areas where his talent will pose no threat and also provided little defensive cover for his fullback, Izaguirre.

Another important feature for Celtic was the return of Gary Hooper to the side and he resumed his strike partnership with Anthony Stokes. We saw last week Stokes struggle as a lone forward – though to be fair he lacked support from midfield – and have yet to see how well Hooper would perform in that role with Giorgios Samaras the only player in the squad who seems capable. Hooper’s return provided the cutting edge, that little bit extra needed to build on the midfield battle won by Kayal and Brown –  the first and third a touch of class from Hooper and Stokes respectively, the second a penalty that the Irishman won and tucked away, taking his SPL tally to 43 goals in 72 appearances (7 in 16 for Celtic).

Conclusion

Celtic won this game without ever having to get out of second gear but it was a decent, professional job that needed to be done. There wasn’t a great deal of interest from a tactical point of view – the goals coming more from poor defending and a couple of touches of class than anything else – and it was more a case of doing the simple things well. There will be many tougher games between now and the end of the season.

Lineups

HIBERNIAN

Brown;

Thicot, Dickoh, Hanlon, Stevenson;

Wotherspoon (McBride 73),  De Graaf (Duffy 70) Murray, Galbraith;

Riordan, Zemmama (Byrne 81)

Not Used: Smith, Booth, McBride, Nish, Stephens.

CELTIC

Forster; Wilson, Rogne, Majstorovic, Izaguirre;

Forrest, Kayal (Ledley 66), Brown, McCourt ( Mulgrew 81);

Hooper (Ljungberg 74) Stokes

Not Used: Zaluska, Murphy, Towell, McGinn

(Sorry for the lack of pics this week)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. JeanPierre LeGuerre permalink
    January 20, 2011 4:19 pm

    tictacs88 – I know you are interested in similar websites on the subject of football tactics.

    This one is quite good – Dutch site specialising on the Eredivisie, but with some general analysis too. Well worth a look.

    11 tegen 11
    http://11tegen11.wordpress.com/

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