Celtic v Kilmarnock the match

Leaving the other thread for league winning comments.

Some points on the match and performance here, not that they’re especially relevant today.

First of all I thought it was a much improved performance on our efforts in recent weeks. We didn’t deserve to win by more than a goal anyway I didn’t think but at least we played with purpose and a tempo which was absent recently. They played quite well and caused us a few problems, though I think that was to be expected with 2 centre halves playing as full backs and a guy at centre half who hadn’t played in 3 years. We were always going to be short on general understanding.


Boruc 7.5 - Came for one cross that he missed but took everything else clean out of the air. Made a couple of decent stops and one cracking block from an offside shot. No chance with the goal. Legend.

Caldwell - 7 Played out of position and struggled a bit sometimes with his passing and movement but kept doing the right thing by bombing forward into space and covered reasonably well at the back.

Pressley - 6.5 Continues to contribute little more than average for me. Didn’t help Kenendy once in the centre half when Naismith was running at him and though the overlap was on Naismith’s left Pressley stayed on the other side of Kennedy because that was his position. Concedes too many fouls for my liking - not all of them given - and I’d give him 20% blame for the goal for picking up the least dangerously positioned attacker in the middle

Kennedy - 10 Impossible to give him anything other than full marks. Tremendous just to see him back in the squad but to start the game, play 90 minutes, and to put in a very good performance was sensational. 3 years is a hell of a long time to be out. Imagine what must happen to your touch, your confidence, your concentration, never mind any of the physical fitness and strength stuff. Imagine all the muscle wastage and everything on that leg after all the operations. Superb.

O’Dea - 7 Played very well out of his natural position and looked composed and assured on the ball - telling his winger up front where he wanted him. Badly beaten for the goal but in fairness he was marking 2 players at the time because he’d just won us the ball back. 60% culpable - the other 20% is Kennedy by the way for leaving his post in the middle but didn’t want to post anything negative in his rating bit.

Nakamura - 9 Great players score goals on the big occasion. Even greater players score great goals in those matches. Up until the 90th minute he’d had some good and some bad moments with the ball. Passed it well in general and looked threatening but never quite linked with Riordan up front. What a free kick though. That’s his 5th against Kilmarnock in 2 seasons and they even looked like they’d devised a strategy to stop him with their split wall thing they employed for his first free. Brilliant

Lennon - 8 Started slowly and played one terrible pass for Tommy G where he got robbed and Killie had an early chance. Played himself into it though, hitting one cracking shot and getting forward a bit more than usual not to create as much but just to keep us on the front foot. Best he’s played in a while

Hartley - 6 Don’t want to be critical of anyone today but I’m not seeing the player that used to run all day with and without the ball for Hearts. Maybe he’s taking his time adapting to Celtic’s system but he doesn’t look the same player.

Tommy - 7.5 Like Lennon he had a poor start to the game - robbed twice by Sylla and once by Locke. Like Lennon he improved too and should have had a penalty when his goalbound shot was blatantly stopped by an outstretched hand.

Riordan - 6.5 Not his day. Didn’t see much of the ball at all in the game. Tried a few decent clever turns in the box but they all nearly came off and failed at the end. Then he had that cracking chance on 90 minutes to win us the league and that was a shocking effort - that’s why he’s not a striker. Still has the makings of a winger though.

Jan - 8 Won heaps of ball in the air all day and took his goal very well. He was unlucky that some of his layoffs for Riordan x2 and McGeady didn’t come to more but he’s looking sharp and a fit Big Jan next season will be crucial.

I agree with most of that especially the rating on Kennedy - I couldn’t believe how at home he looked and it was also a superb gesture by Strachan to play him. I don’t think he was in any way at fault for the goal though. I’d go 50% each for O’Dea and Pressley. When O’Dea got beaten out wide Kennedy had to front up to the guy bursting into the box and actually shouted and pointed at Pressley to take up the other lad in the middle but Pressley ran out to cover some guy at the edge of the box that was already marked.

Speaking of Pressley; he’s not as dominant in the air as I thought, he does give away a hell of a lot of free kicks and he’s not quick anymore. I’d have a lot of our other centre backs ahead of him but it’s unlikely Strachan will change it drastically for the cup final. It’s super to have 3 young defenders who’ve all come through the ranks like McManus, Kennedy and O’Dea. They can form the backbone of the side for years to come now.

Text you about Hartley during the game. He just hasn’t shown any of what he was renowned for since he came. I thought the 433/451 would suit him today as the extra body in midfield allowed him to make more of his trademark runs but though he got forward more he was very one paced and contributed little of note on the ball.

I actually thought Gravesen was rubbish too and we definitely need a midfield player this summer. Agreed on Jan - that’s 16 goals in 26 appearances in all competitions when he hasn’t been fully fit for many of those. A good rest over the summer and he’ll be ready to do real damage next season.

It’s just a pleasure to watch Naka play. Did you see his interview with the interpreter? At the end he goes, ‘Thank you very much.’ Good to see he’s managed to learn a few words in his 2 years here.