Defending champions Celtic endured a dismal defeat at the hands of their arch-rivals on Saturday afternoon as their quest to land a historic tenth successive title was dealt a devastating dent.
Neil Lennon’s side were outfought, outplayed and outperformed – in pretty much every aspect – as Rangers ran away with a 2-0 victory at Celtic Park, courtesy of a match-winning brace from central defender Conor Goldson.
The Hoops chief lambasted somebody “doing us in” after the game, claiming the leak of his starting XI was “disgusting” but in reality, it was that very team selection that proved costly, not the fact that the Light Blues had a little one-up prior to kick-off.
It was his decision to start a dubious duo in the attack that led to their tepid and spiritless performance…
Over the course of 90 minutes, the Bhoys failed to register a single attempt on target. Not one. By comparison, Steven Gerrard’s men managed five on target, profiting from two of those chances.
And that’s despite only playing one striker up front.
Lennon opted to pair up Mohamed Elyounoussi, a winger by trade, with back-up frontman Patyk Klimala, in what was only his second start of the season.
What an awful call that turned out to be with neither player managing to surpass a 6.6 rating on SofaScore. In fact, the Saints loanee was arguably the worse of the two, which is hardly a surprise given that he’s a square peg in a round hole at the minute.
Elyounoussi lost possession 13 times, won just 50% of his duels and missed one big chance. It’s no wonder he was hauled off before the hour mark.
But why start him in the first place? Both Leigh Griffiths and Albian Ajeti were on the bench.
Yes, you can argue that the latter is only just returning from injury whilst the Scotsman has barely featured all season but in games like this one, you have to take those risks.
Griffiths knows exactly what an Old Firm derby means and even assisted the winner against St Johnstone in his first appearance before the international break; Ajeti has more goals (five) than Odsonne Edouard (four) in the SPFL this season.
That baffling call undoubtedly led to the embarrassment that unfolded at Parkhead. Lennon only has himself to blame for the defeat.