I love Big Ange.
He is a total credit to our club and I am so happy and proud that he is Celtic’s manager.
I know pretty much all of you feel the same, but I feel the need to remind people that’s the way I feel before I get into this article, as some in our support feel like Big Ange is utterly immune to criticism and if you dare disagree with him then you are against him.
That isn’t true and it isn’t a healthy outlook to have that we cannot criticise the manager, especially when it is definitely valid to do so.
You can probably count on one hand the amount of times he’s got it wrong so far at Celtic, because he very rarely does, but today was definitely one of those days.
I’ll start however by giving him credit. I thought the selection on Johnston to start today was a good one and I agreed with it from what I have heard of his training performances and saw from him at the World Cup, and I thought Kent’s goal aside where he should have got closer to him, he played well today and had a solid debut.
Leaving Mooy on the bench wasn’t a surprise, but when he came on for O’Riley, I think he showed he should have been started today as just like against Hibs at Easter Road, I thought he was very good.
O’Riley was ok, he certainly wasn’t terrible but he certainly wasn’t a stand-out either.
At the moment he’s playing a 6/10 every week for us, whereas we were previously getting 8/10 performances from him game in and game out.
I’m not going to criticise the manager too much for leaving Mooy on the bench because I don’t necessarily think it was a terrible decision and I’m not sure it really had that much effect on the result today.
But for me, I don’t know what he was thinking starting Forrest today. Fair enough starting Maeda, another decision he got right as he scored the opener and was very good first half, although should have been taken off much earlier in the 2nd, but starting Forrest on the right was a decision that shocked everyone, and it was definitely the wrong one.
You simply cannot leave both Jota AND Abada on the bench today, especially given both their records against ‘Rangers’, you are leaving out too much firepower and the result was Forrest playing and doing absolutely nothing the entire time he was on.
The second big mistake that Ange made today was brining on Josip Juranovic to replace Greg Taylor at left back when he went off injured mid-way through the first half.
Ange said before the game that Juranovic wasn’t fully fit, and as we know, there is intense speculation that he is going to be leaving the club very soon in this transfer window, so his mind would most likely be somewhere else.
Despite knowing all this, Ange decided to put him on in a Glasgow derby, out of position and he got absolutely torched the entire game.
You can read what Celtic fans thought of his performance here: Celtic Fans All Saying The Same Thing On Juranovic Performance – Champions 67
The thing is, it’s not as if we didn’t have a left-back on the bench to bring on, we actually had a £3.5m Argentine left-back on the bench who has done very well for us most games he has played, including the other day when he came on late in the game, where Ange commented how well he played.
What must Bernabei be thinking sat on the bench watching a half-fit right back go on and play instead of him and get ripped apart? He must have been incredibly frustrated, and no wonder.
And no doubt the Celtic board will also be frustrated after that game. How many millions have fallen off Juranovic’s price tag this afternoon? I dread to think.
Once Ange saw that he had been ripped apart for about the fifth time in the second half he should have taken him off for Bernabei and held his hands up that he’d made a mistake not brining him on in the first place. We were extremely fortunate that we didn’t lose more goals because of it.
I think looking back on the game tonight, Ange will realise he got it wrong today, but thankfully for us, it will probably be a long time before he gets it wrong again, because he so often gets it right.