Analysis of Celtic's decision making against Livingston.
A look at how Celtic's poor decision-making cost them two points in their recent game away at Livingston, as they failed again to put pressure on Steven Gerrard's Rangers team - further building pressure from sections of the Celtic fanbase for Lennon to leave.
The above photo is just after the Livingston free kick had been taken. Around the edge of the box, there is 8 outfield Celtic players (in black) and 6 Livingston players (yellow). Out numbering the opponents around the box at the set-piece suggests Celtic are prepared to effectively deal with the free kick. Yet the numerical presence of the Celtic players is undermined by the poor organisation - the first bit of poor decision making by Lennon's men. Whilst 5 Celtic players are holding a line on the edge of the box, one Celtic defender is a yard inside the box which breaks the offside trap set by Celtic. The image also shows two Celtic players marking on Livingston player, highlighted in the. blue box, whilst a Livingston player moves behind them unmarked and eventually scores (highlighted in the orange box).
The below image looks at the defensive organisation from a different view. I've used three lines to highlight the different lines of Celtic players, the line closest to the goal shows a single Celtic defender playing three Livingston players onside - including the goalscorer.
The Celtic attack also displayed indecision, which included two specific examples of poor decision-making which proved costly in the end. Below looks at the first example. There was a counter-attack, Elyounoussi was tackled after chasing to dribble instead of shoot (see arrow) or pass to Griffiths. Who was in space, marked in the photo.
Griffiths is alone on the far-side of the box, meaning he would have had time to set himself for a shot from a relatively close range. Helped by the closed positioning of the closest defender, meaning it would've been hard for them to turn and recover. Elyounoussi had a chance to shoot, shown by the space given in the photo, potentially using guiding it between the defenders into the corner of the goal. Instead Elyounoussi took a loose touch and provided the centre back the opportunity to tackle. Later in the first half, another counter-attack saw a good chance for Celtic to extend their lead before half time. See below:
Ajer followed the pass which cut through the Livingston defence into a good position, wasted by poor decision-making. Ajer chose to take a low-driven shot which was easily smothered by the on-rushing goalkeeper. A more suitable decision would have been to chip or curved a shot around the goalkeeper, or to take the around the goalkeeper and slot home into an empty net. Missing these chances kept Livingston in the game at half-time, which Livingston took advantage of by equalising in the second half, as analysed below:
In the photo above, Livingston are on the attack in the Celtic half in the second half. The ball is being moved from the left, and the midfielder is about to receive the ball and send it to the right wing. The Celtic team is pictured to clearly slow a slow reaction to Livingston's use of possession, the right back is standing close to the penalty area and is exposed to the Livingston's left winger in the space marked by the square. The three Celtic players pictured with the triangle, are bunched together which makes them ineffective against the switch in play. The bunching is a result of more poor decision-making. The impact of the faults in the image above, is shown in the image below:
The Livingston winger is able to cross the ball into the box before Ajer can recover to block, the impact of the slow movement of the Celtic team to the switch of play. The ball into the box is not dealt with as neither of the centre backs (Bitton and Duffy), who fail to block the cross or mark the Livingston players in the box. This example of yet another piece of poor decision-making, allows Jay Emmanuel Thomas to finish easily from the middle of the box to gain Livingston a point.