Strachan Bemoans Set-Piece Defending After Pittodrie Horror Show

Last updated : 19 January 2009 By Clydebuilt
Gordon Strachan has stated uncategorically that the Celtic backline really has to up its game to avoid a repeat of the defensive horror show that was on display yesterday at Pittodrie.

Aberdeen beat Celtic 4-2 and with 3 of Aberdeen's four goals coming from set pieces it really was a poor showing from the a rear guard who, to be fair to them have been playing well for most of the season.

The referee had a good part to play in yesterdays result after failing to send off Mark Kerr for a two-footed challenge on Andreas Hinkel. Given that he had also blew his whistle prior to Zander Diamond's connecting with the ball for his first goal then technically he should have stopped play and awarded the penalty but unbelievably he decided to let the goal stand after he had 'stopped play'.

Strachan had this to say on the incident: "Automatically everybody thought it was a free-kick. That was the indication through his body language.

"Jimmy [Calderwood, Aberdeen's manager] also thought that. Everybody heard that the whistle was blown early before the ball went into the back of the net. I don't know whether it was confirmed on TV.

"We expected a free-kick but it hasn't been given so we just have to get on with it."

The refereeing mistakes however were immaterial as Celtic looked sluggish in defence, over powered in midfield and isolated up front in a match that despite the previous points this was a game that Celtic could have, and indeed should have won.

"If you don't defend well, then you have to expect to lose. The way we defended in open play was more than adequate but you can't win any game if you let in four goals from free kicks.

"We will have to go and analyse our defending at free-kicks because there has got to be a common denominator if you concede four times from set-pieces.

"It was a bit windy today and we will have to look at whether we are doing the right thing in those types of conditions. In some conditions the way we have set up may have worked but it has not worked, that's for sure.

"I know you still have to deliver the ball well and get a head on it but we are hoping that teams have to work harder to score against us.

"In free play Mark Brown has not had a save to make, which is astonishing. It was a strange and exciting game and I'm sure everybody enjoyed it, apart from the Celtic supporters.

"But we can console ourselves with the fact that it was one of our better performances over the last couple of weeks."

Right you are Gordon

Yours in Celtic