Worse than Soro: Celtic gem who lost possession 17x severely let Ange down last night - opinion

© Provided by Football FanCast Celtic, Hoops, Bhoys, SPFL, Scottish Premiership, Anthony Ralston, Real Betis, Europa League, Ange Postecoglou,

If an extraterrestrial was sent down from space and asked the nearest person to define Celtic, the response would have been to watch the Hoops’ game on Thursday evening.

Going forward Ange Postecoglou’s men were first class, but old habits die hard as their defence consistently let them down.

This is going to be a tough Europa League group for the Bhoys and nothing summed that up more than their 4-3 defeat to Real Betis in Sevilla this week.

Celtic took a shock 2-0 lead, sending supporters who were unable to travel to the game into bedlam.

However, the Spanish opposition fought back and eventually took a 4-2 lead before Anthony Ralston’s late header gave the Glasgow side hope.

No one can ever fault Ralston’s commitment or work ethic but, apart from his goal, he was one of the most frustrating figures against Betis.

Coupled with Ismaila Soro, the duo endured a nightmare in soaring temperatures at the Estadio Benito Villamarín. The Ivorian looked like a red card waiting to happen and was taken off shortly after the break in favour of James McCarthy.

His discipline was again questionable but Ralston was arguably worse.

The Scot has been a revelation during the opening months of the campaign and now has three goals for the season in what has been a breakthrough year.

Sadly, one of Postecoglou’s most consistent players since arriving severely let him down in Spain.

The right-back was a threat going forward but was a liability at the back, much like the rest of Celtic’s defence.

They shipped 19 goals in the Europa League last term, the highest of any side in the tournament, and it’s evident that they haven’t learned their lessons from 12 months ago.

Ralston was particularly poor and was caught out on numerous occasions, firstly for the opening Betis goal.

He failed to clear the ball on the right-hand side of the penalty area and then Juan Miranda strolled through the centre-back pairing before sliding the ball home.

The Scot was also caught out of position for the hosts’ third goal. Sergio Canales waltzed past the defender as though he wasn’t there and, instead of trying to make up for his mistake, he was caught ball watching alongside Soro.

The Spaniard was able to supply a teasing ball for the robust Borja Iglesias to beat Joe Hart as a consequence.

Ralston’s woeful evening was capped off by a cross in the second half soaring high, wide and out of play at the near post. That was just one of 17 concessions of the football as he found the target with only 50% of his deliveries.

He did pop up with a late goal but by then, the damage had already been done. With 15 minutes left, substitute Alex Moreno flew past him with relative ease before Cameron Carter-Vickers performed a rescue act to sweep up the play.

The defender has been an excellent servant during the 2021/22 season so far but this was a performance which demonstrated why Juranovic will eventually become the incumbent of the right-back role.

AND in other news, 83.3% duels won: Celtic surely regret losing 6ft4 “weapon” after European masterclass…


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