Michael Stewart has questioned the decision making of new Celtic signing Diego Laxalt on BBC Sportscene after Rangers took a huge step towards stopping Celtic’s pursuit of 10 in a row, with a 2-0 win at Parkhead.
Celtic named a much-changed side after an international break that was disastrous for Celtic. The Hoops were without Odsonne Edouard, Christopher Jullien and Ryan Christie – starting youngster Stephen Welsh, which was just his second senior outing.
Laxalt, 27, was handed his Celtic debut on Saturday afternoon as the Uruguay international came in for Greg Taylor. But James Tavernier had the beating of him throughout, with Rangers tactically outclassing Neil Lennon’s side.
Stewart questioned Laxalt’s defending in Rangers’ second goal, as a one-two allowed Rangers and Scott Arfield to get in behind and cross the ball for Connor Goldson – who bundled the ball home at the second attempt to score his and Rangers’ second.
“It’s a bit of a scrappy goal, but it is too easy for Celtic to think ‘oh, we were unfortunate’,” Stewart said. “They were second best all over, all day long. Look at Laxalt, I don’t know what he’s doing there. Diving in, and he is easily beaten with a one-two.”
TBR’s view – Laxalt needs to sharpen up defensively
While the Hoops will not be under pressure defensively much in the league this season – other than matches against Rangers – if they are to prove successful on the international stage, £30k-a-week (Football Italia) Laxalt needs to sharpen up.
It might just be that it was his first outing, and what a cauldron he was thrown into. But Laxalt must sharpen up quickly if he is to have a chance of shining at Celtic – and either returning to Milan an improved player, or earning a permanent Celtic move.