Michael Stewart has told BBC Sportscene (Sunday, 19:15) that Rangers loanee Glenn Middleton “switched off” as Celtic equalised against Hibernian on Saturday afternoon at Easter Road.
In a hotly-contested Scottish Premiership clash, Christian Doidge’s cross was inadvertently poked into his own net by Kris Ajer to give Hibs an unlikely lead. Referee Kevin Clancy’s display then came under scrutiny.
Strangely, a foul on James Forrest was not given by Clancy, but the fourth official reversed the decision. With Hibs players unaware as to what was going on, Celtic stormed up the other end of the pitch.
Middleton was left ball-watching as right-back Mortiz Bauer perfectly supplied a cross for Ryan Christie to equalise. Stewart criticised the Gers loanee, claiming he “switched off” and describing the overall defending as poor.
“Some of the Hibs players were not up to speed quick enough,” Stewart said. “This is just poor, poor defending. It’s a set-play, and they should have been quicker to react. Middleton against Bauer, and Middleton just switches off.
“There’s acres of space for Bauer and take nothing away from Ryan Christie, because that is a wonderful header.”
TBR’s view – Stewart right, a learning curve for Middleton
Middleton was nowhere to be seen as Bauer had the time and space to perfect a cross for Christie. It was far too easy for Bauer to get the cross in, with Middleton ball-watching near the halfway line.
It is a steep learning curve for the winger, who was won plaudits for his performances going forward. As a winger, though, he still needs to work on the defensive side of his game and that was evident.