A lot has been made of Scott Brown’s ball since the Old Firm for Celtic’s second goal. A lot of analysis has especially attacked Rangers’ rearguard for being caught in such a crude manner (including by Murty), blaming Bruno Alves for being in no man’s land while Cardoso’s attempts to block Dembele off were weak at best.
A lot of this is indeed true – Alves was nowhere while Cardoso’s endeavour did not do much to stop the incoming invaders.
And yet, there is something a lot of onlookers seem to have ignored a tad – and it was just how good a ball it was from how deep a position it was, while Declan John completely neglected his duties as well.
Let’s take a look via frame by frame:
As you can see Brown is deep in his own half when he delivers what really should be a speculative long pass from the Celtic defence. But it turns out, it was much better than a speculative long pass. He knows who he is aiming at.
As we can see here, Alves and Cardoso are extremely close to each other – any experienced defender will tell you the key to a good duo is to keep within around 10 yards of each other. So they got that right. But the ball from deep is pinpoint – it evades Alves entirely and Cardoso is left exposed with Declan John out of position as always, even when not on the attack. He is even facing inwards rather than already chasing back like Tavernier on the other side. In short, he is not reading the game at all.
Then we see in the final shot, Cardoso’s defending is little more than having let Dembele get goal side and trying to grab his jersey, while Wes Foderingham needlessly comes off his goal line to make the finish an easy one for the French striker.
What is being overlooked is just how good a ball from way back this actually is – while fans are blaming the defending and goalkeeping, and we admit it failed miserably, Brown’s accuracy here is also exceptional.
What we are saying is sometimes you concede good goals. And cannot always blame your backline entirely for it. But there is no question Alves, John and Cardoso were culpible – but at least Cardoso tried. This case was a great ball, dreadfully dealt with.