If championship sides are built on solid defences, then Celtic will have to set a more realistic target for themselves this season. To have our defensive frailties exposed by Blackburn Rovers is one thing; to concede five at Curzon Ashton is quite another.
After 40 minutes of this grim spectacle played in dismal weather in a depressing 'stadium', Celtic were cruising at 2-0 ahead. Until then they had done enough to reassure us that the midfield passing game that was such a delight to watch only two days before had not deserted them . Hooper and Keeling again sprayed the ball around the pitch to good effect, and little Caldecott worked tirelessly to defend his corner and to lay off one sweet left wing ball after another to the feet of Brickell.
The first goal derived from a Pottsy left wing corner. As the ball descended from the leaden skies, it was driven home by Keeling who had swooped in from nowhere. Fitzgerald will doubtless claim an assist for the deftest of flicks-on.
Colin Potts will make a similar claim on the second goal. Picking the ball up on the far right hand side of the penalty area, he turned his marker inside out before lobbing his strike goal-wards. Thanks to a hefty defensive deflection, it sailed into goal past a keeper who was thus caught hopelessly out of position.
From then on, the whole Celtic performance deteriorated into pantomime. Curzon grabbed a goal back in the 40th minute when a gentle header was pushed into his own net by Craig Dootson. A turn over the bar should have been routine.
Curzon came out determined to embarrass their neighbours further, forcing Dootson into more desperate last-ditch saves before adding four more goals to their tally. The Celtic defence was a sorry sight. Bowker and Pearce surrendered possession as if unconcerned about the consequences. Dootson was jittery throughout ( and who can blame him with such flimsy protection ?) and in the end the home side's victory was fair reward for a committed performance.
The only players to emerge from the second half with any credit were Caldecott and Potts, both of whom at least gave the appearance of being interested in the outcome. Indeed, it was Pottsy's quick free kick in the 65th minute that set Foster up for his goal, while the home defence was still trying to set up some kind of wall.
I note that one or two other correspondents are expressing concern about the Newry match. All I can hear is the sharpening of knives over at Ewen Fields.