Jansen left searching for clues

David McKinney on disaffection at Celtic after their 2-1 defeat by Dunfermline
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The Independent Online
As he searches for answers to his side's disastrous start to the season, Wim Jansen, the Celtic coach, will know today that he has to move quickly to give supporters of the club hope for the future.

Those supporters' aspirations were as fragmented as their defence at the end of a 90 minutes which clearly demonstrated that Jansen has some way to go before he produces a side that can hope to compete for the league.

Tommy Burns paid the ultimate price for failing to beat Rangers in the title race: if he is to succeed in his first season Jansen will now do so against the handicap of losing the first two games that leaves Celtic at the bottom of the Premier Division. Defeat by Hibs was seen as unfortunate, the players had not adjusted to each other and there were communication problems with the tactics. But to lose to Dunfermline is unforgivable in the eyes of Celtic's support.

The Celtic defence allowed Allan Moore to elude Tosh McKinlay before squaring the ball to the unmarked David Bingham, who equalised an Andreas Thom penalty with just 47 seconds of the second half gone. Thereafter, Dunfermline came close to increasing their lead before Hamish French scored the winner from the penalty spot in the 76th minute.

Dunfermline's first win over Celtic for seven years exposed the flaws in the side. The defence was insecure while the front men fired blanks. The most telling contribution of the afternoon came from the home supporters, who jeered their side in the second half.

They cannot be fooled - even as the teams were announced it was clear they are unconvinced by the new signings. The mention of Pierre van Hooijdonk, Paolo Di Canio and Jorge Cadete before a game was enough a year ago to raise the roof in anticipation. On Saturday, Henrik Larsson and Regi Blinker hardly registered in the approval stakes. Of the two, Blinker appeared the more capable of causing defenses problems. The former Sheffield Wednesday player showed an exemplary first touch but frequently lacked an outlet when closed down. Larsson's poor touch too often saw him lose possession. The blunt truth is he is not a proven goalscorer and Jock Brown, the general manager, will have to add fire power to the team.

Even so, any forward can only be successful if the defence plays its part, but on Saturday Dunfermline could have driven through the heart of the Celtic backline in a double-decker bus, such were the gaps.

Celtic's problems should not detract from Dunfermline's performance, but even they must have been surprised at Celtic's lack of fight and Jansen will now realise he has been left a side unable to provide a spark of genius or something unexpected.

"We need to coach ourselves out on the pitch, where the players must talk to each other more," Jansen said. "There is a lack of communication between the players which we need to address, as we gave both goals to Dunfermline."

"We're perhaps still a long way from playing as I want us to, but I cannot say if I will make changes for the Coca-Cola Cup [Celtic meet St Johnstone tomorrow]. We must work hard before then and prepare well to ensure we do not lose our shape again."

Goals: Thom (pen 39) 1-0; Bingham (46) 1-1; French (pen 76) 1- 2.

Celtic (4-4-2): Gould; McNamara, Boyd, Mackay, McKinlay (O'Donnell, 71); Thom (Donnelly, 79), Burley, Hannah, Blinker; Jackson, Larsson. Substitute not used: Grant.

Dunfermline Athletic (4-4-2): Westwater; Shields, Barnett, Tod, Miller; Moore, Curran, French, Petrie (Fleming, 71); Bingham (Den Bieman, 66), Smith (Fraser, 85).

Referee: M Clark (Edinburgh).

Bookings: Celtic Blinker, Mackay; Dunfermline Petrie, Smith, Moore, Curran.

Man of the match: French.

Attendance: 46,206.