4 at the back, Shane, Neil and Gordon


We got a fascinating insight into the complex layers of management through comments before, during and after the game from Gordon Strachan, and post-match from Neil Lennon.  Before kick-off, Gordon was asked about Neil’s decision to play three at the back, a formation that was exploited at the weekend (and praised by me last month).

Our former boss, once manager to Neil Lennon, father of Gavin, now a Celtic first team coach, deflected.  “I’m not the manager.”  Gordon was there as a pundit, but pulled his punch on this occasion and again at halftime.  After the second half, when Celtic improved significantly with four at the back, Gordon declined to judge the starting formation harshly, postulating that we will never know what would have happened had Celtic started with four at the back.

Then Neil Lennon explained what Gordon Strachan almost certainly knew before the match.  His choice was not to start with three at the back, but he did not have fit personnel to start and play the majority of a game with four in defence, specifically, a wide right forward.  Ryan Christie was not allowed to leave his home for two weeks, at this level, that is a long time without training.

A few weeks ago, we discussed that it was absurd that tens of thousands of Celtic fans knew something to be an absolute truth, which Neil Lennon was oblivious to (think central mid).  We agreed (I’m sure we did) that this is nonsense.  Instead, we had to accept that the manager sees complex layers that we do not.  Who knew there were concerns about the match fitness of Ryan Christie, apart from Gordon Strachan, of course?

It will be four at the back whenever fitness permits.  The two central defenders will be Kristoffer Ajer (who was immense last night) and Christopher Jullien.  Shane Duffy is struggling.  At 28, there is plenty of fuel in the tank, so he may find form, but right now he looks like a player on the bus out of Brighton.  Some you win.

In football, or in life generally, the direction of travel is often more important that your absolute position.  Are things getting better, or are they getting worse?  Therein lies whatever consolation there was in defeat to a superior Milan last night.  It was still a defeat, but losing to a better team while competing for large periods of the game, is better than being schooled by a team of never-won-anythings.

We did no more to Milan than Motherwell will do to us next month, but that direction of travel offers some consolation ahead of Sunday.

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  1. Anyone who has lived in the Welsh Valleys knows that Vodka is drunk only during the day and when it gets dark everyone sleeps….until dawn when they open another bottle of Vodka and sing…”We’ll keep a flagon in the hillside…”..until it get’s dark and everyone goes to sleep again….apart from the old nostalgic miners who take their canaries down the mine.




  2. lets all do the huddle on

    In Wales, a lightbulb is non essential, but a bottle of vodka is….🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️




    it is genuinelly unbelievable – until you remember that its politicians making up the rules and then it becomes clear



    they need to be temporarilly relieved of their duties until covid is over



    they are destroying social fabric, economy, jobs and peoples futures with their clueless blind idiocy



    i see an arab spring or fall of eastern european communism moment happening in the world at some point to get rid of politicians reeking havoc



    bring it on

  3. “…….politicians reeking havoc” ….or ‘…..politicians reeking of Vodka”




  4. in fact the Welsh politicians have probably got it spot on.



    “Drink vodka and turn your lights off….save electricity, save the ozone layer, save humanity…..and have a laugh while you’re at it…..ok boyos let’s have another chorus of… ‘Blend of my Fathers’ ”




  5. BGFC,



    I am with you about the horrors humans do. It must be called out by all sane people, no matter what side the perpetrators are. We cannot be selective.


    Of course it is closer to home too. What is your thoughts about sealing the records for 50 years ‘re Tuam mother and baby home ???



    HH .

  6. Big Jimmy.


    Hang on Sloopy was covered in 1976 by an American band called Sandpipers is reached number 32 in the UK charts.


    Their biggest hit was Guantanamera which reached number 7 in 1966.


    So your memory is correct about the song being around again in 1976,


    As an aside a Sandpiper is a bird and I know you like birds. :-)

  7. JIMMYNOTPAUL on 25TH OCTOBER 2020 10:14 .


    Cheers mate, I will have a listen to the Sandpipers version on Youtube..hopefully ?



    I dont “Like” Burds….I feckin Love ’em.





  8. Right got to go….that’s me used up my extra hour for this winter.



    It may be 10.33 am to you but to me it feels like 11.33am and it’s time to pluck te chicken and get the soup on the simmer.



    Enjoy the game.




  9. Neil Lennon & McCartney on

    I have nothing to say about the team selection, the formation, or the perceived body language. All I have to say is COYBIG!

  10. Today’s starting line up V Aberdeen ……



    Bain; Frimpong, Duffy, Ajer, Laxalt, Ntcham, McGregor, Christie, Rogic, Elyounoussi, Ajeti


    EMBRAMIKE on 25TH OCTOBER 2020 10:47 AM



    If you are getting the team leaked to you it is your duty to report it to the club.They can then go backwards to find out the source.



    Oneupmanship is one thing but leaks damage the club.

  12. Like the look of it, hopefully it hits the ground sprinting!



    C’MON THE CELTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Big Jimmy.



    You’re the man for the “burds” .



    Name your top three Italian actresses from the sixties.



    I’m going to be controversial and go with Gina Lollobrigida, Virna Lisi and Claudia Cardinale.



    I’ll watch for your reply after the footy.

  14. lets all do the huddle on

    i think i like that team but i dont know anything anymore



    not sure what the formation will be

  15. FAVOURITE UNCLE on 25TH OCTOBER 2020 10:50 AM


    EMBRAMIKE on 25TH OCTOBER 2020 10:47 AM


    If you are getting the team leaked to you it is your duty to report it to the club.They can then go backwards to find out the source.


    As I have said on here before, I copy and post the team as soon as the official Celtic twitter account posts the team, never before as I have no way of knowing the team !


    The teams are posted 75 mins before ko in SPFL games 15 mins earlier for European ties.

  16. I do go along with this any kind of win today.


    What we need is a performance and a good one at that.


    If that brings the win great. But we need to see structure to the team.

  17. onenightinlisbon on

    ST TAMS on 25TH OCTOBER 2020 10:57 AM



    I think Barkas was injured at Milans 3rd goal



    Right, manager been very quiet on that one then…..


    EMBRAMIKE on 25TH OCTOBER 2020 10:54 AM



    OK PAL NO PROBLEM.I thought it is always you first up i thought you had a source.




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