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. DENIABHOY on 23RD OCTOBER 2020 2:56 PM


    Losing soft goals at CP in European ties due to defensive errors has been the norm for years.



    You can put your house on at least one of the following happening:




    1. The opposition scores in the first 5-10 minutes due to a slack pass out from or across the back.



    2. The opposition scores in their first counter attack after a promising period of pressure from us.



    3. We fight our way back into a game and almost instantly undo all the good work by gifting a goal at the other end.






    Painfully accurate.

  2. Let’s hope Gary Breen watched the last two Celtic matches he might rethink that Shane Duffy will be under no pressure since he moved club.

  3. Tim Horton


    Sorry I missed your reply last night.


    Toronto is my favourite holiday destination.(your name gave it away).


    Big Blue Jays fan and also daft on Toronto’s greatest rockers


    Rush. Have been in and around Missisagua (sp). Scary thing is


    first time me and Mrs Markiebhoy went there, there was a gap between


    there and the city – no gap now almost all the way to Hamilton.


    Next time i’m heading that way i’ll give you a shout. (you can pretend to


    be out of town) :)

  4. 67 European Cup Winners on

    ERNIE LYNCH on 23RD OCTOBER 2020 12:57 PM


    Apologies for time taken to respond – work gets in the way



    You put it more eloquently than I did


    No problem with players moving – that’s our model


    But NL needs to get Ajer playing on Sunday like he did on Thursday and not like he did last Saturday


    Regardless of where and when Ajer wants to go




  5. Jim Spence








    Wee tip for younger journos especially. When the hordes pile on….don’t give an inch. They don’t want your apologies…they don’t want your humility..they don’t want your penance. They want to stop you doing your job. They want your silence. Give them nothing. Just do your jobFlexed biceps

  6. ERNIE LYNCH on 23RD OCTOBER 2020 3:17 PM


    RON BACARDI on 23RD OCTOBER 2020 3:00 PM



    ‘We need a CEO from us CQNers to let Lawwell know what is needed.’





    1. A new ownership model. Otherwise a new majority shareholder who is (a) a Celtic fan and (b) lives here and would attend matches.



    2. A vision of how to take the club forward with a sense of direction and purpose.



    3. A new CEO occupying a less prominent position in a more conventional management structure.



    Once that’s done the onfield matters can be addressed.



    Anything else will just be history repeating itself.




    Agree and am hoping a Celtic Trust under David Lowe will fill the vacuum which is the main barrier to change.



    On field matters will have to be addressed at the same time, being the symptom of why fundamental change is required.




    Toronto stretches east to Oshawa and west to Hamilton and beyond.Was not a big fan of Rush more the old groups Beatles,Floyd etc and through in Sinatra,Tony Bennett.



    Do give me a shout next time you are in Toronto and we can meet up.

  8. C3x3 @ 5.04



    Regarding KA — huge talent by the way — the story of the NT manager pushing him to leave is quite old.



    But you have to ask why should he stay if he is not getting the coaching / he is not improving / he is getting flack from the support?

  9. Tim Horton


    Hope to get a chance to get there soon – thanks for that I’ll give you a shout.

  10. Apologies in advance but Toronto is Trumpsville Canada.


    Soft cuddly progressives my erse — low rent populism looms large.



    Lard bucket loudmouth gets caught smoking hookers and pumping crack and they go awe shucks.


    And then they vote his brother in.



    And guess what I bet they blame it on rural — the Deep North — Ontario.

  11. fourstonecoppi on

    i see the sevco are breaking records again……a 54 yard goal. Jesus yon trophy cabinet must be bulging!!!

  12. Agree with Ernie’s restructure plan,pretty sure Garry Parker is not welcome at CP,seems he abused PL when he was there with Hibs.

  13. weebobbycollins on

    Bada Bing…what about the 60.000 fans who filled Celtic Park, half of whom constantly abused PL?


    Will they be no longer welcome?

  14. Nothing will change until Celtic season ticket holder’s call the PLCs bluff.


    The events since 2012 have shown us that Celtic season ticket holder’s have now been consumed by the PLC’s ethos, deflect, ignore, swerve, and be placated with romping a one horse league, and sing about rebels whilst looking over there.


    The optics of having the Strachan family, enshrined back into the front line of operations, screams, cronyism, and clique’s.


    What about, merit, work ethic, achievement?


    Kennedy, Lennon, and now the Strachan family. If that isn’t cliquedom, then what is it?


    Where are RFC getting their money from? What will they be like when they get, mysteriously richer?


    Do Celtic season ticket holder’s deserve to be taught a lesson, by hook, or by crook, the 10 is ‘mysteriously’ denied to them?


    What the hell do we care now. hh

  15. fair play and cap doffed.






    Lou Macari






    Oct 16


    A great day at The Macari Centre. We’ve come a long way moving into our new home and credit to the staff and volunteers in making it happen. Huge improvements with the new pods. Thanks for all your messages and contributions




  16. Lou Macari was sacrificed by, Fergus McCann, because LM wasn’t a puppet.



    If LM had the players that the late TB had at his disposal, then, imho, LM would’ve stopped the hun 9in a row.



    LM didn’t cut the mustard with FM, because FM didn’t want an uppitty Tim as his manager. hh



    Saint Stivs…isn’t that Elland Road?






    your at it ya torment, the 2nd picture

  18. St Stivs – I stood just to the right of where that second image is viewed from – big group from Greenock CSC





    There was a pic the other day of, The City Ground at Nottingham Forest, the pic featured our game down there in 1983.


    The memories eh.



  20. 67 European Cup Winners on

    There are a few on here asking “How did we let them get past us” ?? “How did it come to this” ?? “What happened to us on saturday”??



    I’ve got half an hour, I’ve just opened a bottle of Rioja so happy to give my opinion



    My view and it is only my view



    I accept that Paul67 can from time to time voice a message from PL


    I accept it because I think Paul67 will get info in return


    CQN is by a million miles the best Celtic blog in town


    And Paul67 is a credit to us all



    But that does not mean he is always right



    For years Paul67 has been telling us we will dominate for another 10 years


    They will be lucky to survive and a lot more messages basically suggesting we are a long term dominant force


    Enjoy these years and a lot more came the message



    IMHO I believe this opinion was sold to Paul67 by PL


    PL believed (and probably still believes) the greater the Balance sheet the better the team


    In theory he is right assuming the rich team have the better players and coaches


    I believe that PL has grossly undervalued the Hun resurgence (OK perhaps too big an adjective but you get my point)


    I also believe if we do not win the league this year PL will sit at the same table as the CEO of Nokia (we did nothing wrong) Google it – it’s a shocking story of how Nokia ignored and underestimated Apple



    PL did not feel the need to ask for applications for the Celtic managers job


    He popped into the showers and gave it to the easiest option


    PL made little effort to work with B Rogers because BR had ambition beyond PL’s imagination


    PL did not think £2.5 million was good value for J McGinn


    AND Paul67 upheld PL’s actions by backing up all those situations on here



    PL has got us into a pickle (I’m not anti PL, he has us in a great place if you are our Bank) we are cash rich due to PL But his ability to manage people, risk and change have restricted Celtic


    Yes we are rich but what use money if you do not know how to invest it



    An inferior team have risen to hit us really hard and we need to recover quickly


    Today before we go to Aberdeen on Sunday we are 4 points behind with a game in hand


    We still have to play them 3 times


    So our predicament is not catastrophic and we have the players and the money to fix the problem


    Don’t panic all will be OK – say a few on here


    But this future assumption does not feel achievable based on our season so far – well not to me



    So I am of the opinion something needs to change



    If Eddie Howe wanted to and could start on Monday I would make the change – but reality is not that simple


    Chris Houghton same theory even Steve Clarke and there are probably a few more that you could think of



    Assuming time and availability is against us I would promote Scott Brown to Assistant Player/Manager working under NL


    If only to stir the pot do something to spark us into a fight that if we are to win we need to get into it right now – not when we are 4 points 6 points 9 points behind



    I do not have a crystal ball nor am I a football coach so if you are reading this you are more than entitled to claim I’m talking rubbish and continue to tell yourself all will be OK



    Winning the league every year is no one’s God given right


    And sport is not sport without competition


    But not winning the league this year to create a real bit of history with Ten in a Row would be a travesty



    What is done is done – The Hun is galvanised and we know we are in a dog fight



    But does PL ??



    Since we got beat by them on Saturday, Paul67 has has raised a few topics but none of them have questioned our current predicament or considered that we are in a bit of bother – don’t write off our manager was the most passionate Keep calm and carry on indeed All will be OK I assume this is the PL message


    But is it the opinion of Paul67 ??, our players, our supporters ?? Its not my view



    Thumping Aberdeen on Sunday with a resurgent performance will render my post obsolete


    But for how long ?


    Alternatively anything else other than 3 points on Sunday will set CQN alight



    Come May I am hopeful my concern about the 10 has gone – much like the bottle of Rioja – and we become the first team in Scotland to not only win 9 in a Row but also 10 in a Row



    Fingers crossed or should we do something !!!!



    Hail Hail to one and all







    Lou Macari was sacrificed by, Fergus McCann, because LM wasn’t a puppet.



    Lou Macari was sacrificed because he was an utter, utter failure. And a corrupt failure.



    If LM had the players that the late TB had at his disposal, then, imho, LM would’ve stopped the hun 9in a row.



    The bold Luigi had players like Shay Given at his disposal. A player whose contract he let run out without offering him a renewal. Given *wanted* to stay. Instead he signed for Newcastle and was immediately first choice keeper. And Macari opted to sign players like Wayne Biggins.



    LM didn’t cut the mustard with FM, because FM didn’t want an uppitty Tim as his manager. hh



    Fergus McCann could have started a fight in an empty room – but backing managers wasn’t a problem. Compaire – Pierre, Cadette, Di Canio to Biggins & Given out.



    Fergus got rid because Lou was a serial failure. And a corrupt serial failure. Maybe if he’d concentrated on coaching the teams he managed instead of betting *against* them his tenure at Celtic may have lasted longer. If he’d avoided being drunk on the job whilst at Celtic it may have served him better too. (and that last accusation came directly from a member of the Celtic board). Lou thought himself untouchable and quickly discovered otherwise.



    I’m a perennial malcontent, and a consistent whinger, but I do try and be objective.







    i see the sevco are breaking records again……a 54 yard goal. Jesus yon trophy cabinet must be bulging!!!



    *did he mean it or was it a Geof Hurst type blooter in the 66 WC trying tae boot it oot the park tae kill time.

  23. 67 EUROPEAN CUP WINNERS on 23RD OCTOBER 2020 7:19 PM






    Covid will have wiped away much of our financial advantage and their ability to deny financial gravity because we rolled over under the 5 Way Agreement and did not make introducing Domestic FFP a condition of entry are domination enders.



    I saw the need for that being an absolute in June 2011 to protect the integrity of our game and sent a copy of this blog to our CEO where it was noted.






    Yet with this seasons title winners getting access to CL groups without qualification (as I understand it ) the same toxic conditions prevail – they are living on confetti shares – we cannot let them go bust.



    I was going to say its a new ball game but it looks like the same old one.

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