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. also re McKenna , I was very critical of the centre half , just shows you how a change of position to formation brings out the best in an individual.

  2. Advocated on here all summer that we should have signed McKenna. Left sided, which we have been crying out for since Benkovic left.



    On Shane Duffy, I must admit that I had not seen a lot him , but most on here thought it was a real coup getting him. Didn’t realise they meant a coo.

  3. QUADROPHENIAN on 24TH OCTOBER 2020 11:24 AM



    hypocrisy much, guilty as charged. :O)





    Was a member off the Eagles from day one and was at their first game( V Richmond).


    Whole team was a bunch off coke heads and stopped following the Eagles when Judd left. Ker, Cousins and gardner all drug addicts , decided I wouldnt follow them till they got rid of Woosha as coach. He satyed for long time by the time he left I lost interest in them. Woosha going to Essendon, cant make that shit up. lol. The thing that P@ssed me off they kept all those guys and sacked Cris Lewis for smoking pot(and he was never caught)



    be well



  4. SD vs SMcK — the season in a heartbeat?



    The abuse that SMcK took on here explains why we are the shambles we are.


    Too many cannot see the wood for the trees and then blame the leaves.

  5. Declan Gallagher, Stephen O’Donnell,Scott McKenna……oh and bring back Ronny Deila……..a week in the life of CQN…..dearie me

  6. JOBO BALDIE on 24TH OCTOBER 2020 9:33 AM



    ye i agree it wis a belter……54 yards going for the 55. If i remember this time last year and the year before we wer shite starters to the league campaign, the media had us infighting and the currants wrapping up the title before xmas. Its the hope that kills them

  7. QUADROPHENIAN on 24TH OCTOBER 2020 11:24 AM



    …”Between yourselves and Essendon, youz could outdo Columbian cartels for a fondness for the stuff ;))”



    still laughing out loud



    funny, fair -dinkum




  8. RC @ 11.25



    Regarding SMcK — what change of position?



    He has always been a Left sided CB — would have been a good partner for KA.


    Good contrast in style and abilities — but hey ho.

  9. BB @ 11.41



    We should be trying to build a successful football team for the here and now.


    Not playing Top Trumps with last years number and wondering why it isn’t working.

  10. PictureThis Scotland





    Joe Harper of Aberdeen. (Apps 300, Goals 199). Pictured scoring v Celtic at Celtic Park in season 1970/71.






    1970-12-12: Celtic 0-1 Aberdeen, League Division 1This is a featured page




    top two teams.



    Match Pictures | Matches: 1970 – 1971 | 1970-1971 Pictures




    A much anticipated game with both Aberdeen and Celtic going well at the top of Division 1. Celtic had a 1 point advantage at the start of the month. Both teams won their fixtures on the 5th December so this was a crucial game.



    The kick off for this game was brought forward by 10 minutes to 2:50 pm and the half time interval cut to 5 minutes. This was because of the possibility of a power cut later when the floodlights were kicked on during a period of national industrial unrest and strikes. The early kick off and short interval were an attempt to finish early so that only minimal lighting would be needed.



    Willie Wallace was definetly out even though he played in the Friendly against Raith Rovers. His heel injury had failed to respond.The only change to the team from the last League game was David Hay coming in instead of Vic Davidson. Harry Hood was on the bench.Lennox and Wallace were not match fit and not tested.



    Aberdeen went one point in front of Celtic in league race.



    Aberdeen’s tenth consecutive win on the trot.



    Aberdeen’s seventh game without conceding a goal.



    Magnificent crowd of 63,000 attend. (Desmonds Abacus so real attendance must have been over 70000)



    The Reserves lost to Aberdeen Reserves at Pittodrie by a similar score.



    The rumours started flying that Celtic were trying to sign Dixie Deans of Motherwell



    Dave Ewing was appointed manager at Hibernian, having only just been appointed coach there, with the sacking of Willie MacFarlane.



    In the Saturday of the game Evening Times an article mentions the establishment of a trust fund for an ailing Bobby Evans. Bobby had left Celtic for Chelsea in 1960. He returned to Scotland in 1963 to play, coach and then manage Morton before moving on to manage Third Lanark just before their demise. He had two final years as a player with Raith Rovers before retiring from the game in 1968. By 1970 at the age of 43 Bobby Evans was down on his luck, poor and suffering from ill health. The fund was established to maintain a Celtic legend.



    Celtic :


    Fallon, Craig, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeill, Brogan, Johnstone, Connelly (Hood 65), Macari, Hay, Hughes







    Clark, Boel, Hermiston, Murray, McMillan, Buchan, Taylor, Robb, Forrest (Willoughby), Harper, Graham


    Scorer Harper (53)



    Referee: A.F.J. Webster (Falkirk)


    Attendance: 63,000

  11. What is the Stars on

    ..Brixton prison 100 years ago ..Oct 25th to be precise


    Terence McSwiney died on hunger strike in Brixton Prison..today almost 100 years to the day A horse named in his honour attempts to strike for the cause of Erin in Doncaster 2.55…was 18s now 12s


    Wembley is 6/4 fav In the race for O’Brien..His first run was at the Curragh 18th July…finished 2nd


    ..guess who won…

  12. MADMITCH on 24TH OCTOBER 2020 11:46 AM


    RC @ 11.25


    Regarding SMcK — what change of position?



    playing in a 3 other than 4

  13. Just heard the start of ‘Off The Ball’. Must confess I don’t particularly like Cowan. I saw one of his performances in Port Glasgow. A picture dictionary would have his photo framed beside the word, ‘sleaze’.


    Anyway, dentist professor and anti-Christmas campaign campaigner, Leitch, is to be asked if the season will come to a premature end. Is this them softening us up?

  14. DAVID66 on 24TH OCTOBER 2020 9:30 AM


    Big Jimmy – How is yer wee pal Rocky doing?





    I am VERY concerned about Rocky, as in recent days he hasnt been eating as much as usual and making a strange noise when he does eat.


    He is going back to the Vets on Monday for a full investigation. He doesnt appear to be in pain ?


    If I lose wee Rocky..it will break my heart.


    If he ended up in Heaven, I couldnt get another Pet due to MY ill health and having to get someone to look after a Pet, IF I end up back in hospital at any time.






    Thx for asking about Rocky and me.


    Cheers mate.



  15. ” Whits the Standard Liege Goalie daeing Tom” ?


    I stand by my opinion of the Liege Goalie, while admitting that the Hun player did really well in lobbing him.


    Tam Cowan is a 1st Class Chump…Simples.



  16. I hadn’t seen Shane Duffy before we signed him but I knew we weren’t getting a George Connelly. There was a clamour to get him to combat the physical players in Scottish football. He’s not a great passer and neither is Ajer BTW, although he had a great game in spells on Thursday. Don’t let our centre backs be on the ball too often then. Midfield should be picking the ball up from them as quickly as possible (Paul Mcstay- esque). Support the boy, play to his strengths and I think he’ll do.

  17. PictureThis Scotland









    American actor Danny Kaye at Hampden Park prior to Celtic v Rangers in the Charity Cup final. (1950) Pic: Mirrorpix.






    1950-05-06: Celtic 3-2 Rangers, Glasgow Charity CupThis is a featured page




    Match Pictures | Matches: 1949 – 1950 | 1949-50 Pictures




    The ‘Danny Kaye’ Final played at Hampden Park. Hollywood star Danny Kaye was presented to the teams before the start of the game.


    Danny Kaye was a popular & famous US actor in the then golden age of Hollywood, and famous all over the English speaking world.


    Haughney made his first start as right back, a position that he would play more and more.


    The papers declared John McGrory “the new George Young”, a reference to the Rangers defender.





    1950-05-06: Celtic 3-2 Rangers, Glasgow Charity Cup – The Celtic Wiki








    Bonnar; Haughney, Milne; Evans, McGrory, Baillie; Collins, Fernie, McPhail, Peacock, Tully.


    Scorers: McPhail 3 (40, 48, 52)








    Attendance: 81,000

  18. A few months ago I aired my concerns with our defence , I thought frimpong would be better used elsewhere , but had high hopes for an extended run for el hammed so was content with our right back position , ( we know how the extended run turned out . ) although as a Celt he has my full support but young Taylor a wee trier and not the worst left back I’ve seen in the hoops ,still he has his limitations ,but a good standby all the same . pleased to say in our new boy we seem to have our left back covered . But now to my main fear , in my post I mentioned that our twin towers were shakier than an MFI unit , and that we needed to strengthen that department , i don’t know about anyone else but in the loan of big Shane my concerns haven’t been eased , we needed money spent in that department with a quality CH ,but we didn’t get it ,to be honest surprised I am not . Although I never mentioned it at the time but midfields has gone back as well , against the other mob last week ,I wondered how we could have faired with mcginn harrowing them in midfield instead of them doing it to us . Still sadly the boat has sailed on that one ,but that is the type of player we require , they are out there but the fly in the ointment is it would cost us . And with fear of a lashing can I say Aberdeen have one ,but maybe wouldn’t come to us ,but he is a tough boy who can play a bit . Up front we have a choice of riches . The ten is not lost yet but we need to right our wrongs within the team and the picking of the team . HH

  19. POR CIERTO on 24TH OCTOBER 2020 8:37 AM


    PL does not hire managers in showers, DD tells him to hire managers in showers, por cierto.



    FRIESDORFER on 24TH OCTOBER 2020 10:48 AM


    Can anyone on here confirm that they were actually in the said Shower at the time? Asking for a friend 🤔




    i believe there was nigh on a 7 hour board meeting the day before and it was decided then.


    narratives develop fostered v much by our own rekkord and scum wannabees.




  20. In the build up to the Classico its been revealed that Real,are 1 thousand million,in debt.


    FFP ,its a joke.

  21. onenightinlisbon on

    AN TEARMANN on 24TH OCTOBER 2020 1:16 PM



    narratives develop fostered v much by our own rekkord and scum wannabees.



    Our board are supremely professional, I mean look at the way they have handled res 12…

  22. One billion pounds.



    Agree the people who run our game are corrupt, probably the world over.

  23. Anyone watching the City ,W Ham game,watch City’s equalizer.The cut back that wee Frimpong seems unable to accomplish.



    AN TEARMANN on 24TH OCTOBER 2020 1:16 PM







    narratives develop fostered v much by our own rekkord and scum wannabees.







    Our board are supremely professional, I mean look at the way they have handled res 12…








    And an absentee owner who talks about the huns having been relegated.



    Celtic fan my arse.

  25. Lennon speaking to BBC Sport, he said: “Peter (Lawwell) and Mr Desmond and a few members of the board came in afterwards, in the shower area.



    “We had a five minute chat and they said they wanted to offer me the job – it’s just a privilege.”

  26. TURKEYBHOY on 24TH OCTOBER 2020 1:33 PM







    Yes,we have got the right keeper.He does not have the same defence in front of him.’






    ‘ Would it not be easier


    In that case for the government


    To dissolve the people


    And elect another?’

  27. BADA,



    Were you not one of the many hailing the signing of Big Shane.Asking for Owen Coyle.