Alchemy at work for Celtic


You and I have watched a lot of Celtic away from home in the Champions League; we know what to expect. Stick to your task, clear the ball long, tackle hard and exploit set-pieces as best we can. That’s been the plan for 27 away games. 25 of them ended in defeat.

Away game 28, in Barcelona, fell apart at the seams, but last night in Manchester built on the progress in Monchengladbach. From nowhere, Celtic have gone two unbeaten away from home in this tournament.

It wasn’t just the result (in either game) we had more attempts at goal, more attempts on target, we passed with speed and precision under pressure. City caught us on the break to score, and could have added another, on the break, but we had the better of the chances in both halves. Moussa Dembele, Gary Mackay-Steven and Leigh Griffiths will all feel they should have scored.

Jozo Simunovic and Erik Sviatchenko again proved they can operate at Champions League level. The difference in central defence since last year, when one or other of them was unavailable, is beyond credible.

The night was another success for Stuart Armstrong, who built on a transformational visit to Motherwell on Saturday. James Forrest took on and beat three players to setup Dembele, but James fell to a familiar foe and retired injured.

Gary Mackay-Steven, playing his first senior game in over eight months, looked exhausted after his first sprint. There are no shortcuts to match fitness. That chance, when he was clean through with Caballero to beat, will no doubt haunt the player, but he delivered a performance reminiscent of the one he gave in the San Siro two years ago, before being sacrificed.  As though alchemy is at work, Celtic have squad-fillers from earlier times looking the part at the highest level.

I had a notion that it wouldn’t be too bad if Patrick Roberts had an anonymous game. That lasted all of four minutes, when he waltzed into the Manchester City box to open the scoring. Did he do enough to convince Pep Guardiola that he’ll be needed in the City squad next season when his loan to Celtic ends? Probably not. That’s the way of it at Manchester City. They will spend >£100m between now and 1 September; Patrick will go the way of Jason Denayer.

Bring on Partick Thistle.


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  1. 50 shades of green on

    Watched the game on my own last night in my room Mrs popps her head in during the second half and asks if the bulb has gone in my lamp.



    No I said.



    Why you got the torch on your phone then.



    Its the 67th min I answer.



    Ffs grow up your 50 bloody 6 she said.



    Wummin eh.

  2. VFR800 is now a Monster 821 on

    KEVJUNGLE on 7th December 2016 4:05 am



    Kev, good post. I agree with a lot of it, but a wee bit of context.



    I was in the lower tier right beside the barrier (and 3 foot gap) the split the Celtic and City fans. The Provo songbook came out more in response to a few English flags and them sing about Glasgow being blue city. There were a few of their fans looking to cause trouble and trying to get Celtic fans thrown out; one daft wee lassie continually trying to pull a Tricolour off a Celtic fan and complaining to the polis that he had it – meanwhile her boyfriend had a St Georges cross. That elicited the response IMHO.



    I agree that many of these younger (and not so younger) lads don’t really know or understand the full history of Ireland and still have a romantic notion of the “struggles”. A wee bit of education would go a long way! I’ll disagree with you on Grace; I love it being sung.



    Then you went off track at the end, but I’ll just agree to disagree with you on that!



    On a positive note, being less hirsute than previously after a recent haircut, I know mine will grow back again!





  3. thetimreaper on 7th December 2016 10:15 am



    Celtic is best for Paddy for another two years or so. I hope he can see that.





    I’d say he probably can, but a lot will depend on what Man City want for him.


    I don’t think Pep will be too impressed by his game off the ball (i.e. he wants all his players snapping at the opposition’s heels to get the ball back). Paddy rarely gets a tackle in and it’s an aspect of his game he will need to improve, so I don’t see him going back to get in the Man City EPL 25 man squad. However, Man City may want him to go on loan elsewhere, at what they preceive to be a “higher” level of football.



    I’d be surpised if his stay in Glasgow continues beyond May…pleasantly though…

  4. Meet a number of the Lisbon Lions at the Celtic Park Superstore this Thursday between 5pm and 7pm: celticfc.net/news/11740 #Lisboa50




    I hope we’ve shown Man City we’re a very progressive team with similar methods to them. Another 1 year loan or a transfer that gives them a first buy back option. I’m also hopeful that we can attract another gem or two off them.

  6. thetimreaper



    Yeah, that’s the hope. There has been a reasonably strong link between the clubs over recent years – partly down to the Lawwell connection I’m guessing, so futher deals aren’t impossible. Man City have a surfeit of players (both young and experienced), they can’t keep all of them happy and, as you said, we have shown that we are progressive and can help develop some of their kids. Lot’s of Celtic fans might be unhappy about developing players for other teams when we have our own youth, but you can’t argue with results (Denayer & Roberts).




    I think the difference between him staying and going will be Brendan Rodgers, when he tell Paddy Bhoy his plan we’ll just have to knock Man City into shape:)))

  8. Stuart Armstrong is the Celtic player that is my main focus of attention at present and i reckon he is now looking like the midfield player we have craved for quite some time. Stuart’s performance last night and on Saturday were standouts and quite apart from his energy levels he is an excellent passer of the ball in tight situations all these attributes were anonymous under the previous management. James Forrest gave his immediate opponent a torrid time last night before the injury – hope he is back shortly. Special mention to Izzy who gave a solid performance after being out of the picture in recent times.

  9. Last night was good but we were playing against two 19 year old central defenders. Moussa and Griff each missed a great chance, I think GMS’s chance was harder.



    Overall the CL campaign was quite good after we predictably got drawn in the hardest group. The home game against Gladbach was the big disappointment. If we had drawn that game we would be in the Europa League, which would,have been great for the development of these players.



    By the way Gary Armstrong was our best player in a great team performance in the last game of last season. I don’t think BR has transformed him as a player, he has just played him in the right position. Well done to him for that.

  10. The Green Man says SACK THE Board on

    Morning Celts



    Great performance last night.


    You can see the progress.


    Erik and Jozo, Stuart Armstrong played well.


    I don’t think Paddy, good as he is….will make it at City.




  11. David ‘O’



    Will do. Great to see you’re getting into the ‘spirit’ of things. Well done on the podium.



    Interesting word ‘alchemy’. The second time I’ve read it in an article here (I think)??

  12. We took something from half of the games – including two on the road. We were in all of the games bar one. Made a pile of money and learned a lot of lessons – not least of which is that we can do reasonably well at this level.



    Now if we’d been drawn in the Napoli or Leicester group what might have been?



    Good job all the same.





    Besiktas wouldn’t have had to suffer Craig Thomson last night if we’d been in their group.



    We should use this as leverage to push ourselves to the front of the queue in Europe.



    “Draw Celtic or suffer our MIBs!”

  14. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    I thought we played very well last night.



    We are definitely on the right road with Brendan Rodgers.



    Forget flying burgers I see the Daily Record is hammering us today. Brutal … time for the Club to go to town on these ambulance chasers.



    Very sad. The Gentlemen who committed suicide was in my class at school. We played together in teams for years. A family I know exceptionally well. A happy go lucky guy who was a gem.



    I wish them nothing but peace.




  15. THETIMREAPER on 7TH DECEMBER 2016 10:15 AM


    Celtic is best for Paddy for another two years or so. I hope he can see that.



    I hope Pep can see it too.He will get CL experience with Celtic.He wont get that with someone like West Brom or their like.Its that kind of individual brilliance that is needed at this level.His run into the box for the penalty that was not given,should have resulted in another goal.

  16. TURKEYBHOY on 7TH DECEMBER 2016 11:20 AM





    Agree, individuals moments of quality make all the difference. I doubt we would be in the CL if it wasn’t for Paddy’s brilliant work in setting up the goal for Leigh over in Astana.

  17. Marrakesh Express on

    Big Sutton is our main man in the msm. He reminded his co pundits on BT that he’d never lost a game to English opposition playing for Celtic.


    Compare with Walker, one of our own.





    And he bitch-slapped Beckham in his ain midden!

  19. Why is it when our team ,get a decent result ,the media seem not to like it,why is that one theory I have,like thousands of Celtic Supporters have ditched the Daily Ranger, The Hun,etc,so they play to the Hun gallery, writing anything that is Anti Celtic,so as them,will buy there papers,but our club need to ban the lot of them,

  20. From here in Denia I followed the first half on CQN before realising that in Spain BEIN sport was showing all the CL games without having to upgrade to any kind of football package.


    SO watched the 2nd half. The commentators were obviously sat in a studio in Spain as the atmosphere from the stadium was non-existent and they sounded like they had drawn the short straw on what game they had to cover :) It was amusing to hear them constantly refer to Celtic as “Brendan Roger’s Celtic” suggesting the manager is a big deal even to them.


    Due to the lack of noise coming across on the coverage, and complete lack of excitement from the commentators, it felt like I was watching a pre-season friendly. Apart from that, it was brilliant to see our game live in Spain, loved it.


    Like most everyone else, I thought we played well and had chances to win the game. Everyone looks comfortable on the ball, which is not something we saw a lot of last year when we would give away possession cheaply, normally after 1-2 passes.


    I appreciate that City were playing fringe players but they are still top players that would be playing first team football for most other teams in Europe. My first impression on watching them, and what stood out to me as the telling difference between them and us, was the speed and precision that they moved forward with. On 2-3 occasions they went from box to box in 3-4 moves, leaving us chasing shadows while scrambling to get back into positions.


    We had some similar opportunities to counter attack but slowed things down by either holding the ball a moment too long or passing too short causing the receiving player to slow or halt his run forward, In those delayed few seconds, the City defence and midfield had the chance to regroup.


    I doubt there is an easy solution to it. These players are at City because of these qualities. The fact that we can go toe-to-toe with them and get a result is a testament to team spirit and management. We already look considerably fitter than a few months ago but our domestic game just doesn’t require the players to play at this level every week. I would have bet my house on Celtic losing last night’s game in the last 10 minutes in any of the last few seasons due to a misplaced pass or other self-inflicted error.


    Hail Hail to the BR effect.

  21. The question our club should be asking is why we are reported on differently from every team in this country, but I wont hold my breath expecting that to happen, bearing in mind our press guy supports Hearts,are there no Celtic supporting PR men in Scotland?

  22. glendalystonsils on

    I think Paddy Roberts could find himself even further down the pecking order at Man City after their next big spending window.


    I’m not sure if that would enhance our chances of signing him instead of a Stoke or West Brom, but I’d love to have him at CP.

  23. VFR800 is now a Monster 821 on

    What should also be noted that yet again, everyone but Moussa Dembele was available to Ronny Deila last season!



    The change in the players is enormous.





  24. I think for us to get Paddy, should Man City want rid, the only chance is if he insists on coming to us. There will be more money on offer from elsewhere both as wages and transfer fee. So it’s really all down to him.

  25. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo



    It really is incredibly sad. I cannot imagine the anguish men like the one you knew carried for years.


    More needs to be done by the football community to expose offenders and support victims.

  26. You can’t half tell Celtic played some stuff last night judging by the headlines in the daily record !



    Long may their hurt continue.

  27. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    Davidopoulos on 7th December 2016 11:49 am



    agreed and more need to be done to vet people who get into these positions of authority








    I reckon for us to sign Patrick Roberts,he will have to have a long-term view re his income.



    If he signed for us on a four-year deal,he would still only be 23 when it was up. Does he risk his career going down the tubes at Man City in that time and having to start again at that age,or take the chance on being viewed as an on-the-up player worth big bucks on the back of a successful high-profile time at a successful high-profile club?



    Maybe worth looking at some of the players who have joined Celtic and left for much more,or even at Moussa Dembele,who clearly sees the merit in this argument. Or at Gary Hooper and Liam Miller,for example,whose career bombed after leaving us at the wrong time. And probably for the wrong clubs,to be fair.



    Celtic aren’t short on creative wide players,but he is one I would be sorry to see leaving. I wish him well whatever decision he makes,but my green-tinted glasses know which it should be!

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