Big Picture is real Celtic worry


When looking back on last season I suggested we would not have won the league if we persisted with the 4-2-3-1 formation that brought us to the brink of crisis in December.  Creativity was ponderous and the players looked out of ideas.  We switched to three at the back after the winter break and rolled towards the title.  The same players looked commanding and worthy winners.

There were many failures last night, but reverting to the tried-and-tested-and-failed formation is high on the list.  If there is another reason we failed to score more with so much possession, I don’t think it had a material impact.

After the Hamilton Accies demolition, it felt churlish to gripe about the volume of chances we conceded, but I could foresee having to write today’s article.  High on my mind that day was what some unknown, but infinitely better, European striker would do to us in qualifying.  We are wide open to the counter attack.  Ferencvaros’ winner was a dreadful goal to concede – a clearance from the middle of their own half that we failed to defend.  Although Elhamed was culpable, it was a consequence of how we play.

You have seen the opening goal before this season.  Accies threw a set piece into the box, which was headed to the edge of a penalty area that was a Celtic Free Zone.  We have conceded three goals this season, two of them as a consequence of not getting out to the edge of the box for the second ball at set pieces.

Neil Lennon seemed more upset about the second goal – which involved a clear individual error – than the first, which was a systemic failure to defend set pieces.  We do not push out with rehearsed purpose.  Motherwell will know that and if we do not fix it by Sunday, they will exploit what Hamilton and Ferenvaros already profited from.

For years I have written here that suggestions players do not look interested is a naïve comment by people that do know little about football, which is usually borne out when they burst into creativity following a tactical change.  Neil threw this theory (and his players) under the bus after the game.  Whatever mistakes Neil Lennon made last night, we know the man well enough to be sure something significant lay behind his post-match comments about players not wanting to be at Celtic.

We have been here before, from Kelvin, to Moussa to Dedryck.  Based on the manager’s comments, I have no doubt some of the current crop are up to the same tricks. This is very disappointing, but it is not why we were knocked out of Europe, again, by a team with that cost a fraction of our own, and on this occasion to a team who have played fewer games than us.

The value for money return on our wage and player investment spend has brought historical highs domestically.  Money spent is the blunt weapon that’s delivered nine-in-a-row, three trebles and counting, but we are regularly out boxed by European financial minnows, and if you blame Hatem Elhamed for last night, you are missing the big picture.

On a tactical note, I am not getting into whoever wants a move until the window closes.  There are very important weeks ahead.  Eye on the (remaining) prize.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. ...
  10. 14

  1. Sack the tea lady. She’s been putting something in Neil’s tea for quite some time now.



    Happy Friday eve from a Kentucky awaiting the remnants of Hurricane Laura.



    A wind of change is sometimes needed.




  2. BIG WAVY on 27TH AUGUST 2020 11:51 AM



    If Ferencvaros lose in the next round (probably) we could draw them in the Europe League playoff….



    You gotta smile…:)





    I’d take it. They aren’t good.








    Fully agree about FF. I personally think he might have saved both last night – especially the second.







    However, he didn’t want to stay. Nothing we could do about that. The board gave Lennon £5m to buy a replacement which is big money for a goalkeeper in our environment.







    We might have a good keeper on our hands or we might not but if we don’t, it won’t be through lack of trying or ambition.

  4. Lazy D







    Rc agrees with your opinion but it is still not a FACT







    Not even an Internet FACT









    I doubt FF saves that first strike and the second one was a nice clip into the corner from an acute angle. Barkas had covered his near post so there is always a bit of room at the far post. He might have got a lucky block from his outreached hand or foot but it went between his legs. I can show you footage of FF conceding very similar goals.







    Barkas was guilty of some nervous clearances last night but he was not responsible for our defeat.

  5. Siempre Celtic (formerly Traditionalist88) on

    Thought there’d be more on the actual big picture, Europa qualification WILL help but we are probably looking at serious downsizing.



    Lucky we have some valuable young players. A few more coming through the ranks would be a great help over the medium term.




  6. not blaming last nights goalie for our defeat , just saying in what I have seen so far I’m not convinced he will be our no.1 in the weeks /months ahead.




    I disagree [he would have saved both]but it is irrelevant ….He did’nt fancy it [coming back].


    And I am in no way blaming our new goalie for last night.


    He did not come out with credit but was certainly not the man to blame.

  8. Wagons circled. It’s those pesky players still.Neil not culpable.



    Pick your best players in their best positions. We are aimless at the moment.

  9. Siempre Celtic (formerly Traditionalist88) on




    yeah one kick out through the eye of a need to Julienn who was about 20 yards from our goal(I think) who had a couple of opponents in relatively close proximity. Extremely risk.




  10. Paul, you seem to have missed out the bit about playing with no strikers for 77 minutes.



    Having 2 strikers on the bench.



    Have an arbitrary fitness level, which few new signings ever achieve.

  11. Paul


    Newclub’s implosion after the winter break had as much to do with us winning the league as our change in formation.

  12. Lenny blaming the players after calling them heroes for managing to score one goal against Dundee Utd? Isn’t this reminiscent of what happened to him at Hibs?


    He should be looking at himself. A repeat of the Cluj disaster last season.


    We kid ourselves that he is superior to other SPL managers. If in charge of Celtic most of them would do just as well in domestic competition and no worse in Europe.


    If Celtic had real ambition they would sack him after last night’s result.

  13. Squad-related squirrel!


    Which player(s) didn’t give their all or try to create, defend or score? None. They played some decent stuff.


    There were no infinitely better strikers or players, yet there were infinitely bigger holes for THEM to exploit.


    We still struggle against the two lines of 4/5. We’re possession rich, profligate and pot-shot remiss.


    Basically, one team knew of the others predictable, strategic weaknesses, and fatally exploited them on a fraction of the personnel spend.


    I admire Lenny and saw his lash-out as misplaced aggression to cover some real deep embarrassment.


    Broony’s surprise is telling and, as P67 intimates, is there hope for permanent learning to be had? HH

  14. Our league chances appear to revolve around which version of sevco turn up this season.


    The pre-newyear version we could be in trouble.


    The post-newyear version we will be alright.

  15. Big Wavy



    Gung Ho football?



    Not quite but it does show what our managers are up against. MON was revered as a god and all subsequent managers were seen as inadequate in his shadow



    Now, becaue he played under Brian CLough and neil played under him, he is being dismissed as an old school dinosaur too.



    WGS was snippy, pragmatic and an old enemy of ours. He won 3 out of 4 leagues and had 2 last 16 CL titles but he was , frankly, hated by a large section of Celts, while he was here. We were very grateful not to suffer his boring (usiually called turgid or torpid) football even though he played two up front.



    There was no doubt that Neil, both first and second time around was seen as providing more exciting football, and we were grateful for it.



    Now we want to see him be less exciting in Europe and we asked Brendan for this too when we saw our record drubbings.



    Tony Mowbray and Ronny Deila were seen as out of their depths even though one won 2 leagues and the other won nothing. Both are, however, stil gainfully employed in football, despite their “failings” with us.



    Long point made short:- It is difficult to find someone to square the circle of our expectations- Constant wins in the SPFL because we are a big fish in a pond of mostly minnows, but , in parallel to construct a safety first team to negotiate the shark infested waters of Europe.



    Eddie Howe would be as much of a punt as Marian Shved was.



    But he would, temporarily, appease the Gods of our Anger.



    At least , until he too fecks up

  16. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Forget the commitment thing – that’s pure diversion.


    And let’s not pretend that we are even remotely interested in doing well in Europe. Sixteen years of failure – if we wanted to do better we would have done something about it long ago.


    Yet still we have the same structures, with the same people doing the same things and making the same (bad) decisions.


    There simply isn’t a culture of improvement. All we have is an aim to be a bit better than our old firm partner.


    Always a lot of glee when our partner club is doing badly, but the reality is that the weaker they are the weaker we will be. The better they are the better we can get to be.


    The rest of Europe won’t stand still while we engage in our backyard one-upmanship.




    I’m seeing little evidence of corrective action. I’ve been boring the arse of people here for weeks about the wrong system but too many have been fooled by results against truly awful teams Accies and the Icelanders.



    This was in the post.

  18. jimbob71 & little Miss jimbob on

    geebee & Corkcelt



    Soro was on the bench last night, why? He certainly wouldn’t have been prepared to come on last night, surely Neil would also class him as not match fit as he did with Klimala & Ajeti.



    Does a formation cause poor passing?







    Asking for a manager?






    On its own, no.



    But with other factors it can contribute to a general malaise which can in turn can lead to players under performing, both individually and collectively.

  20. lets all do the huddle on

    so we get rid of the players who arent interested



    and keep the ones who are interested



    but arent good enough at that average european level



    cant see that ending well

  21. onenightinlisbon on

    We talk about jeopardising the ten. The manager himself did it last night with his ill timed comments. The press who hate us anyway have been given manna from heaven by one of our own to further undermine us. I’m all for the manager clearing the air or speaking with honesty but save that for the dressing room. Lennon was attempting to cover his own back last night and in doing so has made our ultimate goal this season that bit harder to reach.

  22. £5m for a keeper should buy you the finished article.



    I have watched with interest since he arrived and am still clueless if we have a good keeper or not, he has literally had nothing to do, I cant think of 1 save since he joined.I



    Last night the opposition had 3 shots on goal, scored with 2 and the third was a simple save.



    Both goals, the keeper looked suspect.

  23. No matter what we think of the players last night…my real anger lies with the 50-60k a week [combined] we pay messers Grifiths,Rogic and Boli who for whatever reason where unavailable for selection last night.


    Get rid of the wage theives.

  24. The other aspect of our success last season…



    Fraser Forster, he improved our domestic consistency, his saves played a key part in good European results and our League Cup win.



    Barkas looks a good keeper but as a shot stopper is well short of big FF (as are most top goalies).



    We are significantly weaker than we were last season and it looks like some key players are going. So with the squad in disarray a re-build won’t be easy, despite a long transfer window and cash in the Bank.



    We need serious organisational changes and we need them now. Otherwise we are gambling with the TEN.



    Hail Hail




    CBN did an article on it. Under BR our conceded goals matched our expected conceded goals in Europe.



    Under Neil last year we were conceding less than expected in Europe. That was down to FF.



    The Lazio games have given a false sense of security, as exhilarating and fantastic as they were. Two last minute winners, 2 world class FF performances and two games where the opposition clearly outplayed us. Neil rode his luck.



    Also, if you are discounting the Cluj 2-0 game, discount the Rennes home game as they sent a reserve team as well.




    The LC final- saw an amazing stats that Barca 7-1 produced a lower expected goals for Barca than Sevco’s expected goals in the LC final. It was an absolute mauling. Again, FF saves the day.

  26. Garngad to Croy on

    Was last nights the worst ever performance of a Scottish team in the Champions League?



    Artmedia (CLQ2) and Lincoln Red Imps (CLQ1) were bad results but at least they were away from home. Artmedia went on to finish third in their Champions League group ahead of a team called ‘Rangers’.

  27. The Star above The Crest on

    There was a number of reasons for last night, poor recruitment, baffling team selection, too many players not justifying a wage and injury. Yet it’s the same story every season. The set up/structure of the club has to change if we are to compete in Europe and see off any domestic challenge.

  28. BW – yep, you’re concerns have become pretty clear. Despite that, we have a squad of talented guys with energy and technique to turn out some nice stuff. FS, these guys did Lazio away last year!!


    Despite being 9IAR winners twice and unmatched 3×3 winners. No-one in Scotia comes closer to those accolades but often on the Euro stages we ‘bottle it’.


    NOTTHEBUS – looking at the game again, he really doesn’t look like he knows/trusts his role or those around him yet. Scott Bain must be as puzzled AF.

  29. European football IS the big picture Paul. With home ties and all the club has let the support down. If someone loses a potential 30 mill business deal in a company then people are sacked. But maybe Celtic isn’t a business, it’s a charity. Nothing wrong with that but let’s be upfront about it.

  30. Once we equalised there was no need for Julien and Ajer to be pushing so far upfield.


    Exposing us to the Hungarians only strength. A breakaway.


    Any Celtic mamager starting any game without a striker at Parkhead deserves all the criticism it merits. Ridiculous decision that even Levein got slated for.

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. ...
  10. 14