Celtic again vulnerable to counter in Europe


20 minutes into last night’s Europa League game against Valencia, Celtic looked competent and in control, if not dangerous.  We had the majority of the ball (as we did for the rest of the game), enjoyed possession inside the Valencia box and had shots on target.

Valencia were probably happy to resist us for this opening period, but from that point onwards, they inhibited Celtic’s midfield from enjoying as much freedom.  Neither side made a chance worthy of the name until the opening goal, three minutes before the break.  Valencia’s second, four minutes after the interval, meant the tie was decided during a very short period of play.

While we opened well we failed to involve Oliver Burke throughout.  The only possession he got was to his feet with his back to goal, the ball invariably bouncing away from him.  Burke is a player who needs service into the channels – something that happened only once before the goals arrived.

For years I have shared fears here of Celtic playing so high up field against European opposition.  Tactics like this result in positives like “What a torrid opening four minutes we gave Juventus” before a counter-attack settles things.

I was actually encourage when Valencia started to compete more effectively midway through the first half, as our best game plan was to counter.  Keep it tight and play on the break, at this level, anything else is a ticket out of the tournament.  And that’s not just for Celtic, these are the tactics Valencia deployed.

The opening goal came through a poor attempt to play offside.  Jozo Simunovic stepped up as Parejo made the forward pass, forcing Sobrino into what should have been an offside position, but Emilio Izaguirre was four paces back, ostensibly, but not actually, covering Cheryshev.  Emilio did no better at the second goal, allowing Sobrino freedom of the box.  Insert the hoary old schoolboy analogy here.

There were things I liked, specifically, playing the ball out from the back.  With central defenders wide, full backs high and central mids deep, Scott Bain was able to find a player in space, 40 yards from goal, and start an attack.  This play is still in its infancy at Celtic, but we need to stick with it.

The impact of Odsonne Eduard, who played the last 30 minutes, was immediate.  It took defenders (plural) to close him down.  We also saw a new aspect to Timothy Weah, who came on at the same time as Edouard as a creative mid.  It was a curious performance from Timothy.  He was everywhere for five minutes, then stuck to position (presumably on instructions) and dropped out of things.

Central mid did not work.  Immediately after a defeat, there is a rabid tendency to find a scapegoat, which is seldom productive, but we need to ask the question why central mid didn’t work, and get it right for the qualifiers.  As for the defence, only Jozo will be around for the qualifiers, and he will most often be sitting beside us in the stands, so the consequences of these mistakes will not linger beyond May.

Valencia are not a PSG.  In competitive terms, I would put them between Salzburg and Leipzig.   I am not going to tell you we would put them out, but if we had played it tight, the tie would still be in the balance.

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  1. You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead.



    Anyway 3 pts today please on this strange ko time.




  2. Hunderbirds are Gone on

    Two wrongs don’t make a right. But two Wrights did make an airplane.


    Go on Celtic, redemption is ours.



  3. i'vehadtochangemymind on

    “Their players are probably going away thinking: ‘I’m as good as the Rangers players, I could play for Rangers no problem,'” Gerrard told Rangers TV.



    he’s at it again

  4. Good morning CQN from an overcast, chilly but beautiful Sunday Garngad



    Now to business.


    Looking for some advice. Say I want to promote a business.


    Say I have a customer based business (something like SPFL football) that relies on said customers to prop up the game, and they travel from all over Europe to watch these games.


    If I want to advertise and say this product is great and customer friendly, come and see.


    Then put games on at 4pm on a feckin Sunday. I am sure uk based customers or travellers from Ireland/Europe don’t need to get back for work on a Monday, so all good there.



    Also lets fill the refereeing department with Masons who have agendas. Sorted there.



    I could go on.


    BUT point is the whole CABAL of incompetent/ cheating fools running our game is not fit for purpose. Fifes their cheating is nae even working any more?



    A-holes the lot of them.



    Anyway COYBIG ????????



    ????????? – – – Loading



    Any lurking Huns GIRFUY



    D. :)

  5. morning bhoys from a cloudy but dry Cheshire, last time I was at rugby park was the 69/70 season, travelled down in my cousins ford Anglia, we were late getting to the ground it was ten minutes to 3, suddenly these 2 big polismen flagged us down, maybe it was because of the green and white scarves hanging out the windows ,anyway these bassas knew we were late, but they insisted on checking my cousins documents which we knew were all ok ,after about 20 minutes they let us go, we got into rugby park at 3-40. so missed the first half, wonder if it was red white and blue scarves would they have still stopped us.hh.

  6. The truth will out.


    Gerrard after yesterday`s game ( From CQN ” Forget Titles !!!! ” article:



    “We can’t be relying on decisions, ”



    Brilliant !




  7. The Gerrard arrogance is rapidly beginning to wain.



    Now he needs to be taught humility and grace.



    We shall exact our revenge on the 31st of March.



    HH. ?

  8. As CQN is rather quiet, I thought I would have a wee look at Sevco Media.The general feeling ( just like on here after a defeat) is one of doom and gloom and an affirmation that any chance of winning the league title has well and truly gone.


    This one, however, made me smile:



    “Immense game plan there though. Keep lobbing crosses into the box for our 4 ft striker to tower over the 6 ft defenders and head into the goal. Worked a treat ”



    Apart from the amusing `4ft striker` comment, there was no swearing in the post. A rarity on Sevco Media today ( or any day, I suspect).




  9. Good morning, friends.


    As I left work on Friday my parting shot to my colleagues was hat I’d be delighted after the weekend if we remained 6 points clear. I’d still be happy with that outcome. But, of course, there’s now the opportunity to be ecstatic instead.


    The only benefit from a Sunday TV game that doesn’t kick off till 4 is that my viewing might then be accompanied by a few libations.



  10. A lot of people assuming we now have an 8-point lead and the title is in the bag.


    I am guessing Kilmarnock have taken more points off us than other team in the last two seasons?


    Post-European shambles game away from home against a rested Kilmarnock, it could be a long afternoon.


    Fingers crossed for a couple of goals in the first half to settle the team and allow us to play our game.



    My fear is a couple of careless passes around our own box will expose our soft underbelly once again to high pressing and give them encouragement to have a go.



    Would not be surprised if we are held to a draw. – or if we win by five.



    Off for a cycle in the Marina Alta mountains now, have a brilliant Sunday boys, win, lose or draw.

  11. Deniabhoy –


    based on the last couple of seasons today is probably our toughest away venue so I agree it will be tough. And from Kilmarnock’s point of view, they too will be lifted by yesterday’s result from Ibrox – a win for Kilmarnock puts them just 2 points behind Sevco.

  12. Denia, I doubt if any of us are taking Killie for granted on their plastic pitch. I’m certainly not for starters.


    Today’s game is huge, despite all the bombast here including contributions from myself I must admit that I have felt uncomfortable that the Huns have been so relatively close to us this season.


    I want us well clear of the vermin and their pals in the Reffing Community. Today is an opportunity nothing more to put a bit of clear water between us & them.


    If we don’t win today the nerves & the doubts will linger, I won’t relax till we are 3 ahead today nor failing that the final whistle, if we win.

  13. Nye Bevans' rebel soldier on

    Today is far from a gimmie,Euro hangover,plastic pitch, and a coach who


    knows how to organise a side.



    Would be a massive boost to emerge from the weekend with a 8 point lead.

  14. BIG PACKY 1



    I wonder if they were the ones who blocked off the slip-road for north-bound traffic after the game on Thursday night.


    Me and 100’s or 1000,s left driving in the direction of Carlisle with no diversion signs and no sat-nav. Then got lost around Bellshill before having to drive all the way into the city centre and try again. Crazy planning when big game is happening. A blunder or some-one having a laugh?

  15. Nye Bevans – it’ll be a tough ask. The result yesterday takes some of the pressure off though. Away on a plastic pitch at a tough opponent after a European game was always going to be a nervy one. Hopefully BR will have learned lessons from previous difficulties there.



    If we turn up and perform though, we win. Simples.



    I was going to start by saying that yesterday’s result was ‘unexpected’ but a quick glance at league results would render the ‘unexpected’ but somewhat redundant. None of those competing for second place, apart from Hearts remarkable early season run, have put together any sort of winning run of games. The zombies for example have managed 3 wins on the trot in the league once this season and that was their best run. Them dropping points home or away against top and bottom half teams is not unexpected.



    If Celtic can continue with recent domestic form by the time the zombies visit paradise and if the form of the zombies and other clubs continues as it has throughout the season so far then it is likely, regardless of the result today, that they will be hoping to take something from us to keep their hopes of 2nd alive rather than hoping to stay in a ‘title race’. Any illusion of a ‘race’ this season has been created by our dodgy start to the season and a failure to turn up when we went to the bigot dome.

  16. Brendan Rodgers: We need money to compete effectively in Europe.



    Peter Lawwell (in the broom cupboard, with fingers in the ears): Lalalalalalalalalalala.




  17. One other observation about the zombies yesterday – they had a week to train, plan and prepare. In those circumstances at Celtic I would be really confident of a good performance from a fresh, well drilled team, coached well by Mr Rodgers.



    Don’t give stupid people too much time to think eh?

  18. BT Sports Scottish Football extra with Sutton, Michael Stewart and Gary Locke starts at 11.15.



    A programme i enjoy for those of you looking for your football fix.

  19. I think the Huns are better suited to disrupting better teams. At times they can play at a million miles per hour & drag good teams into a dog fight which they might win.


    When a team sits in against them they don’t have the guile to break them down, their only tactic is to swing in crosses and if that doesn’t work go down easily in the box.

  20. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Won’t be easy today but I would expect a win. Killie not the same without Stewart and Brophy.


    Lustig or Hayes in for Izaguirre. Edouard starting? Hopefully some game time for Tierney and Bayo.


    2-0 Celtic.

  21. Right, why is the preview for the game not oan the telly yet? Is it still Sunday….. ffs…..whits happenin…