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. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    JAMESGANG on 15TH FEBRUARY 2019 3:56 PM





    Jacob Rees Mogg.




    The man who defended Churchill by saying that mortality rates in British concentration camps in the boer war were ‘no worse’ than that of the slums of Glasgow at the time.






    Churchill was a war correspondent in South Africa and subsequently a foot slogger who fought against the Boers , thereby, in all probability , delaying apartheid.



    He was in no way responsible for setting up ” concentration camps ” .


    And in no respect required to be defended against something for which he had no responsibility.



    To their huge credit , the British public were horrified at the reports of war correspondents in relation to those camps which were subsequently dismantled.




  2. TET –



    Honestly I never made that video – It mirrored my thoughts about the game.



    I’ll add one thing I said to AidyBhoy – we need someone to do a trick to get some space.



    They were a lot tighter than Aiberdeen – my question is why?



    That game is finished – onwards to Kilmarnock.

  3. Apologies to all….non fitba/politics or anything else of any interest to anyone not playing Goals Galore 4.



    Late reminder has been sent to those yet to pick in Week 7 If we’ve got your pick already, you’ll have had an acknowledgement via Whatsapp, or a response to your mail.


    All others, check your inbox for the reminder with fixtures, and payment details if you still want to purchase a second Joker.


    No more reminders this weekend. Probably :-)



    back to the Fitba…..

  4. Hi all at CQN. I don’t post often but never miss a comment on the blog ever and fancied a shout tonight ! Celtic supporters are a broad church and there’s been some interesting and varied debate over the Valencia result. As much as I’d love The Hoops win The Europa league it’s not gonna happen and I think going out at this round will be a blessing in disguise for our domestic aspirations. Sevco are closer than they should be due to the cheats with whistles and flags and that assessment of our officials ain’t gonna change any time soon. If we did progress to the round of 16 we’d have the first leg sandwiched in betweeen a tough match at Hibernian then another tough shift at home to Aberdeen then the second leg followed by a trip to Dundee and I think it would be a battle too many in this most critical of seasons. 10 in a row means the world to me as I’m still traumatised by them cheating their way to “equaling “ our nine so with my thought process I’m not too bothered about the result last night. Let’s get the magic 10 and beyond and sicken them eternally ! As per me posting I’ll sign off by reminding all lurking Huns and their brethren lurking SMSM that Sevco are as of today 6 years and 201 days in this world ! Hail Hail.

  5. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    PETEC on 15TH FEBRUARY 2019 4:10 PM


    jamesgang on 15th February 2019 4:04 pm







    Trump had paid for abortions.











    Had Hitler been anti abortion, would you have endorsed his other policies??









    DD I hope your dear Bhoy loves it!! I know he will. You are both a credit to each other.









    HH jg












    I’m guessing Big Chap you are talking to me.







    Has he really paid for abortions personally – I mean Terminating his own?






    I suspect that the comment is based on the puff piece below.
















    I`m with you on Jacob Rees Mogg who probably hisses off the average Scottish punter because he speaks with a plum in his gob .

  6. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    We got over the Ibrox result subsequently with runs on the board.


    We`ll get over the Valencia result .


    With a bit of luck , pride will be restored in Spain.

  7. THE EXILED TIM on 15TH FEBRUARY 2019 10:13 PM


    I don’t know if this has been posted but it helps breakdown a few things from last night, worth the watch if you are into tactics.









    If you watch the various clips when the full backs had the ball, Brown is in the middle of the pitch, too often behind the Valencia player. They did a good job of shutting off some of the angles but Brown imo needs to do more to find the space and demand the ball. If you want to build from the back it’s all about the triangles (ask Pep), we had no triangles. If he is not available the ball will go back and circulate. Better players and better teams would have done more than shuffle around. It sounds obvious but replace Brown with Verratti and watch those clips again and think about what would happen. I know an unrealistic comparison but trying to make the point if we play that way what needs to happen.

  8. macjay1,



    With the Greatest of Respect, please dinnae link me up on CQN in Multiple posts please m8ty.



    It gets messy because of the format – to be fair Every messageboard isnae very good.



    HH and on to Kilmarnock and HOPEFULLY 3 points.

  9. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    PETEC on 15TH FEBRUARY 2019 10:52 PM





    Sorry , old son .


    It won`t happen again .

  10. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on 15th February 2019 10:44 pm



    We got over the Ibrox result subsequently with runs on the board.


    We`ll get over the Valencia result .


    With a bit of luck , pride will be restored in Spain.




    We got over that result with a run of home fixtures, which we’ve been winning since the season started, so hard to judge if we are actually in form or not.



    Tough one on Sunday, will our bottle hold.

  11. glendalystonsils on

    The Kondogbia citation just rubs salt in last night’s wounds. Quite happy to miss the return knowing that they are through and he’ll be clear for a stiffer test in the next round . That adds insult to injury , so I really hope for a miracle in the return leg or that they get stuffed in the quarters.


    I wonder how long we ‘ll go on hearing about the special atmosphere in Celtic Park on European nights and how the crowd are Celtic’s 12th man.


    The team no longer seem capable of responding , so it’s all rather irrelevant. We played last night like we were a couple of players short so the crowd were , in effect , the 10th man.

  12. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    LARKIN 1907 on 15TH FEBRUARY 2019 10:50 PM


    In the interests of debate here’s one for our RT McJay for no Neil Lennon I know…












    Will watch later.






    What does this mean ?



    RT McJay for no Neil Lennon I know…

  13. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    PETEC on 15TH FEBRUARY 2019 10:57 PM





    Old Son – FFS I really am hurtling towards 50 noo. :))




    God Bless you m8ty.







    Yer a baby , son . :-)




    And may God Bless you too , Pete.

  14. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    THE_HUDDLE on 15TH FEBRUARY 2019 10:55 PM




    I think that what appears to be the general assessment on CQN is correct.



    A poor team performance plus a questionable tactical strategy.



    I`ll bet Brendan is rethinking .




    On to Killie .


    Hail Hail to yourself.

  15. BSR 11:01



    God Bless ye Bro. You have experienced the Heartache I have still to experience – Praise the Almighty.






    Celtic thats the Team for me.



    You Sir, are Wonderful on CQN. little ole me Loves ye to bits because you make me smile.

  16. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on 15th February 2019 11:10 pm




    My worry is that maybe we haven’t really improved from our average first half of the season, despite the stats of goals scored and clean sheets these last few games.



    A win at Killie will blow some of those doubts away. But gonna be tough, hope I’m wrong.

  17. Mr McJ


    as I said I’m along time lurker and occasional poster so…


    the former is what you have been called on many occasions.


    and the latter is based on your nom de plum and lack of understanding of that man I know



    and no apologies for posting another tune from GSH …




  18. petec on 15th February 2019 11:25 pm




    Sunday I will be betting over 2.5 first half goals – some sort of value there.




    Good luck with that, can’t see much happening 1st half

  19. Havin’ the huddle saying Nae way. over 3.5 is on @ 18s.



    Obviously I wullnae be too disappointed if we are Running Amok and losing wan goal early doors.

  20. Kilmarnock have done well, since SC went there. Celtic getting beat against Valencia was Mega Worry for Kilmarnock.



    IMO – Celtic is a Tiger ready to really Rock and Roll.

  21. It is so wierd that efter I had This Blaring in a Govan Shipyard, Sinead went Hardcore Islam.



    The Big Guy has the best ever sense of humour. We All need to start reading the New Testament, or Listen via audio.

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