Celtic-Atletico, sublime footballers and a malign influence


Walking out of the ground last night, my oldest son recalled Liam Scales nervy performance against St Johnstone in August.  Two months later he was imperious against a World Cup winning striker.  This season’s Champions League campaign is like to end in December, but a few Celtic players will surely look back on it with pride.

Luis Palma made his fourth start for the club and gave us a further insight into his talent.  Denied a goal by a marginal offside against Lazio, he got his reward when the Atletico net bulged for the second time.  Unlike our other wingers, his game is not about pace, he will continue to find space in dangerous areas for him and others to exploit.  Reminiscent of John Robertson in his pomp.

There were two world class footballers on the field.  Antoine Griezmann’s movement, touch and game-management was sublime; a joy to watch.  While sharing the pitch with a player of this standard, we can judge Kyogo.  To say he was outstanding is insufficient.

His goal was so simple, passing the ball into the net from 7 yards, who cannot do that?  Well, no one who has played for Celtic in the last 50 years, apart from Henrik Larsson and Kenny Dalglish.  Daizen Maeda, unplayable for the first half, created the chance.  Matt O’Riley twice brought the attention of Atletico off Kyogo, but the goal was all about our Japanese striker.

Late in the second half I complained about yet another no-look pass from him that went astray.  The truth is, he was playing on a level no one else in hoops has yet understood.  How often did the arms go up in frustration as his run was not matched with an early forward ball?

Shortly before he was subbed, he controlled and moved the ball while under pressure with such skill I am doubting my memory.  Just as Henrik and Kenny before him, he is improving the longer he stays at Celtic; current form is his best yet.  With such a talent, his teammates should always be looking for him.  The rest of us can marvel as his story unfolds.

Having been schooled in the first period, Atletico changed things at halftime and when their second equaliser came it was deserved.  Celtic were pinned back and ragged.  In response, Brendan Rodgers made the huge decision to change to an unused, three-at-the-back formation.

It looked a gamble at the time, but Brendan knew what he was doing.  The extra bodies in midfield rebalanced the match.  What a decision!  This is why he is Celtic manager, instead of you or me.

We knew energy levels would be an issue, Celtic do not play enough games at this level to be fully prepared.  The early injury to Reo Hatate meant that we were out of substitution instances as the game neared its conclusion.    As we worried for Celtic, Atletico’s true colours flipped the flow of the game towards the home team.

Rodrigo de Paul is another World Cup winner but got himself booked for persistently harassing the referee while looking for a second penalty kick.  Have some self-respect, you may think, but that is not something Argentinians in the red of Atletico are known for around these parts.

I left the game full of praise for Griezmann, but disgusted at de Paul, who picked up a second yellow for an out of control challenge on a tiring Paulo Bernardo.  On the way home, my youngest asked, ‘What would you be like if you had that Simeone in your face every day of the week?”

With Griezmann on the ground after a head knock, Simeone stopped the club doctor from giving attention.  Medical oversight only arrived because the referee insisted Griezmann leave the field.  “That Simeone” is a malign influence and a true son of his father.

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  1. Celtic beat Kilmarnock 3-1 on Saturday 7th October — our last home game on a weekend.



    Our next weekend home match will be v Aberdeen on Sunday 12th November.



    That’s a whole 5 weeks without a home game on a weekend, and that doesn’t even include an international break.

  2. A couple of match observations.




    When BR did the Phillips for Palma sub- I thought we would go to 3:5:2 but for a long spell of Atletico pressure in that 2nd half, it looked very much like a flat back 5 in a 5:3:2.




    Whatever, it did the job of discouraging their attacks and we got back to going forward ourselves.




    Still strange to see that Nat Phillips was rampaging up the right as a wing back more often than AJ did.




    The other observation is that Greg Taylor had a good reason not to challenge the ball, and back off at their 2nd goal. I was raging at him at the time but, watching back the highlights on TV, I spotted the Atletico attacker hugging the sideline. If Greg had challenged the Atletico player for the ball, there was an easy pass to the touchline hugger available to get in behind the defence. It was a very good cross and header. Joe Hart cannot cover all of the goal and Morata’s header was quality.

  3. The Battered Bunnet on

    A very encouraging performance last night, playing imaginative football and succeeding in large part against a team at the very top of the game.



    The effort to play at that standard though means the players are out for the count in the last 15 minutes. Them’s the breaks, I suppose.

  4. A repost from the end of last blog:-





    Scaniel @ 7.02




    Brilliant post and I hope Paul67 reads and learns from it.




    I wasn’t on last night and did not start reading back until just after midnight.




    Consistently offensive posters deserve a ban and Moderators are necessary. A gentle touch to remind posters to go easy on heated exchanges is helpful but deletion of all political comments, on a night when so many in the Celtic support were making a political statement at the match in face of heavy discouragement to not do so.




    We, at CQN, are not currently thriving as a blog. The reasons for that are many but they do not include being more politically controversial and outspoken than other Celtic sites.




    We can ill afford to lose thoughtful posters like Coneybhoy or humorous, challenging contributors like the Lurkin Tim. I believe St. Stivs is rough enough to survive the character attack from the Mod but it was still shocking to see it expressed.




    I would ask Paul67 to reflect on these developments and help prevent a further slow death of CQN as loyal posters lose faith in their welcome on here.

  5. bournesouprecipe on

    Still horrible after all these years.



    Pots went out the window last night as the Rodgers factor kicks in at Celtic, with unrecognisably improved players throughout the team. Matt O’Riley was again arguably man of the match, but it could just as well, have been Liam Scales or one of two others. Alistair Johnston demonstrably stronger than the player he superseded, and Daizen Maeda making a mockery of the fee for which Celtic stole him, from the J League.



    Sleepy England gifted us class in CCV, and after the injury crisis ‘failed to prepare Celtic’ totted up centre back number seven, we’re suddenly in good shape.More Scales like development elsewhere for some come January,shrewd business management by BR and Celtic.



    The new contracts business over summer along with straight batting suitors, has ensured a seven point gap, and the ability to take part in the CL, going toe to toe with Feyenoord Lazio and last night Atleti. The Spaniard’s closed the door on attack and settled for a draw they were only too happy to accept and we’ve now given great value having played all three favourited sides.



    Subbing Nat Phillips and not another striker in Oh was the BR move that may have solidified our point, it wasn’t an Ange type addition and wily Brendan sees untapped mileage in James Forrest’s legs, which refuse to stop. Reo Hatate might see a new fitness specialist, but the upside was getting to see Bernardo take to the big stage, in his stride.



    The most important development league in years, starts again on Saturday after a highly satisfactory interlude, against a club that somehow shows unwarranted arrogance and little sign of dignity, in another century.



    POTY year vote







  6. One thing’s for sure after watching Celtic last night.



    No team in Scotland can live with us.

  7. From previous blog:



    Absolutely great comments and points from the blog this morning focussing more on the football than other matter.




    The Onlooker




    You’re wrong about Celtic being rotten at throw ins since you started posting in the early days of the blog. The Lisbon Lions were rotten at throw ins also and we’ve never improved since. You’re suggestion of employing a throw in specialist coach is a must for us. We’ve got to work on every facet of the game. We also need a penalty kick coach.




    Celtic 4 Me




    Agree about Maeda. He put their left back through the wringer. It was no surprise he was subbed at half-time. You’re right about the effect of bringing on Phillips for Palma. We were less effective going forward but but it probably kept us from losing a late goal. I thought against Lazio we should have done something similar from the 80 th minute. Stopped chasing a winner by constantly attacking. We should have consolidated and tried to hit them on the break in the dying minutes. I also agree about Bernardo. I was really pleased with his performance when he replaced Hatate but he was out on his feet from about 65 mins. I think Holm might still have been suspended because his red card against Feyenoord was a straight one for violent conduct and I think he had a two game suspension (I could be very wrong though). I don’t think Brendan trusted anyone on the bench to play at this level.




    I also love the drama of Panto villain Simeone. He’s a cheat and a scoundrel but total box office. He’s the Dick Dastardly of football. He’s only only missing his giggling sidekick Muttley.








    My point above may (or may not) answer your poser about young Holm.




    Sean Thornton and KingLubo




    Absolutely agree with you both about last night. We definitely can compete at this level but Brendan needs backing to sustain it.








    I’m still on a total high this morning. It was the good old days, minus the victory, again.

  8. SFTB



    “ The other observation is that Greg Taylor had a good reason not to challenge the ball, and back off at their 2nd goal. I was raging at him at the time but, watching back the highlights on TV, I spotted the Atletico attacker hugging the sideline. If Greg had challenged the Atletico player for the ball, there was an easy pass to the touchline hugger available to get in behind the defence. It was a very good cross and header. Joe Hart cannot cover all of the goal and Morata’s header was quality.”



    Fully agree with you. I was blaming Greg Taylor also for standing off Llorente for the second goal. I thought he was much closer to Llorente than he actually was and the Atletico player would always have the advantage over him in terms of control of the ball. It was a 75-25 situation. When I came home and watched it on the telly the gap between the two players was much bigger than I thought and as you say it would have been an easy pass to the player on the wing. Taylor would have been blamed for diving in and selling himself.

  9. Best atmosphere at Celtic Park for a long time,tremendous performance, 2 big calls by Brendan, putting Bernardo on,who has hardly kicked a ball for us and was excellent, and changing shape when Phillips came on,as we were under the cosh at that time.If we paid £5 million for Scales, we would be saying he was worth it,he won’t be on big money coming from Irish football, he needs a better contract, Griezmann……what a football player….

  10. P67


    “We knew energy levels would be an issue, Celtic do not play enough games at this level to be fully prepared.”



    I struggle to understand this thinking.


    Decision making I can understand as its a different game in Europe but energy levels?!



    If the league was stronger then we’d be exerted more in every game and use more energy at weekends so would this mean:


    – we’d be knackered come mid week?


    – our overall fitness levels would increase as we are consistently working hard so our base level increases as long as we recover after matches?



    Regardless of the level of opponent the team/players can choose, in some league games where an early lead is taken, to stroll through the game or to go full on “we never stop” for 90+ minutes so which ever makes more sense in sports science thinking should be what we adopt.



    I may never understand how professional athletes cannot maintain energy levels for 90 minutes though.



    On the match itself, it was brilliant, first half in particular.



    I think we looked disjointed when we matched them 3-5-2 which is perhaps to be expected if we don’t train/play this way much. Too often runs and balls (often played blind) didn’t match up but it did help steady the ship for sure.



    The atmosphere was a lot better too – perhaps due to the importance of the match after the Feyenoord/Lazio result but also perhaps partially due to deciding to leave the singing to the fans rather than hiring some wee lassie to sing at a different pace and tempo which is not great.




  11. Most enjoyable 90 odd minutes at home for a long time.



    Everyone played their part.



    I guess we need to brace ourselves in the summer for a mega offer for Kyogoal, but to some extent a happy problem.



    On a more positive note , it reflects well on the team that we are clearly playing modern good football and not kick and rush tactics. Hopefully, this will result in more players wanting to become part of the Celtic story ….



    The ping pong one twos resulting in a couple of our CL goals joy to watch and very difficult to defend against






    But but but but but


    we can’t compete at this level…..






    Fella, we’re propping up the group with 1 point from 9. We’re a Pot 4 team producing Pot 4 outcomes.



    We’re playing some great stuff at times and amateur hour on others but the problems haven’t gone away – we have a core of players that we are constantly going to the well for and as last night showed, have no real quality on the bench to help.



    We have a terrific manager. Back him and let him build a team.



    This campaign has all the hallmarks of a ‘what if’ to me. Let down by a strategic decision that we are always planing for the rainy day….




  13. “EKBHOY on 26TH OCTOBER 2023 12:33 PM


    The ping pong one twos resulting in a couple of our CL goals joy to watch and very difficult to defend against”



    Totally agree.


    Some of the one touch play at the back to beat the press was also a joy to watch, first half in particular.




  14. “TOM MCLAUGHLIN on 26TH OCTOBER 2023 12:01 PM


    Celtic beat Kilmarnock 3-1 on Saturday 7th October — our last home game on a weekend.


    Our next weekend home match will be v Aberdeen on Sunday 12th November.”



    I was about to tell you we`ve got St Mirren on the 1st then I noticed `weekend` !!

  15. Share









    HOOPS UNMATCHED Celtic have played ‘best football’ in this year’s Champions League, declares TNT Sports pundit


    The pundit has outlined what sets the Hoops apart from other teams in the competition.


    David Robson


    Published: 10:42, 26 Oct 2023Updated: 11:08, 26 Oct 2023





    CELTIC have picked up just one point from their first three Champions League games so far this season.



    Brendan Rodgers’ men fell short to Feyenoord in Rotterdam and Lazio at home but last night’s 2-2 draw with Atletico Madrid got them off and running.






    Kyogo scored early doors to give Celtic the lead against Atletico Madrid




    Kyogo scored early doors to give Celtic the lead against Atletico MadridCredit: Kenny Ramsay


    Luis Palma made it 2-1 later in the first half with a composed strike




    Luis Palma made it 2-1 later in the first half with a composed strikeCredit: PA


    We’ve reached the half-way point in Group E and Celtic’s chances of progressing to the next round of the competition look bleak.



    However, even if they do crash out in the group stage, the Hoops can still take the crown for the “best football” played in the tournament so far.



    That’s according to TNT Sport pundit James Horncastle who hailed the efforts of Rodgers’ men last night and labelled them the most exciting team to watch in the competition.



    Discussing the match at full-time, he said: “They had to get something out of this game, and I think they’ve played some of the best football that I’ve seen in the competition so far this season.

  16. Interestingly Celtic’s X account gained a further 35k followers overnight and is now approaching 1M in total.



    I wonder what news-driven event helped with that?



    Stick that in that in your marketing deck eh Celtic executive team ?



    It’s the fans. It’s always the fans. And god bless every one of them.




  17. Paul The Spark on



    It will be all the Daily Mail hacks looking to see if we post anything controversial. 😂

  18. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Big Wavy


    I don’t think we are in disagreement with one another.


    For years we have been hearing that we can’t even compete in the CL and it isn’t even worth trying.


    This campaign has shown that we CAN. If the summer transfers had been weighted more to first-team ready players our points return would probably be higher.


    We didn’t even replace what we lost, never mind attempt to strengthen (when do we ever strengthen from a position of strength?).


    Can’t help but think what might have happened if our partner club had made it into the CL.

  19. Sftb



    Spot on about Greg Taylor and their second goal, they’d been nicking in front of us to get to the ball in those sort of positions and he’d been exposed through the game as Palma wasn’t doing his job of helping him out. Knowing Greg as we do, he was second favourite to get to it, a free kick in a dangerous position was probably the best outcome




    Apologies fella. We’re on the same page.



    I thought Maeda to CF (not Oh) and James Forrest coming on (not Yang) was interesting from Brendan. Not enough in the back catalogue of Mark Lawell’s signings are trusted.



    We’re a bloated, ill-shaped squad at the moment. Back this manager. We have the money. Just not the appetite.




  21. Simeone didn´t dwell on the refereeing decisons in his post-match press conference last night and he will already be thinking about how he is going to re-shuffle his midfield.



    It was a very nostalgic night for me in the end with one of the best ever players to come out of Paisley, Davy Hay watching from the stands. Davy signed for Celtic as early as 1965 and knew all about the Racing Club matches, His young team mate, George Connelly actually travelled with the team to Buenos Aries in 1967. Davy has had his health issues lately and we wish him well, he of course played that night against Atletico in 1974 and was considered by most Scotland supporters as our best player at the 1974 World Cup. Davy is also a legend for being the manager at Love Street 1986. He was born not that far from that ground, in George Street, that was what my mother told me when I used to ask about the great man´s original whereabouts.



    MNCelt is right to point out Maeda´s weaknesses as well as his strengths…Give him the ball to practise with Brendan…he can do the rest.





    You absolutely nailed it with that comparison, Simeone is a spitting image of Dick Dastardly. And there is a Muttley, they call him “El Profe Ortega”, their famous fitness coach from Uruguay, who is about knee high to a grasshopper.



    I would love to have seen the expressions last night on the faces of the old Racing Club boys listening to the game on the transistor and hearing the commentator say



    ” ……Y ahora JOHNSTON avanza por la banda derecha…….

  22. boondock saint on

    Thought the team played very well last night and was very happy with our managers changes with about 30minutes to go. We gave a right good account of ourselves for the whole 90 minutes. it is hard to keep up the intensity of the first half for 90 minutes. I know Brendan has his faults but imagine if we had that horrible classless Simeone as our gaffer!!!! We will have a tough game on the weekend against the Hibees. Hope we keep up the momentum and the pressure on the other mob.


    Prayers with all those affected in the world and for those in another mass shooting up in Maine.


    All the best.



  23. spikeysauldman on

    btw, will the mods delete the lead article if p67 gets tore into the SNP like days gone by :)

  24. Repost. Went down like a lead balloon first time.


    Maybe a second dunking



    There was one excellent snippet last night.


    Griessmann goes down at a foul holding his head. Referee has to know he is faking a head knock.





    Oh you’ve hurt your head son. You better get off the pitch and have that checked. Griessmann makes a remarkable recovery but it is too late as the ref has made a decision.





    I hope every ref has seen this and the light bulbs come on

  25. Celtic score and it’s great play.



    Celtic lose a goal and it’s Taylor’s fault.



    Simple’s. Them is the rules.



    Until you actually watch the goals objectively.



    Great night last night. So disappointing we didn’t take 3 points. Weirdly we got less against the 2 weaker opponents in the group. A draw in Madrid and then very achievable 2 wins and we might just make it ….

  26. Big Wavy / Glass 2/3



    Maybe oven ready mature players like Dessers and Lamers and maybe even Csntwell might have signed for us if only we had opened the biscuit Tin.



    We only play 10 games with anything remotely like the intensity of that last night. That’s our problem. We saw it after an hour. We were shattered. It’s not about money. No assurances that spending big on folk taking a pay day who are not good enough for bigger leagues is going to give us better.

  27. BURNLEY78 on 26TH OCTOBER 2023 2:46 PM



    Eff me. There’s building strawmen and then there’s giving them Hun characters to go with them. Rotten.



    You’ve excelled yourself with that nonsense.



    You’re also wrong in your argument. That game was set up for a big Giacomakis in the last period. An ambitious guy who was affordable. But hey, all those projects like Holm, Kwon, Lagerbeilke and Yang got to put their feet up last night and will be well-rested.




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