Celtic attack the ball to win plaudits, if not points


Barcelona won 2-0 with a goal in each half.  The first, a sublime effort from the Sublime Master, the second a disputed penalty during Celtic’s best period of play.  The visitors forced one point-blank save from Craig Gordon, and struck the woodwork, but Celtic limited them to far fewer chances than on any previous visit since the current Celtic-Barcelona series of games began in 2004.

Attack the ball

On match day two, against Manchester City, the most striking aspect of Celtic’s play was their high pressing.  City were harried throughout.  Celtic did the same to Barcelona last night.  One, two, three and often four players arrived on the scene, high up the field, to close space and nick the ball.  This was a risky tactic but proved to be very effective (note: it didn’t work for Emilio down the left in the second half).

As a consequence, Scott Brown and Stuart Armstrong regularly won possession in the midfield.  While you may have detected a drop in the level of our passing game in recent league outings, on a pristine surface last night, and under the greatest scrutiny, our passes were fast and accurate.

This high press combined with crisp passing meant we played the game a lot higher up-field against Barcelona than at any time since Larsson, Thompson and Sutton were doing their stuff.  The performance ended in defeat, so it will not be remembered as fondly as the game in 2012, but our ability to hold the ball, pass and move, was superior.

A few things to ponder:

Whatever was ‘wrong’ with Craig Gordon was fixed after the arrival of some competition.  His save from Suarez was exceptional – even better on TV replay than it looked at the game.

Jozo Simunovic and Erik Sviatchenko were unlocked by Messi once, but that aside, they didn’t miss a beat, and were always comfortable in possession.  The van Dijk-Denayer partnership has been the high water mark in modern times by which other Celtic central defensive pairings have been judged.  You’d be harsh to argue Jozo and Erik are performing below that level.

Honourable mention for Mikael Lustig too.  Neymar annoyed me with his approach to sportsmanship three years ago.  His behaviour last night, when he should have been red carded for two off-the-ball incidents, discredited his team.  It was no surprise he was substituted within minutes of the second incident.

Scott Brown bossed central midfield for parts of the game.  Stuart Armstrong’s dad probably didn’t know he had that level of performance in him.  He’s unrecognisable from the player who couldn’t get near the team last season.

In common with all of our advanced players, Tom Rogic’s opportunities to shine were fewer than our defensive players, but Barcelona pressed him more than any other Celtic player, and he came away with the ball more often than I expected.

Of the 14 Celtic players used last night, we got 45 minutes from Scott Sinclair and 90 from Moussa Dembele, neither of whom were material to our performance.  The rest were all at the club under Ronny Deila.  The transformation in Celtic, with largely the same players, is astonishing.  Store this experience away for the next time we’re underperforming and need to plan a recovery.

Kieran Tierney, Kolo Toure, Leigh Griffiths, Bir Bitton and Patrick Roberts could have easily made the starting line-up without any perceivable drop in standards.  There’s an unaccustomed depth to Celtic’s squad.

Lots going on right now with a Cup Final to look forward hard on the heels of a Champions League game but we’ll pick up on some strategic stuff tomorrow.  Also keen to get my hands on the calculated leaking of part of a store rental deal without the corresponding information.  If you attempt to drive a club into the sea, it’s financial options will leave it exposed to harsh terms.

This torchlight display on 67 minutes phenomenon is a special.  Respectful, understated and classy.  Well done.


Click Here for Comments >

About Author



    I’dliketheoption 155 Doncaster



    Good luck,y’all. And me in particular!!


    Spawny bassa faither won again. On the bright side,he might get the beer in for a change next time I see him.

  3. Lads,



    I have eventually got my act together – after a lot of travelling recently – and now been able to update the outstanding CQN Naps from the last few weeks. All selections and weekly results will follow this post…



    Thanks to everyone for being patient !



    Cheers, fleagle1888


    (Auckland C-S-C)

  4. CQN Saturday Naps Competition : WEEK 11 results (Oct 22nd)



    Link to selections :





    Winners :



    Fastbhoy (Moss Grove) @5/1


    Cosy Corner Bhoy (Rivet) @11/4


    Dim Sam (Rivet) @11/4


    Fin 15 (Rivet) @11/4


    Bull67 (Fox Norton) @5/2



    Losers :


    16 roads (William du Berlais)


    21-5-79 (Dungannon)


    Angel Gabrial (No Selection)


    BMCUWP (Imperial Aviator)


    Burgas Hoops (Always on the Run)


    call me gerry (Exchequer)


    Cathal (Call the Cops)


    Eurochamps67 (No Selection)


    fleagle1888 (Listen & Learn)


    Gerryfaethebrig (Amomentofmadness)


    Graffitionthewall (Captain Redbeard)


    green T (Sizing Platinum)


    Gweedore Celt (Frontiersman)


    hashadenough (Levelling)


    leftclicktic (Head Space)


    Nye Bevans RS (No Selection)


    ohits (No Selection)


    Onemalloy (Frontiersman)


    Raymac (Middlebrow)


    Rockon (Kilfinichen Bay)


    Som mes que un club (Mister Don)


    TheBarcaMole (Bogart)


    twists n turns (Quarterback)


    voguepunter (Lord Ben Stack)


    What is the Stars (No Selection)


    WWW(GBWO) (Wolf of Windlesham)


    Zihuatanejo (Coroners Report)



    Cheers, fleagle1888

  5. CQN Saturday Naps Competition : WEEK 12 results (Oct 29th)



    Link to selections :





    Winners :



    TheBarcaMole (Antony) @11/1


    Bull67 (Estidhkaar) @7/2


    green T (Sovereign Debt) @15/8


    Gweedore Celt (Commanche) @6/4



    Losers :


    16 roads (Moscato)


    21-5-79 (Toledo Gold)


    Angel Gabrial (No Selection)


    BMCUWP (Magic Circle)


    Burgas Hoops (Jet Master)


    call me gerry (No Selection)


    Cathal (Mardale)


    Cosy Corner Bhoy (Moscato)


    Dim Sam (Hint of Mint)


    Eurochamps67 (No Selection)


    Fastbhoy (Rubis)


    Fin 15 (If In Doubt)


    fleagle1888 (Mango Cap)


    Gerryfaethebrig (Choumicha)


    Graffitionthewall (Gleann Na Ndochais)


    hashadenough (Clic Work)


    leftclicktic (Dartford Warbler)


    Nye Bevans RS (Native River)


    ohits (Inaam)


    Onemalloy (Miss Crick)


    Raymac (Ballyboley)


    Rockon (Sean Airgead)


    Som mes que un club (Trust Thomas)


    twists n turns (Germany Calling)


    voguepunter (Vertigo)


    What is the Stars (No Selection)


    WWW(GBWO) (Cloonacool)


    Zihuatanejo (Cloonacool)



    Cheers, fleagle1888

  6. CQN Saturday Naps Competition : WEEK 13 results (Nov 5th)



    Link to selections :





    Winners :



    Cathal (Gentleman Jon) @9/1


    Cosy Corner Bhoy (Prize Money) @4/1


    Fin 15 (Prize Money) @4/1


    Onemalloy (Prize Money) @4/1


    16 roads (Valseur Lido) @2/1



    Losers :


    16 roads (Valseur Lido)


    21-5-79 (Cricklewood Green)


    Angel Gabrial (No Selection)


    BMCUWP (Mount Tahan)


    Bull67 (La Casa Tarifa)


    Burgas Hoops (Lady of Camelot)


    call me gerry (Young Dillon)


    Dim Sam (Soldier in Action)


    Eurochamps67 (No Selection)


    Fastbhoy (Dawn of Hope)


    fleagle1888 (Ennistown)


    Gerryfaethebrig (Aqualis)


    Graffitionthewall (No Selection)


    green T (Le Mercurey)


    Gweedore Celt (Celestine)


    hashadenough (No Selection)


    leftclicktic (Lady of Camelot)


    Nye Bevans RS (Absolutely So)


    ohits (Virgilio)


    Raymac (Albernathy)


    Rockon (Sir Chauvelin)


    Som mes que un club (Pulpitarian)


    TheBarcaMole (Materialistic)


    twists n turns (Shady McCoy)


    voguepunter (God Willing)


    What is the Stars (No Selection)


    WWW(GBWO) (Outlander)


    Zihuatanejo (Al Khan)



    Cheers, fleagle1888

  7. CQN Saturday Naps Competition : WEEK 14 results (Nov 12th)



    Link to selections :





    Winners :



    Nye Bevans RS (Irish Roe) @5/1


    BMCUWP (Zipedeedodah) @9/2


    Cosy Corner Bhoy (Zipedeedodah) @9/2


    fleagle1888 (Thistlecrack) @1/7



    Losers :


    16 roads (Frodon)


    21-5-79 (Traditional Dancer)


    Angel Gabrial (Traditional Dancer)


    Bull67 (As De Mee)


    Burgas Hoops (Lady Lunchalot)


    call me gerry (Frodon)


    Cathal (As De Mee)


    Dim Sam (Outback Traveller)


    Eurochamps67 (No Selection)


    Fastbhoy (Royal Cosmic)


    Fin 15 (Alysson Monterg)


    Gerryfaethebrig (Brillaire Momento)


    Graffitionthewall (Turban)


    green T (Fingal Bay)


    Gweedore Celt (Powerful Dream)


    hashadenough (Alysson Monterg)


    leftclicktic (Dusty Blue)


    ohits (Beauboreen)


    Onemalloy (Catchthemoonlight)


    Raymac (As De Mee)


    Rockon (Shadows Lengthen)


    Som mes que un club (Diamond Rock)


    TheBarcaMole (Supreme Vinnie)


    twists n turns (Midnight Prayer)


    voguepunter (Vintage Vinnie)


    What is the Stars (No Selection)


    WWW(GBWO) (Koshari)


    Zihuatanejo (Sneaking Budge)



    Cheers, fleagle1888

  8. CQN Saturday Naps Competition : WEEK 15 results (Nov 19th)



    Link to selections :





    Winners :



    leftclicktic (Social Media) @4/1


    Cosy Corner Bhoy (Zipedeedodah) @11/4


    WWW(GBWO) (Cue Card) @15/8


    Bull67 (Yanworth) @4/5


    fleagle1888 (Yanworth) @4/5



    Losers :


    16 roads (Unowhatimeanharry)


    21-5-79 (Chase the Spud)


    Angel Gabrial (No Selection)


    BMCUWP (Aurillac)


    Burgas Hoops (Caid du Berlais)


    call me gerry (No Selection)


    Cathal (Silver Kayf)


    Dim Sam (Seeyouatmidnight)


    Eurochamps67 (No Selection)


    Fastbhoy (No Selection)


    Fin 15 (Yala Enki)


    Gerryfaethebrig (Qortaaj)


    Graffitionthewall (Solar Impulse)


    green T (Saroque)


    Gweedore Celt (Seeyouatmidnight)


    hashadenough (The Organist)


    Nye Bevans RS (Saroque)


    ohits (Two Taffs)


    Onemalloy (Kylemore Lough)


    Raymac (Quite by Chance)


    Rockon (Dan Troop)


    Som mes que un club (Moorlands Jack)


    TheBarcaMole (Dresden)


    twists n turns (Two Taffs)


    voguepunter (Gonalstoun Cloud)


    What is the Stars (No Selection)


    Zihuatanejo (Caid du Berlais)



    Cheers, fleagle1888

  9. CQN Saturday Naps Competition : WEEK 16 results (Nov 26th)



    Winners :



    hashadenough (Irving) @6/1


    Bull67 (Native River) @7/2


    Cosy Corner Bhoy (Native River) @7/2


    twists n turns (Native River) @7/2


    WWW(GBWO) (Native River) @7/2


    green T (Nordic Nymph) @9/4


    Nye Bevans RS (Nordic Nymph) @9/4


    fleagle1888 (Zabana) @11/8



    Losers :


    16 roads (Blaklion)


    21-5-79 (Final Assault)


    Angel Gabrial (No Selection)


    BMCUWP (Idliketheoption)


    Burgas Hoops (Imjoeking)


    call me gerry (No Selection)


    Cathal (Un Temps Pour Tout)


    Dim Sam (Henri Parry Morgan)


    Eurochamps67 (No Selection)


    Fastbhoy (Generous Ransom)


    Fin 15 (Saphir du Rheu)


    Gerryfaethebrig (Blaklion)


    Graffitionthewall (Antony)


    Gweedore Celt (No Selection)


    leftclicktic (Bristol de Mai)


    ohits (Paddyplex)


    Onemalloy (Ozzie the Oscar)


    Raymac (Vyta du Roc)


    Rockon (Whispering Harry)


    Som mes que un club (Captain K)


    TheBarcaMole (Antony)


    voguepunter (Antony)


    What is the Stars (No Selection)


    Zihuatanejo (Triolo d’Alene)



    Cheers, fleagle1888

  10. CQN Saturday Naps Competition : WEEK 16 Standings



    Unlike the SPL… it’s all change at the top of the CQN Naps table, with WWW (GBWO) narrowly ahead of the chasing pack, after finding his seventh winner from 16 selections !



    However, there are five other CQN napsters breathing down his neck, and they are all only a 4/1 winner from taking the top position… interesting times ahead !



    A big shout out must also go to Cosy Corner Bhoy who has now napped 4 winners on the bounce… good luck for your 5-IAR attempt next weekend… can he get to 10-IAR ?



    Naps Table :



    +9.75 > WWW(GBWO) (7)


    +9.50 > BMCUWP (3)


    +7.00 > Cathal (2)


    +6.50 > Cosy Corner Bhoy (5)


    +4.75 > Fin 15 (3)


    +4.75 > Nye Bevans RS (4)



    -0.75 > Dim Sam (3)


    -1.70 > Bull67 (4)


    -3.00 > 16 roads (3)


    -4.00 > Som mes que un club (2)


    -4.00 > TheBarcaMole (1)


    -5.50 > hashadenough (2)


    -5.50 > twists n turns (2)


    -6.50 > Graffitionthewall (2)


    -7.25 > green T (3)


    -7.25 > ohits (2)


    -7.75 > leftclicktic (2)


    -7.75 > Zihuatanejo (2)


    -8.13 > Onemalloy (2)


    -9.00 > Gweedore Celt (2)


    -10.00 > Fastbhoy (1)


    -10.68 > fleagle1888 (3)


    -11.50 > Raymac (1)


    -12.00 > Burgas Hoops (1)


    -13.00 > Rockon (1)


    -16.00 > 21-5-79 (0)


    -16.00 > Angel Gabrial (0)


    -16.00 > call me gerry (0)


    -16.00 > Eurochamps67 (0)


    -16.00 > Gerryfaethebrig (0)


    -16.00 > voguepunter (0)


    -16.00 > What is the Stars (0)



    Cheers, fleagle1888





    Fleagle putting the pressure on you there!



    Four in a spin is some going,btw…