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Celtic attack the ball to win plaudits, if not points

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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.

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397 Comments

  1. jude2005 is Neil Lennon \o/ on

    A POUND FOR THE MIDDEN?? A POUND FOR THE SHOP DEAL?? DO THEY ONLY DEAL IN THE POUND?? GODD JOBBY THE SINGEL SHULLIN AINT AROUND ANY MARE!!!

  2. MacJay

     

    Ever heard this bloke ?

     

    He has a handle on things imo.

     

    Predicted Brexit and Trump getting elected, reckons France will elect the NF, Germany will bin Angela and go further to the right, Spain will go left, Italy will decide at a later date :-)

     

    Well worth listening to him, he is scottish and a Prof of economics in the states, middle of the road but as smart as eggs. many on here should listen to him afore they spout their uninformed pish when it comes to politics.

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxBzcynHGEE

     

    This is a five min section of an hour + lecture, there are a fair few out there and each one better that the rest.

     

    HH

  3. Beatbhoy …. the Chicago Architectural Society runs these tours…. you take a boat (dont know what kind of boat … a tour boat thingy) along the Chicago river, passing the sky scrapers, and have some lunch while they tell you all about the buildings …. . I’m not a big architecture guy… but it is actually a lot of fun.

     

     

    and I did see the building the Big Yin was looking at … kinda cool.

  4. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    TET,

     

     

    Just catching up with the thread.

     

     

    If there are two things I’ve learned as I traverse this Valley of Tears, it is,

     

     

    Don’t tell a man he knows nothing about football and don’t tell him he is a lousy driver.

     

     

    Everything else is negotiable!

  5. Mike in Toronto

     

     

    Not a Rohing boat then!

     

     

    Anyway, he designed the Barcelona chair, which I dislike.

     

     

    Collapses at the slightest touch!

  6. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    THE EXILED TIM on 24TH NOVEMBER 2016 10:40 PM

     

    MacJay

     

     

    Thanks very much for that.

     

    I`ll have a look.

     

     

    The guy I like on the ” Americas ” is Prof . Niall Ferguson from Glasgow .

     

    No doubt you have heard of him.

     

    My respect for him caused some grumbling from some of the CQN worthies .

     

    I suspect he may have committed the mortal sin of being wealthy.

  7. TTT

     

    But you did tell him he knows feck all about football, and you were-are right, some of the stuff spouted has been cringworthy, if I were being generous I would call it misguided, but I am not so they know feck all :-)

     

    HH

     

    ………………………………………………………………

     

    MacJay

     

    Whatever you do when you are on Youtube, Don’t search for Pizzagate, am surprised the vids are still up to be honest, be they true or not, scary stuff, smoke and fire spring to mind, amazing how the msm pick and choose what they report on eh.

     

    I have, nothing better that educating yersel.

     

    HH

  8. How dare Clumpany talk about ‘stiffed creditors’.

     

    The whole world knows that they were merely subjected to perfectly legal, no laughing at the back’ Administrative and Liquidation processes.

  9. Tricoloured Ribbon on

    Tomorrow’s rags claiming Scott Sinclair crocked and out for a month.

     

    Big blow for Sunday’s Final.:-(

  10. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    THE EXILED TIM on 24TH NOVEMBER 2016 10:40 PM

     

     

    Thanks again.

     

    Just watched that .

     

    Impressive guy and some compelling arguments.

     

     

    Tiny point.

     

    Don`t think Trump is sexist. Randy ? Seemingly .

     

    Don`t think he is racist. Wife Slovenian !!! Previous wife Czech ? Slovak ?

  11. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    TET,

     

     

    Ah, but, I never mentioned anyone by name, so it wouldn’t stand up in court.

     

     

    Dundalk are smart wee outfit and all credit to them and their manager.

     

    Considering that they have been playing since April, they have done themselves and their league great credit.

  12. Are the dafties, really going to buy more glib and shameless nonsense, and pay in again ?

     

     

    Great so it is.

  13. Dallas Dallas where the heck is Dallas on

    Inter goalie sent off tonight and Be’er Sheva come back from 2 nil dwn to beat them 3 2 . Inter now out of Europa League.

     

     

    I was very proud of our team last night .

     

     

    Barcelona press , unsurprisingly , saying Mikael’s attempts to foul Neymark, caused his bad behaviour. Neymark did a fair bit of gobbing onto our pitch during his long walk to be subbed.

     

     

    Now onto Sunday and to the moaning minnes of Aberdonia.

  14. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    THE EXILED TIM on 24TH NOVEMBER 2016 11:06 PM

     

     

    Marshall Mc Luhan. `60s.

     

    ” The media is the message. ”

     

    Never a truer word.

     

     

    Just checking ” Pizzagate ”

     

    :-)

  15. MacJay

     

    I don’t think Mark said Trump was racist, I think he said the republicans were, and like everyone else they are, else they wouldn’t be in power or seeking power.

     

    HH

     

    ………………………….

     

    TTT

     

    Ha,

     

    Aye Dundalk done good, always liked Stephen Kenny, knew him when I lived there, knows the game, very happy for him and the Irish league, was a season book holder for many years, fair enjoyed it.

     

    Take care, sleep beckons, car in for an ITV in the morn.

     

    HH

  16. Clumpany Towers today you excelled in your latest excellent satirical critique

     

     

    https://theclumpany.wordpress.com/2016/11/24/emotional-investments/

     

     

    Emotional Investments….

     

     

    Most of the time I am a straight down the middle ISA type of tax dodger did not know there was money to be made about how you feel at the time

     

     

    Are these investments taxable can you pay less if you feel miserable?

     

     

    The piggybank pic with a bandage and a crutch might work though

     

     

    There is always the bank of human sympathy as a last resort

     

     

    HH

  17. THOMTHETHIM FOR OSCAR OK on 24TH NOVEMBER 2016 11:31 PM

     

     

     

    Are you trying to get some CQN’ers to choke on their cornflakes????????????

     

     

    HH.

  18. I don’t think Niall Ferguson’s wealth or lack of it is the issue; more likely his prejudicial views.

  19. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    CROFTCELT on 24TH NOVEMBER 2016 11:43 PM

     

    I don’t think Niall Ferguson’s wealth or lack of it is the issue; more likely his prejudicial views.

     

     

    ==================================================================

     

     

    Example please .

  20. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    GREENPINATA on 24TH NOVEMBER 2016 11:37 PM

     

    THOMTHETHIM FOR OSCAR OK on 24TH NOVEMBER 2016 11:31 PM

     

     

     

     

    Are you trying to get some CQN’ers to choke on their cornflakes????????????

     

     

     

    HH.

     

     

    ****

     

     

    Of course not.

     

     

    That’s Macjay1’s job!! : < )

  21. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    THOMTHETHIM FOR OSCAR OK on 24TH NOVEMBER 2016 11:59 PM

     

     

    If you can keep your head when all around……………………………

     

     

     

    Chunder CSC

  22. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    MACJAY1 FOR NEIL LENNON on 25TH NOVEMBER 2016 12:08 AM

     

    THOMTHETHIM FOR OSCAR OK on 24TH NOVEMBER 2016 11:59 PM

     

     

     

    If you can keep your head when all around……………………………

     

     

     

     

    Chunder CSC

     

     

    ^^^^^^

     

     

    ……then you are holding a fine pint of Guinness, my son.

     

     

    #kiplingnottheonewhomakescakes

     

     

    Off to the ol’ hammock, cobber.

     

     

    Good night antipodeans, amphibians and ambidextrous Tims.

  23. ACGR, Michael they'll be taking you away on

    Just finished watching the game again after a late return from paradise last night. Contrary to some of the paranoid pish I’ve read about referee collusion I think the only major decision the referee lost his professionalism with was the back assault on Lustig, a very very poor decision.

     

     

    Scot Brown was magnificent and played like a captain for 94 minutes.

     

     

    Some bellends, like big Alfie of islay suggest I should be embarrassed after last nights performance.

     

     

    Hmmm no, I don’t think so big bell end. I really don’t think so………………….Nope, definitely not embarrassed at all.

     

     

    Celtic

  24. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    THOMTHETHIM FOR OSCAR OK on 25TH NOVEMBER 2016 12:14 AM

     

     

     

    May flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest .

     

     

    Or pints of Guinness.

  25. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    OVERSEASBHOY on 25TH NOVEMBER 2016 12:20 AM

     

    Bad news on Sinclair- bright side, surely now Roberts will get a run of games

     

     

    ===================================================

     

     

    Or / and Leigh being one of the two up top .