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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. You mean the Peter Lawwell piece?

     

    Oh sorry I didn’t know, it’s still a good read, and should be posted every hour on the hour this weekend IMO, but that’s just my opinion, hope no one was upset me posting it again, and if they are, well, well! You can GIRFUY?

     

    HH

  2. SETTING FREE THE BEARS FOR RES. 12 & OSCAR KNOX on 25TH NOVEMBER 2016 8:42 AM

     

     

    I would hope that the sentiments in this post reflect the fundamental ethos of our support. I am certainly happy to stand under this flag. Hope we all are……

     

    HH

  3. Alasdair MacLean on

    Got halfway through the “Record” article…..after a few raised eyebrow spots I scrolled back to the top to check the origin.

     

     

    My own personal “Doh!” moment.

  4. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    Mark Warburton has just given The Sermon on the Mount

     

     

    Blessed are the Zombies for they know now how to think

     

     

    HH

  5. If there are major safety issues with the nut dome, surely Celtic have a responsibility to Celtic fans and players and staff ?

     

    It’s not just the possibility of a part of a roof falling on fans, but also players and staff for obvious reasons. Is it not possible for Celtic to take the lead here and insist that Sevco provided a safety certificate within a Timescale ?

     

    That being said, Celtic should not be alone in this as other clubs due to play there have the same responsibilities to their fans, players and staff.

     

    Surely the SFA and SPL also have the very same responsibilities to their member clubs ?

     

    I have often read Sevco fans demanding that we should be banned from ipox , and how their fans would fill the stands anyway ?

     

    Let’s put this to the ultimate test, with every Scottish club insisting that an independent engineers inspection and report carried out asap, with Sevco footing the bill. If there is grounds NOT to provide them with a safety certificate then be it, as was it not Sevco and their fans demanding that the SFA MUST ensure the safety of their staff and fans following the cup final v Hibs ?

     

    These Chumps need to be told that ” safety” works both ways !

     

    I would also suggest that lower league clubs should also be involved in such a ” petition”, as they may find themselves drawn against Sevco in a Scottish Cup tie, and equally as with the other SPL clubs and the SFA, they to have a responsibility to their fans and staff.

     

    I’m aware that lower league clubs would view visiting ipox in Cup tie as a good financial gain, but money should NOT over ride safety !

     

    HH

  6. CLOGHER CELT on 25TH NOVEMBER 2016 11:11 AM

     

     

    Haven’t read the Herald since the posthumous attack on Hugh Adam.

  7. Greenpinata,

     

     

    Re-your earlier post about multiple sports that are ‘rigged’.

     

     

    Sadly there might be some truth there. Isn’t Scotland possibly (?) unique given that the cheating is underpinned by institutionalised sectarian bigotry?

     

     

    HH

  8. That should have been tax avoidance.

     

     

    Not take avoidance.

     

     

    I don’t think anyone has suggested that Peter Lawwell has ever avoided taking.

  9. I meant to add that on the question of safety the SFA and sevco have a responsibility to the match officials also. If a piece of roof came down it may not drop vertically etc, if the game is getting played in windy conditions ?

  10. Sinclair has hamstring issue, Sinclair picked up an injury ………..no, Sinclair was kicked to the ground by a Barca player.

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

    Burgas Hoops, hee hee. I should have C&P all my posts to the jungle “fan”. I could then have amended the language a bit to suit the moderation here. I doubt any of the “appropriateness” mentioned in my moderation would have required amending. I simply responded as I see it, re the attention he seeks and the cards he continually plays.

     

     

    Hoops HH

  12. BIG JIMMY on 25TH NOVEMBER 2016 11:17 AM

     

     

    They have a safety certificate. Games wouldn’t be allowed to be played there without one.

  13. Ernie,

     

     

    I wouldn’t cite The Herald either. I would have thought The Sun was Mr Lawwell’s newspaper of choice given the comprehensive Q&A he supplied them with at the time of the Hillsborogh verdict (remember that).

     

     

    Unfortunately our CEO didn’t deem it appropriate to offer any commentary to perfectly reasonable CQN questions last week.

     

     

    Maybe if The Sun or Herald asked him he might have responded?

  14. WEEMINGER on 25TH NOVEMBER 2016 11:30 AM

     

    BIG JIMMY on 25TH NOVEMBER 2016 11:17 AM

     

     

     

    They have a safety certificate. Games wouldn’t be allowed to be played there without one.

     

     

     

    You think?.I will believe it when I see the Safety Certificate.Very simple to produce it.Then we would all know who is accountable,would we not?.

  15. CLOGHER CELT on 25TH NOVEMBER 2016 11:05 AM

     

    TD67,

     

     

     

    This was also posted last night. Keep up:))

     

     

    ________________________

     

     

     

    THOMTHETHIM FOR OSCAR OK on 25TH NOVEMBER 2016 12:16 AM

     

     

    CLOGHER CELT on 25TH NOVEMBER 2016 12:14 AM

     

     

     

    Thom The Tim,

     

     

     

    Maybe PL can give character evidence at the forthcoming trial on Mr Bartomeu’s behalf?

     

     

     

     

    http://www.the42.ie/neymar-barcelona-corruption-charges-judge-3068899-Nov2016/

     

     

     

    Maybe so and he may, but it looks like you got him guilty even before the trial, another plus for democrats, well done .

  16. Greenpinata,

     

     

    Sadly true I suppose.

     

     

    It’s a difficult hand the PLC have to play I admit. It’s a shame that the can’t be a little more transparent at times.

     

     

    Anyway as Jobo would say hoosework to do then work,

     

     

    HH

  17. thought we were supposed to avoid The Herald after the Res 12 advertisment shambles and the episodes with Angela Haggerty and Graeme Spiers?

     

     

    The Royal WE, doesent sit with me, I read and post my opinions, you don’t want to open a Herald post, fine scroll right past ma man, no big deal.

  18. TURKEYBHOY on 25TH NOVEMBER 2016 11:37 AM

     

     

    There’s a difference between having one, and whether it was legitimately given.

     

     

    Remember the talk a season ago of GCC and / or Police Scotland blocking ours?

     

     

    Games don’t happen without one.

  19. I heard that people lose their mind on Black Friday but I certainly didn’t expect Barry Ferguson to start talking sense!

  20. Big J, Wee M,

     

    Posted a few days ago that there is a contract out for safety netting in 3 of the stands, including Broomloan.

     

    This is to contain any falling debris.

     

    Work to be done January and February after our visit!

     

    Would think someone should be asking questions about safety on Hogmanay!

     

    HH

  21. TD67,

     

     

    From the article…

     

     

    “Barca made a payment of €14.8m to Spanish authorities in back taxes and fines, while they also reportedly made a voluntary payment of a further €13.5m to settle the complaint.”

     

     

    On another note maybe this is PL’s strategy;

     

     

    “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

     

     

    ― Napoléon Bonaparte

     

     

    Good luck.

  22. I wouldn’t cite The Herald either. I would have thought The Sun was Mr Lawwell’s newspaper of choice given the comprehensive Q&A he supplied them with at the time of the Hillsborogh verdict (remember that).

     

     

     

    Unfortunately our CEO didn’t deem it appropriate to offer any commentary to perfectly reasonable CQN questions last week.

     

     

     

    Maybe if The Sun or Herald asked him he might have responded?

     

     

    There where plenty of guys who are on CQN regularly at the AGM, and the man PL sat at the table waiting on questions, no one went to the podium, what does that tell you?

  23. LMCBHOY,

     

     

    I read your posts about the safety netting, and I have no reason to doubt your sources.

     

     

    But surely the ” Rangers” support should be taking the lead and demanding answers, after all they are in the place the most often.

     

     

    This is bigger than any rivalry. Safety must be paramount for all concerned.

     

     

    HH.

  24. “Barca made a payment of €14.8m to Spanish authorities in back taxes and fines, while they also reportedly made a voluntary payment of a further €13.5m to settle the complaint.”

     

     

    Please explain wtf that has to do with PL or me, or you? It’s a Spanish tax case ffs, have a look at yourself, it Barca the football club, not just one guy, remember RFC ?

  25. GREENPINATA on 25TH NOVEMBER 2016 11:52 AM

     

    LMCBHOY,

     

     

    Of course, but my point was that they’ll have a current certificate to asking to see it is pointless.

     

     

    Asking the Council to make a new inspection however…

  26. And,….to think that this very blog stopped just short of holding street parties to pat each other on the backs for getting a ‘statement’ printed in an anti-Celtic newspaper that nobody reads and, to think that the PLC-spies were reading all the said nonsense above and, reading that petitions were being peddled to appeal against an ACT that was rubber-stamped by the same PLC or, the ACT would have died.

     

    Well, the PLC must be feeling that the appointment of the squirrel(who could get found out on Sunday) has more than got them out of jail, especially with that pesky Res12tance-Rebel-Band….breathing down they’re complicit necks.

     

    Aye……

     

    No Jungle = No Rebels

     

    No Rebels = No Rebellion

     

    No rebellion = Old-Firm-Orientated

     

    and, on, and on, and on, and on…..

     

    ….off-oot-zzzzzzz….

  27. Gents,

     

     

    Has been a pleasure to chat this morning.

     

     

    Need to get the Christmas deccies down from the loft. I’ll kid on I’m American and put them up now that thanksgiving has past.

     

     

    HH.