Celtic, big punchers with a glass chin


If you were an opposition manager planning to face Celtic, what would you do?  At Ibrox we will meet a team that attacks us, but on all other occasions, we will face a packed defence intent on shutting us out.  That’s not all.  Every opponent will play for free kicks in the final third and corners, when possible.

It is not difficult to gain possession – then a foul – in wide positions 30 yards from your opponent’s goal.  This would be the staging post I’d aim for when facing Celtic.  We are winning games but set-piece crosses into the box continue to be poorly defended.  We are the football equivalent of a boxer with a big punch and a glass chin.

If I was Dundee United manager Tam Courts, who face Celtic in the Scottish Cup a week today, I would play for penalties.  Failure from 12 yards has been a regular feature of Celtic performances for years.  It has not cost us a trophy since 2016, but until we improve this crucial part of the game we are asking for a sore one.

Practice, practice, practice.  You can be sure Dundee United will this week.

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  1. SAINT STIVS on 7TH MARCH 2022 11:54 AM


    The referee got the big calls right yesterday,but the BBC was also right to highlight the things he got wrong. and referring to the rule book was a master class







    The penalty was not a penalty, the rules clearly state “the ball struck johnstons hand just once, and he didnt block it with two hands”







    The first goal, clearly Aitken stole the shy.







    The 2nd goal, Both Maeda and an on the ground injured McGrory were ahead of the play and blocking the goalkeeper from saving the own goal.







    The 3rd goal, the ref should not have played advantage. as Patsy Gallagher having been hit 3 times should have done the decent thing and went to the floor, but no he keeps running as the livi players stop waiting on a whistle than never comes.







    Other than that celtic can count themselves fortunate to encounter theit favourite referee again, do they get to pick the officials themselves.

  2. ‘Practice, practice, practice.’







    And that should be for the entire squad, not just the chosen few.

  3. Seven days on the training ground Paul67..



    Allowing our defensive setup to practice non-stop.



    At the other end, penalty pratice galore.



    Having survived (and thrived) during this manic period, we should enjoy the time we have ahead to spend some quality training time.



    And for the welcome return of Kyogo too please :)




  4. The lack of height all across our back 4 in whatever combo u choose is alarming.



    It looks like julian wont play for Ange, so we do need to address this issue in the summer

  5. On the defending yeterday:



    1. the one that hit the bar. One of their biggest guys is at the back post. Bitton is in front of him and Rogic close but a few steps forward of the line. Bitton appears to not know the guy is there and follows the flight of the ball until belatedly reacting. Rogic moves back but is more concerned with a late arrival of another player. Rogic seems to tap Bitton on the shoulder to warn him that the man behind is his. The feint on the free kick also worked well for Livi as they ran in and we followed the dummy. The back post guy stayed where he was. As they came back out and we followed, Bitton got lost. A good free kick in my opinion but Bitton should have known the threat was there. Done that a few times over the years.


    Not glass chin but errors made and a clever free



    2. Their goal. I think McFadden and Petrov summed it up perfectly. Expect to lose the first ball and be aggressive as the second. We seems to overload at the front post, Ralston lost his man and Vickers was a bit slow too. I think complacency after the third goal came into play there too.


    A glass jaw one for me; definitely should be defender clearing 80/20

  6. Pingback: Celtic, big punchers with a glass chin | Celtic FC News Now

  7. WESTCRAIGS on 7TH MARCH 2022 12:05 PM


    At the second foul on Rogic by a player who had already been booked the referee played on to give Celtic the advantage. When play stopped he should have booked the Livingston player and then red carded him.



    We played sevco last season and Beaton booked Callum. Callum then committed a second foul and the referee played the advantage. Sevco scored and then he booked Callum and sent him off. Neither of Callum’s fouls were anywhere near as bad as the Livingston player’s fouls yesterday.



    Was this highlighted in the media? I don’t take my news from Glasgow.



    The referees are consistently inconsistent. In sevco’s favour.

  8. I thought McGregor’s penalty was pretty well struck, it just wasn’t accurate. Had it been on target I think it would have beaten the keeper. I was reading somewhere about most left footed penalties being hit to a goalie’s left – anyone else seen that bit of research?

  9. I thought Nicky Walsh had a decent performance yesterday, although he should have taken action to prevent the persistent assaults on James Forrest.



    However given his links with the huns youth set up, should he be referring?




  10. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    Here’s an idea, don’t put a Smurf at the front post to defend a long throw, especially when he’s marking a guy 6 inches taller. Unbelievable when you have Bitton and Rogic in the team, let alone the 2 central defenders.



    Still, we were overall brilliant yesterday. So much enjoying the straw clutching from Sportscene and others.

  11. Delighted with both yesterday’s result and performance. Celtic were immense. Great performances by all of our players who got wellied in and matched Livi blow for blow and then beat them with skill. That’s the way to do it!




    On another note, for years it seems everybody connected to Celtic has become obsessed with these horrible plastic pitches. Every season it’s the same old story. We’ve got to live with it folks. The SFA/SPFL aren’t going to change anything soon. I would ban all talk of the pitch on the build up to these games. As soon as we start moaning it undermines our effort and it hands the opposing manager and players a huge advantage. They know we have reservations, worries about playing on the artificial surface – on other words we are FEART. No wonder our record at Rugby Park, Hamilton and Livingston is poor. It galvanises them and they make it a physical battle for 90 minutes where we don’t get a chance to show our skill. We also give our players a ready made excuse for a poor performance. It has become a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy.




    Yesterday Ange showed how it’s done. Win the physical battle and then win the game. Every time a Livi player got the ball, he seemed to be immediately surrounded by four Celtic players who won possession back quickly. In future we should bloody well just get on with it like every other club in the league.




    The famous NY Jets quarterback, Joe Namath, when asked if he preferred grass or astroturf said, “I don’t know. I’ve never smoked astroturf.” That should be the attitude of our players. Shrug it off, ignore the media, and get on with the game.

  12. SAINT STIVS on 7TH MARCH 2022 12:03 PM


    Dundee United wont get a chance to land the punch,our Celtic will blow them away






    You better believe it.

  13. !!Bada Bing!! on

    I thought the article would have been about praising an outstanding performance, at a place we have struggled at for years.

  14. quadrophenian on

    DAVID17 – agree with your take on Paul’s take on us taking all 3 points at the Macaroni.


    Strange to focus on our deficiencies so soon after a hoodoo-buster.


    Lots to like about the 2nd half; where we got a bit more muscular in our endeavours.


    Would love to see us use that same mix of hobnails and pace when we take on the currant buns.



    If Lenny gets the Cypriot gig will he take Ajeti and Barkas there in the summer ?

  15. A much more down beat article than I was expecting. I thought we were excellent yesterday and showed much more intent to attack than we’d previously shown in our recent displays.



    We went straight for their pen box at every opportunity and it was great to see.



    Our defending from set pieces is a concern and has been throughout the season.



    Zonal marking allows for situations where our opponents biggest aerial threats take up positions away from our CBs, so we see Greg Taylor left marking Lewis Ferguson etc which just looks utterly bizarre.



    This will be a target for the huns and where it not for our set piece flaws, we’d be red hot favourites to win the league because in general play, we’re a cut above everyone, including The Rangers.

  16. To split:



    Ross County (H)


    Huns (A)


    St Johnstone (H)



    The split (based on what might happen 4-6. Lots of variables)


    Huns (H)


    Hearts (H)





    Dundee Utd (A)


    Motherwell/Livingston/Hibs/RC/ 1H 1A




  17. !!Bada Bing!! on

    An advert for Scottish Labour Party on here,the same week they are putting up a member of the Orange Lodge, in North Lanarkshire elections……..

  18. A,hhh,I see,it was Bitons fault for the goal.How could I have missed something so obvious.Pesky Biton is always ignoring touches from Rogic to tell him what to do,while he is fannying around somewhere else.


    Goddam that Biton,he should never play for us again.

  19. Shit, Paul, why the negativity. We have the best defensive record in the SPHell. OK goals have come from set pieces ok, but panic ye not. Faith in Ange, he’s not stupid.



  20. Livingstone goal.



    The ball comes off CCV, then the Livi player, and goes forward to the guy who pokes it in.



    Why not offside ?

  21. We sent a reporter to the home of retired Italian referee Pierre Luigi Collina in Barbados to ask him about the shocking “Corner decision” awarded to Celtic yesterday.Sadly he was not in,but he would probably have said


    “Absolutely,the worst decision I have witness in my lifetime”


    So there we have it,the greatest Referee evers probable decision.Back to you in BBC Sports Office.

  22. The simple reason we loss goals at set pieces,is we don’t have any tall defenders.Not Rocket Science.

  23. SAINT STIVS on 7TH MARCH 2022 1:18 PM


    Livingstone goal.


    The ball comes off CCV, then the Livi player, and goes forward to the guy who pokes it in.


    Why not offside ?




    Ralston was wrong side but tried to get back in. It was a close one but onside I think

  24. St Stivs,



    No VAR.If we had VAR then CCV would have been sent off for something or other.

  25. I don’t think Paul is any less enthused than any of us at Celtic’s sustained run of form. But we are still in SPHell and we have only won the diddy cup so far. Penalty shoot outs are important and with our current malaise from the spot, some practice this week would be a chance to kill two birds with one stone.



    Pat Bonner does talk mince at times but what a legend of a goalkeeper, especially for Ireland.

  26. Clashcitybhoy on

    Re Dundee United


    1. At some point they have to try and score, this will work in our favour


    2. We are better at set pieces than earlier in season as we defend further out, but we are still let down by individual ball watching.


    I would also like to see Hart occasionally come off his line and punch the ball. He looks daft if he misses it, but a lot of players won’t fancy challenging a guy at 6’4″ flying at them with knees up and a fist in the air.


    3. For long throws, put a player on touchline to disrupts thrower and trajectory of the ball

  27. prestonpans bhoys on




    Yip agree about the touchline thing, in fact put Taylor there, he’s too bloody small anyway.

  28. TURKEYBHOY on 7TH MARCH 2022 1:18 PM


    We sent a reporter to the home of retired Italian referee Pierre Luigi Collina in Barbados to ask him about the shocking “Corner decision” awarded to Celtic yesterday.Sadly he was not in,but he would probably have said



    “Absolutely,the worst decision I have witness in my lifetime”



    So there we have it,the greatest Referee evers probable decision.Back to you in BBC Sports Office.




    If Pierluigi wasn’t available they could have gone to his glamorous assistant, Hugh Bonkle from Dallas. He’d have made himself available.

  29. And the One True God said unto Lawal,of the Bosuns,re-new your testament by one score years,and I will give unto you the teachings of my most revered ArchAnge-l,from the land of Oz,whence forth there shall be great rejoicing in Paradise.




    I completely agree with your comments on plastic – my teen daughter would say we are “manifesting” our poor performances and results by talking ourselves into a death spiral. I agree with the call to stop discussing it and get on with the game in hand.



    That’s what I saw our team do yesterday, and do it well.



    I agree with the consensus above that Paul was surprisingly down-beat today in his article but I think that reflects his general critical thinking approach – I agree with the observations but I did see more steel in our approach yesterday.



    This is ours to lose, Bhoys.

  31. At the Livingston goal, their No5 won the first header from the long throw. Immediately behind him was Taylor. A no contest that one. The ball then takes a bit of a ricochet of the legs of CCV and their big No6. Falling nicely for their scorer to beat JH to the loose ball, Ralston playing him onside.


    When the throw came in 6ft2″ Rogic was loitering around the penalty spot whilst 5ft7″ Taylor was trying to defend the long throw. Maybe if it had been the other way around they might not have scored.


    I know that big Tom is not renowned for his defensive qualities but it would be more difficult to win that first header if you have a guy of 6ft2″ behind you as opposed to 5ft7″.

  32. IniquitousIV on

    I think we did far better than of late at this venue because of several factors:



    1. We did not look the least hesitant.


    2. We hunted for the ball in packs, mostly successfully.


    3. Rogic won virtually all his 50-50 balls.


    4. Big Joe was more pragmatic and punted occasionally, keeping them off balance.


    5. Playing mostly in their half minimized MIB Walsh calling fouls in dangerous areas.


    6. Every single player contributed, which has not been the case recently.


    7. Finally, we had a better team than last time!

  33. When I coached in a previous life, if we has set piece problems we would remember that the taker doesn’t need marked so you have a man / woman over. Get the tallest thug in your team and tell them to mark no one just go for the ball. Usually worked.

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