Celtic floored by lack of mobility


I don’t know if there is a good way to go out of Europe but that was certainly not one.  Copenhagen won their first match by more than a solitary goal since 3 November.  That they had a two-month winter break since then is not a mitigating factor.  We could not have hoped for a better opponent in the knock-out stage of a European competition.

Neil Lennon was correct to say individual errors was to blame; he was also correct in not throwing players under the bus, but this does not tell the whole story.  Copenhagen, tactically and individually, played the game of their season.  They knew what to do to leave Glasgow with a result and set about doing it.

Celtic were the better team until Copenhagen took the lead, but that superiority never overwhelmed the visitors.  In particular, we were short in midfield, where Copenhagen had greater mobility.  Odsonne Edouard was a spectator for much of the game and he often found himself surrounded with three defenders when the ball came his way.

Christopher Jullien was very good, Mohamed Elyounoussi was a real danger until the tank ran dry.  The same affliction befell Tom Rogic, who looked dead on his feet long before the second Copenhagen goal.

While this was a poor performance and dreadful result, it does not compare to the Cluj defeat in August.  Going out of the Europa League at this stage, the last sixteen or quarterfinals makes little difference.  As I said a few days ago, this week’s biggest game in St Johnstone on Sunday.  That becomes our immediate focus.

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  1. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ CELTIC40ME on 28TH FEBRUARY 2020 11:37



    I’m delighted with our return to scoring for fun domestically and admit that I did not see it coming. I didn’t see LG getting back up to speed either, so very happy to be proved wrong in that regard as well.



    You are missing the point re Lazio. FF put in a man of the match performance in both games and against Sevco in the cup. When he isn’t doing that we have be turned over by both Sevco and Copenhagen at home. Earlier in the season we were turned over by Cluj when FF wasn’t around to save us. We are very reliant on individual brilliance. Can you say the same for Sevco in Europe? Have you seen headlines about McGregor saving the day for them time and again?



    There have been warning signs regarding our performances of late (notwithstanding results). We have had a habit of playing 1 good half of football and 1 poor. Copenhagen (x2), Motherwell, Aberdeen, St Johnstone etc. We have managed to get away with it domestically but have been severely punished in Europe.



    I love Lenny, but we have to improve our tactics, formation, discipline etc. Here is a link to the 2nd goal yesterday:






    Pause the video immediately and look at our midfield shape. Scott Brown does not have a teammate within 30 yards. Look at Copenhagen’s midfield shape. We cannot get away from our complete lack of organisation.

  2. not heard or read that our captain was not fit to play, only speculation , so if he wasn’t fit who decided he was able to play? , he was definitely targeted by them as they surrounded him and took the ball from him at every opportunity.

  3. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on 28th February 2020 12:12 pm



    That video also captures the ‘police assault’.



    I think lifting 12 year olds is probably about their level nowadays.

  4. Around 72 minute mark…. yes it took him that long, Lennon accepted the notion Jozo was struggling as the left sided centre back. When Griffiths came on, again too late in my opinion, Lennon switched the back line about completely… Going to a back 3, with Jozo over on the right of the 3, and Ajer coming to the left.


    We were then operating 3-5-2



    Obviously we get the equalizer, however at that very point. We are 3-5-2, a 3-5-2 with Rogic playing high, still as a No.10



    So come someone please tell me, why he wasn’t instructed to sit deeper as part of a 3 ? Then there is the subject of Scott Brown. Legend Captain… but he was either not fit, or lets just get real about things, he’s 35, and those legs looked gone to me.


    So we had McGregor, trying and failing to be a 1 man midfield.



    No wonder we capitulated.

  5. “…it does not compare to the Cluj defeat in August.”



    In terms of footballing performance, it absolutely does. Same mistakes, whether tactical, performance, commitment or focus.



    In terms of the money lost, or not gained, maybe last night doesn’t compare to Cluj. But in terms of disappointment, it compares, all right.



    As soon as they scored my son said “It’s Cluj all over again”. He was right.

  6. The Hands @12.12


    Well said I agree but actually with so much improvement in basics needed then I think indirectly you are suggesting NL not doing his job and not up to it at this level. Lawwell must take huge responsibility for downsizing of Management and the playing group, unacceptable. Europe is our measure, not beating vastly inferior Scottish teams.

  7. And to my mind… Neil Lennon absolutely carries the can.


    I get the fact he can’t legislate for Jozo’s error at first goal.



    But a good Manager earns his corn, by reading situations, making changes, and adapting effectively.



    He achieved none of these things last night.

  8. Agree Paul.


    But tactically we need to improve.


    Nothing was learned from the cup final to the game on the 29th Dec.


    When Copenhagen we went one up , they actually started to press more and we didn’t know what to do .


    Very poor last 35 mins last night.

  9. The Battered Bunnet on

    I have no idea what on earth the collective thinking was at their second goal.



    Our left back is so far up the pitch when Jullien goes long to Rogic that he cannot be seen on wide screen. It seems he was on the offside line beside Eddy.



    McGregor is half a pitch width away from Brown, who, when Rogic can’t gather, is all that stands between 6 Copenhagen players and our centre halfs.




  10. Shocking result last night, shocking and unexpected too.


    Basically we should have been out of sight by half time and some of our play was very good, but as we all know lady luck can step in and cock things up. Sure there were some silly mistakes, but seriously how many time have we seen 3 such mistakes in one match, I can’t remember. But as the late John Lennon said, sometimes shit happens and it did so last night.


    We have no option but to get over it and that we will.


    We all love CELTIC and are faithful through and through, no matter what.



  11. The second goal is just a farce, everything is wrong with it.



    Julien playing a long ambitious ball. Big Tam trying to chest it down to Broonie who is miles away. Just take a touch . Greg Taylor , who was very average throughout, not even in the same half.



    About as bad a goal to loose as you cam imagine.

  12. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    So, still without a knockout win in Europe since 2004 and only one LEG won since then.


    Since 1974 only two seasons where we have won a post-Christmas European tie. In that time Ajax have reached six European finals (and were very unlucky not to be in another). But then they are run by people who are capable of thinking beyond their own city. And in the premier tournament a total of zero post-Christmas ties won (fewer than Dundee United, Malmo, Deportivo La Coruna and Nantes, among others).


    Not to worry though – we’ve still got the old firm!

  13. John James got it spot on



    Another UEFA Debacle



    When Lennon announced the team in advance he made his first mistake. Even a rookie like Gerrard would not be drawn on his team. When he selected the ineffective Elyanoussi on the left of another 4-2-3-1 debacle, the mistake count rose to three. Neil Lennon was found wanting yet again on the European stage, but for reasons known only to the Lennyites, he can do no wrong.



    Prior to this game I called it as another ‘Cluj’ encounter. On that occasion the champions of Romania prevailed. Last night it was the turn of the Danish champions to turn Lennon over.






    However one cannot put all the blame on Lennon. One should look at the second-rate stringers being procured by Peter Lawwell who is the worst director of football bar none. Where was Shved last night? How about Bayo? Klimala anyone? Soro? The worst of Lawwell’s signings was on the bench viz Bolingoli-Mbombo. Lawwell’s other errors are on loan tucked away from the public eye.



    Peter Lawwell stated that Lennon had an eye for a player. One then finds that Lennon had not seen any of Lawwell’s signings kicking a ball in anger.



    Peter Lawwell is pursuing second stringers in the hope that he can find a diamond in the rough. A player that the bean counter can sell for a profit. A player passed over by a network of scouts.



    Allow me to disabuse the Celtic supporters of any aspirations of playing group stage Champions League football next season. Celtic as was evident twice this season are a soft European touch at home. It will ever be thus with Lawwell setting Lennon up with players who will never hear Zadok The Priest ring out at Celtic Park.



    Including share purchases the new club in Govan have spent £47.1m on putting a team on the park since 2015. Celtic have a similar amount in the bank. It should be on the field of play Mr. Lawwell.



    However as long as Celtic are better than Rangers* then it’s trebles all round in the boardroom as European success becomes an ever more distant dream.



    Peter Lawwell is not accountable. He is backed by the majority shareholder who knows that he is adding butter to his bread. Dividends are Lawwell’s sole focus. That and not shining a light on Rangers blatant UEFA cheating in 2011.



    If it were not for the new club’s squad being stretched too thin Celtic would not be Champions this year. Gerrard has wiped the floor with Lennon’s 4-2-3-1. Celtic supporters more in hope than expectation will be looking for a 3-5-2 formation.



    Everyone is blaming Simunovic but not the man who selected him. He is not the main problem in Celtic’s team. The major problem is Scott Brown. McGregor is the best holding midfield player in the Celtic squad. However Lennon will play Brown even when he has just returned from injury. Other players would be introduced from the bench. But not Brown. Straight in the team to slow down any offensive play to a crawl. By the time Brown controls the ball and looks for a forward pass all the options are covered. He has only a side pass open to him. A side pass to Frimpong who was on the bench. Yet another error by Lennon.



    Mr. Brown has stated that the team will bounce back. It’s a team he should not be in. Rodgers would have been ruthless. Lennon does not have the cojones to take on Brown as he knows the Celtic support would turn on him.



    Rangers* have the ability to punch above their weight in the big games. Celtic are on the ropes yet again.



    The double is a shoe-in. The only variable this season is The Freemasons Cup. If Gerrard can take his charges to the last eight of the Europa League, money will be found to derail ten. The warning signs are there. Lawwell has put too much dross on the fire. One trusts Lawwell gets a glow from watching the bank balance soar as the team dimly flickers on the biggest stages.

  14. Heaven help us..John James.



    Well we defo missed McKenna at the back last night, and as for the Manager Davie Moyes…he was hopless

  15. but seriously how many time have we seen 3 such mistakes in one match, I can’t remember



    imo we are getting away with it ,it would happen a lot more if the quality of attacker was better in the SPL and make our defence panic at every opportunity.

  16. glendalystonsils on



    I agree with ‘forget last night , it’s gone’ . I also agree with ‘full focus on Sunday’.


    But (and it’s a big but) we need some longer term thinking here. Succession planning for our fading captain , at least one robust , savvy CB , at least one more FB with the height to compete in the air , succession planning for Eddy and perhaps Callum .


    Then there is the question of our shape , solidity and organisation which fell apart alarmingly last night.

  17. Have Celtic got a Defensive coach. When Rodgers was in charge Toure was the Defensive coach. As I understand it NL has only JK, DD and Stevie Woods coaching the team. What other top team has no defensive coach. Why has he not brought someone in to help. NL has taken a back seat regarding training and coaching. What does he do all day every day.



    We all been having a laugh at Gerrard and his antics, but I am coming to the conclusion he is a better tactician than Neil. I expect Gerrard to manage a big team in England in due course. Don’t think NL will be good enough to get any further than he is now.

  18. The Battered Bunnet on

    In terms of wee Taylor’s position at the second goal, I can’t ignore the fact that he was directly in front of the manager. If Lenny didn’t want him there he would have made his thoughts quite clear, I think.



    Going back in time, Saachi changed the game by compressing the pitch into 25 yards – the distance he prescribed for his team between the defence and the forwards.



    Guardiola took that further by ensuring that irrespective of how many players the opposition had in the middle of the pitch, his team would ALWAYS have one more. He played 8 v 7 in the middle at times.



    We had two centre mids last night who played increasingly distant from each other as the game wore on. It was almost as if Lenny had decided to evacuate the middle of the pitch and scatter his players to the periphery.



    I can’t explain why he would want to do that, or if he didn’t want to do it why he didn’t change it, but the reality is that this is how his side were positioned for much of the second half.



    At the second goal, it’s 4 v Brown, and not for the first time.



    All rather bewildering really.

  19. what would ‘thems’ manager made of that defensive performance last night if his mob played like that , heaven help them.

  20. Usually stay off the blog after a bad defeat, but SPRINGHILL BHOY


    are you a hun?


    Never read so much pash in my life.


    Get a grip ffs.


    H.H . Mick

  21. lets all do the huddle on

    in all the posts naming players to have a go at for last nights nights shambles, yet again its amazing how the 1 player thats seems to be immune from it is…



    …ahh to hell with it



    im bored beating that drum



    if folk cant see whats staring them in the face then i dont care



    but i do worry that the manager also cant see it

  22. Fine margins….. Don’t ya hate them.



    Simply put we lost because of individual errors both in defence and attack. Once the second went in the third was irrelevant.



    To expect our players to perform competently was not too much to ask.



    What really gets my goat is that we didn’t at any time seem to appreciate we were ahead in the tie at the begining. The mindset, to me, seemed odd.



    Such a pity.




  23. RON 67



    Thems manager has had a few performances like that.


    so you’re correct ” heaven help them ”


    H.H . Mick

  24. Go tell the Spartim on

    Lets be honest



    As this article and those during the week, the reason Sunday is the important game is because thats the level of our ambition, to be the best in a small league.



    Europe is and will continue to be an added extra

  25. I said in last article,its not all down to mistakes by the defence.All defenders make mistakes,no matter who.The real reason we went out last night was our inability over the 2 legs,to put away our chances.In the 1st leg,we could have scored 4 or 5,game over.1st half last night Elyanoussi,blasts over from 6 yards.Eddy misses a header from 4 yards.Forrest shirks out of a tap in from 1 yard.Their keeper has a fantastic save from Griff,but it should have been put away.He was on the ground.These are not half chances.Yes we have been scoring goals,but anyone watching our games know,that we should be at least doubling the scores.Every week.


    Poor finishing has been happening for a while.In both games against Copenhagen,it came back to bite us in the ass.A defender making a bollox of it,is no different from a player missing a sitter.

  26. Interesting comment from Paul 67 that Eddie was surrounded by 3 players Yup. That was Eddie most of the season Griffs up Front changed that



    Neil lost us this game

  27. TBB,


    Cant see why Taylor gets brought into the second goal.We had possession,we were playing the ball out of defence,moving forward,Taylor was where he should be.The problem was Rogic knocking the ball backwards giving them possession,catching everyone out.

  28. If we were being run like a business heads would roll.


    For sevco to get further in Europe is unforgivable.


    Let’s see some rolling heads.


    Starting with head of football, Peter lawwell.




    The video from behind the goal had me shouting at the TV. I couldn’t believe where Taylor was.

  30. I was one of the fearty’s who was apprehensive about the game, at 1-1,NL doesn’t know to stick or twist, it messes up his tactics and formations. 3 full backs on the bench? I touted for Dembele to be a sub,yes he’s young, but couldn’t have been any worse than some

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