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Celtic get game management right

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This was a classic European game, requiring concentration, effort, but above all, patience.  AIK were better than the SPFL fare we meet at the weekends, but Celtic Park was a stretch for them, while they enjoyed a spell of possession between the goals, they never landed a punch.

Despite dominating possession and territory, Celtic were inhibited in the first half by the stiff wind blowing towards Craig Gordon’s goal.  The storm calmed during the second half, but by then, the hosts were well in control.

The back line played well, perhaps their best performance of the season.  Kristoffer Ajer won man of the match and Christopher Jullien put in his most impressive performance for the club yet, but it was Jozo Simunovic who I thought stole the show at the back.  Twice he made difficult interceptions that denied AIK an opening, one of which when running back, looking forward and jumping for a high ball that changed direction in the wind.

In full flow, Mikey Johnston, Ryan Christie and James Forrest are formidable.  Defenders bunch around them as they are so fast and direct, no one individual seems able to stop them.  Playing well is a big part of the job, but putting the ball in the net is more important.  The game turned when (again) James Forrest did just that.  His image will surely be next to adorn the stadium coverings.

Boli Bolingoli created the chance with a surging run forward but the angle was tight for Forrest, who saw the keeper get two hands to his shot but was unable to stop it crossing the line.  Odsonne Edouard’s free kick was a delight and gave Celtic the two-goal margin they deserved.  The keeper was less liable for this goal, but he will not enjoy watching either back.

I was very critical of Neil Lennon’s game management and team selection against Cluj last week, but he got everything right last night.  After the second goal went in, Celtic did what they should have done nine days earlier and made sure their opponents did not get space in the final third.  AIK were under pressure as the game neared its end, but Celtic had control of the tie and were not going to let that slip.

Nor were there experimental selections; Callum McGregor was back in central mid, Bolingoli at left full back.

Delighted big Fraser is back, we’ll talk more about him shortly.

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394 Comments

  1. Happy days P67 but two pickups.

     

    AIK were as bad and lethargic as a First Divi side, and will be better in Stockholm.

     

    And don’t know if anyone read this the same…but CalMac did slot into a deeper sitting LB role esp later in the game when Boli was surging forward; least that’s what I saw.

     

     

    Also re Greg Taylor watch him absolutely slay Monsieur Joey Barton:

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0Q4DlRnDg8

  2. I thought Jozo gave away a few needless free kicks,he needs to jockey an opponent, rather than committing every time IMO

  3. Boli , still gave the ball away almost every time he had it. We need LB ASAP. front 4 re good… Calmac makes the team tick.. Ajer is aCH!

  4. MARADOMINIC on 23RD AUGUST 2019 12:32 PM

     

    Bury?? didn’t hey jsu spend money that they didn’t have?

     

     

    A lot of clubs at that level in the same boat,current owner is an ar$#

  5. Rangers are bracing themselves for a bombshell UEFA punishment that could see them being forced to shut a stand for next week’s return showdown with Legia Warsaw.

     

     

    Record Sport Online understands the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body met in Nyon on Thursday to discuss alleged discriminatory chanting during the Light Blues’ Europa League clash with St Joseph’s in Glasgow last month.

  6. did not get time to offer my thoughts last night , but having read back lets not get carried away with boli boli and jullien performance against poor opposition last night , can boli boli only pass and cross the ball with the same pace ,its as if its a hot potato, calm down for goodness sake and also move into a position to receive a return pass and not get in the way or block your own player from receiving a pass , both of them have to learn or be coached not to get to close and then barge into opponents backs and giving away needless free kicks in dangerous areas, that’s what they are after as they can’t get through any other way.

     

    LM is never a left winger, think he only came to support boli boli.

  7. Go Tell- i wouldn’t touch any player playing in Scotland just now,with exception of Turnbull, wouldn’t surprise me if we went back in for him now.

  8. “Lets not get carried away” says the guy who wrote off Boli and Julien before they had started even a handful of games.

     

     

    Couldn’t write it.

  9. !!BADA BING!! on 23RD AUGUST 2019 11:56 AM

     

     

    Phil says Lawwell is pissing about for a couple of hundred grand for Meling

     

     

    ____

     

     

    Phil knows nothing. Absolutely nothing.

     

     

    I’d trust the word of any CQN poster above him.

  10. Go tell the Spartim on

    Bada,

     

     

    Think we’ll go back for Turnbull in January, i know we’re averse to spending but i think it would be prudent to see how he goes upon his anticipated return before buying.

     

     

    Id be more receptive to the young Hearts left back but even then i wouldnt be too enamoured, but then we’re told there are those at the club that are far more qualified than me to judge a player

  11. Der Hun has been hit with UEFA sanction for offensive chanting “Billy Boys”. 3000 seats.

  12. TIMALOY29 on 23RD AUGUST 2019 1:08 PM

     

    !!BADA BING!! on 23RD AUGUST 2019 11:56 AM

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Phil says Lawwell is pissing about for a couple of hundred grand for Meling

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ____

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Phil knows nothing. Absolutely nothing.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I’d trust the word of any CQN poster above him.

     

     

    I would trust anyone other than Lawwell.

  13. “UEFA has ruled that a group of Rangers supporters were guilty of racist behaviour – which includes sectarian singing – during the match against St Joseph’s at Ibrox on July 18.”

  14. TIMALOY29 on 23RD AUGUST 2019 1:08 PM

     

    !!BADA BING!! on 23RD AUGUST 2019 11:56 AM

     

     

    Phil says Lawwell is pissing about for a couple of hundred grand for Meling

     

     

    Phil knows nothing. Absolutely nothing.

     

    I’d trust the word of any CQN poster above him.

     

     

    And I’d trust Phil more than you.

     

     

    Which according to your logic – ‘I’d trust the word of any CQN poster above him.’ means that you trust my word.

     

     

    Which means you trust Phil more than you trust yourself.

     

     

    You should go on his site and give a donation, that’s only fair.

  15. !!BADA BING!! on 23RD AUGUST 2019 1:18 PM

     

     

    I would trust anyone other than Lawwell.

     

    ___

     

     

    You don’t have to trust the board. You know why they say what they say. To protect their own interest.

     

     

    Phil’s interest is to protect interest in his blog so people keep donating and going to his plays etc. Do you really think he knows what’s going on in the boardrooms at Celtic Park & Ibrox?

     

     

    The biggest insight we’ve got into Celtic transfer policy was those leaked minutes.

  16. Paul67

     

     

    Agree AIK are better than most Scottish sides, not much between them and Cluj we’re all Europa standard, and despite the ‘secondary’ nature of this competition not many associated it with that, in the year of Seville? There’s no question any Euro game is progress, and the Celtic fans love the atmosphere it brings,under the lights

     

    .

     

     

     

    Celtic had a better shape with the MOM playing ‘out of position’ not so last week when it was Callum McGregor, but Bolingoli has a good game growing in stature covering his zone perfectly.

     

     

    Jullien also slotted in well, and is beginning to settle making more and more passes while taking more touches, out of defence

     

     

    Thought the GB banner was spot on this time, how to make a point with a few words?

     

     

    Win, lose or draw the deficiencies in the Celtic squad remain regardless of which competitions we’ll play in be it, three or four.

     

     

    Kris Ajer should be allowed to play in his natural role, and the two year search for a right back should be wound up, before the window closes along with another left back, and a bonus striker.

  17. I’m all for criticism of players, etc if justified, and constrcuctive, but commets like “Boli still gave the ball away almost every time he had it” are just nonsense, and more deserving of a place in the Daily rags or coming out of the mouth the likes of Andy Walker.

     

    At least try to base your criticism on what ‘actually’ happened, and not what you think you remember. 👍

  18. ulysses mcghee - a demographic of one on

    I thought we were good

     

     

    But I wasn’t overly impressed by AIK – they sat in and stayed sat in.

     

     

    It’s a high press that hurts us – they obviously haven’t watched many videos of us.

     

     

    Both teams got what they deserved out of the game though.

     

     

    U

  19. glendalystonsils on

    HENRY JOY on 23RD AUGUST 2019 1:18 PM

     

    “UEFA has ruled that a group of Rangers supporters were guilty of racist behaviour – which includes sectarian singing – during the match against St Joseph’s at Ibrox on July 18.”

     

     

    Meanwhile , the SFA have praised the marvellous atmosphere created by the home support at the game.

  20. FAVOURITE UNCLE on

    FRED C. DOBBS on 23RD AUGUST 2019 1:24 PM

     

    SFA hang your head in shame. You hear these songs every week and do nothing…well, maybe tap your feet.

     

     

    well put.

  21. Paul67 et al

     

     

    Good performance and a fine result. A third goal, and we had that chance, would have left us firm favourites to go through, but we’ll be in a good position when we head to Sweden. Credit to Neil and Scott for refocusing the team after last week. Good to see both Jullien and Boli on the pitch, the more game time the better. The former of course hasn’t played much at all, while the latter has played more like a wing back than a full back, but for me there is no doubt he has plenty footballing ability, quick, strong, a decent header of a ball and a bit of spirit about him, a spirit that defies a residual prejudice from some, and not from away supporters. As always we are a couple of players light, but let us support the players that have came in, and hope that any player that does come in strengthens, either the team or the prospects for the team. Speaking of which welcome back big Fraser.