Celtic joie de vie


There is an age-old debate about what is more important, tactics or players (it’s tactics), but the argument is nuanced.  Even a team that is tactically sound will be ineffective if passing is hesitant, wayward or clumsily controlled.

In Lille last night, Celtic’s passing was fast, precise and controlled, even in the tightest of spaces.  Throughout the first half I shouted “Too tight” at the space we were passing into, only to be surprised on the upside.  This allowed us to hold possession, move up field, get into the box and create chances.  In this regard, the contrast with what we witnessed earlier this season was brilliantly stark.

Consider the performance of Callum McGregor on Sunday, who was a stand-out by the way he drilled the ball over the surface with laser precision.  Last night, Callum put in a similar performance, but he looked no more than another cog in the wheel.

Throughout the game, Albian Ajeti held the ball up under the tightest supervision, turned and brought others into play.  His early effort was correctly adjudged offside and he could have opened the scoring with a snatched chance midway through the first half.

Aside from his abilities on the ball, Diego Laxalt’s energy levels were outstanding.  He was up and down the field from first to last, like the proverbial pinball, overloading in attack and rolling downhill into defence when required.

Central mid looked at its best, with Scott Brown doing what we know he can do so well and, before he tired early in the second period, Olivier Ntcham opening up play.

For a game in which we lost two goals, saved a penalty, Scott Bain made two other excellent saves and our crossbar was rattled, the defence played well.  Ryan Christie switched off at the corner for the first goal, allowing an unmatched run at the back post.  At this stage of the game the defence was under pressure but holding firm, Bain was seldom called upon and Lille looked frustrated.  It is so important not to make it easy for your opponents.

The same observation could be made for the rash challenges in the first half (both outside the box, as it happens) that led to the penalty and the free kick Bain did so well to get a hand to.  Last night was Celtic’s turn to pack their defence, making Lille very dependent on set pieces.  To win games at this level, you need to be smart about what you concede.

The second Lille goal was one of those concessions that was not the result of a defensive mistake.  We were in good positions when the first ball into the box, there then followed a miss-hit shot that fell to a second Lille striker, whose effort was deflected past Bain.  C’est la vie.

With limbs and minds visibly tiring and an eye on the Scottish Cup semi-final, Neil Lennon indulged in a bit of showboating, closing the game out with the lesser spotted Ismaila Soro and Stephen Welsh among others.  The substitutions helped stabilise Celtic for the closing period, when there were chances to win all three points.

On a night of fine Celtic performances across the field, there was only one Man of the Match contender.  The finish for his second goal was technically more difficult than the jaw-dropping strike for his first.  Much of the successful passing we discussed further up the page went through him and, having converted two more difficult chances, he will wonder what inhibited him from shooting inside the D to complete his hat-trick.  It was an outstanding European performance.  Moi Elyounoussi, très bien!

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  1. Happy – after today I am off for 9 days straight days – Friday from another damp and dreary Kentucky morning.



    Remember tomorrow night is the first Halloween full moon (a full blue moon no less) in decades. Those zombies will be out in force. Beware!






    Ps Laxalt for president.

  2. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    AIPPLE on 30TH OCTOBER 2020 12:10 PM


    Ps Laxalt for president.



    Had me chuckling ;-)))






  3. TIMBHOY2 on 30TH OCTOBER 2020 11:48 AM


    I thing Big Duffy will be in for a torrid time on Sunday,it’s a cert McInnes will start with Cosgrove



    I think Duffy would relish a game against a big striker, less time with the ball trying to make the play.

  4. Slabhoy - on the road to 10 on

    Disagree on your MoTM Paul ( my vote went to Diego) , otherwise a great, positive summary. Hope for many more of those!!

  5. You could be forgiven for not knowing Neil Lennon’s Celtic are going for our 35th win in a row on Sunday. It won’t be found as a prelude in any form in SMSM, you’re more likely to be induced with ‘Celtic could only draw in France.’ Steady management and hand on the tiller, is turning the good ship Celtic back on course, searching for calmer seas and escape from the pandemical doldrums.



    Another consecutive win, will be a blow to the null and void loyal, the totally unspoken of, unprecedented quadruple treble will be back on the menu for the annointed modern day Celtic supporter.



    The thriller in Lille with two going on three great Celtic goals, and a tale of two draws in five days this time against the French aristocrats, leads us back to our second home in Kings Park. Neil will again shuffle his pack before he reconsiders Sparta Prague with newly found Celtic mojo. Saved for Sunday? – Bitton, Rogic, Griffiths, Turnbull , Klimala could all feature against the Dons.



    Forgotten man Scott Bain has picked up the goalkeeping gauntlet, unlikely Barkas will get his place back this weekend, and a plugged sieve, should see Celtic flourish.



    Here we go 35 in row CSC

  6. Moi would have got my nomination for MotM had it not been for not pulling the trigger when he had a hat trick at his mercy.



    Similarly for Bain with the penalty save blotted by spilling an easy catch (after shouting for defenders to leave it) that luckily only resulted in the framework being hit.



    So Laxalt gets it hands down (or behind his back when defending in the box)



    Shame for Diego that he hasn’t experienced a full Celtic Park. And may not get to do so before his loan period is over.

  7. A bit too much of the Ooh La Lager for me last night meant the second half was a bit of a blur but I though we coped well in the end. We were under a lot of pressure for long periods in the second 45 but finished strongly, possibly more strongly than them. I’m not sure about both full backs hitting the bye line in the final 5 minutes of the game but it was actually a great way to finish



    Great to see Eddie back, one pass that nearly put in Moi was a touch of class that we’ve been missing

  8. The Battered Bunnet on

    BSR – we’d need Peter Crouch standing on the shoulders of Finn McCool to reach most of them




    The match reports and back pages this morning were full of stories about ‘Fredo’s record breaking exploits and how we threw away a two goal lead.



    They were very ordinary last night, we were very good, I thought

  10. If we get anywhere near last nights form we will win on Sunday.


    Again our luck was rank rotten last night and the officials were terrible but the wheel of


    fortune will turn back toward us.

  11. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on



    The Sheep want Wishy put in Tier 4. Both barrels on Sunday.


    WG, ML2





    I think we’ll give the Sheep a right doing on Sunday – based on nothing other than “INTAE THUM!!!!!”






  12. potential QUADRUPLE treble….QUADRUPLE..12 straight domestic trophies. A lifetime of success for many many fans, we experience it in 4 years. Nine straight championships. 20 years of domination



    And yet, polls in the newspaper and idiots calling phone ins with ex Rangers players as “pundits” s asking for the Celtic manager to be sacked. A manager with a near 80% win rate.



    They really should be ashamed.

  13. The Daily Ranger is the patsy all things Sevco,Them Huns at The Ranger and The Sun depend on Newco Hoards to keep them in employment,me I haven’t bought one off them Rags for years,and as I texted earlier Lenny should or the P R Man up at Lennoxtown should bar them indefinitely,starting this afternoon,then same at Celtic Park or as I would say Parkhead as I came from Brigton,Dalmarnock.




    Feckin post of the decade, did you all read this?



    Thank you from real Celtic supporters.


    H.H. Mick

  15. Laxalt only got to 4th in my list for MoTM last night









    Again not wanting to focus on a negative


    Why did Ntcham tire early in the 2nd half, should be a question


    I noticed him giving up on the 52nd minute, when Elyanousi played a pass to him just outside Lille box, problem it was about 18 inches behind him.


    Absolutely no effort to recover


    I have been a huge fan, now seeing a disengaged player ????

  16. NOTTHEBUS on 30TH OCTOBER 2020 12:48 PM



    Great post & it got me thinking.



    Familiarity breeds complacency where we (myself) can tend to treat the exceptional as the everyday.


    Your words made me think of the last treble before the current possible quadruple.


    Made me think of how blessed I felt when MON’s team won it & how winning a treble treble is actually so stunning.



    So thanks for helping me regain a perspective on Celtic’s success.

  17. It helps , especially for guys like Ajeti, that you’re not going to get booted into the stands. When I watched the game late on last night and we were playing some nice stuff i kept waiting for the foul, then remembering it’s the EL.


    Certainly not going to under value tactics but it’s always been about players for me.

  18. lets all do the huddle on

    A bit too much of the Ooh La Lager for me last night meant the second half was a bit of a blur





    “last night”?



    the 2nd half kicked off at 6.55, you must have started on the cans early doors 😄😄😄



    you must be one of those ‘bevvy merchants’ that the resident muppet goes on about!

  19. Moi looks more comfortable playing against Lille than he does Livi. Truly an enigma.



    He’s lost somewhat in a 3-5-2 but that system will allow us to play Eddie alongside Ajeti in a partnership that will rain goals once established.



    There’s plenty of games which will allow for a change up of set up so hopefully we get more consistent displays from Moi. Unlocking Moi will go a long way to winning us the league.



    I’ve rarely seen such a display against a top side in Europe from one of our players. Lille were terrified of him last night. We need more like it.

  20. Borgo67



    Moi’s comments after the game struck me.


    Something like “These are the games I want to play in, the European games.”


    Initial reaction was that his comment explained how sometimes he seems not up for wee games in the SPFL.


    Second reaction was related to your point.


    In Europe he’ll get protected from hammer throwers & is therefore allowed to play.


    In the SPFL he’ll get less protection & spend a lot of time trying to avoid being battered or injured.

  21. 67 European Cup Winners on

    NOTTHEBUS on 30TH OCTOBER 2020 12:48 PM


    Yes I was calling for change (Sacked no). But treated with respect and given help or taken out of the pressure pot yes We have been rubbish for most of this season


    Yes last night was a breath of fresh air. I enjoyed it. And I hope we have turned the proverbial corner. But one night in Lille does not win 10 in a row


    Can NL turn it round – you and I can only speculate.


    My only objective. 10.



    Hail hail




  22. CORNELIUS on 30TH OCTOBER 2020 1:35 PM





    Moi’s comments after the game struck me.



    Something like “These are the games I want to play in, the European games.”





    This is exactly why we must compete on two fronts.


    Celtic can only attract the calibre of player we all want with European football.



    Our domestic game in Scotland is not enough for a club of our stature.









  23. winningemmell on 30th October 2020 12:37 pm



    Wishy should be in Tier4 anyway just because, particularly Craigneuk :-)

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