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Celtic joie de vie

536

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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536 Comments

  1. Really cheap shot from Neilsen,mentioning the 5-1 cup final v Hibs,during a tribute to Zaluikas, no class

  2. FAIRHILL BHOY on 31ST OCTOBER 2020 7:49 PM

     

    DAVID17- Nesbit should have scored

     

     

    ——-

     

    not relevant to my point.

  3. onenightinlisbon on

    Way too early to condemn either Barkas or Duffy.

     

     

    I’m sure they will both come good.

  4. lets all do the huddle on

    McCulloch got Red Rum’s teeth in….

     

     

     

    i think its Grandpa Simpson’s teeth he’s got in

  5. How on earth do so many ex-deedco Huns get media roles

     

    What is the agency they work for ?

     

    And does this agency Not employ Celtic minded people ???

  6. lets all do the huddle on

    nesbit should have scored

     

     

    and it was a brilliant save by gordon

     

     

    both things are allowed to be true

     

     

    but when you see it, its as if gordon had his hand stuck out there before the header even came in as if he knew where it was going

     

     

    top save

  7. MAJESTIC HARTSON-barkas is coming in after FF and admittedly he looks a lesser player so far.But let’s give a goalie who probably hasn’t played behind the same 4 defenders this season a chance

  8. Let’s.it was a brilliant instinctive save,something he has always been good at.But Nisbet should have scored.The hearts player showed how it’s done

  9. Concerning goalkeepers.,because one may make what looks spectacular saves doesn’t make him better than one who is always in the right position .

     

    Barkas is a very good keeper,and once we have a settle defence he will show his class ,but he will not be spectacular he will make it look easy by being in position

  10. ExSlaemuirBhoy on

    Looking forward to the game tomorrow now, very confident the result will be positive. 2 nil Hoops

  11. The Gonk,should have chased all the students back from uni’s, and take the hit now,it will only prolong the situation

  12. Bada-I thought neilsen was just highlighting zaluikas as captain lifting the Scottish cup.

  13. majestic Hartson David17

     

    .

     

    yeh.prayers for his family,

     

     

    Nice one from Craig Gordon dedicating victory today.

     

     

    hh

  14. Didn’t see anything on the BBC today but seems like Michael Stewart not wearing a poppy has rattled a few cages. What a sad brainwashed society we live in.

  15. Bada-I watched it too.I just thought it being the Scottish cup it was maybe appropriate that he mentioned the one thing that stands out in hearts and zaluikas time there.Looking forward to tomorrow now

  16. DAVID17-it’s obviously not brainwashed or Micheal Stewart would be wearing one 🤷‍♀️😉

  17. I saw some right cynical hacks in today’s semi – no bookings I believe- no one was going to be unavailable for the final………mmmmmmm as we used to say.

     

    Any Celtic players one yellow away?

  18. Watching the rugby match between Ireland and France is it just me or does having an English referee and TMO not seem a bit strange as they can influence whether or not England win the 6 Nations? He’s made a few wrong decisions already against Ireland, don’t think he’s a cheat just a twat, I said this before kick-off by the way. Surely he shouldn’t be put in this position, does Hun Dallas also sort the rugby referees?

  19. The comments of some on here about Barkas,I find unfathomable.Any one of them tell me one mistake he has made.If Barkas had been playing on Thursday,they would have blamed him for both goals.

  20. lets all do the huddle on

    Watching the rugby match between Ireland and France is it just me or does having an English referee and TMO not seem a bit strange as they can influence whether or not England win the 6 Nations? He’s made a few wrong decisions already against Ireland, don’t think he’s a cheat just a twat, I said this before kick-off by the way. Surely he shouldn’t be put in this position, does Hun Dallas also sort the rugby referees?

     

     

     

    i think the idea is that they dont think that way in the rugby so its all fair and above board and it probably is much more than football refs are

  21. FAIRHILL BHOY on 31ST OCTOBER 2020 8:48 PM

     

    DAVID17-it’s obviously not brainwashed or Micheal Stewart would be wearing one 🤷‍♀️😉

     

     

    ——-

     

     

    Are you just wanting to argue all night? 😁

  22. Bada-you might be right buddy but just thought he was being genuine.Who knows.

     

    For some reason I can’t wait for the game tomorrow.

  23. If we win tomorrow,it was a great result for us today.

     

    Please Killie,at least a draw tomorrow.

     

    Now,Cmon the Ireland.

  24. Fairhill Bhoy,

     

     

    I think Barkas is in an unenviable position at present – he has come in after our best keeper in the last 40 odd years I’ve been watching IMHO, he has been playing behind a defence that is not a solid unit and we also paid a lot of money (in our world) on him, so there is a lot of pressure on him.

     

     

    I’m hopeful that he will come good and I think the time out will do him good, but I stand by my comment that I have not seen a reflex save like that from him YET.

  25. lets all do the huddle on

    i think the ref has been ok. its upto ireland to do what they need to do. it would be easier for them if paul oconnell took his bbc poppy off and came on as a half time sub 😆

  26. MAJESTIC HARTSON-40 odd years?Thats a big leap buddy .

     

    Give him a settled back line and let’s see what happens 🍀

  27. lets all do the huddle on

    France handing England the title

     

     

    The Entente Cordiale is alive and kicking

     

     

    Cheese eating surrender monkeys (Copyright of Groundskeeper Willie)