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. lets all do the huddle on

    Was Connery not from a mixed marriage




    he was



    a male and a female



    he was the male



    i think

  2. lets all do the huddle on

    Let’s-its just a game of rugby.Who cares 🤷‍♀️









  3. FB,



    I’d be happy with either Bain or Barkas behind a settled back line. We can but hope.



    Aye, 40 years! Who has been a better keeper than Forster in the last 40 years?

  4. A very significant match tomorrow. Let’s get to another Final and keep the quadtreble alive. We do that and tomorrow will be a great day regardless of what happens at Rugby Park. History beckons, Celtic.

  5. Boruc for a season was unbelievable and



    Gordon is a great keeper- which I think is part of the point me and David17 (I think) was trying to make earlier. I definitely think he has a couple of seasons left in him, at least.



    But Forster for me has been the best by a reasonable distance.

  6. What does it matter what Connery was or was not.He was 90 years of age and passed away today.

  7. Cornelius



    You’re very welcome re the heads up about Justified. The language in it is so lyrical and the acting is brilliant. Well worth trying to see.



    Sorry to hear about your sister. Let’s hope things go well for her in future. 🙏



    The Ken Burns series is brilliant. He has also done series on Vietnam, The West and the American Civil war. The first two, like Country are brilliant. I haven’t yet seen the Civil War. They are all narrated by the actor Peter Coyote. Try to catch them if possible. Very worthwhile.

  8. FAIRHILL BHOY on 31ST OCTOBER 2020 9:26 PM


    Was Connery not from a mixed marriage





    He was indeed a man and a woman, ha, ha!


    Yes his dad was Catholic, his grandfather Connery Irish born.

  9. lets all do the huddle on

    i think about keepers in terms of how big and unpassable they make themselves when faced one on one



    craig gordon is definitely in that category



    as are boruc and forster



    in the mould of peter schmeichel who was the king of that



    but at the moment barkas just doesnt look like that



    but neither did de gea when he first went to man utd but then was incredible for a year or 2



    i hope our keeper has zero saves to make tomorrow so im no further forward on my thoughts on it 😆

  10. Forster better than Gordon or Boruc.


    Somebody is having a laugh.



    Forster 6ft 7in and never came for a cross or came through a centre forward in his career.


    That’s why he’s sitting on the bench at Southampton

  11. FB – I didn’t say that. I said I’ve “yet” to see a save like that from him.



    For that reason I’m unsure whether he would have made it – and it’s pretty difficult to prove one way or another 😂



    Anyway, Forster is definitely better than Gordon so there! 😅👍🏼

  12. TIMHORTON on 31ST OCTOBER 2020 4:42 PM


    I think one of his first movies (Sean Connery) was Marnie. He was in quite a few movies but also lost a lot of respect for him after he moved to the “DARK SIDE”. I don’t know how you can do such a thing could not been to much of a fan.




    RIP Sean.




    The story goes that Celtic had an upcoming game v the Huns. Sean phoned Celtic Park and said this is Sean Connery I would like to attend the game. The wee girl answering said that he was taking the piss and hung up on him. David Moonbeams heard about it and invited Sean as his guest. It was the same game that Jason Currie of Del Amitri phoned and tried to blag a ticket and was told, “ OK, but can you bring Del along with you?” Amateur hour. Sean did actively work on Murray’s behalf as a poster said earlier. He scmoozed Joe Lewis into investing a small fortune into Rangers.



    The only hope I clung onto was after the Murray era, Sean was in the Caledonia Club (?) in Kearny New Jersey for an ‘Old Firm’ game. Apparently the Tim’s attend the Irish Club. Sean sat on his own away from the rest and wore a green scarf.



    Saving grace? I don’t know.

  13. lets all do the huddle on

    I expected the media to use Gordon to belittle our current keepers.



    Sad to say our own have beaten them to it…night Bhoys.




    North Korean Celtic Quick News




  14. Massive game for our rehabilitation tomorrow. A win would finish off the progress we made on Thursday Eve; by no means a given!

  15. Back to Basics @ 4:36 sorry for the late response.What was unique about The Hill was there was’nt a woman in it. Maybe unique is the wrong word – unusual might be better. Great performance from Ian Bannen also. H H Hebcelt




    I have seen the Ken Burns Civil War series.


    I loved it but haven’t seen any of the others.


    If the others are a patch on that it’ll be a treat.


    Think I read somewhere he did one on WW2 also.



    I noticed I can buy Justified on Prime – so cheers.



    Four Trebles CSC