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. Paul67 – If you think that you are so special that you can just nominate your top 3 in the main article then I’m afraid your mistaken ;-) The only votes that are counted are those sent in emails to me at CQNPOTY@GMAIL.COM . Still 8 hours left to vote and with the weather being nice I’m hoping for a higher than average turnout !

  2. BSR- great post, Rogic the Sheepskelper for Ntcham, probably only change from last night’s starting 11,it wouldn’t surprise me if Dallas is still in charge of referee appointments in this country, it certainly looks like it to me.

  3. Like some on here, I was not pleased with many of the referee’s decisions. He appeared to allow Lille to play rough at times without awarding us a foul. Others have mentioned that Ajeti appeared frustrated by his decisions against him when they should have gone his way. Did others noticed Ajeti having words with the referee as the players walked off the pitch at half time?



    Who was the referee? Hand picked by Dallas, I guess!




    It was too late for me to watch the after match interviews. Interesting comments.. After his two goals Moi will probably start, but should he ? It would be good to see Odsonne and Albion in action together again.



    Agree with you from earlier re. Elhammed. Would also like to see Julien back alongside Duffy.


    Back 4 of EL,CJ,SD and DL

  6. glendalystonsils on

    Dear Peter ,


    please lift the manhole cover in your heated driveway , there you will find a round tin . Dust off the grime on top to reveal the legend “McVitie’s Family Choice” . Open the tin , remove the contents and go out and do whatever it takes to buy Diego Laxalt on a permanent deal .




  7. GREENPINATA on 30TH OCTOBER 2020 1:56 PM



    I agree but the riddle inside the enigma for us is how to be better prepared for the Qualifiers.


    We’re always going to have a chance to play in Europe but our prep for these games seems questionable.


    As good as Ferencvaros & Cluj are we should have beaten them.



    For me it would help the prep if we could get our player recruitment done much earlier than we do.


    Trying to negotiate the qualifiers during a transfer window with some players thinking of moving on & others being recruited seems crazy.


    Some players will end up playing for us with less enthusiasm than is needed while new players turn out still trying to adjust.



    I yearn for the days of transfer windows without any F5 anxiety.

  8. BORGO67 on 30TH OCTOBER 2020 2:08 PM





    It was too late for me to watch the after match interviews. Interesting comments.. After his two goals Moi will probably start, but should he ? It would be good to see Odsonne and Albion in action together again.





    I think he will start & based on last night he definitely merits that.


    I suspect that he re-signed for another loan season on the promise that he’d get a lot of game time – otherwise it makes no sense for him to be in the SPFL – even with Celtic’s European games as an attraction.



    I think that Eddie will still be short of the match fitness to start on Sunday.



    For me, the big difference in how we can set up now is the addition of Laxalt. Taylor was ok but we seemed to lack penetration on that side too often when he played. Since he joined us Diego has impressed against Sevco, AC Milan, Aberdeen & Lille. No wee diddy teams in there.

  9. I *hate* being a malcontent, but let’s be realistic – Lille’s home European record is this: 6 draws, 7 losses. However we portray the result, it is not a new dawn. Improvement? Somewhat. Equally, if Lenny’s record this season isn’t long enough to judge him, one OK result is not evidence a corner has been turned.



    I love Lenny. I was *desperate* for him to come back. And based on his last stint I was firmly of the opinion that whilst he wasn’t the coach Rodgers was, he was better at putting out a team. I’m now of the opinion it’s not working. Ultimately, I’m a Celtic fan, not a Neil Lennon fan – my admiration of him stretches as far as his contribution to Celtic (and uniquely, the way he has dealt with dreadful racial abuse in Scotland. While the media have stayed shamefully silent over many years on the issue. ‘He brings it on himself!’ – yet he didn’t whilst playing in England or even for NI whilst not a Celtic player!) and in a situation between what’s best for Celtic and what’s best for Lenny? Celtic will win out every time. If that means we need a change, sad as that may be, it’s the core issue.



    We need to be much better, we need to recognise problems and fix them during matches. Surrendering a 2 goal lead doesn’t feel like that, however much we PR our opposition. Remember the good old days when we looked forward to tearing it up with top European sides? Now? Now I’m actually worried before games and last night doesn’t address that glaring issue.



    Sunday is vitally important – I hope Celtic fans keep their concerns to places like CQN and do NOT give the media the validation they crave by calling Radio Clyde or other shows to complain and raise tensions. Onwards and upwards.




  10. CONNAIRE12- a couple of times, Ajeti has looked a bit annoyed and frustrated when being subbed in the last couple of weeks, in a good way,he wants to play and contribute, a few more games and he will be at full pace,he will be top scorer in Scotland this season IMO



    There was a debate on here before the sevco game as to whether Diego should start, having seen him in action it was a no brainer for me. Let’s hope he gets his first win on Sunday. I seem to remember Gareth Bale, in his first stint at Spurs , going on a long winless run even though he was a standout.


    Agree that Moi should start on Sunday.

  12. If Milan are interested in Ajer, a deal including Laxalt could be done,but we might have to move quickly, to me he looks better than the majority of left backs in the EPL.

  13. P8DDY


    I saw that stat about Lille , the BBC only too happy to oblige with that one. Haven’t checked to see who they’ve faced but it doesn’t matter as they are definitely a good side.


    You’re right we shouldn’t give the media any fuel , they and the referees are at 2003 levels.

  14. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Good performance and decent result against a genuine class outfit.



    Happy with both.



    Let’s get that out of the way.



    Don’t agree with Pablo’s assessment of the second goal at all.



    It was a collective defensive nightmare.



    “Schoolboy stuff” is an overused cliché.



    That was schoolboy stuff.



    Hail hail



    Keep The Faith

  15. glendalystonsils on





    Yes , dreadful goal , very similar to the huns second goal against us .

  16. GERRY123



    Not sure why you’re directing that at me.


    Perhaps you’re referring to P8DDYS post.


    He’s entitled to his opinion and I don’t think it’s adding fuel to anything. For the record I want Neil to stay.


    Back to work for me now

  17. I’m sure Lille quick news are not happy with the goals they lost.


    1. Lost possession easily let Moi run unchallenged and keeper didn’t make an attempt to save.


    2. Failed to stop frimpongs cross and a weak challenge on Moi



    trucs d’écolier

  18. Sam Bennett’s struggling in the ‘vuelta a Espana’ today😣



    My son follows a footballstats channel! They have never seen tackle statistics like laxy’s last night.



  19. WG, just found through ancestry that my great granny was born in Cambusnethan, think that’s Wishy now.

  20. Does anyone know if there’s an option for Laxalt to be signed permanently or is he a stop-gap until Doughty of Charlton is available on a free?

  21. RC on 30TH OCTOBER 2020 3:43 PM


    how many schoolbhoy stuff goals have we lost lately ,wondering who the common denominator





    bit primed rc, would you not think?be it statement or question.



    Which player do you wish to withdraw your support for?


    Who is your choice for blame?



    keep positive mate




  22. RC on 30TH OCTOBER 2020 3:47 PM



    so have they have found an issue with julien ‘s back or is it a hot water bottle and rest.



    Do you doubt Julien has a back injury?


    strange post rc.




  23. I’ve been reading back.


    Lillie were, indeed, the Pot 4 team., Prague were the Pot 2 team.



    Pot One: Arsenal, Tottenham, Roma, Napoli, Benfica, Bayer Leverkusen, Villarreal, CSKA Moscow, Sporting Braga, Gent, PSV Eindhoven, CELTIC.



    Pot Two: Dinamo Zagreb, Sparta Prague, Slavia Prague, Ludogorets Razgrad, Young Boys Berne, Red Star Belgrade, Rapid Vienna, Leicester, Qarabag, PAOK Salonika, Standard Liege, Granada.



    .Pot Three: Real Sociedad, AC Milan, AZ Alkmaar, Feyenoord, AEK Athens, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, RANGERS, Molde, Hoffenheim, Hapoel Be’er Sheva, LASK Linz, CFR Cluj.



    Pot Four: Zorya Luhansk, Nice, Lille, Rijeka, Dundalk, Slovan Liberec, Royal Antwerp, Lech Poznan, Sivasspor, Wolfsberger, Omonia Nicosia, CSKA Sofia.

  24. I think it’s to early to think about Diego being a permanent deal,Look at the hype Big Duffy got on here,now he is being talked by some supporters as not good enough.

  25. TIMBHOY2 on 30TH OCTOBER 2020 3:59 PM



    True but the Duffy “hype” was before he’d even kicked a ball. We’ve seen them both play and there’s no doubt who the better player is.

  26. cigalasporfavor on




    Burnside bar in the square behind your hotel is best option for tonight.Wish I could join you but I,m recovering from a full knee replacement op.



    Enjoyed last night.Only disappointment being that none of our coaches noticed that Ntcham was out of it around the 50min mark.I suppose it’s always easier to notice these things from the comfort of your couch.HH.

  27. Apologies if I got the seeds wrong


    Was convinced we drew Lille first out hat, so assumed they were pot 2






    A wee pont of caĺl may be the irish embassy/consulate for advice on geneology



    keep the tales of Celtic coming.great stuff



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