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. I think both goals were easily preventable. Both came about as the result of ball watching. Frank Rijkaard used to say the ball can’t score a goal on its own – you watch the man. To get a free shot in the box against us all you have to do is make a run towards our goal, stop then step back. You’ll then have yards and yards of space to be found and to get a shot away – all our diddies will keep charging towards our goal line. You wish people would just mark their men. Le singe est dans l’arbre.

  2. Norrie. 4.15.


    You’re some man.


    I deliberately didn’t name anyone!!


    It’s shows what an honest man you are, although I’m sure anyone who knows you, will not be surprised at that.

  3. An Tearmann.


    How are you doing?


    It would need to be some size of bridge for you to be under it. ;-)

  4. borgo 67


    the comment is directed to everyone on cqn, i’m sure the media


    look at all Celtic sites, no offence to you personally but p8ddys


    post suggests lille are a poor team going by their euro results


    lately, kindly supplied by the bbc. celtic charity foundation seem


    to do well yet the media don’t want the general public to


    know about it,hope you get my drift, have a good day at work

  5. GEEBEE1978- Doughty out for 4 months with ligament damage, can take him off the list probably

  6. In these strange times the Hoops arrived in town last night all clad in black masks looking like the Jesse James gang on a mission They left town with a successful haul but the haul could have been even greater. Well done to Neil and his squad for an achievement that set even the grumpiest old men and even grumpy young men and Gals on a high after the result against the French.



    Even though we had that two goal cushion with that couple of exquisite scores by Ellio the Norwegian we just knew the cavalry charge would come in the second half. Celtic’s tactics on the night were excellent. Neil had been criticised for not deploying defensive tactics to protect the lead last Sunday last Sunday but his team shape last night was the perfect response. Although the French high fliers did draw level Celtic’s quick breaks from defence could easily have won all three points.



    In a marvellous team effort it was difficult to single out any player but Ellio’s goals and general play was superb as was his combination play with his old Basle teamate Ajeti . These guys seem to show all their skills against continental opposition.



    Don Diego our new Latino left back has to get special mention this Uruguan dynamo has some engine and what a tenacious tackler. The guy exudes passion for somebody barely in the door of Celtic Park. Perhaps we have another Emilio Isiguirre here. pity about big Chris but thankfully we have Nir back in good health. Onwards and Upwards.

  7. AN TEARMANN on 30TH OCTOBER 2020 3:57 PM



    I’m sure I read that his back injury could not be diagnosed by doctors here.




    Cambusnethan (where I sit and type at this moment, three minutes walk from the cemetery) easily outdates That Wishaw.



    Previously under the jurisdiction of Melrose Abbey back in the day.




  9. Gerry 123, I scrolled back and didn’t see any posts by John Hughes.



    Could you copy it and post it please ,

  10. JIMMYNOTPAUL on 30TH OCTOBER 2020 4:23 PM



    An Tearmann.



    How are you doing?



    It would need to be some size of bridge for you to be under it. ;-)



    doin grand my friend tho missing everythin bout going to and from a match.findin its hard watching us in an empty Celtic Park but slowly adapting.


    its a pity Laxalt and Ajeti Duffy and all our signings cant feel the support encouraging them to do their best.tale of our times mate when you hear the players on the park.


    Have you been catching any fine birds lately?(ah widnae ask that in the Levern 😊) Have you ever made it to BoatofGarten to the osprey centre? hope your good 😊





  11. !!BADA BING!! on 30TH OCTOBER 2020 4:28 PM



    Oh dear. Bet they wished they’d taken the money now….

  12. The weather forecast for Tomorrow is abysmal- torrential rain and high winds. If the first semi goes ahead, Hampden will be like a tottie field on Sunday.

  13. An Tearmann.


    Ha, very good about the Levern.


    One of our best players ever worked on there for a while.


    Bobby Murdoch.


    I’ve not been that far north ,this year, with all the restrictions.


    I’m supposed to be going back to rural Stirlingshire in two weeks, not sure if I will be allowed.


    I’m going looking for Owls!!!




    I would love to pass this by my golfing “companions” – can you pls explain and accept my apologies for my ignorance ? THX

  15. RC on 30TH OCTOBER 2020 4:41 PM



    AN TEARMANN on 30TH OCTOBER 2020 3:57 PM



    I’m sure I read that his back injury could not be diagnosed by doctors here.






    a link would be fine rc.it should be able to find.



    until then i will take the word of our manager


    when speaking of Celtic staff.




  16. The Battered Bunnet on

    Whenever Craig Gordon comes to write his biography, there will doubtless be a chapter devoted to a match versus Inter Milan at Celtic Park.



    Having shipped three goals in the first half, two of them obvious mistakes – one of which an absolute howler in added time – and with the team 3-2 down, he was cheered and sung off the park at half time by a packed stadium.



    I’ve never seen the team respond to the crowd getting on the players’ backs, but that was a splendid example of the crowd lifting a player and a team. A second half injury time goal by John Guidetti claimed the well-deserved draw, the team having been 2-0 down inside 15 minutes.

  17. Paul,


    Agree that tactics are more important than players



    However there is an even older adage from 2,500 years ago from Sun Tzu .



    “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.



    ” Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. 



    Sun Tzu



    Artofwar CSC

  18. BB that Inter 3-3 game was one of the great nights – Paradise was throbbing, a massive collective shuv of emotion – you cant play Inter and not fly, in your heart back to a night in May 67. They just weren’t going to allowed to beat us – went to the merchant city after, don’t know how I got home, but I got home happy😀

  19. Jinky


    I was in number 7 that night and had the pleasure of meeting Stevie Chalmers – an absolute Gent as was Tommy Boyd. As you said a great occasion with our new signings Armstrong and Mackay Stevens starring.

  20. Ajeti and the referee?


    I’d have had more than a chat with him going off at half-time! Other than what has already been said about the ‘penalty ‘ and numerous non fouls given to Lille what about when Ajeti was at the edge of the box and two Lille players had a go and one tripped him, nothing?!


    Huns in Europe, brought to you by Bigot Dallas

  21. Jimmy not Paul



    i recall you mentioning that fact before.incredible these Giants where among us.Think he moved onto his pub in Rutherglen which later turned into a youth club.Big Billy had his pub in govanhill.jim brogan along the road from him,Harry Hood like Jim was a good publican.i think a few tried and failed at tthe time.


    needing to get out a walk soon.work in way.


    those pics ht posts are great.take it easy and watch yourself😊at this time






  22. Gene – lucky man meeting two legends and real gents. Stevie used to be a regular at functions in Greenock CSC and I was fortunate enough to chat with Tommy at one of our own CQN Golf days at Aberdour (don’t know how i got from them either)

  23. I liked the Bear’s comment about a team that hasn’t lost at home since February and not their European home record. Lille urnae some mid table sausage roll side who according tae the same beeb had similar % of play and shots as the greatest coached team in the world.

  24. onenightinlisbon on

    “Celtic v Aberdeen: Does the quadruple treble still matter as much to Neil Lennon’s side?”



    This is on the BBC sport page.



    Imagine it was Gerrard’s Galactico’s that were going for this.



    History in the making and they ask this pish.



    Ban these areseholes from Celtic park.




    Saw your post about Linlithgow GC.



    You play there much?



    Are you a local bhoy?

  26. Heard Jonny Owen on the Radio 5 with Adrian Chiles around lunchtime today. Previewing, if you can on the wireless, his documentary, much mentioned on here, ‘The Three Kings’ Stein, Busby and Shankly. Of course Hugh MacIlvaney got there before him with the BBC but even so looking forward to its’ release on November 1st. All Saints Day. As a Welshman he certainly places great store on those who at any time worked down the mines.


    Never been a miner myself, but in the generation before plenty were. And for those doing family research on the Scottish side of their families do not be surprised to see that occupation appear somewhere on birth, marriage and it has to be said, death certificates. Don’t need to be Seamus Heaney to know that we all need to keep digging.

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