Celtic long ball game gives way to torrent of chances


This is going to sound like a Grinch, and I am (honestly) delighted to get through a trip to Tynecastle with what turned into a comfortably victory, but for 28 minutes I was exasperated at watching another outing of our long-ball game.

Odsonne Edouard is a more effective target-man than Lewis Morgan, but that is not what makes him a special striker.  During that opening period, Hearts manager, Daniel Stendel must have thought his troubles were over.

It could be that, having seen the awful pitch and inclement conditions, Neil Lennon decided this was not a stage for our passing game.  If so, the plan worked, but better teams will eventually punish us if we invite them onto us by surrendering possession to often.

Once James Forrest, Odsonne and Ryan Christie combined to allow the latter to break a few hearts, the outcome was inevitable.   Short of some finishing that would make the Alfredo the Wasteful blush, Celtic could have won the game by five or six goals.

If this Hearts team are relying on the Hamilton side we watched two weeks ago collapsing to prevent them being relegated, they are in for a shock.  The organisational differential between those two sides is as wide as Tynecastle.

Result aside, the most pleasing aspect of last night was Odsonne getting 84 minutes under his belt.  He is still short of full fitness, hard shifts like last night help.

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  1. I agree with you Paul in that after 30 mins last night I was exhaling very loudly through my nose !



    I disagree though in that I don’t believe our long balls was a tactical approach by Lennon, more so a result of our inability to pass through the hearts press.



    The first 30 mins were very reminiscent of the cup final.



    We’ve a lot to work on when it comes to beating the press.

  2. For all the dissatisfaction expressed over a “long ball” game (how quickly we forget the incessant unthreatening recycling complaints of recent years) and the baffled queries as to why the “done nothing memorable yet” Greg Taylor cannot get a game ahead of battle-hardened Hayes and the superior athleticism of Bolingoli, I would like to express a few words of appreciation.



    17 league games fulfilled and we have shipped only 4 points, one deserved defeat on plastic and a draw where we played well but missed some finishes.



    Top of our Europa Group with home and away wins against Lazio. A tremendous campaign which has given us a great chance of getting to the last 16 of Europa. Only one blemish to add to the Livi game was the penultimate CL qualifying round defeat to Cluj.



    One LC trophy in the bag and a handful of games to negotiate for our 4th SC in a row.



    In a great league position to strike on for a historic 9iar that I never ever thought I’d see again.



    All honestly paid for.



    These are phenomenally successful times domestically. Neil Lennon has exceeded everybody’s expectations and estimations of him.



    He deserves much better than being portrayed as a long ball merchant or as a man who makies bizarre selections and only picks his “favourites”.



    Neil has performed brilliantly for Celtic and I, for one, would like to express my appreciation.

  3. SFTB – Well said. Some people will never be happy no matter what their team does. You could have mentioned 10 trophies in a row as well. It’s incredible what this team has achieved and incredible some people need more.

  4. Who is portraying Neil Lennon’s Celtic as a long ball team??



    Living in Oz I may have missed it





  5. Only seen the highlights…



    James Forrest’s wing play on the counter for the second goal was absolutely brilliant, not many if any in our squad could do it the way he did. Outstanding!



    Edouard’s back heel for Christie’s goal was sensational.



    Delighted to get another valuable three points from a very hostile away ground.




  6. SFTB,



    Its a blog . If we all said brilliant, fantastic magic we might as well shut the place down.



    Of course we are all delighted with what we have achieved, but we want more of the same and each of us has our own opinions on how to achieve that.



    On footie matters we are mainly signing from the same hymn sheet, most of the serious disagreements are non footie related.



    Cheers and HH.




    Absolutely correct, SFTB. Since his return, Neil Lennon has been quite the star. And at the time of his return, the eighth title was by no means ‘in the bag’.


    The successes to date are all the more remarkable as they’ve been achieved under a Board characterised by some contributors as ‘cowardly’, ‘craven’, ‘corrupt’ and ‘self serving’.


    There is one critic I would listen to – Auldheid – clearly someone of integrity. Of course, he had justice on his side. But faced with the big battalions up here, justice alone doesn’t cut it.


    If Celtic had pursued that cause, they would have spent a long time and a whole lot of money for nothing.

  8. Big Jimmy


    The 64k$? is will you be getting home today and be able to celebrate your birthday in the comfort of your own surroundings. Hope you have a better day, and many more to come.



  9. Last night I was screaming at the telly during the first twenty minutes or so for a number of players to up their game, when they did it was a thing of beauty to watch the goals, the missed chances another thing entirely!



    We should have skelped Hearts, never at any time did I think we were in danger of losing the game and with some more composure and luck we should have scored at least six goals.



    On that quagmire of a pitch we did really well, stretched our lead at the top, kept eleven on the pitch despite the MIB and got no injuries.



    Cannae complain about anything from last night in reality, we all want pure beautiful football but sometimes just winning is just as good.



    Roll on Saturday.

  10. Who’s slaggin off Lenny and the team?



    We bought Taylor so why not play him?



    We need a back up for Edouard so why not play Griff and get his fitness up?



    Pretty normal questions to be asking

  11. Paul 67


    I understand and appreciate, watching Celtic last night for the first 30 mins was both frustrating and mildly concerning.


    However as Lenny eluded to in his post-match interview, he operates very much through the school of thought, that first n foremost in any game, you need to earn the right to play. This belief, and school of thought pre-empts anything else. Therefore the first 25mins / 30mins of most Scottish Premiership games will take a similar vein. Particularly away from home.



    The flip side I guess, is that if we went to Tynecastle intent on playing excessive passing, possession based game. Then we may in hindsight have came unstuck, on that surface , in that wind and rain.

  12. SFTB, It is also worth mentioning in the 2 points we dropped to Hibs the MIB ignored 2 blatant penalties.


    We were robbed that day,


    We only really messed up 1 Domestic Game out of 21, That was on plastic with 10 men.


    We also only messed up one European game out of 14 that was the Champions League Home game against Cluj when both Brooney & Bain had mares. I’m giving us a free pass on the last Europa away against Cluj when we opted to rest the bulk of our first team.


    That is 2 really disappointing performances in 34 games if you totally discount the last Cluj game from the records.


    We did have 2 or 3 ropey performances where we had to dig out the win but that’s OK, That is what good teams do.

  13. An Tearmann @12:43


    That is the best headed goal I have ever seen.



    Teuchter ar la


    Thanks for that Fairytale of Stornoway. Very good:-))Stonoway

  14. https://www.67hailhail.com/news/its-time-for-greg-taylor-to-be-given-his-celtic-run/



    I read the above article, and like many comments I see in social media, and online on blogs etc. there is a large proportion of fans scratching their head as to Hayes inclusion over Greg Taylor.



    In Hayes defence, I can see people citing that he has never really let us down. No monumental slip-ups, leading to opposition goals. Further in his defence, people could cite his commitment, his desire, his willingness to play on through injuries etc.


    All of which, is great.


    But fundamentally this is football we are talking about here. And the area that should precede all others is therefore football ability.


    And watching Hayes last night versus Hearts, a blind man and his dog could see, there were occasions last night where his general play resembled a player with very very limited ability.



    The Hayes vs Boli, Vs Greg Taylor debate is subjective.



    In terms of Greg Taylor, what I found strange was that he put together 3 or 4 games for Celtic. In between times he played 2 full games for Scotland, and acquitted himself well. If match fitness / sharpness was ever the issue, then surely that run put him on the right path. If ever there was a time to allow the young lad to kick-on, it was then. He was finding his game, finding his sharpness, and I think personally, it is counter-productive to break that momentum, and sit the lad back on the bench.


    All about opinions, but Greg would be my preference in the left-back position, moving forward.

  15. i know I was there(LC final)



    I never made any comments just posted a fact and one fact i omitted was that


    that at the time of 1 goal conceded from a corner Julienne had been replaced by Ajer












    During the first 25 minutes of the League Cup Final, Sevco could have scored 3 or 4 goals from corners. It was alarming how they were getting to the ball, and Jullien and Ajer were not. This has to be addressed for Dec 29, as has the fact that we were completely swamped in midfield. We will not be so fortunate a second time.

  16. Fritzsong on 19th December 2019 2:27 pm








    ‘The successes to date are all the more remarkable as they’ve been achieved under a Board characterised by some contributors as ‘cowardly’, ‘craven’, ‘corrupt’ and ‘self serving’.’







    In relation to Res12, the same club narrative etc the Board has been all of those things.



    On field success doesn’t justify or excuse the Board’s failings.

  17. RUGGYGMAN on 19TH DECEMBER 2019 3:03 PM



    To be fair, I think a fair part of it is that Taylor is still in his honeymoon phase at Celtic.



    His performance against Rennes was mixed but he didn’t come in for any criticism because we won the game and he’s new. He’s never had a game where he’s looked hopeless but mistakes are overlooked.



    The fairest comment I can make is that LB is the one area of the starting 11 that isn’t 100% nailed down.

  18. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on








    During the first 25 minutes of the League Cup Final, Sevco could have scored 3 or 4 goals from corners. It was alarming how they were getting to the ball, and Jullien and Ajer were not. This has to be addressed for Dec 29, as has the fact that we were completely swamped in midfield. We will not be so fortunate a second time.







  19. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on



    Unfortunately, the man is a chicken.







  20. JC2 on 19TH DECEMBER 2019 3:14 PM







    I think you will find that the Huns will not be so fortunate on the occasion of December 29, as they were to face a weakened team on the Sunday before last.

  21. Football is not a simple game. Hearts played with energy and fought hard for the first period of the game. Experienced players know that sometimes it takes time for the game to settle down. The pitch was tight and in poor condition and it was a little windy.



    You fight and withstand the initial push knowing that you have the quality to turn the game in your favour at any given moment. Ryan showed his quality. Make no mistake, we destroyed them last night and controlled the game throughout. Even when they played with intensity and when they had more possession towards then end when we had reverted to shape and saw the game out with ease. We have conceded 2 goals in 9 League games for a reason, we are a solid outfit. Nothing to see here except from a well oiled machine.

  22. I don’t like that we missed so many chances last night v Hearts. But I would be much more concerned if we were not creating those chances. I expect goals are coming.




  23. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on



    One letter to the CFCB would have done the job, how much are stamps now?

  24. GENE on 19TH DECEMBER 2019 4:07 PM







    What did you think of the game last night







    Haven’t seen any of it so not in a position to form, let alone express, an opinion.



    What do yo think of the Board’s position on Res12 and the same club narrative?

  25. Ernie


    It stinks – but when they’re gone Celtic will still be there



    The game highlights are on BBC if you want to take a look

  26. Much preferRC playing in middle, we get much more from him there, also gets JF back to the right wing his preferred position as he is never a left winger, MJ left wing and were flying.

  27. SFTB…………Have to agree with your post and we are even ten points better off than at the same time last year. Neill lennon has matured as a manager since his previous stint at Celtic and is still only in his forties. Good three points last night despite the dreadful conditions.

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