Celtic lose crucial tactical element


We hoped that Celtic’s anaemic 57 minutes against St Mirren last week would serve as an indication that performance levels needed to improve ahead of yesterday’s game against Newco, but many of the same facets were in evidence.

Anytime I have seen Newco this season they seem to start brightly. By contrast, Celtic tend to feel their way into games in a low-energy manner.  This was evident yesterday.  The game was moments old when Erik Sviatchenko was pressurised into a mistake, which brought Newco deep into Celtic territory.  It was 3 minutes before we crossed the halfway line again.

Erik’s next two touches were also unassured, which interrupted the flow of the ball.  It looked like Newco had decided he was the Celtic player to press.  His central defensive partner was caught flat when a touch by Miller saw the ball pass through him, allowing Waghorn the first of his great opportunities to score.

Passing was clearly ineffective.  Celtic simply didn’t keep possession throughout the game.  The pitch seemed fast, how many times did you see a through ball run out of play?  I wondered if Brendan decided to pull back groundsmen on watering duties?

Scott Brown opened in an advanced central midfield position, often ahead of Stewart Armstrong, with Nir Bitton the only one of the midfield three consistently playing his regular role.  While the objective was clearly to pressurise the Newco defence, it came at a cost of ball retention.

Callum McGregor brought composure to Celtic’s play when he replaced Bitton at halftime.  He was prepared to hold the ball, draw opponents in, and pass or move.  This served to underline how poorly we were in this respect during the first half.

Stewart Armstrong created and scored a goal out of nothing.  When he went off we not only missed his edge around the Newco penalty area, we became porous in midfield.  Ball retention then took a further downturn and we lacked tightness.

Newco deserved their goal and, at that point, I thought deserved their point.  They neutered the left flank threat of Sinclair and Tierney, which isolated Dembele.  With Celtic unable to circulate the ball to any effect, which was the crucial tactical element of the game.


The psychology of refereeing is a weighty subject.  Bobby Madden booked four Newco players before cautioning Scott Brown, but the real test isn’t applying a player’s first yellow card.  After his booking, Waghorn twice tumbled theatrically inside the box in a blatant attempt to win a penalty.  Both should have resulted in a second caution, but having booked so many Newco players, Madden froze.

Pointing to the penalty spot in added time of a tied game is a big decision for a referee.  For whatever reason, Madden didn’t want to do this when Hill took Leigh Griffiths down with a waist-high challenge.

I could debate the reasons why he didn’t want to do this with you all week, but we both know why.  At least the manager and players know what to expect in the semi-final.


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  1. An Teach Solais on

    Good assessment P67 but doesn’t take away the bitter taste of a MIB failing to play by the rules. HH

  2. Jimtim ( from previous)




     No, I knew fine what to expect, but, as I said, and I gave you an example, there were posts pre-match suggesting our fears of bias, and those of JohnJames, we’re misplaced, as Midden would be more concerned about his reputation, and being seen as fair, as he is an ‘ambitious pro”, and would be aware that ” the world was watching”, and this would make him wary of “embarrassing himself”.




    Weebobbycollins has come on to say he had posted these thoughts. Turned out he was wrong.

  3. “Generation of Domination” due to end soon, anyway, a generation lasting only 4 years in Scotland.

  4. EPL fans nationwide weren’t happy re ticket price increases.




    Liverpool fans organised and staged a walkout, generated great publicity for the issue which led to a groundswell of support to put pressure on the authorities to cap ticket prices.








    If we can organise ourselves and act as one body as part of a consistent, coherent and peaceful demonstration campaign. I have absolutely no doubt we will force the change we deserve to see.




    If Liverpool fans can mobilise on ticket prices why can’t we do something similar re the referees and the structure that protects them here in Scotland

  5. Paul67



    I would have expected a more hard hitting blog from you today.



    No matter how badly we played yesterday, we were cheated by a Sevco supporting referee.



    2 weeks in a row now Sevco have benefitted from 3 game changing decisions from biased referees.



    Silence is not acceptable.

  6. ontrolled the game well yesterday and was a major factor in the result.



    Clear penalty and blatant red card tackles aside his differing standard allowed his favoured team an advantage.



    The different way he applied the rules to Waghorn and Dembele was blatant.



    They were allowed to barge pull, push and manhandle Dembele throughout and any time he won the ball madHun penalized him for a mystery infringement.



    Waghorn got away with a deliberate foul on KT with no yellow and continually jumped into and lunged at Celtic players and was the beneficiary of a few fouls given to him.



    The Holt and Miller tackles suggest the huns were well aware of his tolerance and they knew that physical threat to opponents would go unchecked.



    The soft foul given that lead to their goal was again an example of ref/cheat controlling game in his teams favour and this was a constant in the game.

  7. The scenes of Sevco jubilation were something to behold at the final whistle! Once might even say “completely embarrassing!” Still, I hear the Royal Family was delighted with the result…





    Here are 16 things you need to know about the new Sevco manager:





    And I will leave you with this comment on the shameful decision by the Daily Record to highlight a Celtic ball girl for allegedly swearing at Sevco players. Does that paper have any sense of responsibility?





    Thanks to all for the support over the past two years. It was fun for most of that time. All the best.

  8. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan on

    Lisbon Update



    Meal arrangements for the 24th of May are nearly complete and I have been given the option of an “open bar” with a fixed charge per head for all wine, spirits, beers, soft drinks etc.



    This will be no more than 30 Euros each (circa £26) but I am waiting on confirmation.



    Meal will consist of 5 courses







    First Course


    Second Course







    Wine, beers, soft drink will be provided at the table



    There will hopefully be a 1 hour drinks reception at 7pm


    Dinner 8-10PM


    Entertainment 10pm – Midnight


    Open bar applies during reception and after dinner service.



    Finalised menu will be published on here and I will e-mail as many as I can.



    Anyone with any specific dietary requirements should e-mail me at jjoe88@hotmail.co.uk



    Any hotel queries or requests to the same address.



    Arrangements re the stadium visit ongoing and will follow in due course.




  9. Paul 67.


    Very surprised that your summary of the game doesn’t include the Miller and Holt tackles. For me they are the real talking points, if the ref does what hes supposed to with those incidents then the rest becomes irrelevant.

  10. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Difficult to argue with that analysis, Paul. And to be fair you called Sevco’s tactics spot-on on Friday.


    Agree re McGregor. When you are being pressed at the back you need someone who can show for the ball, take it in tight situations and move it on quickly. Hope he plays in the semi in a midfield three with Brown and Armstrong. Although if Rogic is fit that would give us a different option. We certainly missed a bit of craft in the final third.

  11. Paul



    I agree about Erik he was all over the place at the start of the previous game against them as well. He unsettled the defence for the first 30 mins that day and that unease was evident all day yesterday. Is Simo injured?



    What is worrying was our inability to deal with a predicable 4-5-1 formation. Did Brendan prepare by working them against this type of formation all week?

  12. Strange day yesterday.



    Getting early morning phone calls from grown men drinking in a play park as the early morning ‘opening’ didn’t happen. In years gone by I would have been with them but I was taking these phone calls as I was doing 5k on a treadmill. Aye, times change.



    Times change but ref’s remain the same. It’s been discussed on here in great detail.



    We started poorly, scored, took control and then ended badly. The equaliser was in the post as soon as we decided that even though we were in control it wasn’t happening, we were slack, tepid, lacked energy and inventiveness that we would see the game out.



    We’ve done that a few times when we haven’t been on it. Yesterday, the plan failed. We lulled the game and the crowd lulled too and when push came to shove we ended up losing the momentum. That moment came when Gordon saved from Waghorn. They took heart, we got nervous on the pitch and in the stands.



    The period when we were in control they looked like they were waiting on us to batter them. When it didn’t happen they took heart. That happens. It’s football. We can’t be brilliant all the time but yesterday was as poor a team performance that we have seen from BR’s Celtic. Our expectations this season have risen. We’ve seen games where we could have had 7 or 8 motm’s but yesterday we had 8 players clearly off the boil and struggling for pass marks.



    Still, the sun is shining and we are only 4 games away from a perfect season. Let that sink in. This time last year if someone would have said this is your hand next season you would have bitten it off right up to their elbow!



    Seeing them celebrating a draw long into the night a draw was mana to us 90’s kids. Long may it continue.

  13. In the four weeks since The Tragic Hat departed we have seen the return of the Real Rangers Way under Murty advised by some say the Turgid Turd of anti football.



    The Real Rangers Way being intimidation of the opposition supported by weak or biased referees.



    A few of our players were lucky to escape serious injury yesterday and my question is are the club willing to protect our players or not and is there a process in Scottish football where players can be protected if the referees are not doing their jobs in affording said players protection.



    This issue is not going away and in fact it will only get worse if Sevco are given this degree of freedom to maul and maim.



    So is there some unritten agreement by clubs in Scotland not to complain to the governing body about the refffing standard and obvious crimes of omission or does nobody actually give a peking duck as it’s ” part and parcel ” of the pro game in Scotland??




  14. Silver City 1888 on

    Even with us being a bit flat and the Ibrox team playing above themselves, they still weren’t worth a point. Ref made the difference.




    You know fine well these things even themselves out…



    and when they’re are finished evening out their side of things they will let us know…




  16. saltires en sevilla on

    I’m not too bothered about a treble



    If Hibs retain it or Dons win it, wouldn’t be too bothered.



    Don’t get me wrong I cherish the many Scottish Cups we have won. Celtic have practically owned the cup since our name was engraved on the old trophy in 1892.



    What does concern me is the quality of the team we can field for the forthcoming 17/18 European campaign.



    We saw yesterday that the team need to improve in some key areas. i am sure Brendan and his backroom staff know that and will be striving to close the gap in European terms.



    The risks we face are clear.



    – How many of the existing team can handle the kicking they are being subjected to and can they remain fit long enough to build consistency? How many of the decent ones want to stay?



    – How many prospective players, who can raise the overall level, watched the ‘common assault’ that passed for a fitba match and think “stuff that for a game of sodjers” (sic)?



    – If the management team cannot attract the type of player we need, and be allowed to play the type of football they aspire to, will they hang around in the face of better offers from leagues where they can realise their ambitions?



    I understand that there are back channels utilised to effect positive change and expect that those channels are open and a two way process.



    However, the evidence based on yesterday’s match, and previous assaults on our players going unpunished. Plus the less obvious ,but nevertheless debilitating disruption to our playing style, Indicates those channels simply do not work for our club.



    We can speculate why all day long!



    While 50,000 Celts still turn up at games, the nasty behaviour will never change. We operate under a glass ceiling and appear to be accepting that, almost with benign resignation. It occurs to me that some actually feed off the victim mentality. Not too many, but a significant uber fan mentality still exists.



    Our footballing ambition/future is in the balance.

  17. Paul 67



    Sorry mate I can’t agree that the orcs were worth their point, their point was gifted to them by the fact that they got to kick us up and down the park without punishment just like they got to do last week.



    Has Walter got everybody running scared..



    Aye see you Chick…

  18. The Clumpany



    Sorry to hear the ‘clumping’ is coming to an end.



    But thanks for the consistently excellent satire over the past 2 years, especially the hilarious “World Cup of Liquidation Lies”.



    Brightened up many days, and no greater gift than laughter, eh?

  19. Refereeing performances like Sunday’s, and Celtic’s apparent acceptance thereof, make it



    A. more likely






    B. less likely



    that Brendan Rodgers will return to the EPL at the first available opportunity?

  20. WITS ( Anyone) . What were the horses you mentioned last week for Wed ( ? ) and Thursday (?) of this week?






  21. Brendan knows the score re the cheats now, he won’t sit back and take it.Eboue to have as much game time before semi final please.

  22. JIMTIM on 13TH MARCH 2017 10:20 AM


    Maddens performance was what we expected , not one of us didn’t, know how it would pan out . But at the millar tackle on Armstrong , not one Celt made a meal of it , or had a word with millar .



    Had Neil Lennon been playing ,he would have had more than a word . Same with holts tackle on Roberts . This team are too soft , they accepted what was being handed out .



    JIMTIM i also commented on this following the game, we should have been surrounding and in the face of both madden and his assistants at every opportunity , we accepted and did’t question his shocking decisions, we were to soft and meekly accepted, apart from when ML protested and he was booked, we should have been highlighting everything ,if he was to book or send our players off so be it, but we had to get our point across on the park not on forums.

  23. VFR800 is now a Monster 821 on




    Thanks for the link about King having to offer to buy. To save others reading the whole thing, this final paragraph sums it up:


    We dismiss the appeal and affirm the ruling of the Committee, save that we vary the date and direct that within 30 days of this decision (i.e. by April 2017) Mr King announce an offer pursuant to Rule 9 of the Code and, save as to the offer date, such offer to be in accordance with the Executive’s ruling of 7 June 2016, as summarised in paragraphs 19 and 20 above.



    In a nutshell Dave King himself (not the 3 Bears) has to make an offer to buy all other shares in Rangers International. That could cost him a few quid and he has to do it!



    I am sure that will hamper his ability to invest more of his £30M war chest for the new manager!




  24. GlassTwoThirdsFull on



    The “16 Things” is up there with your best. Please keep them coming!

  25. .


    Madden thinks he was being clever booking (deservedly so) those sevconians. By doing so he can claim he treated both teams the same. He’s wrong as pointed out by many hecould have easily handed out 2nd cards. Let’s Chang the venue, let’s say it was at Ibrokes let’s say 4 of our players were on yellows, he would not have hesitated to dish out 2nd yellows. That’s the difference.



    Madden if your lurking GIRFUY.

  26. Paul67



    Good article but,



    Celtic played poorly a la St Mirren in the first half and it wasn’t just down to tactics.



    I think the loss of two insignificant points is the time to drop them, and on the bright side SMSM discussing that ‘he got a touch of the ball’ tells its own very sad for Sevco story.



    Bobby Madden was called into question beforehand as he is in every Celtic game, and that’s partly down to Celtic’s non public stance on ‘refereeing’ in Scotland where the last time it was properly questioned, they dared go on strike.



    Yesterday Bobby Madden’s performance promoted Craig Thomson or Steven McLean to be dealt in for the cup Semi Final , and the caravan will move on.



    On the bright side for Celtic fans Clint Hill might get next season as well, throw in an extension for Kenny Miller and we’re laughing, all the way to seven.



    Brendan Rodgers has a ruthless streak see Gary MacKay Steven and Liam Henderson and Jozo Simunovic, we can expect expect he’ll shuffle the pack and sharpen up for the treble, the Sevco equaliser was a good thing for



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