Celtic passing, the horseshoe shape and Spanish movement


I watched the first half of Spain-England last night and although the Spanish will regard it as a horror show, that verdict should be limited to how they defended.  The home team’s movement off the ball was a joy to watch.

Every modern dominant team, including Celtic, seem to play what is commonly referred to as a passing game.  When Celtic play it, it looks like a passing game, but when Spain played last night, passing was subservient to their movement.  When a player received the ball, everyone else in a red shirt was on the move, giving him straightforward options.  No one was boxed-in, forced to try to beat a man or lob a rash ball forward.  Successful passing became a consequence of off the ball movement.

By comparison, Celtic stretch play from left to right, in a regular horseshoe patter, presumably in an attempt to create space between defenders.  A direct cost of this is that players have fewer options in possession, make more predictable passes and are forced to play it sideways or back more often.

England shredded Spain, which could be linked to the fluidity of the Spanish, but I suspect it had more to do with a failure to keep a straight defensive line, than a direct punishment for off the ball work.

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  1. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    Well spotted and analysed Paul. Any word on Wee BGFC’s account?








  2. England’s directness and speed cause Spain problems, it was unexpected. England knew they could not play Spain at football so long balls, second balls and men running in behind the full backs was the only option.



    We have seen it at first hand ourselves with Hearts and I suspect we will see it again v them and Rangers before the year is out. We cannot say we are not expecting it.

  3. Hunderbirds are Gone on

    Horseshoe? I think the main problem is Craig hoofing the ball forward. We need to get Jamesie galloping forward on the right more. Anyway, hopefully we can win the league at a canter. ?



  4. Paul 67,



    Or the passing game that Spain and Barcelona were famed for has just become soooooooo yesterday’s football.




  5. Lunchtime in the wee beach bar -way down south .



    Arancini with couscous .



    Radio on –



    My ears caught this -.



    ” Spanish defending was so bad it looked like they’d borrowed it from Andorra .The Referee was one more Mama Mia – Where do UEFA find these guys ?.. The English support yet again demonstrated that there might well be an upside to Brexit “.



    Your lunchtime choon -inspired by this beach – 1967 -a mighty fine year



  6. If a guy is in a better position to receive a pass,he can move it on quicker, reducing the amount of time it gives opponents to get goal side of the ball again. Less passes with better starting positions, this coaching lark is easy….

  7. By comparison, Celtic stretch play from left to right, in a regular horseshoe patter, presumably in an attempt to create space between defenders. A direct cost of this is that players have fewer options in possession, make more predictable passes and are forced to play it sideways or back more often






    We circulate the ball because we play against a low defensive block with no space between the lines. Hence the reason for the horseshoe style passing. By comparison that was not the case last night from what i watched.

  8. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    FRIESDORFER on 16TH OCTOBER 2018 11:35 AM


    BGFC and Wee BGFC, lucky fhellas, enjoy – again. Don’t forget to sample the weißbier and bratwurst (weißwurst in Bavaria). As if…! HH




    HH pal – thanks. As if, indeed :-)) Mee and the Wee BGFC prefer the Hacker-Pschorr / Helles beers, but we have very catholic tastes in terms of beer :-))



    Rock & Roll again :-))) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3S6TEj9_YY






  9. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    We need to replace Dembélé with a big, strong line leader, who can hold the ball up.



    Griffiths and Eduoard failed miserably to do this in Salzberg and the defencepaid the penalty.



    The big striker is back in fashion,but they are a rare species.





    One of the finest goals I’ve seen us score against quality opposition in recent years came from horseshoe and crab passing. In fact,I was so concerned that we were gonna screw it up I was on the verge of shouting-ffs,boot it up the park!



    No great fan of our defenders effin about,me. You might have noticed.



    Twentysix,count them,passes later,back of the net v Lyon.



    Not a diddy team,then or now. Do you or anyone else think we have the personnel to do that against a top European team nowadays? It’s pretty obvious that we don’t,IMO.



    That’s worth thinking about.

  11. Colour Blind Bhoy on

    I don’t normally get time for a day time browse on CQN let alone have the chance to post but as I’m currently sunning myself in Tenerife I appear to have all the time in the world.


    With my wife and daughter happily relaxing on their sunbed and swimming pool I can indulge in musical nostalgia and today has been all about catching up on some great songs from The Skids and Big Country.


    Probably an age thing but Stuart Adamson singing Chance is just something special.


    I’ve just listened to 5 different versions of the song and his voice is haunting. God only knows what space his mind was in when writing that song but I’ll bet it has become an anthem for so many people of my era.


    RIP Stuart and thanks for the memories.

  12. I think finding a replacement for dembele , will be the least of our problems . We may find ourselves looking for replacements for boyata , joso , and berkovic , along with a much needed RB to if not replace Mikael Lustig immediately certainly to help him out now . That’s nearly a full defence . Not sure about midfield as we have quality in rogic ,and ntcham , although I think we may see another dembele scenario with ntcham soon . Broonie may well last another season or two yet ,but like our ch position quality replacement should be a priority . We won’t get all the quality we require ,unless we off load some who are not of the standard to fill the hoops . Missing transfer windows is negligent , if we want to hit the 8 9 or the magical 10 , money needs to be spent , and our wonderful coach left to do his job un hindered . Can’t see that happening sadly . As always just my opinion .

  13. Colour Blind Bhoy on

    BMCUW at 2:17pm.


    Thank Bobby, link won’t open at pool but will save for later.


    Hail Hail

  14. Dallas Dallas where the heck is Dallas on

    Bobby at 2.03pm , David Pleatt was the ITV Co comentator at that game. He was very impressed by our patient build up to Liam Miller’s goal against Lyon , saying it would be very dficult to see a better worked move that season.



    At our scond goal in the above match , I”m sure Chris Sutton took a quick shy or was given the ball at the shy which he then passed to Henrik. Chris then sped into the box , Henrik held the ball playing an excelent cross for Chris to get our seond. This went against our normal routine at shys waiting for one of our full backs tp come and take it.

  15. Bhoyjoebelfast on

    In the photo of at.peters CSC Belfast my late father is in the second row.The photo was taken at Hampden Park in the morning and the club were at Celtic Park afternoon versus East Fife.Gool old da would have been 104 if,………

  16. Watching defenders recycle the ball on the half-way line possibly beats watching the grass grow – just. I think Boyata etc. are waiting to pass to an un-marked mid-fielder. For the most part, it doesn’t happen. Not necessarily the defenders’ fault.



    As said in the article, when we play badly it’s often because players are just not available for a pass from a team-mate. This season I’ve seen players looking for a pass but standing stock still behind the ref making any pass speculative.

  17. I note that Takumi Minamino, Salzburg’s forward, scored 2 goals, including the winner, in a 4-3 victory for Japan over a very good Uruguay team today.


    Makes you wonder, after Naka’s phenomenal success, why we never returned to that market.





    Enjoy Tenerife ! Have to agree about Stuart Adamson the ghuy was a musical genius , first Big Country album was superb and Chance was the standout track for me HH !!

  19. mike in toronto on




    I think RBS only paid about 700 thousand for him…. a good bit of business.

  20. mike in toronto on




    HOnestly, in terms of policy, it is not an issue I have really looked into/got my head around.



    Off the cuff ….I have concerns that the long term health implications are not understood.



    But, hard to argue against it when cigarettes and booze are legal. It just seems like a bit of a cash grab for the government.



    Sorry … a bit of a waffle answer there.



    Personally, legaliszation wont change much for me … my dad smoked, and like all kids, I wanted to be like him…. so, when I was about 5, he gave me a puff of a cigarette after a football game…. I threw up all over the pitch, and have never had another puff of a cigarette since.



    And dad drank too much, so I never really got into that. Can enjoy the odd glass of wine, but have never been drunk.



    So, I cant imange that it will change much for me. Although Liam in Toronto says I should try it as it might loosen me up a bit!




  21. MIT


    thanks for the reply – I think it may encourage more to take it up



    thought you might be changing your blog name to Marijuana in Toronto :))



    need to pop out for a while

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