Celtic potential and softness on show


Celtic looked nervy during the opening exchanges in their Champions League clash with Lazio last night, as Lazio imposed a high press.  A 12th minute  turn and drive inside from Daizen Maeda changed things.

Daizen found Matt O’Riley who played a truly great one-touch pass behind the defence into the box.  This is Kyogo Territory and the Japanese’ movement bought him enough time to drill a shot that deceived the keeper and opened the scoring.

That shocked Lazio into a response as Celtic endured a high and fast press this grouo of defenders have never collectively faced.  Celtic struggled to progress the ball forward, with the usually effective Reo Hatate’s distribution well below par.

Lazio forced a couple of corners before their equaliser arrived.  They had two distinct strategies for each side for the field, with attackers clustered inside the six yard box for inswingers from the left, and lined up behind each other for outswingers from the left.

The latter caused enough confusion to lead to the equaiser.  With numerical advantage inside the box, the defence should have prevailed.

If Lazio had the better of the opening period, Celtic dominated the second half.  Just after the hour, Luis Palma and Cameron Carter-Vickers replaced Yang and Nat Phillips.  Both arrivals injected control and drive into Celtic.

With 8 minutes remaining, the whole of Celtic Park (apart from the guy sitting beside me) thought Palma had put Celtic ahead, but VAR ruled a touch from Maeda was enough to disallow the goal for offside.

Lazio were winding down the clock in added time but a moment off balance from Carter-Vickers allowed them to drive into the box.  As with their first goal, the defence will think they should have marked better.

A game which could have been won and should at the very least have seen Celtic take a point was lost.  There is a softness about us which needs worked on.

I think the game came too soon for us.  You can see shoots of potential in Palma and the authority Carter-Vickers brought to the game was enough to turn the tide of play.  His late split does not touch the sides of support he has in the bank from Celtic fans.

It’s a tough ask now to finish third in the group.

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  1. The Battered Bunnet on

    We need less potential and more performers. There’s a limit to the current development model and we hit it every year in Europe.



    There’s a limit to the current development model and we hit it every year in Europe.”



    Yip, hence onwards and sideways (at best – often we go all Paula Abdul and its one step forward, two back!).



    Still hoping for 3rd place though, but more hope than realistic expectation.




  3. “BOGNORBHOY on 5TH OCTOBER 2023 12:07 PM


    Onward to the next challenge ?”



    Ah yeah, in that sense I get it! :)



    Bring on the Killie and let’s hope the players have a fair bit of anger and frustration from last night to channel into that game!




  4. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    And next year’s CL will be “too soon” as well for we will have sold a couple of players with experience and replaced them with players who have none.



    As I wrote earlier……….If our players show promise they will attract interest from richer clubs and be sold. Even if he is of a similar standard, the replacement has to gain experience from scratch. If we are lucky he slots in seamlessly e.g AJ. If, as is likely, he takes time to get up to speed/settle we will suffer defeats by “fine margins” at CL level because the collective experience of the team has been diminished e.g. would the probability of winning last night have been higher or lower if Jota had been on the left wing?




    I go in to these games hoping for the best but expecting the worst based on what I’ve written above. I also have no issue with the business model, but those in charge should be more honest and define more clearly what is meant by “progress in Europe”. I have no doubt we’d do well in the Europa league, but progress in the CL is a fantasy. Our business model is not set up for it.

  5. A balanced take. Paul – but, ultimately, one that suggests we’re oot by the end of the first week in October :0



    3 points:



    “..the usually effective Reo Hatate’s distribution…” that claim is now subject to an advertising standards authority query; his form’s as up and down as the proverbial tart’s scants.



    “I think the game came too soon for us…” I asked you about this before Paul: How late would we need to ask for Champs Leagues ties to be put back to accommodate us getting ready enough to compete in them that’s scheduled for the same time each yr ?



    And finally…whatever happened to the widespread calls for more robust and experienced players?




    PS: The O’Riley pass to Kyogo was sublime indeed.

  6. We certainly didn`t deserve to lose last night and our performance was better than any other I have seen this season.


    Disappointed though I am, I feel we are moving into a good place.


    Beat Killie;Huns drop points in Paisley and I might start smiling again.

  7. Tom McLaughlin on




    VAR were powerless to intervene in the Hatate elbow incident because the referee took no action. If he had shown a yellow card, VAR could have looked at it and either confirmed the yellow or upgraded to red. VAR doesn’t check for foul play outside the box except where it leads to a goal, otherwise we’d be there all night.

  8. Tom McLaughlin on

    Can’t understand some posters saying our players are “too soft”. Remind me. How many Celtic players saw red in Rotterdam?

  9. glendalystonsils on

    If we get third place in the group ,I’ll eat my …. bacon roll (don’t like hats). We have matched or even more than matched at times , our opponents in the first two group games but have zero to show for it .


    In European terms we are too weighted towards underdeveloped/inexperienced players and I have no doubt that we will experience the same fate next season if we find ourselves in the same position . As a club we need to find a better balance .

  10. I am amazed that BR did not demand a guarantee that the team would be strengthened in the summer. He is now working with a weaker team than last season. Playing projects in the CL is bound to fail.


    Selling Jota was a statement by the Board that they have no ambition other than to stay ahead in Scotland and impress the shareholders.


    We are now facing the real prospect of finishing the group stages with zero points. But the financial results are great.

  11. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    A real sickener to not get even one point, especially after looking like we had taken all three.


    Can’t seem to manage the key moments (last minute yesterday, last minute of first half in Rotterdam), which is what separates performances from results.


    Then there’s the recurring theme of losing goals in Europe to ball-watching. You are simply not going to get away with it at that level and until we get a grip on it we will continue to struggle.

  12. “TOM MCLAUGHLIN on 5TH OCTOBER 2023 12:21 PM


    VAR were powerless to intervene in the Hatate elbow incident because the referee took no action. If he had shown a yellow card, VAR could have looked at it and either confirmed the yellow or upgraded to red. VAR doesn’t check for foul play outside the box except where it leads to a goal, otherwise we’d be there all night.”






    I thought VAR could review ANY incident that might be serious foul play / red card whether the ref saw it or not, or took action or not. Sure I’ve seen this in a game but can’t for the life of me recall the incident.




  13. it was heart breaking to lose the injury time winner by Lazio.



    Celtic did NOT deserve to lose that game, however ( as in life), you dont always get what you deserve.



    I thought that YANG should have been replaced at half time, as he was offering very little. Louis Palma surely should have been the Half Time Sub, so I was a little disappointed at half time.


    MATT, CALMAC and LIAM certainly played well MOST of the time.



    I have NOT watched a re-run of Lazios winner….but I wonder if JOE HART should have charged out and cleared the ball BEFORE it reached PEDRO ?


    Maybe I am WRONG about that ?



    I am sure that the Celtic squad will be ITCHING to get at Killie on Saturday !




  14. Taking my green tinted specs off for a minute, most are saying we are not good enough for Cl football. Probably correct. So we want to be at that level of course. But where , tell me where , are the players coming from when our wage structure is what it is. Then there is the general money in Scottish football, none by comparison.


    We are minnows swimming with sharks and sorry to say I cannot see that changing unless we get out of Scotland.



    Tough shit last night




  15. To kill some time I watched a bit of the early game Atl Madrid v Feyenoord, Feyenoord in my opinion should have won the game, they are a strong big physical team who are technically very good and well organised, hope we can at least get something from Atletico here but we seem to conjour up different ways to lose goals which I dont think are coachable situations.

  16. Tom



    Perhaps it was an EPL game.






    “The VAR is constantly monitoring the match.



    VAR is used only for “clear and obvious errors” or “serious missed incidents” in four match-changing situations: goals; penalty decisions; direct red-card incidents; and mistaken identity.”



    Do the SFA / EUFA use VAR differently?


    Other than the obvious differences to favour Sevco and work against us in SFA land ;)




  17. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    CCV made a rare mistake and it was brutally punished. The man is a giant in every sense.



    I’m very sus about this ‘coming too soon’ patter. Suggests we’re building towards something other than a burgeoning bank balance, which constitutes misselling of hope. Last night is as good as it gets under our moneyball model. O’Riley and Hatate won’t compete in another Celtic Champions League group. They will be sold in January (if the huns’ implosion continues) or the summer (if it doesn’t). They will be replaced by younger, cheaper, less experienced players to be developed and sold on after 18-24 months.



    We will continue to lose these matches. We will continue to be missold a ‘too soon’ schtick. We will build our wealth.



    This is the logical conclusion of the model. Let’s at least own it.

  18. Paul said there was a softness about us.


    That’s as much mental as physical.


    Being a rash knob (oo err) and getting red carded for a throat chop or a studs showing red isn’t ‘hard’ – it’s indiscipline and, like mentally switching off, can cost games in tight encounters.



    We beat a better Lazio with a comparable team in 2019; keep the faith and we go again.

  19. Superannuated Fenian on

    Normally I’d be the first to offer a detailed, subjective micro-analysis of the performance. Not this time. I really enjoyed the game and felt we showed we belong in the top tier. I think it is the best we have played all season. It was much better than I feared/expected against a level of opposition we don’t face in the SPL. Individual praise for Liam Scales who seems to be growing before our eyes into an intelligent dependable anchor man.



  20. There are 8 groups in the CL. In 5 of them there is a team with zero points (Man Utd., Celtic, Benfica, Union Berlin and Antwerp) and in the other 3, the bottom team has 1 point (PSV, Red Star & Dortmund). In addition, Copenhagen and Young Boys are not bottom but also only have 1 point. So there are 10 teams with either zero or one point.



    Lots of other CL teams are struggling, some are wealthier than us, some play in much more competitive leagues. There is no magic bullet.

  21. Selling Jota was not the problem, the problem for me was that last night we had a young lad playing in Jota’s place who had previously played two seasons at a mid table K league team and was now expected to do something against Lazio in the CL.




    Thank you for that post on George Ryan my man.



    As a friend of George’s I appreciate that more than you know, and his family will too.



    God Bless the big man. Loved him.

  23. This games coming to soon idea needs punted. It’s October!!! We had a summer transfer window spanning months with tens of millions in the bank and a preseason with no qualifiers to play.



    We won’t get any better circumstances than what we had this season.



    So failing UEFA delaying the start of their tournaments to give us time to get up to speed, hopefully we’ll make better use of our summer next year.

  24. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Fair assessment Paul.



    After taking the hump and then holding onto it well into the early hours … I’m feeling slightly better about the outlook.



    One guy didn’t get mentioned much post match.



    Brendan Rodgers.



    Tactically he did very well last night.



    Game came a month too early for the injured CCV, AJ, Reo and the new Palma.



    All of them did fine, IMHO, but just not ready




    Get them fit, get them cynical



    (practice it in the SPFL against teams who you know are not going to score with a turnover 30 yards out)



    … and go again.

  25. An Dun


    Jota was a player of CL class. You say yourself that his replacement wasn’t good enough. So selling Jota, without finding a player of the same class – and that would have been very difficult – clearly was a mistake. Especially because he could have been sold for good money at the end of this season.

  26. Do you remember when the Champions league came too early in July or August for us?



    Nir Bitton at CH kinda early.



    Seems to have moved to October now.



    We’re just in the silly excuses phase of blogging now. Refs and VARs and coulda, woulda, shouldas. Reo’s one worldie versus Reo’s reel of turnovers. Maeda’s one worldie versus Maeda running the ball over the line. Joe Hart looks like the last guy in 5s who doesn’t want play in goal and half-arses his way through the basics. We’re an incoherent bunch, held together by a good coach working a system, but with glaring deficiencies in quality when it comes to individuals.



    If the club aren’t taking the ECL seriously, why wouldn’t last night, and all the previous hard luck stories, just be the norm for us in this competition?



    Someone once asked, what exactly is the height of ambition?



    For us. It’s merely champions of Scotland in a 2-horse league…




  27. 79 Caps, Jota wanted to leave he was getting unbelievable wages promised there was nothing Celtic could do other than keeping a player that didn’t want to be here.



    The recruitment could have been better

  28. 79CAPS on 5TH OCTOBER 2023 1:01 PM



    Jota was a player of CL class. You say yourself that his replacement wasn’t good enough. So selling Jota, without finding a player of the same class – and that would have been very difficult – clearly was a mistake. Especially because he could have been sold for good money at the end of this season.




    Jota wanted to leave, that type of bid came 12-18 months earlier than Celtic would’ve planned.



    We can’t stand in the way if a player wants to leave.



    MOR will have only signed his new contract with the agreement that if the right bid comes in then he gets to go.



    I don’t know why the players are always ignored when we are discussing/blaming transfers.

  29. Softness ?



    When Reo was punched not one of our players reacted.



    There should have been a stramash of epic proportions, with a Tommy Gemmell-esque grab of the Lazio player’s neck in the process.



    Scott Brown wouldn’t have let it pass.




  30. Bernado looked good last night, hopefully he gets more minutes going forward.



    Hatate is well out of form, so maybe back to the bench for him.

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