Celtic still looking for midfield magic


A comfortable win in the end masked a difficult hour for Celtic at Inverness on Saturday.  It was not until Ki Sung-Yeung replaced Georgios Samaras that Celtic were able to prize open the home team.  Ki has the range of passing and shot that makes him a formidable attacking threat but he has still to require the consistency of concentration that would make him a certain starter.

After Paddy McCourt appeared on 69 minutes Celtic were well on top.  The Irishman brings the double gifts of time and space to the team.  He has the ability to take and retain possession despite the close attention of several defenders, allowing others to take up advance positions or relieve pressure on defence.

We’ve tried more midfield formations this season that I can keep track of and despite Ki and McCourt improving Celtic considerably on Saturday I’m not going to insist either is given a starting berth.  Both still have more to give, as do the rest of the midfield.

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  1. I think I have this BOB KYP thing down to a T!



    Here goes.



    I blame Anthony Stokes for the attack on his home. If he didn’t stay there he couldn’t intimidate the pleasant residents of Broxburn to act with full justification. It’s an absolutely rediculous level of duress for a public figure such as Anthony Stokes to place on the local community.



    MWD Master BOB KYP

  2. Steinreignedsupreme on

    StMichaelsBhoy2: 21 November, 2011 at 11:18



    bournesouprecipe: 21 November, 2011 at 11:42



    Have to disagree with that. Tactics did not beat us in the League Cup final. And although they deserved their win at Ibrox earlier this season, Neil Lennon’s first defeat at Poundland, once again basic mistakes cost us.



    Admittedly, we were poor in both games – but if Celtic play football against Rangers we will win far more often than not. The only piece of football in that game at Ibrox led to Hooper’s goal.



    Celtic have nothing to fear against Rangers. Cut off the supply of punts by defending from the front and we will easily beat them.

  3. Ki will become world class, not with us though. Not enough space in the Scottish game to show his passing movement.



    See Charlie (sisters pants) Adam.

  4. The Pantaloon Duck on

    Paul, now that I’ve read the article…



    I can only agree. I’m concerned that our main strategy seems to have become “hoof it up to Sammi so that he can knock it down to Hooper or Stokes”. That isn’t how we won the match on Saturday, isn’t how we played during our best spell last season and isn’t how we’re going to get the job done this season. It may work sometimes, but I’m hoping that NL and the team don’t get stuck in that particular groove.

  5. Awe_Naw



    Should have read not in the same Bosman market as St Johnstone.



    Joe Ledley signs on Bosman for St Johnstone?



    Adam Matthews signs on Bosman for St Johnstone?



    We pay vastly superior wages to any club in Scotland although it may not be enough to get us out of our current predicament, because it only works sometimes, and at Centre Back the Bosman market has failed us.

  6. Steinreignedsupreme on

    Paul67 –



    Horses for courses. The first battle was not allowing ourselves to be bullied on Saturday and not making things more difficult for ourselves by falling behind.



    After that we just needed a wee bit of class to open them up as they tired. It is very rarely anything other than scrappy up there, but in the three or four outbreaks of football we managed to score twice.



    Job’s a good un.

  7. Paul67



    Kayal and Wanyama in the middle look the part, that was changed due to injuries at the back.



    The real question is who we play on left hand side, Commons, Ledley, McCourt… take your pick.




  8. Paul67



    James Forrest is given every chance by Lennon to make up for mistakes in previous games, but if Paddy fails to beat a player he’s a nae-user.



    Stop putting pace at such a premium and give a start to the man who was born to play for Celtic.

  9. Playing Sami wide in a 4-2-3-1 seemed to work reasonably well, but I wouldn’t play him there in a 4-4-2.



    Ki’s passing meant that the front players were getting fast ball coming to them and that made a big difference.



    Kayal and Ledley have to be starters for me and James Forrest has pretty much put himself into the same boat with his displays this season. We have plenty of other midfield options, which is a good problem for the manager to have.

  10. tommytwiststommyturns on

    Paul – had the discussion on Saturday with Madmitch and The Idiot about Ki.


    I agree he can play a pass, but he’s always looking for more time on the ball and ten-man ICT sitting back gave him the opportunity to be effective.


    The player and Lenny deserve praise for turning a draw into victory, but Hooper was the key for me in the first goal.



    MWD – it’s a bit like living in Saudi. You’re sitting in a parked car and a local guy drives into the back of you….it’s your fault. You shouldn’t even be in his country, you infidel dog!


    (substitute “parked car” for “living room”, “infidel” for “fenian”, etc, and you get the drift!)




  11. Steinreignedsupreme



    Au Contraire



    You will always need two exceptional Centre Backs for that game, trying to play football saw us on the wrong end of four goals, with two lightweight bombing forward full backs, and softness in midfield.



    It works at Celtic Park if we score early enough, but that’s your whack.

  12. Paul67



    I was wondering what your thoughts were regarding the orchestrated attack yesterday and today by the media on the Green Brigade.



    I liked this wee bit from the Herald;


    ‘Neither Northern Constabulary, Caley Thistle’s stewards nor the SPL’s match delegate reported anything of concern. In fact, they privately praised the Celtic support.’



    So publicly we are berated, but in private they acknowledge when we wonderfully support our team… HH

  13. Paul67 et al



    What we must avoid doing, is starting games with two wide men, as on Saturday, and still expecting the fullbacks to act as wingbacks. It will sometimes work of course, but it is a flawed strategy against most teams. If, for example Mathews is playing right, then Commons should play left, if Ledley is left then Forrest right etc etc. We have plenty options, but Wanyama should be the mainstay of the midfield, build around him.

  14. Paul67 – I agree. Ki is 22 now. He is still displaying a teenagers consistency level.



    The flipside of that coin is when he does start displaying consistency, and he will, we will not be able to hold onto him.



    He will be a class act. I think Italy or Germany would suit the lad very well.

  15. tommytwiststommyturns on

    Curly – you speaking from experience?! Hope you weren’t making “illicit” alcohol in an Islamic state….?




  16. philvisreturns



    This the Rob Shorthouse who has been on the end of shocking treatment from Celtic Fans according the Sun this morning?






    Celtic footballer Anthony Stokes’ home has been targeted by vandals.



    Stokes was away from the house in Broxburn when a window was broken at 2.30am on Saturday. His partner was believed to be home at the property at the time.



    The Celtic striker scored twice in his team’s game against Inverness later in the day.



    Officers are appealing for witnesses to the vandalism.



    A spokesman said: “Lothian and Borders Police are investigating after the window of a property in Broxburn, West Lothian, was damaged.



    “No one was injured during the incident, which happened around 2.30am on Saturday. However, anyone with information that can assist officers with their enquiries is asked to come forward.”



    Vandals? I would say the term ‘Sectarian Mob’ would not have been out of place. One Nation and all that… HH

  17. philvisreturns says:


    21 November, 2011 at 12:34


    ‘Strathclyde Police deploy state of the art Fenian-catching technology’




    It seems that special branch are also detaining people at airports and questioning them about the GB.

  18. Sorry,previous post.



    Ah.This is marvelous,just marvelous… :)



    Don’t you see it?



    This is winning,as yer man Charlie Sheen would say.



    Once again they are degenerating,reverting back to type.Another sweet European victory,and in steps the Masonic – fuming,absolutely livid! Then we chip two points off their lead – and what do they do? They put Stokesy’s windy in,that’s what!!!



    How funny was the CSA? Telling the chief Masonic,second name for first name – “who do ye hink ye are?” – “away you and take yer face for a shite ya wee rocket ye..!”



    Some would liken their behaviour to that of a fish on a hook – I would describe it as being more like that of a cornered rat – still dangerous,still fighting and biting – but still trapped,knowing that the fatal blow is about to be struck.






    As they say in Glesca,Splendid… :)

  19. ASonOfDan – This the Rob Shorthouse who has been on the end of shocking treatment from Celtic Fans according the Sun this morning?



    Heh heh heh.



    Poor Rob.



    He had to run away from Twitter and everything. (thumbsup)

  20. Watching the game on TV on Saturday allied with a attending Paradise I have noticed a new phenominum creep into the Celtic support with regards substitutions. It is a phenominum I think is way below acceptable standards our support should be willing stoop.



    The growing habitual booing of substitutions.



    Booing at full time urinates me off but I can understand it to a degree but boing a substitution is just the pits IMO. How can booing a substition whether it is agreeable with your view cannot be good for the player coming on no matter how well you feel the player coming off has played or whether you believe another player should come off/on.



    I’m not sure whether the Sammaras/Ki substitution was booed because the support, or sections of, believed Sammy was playing well or whether Ki was not a good replacement or if the support wanted Paddy on. No matter IMO it is unacceptable.



    The couple of times I have heard substitutions being booed was due to Sammy coming on.




  21. Paul,


    Consistency is the issue. Ki played well when he came on but one can have little confidence in his performance should he be a first pick next game. The same applies to Kayal, Mc Court, Commons and to a certain extent Ledley. All these midfielders have had good games only to be followed by – well – inconsustent performances



    We have had all to few cocnsistently good performers this season – which makes team selection a real problem for Neil Lennon. You can argue that his tinkering – if that is waht it is – does not enable consistently good performances. Injuries haven’t helped either.

  22. Steinreignedsupreme on

    bournesouprecipe: 21 November, 2011 at 12:29



    I felt the same system served us well at Poundland in the three games there last season – even with 10 men.



    The midfield were cutting off space, the forwards were pressing the ball and all they had were long punts which caused us no problems. The biggest advantage for us was the fact we played well in those games right enough, so our retention of the ball was excellent which tired them out too boot.



    Izaguirre, Brown and Commons were all buzzing about as well and they couldn’t deal with it.

  23. From October 2010 ” striker Anthony Stokes has promised not to bow to intimidation even though his house was attacked in the aftermath of Sunday’s Old Firm game.”



    Broxburn is Larkhall of the East



    The Onlooker

  24. MWD






    That is the reaction when you follow on from a post by philvisretruns… :)

  25. celtic *o* lennon on

    Moonbeams WD. \o/ Supporting Neil Lennon 100%. C’mon the hoops. says:


    21 November, 2011 at 12:40



    Agreed, no Celtic player should EVER be booed in that situation/manner.

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