Celtic stretched out of normal passing game


I was widely predicting 3-0 last night so the result didn’t come as a disappointment. Bayern could have punished us (or pretty much any team in Europe) by more, while we could have scored a deserved consolation in the second half.

It is seldom a manager will make three changes which improve the team, but Brendan Rodgers did just that last night. Tom Rogic grabbed the stage like no other Celtic player when he replaced Stuart Armstrong. Celtic’s game plan left Leigh Griffiths isolated against towering defenders. This was never a fair fight, but plays to Moussa Dembele’s strengths. The French youth international looked back to his pre-injury best.

Patrick Roberts is our most accomplished player at unlocking packed defences, but that was never on the agenda in Munich. Instead, he most often took possession acres from goal, forcing him to dart into space before being blocked by the weight of red jerseys.

The game was more suited to James Forrest, who needs space in front of him to be at his best. The winger regularly stressed the Bayern defence and created chances.

Bayern clearly identified Cristian Gamboa as Celtic’s potential weak spot. Cristian was isolated repeatedly but used his pace and agility to put in a performance few of us expected.

When was the last time we lost three cross/header combination goals? Bayern are a tall team. Celtic played with two small(er) full backs, where they would otherwise play the ubiquitous Mikel Lustig at right. A lack of height perhaps contributed to Bayern’s third, an inexcusable free header at a set piece, but we switched off at the loss of the first two goals.

We didn’t execute our normal (simple) passing game during the first half. Lots of things can contribute to players not passing the ball, rushing their passes, or, more crucially, not making themselves available for a pass.

The most obvious contributory factor was the ability of the opposition, but the problem was not as superficial as this. We didn’t pass well during the opening period, even without Bayern pressing particularly high.

Football is a game of 1000 small decisions, where to move on the field being the most common decision. Repeatedly last night I couldn’t see good options for an easy pass for the Celtic player in possession. For Celtic to play their natural game there needs to be a close proximity between players when we are in possession.

Last night we stretched the game. Sinclair, Armstrong and Brown were too far forward, often by as little as 10 yards.

Special mention to Craig Gordon, who having picked the ball out of his net three times, kept the score from reaching the epic proportions that Arsenal recently endured at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern will be confident ahead of the game at Celtic Park in two weeks, but Celtic know they can play better. I’m sure when Brendan Rodgers looks at the Champions League table, he will concede nothing yet.


OUR SECOND CQN PODCAST this week, featuring interviews with ex-Celts Alan Stubbs and Chris Sutton, previewing the big games this week against Bayern Munich and Hibs at Hampden on Saturday.

Stubbs gives an insight into Liam Henderson as a player and talks about where his career should go from here.

Speaking on behalf of BT Sport, Alan Stubbs also spoke about his regret at leaving Hibs, and looks ahead to the League Cup semi-final between two of his former clubs.


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  1. I think the 2nd half performance and the fans will see us a bit more confident at CP, we are in this to play the big boys, tough watching but look at how our players have improved Scotland.

  2. ‘It is seldom a manager will make three changes which improve the team’






    Might suggest the original selection was wrong.

  3. GlassTwoThirdsFull on



    You could argue that the substitutions improved us, or you could say that the initial line-up was wrong.


    Dembele is much better suited to that type of role than Griffiths. Forrest was an obvious choice for his pace and directness, and could also have got back to help Gamboa.


    My main worry is that we keep suffering the same problems in these games and don’t seem to learn.

  4. GLASSTWOTHIRDSFULL……….We’ve learned in Manchester and Anderlecht, chances are we’ll be in Europe post Christmas, that’s massive progress IMHO.



    We have to accept there are ‘Harlem Globetrotter’ teams out there now who have the cash allowing access to players we don’t. I’m content watching our kids achieving the best they possibly can.

  5. JohnBay



    Repost from last thread



    I will take these 2 spares if still available. Already have 3 in same section but Need another 2 to satisfy whole family!

  6. I do admire BR football philosophy ,but starting with two out and out wingers away to Bayern is always going to end in tears.



    For away games against the superpowers id take a backs to the wall 0-0 any day of the week.



    a 4-5-1 was my preferred option last night

  7. Caught me out there P67, no new blog warning i was still


    loitering on the last one.




    Did you catch my reply to you?


    H.H Mick

  8. I quite like Gamboa, and thought he had a very good performance against Dundee (and posted as much on here), but last night, to my eye, Coman had him on toast – for all Gamboa’s effort.



    Still, no point in looking back, can’t wait for tonight to see the huns getting humped in the Europa League. What’s that, Skippy? They didn’t get into the Europa League?

  9. Wee message for auldhied. Thanks for the excellent directions to the John lemon last night. Disappointing result but it was good to be watching it in those surroundings. I’ll be back on Saturday.

  10. As soon as Brendan said before the match that Celtic would not change their playing style, I feared the worst. Brendan is an idealist, but he needs to be a realist when we play top teams, and in PSG and Bayern I think we have been drawn against two of the top 5 in Europe. That means playing an extra man in midfield and sacrificing one of the wide players, especially when Roberts and Sinclair are not good at doing the necessary defensive work.


    Brendan didn’t learn after the Barca game last season or after the PSG game this season. And I don’t think he’ll change things for the return against Bayern.

  11. Looking forward to Saturday and our current domestic form – I think that the team goes out with the weight of the unbeaten run in their mind I.e we don’t want to be in the side that’s beaten. Could it be a bit of a millstone.




  12. GlassTwoThirdsFull on



    We do look more like we belong there now and I think we could have a wee run in the Europa.


    But I see us making the same mistakes over and over. Ball watching, inability to spot runs off the ball and poor concentration at times (even early in games).


    Don’t know if it’s coaching, not having a real leader at the back or whatever, but it needs to get sorted.


    When you are playing teams of that quality you can’t make it even easier for them.

  13. VFR/Corkcelt.



    Thank you for, in my opinion, two sensible posts you have saved my sanity.



    I was ready for my first flounce :-)).



    A very hard read back, some at the wind up ??? some living in the past (glories) and some bordering on delusional.



    Yes, there is always room for improvement, no one is saying there isn’t but!! we were 33/1 to win last night, that’s the reality of where we are, we can only do so much, little by little. We have improved since Brendan came and all I ask is we strive to continue to do so.



    Hail Hail

  14. Go tell the Spartim on

    Our two biggest problems last night were, too few decent defenders and an inability to do the simple pass



    BR’s philosophy is one that isnt going to change anytime soon, so im sure he’d rather not take the spankings but think he sees a longer term picture than us fickle supporters.



    To have any chances in these games, we need everyone fit and playing well, weve had neither all season so far

  15. GLASSTWOTHIRDSFULL , I think our players are a bit star struck on certain stages and faced with certain names/games.



    It’s a learning curve where we WILL have some backward steps, I think Brendan puts a bit TOO much confidence in some players ability to cope. I think we could do some damage in the Europa with a fair wind.

  16. A lot of posters not happy with Brendan’s team selection or tactics, not just last night but in previous CL matches.



    If we had set up defensively against Anderlecht we might have got pumped.



    Mibbe Brendan should go somewhere he is appreciated.



    Hear Jimmy Calderwood and Alex Mcleish would jump at the chance to manage Celtic.



    We played one of the best club sides in the world last night and on there home turf.



    No amount of tactics or team selections from what we had available would have made much difference.



    Get over it!



    Bring on the Hibs and the sheep!



    C’MON THE CELTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




    Indeed it was.



    Great displays form Johnson, Henderson and Calvin Miller was no bad.

  18. Last night we faced a team with world class players in every area of the pitch. They were too good. Regardless of which approach we took we would have lost. Our chances of even drawing with a resurgent and in form Bayern were no better than 100/1.



    So, we either revert to a backs against the wall job and still lose, learning nothing in the process. Or, Brendan sticks to his philosophy, the same philosophy he’s stuck to throughout his entire coaching career. The players learned a lot and it will benefit them going forward. It’s part of their development. When we qualify for the Europa League the experience will serve us well. Like it did against Astana and against Anderlecht. Brendan is a brave, principled coach, and we have reaped the rewards of that, big time.



    Suggestions that we got our tactics wrong. That we picked the wrong team. That we need to be more pragmatic. That some players are not good enough and unreliable. That we should have signed this and that. It’s lazy, typical nonsense. We were getting a doing last night regardless, a blind man could have seen it coming. You get all these pundits and unemployed ex players and coaches spouting off. Brendan has forgotten more about football than any of them will ever know.



    Now bring on the Hibs.

  19. Peter Hain has written to the Chancellor demanding an investigation into money laundering from South Africa via Hong Kong. 2 major banks and an international accountancy firm have sacked staff believed to be involved. I wonder if the South African based chairman of a quintessentially British football club (courtesy of Phil Mac) is awaiting a knock on his door.


    This story will be investigated by real journalists, not our Ibrox facing MSM.




    100% agree!



    How anyone thinks we can compete at the top table in world club football is nuts!

  21. GorbalsTam



    Glad you found the JL ok. The atmosphere in spite of the score was good.



    Laughed when at 3 -0 someone shouted to turn off the TV and put on the songs.



    Say hello on Saturday.

  22. NUTS!!!!!










  23. The Battered Bunnet on

    I think we need a reality check on our prospects in the Europa League. Has anyone taken a gander at the likely opposition?



    Saying that, wouldn’t mind a wee trip to San Sebastian or Bilbao in March…

  24. The TimReaper.



    The game went as I expected beaten by better players.


    No one expects a Ford Focus to beat a Porsche because of the cost of building each, but if the Ford Focus is wearing Celtic colours it’s supposed to outperform the Porsche.



    The goals whilst possibly preventable in each individual instance were simply the consequence of the opposition being good enough to control the entire game. Just as Celtic do in Scotland against Scottish teams.

  25. Phil


    Was 4-2 going late in the game then lost another two goals, the defending was very iffy for me.

  26. South Of Tunis on




    Youngest ever first team player at PSG .



    Signed for Rube — just like Platini / Trezeguet / Platini



    Didn’t play much .



    Went to Bayern on a 2 year loan .



    Juve sold him to Bayern for 21 million euros.



    Player !!!




    Yes, we were 3 – 0 down then scored twice.



    Pushing for the equaliser and lost a 4th.



    That was our balloon burst!



    Some good and eye catching performances from our lhads though.



    The experience will hopefully stand them in good stead.

  28. MELBOURNE MICK on 19TH OCTOBER 2017 12:19 PM





    Yes Mick…I also saw your post on this thread as I was in the process of responding to your question about drinking in the Gallowgate.



    From the early 1990’s and the next 10 years or so, I drank in bairds Bar. I would sometimes go a wee tour of some of the other surrounding pubs for an hour or two.


    As for the 8am drinking sessions, it was always Bairds for me whenever I did venture out so early on a Saturday morning. If I had been in Bairds on the Friday night and ventured on to someones house for a wee party etc, or got lumbered some Burd ( I loved the Gallowgate Gals !), sometimes I would be in Bairds just after 8am, cos I hadn’t slept all night etc.



    There was one such saturday morning, when after being at a party all night I walked into Bairds at 8am. Around 11.30am, I staggered out, bumping into many a Barras shopper and finally got myself home to Dennistoun for a breakfast and to iron my Celtic shirt for that days game against Hibs at Celtic Park….and the 3pm kick off.


    After a small breakfast ( I lived alone alone), I must have dozed off on the couch watching some TV.


    Sometime later I awoke.


    On awakening, I looked at the clock……it was 3.30pm….I had missed the kick off !


    i suddenly remembered my Celtic shirt on the ironing board and rushed into the kitchen.


    Lucky enough, although the iron had been left on, it was in it’s upright position…and not any where near my Celtic shirt which was laid flat out on the board in preparation for my intention to iron it some 3 hours earlier…Phew !


    I dashed to the shower, with the intention of still getting ready and trying to catch most of the 2nd half by running down to Celtic Park, which would have taken me around 15 minutes or more ?


    After emerging from the shower, and sobering up, I looked again at the clock…it was around 3.45pm ( half time), and I thought, ” there’s no point in going now as I will only catch the last 30 minutes of Celts v Hibs ?


    I decided to chill out and put on the radio, and have some dinner and get myself suited and booted for that nights drinking in Bairds by way of a fast cab maybe after 5.30pm.



    The game itself ended 5-2 to Celtic, and Jim Leighton in goal for Hibs had been injured during the match, and a certain Darren Jackson went into the Hibs goal for the remainder of the match.


    Anyways, after I got myself suited and booted etc and phoned a cab for Bairds bar, I obviously knew that Bairds and the other bars would be mobbed…including some of my mates being in there, so I took a decision.


    I realised that I was totally embarrassed to have missed a bloody 3pm kick off,thru drunkeness….so I decided that on entering Bairds Bar that Saturday evening, if anyone asked me for my thoughts on the Celtic v Hibs match……………I would pretend that I was there !


    This deliberate decision to lie to anyone was indeed undertaken to my eternal shame !



    Hope you are well my friend.



  29. The game was lost before a ball was kicked.Tactics and mindset were a big part of the problem.



    Those blaming the defense should realize it’s a team game and those in front of the defense left them outmanned and exposed .


    As for being stretched out of our normal passing game?


    What about this season where our passing game has faltered and not been any way close to last season?


    Our mentality and approach to Europe is naive.


    To many personnel changes have upset our rhythm though some have been forced through injury.


    Spurs who were a shambles in Europe the last two seasons produced a tactical masterclass in Madrid on tuesday and with a little luck could have won.


    Their coach changed the system and nullified the best team in the world.


    Lesson’s that could be learned from last night are approach the game with a more positive mindset and set up the midfield to win the battle in the most important area of the pitch.


    If we are going to insist on passing out from the back then do it with purpose and have those in front of the defense show movement and intent to receive the ball.Only Brown shoulders that responsibility.

  30. God Bless the ” Old Leather Belts”….I’m sometimes sad to know that I wasn’t good enough to pull those Hoops o’er ma heid !


    But supporting The Celts is the next best thing imo.





    Hope everyone got home safe and sound from Munich.

  31. From previous :-)


    Cowiebhoy on 19TH OCTOBER 2017 1:24 PM


    Gooood Afternoon CQN


    We need to accept we are playing better teams than we will ever meet in Scotland, and will be shown up for that in some European games.


    We need a fully fit squad to be able to put in a decent showing for pot 1 and 2 teams


    It is a concern though on the high number of players we appear to lose to injury on a regular basis, and need to get to bottom of this ?



    Another thing, Gamboa, did no worse at right back, than Keiran did at left back, both given a torrid time, I thought at times Roberts gave Gamboa more support than Sinclair did to Tierney ?