Clear improvement from Celtic


Celtic held the ball for around 60 seconds at the 75 minute mark last night, and, thinking a corner had been turned, I thought “That’s been a difficult half hour since halftime but we’ve come through it”.  Dinamo Zagreb soon claimed back control in the middle of the park and the game reverted to form.

Despite incessant pressure, in particular during the three minutes added at the end, I was never convinced Dinamo were going to score.  The defence, for the most part, stuck to task, tackled well and put bodies in the way.  In this respect it was our classic Champions League performance.

Even when the visitors got sight of goal, Craig Gordon was always the most imposing personality on the field.  Our captain looked uncharacteristically meek on the receiving end of a rollicking from Craig.  We like goalkeepers with authority.

Virgil van Dijk held the line very well, despite a couple of uncomfortable moments when called on to play the ball with his ‘standing’ foot, while Jason Denayer and Efe Ambrose coped with the incessant pressure.  Efe played much of the game high up the field, very much in the wing-back role, but was able to track back with speed.

Emilio also stuck to task but he conceded a needless free-kick in exactly the same manner and field-position he lapsed against Salzburg, who equalised from the resultant kick.  Denayer also lunged in needlessly a yard outside his box, collecting a yellow card for his trouble.  Both occasions called for the defender to stay goal-side and not challenge.

Football teams are made by partnerships, as Anthony Stokes suggested after explaining the understanding he has with Kris Commons which allowed them to craft last night’s goal.  Right now we don’t have many partnerships.  Wakaso and Emilio were 10 yards apart for much of the game, but to no great effect.  Tonev and Ambrose were similarly disconnected on the right.

Not much could have been done to improve this for last night.  Neither Tonev nor Ambrose will retain their positions on the right after a pairing from McGregor, Forrest, Matthews and Lustig return.  Wakaso and Emilio need to target becoming a more effective pair on the left.

We knew that without the ineligible Guidetti and the (as yet unproven and) injured Scepovic we would struggle up front, but our creative fulcrum was on hand to both create and finish the decisive opening of the game.

Despite the concerns Ronny expressed after full time, this was our second excellent result in the Europa League this season against two decent teams.  The progress since the summer is evident.

Many thanks to everyone who participated in our Magners competition for premium tickets to the Hamilton Accies game on Sunday.  The competition is now closed and draw will be made shortly and winners will be notified by email, so watch out for it.

I had a great time track-side with my youngest last night before kick-off talking about the great work the Celtic Foundation (which is you and me) do fighting poverty and hardship, and our responsibility in making sure the ethos of the club is maintained and handed on.  On Sunday I’m doing the Great Scottish Run to raise funds for the Foundation, so I’m pretending not to have the sore throat, head and cough.  Need a magic potion….

Thank you to everyone who has helped with the fundraising, you can get involved here.

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  1. Repost for those who’ve not read it.



    Ashley has been a busy boy buying shares. But what exactly is the endgame?









    I find it amusing that Wilson is suggesting that Ashley “wanted” the TM rights. My info is that he’s already got them safe and secure



    Regardless, he’s played a blinder, and if he was willing to offer them a loan and wanted harsh terms like that then I’m even closer to the mark in that piece that I thought.



    He’s got them by the short ones. Big trouble coming down the pipe for them.

  2. gearoid1998 12:07 on 3 October, 2014





    Far you were reared from the front of the Directors box.






    We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking ……at the directors box

  3. http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/oct/03/gabi-did-what-club-asked-real-zaragoza-levante?CMP=twt_gu



    Gabi tells investigation into alleged match fixing ‘I did what the club asked’


    • Prosecutor looking at Levante v Zaragoza in 2011


    • Midfielder admitted receiving €85,000 from club



    The former Real Zaragoza midfielder Gabi told a state prosecutor into alleged match fixing in Spain that he was simply doing what the club asked him to.



    The player reportedly admitted to investigators that he had received a payment of €85,000 (£67,000) from his club. He said that the same day he repaid the money to the president Agapito Iglesias, insisting that he did not know the purpose of the transactions but assumed it was to do with club business. He said: “I did what Agapito asked me.’

  4. Great result last night against a good team, the team will only get better as will the football on the park.


    Ronny is the man HH

  5. leftclicktic



    from previous


    take the point … however the Upper Tier ( that makes them sound Posh) are season ticket holders also.



    If the 48 hr window option was executed this may have a greater impact ie


    Those who take their children would be excluded from attending as they may not get seats beside their kids….( an attractive proposition on occasion)



    Anyway its done now ,



    The Onlooker

  6. Craig Gordon



    What a keeper! What a bargain! He is worth every penny we didn’t pay for him.



    I think he is a better keeper than big Fraz and I just hope he stays free of injury.



    Some boys need time to gel but we do miss James Forrest as an out ball to take the ball for a run.



    Anyway confidence will come with wins.



    Hail! Hail!

  7. My friends in Celtic,



    As has been stated :- Great result by Celtic, but a magnificent performance by Craig Gordon.



    I still believe signing him as our replacement number 1 was a gamble at the time, but it seems to have been a very shrewd and lucrative gamble.



    HH to all and Warsaw calling.

  8. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than to be good.



    I’ll take the luck while we can get it. Mulgrew, Lustig, Forrest, and Guidetti will improve our first 11, no end when they return.



    I welcome their return, and i hope for progression.

  9. Astra coach Isaila throws in the towel


    Date: 3rd October 2014 at 12:46 pm


    Written by: Joe McHugh | Comments (0)


    Europa League


    Astra coach David Isaila has virtually written off his side’s chances of progressing in the Champions League.



    The Romanian side are sitting pointless at the bottom of Group D after losing 2-1 at home to Red Bull Salzburg.



    Next up for Astra is a trip to Celtic Park on October 23 with Isaila admitting that with his side almost out of contention his main concern is not to do a Walter.



    “Our chances of qualifying are small, now we have to pick up some points and gain experience,” the Astra coach said.



    “Salzburg are a strong experienced team and deserved their win. Their equaliser came from our mistake and after that they gained in confidence.”



    Asked if he was concerned about his own future after the defeat Isaila said: “I’m not threatened by that, life goes on. Football doesn’t revolve around Astra, nothing will end.



    Despite their 5-1 defeat away to Dinamo Zagreb Astra started confidently against the Austrians and took the lead in the 15th minute through Takayuki Seto



    Salzburg hadn’t won in their three previous European away matches but levelled through Kevin Kampl in the 36th minute with Jonatan Soriano putting the Austrians ahead before the interval.



    While Celtic host Astra Salzburg will be at home to Dinamo Zagreb with Group D shaping us as a three way scrap for two places in the last 32 of the competition.



    Elsewhere in the Europa League there was heartbreak for Tony Watt’s Standard Liege side as an 85th minute goal from Elvis Manu gave Feyenoord a 2-1 win over the Belgian side.

  10. Tonev; empty jersey. We were playing with 10 last night. And to think we were going to fork out £2m on him last year.

  11. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon ....The angels are with Wee Oscar in Heaven.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    james forrest



    12:33 on 3 October, 2014



    music to my ears…there is something going on, and ‘the end (game) is nigh’ …thank you !!!!

  12. Gordon is the stand out addition to the squad, Scepovic we bought and we will just have to keep our fingers crossed on that one, of the rest they are all loans, if we could I’d have us sign Denayer & Guidetti immediately and get rid of Berget. Jury still out for me on Wakaso & Tonev.





    so eyepox is not going to be a Tesco’s after all.get yir kaki shorts and hiking boots here.



    ladiesfashion3rdfloor CSC.

  14. Celtic Football Club @celticfc · 6m 6 minutes ago


    RD: “They like to play, want to play and they have taken that confidence into the top division.” (MD)



    Celtic Football Club @celticfc · 7m 7 minutes ago


    RD: “Hamilton have done well and have a lot of fight for each other.” (MD)



    Celtic Football Club @celticfc · 7m 7 minutes ago


    RD: “Every day is a learning process. We learned last time that too many changes can cause problems.” (MD)



    Celtic Football Club @celticfc · 8m 8 minutes ago


    RD on @acciesfc :”We need to be on the top with attitude and intensity and then get tempo and open them up to win the game.” (MD)




    Celtic Football Club @celticfc · 9m 9 minutes ago


    RD: “The players are buying in to what we want and I’m delighted with how professional they are.” (MD)




    Celtic Football Club @celticfc · 11m 11 minutes ago


    RD: “I want Stokes to be high up the pitch and some times he drops deep but he didn’t do that last night. He was good.” (MD)




    Celtic Football Club @celticfc · 12m 12 minutes ago


    RD: “We need to develop our passing to control the game and set the strikers up better. It starts with hard work.” (MD)




    Celtic Football Club @celticfc · 12m 12 minutes ago


    RD: “Stokes didn’t have so many chances but he had a great 1-2 with Kris on the goal. He works really hard and that’s important.” (MD)




    Celtic Football Club @celticfc · 14m 14 minutes ago


    The Bhoys boss said: “There wasn’t so much sleep but I’m happy with the result. We fought as a team until the end of the game.” (MD)




    Celtic Football Club @celticfc · 15m 15 minutes ago


    Good afternoon from Lennoxtown where Celtic manager Ronny Deila is speaking to the media ahead of Sunday’s game against Hamilton. (MD)

  15. We are playing better for longer and that represents progress. Also, the indomitable team spirit last night should convince doubters re the players` commitment to Real Deal Deila.


    Normally ,difficult games follow European mid-week games but I am hopeful of a decent vict victory V Hamilton on Sunday.





  16. leftclicktic:



    It makes those jokes about The Planet of the Apes somehow less funny … and yet more tickling at the same time :)

  17. Well done Celts, great result. Performance left a lot to be desired but we stuck to the task and the goal we scored was Champs League standard.



    Agree re Tonev. Absolute passenger and worse than Boeriggter.



    Where is that tracksuit anyway? Locked in a cupboard at Lennoxtown with a melted ice pack?




  18. Corkcelt,



    I though kc was honking last night. Everything broke down when the ball came to him.



    That said, I still luvum for scoring the winner :)

  19. Eyes Wide Open on



    12:54 on 3 October, 2014



    fantastic to read.



    it really makes you appreciate how critical fat sally ha s been in steering them towards where they are now.



    Him ushering the exact same tone, same words, same mantra while oldco died and sevco were created.



    Can you imagine, had Rangers cut ties and gone with a more liberal thinking and less ‘we arra peepil’ minded manager the difference between them then and now!?



    Sure they would have struggled to sell many season books and match tickets – but thats money thats been squandered on a squad they didnt need to climb through the leagues anyway.



    where would they be now is the question..



    theyd still be in the 1st division


    the hoardes would be filtering back


    which would make a sustainable business even more proftable


    the half man half lard should be knighted – or is the worst yet to come..!?

  20. glendalystonsils



    13:16 on 3 October, 2014


    good luck on the run, Paul.






    Is Paul on the run?


    Hope you’ve got one those letter thingies mhate?!?



    HH jamesgang

  21. mullet and co 2 on

    I must confess that I have doubts about Commons. The big stats tell us that he scores goals but there must be other stats that tell us how often he mis controls and recycles possession. This area of his game needs to improve. I realise I am adding to the subterfuge but we should be looking at how we improve the output from the players we have.


    Zagreb are a team with a smaller budget than ours albeit with a better homegrown talent pool. That said, they managed a much higher pass success rate than us. It goes without saying that although we are a bigger team they were technically superior in ball retention. We need to look at scouting players who can retain the ball. If Zagreb can recruit the likes of Soudani, Wilson etc why can’t we with superior resources?


    Its a pitty we didn’t get Soudani as he looks a good balance for Wakaso.


    Lastly, young McGregor didn’t play and although another poster felt Tonev was worse than a man short, I felt he had a better game than other chances last night. Tonev looked more assured and offered more to help the middle two of Brown and Johansen. I’d like to see us try Tonev in the Commons role when James Forrest is back.


    Hopefully Scepovic gets 90 mins soon and scores otherwise ill be banging on about scouting of forwards again.

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