Clues of Celtic plans are not hard to find


Celtic passed the ball well throughout last night’s game.  The players were confident enough to take a touch under pressure, which was key to the performance and a step beyond the more rudimentary show in the Camp Nou last season.  In this respect, it was a better performance than the win in Moscow, and was an improvement on even the home game against Milan in 2004.

Countless screeds were written about Efe Ambrose after his mistake against Juventus, which seemed to affect the rest of his season, but the Nigerian international looked every inch a Champions League player.  His composure and driving runs were crucial in determining Celtic’s effectiveness.

All played well but if we are going to push for highlights the right flank was exceptional.  How proud of Adam Matthews were you after his full-speed dribble through the Milan half?  At Euro 2012 I remember some respected observers wrote that Mikael Lustig was the weakest link in the Sweden team.  If the Spanish international manager watched last night’s performance he would surely lobby for the introduction of national team transfers.

These two were scouted and brought to the club for a combined total of around £1m.  Since arriving they have both grown into players who can excel at the San Siro.  The clues of what is happening at Celtic are not hard to find.

Charlie Mulgrew has to endure the mantle of ‘utility player’ and in the absence of Joe Ledley and Beram Kayal partnered Scott Brown in central midfield, his fourth best position.  Not that there was any sign of this. Brown and Mulgrew’s intelligent movement made possible all that passing and control.

Despite the great performance Milan came away with the points and a great chance to progress.  They gave Stokes, Samaras and Commons little opportunity all night.  The chances which Samaras, Stokes and Brown had were ultimately all defended well.  Stokes free kick which rebounded off the crossbar would have changed the result but it was far from an easy chance.

Going forward we would do well to remember the importance of winning free kicks around the edge of the box.  Teemu Pukki looked to have lost possession but used his strength well to win the infringement which resulted in Stokes free kick.  Mario Balotelli needed little encouragement to tumble all night and he did so effectively five minutes from time.

Make sure we win free kicks 24 yards out and don’t concede them.

An away defeat against the second seed in the first game is probably a better result than the 0-0 home draw we achieved against Benfica last season, but Milan have an important 3 points in the bag in what looks like an interesting fight for second place.

Celtic are the team who can most improve their chances of qualification on match day 2.  Another win against Barcelona at Celtic Park would give us an excellent chance of progressing but the journey up from pot 4 is incredibly difficult.

Is it a worry that we conceded late goals after the players were showing signs of lethargy?  Lethargy is a well-documented part of the game, one which is often crucial in determining success in Champions League football and which we can learn to exploit.

1254125 at The Great Scottish Run.

On Sunday 6 October there is a 10k and Half Marathon.  If that is beyond you. There are family events taking place the day before. This is your club, remind the world of what really counts and get involved in 1254125.

The first thing you need to do is sign up for the Great Scottish Run, or here for one of the family events.

Once you’ve done that, you can register for the 1254125 campaign here.

Then you can create a donations page here.  Click Start Fundraising, search for Celtic Charity, setup your My Donate account).

Email me and let me know if you are having trouble signing up or need any more help, celticquicknews@gmail.com.

To read the new issue of CQN Magazine click here (don’t try to read the graphic below).
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  1. pabloh_AKA_NEIL LENNON on

    Couple of thoughts on the game.



    It was great going to the San Siro and not kinda dreading the game. We more than competed in all areas. It’s our sorest loss since the Nou camp last season.



    – loving the lustig/Matthews partnership on the right.



    – Scott brown improving at an incredible rate now.



    – we were very unlucky not to score. Brown chance, stokes chance, stokes off the bar, samaras great effort from range.



    And even still – at half time I was so frustrated at how wasteful we were in great areas. For example how many wasted corners & crossing opportunities? And why didn’t commons hit the free kick in the box?? He’s the best striker of a ball we have.



    A very sore loss but very hopeful for the future.

  2. THMlbf, I must admit I didn’t know there was a difference between palming a ball in making a save and just parrying it. I’m pretty certain I’ve seen balls going wide and the keeper would just stretch out his hand and parry it down and then subsequently pick it up and kick or throw it out to a team mate.

  3. Beat Ajax on aggregate over the double header and we should be safe for 3rd place. beat Barca in 12 days time and we’re back on for winning the thing!

  4. For me, finishing third would be the ideal achievement.



    Champions League experience, exposure and money banked.



    And a real shot at glory in a European competition thereafter

  5. ArranmoreBhoyLXV11 on




    lovin the hoops today.. Brilliant team.. Football Is exquisitely painful at times.. Last night we felt it in our souls…





  6. traditionalist88 on

    Ball retention has improved but we still give it away cheaply at times.



    Take this improvement into the Barca game however and it will give us a decent chance of 3pts.



    Also more likely to score from a set piece vs Barca than against Milan.



    We’ve got a chance…




  7. west csc



    12:48 on 19 September, 2013



    We got beat after playing well and having most of the play, proberly one of our better away performances with a bit more luck could have got a point or even the win. That what T F happened HH

  8. The Honest Mistake loves being first on



    Remember that a very small percentage of Scottish cat 1 refs passed the laws of the game test.


    Having played as a goalkeeper as a youth, this rule was well enforced by the refs at that level.

  9. Philbhoy - Bring it on!!!! on




    Not having a go at you but a lot of posters think we can do well against Ajax.



    Anybody seen them play?



    Are they not very good?



    Star men?



    I personally know very little of them, so questions are genuine.

  10. Jobo Balde is correct, there is a group within the group. Beat Ajax back to back and take 3 point off Milan and we will be in with a shout.



    All do-able

  11. The odds of beating Barcelona back to back are probably very slim and they will want to beat us convincingly to show the last game was a fluke.



    This team can produce special moments.



    We need another one in that game.



    Ajax will be no mugs but our target must be to get more points from them than they do us to get third place.



    Milan may have played badly but they have know-how.



    A lot of work to be done.

  12. CultsBhoy loves being 1st forever & ever on

    As much as I was disappointed by last night’s result I enjoyed the game. I will continue to enjoy the reamaining CL fixtures -whatever the outcome of these games. We are playing in the CHAMPIONS LEAGUE! Enjoy the experience, knowing that we are getting bettter and better and more and more experienced at this level. We’ve come a long way in the last 5 years. Enjoy!

  13. Hamiltontim is praying for Oscar on

    I’m concerned that we’ll struggle to achieve anything from this group.



    Last night I thought Milan were there for the taking and yet we still came away with nothing.

  14. I'm Neil Lennon (tamrabam) on

    i already posted that we were oh so close to a good result last night against a good team


    but im not so sure that i share the optimism that we can take points from the likes of barca


    (i know……but)



    i hope to be spectacularly wrong again

  15. No Bobby Does It Petta on

    Would be interested to hear the views of a goalkeeping coach on FF’s save of the free kick which led to their 2nd goal.



    Could/should he have punched or palmed it in the other direction, rather than claw it back into play, and into the danger area.



    The latter seemed the impossible oprion, but he managed it.

  16. In the cold light of day –



    It was still a very good performance from Celtic, so what follows are nit-picking criticisms. However, I was surprised at the areas where we excelled/disappointed.



    Tin hat wedged on, but Lustig for me was poor (the only genuinely poor performance) – gave the ball way too frequently, although defended well. I had high hopes for his partnership with Matthews – on the night, yes Matthews outpaced the left back, but too often the quality of pass was lacking.



    It was the less established partnerships that worked better – Ambrose and Van Dijk were once again excellent on only their third outing together, while Brown and Mulgrew looked every bit as good as they had in the international matches.



    Commons and Stokes – again, I’ve seen a lot worse, but I expected better from them.



    On the left side, Sammi and Izzy (particularly in the 1st half) had their moments, peppered with a lot of errors. Izzy’s deflection for the goal looked to be a sign of mental tiredness that had crept in by the end, as did the slow reaction of the defending for the 2nd goal.

  17. Auldheid.




    I don’t think we were mugged, more unfortunate with the deflection.



    Anyways, I thought until then, we atleast held our own and if Neil is allowed to nurture the team without having to sell, we can only become more experienced in dealing with the tricks of the trade.HH

  18. The Honest Mistake loves being first on

    No bobby does it Petta.


    He had no right to save the freekick. He done well to keep it out, asking too much to control where the rebound ended up.

  19. no bobby does it petta



    12:58 on 19 September, 2013



    To be honest mate I thought he done well just keeping it out unlucky that they got to the rebound first and scored HH

  20. Afternoon Timland, hun free and warm in the mountain valley.



    Still gutted, but still happy I am a Tim.



    Many good posts about the game, but for me Izzy should have known his position in relation to the shot he deflected in, he could have left it, or attacked it, he committed the cardinal sin by sticking out his foot, but them’s the breaks.



    Ajax will not be easy.




  21. No Bobby Does It Petta


    12:58 on


    19 September, 2013



    I think he dived to push it to the side, but he either misjudged it, or it took a wicked swerve meaning that he had to adjust his hands dramatically to connect with it at all.



    When he lands he looks in pain, and I think he had to twist awkwardly to get to it. Great save I think.

  22. I think (as proved by one post match interview given by de Jong), Milan considered themselves lucky winners last night.



    Speaks volumes about their opposition.

  23. Philbhoy –



    perhaps my earlier post was poorly written. I wasn’t actually suggesting that I think we will win against Ajax as, like you, I confess to knowing very little about them.



    The point I was making was possibly in anticipation of us failing to have any points on the board in 2 weeks time when e might need to remind ourselves hat we are, after all, the 4th seeds in our group. Games 3 and 4 against Ajax will, in my opinion, determine whether we progress in Europe after Christmas.



    You can throw this one back at me when we batter Barca 3-0 at home on 1 October!




  24. corkcelt



    12:47 on 19 September, 2013





    The law states touches the ball again with his hands after he has released it from his possession and before it has touched another player



    Me personally I thought the decision harsh



    What if for example from a corner a keeper parries a ball which immediately goes skywards and he gathers it before it hits the ground

  25. Hi Paul67,



    Excellent summary and context of yesterday’s performance.



    Mentioning the Benfica is an interesting point, thought our wrestling point at home from a superior team said so much more about where I thought we were, than beating the best team in the world.



    There is something of a quality street air about some of our youngsters, Matthews certainly.



    Hail Hail

  26. Tonyd



    “So Lubo teaching Sean Mallony how to take free kicks didn’t pan out then , aye ok.”



    Not one of the original points was it? You seem to have ignored all of the rest to come up with this new one.



    Lubo helped Shaun with his free kicks as did several other players and coaches during his time developing. The improvement is largely down to Shaun though.



    Lubo, who was a great player and one of my favourites in that role, has coached at two Slovak mid-table top division clubs and has not reached held major managerial positions for any length of time.



    If, with daily coaching responsibilities, he was producing a regular series of players with Maloney level ability, he would have progressed up the coaching ladder.



    For some reason, neither he nor Henrik have flourished in coaching. As players they were great but they have not earned the right to come back as coaches to Celtic.



    And, yes I know that Neil and Johann were relatively untried too but we should not be taking a regular punt on untried or failed coaches. We would be served better by employing guys with a proven coaching record, regardless of how good they were as players.



    Derek Riordan was the best two footed striker of a ball we have had since Lubo. I wouldn’t let him coach Sevco reserves until he grows up a bit.

  27. anyone seen a replay of the scott brown v balotelli incident which led to second goal? Mark McGhee sayin that ballotelli threw the elbow then went down, cheating, and ref bought it. if thats true then its ocmpletely classless and shamefull



    Lots of positives, looking forward to return game!

  28. the honest mistake loves being first



    13:01 on 19 September, 2013


    Noo would the referee have awarded a free kick if he had parried it onto the post and then gathered it at the 2nd opportunity



    Who knows

  29. The Honest Mistake loves being first on



    The ball is still in his possession:



    A goalkeeper is considered to be in control of the ball:


    • while the ball is between his hands or between his hand and any surface


    (e.g. ground, own body)


    • while holding the ball in his outstretched open hand


    • while in the act of bouncing it on the ground or tossing it into the air

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