Concentration at cross balls again but knock out round on merit


We sacrificed Scott Sinclair at half-time to pack central mid, but this left Kieran Tierney covering two men at the opening goal, meaning Salzburg had time to deliver a cross.  A consequence of this is that Celtic had an extra man in the middle, to help the already surplus defender count.  No Salzburg player should have gotten near the cross ball.

Olivier Ntcham was lost in no man’s land, not helping Kieran Tierney and nowhere near a Salzburg player.  Think back to the Gold Standard of Celtic packing a defence, Barcelona 2012.  Just as we did in the second half last night, we sacrificed space on the wings, allowing the opposition possession there, but  everyone in the box knew their job and stuck to it – and that was a defence with Kelvin Wilson, Efe Ambrose and Adam Matthews playing out of position on the left.

Losing the first goal due to a lack of concentration when a cross came into the box with a surplus of defenders in position, was the same trait that saw us leave the Champions League in August.  I’m more inclined to forgive Craig Gordon’s lapse at the second goal – a freak mistake that will not be repeated – than shrug off the fact that we switch off at crosses at a rate not known under Efe Ambrose and Kelvin Wilson, two defenders who would not get near this team!

Salzburg were superb; the significantly better team.  In these circumstances, we have to make life difficult for them.  Try to ensure that if they get a goal, they have to do something exceptional to earn it.  Had we been at our best and done this, we would have left with the point we would have needed, if unanticipated events did not take place elsewhere.

If I’m getting everything off my chest at once: missing three consecutive penalties!  Really?  Practice, practice, practice.

The uptick in our threat level increased when Filip Benkovic was moved forward into a striker’s position.  We struggled to get the ball forward before this, it was just not sticking to Odsonne Edouard.  Odsonne is playing the role Dembele fulfilled before his flounce, but he is a different player to Moussa.  I don’t think he will flourish in a solitary role with his back to goal.

So much of our transformation in recent weeks has been down to the impact of Ryan Christie.  If he is out for an extended period, which looks likely, this will have a negative impact.  The return of Kristoffer (Alfredo) Ajer was welcome, although our resident Norwegian must have hoped for an easier game to feel his way back into.

The outstanding player in a Celtic shirt was James Forrest, he was the only player who could live with Salzburg’s speed of thought, never mind speed of foot.  We think of Kieran Tierney as our MVP, but James is the one opposition scouts will leave talking about.

And what of Rosenborg?  At Celtic Park they did what we should have done last night: stick to task, don’t make mistakes and hope for a break, which almost got them a point.  I was surprised they came back from a goal down in Leipzig, but, without seeing the game, I am sure they deployed the same game plan there as in Glasgow.

Nine points is a fabulous return from that group.  Eliminating Leipzig, a team who reached the quarterfinals of this tournament last season, knocking out Zenit and Napoli, before losing to eventual finalists, Marseille, is an exceptional achievement.

We got the break when we needed it, but we earned the right to be waiting on the break for performances across the six games.  Napoleon (translated) said, “I’d rather have lucky generals than good ones.”  He should have added, “But don’t talk about luck if you win having battled on all fronts for weeks.”  We are into the knock out rounds on merit.

Bring on the Hibernians.


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  1. Bada


    Thanks for that. Whisky ordered.


    Only 500 bottles? Surely that will go quickly at this time of the year.



  2. I read the thread and can see the question :



    Celtic good versus Leipzig.


    Not good vs Salzburg ? Why ?



    Ultimately no one can have the specific / definite answer for this.


    I couldn’t get along to the game last night, so had to make do watching it on T.V



    As an aside, now that Kenny Miller is away from Sevco, I for one can genuinely appreciate him as a football guy. And last night he was pretty on the money. The Leipzig / Salzburg comparison… put simply, Kenny was on the money, in that against Leipzig we had 9 /10 guys really playing at top of their game. Playing to their top individual and collective form. However against a very good Salzburg, we aren’t good enough to carry guys who weren’t at the races.



    Fundamentally we had too many passengers last night. It’s nigh on impossible, at any level of football when you are a couple, if not 3 or 4 men down. Against a good side.



    With that in mind. Christie and McGregor found the going tough, because ultimately they were a man short in the middle, as Rogic was worse than a man short. Likewise, Sinclair was a further man short. The right back position, again a man short. Lustig struggling before his injury, and then Ajer, was either rusty or shown to be simply not up to this level. Either way another position on the field, a man short.


    Then you look at our striker. Young, inexperienced, but again at this level, a man short. Incapable of making the right decisions. Incapable of holding the ball up. Incapable of bringing team-mates into play.


    When you tally up the number of men short, it’s easy to see how comfortable Salzburg were, and how inept we looked.

  3. Baca,


    Tony is a great guy and a great tin, a bit mental at times but funny with it


    Him and Martin Compston watch a few games a year here in L.A

  4. Just looking at Newsnow Celtic and one site saying that Esther Fallon wife of John Fallon has passed away,


    Sincere Condolences to our own BT and to the Fallon Family.


    May She Rest in Peace.

  5. RIP Esther Fallon – thoughts and prayers for her and the Fallon family.


    BT remember the good times

  6. B.T.


    Many condolences to you and loved ones.


    I know your faith is strong, may it help you all at this time.

  7. Forrest, Tierney, Benckovic


    McGregor, and Christie


    That’s only 5 players that you could truly trust in that environment last night. These 5 then don’t look as good as they have been these last couple of months. Because its a team game of 11 vs 11, and the other 5 or 6 passengers, do the likes of Forrest, Tierney, Benckovic etc an injustice.



    I see someone commented that Tierney gave the ball away a lot. Well it’s a result of having too many passengers. Lack of options when on the ball. Aside from that I thought Tierney done quite well. He attacked down his side, with little help or support. Forrest too was decent in flashes. Not sure why Rodgers took him off the right flank and played him up front through the middle. That tactical change didn’t work.


    But the good players we currently have, they need to be supplemented with better players around them.



    They say you learn more in adversity. Learn more about players, about the team. Well last night, to me exposed a few of them as weaknesses.

  8. ruggygman


    Agree on Kenny Millers analysis of last nights game.Most of us here would see a Kenny as a real Rangers* man. I know for a fact that he really enjoyed his time at Parkhead. As much control of the game Salzburg had, we could have a got a draw last night.This was how they played against Red Star in the Champions league qualifier tired in the last 10 minutes,never closed the game down and lost a 2 goal lead.They are good team but their approach in the Champions League would be too naive. On another matter surely its time the decision on head knocks should be made by a doctor with no connection to either club.Lustig should never have been allowed to continue.

  9. We are through to last 32. That’s all we want now. No need to disect players performances, etc in one game.

  10. BLANTYRETIM, so sorry to read of the passing of your beloved mum, Esther.


    Thoughts and Prayers to your heart broken family, and all who are close.


    God bless.

  11. cigalasporfavor on

    In all the excitement last night my memory is a bit vague…did seethin G pose with Austrian kids for selfies wearing Vienna hat and scarf and did the Salzburg manager walk straight up the tunnel without shaking hands with anyone or was it the other way round???



    Just asking?

  12. KINGLUBO on 14TH DECEMBER 2018 2:22 PM




    Interesting points. The big question for me is whether the Board are happy with the status quo? I think they are btw. We are ahead of everything in Scotland and they have cash in the bank for bonuses, nice looking balance sheets and whatever. If expectations are raised (the Manager has expectations, hence the summer of discontent) that will cost the Board money as those expectations will need to be matched. So the Board keep telling us we cant compete and ramming that idea down our throats until, as is the case it becomes accepted.



    Within that there are many other questions, such as how do we get players like their no8 who i think cost less than £1m and was absolutely awesome.



    My personal view, is that the idea that we cannot compete is nonsense, The Austrian league is not much better than the Scottish league, Salzburg are miles in front at home but crucially can still compete as at a good level in Europe as they have proved over a period of time. Their results match their ambition, is the ambition of the Club from top to bottom to compete. Until we shift our expectations away from ‘lets get into Europe and everything else is a bonus’, we shall endure many more outcomes like last night. Whether our Board are willing and/or are capable and have the relevant knowledge and experience to take us to the level or close to the level of Salzburg, i very much have my doubts.

  13. Posters wondering how we were better against Leipzig than Salzburg are missing the obvious.


    Salzburg are better, what part of 18 points out of 18 don’t you understand?



    Someone said Salzburg are good but we are potentially better.


    Really? ??



    Keep it real guys please.





    I’ll always remember Mrs Fallon, for taking me in and giving me tea and cuddles, when I came home from Celtic Park on her supporters bus, after I had been jumped as a 13 year old, underneath the Jungle, in 1978.


    A wonderful woman with a, wonderful family.



    Hope your doing OK mate.

  15. Looking at some highlights of the game in Vienna last night. The two captains together for the toss-up, handshakes and pennant exchange . But the sevco capo doesn’t have a pennant to exchange for the rapid one. Are they too skint to afford a mini flag??

  16. Blantyre Tim – Sorry to hear that you have lost your dear Mum.



    Thoughts and prayers from Beal Feirste mo chara.



    KTF. ?

  17. BAMBOO on 14TH DECEMBER 2018 2:54 PM


    Last night we were terrible but a couple of weeks ago against Leipzig we were great. I think we are just trying to understand ……why??






    Fundamentally we were not allowed to play last night, we were denied a foothold in the game by their tactics. We can look at the merits of who is the better team of the Red Bull lots but in simple terms Salzburg done a better job of stopping us then Leipzig.

  18. Blantyre Tim



    Condolences on the loss of your mother.



    I think of my old Mum often, she left this world but not our hearts.



    God Bless her, May she Rest in Peace.

  19. 50 shades of green on

    Blantyre Tim.



    Condolences mate on the sad passing of your mum.



    Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers in the coming days.

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