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. just googled tony curran, plays rad in ray donovan the ba…..d who done over ray.



    recognise him from a few other shows good actor.



    one for the club tonight.

  2. Dropping in for the first time in a long time….



    I’d like to say how sorry I was to hear of the loss that John Fallon and the entire Fallon family have suffered. My deepest condolences to all.




  3. BT



    Very sorry to hear about your mum. May she rest in peace and may you and your family take comfort in the times to come from your memories.

  4. BT May your Mum Rest In Peace. Remember the good times. Look after yourself and your family mate.

  5. Celtic advance to next stage of EL competition having gained enough points in the league stage. Congratulations all round from BBC Scotland and the Scottish press of course.

  6. Gerryfaethebrig on




    Take care, your family & your faith will help you in these sad times



    Hail Hail

  7. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    Evening guys


    Been off CQN now for a wee while



    My mother has been ill for a while and we with the help of faith and family are trying to come to terms with our loss


    I thank you all for your messages of support and your thoughts are greatly appreciated


    I hope you all have a happy and peaceful Christmas and new year


    We will forever Keep The Faith



    God bless ??

  8. So sad to hear of the passing of Esther Fallon



    To BT…. there are no words that could possibly help at this difficult time but I hope you can get even a little comfort in knowing you and all of the Fallon family are in our thoughts and prayers.





    R.I.P. Mrs Fallon

  9. BT & Family,



    Sincere condolences.



    May peace and comfort find you during this difficult time.

  10. GreeninbingleyinOslo on

    The glib and shameless liar David King, by order of the Court, had to appoint a “Cash Confirmer”, approved by the Takeover Panel, to guarantee the transfer of c£19 million to a UK bank by 5:30pm today. It’s now 7.10pm.



    I can’t find any news on this on the traditional Scottish news outlets, which is strange given the magnitude of the story.



    I also had a query that needed to be directed to a small agency operating out of Blythswood Square, but their website seems to have all ‘Contact Us’ links and buttons disabled, which is very strange indeed for a company operating in the field of public relations.



    But never mind. It’s heartwarming to see the traditional working practices associated with Blythswood Square being kept alive in such a dignified manner.

  11. BT



    Condolences to you and your family at this very sad time.



    Give your dad another hug.



    R.I.P. Mrs Fallon may our merciful God love and keep you safe.






    I’m pretty sure the traditional workforce of Blythswood Square would be ashamed and embarrassed of any implied association with the Ministry of Truth

  13. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    I wonder will Brendan consider moving Tierney forward to midfield, to replace the drive provided by the unfortunate Christie.


    This would mean bringing Izzie into the wing back position.

  14. Cosy Corner Bhoy on

    Condolences to BT and all his family.RIP Mrs Fallon.


    Will visit St Winin’s tomorrow for prayers and candles for her soul,S.

  15. glendalystonsils on




    May I add my sincere condolences. Having lost my own Mother to a long unpleasant illness , I know what your family must be going through. God bless.

  16. BT


    Sincere condolences on the passing of your Mum. The good times remain for ever. Thoughts and prayers for your family.

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