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. BT


    I hope the comfort of your faith will help you through these difficult times.


    May your mum Rest In eternal Peace.

  2. the unthank road on

    Hi Stevie


    sorry to hear of your sad loss. thoughts and prayers from the hebrides, fortunately you are blessed


    with great faith which will sustain you in these sad times

  3. BT



    I’m so sorry to read the news of your dear Mum’s passing. God rest her soul and bless you and your family.



    HH jg

  4. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    Thanks again


    I wont be on again for a wee while but we have managed to sort out funeral arrangements



    Wednesday 10am Blantyre St Joseph’s




  5. We were beat by better team last night but got through cause of our 3 wins, happy with progress to next round, We can go further if We get decent draw, that will be luck of draw.



    8 players are out of contract at end of this season. Ddv, boyata, benkovic, gamboa, lustig, alan, izzy and brown.



    We should be ould up the quality of the first team by signing 4 quality players with.




    7 players are out of contract at end of the following season.

  6. Cut the squad size down and up the quality levels spread what we have on a smaller better squad. 34 players for a club like ours is not got as we dont have the money to have that many quality players and we dont have thecapacity to get our youngsters into the team.



    Keep same idea about developing and selling on at profit just start shopping highrr up the food chain.

  7. Blantyre tim thoughts with you, done it twice with my own mum and dad, just take timeout come back on the blog when you are ready, there are a lot of posters waiting to hear from you.hh and god bless.

  8. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Many a game we have been gallant losers, unlucky, better team that lost, don’t let others rewrite history, Salzburg were the best team in our group, top seeds, and as many posted on here would “fix” the group so the other Red Bull would go through … no retractments on that front … we are in the last 32 with the league cup in the bag and top of the league … sometimes inadvertently we don’t realise how lucky we are …. remember Gordon & Lustig apart that was a very, very young team on the park last night am pretty sure Salzburg had a lot more experience considering they took park on the semi final last year

  9. Scottish Friday night football thanks BT) at its best. 71 mins played, Livi 0 Hearts 0. 79 mins played Livi 4 Hearts 0 !!!!!!

  10. 50 shades of green on

    Just remember hearts were playing, switch over, its nil nil, 7 mins later ive seen the hearts keeper sent off, then allowed to stay on cause the ref hadn’t actually given him a first yellow, when he booked him he flashed a yellow then red and then had to rescind it.



    He then 1 min later sent off a outfield player for a second yellow ( very harsh imho). And its now 5 nil to Livvy.



    Hearts have collapsed.



    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha



    I agree.


    Many people moaning and making excuses of them being financially doped but their transfer activity does not show that.


    In my opinion their coaching and scouting is more complete therefor better than ours.

  12. Lick official Twitter-



    Sorry for the silence. There’s no technical issues. We just haven’t scored for 4 minutes.




  13. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Fan a tic 9.26pm



    I would prefer you to read my post and not give evidence to make my point irrelevant :-)



    Turned on java script and had a look at your link cheers for the info about the Salzburg players, but I do think their run last season would stand them in good stead for a group stage final game when they already had 15 out of 15 points, at least my experience excuse might count :-)

  14. BT sorry to hear the loss of your mum, I lost mine 17 year ago with complications due to dementia, still think of her every day as you probably will yours the rest of your life.



    First met your da 52 year ago along with big Billy down in St Kessogs hall, he was brilliant then, fast forward tae the first Vegas and he stopped me and Mrs TT in a store and blethered away tae us. Once a Tim right enough.



    Good luck tae a good Sligo family.

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