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. GreeninbingleyinOslo on




    I was in a bit of a quandary about tonight’s game… thought a Hearts win might help shove Sevco further down the table in time… but hard to argue when your gut rejoices to a scoreline of Anybody At All 5 Hearts 0.

  2. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Fan a tic 9.43pm



    We are in agreement, maybe KT, Callum, Ajer, Odsonne, Ntcham might get to the semi finals this year and will be better prepared next season ? We can but dream

  3. i'vehadtochangemymind on

    well well levein, pursue your broonie baiting policy and what do you get – an sg manifesto and a ban

  4. prestonpans bhoys on

    Switched on the footie as Livy scored the second, by the time I finished my glass of wine 5-0 Wrong weekend to go away to Aberfoyle, what a laugh the pub would be? Then again looking at tomorrow’s weather might be the wrong weekend to be in Aberfoyle?too

  5. I enjoyed the game last night, we got beat by a better team who were very impressive. Brendan wants us to play the way they do and we are getting close to it and part of it is not letting the opposition control the play which is what they did so well. I am delighted to go and see us against a quality team in the new year and see how we can handle that and so much look forward to what Brendan will come up with. We will have the league tied up by then and can give our all to progressing in the Europa. I have been a tim since the early 50’s and have seen so many bad and good times since then and believe me these are the greatest times we will ever have.


    Hail Hail



  6. BR subs last night strange , why did he not move KT to right back and bring on EI a natural full back, to play KA at right back was illogical he is never a right back as was proven the last and only time he played right back , continually playing OE as a big target man in non sensical as his first touch is shocking and he can’t play with his back to goal , for us to only have very limited selection for that position shows a lack of forward planning , i could go on and on but don’t want to upset a lot on this blog.

  7. DD 9.54pm



    Enjoy Sunday & Wednesday … when you bump into WITS in Auld reekie remind him Ronny D has made a possible 8 for Brendan & our Ronny signed Ryan and introduced our own KT (cheers for the poster giving Ronny a heads up during the week :-)



    WITS out :-)

  8. RON67, its a blog posters can agree or disagree, for what its worth I agree with a lot of your posts.hh.

  9. GFTB


    WITS is an expert in classic Dublin sarcastic humour, like our mutual hero Sean O’Casey.


    I still think Ronnie Deila did a better job than he was given credit for. I would thank him if I met him.



  10. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    The outpouring of gratitude towards the Rosenburg right back, which ensured post Christmas Euro football, is on a par with the perpetual gratitude and respect afforded to Gary Mackay, whose goal for Scotland v Bulgaria, ensured Ireland’s presence at Euro 88.



    I think Ronnie Delia had some good ideas.


    Unfortunately being a coach requires a wee bit more than that.


    He did not seem to have the ability to replicate those ideas on the field at our club.


    Job may have been to early for him.


    Had he come with a reputation some of the adversity he faced from our own players may not have been there.


    So he had to win while modernizing our team with a dressing room split.


    Brown showed exemplary behavior during this time and was a real leader in helping Ronnie.



    Also he never truly had the backing of the board having to cope with huge budget restraints.


    KT was a highlight but not sure he would have been given time if not for injury and suspension forcing coach to play him.Ryan was a side effect of our boards parsimonious transfer strategy.



    Not sure he will ever be a top coach but he is a good Celtic man.

  12. DD 10.10pm



    Wits, is as facetious as myself … obviously he is a better tipster .. which would not be too difficult :-)

  13. BT- Stephen


    Deepest sympathy on the loss of your mum Esther- a lovely lady and mother. Keep the Faith. Candle lit on Sunday..

  14. Bt. Just logged in moments ago to discover that sadly your dear mother had gone to her eternal rest. Please accept my sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers for her and for the Fallon family. Please tell your dad that I will remember her at Mass tomorrow evening. May she rest in peace.

  15. RON67 on 14TH DECEMBER 2018 9:57 PM




    Anymore of that and you’ll be labelled a troll ; Hah. √


    Hail! Hail!




    Oh and, who would win between,…..



    Devious, or, facetious ?







  16. FanaTic


    Ronnie was undermined by senior players in the Celtic team. Pity his baws were not big enough to deal properly with Commons for one.



  17. GFTB


    The only tips I read on here usually lose.


    Here is a tip. Bet Celtic to win and WITS and I to get mad wi it in Embra on Sunday. ??????????????????????



    ##### ??☺?????????????????????????



    Me….? √




  19. DD 11.09pm



    I love my gambling but am afraid I canny bet against Neil Francis … a Celtic legend in my eyes … money apart I hope his team gets pumped



    Some forget wee Lenny chucked the premiership to join his bhoyhood heroes



    Love our Neil Francis ?

  20. GFTB


    I love Neil Francis Lennon too.


    Celtic hero and legend.


    Not many in that category.



  21. JTT53


    STELLA MARIS. Beautiful by Regina.


    Loved that thanks. Memories of Saint Paul’s Whiteinch



  22. JTT53


    On second thoughts Soul of my Saviour was a Top of the Pops hymn for me. Up there with Hail Glorious Saint Patrick.



  23. DD 11.32pm



    Players I witnessed my top 3 for everything about Celtic



    Paul McStay


    Tommy Burns


    Neil Lennon



    There is s great midfield :-)

  24. K 11.21pm



    Nice post earlier, what were you doing drinking tea at 13 in Blanur… unless you were in High Blantyre …



    Drop the persona and enjoy the good times :-) or keep the persona and still enjoy these great Celtic times ?

  25. DD 12.00am



    Henrik was terrific BUT he left .. and fair play… but any Celtic legend in my wee tiny brain should stay



    PaulMcStayCSC :-)



    (just my Celtic view)

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