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. Reading back.Hard to believe the score was 2-1.The facs are they scored a headed goal.They can always be defended better.Our keeper made a horrendous error and gifted them a goal.Our keeper had a couple of very good saves.


    We scored with a deserved penalty.Their keeper had a very good save from Ntcham.Ajer had one of those misses from under the bar.


    Playing against a team of this calibre,what is so bad aboutvthese stats.I have witnessed us being given a football lesson and winning.Dont remember anyone complaining about how poor we were.


    Get a grip.They were at full strength with nothing to lose,we were decimated by injuries before and during the game to some of our best players,with everything to lose.

  2. CQN Coupon –



    Bobby Murdoch’s Curled Up Winkelpickers – Peterborough


    The Exiled Tim – Charlton


    Awalkacrosstherooftips – Arsenal (Sunday)


    Jobo Baldie – St Johnstone


    Gerryfaethebrig – Preston


    Pogmathonyahun – Wolves


    Lennybhoy – Villa

  3. Gerryfaethebrig on




    CQN is only happy when it’s unhappy, it’s an age thing :-)



    If we had actually went “oot” the pages number would be doubled at least



    Bring on the Hibernians




    Scrolled back and saw the sad news ,



    My thoughts are with you and yours .

  5. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    GORDON64 on 15TH DECEMBER 2018 9:59 AM


    Macjay My sincere apologies to all kangaroos. Hh





    Nearly witty.

  6. BT,



    Sincere condolences on the passing of your mother. My mother told me yesterday, she spoke very fondly of Esther. A lovely woman.



    RIP Esther.




  7. Great result for Livi last night. Transfer window approaching. We could take a punt on Ryan Christies mate – the Angolan international – Dolly Menga !

  8. Turkeybhoy



    Despite the stats, we were given a football lesson. Nothing wrong with admitting we played a better team. Even BR admitted this in his interview.



    We can only learn from playing teams of this calibre.



    The bottom line is however European football after Christmas. Yahoo.




  9. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on




    Do we not have our own unelected star chamber in the House of Lords and rest assured, all your favourite Brexiteers like, arise Lords Rees-Mogg and Farage, will end up in First Class in that gravy train in a totally unelected capacity eventually too.


    Also, If you look carefully, you might notice that it’s our very own Theresa May who’s gone cringing and grovelling to the EU and NOT the other way aboot!







    Can`t disagree with any of that.



    But they`re BRITISH grovellers .


    An important distinction. :-)






    ” And as for Donald, he’s not with us as he’s too busy grovelling to his murderous pal Putin who got him corruptly elected to bother with us. ”



    After 18 months of Mueller no evidence ( apart from your ridiculous assumption ) , no indictments .


    Ergo ?






    ” And as an aside, have you noticed how, when a mass shooter has brown skin, which has been thankfully seldom, he’s all over the media hollering Terrorism and ranting about Immigration, but when it’s yet another home grown, right wing, racist, white supremacist nut-job Donald supporter, which has been sadly all too frequent, there’s not a peep of condemnation? ”



    Forget skin colour. Think religion.Think prophet.



    A clue. Not the ” Jesus ‘ you quote.





  10. Had a great afternoon in the company of some fine Bhoys, thanks to PFayr for organising our 5th Christmas gig. It was great to see MickTT, Ayrshire Tim, Fourgreenfields, Praecepta, Angelgabriel, Ritchie, Onemalloy and BRTH. Sadly Two of our dear friends were unable to make it, OldTim and Blantyretim.


    OldTim stay strong my friend and hopefully see you soon.


    Stephen, was sorry to hear the news as I arrived in the BV. I know I sent you a message, I know your faith will see you through. Esther is a better place now. Give my love to big John. May God Bless Esther Fallon’s Soul.


    Until we meet again…


    Keep the Faith!


    Hail Hail!

  11. Whilst I am on, a wee update on MURDOCHAULDANDHAY. He started his clinical trial. He got an infection and has had to stay in Hospital over the weekend.


    Keep the Faith!


    Hail Hail!

  12. Thanks for the update Lennybhoy, I had been wondering how he was getting on. Infections are always a worry when you are on chemo. Pjease God they will sort it out quickly. Prayers & thoughts with MAH,

  13. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on



    For Macjay




    Is the Bible less bloodthisrty and vindictive than the Koran?






    Thanks for that , SFTB.


    Distinctions :


    Theory and practice.


    Literal and figurative.



    Let`s do a comparison in today`s terms



    Murders committed by fundamentalist Christians.


    Murders committed by fundamentalist Muslims .



    You`re too educated not to be able to see the truth and perhaps in time , just may be able to express it .



    The West needs to be protected from those who hate us.


    Viz. Brexit.

  14. Time to look at the next 3 games and the transfer window.



    Thursday was a timely reminder of what can be achieved by a team with good scouting in place who are organised.



    Celtic didn’t have an answer in the first 25 minutes to Salzburg’s pressing and surrounding off Rogic. Sinclair created our only opening in that period but his involvement was limited with Salzburg packing 3 in the area between Sinclair and Tierney. I thought Christie could have tucked further in to help those two but he was pushing on to help recover the ball when Rogic became surrounded. I wanted Brown on after 15 mins to at least get a chance at winning some ball. Retention would have been good but it just wasn’t working and we just needed to stop Salzburg picking it off rotating it then playing in between our full backs and wingers.


    As Paul pointed out the lapse in concentration cane from Ntcham. I’m not sure Sinclair would have been in a better position than Ntcham to pick up one of the two men Tierney was left with. As I say it happened a few times in the first half but McGregor covered across or Salzburg couldn’t quite capitalise.



    My main issue was Rogic. The big man was surrounded every time he got the ball. Agonisingly you could see that an extra touch would have given him the space to make an extra pass but he was never given that time. When he lost it he wasn’t fat enough to get even a nick on the ball or get a stoppage through a foul.



    Cutting to the outcomes- we again came up short against a better team. Not a surprise as better teams are better for a reason. It’s vital that we learn from these games and improve our team through tactical changes and recruitment.



    Paul’s answer seems to be reverting to parking the bus. I would contest that parking the bus doesn’t improve the team. It’s a one off means to an end but if you want to come out and be as good as Salzburg you need to be brave and test the players you have.



    The issue for us is that domestic dominance doesn’t test the weaknesses. I have lost count of the number of times fans comment we have enough defenders or midfielders – why would we need another? They say.



    We need better players. If I could pick positions to improve us it would be right back, number 10, striker, left midfield/ wing, goalkeeper. We obviously need to sort the long term plan for the centre backs with Boyata and Benkovic in short term remaining contracts.



    As we know Hibs, Aberdeen and Rangers are no match for Salzburg but securing 3 points in each of those games and shoring up the league should be A1 priority. Anything less than 100% will give us problems. The ball needs to move quickly in each of those games.



    As me move into the transfer window I would like to see at least the right back and striking positions sorted with something done about retaining 3 Centre backs.

  15. So the story from our Media is Ejaria is suddenly unsettled.



    Ejaria is not unsettled he is upset at being racially abused off his own fans.


    Two different fans on Bears Den subjected him too horrendous vile racism.


    Of course our press are tip toeing around the subject because it is the International, if this was Celtic they would be speculating and asking the questions outright.



    Liverpool fans are disgusted and have called for no more players to be sent to Ibrox, the lads character is being torn apart while the racist abuse is being covered up.



    Our media are a disgrace and a major part of the racism problem, not a peep from SRTRC, either.

  16. You are correct Sid, I saw a post on The Bear’s Den referring; to Ejaria as a spear thrower. The post got 2 mild rebukes from fellow Huns & that was it.


    You might ask why was I reading there in the first place but when they get a really bad kick in the ass, I can’t help myself, I just love having a peep at their reaction.

  17. Watching the game back. Simunovic has an absolute nightmare in the second half. Doesn’t show for the ball and when he does he gives it to Salzburg in dangerous positions

  18. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on



    Thoughts, prayers and condolences with you and the family in this sad time.

  19. Sid 11.22am



    The meeja play to their audience and even though I agree with your post the meeja is partly responsible for the “downfall” of the establishment Klub



    We should rejoice and be happy with them…. they let their Klub liquidate



    And even though there will always be some form of them… they are broken beyond repair :-)




    For what it’s worth — some Italian fitba pundits attribute the high quality of Salzburg to this — the excellent Marco Rose and a focus on scouting and developing young players — Intriguingly -they also opine that Red Bull are much more interested in seeing a successful Leipzig than a successful Salzburg . A market /bang for buck thing .

  21. I watched the Salzburg Leipzig game and Leipzig werent allowed to put any moves of note together in the whole first half, a half in which they had one scuffed shot on goal. Salzburg are a very capable side.

  22. BT – My sincere condolences mate. I just said a wee prayer for your mum, added to my morning rosary; may she rest in peace.





  23. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    The post match analysis on here has been refreshingly honest.



    The almost universal bottom line is that we were fairly beaten by a better team, playing in a style to which we aspire.



    A main factor in our conclusions is, of course, the fruits of our previous labours in the group.

  24. 50 shades of green on

    O well its Sat and nae fitba to be had for us Celtic fans, gonna be a long day, canny even go to the pub.



    Right what has the tivo box got for me??



    Mind you I could probably just lurk on here bound to be a typofight soon ???.

  25. Turjeybhoy @ 9:33


    I was thinking along similar lines this morning. For all they looked a very accomplished side and considering we were below our recent standard ( and not ALL down to Salzburg`s pressing), the end result was not all that damning.




  26. SID on 15TH DECEMBER 2018 11:22 AM


    So the story from our Media is Ejaria






    I agree that it’s too much of a coincidence that he’s suddenly unsettled after being racially abused. When Rob Kiernan played there, he was subjected to anti Irish racism on the pitch and in the players lounge. Ejaria will head south in January, hopefully to tell others not to go near the place. If Gerrard knows what’s going on which is likely, i wonder what he makes of it and now that the honeymoon period is well and truly over, if the reality of what he’s let himself in for is finally hitting home.

  27. One of the problems is that we don’t have to play a pressing game in domestic games – we have most of the possession and our opponents play 10 behind the ball.


    For me it’s keeping possession when we’re being pressed that we need to improve upon.

  28. BlantyreTim



    Thoughts and prayers with your Mum your Dad, yourself and all the family at this sad time

  29. BTW – wet and freezing wind here in North Staffordshire. Got an invite to the Vale game this afternoon – only reason to go is it’s in a corporate box.

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