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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    Thats what I was trying to get across.Its all ifs and buts,but would they have scored the header if Boyatta had been playing.We gave them the second goal.I know they outplayed us,but they have done that to far better teams than us in the past couple of seasons.Taking in Gordons incredible blunder,and Ajers incredible miss,we could have had a result.We did very well,against a team of real quality.Think back to the Barca game,we had 11% possession.Outplayed for 90 mins.Regarded as one of our greatest games.

  2. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on

    Am glad we can recover from the embarrassment of being overawed by not letting it happen again, if all our players played as well as we know they can play, it would have been a different game.

  3. Good afternoon CQN from a dreich Garngad


    Where’s awe the snow???



    Bring on the Hibees.


    Let’s pile the pressure on the rest of the league by keeping a winning momentum going.






    D. :)

  4. I know some agree,but big Craig Gordon,makes some ridiculous decisions with his distribution.The worst couple being when he gives it out to players at the corner flag being closed down.A regular thing.


    The second is his very poor half kick outs that just go over the halfway line ,90% of the time to opponents.Fired right back at us.


    Not good enough and not improving.

  5. GENE on 15TH DECEMBER 2018 1:09 PM


    Has that clown who threw the coin? on Thursday been caught




    Has it been proven that there was a coin flung ?




  6. TURKEYBHOY on 15TH DECEMBER 2018 1:18 PM




    I agree, it is frustrating. Those kick outs that land short of the halfway line allow opponents to start a quick counter attack against us. In Craig’s favour I can only assume he is carrying out the Managers instructions. I commented at the cup final that he was an accident waiting to happen, so Thursdays mishap came as no surprise.

  7. Blantyre Tim Just catching up,


    May perpetual light shine upon yer mam.


    Love to you, yer Da and all the family.

  8. Dallas Dallas where the heck is Dallas on

    Blantyre Tim, I woukd like to pass on my condolences to you and your family.



    May Esther’s soul rest in peace.

  9. Craig ( accident waiting happen ) Gordon



    Mikael ( legs gone ) Lustig



    Jozo ( glass ankles ) Simunovic



    Filip ( sick note ) Benkovic



    Dedryk ( bombscare ) Boyata



    Kris ( no pace ) Ajer



    Scott ( past it ) Brown



    James ( wee coward ) Forrest



    Tom ( man short ) Rogic



    Callum ( invisible ) MacGregor



    Odsonne ( never a centre forward ) Edouard



    Scott ( one season wonder ) Sinclair



    Jonny ( not Celtic class ) Hayes



    Didn’t they do well CSC



    Feel bad for Scott Bain who’s not even good enough for an insulting nickname.

  11. Watched City v Everton.


    Both passed around back in side to side possession.


    Everton usually ended up with long pass down wings or punt by goalkeeper.


    City also passed side to side at back but they always had a few guys showing in centre of field and had at least 3 options for an outlet pass making the continuation of possession easier.


    The difference between positive possession and possession.

  12. No Muslim has ever attacked me.


    Several ‘Christians’ have….often cos they thought I was the ‘wrong kind’ of Christian.



    No Muslim nation has invaded my own. Ever.


    My nation has invaded countless over the centuries. My nation has killed enough innocent Muslims to ‘best’ 9/11 a hundred times over.



    Yet no Muslim has every judged me for my colour, my perceived religion or passport.



    So I’ll do to these ‘others’ as they’ve done to me. Cos they treat me as one of God’s children as we all are.



    Hate is one of the few things I hate.



    CFC. Open to all since 1888



    HH jg

  13. FAN-A-TIC on 15TH DECEMBER 2018 2:58 PM


    Watched City v Everton.



    Both passed around back in side to side possession.



    Everton usually ended up with long pass down wings or punt by goalkeeper.



    City also passed side to side at back but they always had a few guys showing in centre of field and had at least 3 options for an outlet pass making the continuation of possession easier.



    The difference between positive possession and possession.






    Afternoon Fan A Tic.



    were the everton players all too far apart from each other, with their spacing all wrong, and facing the wrong way when they got the ball, and have you being saying this for the last year and a half on everton quick news ?






    i allways find it amazing how often those summation of positive possession or having passing options creates chances for forward facing players tends to be the better teams with the best players.



    i did watch that match. i too thought city would win that match, play the better football , thats me without any coaching badges.



    how do you think celtic will set up and perform tomorrow, whats the golden nugget tactical lever that celtic will gain the competative advantage from ?



    Craig ( accident waiting happen ) Gordon







    Accident has happened, can you change that one please :))

  15. SAINT STIVS on 15TH DECEMBER 2018 3:28 PM


    FAN-A-TIC on 15TH DECEMBER 2018 2:58 PM



    Watched City v Everton.




    Both passed around back in side to side possession.




    Everton usually ended up with long pass down wings or punt by goalkeeper.




    City also passed side to side at back but they always had a few guys showing in centre of field and had at least 3 options for an outlet pass making the continuation of possession easier.




    The difference between positive possession and possession.






    Good afternoon, i thought that Citeh were more effective at pressing that Everton, and they were able to build and maintain possession because they push the full backs into midfield adding extra players in that area, and of course they have better quality overall. Everton tried to exploit the Citeh fullbacks pushing on by hitting long balls in behind when Citeh attacks broke down, which was a sensible play. Ultimately Everton lost first goal because they tried to overplay in a dangerous area. Sometimes you have to accept you cannot win with the playing out from the back game plan, hit it long, build your two banks and take your chances. If you have pace up front it is the best option imo.

  16. Fan A Tic,



    Ive been impressed with your overall knowledge of the game, your indepth analysis of matches, i dont think its unfair to ask if you have coached at any level or played the game at some reasonable level for some length of time, to be able to form such opinions so quickly after matches.



    I dont have any qualifications on anything relating to football coaching. None at at all.


    I have some on people and business management, some of which i think could be applied to observations on football performance.




  17. ST STIVS


    Then why also the Everton Quick News jibe?


    My opinion is mine and i am not foolish or arrogant enough to think it will make any difference to Celtic’s approach tomorrow.


    You have been playing the man.


    You could have just disagreed with my spacing opinion and offered an alternative viewpoint.

  18. mike in toronto on

    Did not known that World Footballer of the Year, Ada Hedeburg, is engaged to ex-Celt, Thomas Rogne, now with Lech Poznan

  19. lawrence shankland 57 in 58 games. 28 this season. wonder where he will end up in January transfer window.

  20. St Stivs


    My footballing observations may be repetitive as is your tendency to play the man and not debate the points i actually made.

  21. Blantyretim


    Stephen, You will never be without your mother mate – She remains with you in all your thoughts and deeds and as believers in the holy resurrection, you know she is safely in gods care until you meet again.


    Please pass on condolences to your dad from all at the Toronto #1 CSC and a wee candle will be lit in St. Boniface’s for all the members of your family to give them the courage and strength in the coming days.


    HH my friend


    Esther Fallon RIP

  22. Looking at the remaining fixtures in December. Exciting times if you’re a Hibs fan – their next 5 games are Celtic (H), Sevco (H), Livingston (H), Sevco (A), Hearts (H)

  23. Jeepers Franny, Even if there is no ligament damage, which I certainly hope there isn’t , he will have at the very least a bloody sore bruised and swollen leg.


    Whilst on Christie if he had picked up an injury a couple of months back none of us would have batted an eyelid, now we rightly regard it as a major loss. However every player’s injury is another player’s opportunity, so let’s hope we see someone step up and make a name for themselves.

  24. StSTivs


    Its rather obvious from your sarcastic tone that you are not interested in debating the actual points.




    player runs into space, away from opponent, without going offside and it gives a passing option to a team mate. if more than one does this it gives various options. was that it , in a nutshell ?



    My point on the thread that got your heckles up was about passing across the back and how having better movement ahead created a better environment for retaining possession.


    What has offside got to do with this?If you want to post a sarcastic retort at least read the original post.


    My friends and relatives call me an insensitive B so i have copied your post to refute their assertion.

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