Concerns remain after first clean sheet in 9


Last night’s convincing win was exactly what was needed.  Hearts were subjugated by three goals and an avalanche of chances, John Guidetti got off the mark and we kept a clean sheet after eight games without one.

We are a lot more potent up front than we were a month ago and the return of Scott Brown in central mid has tightened things up but that defensive record remains a concern.  Hearts were utterly outplayed and failed to score, but that wasn’t for the lack of hospitality from their hosts.

It’s not clear what the difference is between last season’s record-breaking run of domestic clean sheets and our current porous look.  Jason Denayer is partnering Virgil instead of Efe Ambrose, while Efe has been shunted right to cover for injured Adam Matthews and Mikael Lustig, but this wasn’t the case for some of our European nightmares last month.

Apart from last night’s pass between two statues, Emilio has overcome his early season jitters and Craig Gordon has been impeccable in goal.

It’s more likely that whatever changes have happened to the shape of the team, specifically, what is happening in front of the defence.  Emilio’s back-pass last night occurred when he was under pressure and his midfield options were busy looking for a forward pass.  Anthony Stokes’ error on Sunday led to Motherwell’s goal, but it happened on the halfway line.  Against Motherwell!  Who were able to exploit a lack of defensive cover.

Ronny’s Celtic press quickly and high up the field.  I like this plan.  As he navigates the squad into a position where this is their natural state there will be transitional damage, but the basis of every successful team is keeping the back door shut.

It will be some time before the manager gets a chance to finalise his defence as he awaits the return of Matthews and Lustig, and he decides on whether to partner van Dijk with Ambrose or Denayer (or Lustig), while Emilio could benefit from being pushed on the left by Charlie Mulgrew.  In the meantime, Brown and Johansen, together with whoever plays wide, will need to practice their reverse gears.

St Mirren have failed to score in five of their last eight games, so as well as three points, and a clean sheet, we should be looking for whoever plays in goals to have a trouble-free afternoon.

Thanks to everyone who donated to the Great Scottish Run fund in aid of the Celtic Foundation, and to those who signed up for the race to do their bit.  I know our gas has been at a peep recently but the flame of why we are Celtic fans burns as brightly as ever.

You can sign up for the race through the Foundation here, or if you’ve misplaced your trainers, you can help me hit my target here.

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Many thanks.

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  1. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon ....The angels are with Wee Oscar in Heaven.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on




    12:29 on 25 September, 2014



    put ‘em up…. hahahaha…… and, of course, bhuns, since they vote on bigoted grounds

  2. bognorbhoy oscar in my thoughts on




    by eckersley that was good o.g last night



    anyone remember a better one ?

  3. I wis certainly ” st team ing last week and most of this” awfy braw



    ding dong next round ……

  4. Gene's a Bhoy's name on

    Watched the match this morning – for me Johansen did nothing of merit and has a habit of frequently turning back and either passing across the back line (with its obvious dangers) or getting muscled out and losing the ball.

  5. Podium last post AGAIN





    12:42 on


    25 September, 2014


    Salmond should have called the vote in FEB and kept my da and


    all his old mates in the house.



    Just met a St Johnstone fan I know in canteen



    “fancy your chances v the zombies”






    “aye keep telling them all its special as we have never played Peterheid Annan


    or sevco before”



    Dont think they appreciate him.

  6. Corkcelt ( If and when you are about )



    Just checked back and you have failed miserably to maintain your reverse podium status.



    Remarks : lackadaisical, must try harder.




  7. The Honest Cover-up on

    Anyone know the situation with Darnell Fisher? Haven’t seen anything about him being injured but I find it hard to believe that Ambrose is preferred to him at right back.

  8. More Livibhoy sagacity!






    12:17 on 25 September, 2014


    Geordie Munro



    Agreed. Anyone also doing a weeks graft should be able to enjoy a glass of beer at the end of the working week.









    Exactly the logic I used to employ at the end of another tough week in S2?as I sat in the park with my Merrydown!!!



    HH jamesgang

  9. If we are going to play with two attacking full backs and two centre halfs who both like to bring the ball forward then clearly we are going to get caught short at the back from time to time.



    But against the packed midfields that most SPL teams will play against us we need the defenders to move forward.



    Makes life interesting if nothing else. We don’t do 0 – 0 draws very often.

  10. bognorbhoy oscar in my thoughts


    12:38 on


    25 September, 2014





    by eckersley that was good o.g last night



    anyone remember a better one ?




    Agree with DD above, Big Tel gave us a few crackers, did he not?


    Here are another few, number 9 very cringeworthy!!!






  11. Well said Philvis ,agree on the butcher og 3-1 I think it was 88-89 marco van McGhee got one also


    3 goals into the celtic end

  12. MSM are playing up that thems and us have been kept apart in the draw for the LC quarter finals. If the balls in the draw are of equal temperature, the odds of being drawn together are 6/1, so the papers must be truly desperate to fill space.


    Methinks wee sleekit knows we could give them a serious humping and would prefer no games v us for as long as possible. The polis, paramedics and hospital staff etc would prefer it never to happen again.

  13. Apart from last night’s pass between two statues, Emilio has overcome his early season jitters and Craig Gordon has been impeccable in goal.






    Paul, was it not Anthony Stokes with the defence splitting pass-back???

  14. macjay



    You make two points about Izzy:-



    1) that he was responsible for the £10m goal against Maribor


    2) He is a serial offender with high ball deliveries.



    On point 1), as has been pointed out, there are several mistakes leading to that goal. Izzy has 3 choices when the ball is fired into the area between him and the goal, having been not dealt with by other defenders who had a chance to do so. Izzy could gamble on letting the ball go and hope that no Maribor player has read the play, try to play it out for a corner and risk conceding an o.g. , or try to adjust his body to clear the ball away from the goal. All 3 options are laced with danger and he chose option 3. He was alert, quick and flexible enough to adjust his body and get a half-turn before the ball arrived. If he’d been superhumanly fast he might have got further distance on it but it was a mid-height ball that was not easy to be dealt with by foot or head. He achieved task one in getting the ball away from goal. Task 2 of dealing with the danger from where the ball ended up was not dealt with in time. Defenders always have to deal with Phase 1 and Phase 2 of attacks.



    On the second point, How many goals do you reckon we have lost through Izzy being outjumped? I know there have been some but have we really lost more from his position than anywhere else along the back 4? You think all those clever managers and match analysts might have spotted this.



    Celtic has a history of losing headed goals to outjumped full backs. If I ever allow myself to enter the world of nightmare and picture a typical Rangers goal against us, I will see A succession of small right backs (Peter Grant, Chris Morris, Jackie Mac) being outjumped by Derek Johnstone, Mark Hately or even Daniel bloody Cousin, from a slow chipped high delivery by Tommy McLean, ray Wilkins or Steve Davis. Ironically, one of the best small full backs we had in dealing with this was the much maligned Paul Telfer.



    Now Izzy does day dream and lose his man, as in the match we lost in Inverness which cost us a league, and he does get caught upfield and often ambles back but my recollection is that Ambrose is chipped or deceived by a flighted ball more often than Izzy is. Izzy is quite capable of bumping a jumping opponent, just as Paul Telfer did, to make sure he has a difficult task in directing any header he is likely to win.



    We face a choice with full backs of selecting a smaller nippy one who can do all the hard work and ground covering that is the lot of modern full-back play. Or you can pick a taller defender who won’t be as nifty and nimble and less use in possession (think Doug Rougvie). Occasionally you get a tall one who has pace too, e.g. Lustig, but these types are quickly snapped up. Alan Hutton fetched £10m with a skills set of being tall and running a lot before collapsing to win a foul.



    Izzy remains our best left back since Boyd & McKinlay. Faults and all.

  15. jamesgang



    Exactly the logic I used to employ at the end of another tough week in S2?as I sat in the park with my Merrydown!!!



    Ahhhh but was it Gold or silver label :))))))

  16. Steinreignedsupreme on

    Paul67 –



    Central defence is where the problems are stemming from. I am always wary when someone is described as ‘the new … ???’ and Jason Denayer is no different. He is still a kid, who no doubt has potential, but he is making basic mistakes in every game. He just stopped dead when Izzi knocked that ball inside, which was slack play from the wee man as well to be fair.



    As for Van Dijk, he has deteriorated to Bougherra’s level over the summer – wandering down the left flank and leaving a youngster on a one-on-one at the back, switching off when under pressure, and he has an attitude too boot. Not sure what he thought he was doing at the penalty, but that was schoolboy defending.



    This guy better shape up quickly and snap out of his huff, he’s becoming a liability.

  17. jamesgang


    Memo to all Coatbridge and Airdrie Tims.


    Public transport update


    The No2 first bus back from Parkhead stops at 7pm


    I found out after an hour wait last night :(((



  18. setting free the bears – I liked Paul Telfer a lot.



    Great attitude, incredibly fit for a Scottish man in his mid 30’s, never hid. Not blessed with an overabundance of skill, but he used what he had to the best effect.



    Paul Telfer was like one of King Leonidas’ Spartan warriors: not flashy, but disciplined and dedicated, and a good team player. (thumbsup)

  19. jamesgang



    I couldn;t stomach the stuff. Me and my mate used to get a half bottle of Highland Commissioner each and a 2 cans of lager.


    No wonder my teen years are a blur with cheap lager and whisky in me. To be fair the whisky could last a few nights and nobody else wanted a swig.




  20. The Honest Cover-up on

    Geordie Munro



    Thanks. How unfortunate to have three very capable right backs all injured at the same time. I look forward to having one or all of them all available for selection again.





    They are like a bitter ex, desperate for a glimpse of their old flame at a party. We all know they will spend weeks stoking up tensions and hatred then stand back and finger wag from the sideines when the sevconians inevitably cause carnage. I hope St Johnstone do the decent thing and send them back to lower league duty.

  21. The Battered Bunnet on

    If Izzy could cross a ball he’d be an entirely different prospect.



    Someone show the fellow where the six yard line is, eh.

  22. philvisreturns


    13:03 on


    25 September, 2014


    setting free the bears – I liked Paul Telfer a lot.







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