Culpable defence, but that’s not all


The most pleasing aspect about last night was the manager’s reaction afterwards: “Yet another soft goal”. “We don’t defend a basic ball into the box”.  But, before Cristian Gamboa and Craig Gordon pick up the tab for a bad night in Lithuania, more went wrong.  Much more.

Goals change games and you can be sure games will change when Celtic are defending the way they are right now.  Gamboa losing his man for the goal was in keeping with what we should expect.  Cristian is good going forward but is not the most diligent at the back.  We need a backup, backup, right back.  Right?

Despite all that’s going wrong in defence, I am just as concerned about how the midfield is operating.  Our passing was again poor.  Olivier Ntcham opened the scoring after two minutes and opened the Suduva defence late in the game for Moussa Dembele to shoot wide, but for the rest of the game his passing was as inaccurate as it was against AEK and Rosenborg away.

Callum McGregor, so often a key to unlock packed defences, was ineffective.  I would like to see him play the deep lying playmaker roll over our next three games.  There he can dictate the pace and accuracy of our passing, leaving space for Rogic to play in front of him.

Moussa Dembele is our best striker, but the shape of the team left him isolated and looking just as out of sorts as Odsonne Edouard did at home to AEK.  We have potent strikers who see little of the ball.

On the positive side, Suduva were as poor a team as I can remember playing in recent seasons – and I include the Gibraltareños (as they will be known after March) in that.  We will reach the Europa League group stage.  How effectively we compete there will be determined by the arrivals over the next seven days.

Dinner for four at the Walfrid at Hamilton game on Sunday!

Courtesy of Intelligent Car Leasing, we are raffling a table for four at Sunday’s game against Hamilton Accies in aid of your Foundation.  If like me, you watch football in the bitter cold and wind, even in July and August, this will be a fantastic day our for you and three friends!

It’s a free bar.  And you get the chance to support the Celtic FC Foundation.

To win, contribute to this MyDonate page.  Suggest a minimum of £5 donation, but donate less if you cannot afford that.  Your money does straight to the Foundation as they prepare for the difficult winter period ahead.

Then, please forward your confirmation email to celticquicknews@gmail.com with the words “Central defender” in the SUBJECT line. Competition closes at 11.00 Saturday.  Winner will be informed on Saturday afternoon – so include a phone number if there’s any chance of missing your email (it’s happened).

Good luck, and remember: Central defender.

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  1. How ’bout this Idea. Ok we know they get a win bonus. What about a goal loss deduction? 10% per goal.


    Might focus their minds. Oh thats for everyone not just defenders. ;-]

  2. Lawwell out, time for a fresh approach, takes an absolute age to seal a transfer, from Arzani this season to Ntcham last season, I wonder why that is. So quick to hound you for your cash for 3 strips per season and tickets for 3 qualifiers (excluding the first game on the season book).



    The McGinn fiasco was beyond embarrassing. Our scouting team is either Man City projects (Lawwell’s son) or ex-players. Celtic, like to think we are a big club, time to start bl00dy acting like one!

  3. In the short term we have 7 days to sign a couple of decent players and move a couple on. It is a must and will go some way to lifting the doom and gloom we have self inflicted and which the smsm has hammered home.



    Medium and longer term issues remain but we need to start somewhere.

  4. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    SANDMAN on 24TH AUGUST 2018 12:32 PM



    We tried Broony and Edouard against Hearts and it didn’t work. It works in Europe against better quality teams when we need to defend and be solid. However, domestically we have to breakdown teams and Broony and Edouard won’t do that: their games are based on physicality, breaking up play and recycling the ball.



    Armstrong provided a driving force. We haven’t yet replaced that.

  5. mike in toronto on

    The hands can’t hit




    I can’t read your posts without hearing Ali in my head reciting that poem..one of my favourites . ?



    Won’t be long, however, until CQN’s stormtroopers will be on to tell us that everything is rosy … that Captain Edward Smith, he was just a bedwetter too.

  6. 50 shades of green on

    For the folk wanting us to go after the AEK C defenders, I take it you never watched the goal they lost to Vidi the other night.



    If that happened to be , lets say a Scottish based Celtic CD, the mob would be out with pitchforks hunting him down.






    If we were only to sign one player by the end of the window would you rather it was…….



    A…central defender…



    B …Right back….



    C… Midfield General….



    D …a striker…






    E….a Goalkeeper….



    And give your reasons why please..




    Me, a midfield general, someone who can take a pass from the keeper ( I know I know) and build the play going forward occasionally not sideways and back awe the time .



    O aye if he can hit the target with a free-kick and a Celtic player with a corner now and then that would be good also.





  7. BMCUW,



    You can blame PL as much as you like,but a lot of the blame has to go on the management team.Far too easy to me to scapegoat a guy that does not scout,train ,the players.Does not tell them what tactics to playand does not have them at training every day.But he would not pay £4 million for Mc Ginn !!!.Is this the sum of all our deficiencies?.Since Brendan has been here we have all seen where our weakness is.Central defence.Dear God not so long ago we were playing Biton and Ajer at CH in a qualifierAt Pittodrie,again Biton.The manager has had enough windows to put this right.Seems like nothing could be further from his mind.Commper was his answer.Far too intent on midfielders like Mc Ginn,who was nevera neccessity.The honest truth of the matter is we have no list,in fact,no idea of what CHs are out there.If none of the CHs out there are to Brendans liking,but Commper was,we are in bigger trouble than was first feared.


    Do you honestly think that CHs valued at around 2 million would be deemed too expensive by PL ?.One last thing,the state we are in now with the Boyata farce,is all down to Brendan.He wanted him,and when he once again,knifed him in the back,tried to bring him back again.Should have been off to Fulham,and a new CH brought in.I am of the opinion the reason he was not sold,was because we had no replacement lined up.Again,that would probably be PLs fault.

  8. What we need to do is ascertain what is wrong with the team. Is it Boyata? We look to be selling him. Is it the Manager & Coaches giving them a roasting?



    Whatever it is that is the priority

  9. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Paul – as an experiment why don’t you write a leader about the price of fish then we can watch how long it takes for a lurker to post “Its Lawwell’s fault”?

  10. saltires en sevilla on

    Last night was tough viewing.



    Insipid Celtic performance and (powderpuff defending aside) the creative players failed time after time to pick out some great runs in the box by Moussa.



    The midfield lack flexibility and not covering runs/long balls into our defence. This is not a new thing.



    In attack -An early ball into the front will reduce likeliehood opponents can set/catch them on turn, reduces tge risk of our team being caught too far forward if move breaks down due to riskier passing.



    The players seem to be shackled with too many instructions on roles and responsibilities.



    We need more freedom to express going forward (more two-footed players would help…)






    Far more determination to cover the defence when we lose possession.



    Some tough decisions needed and will be a test to see how some folk at the club handle being under the cosh/inspection.



    Early indications suggest they don’t fancy it much.



    Boyata and Jozo can do one (or two)….chancers!




    There will be no panic buying at Celtic- just panic!




  12. SECTION 111,


    That whole post was one load of nonsense.Strips,paying for qualifiers,and then blaming PL for getting us the likes of Roberts,Ntcham ,Arzani.


    Is your head on the right way.

  13. My in match comments reflect the lead blog.



    Ntcham was poor and McGregor ineffective.



    We were not pressing in groups.



    Only Michael Johnstone looked comfortable on the ball and if I ask why Tierney turned attack into defence, requiring the 2nd half switch, is that down to him or lack of forward movement to play a forward pass?



    An obvious move is to play Izzy at LB and JT in midfield to add bite and play 2 up front to give better passing options to defenders.



    The style of possession that took us so far has run its course as first choice tactic. Do it when game management requires it but not as our de facto approach. It’s bloody annoying apart from anything else.



    New faces will help but so too will new thinking to make the best of what we have not make our best ordinary.



    Perhaps the players think that way. Hence going off plan.



    I’d be asking them for their views on where the problem lies and listen to their thoughts.



    The job of a good manager is not to be the best (personal ambition aside) but to bring out the best of those being managed and a wee bit of all round introspection including Board level and soul searching is more likely to produce effective results than finger pointing.



    They should drive past the training ground to Schoenstaat at Campsie Glenn for the soul searching.

  14. mullet and co 2 on

    Ntcham isn’t any different from our he player who was occasionally dropped and replaced by Armstrong last year. The guy that was earmarked to replace Armstrong wasn’t signed so we are left with no choice but to play Ntcham and keep him on the field when his passes go to the opposition.


    McGregor drops back to displace Ntcham so I presume McGregor then moves forward on 60 mins when Toguc tired and Ntcham then comes on? If you don’t recognise the pattern of rotation and subs over the last 2 years you don’t recognise the need for a centre midfielder.

  15. Turkeybhoy on 24th August 2018 1:04 pm



    Roberts – How much use is he now?


    Arzani – Can he play centre half?


    Ntcham – Will be away the first offer we get, all because the board will never speculate to accumulate.



    Hope you’re enjoying the new lights, another board apologist, if you see Celtic as some sort of feeder club for Man City good for you.



    Tell me once you’ve woke up from your slumber.

  16. Simplistic , I know , but the main thing lacking is Confidence.


    I mean,is it any wonder, really that our confidence is so low? Sure we have had a couple of not clever results, we all know that, but to be constantly reminded, day in , day out by the meeja and all the pro hun lobbying going on. Any little stick they can find to beat us with, bet your ass they will.


    Nothing negative ever mention about the bigots. Croatia fanns stabbed, riot police deployed , the list is endless.


    If I was manager of us, I’d be saying to the players, lookk guys we are miles better certainly than anything in Scotland, the record shows that, so chests out, some self belief and the job’s a good ‘un.




  17. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ TURKEYBHOY on 24TH AUGUST 2018 12:59 PM



    You draw some pretty far reaching conclusion from the facts you present.



    Firstly, you seem to think that budgetary constraints have no impact on the defensive (or any) signings BR has made. Which is clearly not true. Any signing has to be considered within the budget set my the executives.



    Compper was signed for £800k. A supposedly experienced defender available on the cheap who would act as a stop gap for our defensive woes. It has not proved so. How he passed a medical, I’m not sure.



    “Do you honestly think that CHs valued at around 2 million would be deemed too expensive by PL ?”



    So despite the fact we have spent net £1m this window, the conclusion you draw is that PL wants to spend more money on players but Brendan is not giving him the options? Really? That’s the logical conclusion here?



    Re Boyata. You are blaming Rodgers for not having replacements lined up and this is based on the fact that you believe he does not see the defence as a priority?



    Obviously he believes that the midfield and attack are a priority then? Please name the quality replacements we signed for Armstrong and Roberts then…? There aren’t any. BR realised that if he sold Boyata he wouldn’t be getting anything in return to help with the qualifiers.




    Who is responsible for the way the team lines up and plays.Who is responsible for the tactics.Great strikers getting starved of the ball.Ntcham is a great player,but not a holding midfielder,does not help Broony out covering defence.The boy has told us all this.Brendan will persevere with a lot of things,but the only real holding midfielder to partner Broony,is Kouassi.He will not give the boy a run of games,will not persevere with him.


    Far,far too easy just to lump all the blame onto PL,as many of the bandwagon jumpers do.

  19. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    For two years I hadn’t heard Brendan being critical of a performance. Always had something positive to say – pressed well, kept the ball well, created chances, etc. Now that’s the last two games he has said we were poor. That’s not a good sign, particularly on the back of his comments about not getting players in.


    The faults were there to see last season – ball watching at the back, too slow and predictable in attack.


    A week left to strengthen (or maybe reduce the extent of weakness). Difficult to see anything other than panic buys (or even nothing). Why weren’t things in place months ago? We knew what we needed. Isn’t there supposed to be player A,B and C for every target position? Absolute shambles.


    Really not getting a good feeling about things right now.


    Glass one third empty…..

  20. Go tell the Spartim on

    When you stick your head in the sand all people see when they look at you is an arsehole



    Clichebuttrue Csc



    Agree. But where is the confidence chasm coming from? Not from outside. From not trusting each other, or from picking up on the discontent of the team’s father figure I’d say. This is about more than defending now, the trust contagion is affecting other areas of our play.

  22. BR interview after the game was a worry for me, we should have put the tie to bed last night, and could have rested players next Thursday before the Sevco game.Gordon’s starting point for the goal was wrong, a couple of yards further out and it’s an easy catch.As poor as our CBs are, Ajer could do a job in MF, he needs to pick 2 and stick with them.

  23. traditionalist88 on

    Section111 on 24th August 2018 1:11 pm



    Re. Arzani – so we neglect other signings because the defence is a shambles, interesting logic.







    Lets start with some facts.PL,the great beancounter,which he is,has just lost £ 40 million in CL money,because he would not give Brendan a couple of million for a CH,which could in all probabilty,have got us through.Would have to be the worst accountant ever.In saying that,was willing to give Brendan that money for a midfielder,Mc Ginn.


    Dont tell me that we have been trying to get a CH in.Fekin Jackanory stuff there.Again,the great bean counter let Brendan put all his eggs in the Boyata basket,and let £9 million from Fulham go.We have made no bids for any CHs,apart from Mc Kenna.If we had,it would have been out there from agents or clubs,as was Mc Kennas.Two years to address the CH position,and in that time we have spent big money ,for us,on anything but.

  25. Sevco won`t be able to rest any players next Thursday so I don`t see why it should be a concern that we are in a similar position ( Without the not inconsequential travel).



    The MSSM constantly praises Sevco whilst being constantly negative about Celtic. Eventually, this has an effect on many in the Celtic support resulting in a diminishing of confidence. As players do not live in a vacuum, they, too, begin to lose confidence.I believe that is the intention of the MSSM. I don`t believe it is the intention of the authors of the many negative posts but the outcome is the same. The gap between Celtic and The Establishment team closes.






    Is your head on right? Tell me….BR walks, who do we replace him with, give me 5 names, 5 who are better, 5 who would work with our beyond anal fiscal prudence.



    Our most successful manager since Jock Stein, being deprived of the tools to do his job, if you want to sleepwalk your way to mediocrity “fans” like yourself are the boards dream.



    When you were a young child did you dream about scoring a winner for Celtic in a cup final or getting excited about our balance sheet? You need to get real and wake up.



    P.S. This isn’t you Lawwell is it?

  27. mullet and co 2 on

    If you move Ajer into the holding role beside Brown who plays Centre Half?



    £1m net spend this summer.



    Down Roberts, Armstrong, Boyata, Musonda… Compper binned, Sviatchenko binned.



    Gained Edouard who was already here and Arzani ( not fit) Morgan (Injured).


    Now we should be shuffling players out of position to try them in the positions we have sold punted and flogged from and not replaced.



    We may have signed 2 centre halves in Jan but only 1 plays and we have pissed off one who refuses to play and let another go. Net -1 centre half when we needed +1 quality!


    Honestly it’s a joke.

  28. I was going to post something through the course of the summer, but invariably knew it wouldn’t go down well, particularly off the back of our double treble.


    However the signs of our regress were prominent throughout last season. Our Domestic form was dull, and Champions league performances were horrendous irrespective of level of opposition. Our Domestic form last season was spiked by occasional highs. Notably the heavy pumpings over Sevco.



    However what caught my attention was Spain during the World Cup. Watching Spain struggle through all their games, but with particular focus on their game against Russia… it reminded me of an average Celtic vs Kilmarnock game from last season.


    I watched Spain and I concluded I was watching the demise, the death of a team. And further to that the death and demise of a particular brand of football. The possession based tic-a-taka approach.



    Now when Guardiola first took the reigns at Barca, and the great Barca team of that era were tearing up the whole of world football with their style. We soon witnessed Spain mirror the same tic-a-taka approach. Again resulting in a prolonged period of success for Spain. In between times you had “modern day” coaches E.g Brendan Rodgers and the rest, embracing the philosophy and trying to emulate it and their respective clubs.


    Well as the years have ticked by, the Guardiola, tic-a-taka brand has had its day. Even the great man himself has evolved. After managing with Bayern and now Man City, he has struck a balance and has tweaked and altered the pure possession based game.


    Back to Spain. They haven’t evolved. While the world of football has evolved. It was evident at the world cup, the teams that enjoyed success (England included) played a game, where numbers in the opposition box matters. Crosses into the box matter. Set plays matter. The Spain game was the pain game. Pointless possession, players opting out of crossing when a crossing opportunity was on. Players opting out of shooting when a shooting opportunity was on. Is it the players fault… not necessarily, they are coached this way. Ball retention, recycle the ball. Go from left to right. Go backwards.


    As many have eluded to in CQN this style is now predictable. Modern day teams are clued up in terms of defending against this method.


    It is time to evolve Celtic.


    Do not be left behind.


    Lets hope we don’t witness the death of a team, much like Spain.

  29. traditionalist88 on 24th August 2018 1:30 pm



    You lose goals you don’t win games, simple observation. All about priorities, not another Man City project who ain’t proven yet.




  30. SECTION 111,



    I am no Board apologist.Again gibberish from you.”Was Roberts a CH”.WTF is that guff.Ntcham will be away,first offer.We all must have imagined Porto trying to sign him and told,not for sale.Same with Boyata to Fulham.No sale.


    Last answer from me to you.Another bandwagon jumper with no clue.

  31. I also believe that if Hendry and Ajer were playing for any other Scottish club, many Celtic supporters would be calling for us to push the boat out ans sign them. If those two were playing for Sevco, the MSSM would be singing their praises from the rooftops. The result would be an increase in confidence and performance.



  32. Should have just said culpable.


    From lack of commitment in team from custodians and certain players to poor coaching and an ineffective playing system.



    Gary67 Dexter



    Why blame just Kennedy?



    First Team Coaching


    Manager:Brendan Rogers


    Assistant Manager:Chris Davies


    First Team Coach : John Kennedy


    Technical Assistant:Kolo Toure


    Goalkeeping Coach: Stevie Woods


    Head of Performance:Glen Driscoll


    Medical and Sports Science


    Head of Sports Medicine:Tim Williamson


    Head of Sports Science: Jack Nayler


    Club Doctor:Ian Sharpe



    First Team Physio:Jennifer Graham


    First Team Physio: Davie McGovern


    First Team Strength and Conditioning:Alan Baird


    First Team Sports Therapist: Graeme Reid



    First Team Sports Scientist: Will Bergin



    First Team Analyst: John McGlynn


    First Team Analyst: Stephen Gormal


    First Team Nutritionist:Rob Naughton



    We have been producing the same type of performances since beginning of last season.


    What do the analyst’s analyse?


    Since nothing has been done and we continue with our poor system are their recommendations ignored or worse still they see nothing wrong.


    What does our head of performance actually do.


    And with an ever expanding injury list what have Williamson and Nayler done to address a clear issue on repetitive injuries constantly hampering team selection.


    Are the physio’s up to the demands of their remit?


    As for the strength and conditioning coach????The title is an oxymoron.


    And our sports therapist seems to preside over a team that are mentally fragile.


    Who has the responsibility to hold staff accountable?


    Our problems have not just materialised as they were there for most of last season.


    The custodians are being true to form and refusing to allocate a decent budget from a year of record profits.


    Our coach now pointing fingers and failing to recognise his system is failing and adapting in a pragmatic manner.


    A squad that is fragile with no belief at the present time.


    McGregor is a good player but last night he was effectively in no mans land.


    Likewise Rogic against Thistle for most of the game.


    Since they are playing in vital areas why is this?


    A defense that neither attacks the ball or covers space


    A goalkeeper who keeps giving ball away in a possession based system is not helping.


    Are the players failing to understand their role?


    We have a decent squad who are not being managed well and a collective failing at all levels.

  33. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    HOT SMOKED on 24TH AUGUST 2018 1:37 PM



    Hendry was playing for a Scottish club 6 months ago. Did anyone call to push the boat out and sign him?



    The only player plying their trade in Scotland (in recent times) that there have been calls to sign is John McGinn. Obviously those calls were not ubiquitous amongst the Celtic support.

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