Deciding to win, talking a good game


I spent a lot of time last season defending Stefan Johansen. His goals, goals created and interceptions stats were incredible. He needed defending because apart from when he was scoring or creating goals, lots of his work was done off the ball. Those who take note of off the ball work, his direct opponents, voted him Player of the Year (those who follow the ball, or action on TV, miss lots).

This season’s been different, none of the markers he put down a year earlier have been met. I don’t have enough information to explain why this is, so I’m not going to absolve the player from responsibility, but what we got from him on his return to Norway on international duty was the talking part of a good game:

“I am dissatisfied with the way I was playing”

“But in recent months I have felt my rhythm is better and that my body is good”

Perhaps more importantly:

“We are going to get those two trophies [league and Scottish Cup]. We have decided to do that.”

You very occasionally hear players talk in those terms – “deciding” to win. I remember writing up that Fraser Forster “decided” to make the England World Cup squad. He made his mind up, put the vagaries of form and fortune out of his head.

The commitment from Fraser in the year-or-so before the 2014 World Cup was enormous. He worked harder than any Celtic player. Enormously harder than some. That’s how you decide something which isn’t actually your decision.

Stefan has a lot of work to do to get back to where he was a year ago. Only he can decide if the time for talking off the park is over.

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  1. God to SJ for saying this.


    If he can reproduce it on the park then fair play to him.


    It might even make others up their game which is badly needed.


    Here’s hoping.

  2. traditionalist88 on

    If int’l friendlies just don’t do it for you, Chile v Argentina tonight, 11.30pm CP time. Argentina have started poorly and need a win.




  3. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar - Sack the Board - Lawwell Out on

    Hi Paul67



    Have you any comment / insight on Res 12?



    You have seen the discussion and angst on here.



    Interested on your views of the issue, and the Board’s apparent stance.






  4. Hunderbirds are Gone on

    We seem to be living in a period that may be looked back upon as the time that competitive professional football died. Corruption and dishonesty are rife within the worlds’ governing bodies, and now the biggest clubs in Europe look to bring about changes in the structure of European competition that will guarantee that the same 8 clubs will be UCL Quarter-finalists every year.



    Sad really.


    In The Flowing Tide.



    My Dad bought me my first pint in Dublin,in the same place his Dad bought one for him.



    Just past the GPO. Coupla photies taken,because that building is why we are here.




  6. TBJ has no trust in the PLC on




    You have refrained from any real comment on res 12 …



    Any particular raisin; )

  7. I agree that SJ hasn’t been the player he was last season but I don’t think he has been as bad as some have made out. In fact, I have felt that recently he has been playing a lot better.

  8. Come back Jason, Glasgow awaits your return, surely it was better than this?





    Man City defender survives THREE suicide bombings in the space of 10 days



    It’s been a tumultuous few weeks for Europe after several suicide bombings wrecked Turkey and Belgium.



    Last week Ankara and Istanbul were targeted in the space of six days, claiming the lives of 37 and 36 people respectively.



    And on Tuesday, 34 people were killed in Brussels after ISIS insurgents detonated their suicide vests at the city’s international airport and metro.




    Amazingly, Manchester City defender Jason Denayer has survived all three attacks in the last 10 days.



    Denayer is currently on loan at Galatasaray and was with the squad to play Genclerbirligi in Ankara on March 13.



    He then returned with his teammates to Istanbul against city rivals Fenerbahce when the next suicide attack happened on March 19.



    And Denayer was also part of Marc Wilmots’ Belgium squad in Brussels two days ago, with next week’s international friendly against Portugal moved from Brussels to Leiria.

  9. PEAT OF ISLAY on 24TH MARCH 2016 12:34 PM


    Lennon will be manger on Monday, May 23rd 2016.



    Good, as long as it’s not as manager of Celtic

  10. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    RIP Johan Cruyff.


    For me he has contributed more to football than any other single person.

  11. Glasstwothirds and parkheadcumsalford,



    I agree. He’s nowhere near as bad as some make out.



    True that he hasnt kicked on from his cracking season last year but our goals seem to dry up when he’s missing bizarrely enough…killie , hearts, Dundee.



    The humping of Hamilton being a rare exception.





  12. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on



    I am in general agreement with the main comment of most of your posts. You are not alone in disliking the negativity on here.





    I believe football is much more than `just` a game. Snakes and Ladders, Ludo, snap, those are games. That aside, you are another poster with whom I often agree.



    JohanCruyff. That came as a surprise. How old was he? He was a wonderful player.





    PS ….and, in the sense you used it, `just` is pretty meaningless.

  13. Hunderbirds are Gone on

    I remember watching Cruyff at Celtic Park in the 2-2 draw in 1982.


    Even then his skills remained undiminished………..


    ……… As a referee, he was in the refs ear all night.





    Sad to hear of Johann Cruyff.



    What a player,not many have a move named after him.



    When we played his Ajax side in 71,wow. But for two late goals,who knows. But he was really an unknown then.



    By the time he was on the world stage,no-one around came near him.



    Messi had his Ronaldo,Puskas his Finney and even Jinky had his Bobby(!)



    But Cruyff was peerless in his era.



    Great memories,including watching Celtic being torn to shreds 2-2 in 82.



    Still canny believe we won-but we did!



    R I P

  15. An Teach Solais on

    Auldheid @10.47 pm on 23rd.


    This is the message which I sent early this morning but seems to have disappeared in the internet ether- perhaps a portent for other ethereal institutions.


    Thank you for your, as always courteous response which to some extent allays my fears ‘re submission of Resolution 12 being timebarred.


    The suggestion which hI was trying to make (albeit badly) was that among our support we have many linguistic scholars who could translate the points eloquently made as to the necessity of a submission to UEFA into eg French, German, Italian etc which could be distributed to Swiss media on the expected date of submission, preferably at a media conference outside EUFA Palace.


    Hopefully in due time we shall be advised as to the reasons for the lack of support from our Board.


    Thanks for all the hard work being put in on our behalf by you and your colleagues. Vinceremos.






    k of support

  16. Stefan J is a very good mid-fielder – when hes on his game. At his best he is an energetic aggressive all-action player , a good passer ,tackler ,and can score some goals. But he then seemed to get a bit of an attitude problem , became a bit dirty and niggley and he then completley lost his form.


    There have been signs more recently that he is starting to regain his form . A big bonus for the team with the league and cup ready to be collected.

  17. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    Geordie and Glasstwothirdsfull,


    Funnily enough, I was not all that impressed with the bold Stefan last season. Loads of effort but not my kind of player. His stats showed that he was very influential so I stood corrected on his effect on the team. This season, I thought, ach, I was right the first time! Now, though, I am changing again and feel we need his aggressive approach in all our games; particularly as Broonie has yet to regain his pre-injury form.




  18. Logged in to say many happy returns to the one& only Roy Croppie, not forgetting Lucy.



    To all in Dublin or planning to go. Enjoy and stay safe. HH.

  19. eddieinkirkmichael on

    Just checked the criteria for semi finale tickets. Not missed a game in cup run but unfortunately got tickets off others for each round so don’t qualify, I’ve been to more than 3 away games but again didn’t get my tickets through club so again miss out.


    Ah well carry out and watch it on the tv it is.

  20. saltires en sevilla on

    Johann Cruyff, now there was a fitba player and then some…



    One of the football greats who graced Celtic Park a few times.



    God rest him.

  21. Johan Cruyff Rip



    What a footballer,the total footballer


    What a team in Ajax,total football,my most favourite team outside us,those 3 years of big cup wins in early 70s raised the bar with everything



    His impact in restructuring football for Ajax and Barcelona is still resounding today.


    His impact on football awesome,i just cant think of what football would be like if he had not been about



    Rip Johan Cruyff,god bless you and thanks




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