Celtic’s defence has broken records in each of the last two seasons. Last term we conceded 17 goals in 38 league games, an imperious record. This season we’ve conceded nine goals in seven games, a run of form which was already well established before the departure of Virgil van Dijk. So much has gone wrong in such a short space of time it’s difficult to narrow the focus down to a root issue.

Virgil will be a miss, without doubt, but he’s been in attendance for all but the last game of this season, so whatever’s going wrong, we’re not seeing the consequences of his departure yet. We lost Virgil’s junior partner from last season, Jason Denayer, who was replaced by Dedryck Boyata. Dedryck’s contributed to some of the defensive issues: he was culpable for both Inverness goals, for example.

One issue which I couldn’t figure after the Malmo game at Celtic Park, and which re-emerged at Pittodrie, was Mikael Lustig being drawn to the middle of defence, leaving a gap behind him. Jo Inge Berget scored for Malmo after being left unattended, while Aberdeen were unable to punish us from similar situations on Saturday.

Lustig is the definition of reliability, I don’t believe he’s abandoned his duties on the right flank without reason. If Lustig sees his two central defenders in front of the striker when an opponent has the ball on Celtic’s left, he’ll abandon the threat from the right to cover the space the striker has behind Celtic’s two central defenders. This is why we lost the first goal at home to Malmo and could have cost us again on Saturday.

Then there’s the goalkeeper. We’ve debated how a high ball into the six yard box should be the keeper’s ball, defenders should not be running back towards their own goal and challenging in an area where the keeper should win the ball, or take a foul.

There was a bit of shock when we lost goals like this from set-pieces against Malmo, but Aberdeen’s second goal was inexplicable. When the free kick was taken, Craig Gordon was standing on the spot where Paul Quinn met the cross from a moment later. If he stood still, the ball would have hit him. Instead of claiming the ball, Craig backed off and was stranded on his line as Quinn side footed the ball into the net.

Defenders shouldn’t be in this area. The goalkeeper should come out, knowing his own men will not get in his way, and that he can claim the ball unless he’s fouled by an opponent.

If all is going wrong in front of him, a goalkeeper should still be claiming balls into his six yard box, so Craig Gordon is without doubt not prepared when corners and free kicks have been fired into him, but I suspect more than this is going wrong.

It’s impossible to tell from the outside what’s actually going on in a defence but two key aspects of any defensive unit are trust and communication. You need to know where team-mates and threats are, and you need to know that you can rely on team-mates to do what’s necessary. I have my doubts that either have existed in any measurable quantity this season.

Where does authority lie?

Last season Virgil was Celtic’s defensive authority. He had a new central defensive partner, a new goalkeeper, and he was one of our best players, so the lines of authority were clear. This season nothing has been clear. The whole world knew Virgil was leaving last month, while he had another new partner, who had made a career total of 32 appearances. Dedryck has a lot to learn about the game, he’s going to need mentored, and unlike last year, when Jason arrived, his senior partner was in his final weeks at the club.

The full back positions are another area of concern. Emilio was dropped for two European away games, as we publicly looked for and then signed a left back, while Mikael Lustig returned to the team after a lengthy injury, before picking up a minor injury.

With all that going on, problems should not be a surprise, although it’s disappointing that this far into the season we’re still not cohesive. Ronny has some big decisions to make for Amsterdam.


While all else can go wrong, the work of the Celtic Foundation continues to amaze. The photos of Celtic Park Haiti, which opened this week, a product of the Foundation’s work in the country, is a phenomenal monument to the work of Celtic fans. Well done.

You have just one more day to bid on our hospitality auction for the Foundation, take a look here on ebay. You can win hospitality at the Walfrid and attendance in the Directors’ Box for three people for Sunday’s game against Dundee, courtesy of club sponsor, Intelligent Car Leasing.

It’s a genuinely special prize, thanks to Intelligent Car Leasing for their support. Good luck with your bids.

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  1. “on Sunday” – Saturday, gah!



    What’s up with Simunovic? Is he likely to start against Ajax?

  2. Stick together Celts,


    we are all Celtic fans,


    pretty harsh read at points with the ad hominem attacks.


    Everything is up for debate


    the board,our accounts,our course,


    our team,our tactics,our play.our passion


    its all up there to be questioned.


    but do it for the betterment of Celtic.


    that means respect first and foremost for your fellow Celts.


    it makes for a better blog.



    back oot to the rain :-)






    Dublinbhoy on 14th September 2015 3:06 pm







    I see Johann Mjallby has left the Bolton setup…any chance we can get him back to CP to sort out our unbelievably bad defence





    – ———-





    Good plan. Who would you play him alongside? :-)






    Ha, very good!



    Bringing in Lenny, Henrik and with Mjallby would be a good start! If Ronny was a player he would be dropped back to the Development team.



    Much prefer to hear the thunder than the stupid roar. :)



    Hail Hail

  4. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    Is Leigh Griffiths` only defence to claim that he was not saying the Ref was biased but actually saying that Celtic players did not hound the Ref the way the Aberdeen players would have? He could be in for a lengthy suspension.




  5. What is the Stars on

    This morning I shot an elephant in my pyjamas


    How the elephant got into my pyjamas I’ll never know.


    Anyhow,enough of pyjamas ….Its the elephant in the room that we must address



    Ronny must go.the sooner the better

  6. twentyfirstofmaynineteenseventynine on




    Theyve only got a 100% record as we failed to take anything from them, dont see what we couldnt do about that


    Think personally that they wanted it more than us and its time for a few of our much lauded players to get their collective fingers out of their erses




  7. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Winning Captains 4:02


    Will this fix the problem of continually getting logged out? Becoming a bit of a pain.

  8. The product on the pitch has been downsized since MO’N left.


    The product in the dugout has been downsized since MO’N left.


    Every aspect of the club has been downsized apart from, fans admission prices, and directors bonuses.


    The downsizers have put a product onto the pitch and, into the dugout which has chased away 25,000 Celtic supporters from the stadium.


    The problem…isn’t…the downsizers, it’s the folk who pay the downsizers.


    So, instead of looking around, wondering who to point yer finger at…look at yourself.


    Just think about that for a minute…please.


    It’s ‘not’ the board!


    It’s ‘not’ DD!


    It’s ‘not’ PL!


    It’s ‘not’ RD!


    It’s ‘not’ the team on the pitch!


    It’s ‘you’….who, in all innocence and well meaning…faithful-through-&-through…hand over the money which fuels this monster which has…chased away 25,000 Celtic supporters from Celtic Park with, that figure likely to rise.


    There’s a saying that goes…”You’ll kid someone on once then, they won’t be back!”


    But, here in looney land….Celtic supporters have been getting the pish ripped out the since, MO’N took us to Seville.


    The board thanked Martin O’Neill for taking us to our 1st European final in 33 years by, treating him to a – Michael Gray transfer window.


    They did that on ‘your’ behalf.


    So, what’s it to be?


    Keep being mugs or….get clued up?


    Davie Provan once said that – “The most important person at ‘any’ club, has to be the manager.”


    Well, it hasn’t been that way at Celtic Park since the day’s of Martin O’Neill…the last time that, Celtic Park was full every week.


    How many foreign-agents dump dodgy players on Warburton?


    Back to sleep….powerful meds….off oot. YNWA.



    Just a thought.

  9. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    Among the disagreement in the posts of the last two days, one thing is crystal clear. Celtic supporters are no different than most supporters of most teams. If CQN is a reliable barometer, we have lost any claim to being the `win, lose or draw`supporters we were once recognised as being. I suspect that was never really the case.




  10. Up Over Goal- you just beat me to it,i was going to reply to T29,that ,granted he hasn’t had a lot of game time,Ciftci is not a better player than Stokes IMO.HH

  11. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    Kev J


    “Well, it hasn’t been that way at Celtic Park since the day’s of Martin O’Neill…the last time that, Celtic Park was full every week. ”


    The ONLY time CP was full every week (if it was). The Lions did not get great crowds.


    Anyway, I wish you all the very best and I admire your fighting spirit.


    Cheerio for now,




  12. What is the Stars



    So, after a brief dalliance with the Ronny believers, you’re back to ‘Ronny out’?



    All the while, I’d been nursing my wrath to keep it warm.



    Get your hot, buttered wrath right here, CQN!



    Furthermore –



    Have most of us tumbled to Johansen being rubbish yet?



    Good stuff.



    Next stop on the ad hominem list – Griffiths.



    Better than ad homonym attacks on the ‘bored’.

  13. KEVJUNGLE on 14th September 2015 4:47 pm



    With more or less full houses across MON’s tenure we lost an accumulated £40m. Or £8m/season on average.



    In order to maintain that level of spending. Never mind cope with the crazy inflation that was just around the corner football wise. We’d have had to put up season tickets by an average of £150. I think at that point my season ticket was still less than £300. Let’s say for the sake of argument prices would have had to jump 30%. I’m not sure I’d have paid it.



    No more than I’d pay £600/season now to see an improvement. That’s what that represents.



    Or to put it another way if we were still selling out the up coming Hearts game, which I believe is £29/ticket would now be £40.



    Do you think those prices would see us sell out the stadium with a team of similar quality as MON ended with? Maybe but I’m not so sure.

  14. the glorious balance sheet on

    I got my first season ticket in the Hampden season 94/95 but after 20 years and all of my adult life, I didn’t renew this season.



    I missed more games than I got to last season due to work and family commitments. The Sunday games and lunchtime TV rescheduled fixtures didn’t help with that. Normally I don’t mind paying for the season tickets if I know I might miss a few games, the money still goes into the club, but this time around, fully expecting Europa lge football and hence more Sunday games, I couldn’t justify paying over 1000 quid for something that wouldn’t be fully used especially when I’m concerned that this money would probably be used towards the loan acquisition of projects from the EPL development squads that wouldn’t advance the club in any way.



    The thing is I still get emails from the club imploring me to renew my season tickets…but no contact from them asking why I haven’t done so.



    I don’t know if my experience is typical of lapsed season ticket holders but I would have thought the club would have made some effort by phone or email to find out why people aren’t renewing their season tickets.



    Maybe they wouldn’t like the answers given but I would have thought any well run business, especially one in football with the emotional attachment that goes with it, would like to find out why they are losing customers/ season ticket holders.

  15. !!Bada Bing!!



    I can only assume there’s been a major falling out between Stokes and the coaching staff. He might be stressed out after following their dietary advice, not mention being played at LM or dropped, while golden boy Johansen is picked no matter what.



    I understand there was an offer from Bolton to take him, but Celtic wanted money. A pity for Stokes & Lenny both.

  16. An Tearmann are you nuts that kind of logic will never catch on. I’m off to celebrate the burying of a very good man H H Hebcelt

  17. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on



    I don`t know what other Clubs are like but in my experiences , Celtic are dreadful when it comes to communication with the support. The great majority of emails I receive from Celtic are to do with sales.There is massive room for improvement in this area.




  18. the glorious balance sheet on 14th September 2015 5:07 pm



    I was close to the same decision. Then 1 of the boys (shortly followed by the other) decided they wanted to go every week. So I signed up again.



    It’s the best. If you can I suggest you take a couple of under 10s along. They just want to see the game. Ask when we can go to the ‘big party’ (the GB) and if we lose or draw it’s a ‘never mind, we’ll win next time’.



    No board politics, worries about who’s getting selected and why. Just enjoying the good play and a ‘good try’ if it doesn’t quite work out.



    Anybody that’s no longer enjoying it find a young fan to take along. It’ll increase your enjoyment immensely.

  19. An Tearmann



    Can’t argue with any of that at all.



    In fact, I’d endorse it all.



    Hope you are well.




  20. What is the Stars on

    Up Over goal



    I never liked Ronny but I was happy that he won the league last year.This time last year I didn’t think he would.


    His performances in Europe have generally been woeful.


    Once he won the league last year the reality always was that he would be given another chance to crack the champions league .


    Again woeful,I dread these Europa League games,I really hope we don’t get a proper doing


    But look if you are happy with Ronny,good for you,


    There are no new ideas in football and when someone comes along to a successful football team and says he is going to bring in revolutionary new ideas on fitness and diet and will play fast attacking football…surely alarm bells start ringing.The man is a spoofer.


    Keep your lentil soup Ronny,give me a pint and a kebab after training any day.


    Actually give the players pints and kebabs before and during training it might improve them

  21. BIGYINMILAN on 14TH SEPTEMBER 2015 1:27 PM



    Hi BIGYINMILAN i am from the Valley went to ST Marys and ran about the Butney when i was younger.



    do you drink in the Ramshead?




  22. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Ronny is trying to revamp the whole club bringing in more Scottish players and loaning out players to get them experience .He is changing the players diets and improve fitness also the way the team shape up on the park.Now we have only lost one league match so far this season so why the panic.It is a huge task for a young manager and of course he will make mistakes now and then we all do.Given time Ronny will improve Celtic but he needs two things which are time and support and if the support turn against he will not get the time to revamp our club.So Bhoys lets be patient and give him a bit more time and judge him at the end of the season until then lets get right behind him and the team the MSM will try to turn us against him and give there praise to the bread man and the deid team dont fall for it we are Glasgow Celtic Supporters Faithful through and through. H.H.

  23. Last Europa League game is on December 10th. If we don’t get through, I think we have to accept that Ronny isn’t able to get enough out of his squad, unlike say, NL or WGS, even if they had better squads.



    There is little evidence to say he is the man to put the hun down again next season.



    I hate 4-2-3-1. at least the way we play it where the players need to catch a bus to get up the field.



    I remember Jim McLean talking about getting crosses in ultra early so defenders were always running towards goal and weren’t set. We send a postcard telling defences we’ll be attacking in 5 minutes.



    If he persists with 4-2-3-1, I’d like to try Stokes on the left, Leigh on the right, Commons in the middle, and I suppose Ciftci up front. Four players that only think about attacking rather than halfway houses like Armstrong.

  24. RWE,



    Good to see you back and posting…..


    Duckies not looking good this week.


    Car/van/ state inspections due :<(


    Hope to chat with you soon.

  25. ibleedgreenandwhite1 on

    Joe Fillips Haircut



    I’m not a happy bunny at the moment,team selections baffling,mulgrew,Ambrose continually played despite continually showing they are not good enough,players being played out of position( Jo Hansen) instead of just playing guys from the bench,Commons,Janko etc



    Having said all that the meeja are pouncing on our first league defeat of the season as an excuse to put the boot into Ronnie/Celtic,,,,f##k them,we need to get our heads down starting on Thursday!!!




  26. Given that Denayer was on the move the early signing (not a loan) of Boyata was an indication of thinking ahead .



    However the lad is having a bit of a nightmare start and quite a few goals can be attributed to him.



    I could look for solace in the memory of Larrson giving the ball away to Chic Charney but Boyata does it with alarming frequency.



    What is needed is a commanding CB who wins everything in the air and knows exactly where row z is.



    I’d much prefer the cultured VVD but now we have to find that commanding figure.



    The new lad might turn out to be it. Someone who saw him says he is top drawer, so fingers crossed.



    Winning teams need a spine. Goalie, CB, CF physically and mentally. Without a spine the peripherals starve.



    We have already rightly ruled out PL for any of those positions (joke lads) Mjalby is too old as is Bobo.



    Are there any Jock Stein types playing away in some Welsh league equivalent?



    They are easy to scout There is a man shaped hole in the wall next to the entrance to their ground.

  27. the glorious balance sheet on

    Joe filippi’s haircut 5.23pm-



    I think it’s the manner of the Malmo and Aberdeen defeats that has people questioning things just now. How many saves did we force their keepers to make over the 2 games? Did we ever look like scoring from open play?



    I don’t buy this myth that Ronny is trying to reshape the club around Scottish players either. 17 players have been signed since he came to the club, of which 4 are Scottish.



    If he is judged at the end of the season and is deemed to have failed then we go through European qualifiers next season with a new manager inheriting ronny’s failed squad. There’s only one way that is likely to end….failure to qualify. Can we afford that again?



    My opinion would be to judge him on the 6 Europa games. If we keep shipping goals in these games then he needs to be punted come December regardless of whether we are top of the league. To keep shipping goals in these games would tell me that he hasn’t learnt a thing from Warsaw Zagreb Salzburg etc

  28. One thing about Ronny is that he consistently makes bad substitutions. Quite often Managers will pick the wrong team. The Mourinho’s and Van Gaal’s of this world do it all the time. What matters is being able to change the game with personnel and tactics. In this respect Ronny has been utterly hopeless so far. His inability to see what is happening in the game is shocking. Why not bring Commons on when they went down to ten, it was screaming out for him. A blind man could see the game was too open at 2-0 in the home leg against Malmo and something had to be done. It happens time and time again. When the flow of the game goes against us when to we ever change it? Why do we keep committing suicide by bringing Efe on. He has cost us so many times yet we bring him on and he gives away fouls and corners and creates utter havoc in the defence. FFS sort it out.



    I like Ronny and am still behind him but it’s time to start getting it right and quickly.

  29. Joe Filippis Haircut on 14th September 2015 5:23 pm – See more at: http://www.celticquicknews.co.uk/defenceless/comment-page-4/#comments



    i agree with most of what you say particularly the time required to revamp the whole club but my one niggling concern is That Ronny does not appear to possess the knowledge where it is required most, tactically on the field. The tactical errors have been very evident throughout his tenure, yes he has got some right but on the whole there have been some serious errors of coaching judgement and unfortunately he is continually repeating them. These next couple of months are critical for Ronny I for one hope he succeeds but I now have serious doubts.

  30. coolmore mafia on 14th September 2015 5:32 pm



    I agree with most of your post,but we won’t see the best of Armstrong until he is played in his right position,currently occupied by Johansen…….

  31. Thing is, if Ronny left, chances are we would get another ‘project ‘manager again, rather than an experienced manager.


    Sam allardyce, Paul Lambert….this is the calibre we should be going for, and making it impossible to turn down.

  32. Wow, Just read that guy Imran Ahmed from Sevco on bbc website….Really gives it heavy to ahemRangers And Police Scotland, worth a read, well it cheered me up a bit anyway..m