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. St PatricksBhoy, Scrolling back saw you ask re Celtic Games in Lanzarote. Obviously all the Irish Pubs there who show football are likely to show them. Up in the old town where the Halpenny Bridge is, there is a pub called the Brendan Behan which has a bank of about 10 Telly’s and on a Saturday show ten different games simultaneously. You will definitely get it there or next door to it in The Blarney Stone. If you are in Matagorda side of town, The Auld Triangle in The Commercial Centre is a Celtic Pub, usually a bit of music and craic there as well in the evenings.

  2. Dallas Dallas where the heck is Dallas on

    Clashcitybhoy, good analysis. I hope all at the club are pulling together to get our team sorted. For Thursday. we really need to keep it tight as best we can.

  3. BCW dude it’s really not very hard.



    The board have managed to persuade vast swathes of the support that is all too hard and scary.



    When your board tells you that the first thing you do is sack them.ypu pay them to be better than that.



    The problem is that there is no goal alignment and that the board hold us in open contempt. The board want to hoard money, the, ahem, customer has the audacity to want us to be a good football team.

  4. I take it for us non accountants, amortisation is the same as Depreciation , and were depreciating players value at a faster pace than expected ( possibly a true value :-))



    Hail Hail

  5. Dallas Dallas where the heck is Dallas on

    Nat know, Sean Fallon is one of our club’s greatest. A great man and Celt


    I’m glad he was given the long overdue credit when he unfurled the league before his sad passing away five months later


    I met him a.number of times


    I just stood there more glaikit than usual and speechless. A wonderful man.

  6. Celticrollercoaster supporting Shay,our bhoy wonder along the way on

    Cowiebhoy on 14th September 2015 10:12 pm










  7. Celticrollercoaster supporting Shay,our bhoy wonder along the way on




    I will let you explain depreciation :-)







  8. Just logged in for a blether, or a wee lurk!



    I only come on here for the abuse!



    If you weren’t such a Johnny come lately you would know what amortisation is, was being discussed on here years ago.




  9. Celticrollercoaster supporting Shay,our bhoy wonder along the way on

    Evening Doc



    You sold any CQN badges yet? I hear Bundoran Bhoy’s daughters out-selling you!:-)







  10. Joe Filipi I gotta challenge your cost view that the truth lies in the middle.



    That’s the excuse of the timid.



    It doesn’t. Celtic are demonstrably getting worse and generally for no reason other than corporate greed.



    You are a fully paid up member of the it’s too hard society.mwhy on earth are we paying PL north of half a million quid for saying it’s too hard….

  11. Lennons Passion,



    I understand now from you and others that Paul67 will never mention the name Pedro and Celtic decline in the same sentence.



    Is there any truth in the rumour the blog will be renamed Lawwellquicknews.co.uk ?



    Hail Hail

  12. I love how when Doc pops out to the kitchen to put the kettle on, cowiebhoy starts bitching behind his back.






    Night Timdom



    HH jamesgang

  13. Amortization is as someone earlier stated depreciation. If we buy a guy for 4 million on a 4 year contract, they would probably write off 1 million a year in amortization. This appears to assume that the guy will leave for nothing at end of contract. Obviously in most cases this does not happen but then again in some cases like Derk or Bangura the initial investment could disappear even quicker.


    I don’t know how they arrive on the figure they charge to the accounts, I assume they have some system of evaluating the value of the squad at any given time.

  14. JOE FILIPPIS HAIRCUT on 14TH SEPTEMBER 2015 9:45 PMBADA BING Do Newcastle not have a manager ? H.H.




  15. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Chairbhoy 9:27


    Good analysis.


    It looks like Ronny has a three step plan:


    1. Set out the style of play he wants. Done.


    2. Get team made up of young Scottish players. In process – SA, GMS, SA, RC.


    3. Get Celtic youth players progressing to first team. This will take a few years.


    Younger players will be more receptive to new ideas than older ones.


    But you can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater so there will be a bit of a mix-and-match for a while and some bumps on the road.


    But looking ahead a few years I am actually really optimistic about things.

  16. Celticrollercoaster supporting Shay,our bhoy wonder along the way on

    Evening Corkcelt



    A team that died about 4 years ago ( can’t remember their name), Spurs and no doubt a few other clubs used to re-value their players upwards ( under brand accounting, I think). So for example they would buy a player for £4m and then revalue then after a short period at £10m, based on their view of the players current value. This was eventually banned due to the manipulation of the balance sheet. This dead team also did it with their stadium to make themselves look solvent.







  17. Glasstwothirdsfull,



    That will take patience and a lot of bottle to withstand the brickbats that will come when the inevitable bumps along the road hit.



    Build it, rather than buy it. Hmmmm.

  18. Bada Bing



    I don’t know if MON did that.



    I do know that the account in Tom Bower’s book has not been challenged in any court, as far as I am aware.



    P 298 to 300.



    Bower’s account is that MON met Peter Ridsdale at his home in Leeds to discuss the job and after one more meeting at his home and two more in London MON accepted, verbally only at this stage. The Celtic Chairman was unaware of the approach but a senior Celtic Director was notified.



    MON later withdrew his oral acceptance: he had watched the David O’Leary debacle/sacking and the sale of Rio Ferdinand to ManUtd for 29.1 million. He would have learned too that Leeds were in trouble financially and planned to sell Robbie Keane, Olivier Dacourt and Lee Bowyer to reduce their debt. Between verbally accepting the job and then withdrawing it, MON had sat in the same television studio as David O’Leary for the South Korea/Japan World Cup for ITV. Avoiding the embarrassment from that was the main reason that Ridsdale delayed sacking O’Leary until after the World Cup.



    All in Bower’s book.

  19. Phil is on form tonight…



    The rest, as they say, is sub judice.



    Well oul Imrad Ahmad – seems to have a problem with the twelve guid men an true? Of course we have wimin a awe’ now a’days.



    Galsgow’s Green & White but Imran’s bigot-dar seems to be functioning – he could always Try a Edin- burrow jury… Don’t seem to keen on that either,



    One, two, three, four… Imran Ahmad knows the score…



    Hail Hail

  20. JFP…



    As for the performance on the park, yes, we have had worse times, with better players I may add.



    The problem we have now is, is a smsm glorifying a hun team that is on the up, whist our team seem to be in demise due to some bad buys and loan deals and a system, one up front, zonal marking with a new defence that look at sorts.



    I don’t expect to win every game, that is too hunish, what I do expect is our manager to be big enough to realise we don’t have the quality to play to his playstation tactics.



    Two up front for me. HH