Defensive and tactical failure


This was a defensive and tactical failure.  Efe Ambrose was slow to follow his man for the first goal (Fraser was the beaten easily, though redeemed himself later).  Efe was also brushed off the ball at the second goal.  Strength in the six yard box is imperative for a central defender.

Mikael Lustig was caught underneath his man for the cross which led to the second goal, a feature of our defending all night.  All he could do was attempt to block the header back across goal, instead of challenge for the ball.  He was also in the wrong starting position, and therefore, unable to stop the cross which led to the fourth goal.

With Lustig and Ambrose already culpable at the second goal, Virgil van Dijk was caught napping.  He may have expected better from his team-mates, but he should have remained alert with the ball inside the penalty area.  The space afforded to Radovic, Virgil’s man, should never have existed.

I’ve no idea why Emilio, our only left back, was omitted from the starting line-up.  He offered balance when he came on, until his late horror show when he was turned inside out, then inside out again, at the third goal.  It was like watching a clip from the 50s, when full backs didn’t know to get tight and close-off one option for the attacker.

Charlie Mulgrew had a nightmare beyond the level of the others, which is saying something.  Two penalty kicks, failing to attack the ball with his man, who headed the third goal, failing to track the run for the fourth, and the debacle which led to possession being lost when Efe was red carded, was a calamitous return.

I’ve heard transfer rumours about everyone who played in defence last night apart from Lustig and Izaguirre.  It looked like the defenders had been listening to them too, and had minds on other things.

The squad’s weaknesses were exposed by Legia.

It’s probably too late to lament the absence of Wanyama, but with Brown again out through injury, we’re short of bite in central midfield, exactly what we needed when the defence was comatose.  Stefan Johansen and Charlie Mulgrew had the senior combative roles, it just didn’t work.  We need to fix this gap as soon as possible.

Ronny got things wrong.

I agree with the manager’s assessment in his post-match BBC interview, the back four didn’t defend as a unit, which is fatal at any level of football, and we didn’t press as a team.  I’ll make no excuses for the defenders, but playing this specific 4-3-3 away from home in Europe was asking for trouble.

If we’re short of bite with Johansen and Mulgrew, we’re shorter still if the third man in the middle is the creative Kris Commons.  Love him, though we do, he is neither a tackler nor a box-to-box player.  The middle three in this formation need to be mobile, covering as much ground as four, sometimes five, opponents.  Johansen, Mulgrew and Commons was wrong on all levels. As a result, the Legia midfield probably had their easiest game of the year.

Callum McGregor delivered a goal, as much as anyone could reasonably expect of him, but this was his first game against top-flight full-timers.  He needs people to ease him into the role.  Jo Inge Berget hasn’t trained with the club, has played only twice since January and there’s a reasonable chance he didn’t know the names of all his team-mates.

If you want to know why we didn’t press as a team as soon as Legia got in amongst us, the clues are everywhere.  Of course we didn’t press as a team.

On top of this, we ran the same Pukki experiment as last year, with the same outcome.  We’ve seen a lot more of this Celtic team than Ronny, who might now be on the same page as the rest of us.

“Anywhere but Warsaw” was title of the CQN article on the day of the draw as this one was entirely predictable, and that was before Legia won in Dublin.  The new manager has yet to get his feet under the table.  The squad are in a state of flux.  We are short of experienced, reliable, players in several positions, and football in July is often a lottery.  There was a chance Legia would capitulate but it was more likely that they would be fitter and better rehearsed.

Seven days is a long time in preseason terms, and as you don’t need me to tell you, we’ve been here before.  Don’t think this is over.

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  1. Frank Ryan's Whiskey on

    Financial prudence or deliberate downsizing? Depends on which side of the fence you sit on, however the end result is the same. A squad of average players who are incapable of competing with equally average European sides. As many have mentioned does anyone really believe that an additional 2 weeks of competitive football would have made any difference to our performance last night? The fact is there is a distinct lack quality in our team. To put it into perspective how much would our top player (FF) be worth even to a team in the overly inflated world of the English league structure, 6 to 7 million tops I guess. VVD 4.5 to 5.5 million and the rest you would be lucky to get more than 1.5 – 2 mill per player. We either decided that we do not want any debt and live with a team comprised of average journey men and gamble on spending much of our limited resources on ‘projects’ the majority of which fail miserably , which is effectively wasting money. Or do we attempt to buy 1 or 2 quality players rather than the conveyor belt of ‘projects’ and loans we have seen over the past few seasons? Buying proven established players is not always successful but in the main is not such a gamble as the projects have been – Vic and FF being the exceptions from a seemingly endless list – VVD jury is still out.



    Me – well I’d be looking at a couple of senior professionals coming towards the end of their careers to inject a bit of maturity, football knowledge and much needed flair to an otherwise bland collection of distinctly average players. Forget all the nonsense of ‘re sale’ value, stop looking at overseas projects and develop our own players and fer feck Ronnie sake buy a proven pen box striker and CB quickly

  2. Big W @ 9.21



    That is the second part of my analysis ans something that ties into comments I made yesterday about our under-developing youth squads.



    The issue of attitude in the now annual CL qualification collapse or near collapse.


    I think a lot of players go into games with a bad attitude.



    They are over confident / believe they have won at “Payroll Poker” so they will win it on the park / under estimate the opposition.



    They go on the park — the opposition put them under a bit of pressure.


    And then they collapse to the point of a football nervous breakdown.



    I think we are very susceptible to this as we do not currently have much leadership and football intelligence in the squad and cannot easily come back from the shock that the poorly paid / unheralded players who are now fighting back and taking control of the game.



    Familiarity helps retrieve these situations in the SPL.


    However in Euro games we can be succoured into a heavy beating.



    I think RD has a lot to learn.



    I don’t think he has ever had to deal with the “flat track bully” syndrome that all to often afflicts us in Euro games with second string / not very famous opposition.



    WGS had a similar issue with AMB in 2005.


    Better players, same attitude, worse luck and a heavier defeat.

  3. cavansam \o/ on

    mullet and co 2



    That’s harsh Mowbray was brutal but Lennon and Strachan were both great managers.



    It’s too early to tell on the new guy but as my 84 year old Dad said last night when I claimed that the result was a “disaster”



    “A disaster was watching the Huns win 9 in a row, and Celtic nearly going out of business, that was a disaster last night was just one of those things, you pick your self up dust yourself off and get on with doing your job”.



    I suppose we forget sometimes the barren 90′s when if we won a leg of a European tie it was seen as a good result, and that of course was before the great EPL monster living next door dwarfing your every action.



    Get on the training pitch today Ronny have it out with the players (and a word with yourself while you’re at it) and then everyone move on.

  4. Turn this around? Don’t think so.



    Calamitous team selection and diabolical defending could have been 8-1.



    Hoping Deila is not Mowbray 2

  5. The Green Man


    I honestly wasn`t patronising ( but I was aware it might look like that) .I was simply saying that your anger should not be misconstrued as anything else. L67`s response shows that I was not out of order in considering such an assumption. Genuinely sorry that my comment came over as patronising.I have no doubt that you are a passionate Celtic supporter.




  6. The Green Man on

    Oh I see….last night was just a freak result, nothing to worry about.


    That’s really put my mind at ease….thanks





  7. The Green Man on

    Jungle Jim



    Jim…im not meaning to have a go at you bud.


    But we disagree…I believe PL and the PLC are responsible for our downward spiral.


    So shoot me.





  8. P67



    Why are half the squad the subject of transfer talk?


    Could the answer be that PL is in full bonus mode and is testing the market?


    Surely RD should have funds right away to mould the squad in his image?

  9. Tontine Tim





    09:59 on



    31 July, 2014





    The Green Man



    09:31 on



    31 July, 2014



    Jungle Jim



    Check the stats on last seasons dwindling crowds after we got mauled in the CL. Sure, there might be people who want to pay to watch Celtic play like they did last night, but im not one of them.


    And theres thousands more who will agree with me.



    * I stood on the terracing at the bigot dome in Pat Crerand’s last game….0-4…..jooked up and had my scarf tied around my waste until I got on the train…after the match went tae ma auntie’s for New Year’s dinner.



    My da and my uncle, my mother’s big brother, great Celtic men both were in the kitchen probably having a few Pat McCluskey’s,.. ma da looked at me and said “you wee at that game”…’aye” ah said sheepishly waiting for a belt roon the ear, I was still in school at the time.



    The oul uncle…well he wisnae oul at he time, rescued the proceedings and said “you going the morra son”, Clyde at Celtic Park…..”nae money left” said I…so he puled some change out of his pocket and said “on you go son… we need supporters’ like you”



    Woke up the next day and the place was a blanket of snow…it was the winter of 1963…and as the song says…”we thought that the world and frizzed”.



    Wished it had snowed the day before.



    There will be supporters there next Wednesday…as that’s who we are.

  10. Muscat_Bhoy1264 on

    Honestly, I really believe that RD is our man. We needed a young, hungry manager who would be motivated to win things at Celtic and make a name for himself. Given his record so far, he ticked all those boxes. Similarly, name other managers with a similar record?



    Tactical mistakes were made, but it doesn’t matter what system you play, if players make such basic errors as Celtic did last night, you will lose, and lose heavily.



    One thing I’ve been obsessed with Alfred Finboggasson, it’s not everyday one of the best young strikers in Europe with one of the best goal to game ratios in Europe says he wants to come to Celtic. The 5 million he would have cost was spent on, Amido Balde, Teemy Pukki and Derk Boerritger, all of whom have hardly played. And, if we can get 5million for Hooper, why couldn’t we have got that from Alfred. It just shows how short sighted some within Celtic are. We were in a similar position with Robbie Keane, instead of buying him we spent the same amount of money on Juarez, Rasmussen, Hooiveld and lots of other players who hardly played.



    Get behind Ronny D, he deserves time, he will make mistakes, but other top managers simply wouldn’t have the motivation to do well at Celtic given all the extra pressure they would be under.

  11. The Green Man


    No problems with disagreements. We would be very strange Celtic supporters if we didn`t disagree!! Anyway, I am off for a bike ride now to ease my misery and also because I am fed up waiting for BRT & H to spill the beans. Let`s hope for an amazing victory next week.


    Cheerio for now,



  12. Paul,


    Agree with your analysis I had pretty much the exact same discussion in the pub last night with Squire Danaher.For me the biggest mistakes were starting with the new guy and KC as a midfielder.Both KC and CM gave the ball away regularly in dangerous positions.



    Without Scott Brown we needed to play a more traditional set up for an away tie.Manager needs to learn and learn fast.

  13. bournesouprecipe on

    Forster – no chance with goals, some vital saves



    Lustig – very poor looked less than fit at RB, invisible when moved to CB



    Ambrose – poor game caught with needless rash challenge – red carded



    VVD – not as good as he thinks he is, especially in Europe against better players.



    Matthews – poor game especially the first half when played out of position



    Mulgrew – see VVD



    Johannsen – very poor game with no right sided midfielders to help him.



    Kayal – petulant fouler due to lateness – booked



    McGregor – embarrassingly – our best player on the night.



    Berget – not surprisingly had a poor debut amongst complete strangers.



    Commons – poor – missed the game changing chance, – subbed



    Griffiths – didn’t contribute when called from bench. – booked



    Pukki – very poor missed his only chance before being subbed.



    Izzaguirre – skinned badly when called from the bench.



    Ronny Deila’s team selection proved as baffling as it looked, and there was no formation to analyse.



    Very bad start in his first competitive game against a decent side.



    That’s all folks.

  14. tomtheleedstim on

    Neil Lennon on BBC 5Live – “that result was coming,theres been no investment in the team”…

  15. Brede Hangeland doesn’t seem too bad a shout now. Experienced player.


    Wages kill it though. top celtic player wage £25k, next £20k. we can’t compete.



    Efe has had a few nightmare moments at Celtic, last night for him means he needs to get RD onside, or CM will be 1st choice CH – oh dear.

  16. The Green Man on

    By any measure….last nights performance was unacceptable.


    If we begin to accept such performances and the freak result platitudes that we are hearing….it will become the norm.


    The greatness of Celtic is being eroded by the PLC.


    And that is why im so angry.


    Am I the only one?




  17. Paul67 – I remember having the conversation with you when Ronny signed about his style of play. Fast flowing 433. It was pretty clear then we lacked the personnel in key areas to make that system work. Don’t get me wrong, this is the system I want to see but at the moment we do not have the athleticism in the middle, or the technique all through the side for this to be successful. Particularly away from home.



    I know the club have a strategy but so does Ronny. Hiring him shows we agree with his vision of how the game should be played. He needs to be backed now and given the tools he needs to build his strategy.



    Until he is backed with the players he needs to fit his footballing philosophy we can expect a lot more of the Jekyll and Hyde stuff performance wise.

  18. Last night was the result of a failure last season on recruiting players good enough to play for Celtic. A failure not to rectify this to date this summer. And a failure of an imbalanced squad that has surpluses of players in some positions (right back, midfield sideways passers, wide players), no completion in some positions (centre back, left back, attacking mid) and a collection of poor quality players who can’t do the job they were bought for in the most important position (strikers).


    The ‘strategy’ is broke because player recruitment has gone wrong in the last year.


    RD has a huge rebuild job and IMO only three of last night’s starters are likely to be first team regulars by the end of the season (Lustig, Johansen, McGregor). Others like Izzy, Matthews May be but are not certs, the rest will be either squad players or gone.

  19. The question is: do we actually want to play in the CL?



    I didn’t enjoy us being hammered by Barca last season. I can’t remember a group stage away game which has been anything other than complete torture to watch.



    The simple fact is that, over the last few season, we have been just about good enough to play in the group stages, but really cannot be considered much more than that. Now, I doubt we can really consider ourselves a CL standard team.



    In addition, we are required to play the most critical games of our season at precisely the moment we are least prepared. It’s a planning and logistical nightmare, and we don’t seem to have worked out a way of overcoming it.



    Personally – and I expect pelters for this – I will not be too unhappy if we don’t qualify, and have to rely on the EL this season. We need to find our level, and build from there.



    Finally, Ronny undoubtedly deserves a lot of criticism for a very naive tactical performance last night. But the people to blame for the debacle are the players, whose performance rarely rose above “abject”. In particular, Charlie Mulgrew looked like he was playing with a debilitating virus or something.



    We all laughed at the Zombies for firing PLG and bringing back the Cardigan. But if the players are taking the huff with the manager because he is training them too hard, or shaking them out of their cosy lives, then we must be prepared to back him over them.

  20. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    Tontine Tim


    10:02 on


    31 July, 2014



    I was at that Ne`erday game too.


    Wee Henderson cracker of a goal just after half time.


    Painful it was.


    The “story” was that Pat was poured into Ibrox just before the game.


    He left Celtic very soon after.

  21. Muscat_Bhoy1264 on

    @ Mad Mitch



    Interesting theory there. Brazil used sports psychologists as did Liverpool last season to try to overcome this. Jim McGuinness the Donegal coach has some role at Celtic but not sure how much he’s been doing with the players. Definitely an issue though, wonder how we’d solve it.

  22. muscat_bhoy1264



    10:02 on 31 July, 2014





    RD is not the issue at the moment, me or you could be in charge of that lot, the team is woeful, I said coming out of murrayfield last week that there is a heavy defeat around the corner, who would ever have thought that Charlie Mulgrew would be a Celtic captain? Scunnered!

  23. Mjallby, Petrov, Lambert, Sutton, Hartson & Larsson.



    I think I’ve been spoiled in years gone by.



    Is my expectations risen disproportionately?

  24. Defensive players and defensive unit was a shambles. Individuals can be blamed for the former but the latter lies squarely with the manager.



    We didn’t look like a team that has gelled. Well, given that one of the men in the spine of the team had barely said hello to his team mates, no real surprise. Again, manager’s decision.



    Paul has already pointed out the flaw of approaching the game in a 4-3-3 format. Enough said.



    There were blokes calling for the manager’s head already last night and this morning.




    Remember Gordon Strachan?



    Anyhoo, on reviewing Ronnie Delia’s early form with Stormgodset on his arrival, I predicted on here that we will be knocked out of the qualifiers due to our away form.



    I also predicted that, given time to adjust to the manager’s tactics, we will come good.



    At the risk of repeating myself, remember Gordon Strachan?!

  25. I awoke at 02:30 this morning and for a moment all was well as I thought I had been dreaming but alas no:((.



    Last night has been in the pipeline for a while,when you cut costs all round this is what eventually happens at some point.



    We now know where we are the question is do those running the club also know or more importantly accept that.



    As much as it’s a downer we will be on the road up soon enough *(hoprfully) and I comfort myself in the fact that when it.s all boiled down it’s a football match and not the end of the world though it seem close at this point.



    We are Celtic and will be on the march again soon enough.



    count your blessings CSC.



    Off into the town ,I may be gone a while train and ye old legs as the roads are closed I hear.



    Stand tall and look them in the eye bhoys & ghirls.


    till later

  26. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on



    10:10 on


    31 July, 2014


    tomtheleedstim @10.06



    Oh dear




    Dead right.


    A very significant observation from one who knows.

  27. All clubs run with a debt. It’s football


    The policy if the last few years ( yes not since Seville but last few years) has been abysmal


    This years transfer window in the build up to the champions was shocking. Can we forgot vic. No we can’t money brought in and not reinvested in the team


    We had a CEO on the eve of a scottish cup tie against Aberdeen saying the club has never been better


    You are a leach lawell


    Go now

  28. mullet and co 2 on

    Why are we in a position where our manager needs to learn? Was he not told by anyone that last nights team selection and tactics where suicide?



    I want to know why £20m of income was gambled on with a new manager who had no clue whatsoever as to how to deploy to give us the best chance of progressing. Instead we had failures all over the park.


    Pass the ball forward aye great but only if there is someone to pass to and your passing is good enough to get to through a packed area.


    Ill say it again 20 million.


    Hopefully that grabs the attention of those interested in money. Maybe then something will be done about this sham.

  29. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    Reasons to be cheerful [ apart from the return of the ole tremblin’ mince]



    -after 35 years of stampin’ out herniated haemorrhoids, scrofula and rangersitis today is my last day of fulltime physic for the ole NHS.



    So as I head for the sun-drenched uplands of retirement I will leave you all with my blessings and the thought that Celtic are 126 years old.



    We have had good results, we have had bad results, we have had some very bad results, but regardless the ole World keeps turnin’.

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