Dropping Gordon was ballsy, now manager has other decisions to make


After the defeat at Ibrox on 29 December, we anticipated changes, but the most significant decision Brendan Rodgers made was the most unexpected.  Celtic’s man of the match that day was goalkeeper, Craig Gordon, without whom the score would have been significantly worse than the 1-0 defeat.  Remarkably, he was dropped and has not played since.

The reason for this has nothing to do with Craig’s ability between the sticks, it gets to the reason we lost control of the game: how quickly and accurately we move the ball.  Despite a man of the match performance, Craig was dropped because Brendan realised our game plan can be easily dismantled if we are pedestrian in possession.

While Scott Bain is better with the ball at his feet than Craig, and Craig’s liability in this area is limited, central midfield was significantly more culpable for what went wrong at Ibrox.

Since then Callum McGregor has been restored to his normal midfield berth, Scott Brown has retained his place and Olivier Ntcham has been absent through injury, so the manager has had no major selection choices to make in this area.  Olivier is now fit and in with a chance of making his first appearance of the year in Sunday’s Scottish Cup tie, while just as we were at Ibrox, we are short at left back, where McGregor moved to fill in.

Brendan has some big decisions to make this week.  A central mid of Brown and Ntcham is not right for the football we play.  In taking the least expected decision, to drop Gordon for Bain, I hope we saw a sign that Brendan values the velocity with which we circulate the ball.

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  1. Talking of Ballsy moves, any odds on Morelos getting another card rescinded? As the ref saw it, what’s the claim?

  2. Making referees declare their allegiances would be a MAJOR BOOST for Scottish football, obviously.



    Imagine the sudden outing of all those ‘undiscovered’ Motherwell, Airdrie, Hamilton, Albion Rovers not to mention St Mirren fans (like Chic Young) that would instantly swell the ranks of bona fide supporter clubs.



    Declaring allegiance is a furphy – what makes us think cheats would respond to that option honestly??




  3. 50 shades of green on

    At least 3 of Gordons saves at the Victorian lavvy were him redeeming himself after a dodgy pass forward.



    Motm my jacksie, Imho Brendan left it far too long to make the change in goals.




  4. QUADROPHENIAN – If a referee grew up in Scotland then it should be easy to establish what team they support. Why lie when there will be loads of people who grew up with them, went to school with them, played football with them etc. who will know the truth.


    A simple Questionaire asking: What team do you support? Do you or did you go to see a particular team on a regular basis? Do you have or have you held a season ticket for any Scottish football team? Are you/were you a member of a supporters club for any Scottish team?



    These documents should then be made available to all the members of the SPFL etc. as a matter of record.

  5. Hi Paul67,



    You are spot on…



    To play 4-2-3-1 or a similar formation you need the players who have the attitude, skill-sets, technical ability and athleticism to perform at the right level.



    Brendan Rodgers has been short on players who fit that bill since he arrived. However a combination of coaching and player selection has enabled us to get there.



    We are playing lovely, silky football at the necessary pace and intensity. It’s great to see. You are spot on, BR must continue to make the tough calls to ensure we just get better at this.



    Thought Broony played a slightly different role and was tremendous on Wednesday.



    It’s interesting that the January signings have come straight in and shown the talent and professionalism necessary to slot straight in.



    This is the quality we need and nails the lie that we cannot scout these players and that they won’t come to Scotland…



    You have got to feel that Calmac is our first choice midfield and that whomever fits into the makeshift left back position means Celtic will not play with the same fluency…



    Hail Hail

  6. Chairbhoy…supermarionation…is that where the brothers Luigi & Mario are from ;-))…as for S.F.A.B….has been covered Por Cierto ;-))







  7. When asked by a reporter for a quick word, Strachan nodded and said ‘ velocity ‘ whilst not breaking stride leaving the befuddled reporter in his wake…:)…random memories triggered by the article .




  8. P67,



    My tuppenceworth….move Toljan to the left where he has played in the Bundesliga and Hendry on the right….rather than playing 2 players out of position

  9. On Paul’s post, after the Sevco game I would have been happy to see Scott Brown head for Australia as he seemed one of the biggest culprits for slowing the game down and negating the faster passing game that Rogic/Christie/McGregor were providing. Brown was at the heart of a lot of the sideways or backward passing game that so many of us were decrying.


    In the last couple of games he has been at the centre of the forward, probing, passing game that has been such a joy to watch.


    Go figure.

  10. Deniabhoy


    Don’t think he looked completely fit that day and wasn’t moving freely .



    A fully fit and match sharp Broony is one of our most important if not thee most important players for our club imo.



    Delighted that he signed the new deal.




  11. DENIABHOY on 8TH FEBRUARY 2019 11:52 AM


    Some good ideas there – they’d be positive steps, which I just cant see the SFA implementing with any haste.


    The other key, however, is that ‘the truth’ rarely comes out in Scottish MSM save for some blogs.


    We know ‘truth’ around their financial distress, the Res12 issue, the honest mistakes, and not much changes.


    And if we think that football is the main reason for their hatred of us, we miss the ‘truth’ of their deep ugly bias.


    Foreign refs (incl Eng, Iri and Welsh) safer bet?

  12. DBHOY – agreed, I was far too hasty in thinking that his time was up. When Rogic regains full fitness, and if Ntcham regains his form . . . picking the best combination from Brown, Ntcham, McGregor, Christie, Rogic and Biton will be tough.

  13. Toljan left back.



    I might get crucified but rest and protect McGregor on Sunday – 50 games already? He’s a fit guy but not a machine. If he becomes unavailable through injury what choice will we have?



    Another change I’ve noticed since December is a much more positive attitude to passing the ball forward quickly. Scott Brown in particular is playing far more forward passes than was previously the case. The horse shoe has largely disappeared except where we have no other options. So, individual players are one thing, instructions and systems of play are another.



    We look a much better team of late and if you take the Ibrox performance out of it I think that extends back further than this run of supposedly favourable home games and the trip to Perth.

  14. One wonders if St J will have much of an appetite for this game. Other than saying that one of these days they might catch us on an off-day, what else can they say?

  15. Deniabhoy


    Don’t think we as a support will fully appreciate his contributions till his time is up.



    Struggled in the early part of his career but once he found his feet he’s been a colossus for us which he maintained for the majority of his time here. Will be a sad day when he hangs up his boots but I’ve got a feeling there’s some more hunskelping left in that bhoy…:)




  16. If anyone has watched that clip Celtic produced on Wednesday, a behind the scenes video, as Scott Brown emerges from the dressing room to start the warmup Calum McGregor is behind him. Calum turns round as nobody else is moving and shouts ‘right lads let’s go’. Calum then swaggers out of the tunnel to start his warm up like he means business. Absolutely brilliant and a real sign of leadership.

  17. glendalystonsils on

    In the jungle , the mighty jungle



    the lion sleeps tonight….










  18. A couple of Bain’s passes under pressure against Hibs were sublime – but oh so close to being intercepted. A fine line . . . .


    Hibs were pressing really high which has caused us a lot of problems over the last two seasons. It didn’t on Wednesday and Bain was one of the main reasons for that. Only in the last 10 mins or so did we look at bit vulnerable due to passes going astray. Broonie gave it away a couple of times, maybe he was tiring after being brilliant for the first 70 minutes.

  19. Ballsy?


    Or long overdue pragmatism by the coach that Gordon could not play in the system and style required?


    The fans had stated such for months.

  20. THELURKINTIM @ 11:54 AM,



    Yes… think it was covered but “behindhand” could be a fairly apt description…



    Like your idea regarding Tolgan, if he’s half as good on the left he should be a shoe-in.



    As regards Scott Brown, old dog new tricks!? I seem to remember him being pretty handy going forward. Think Tony Mowbray who had him at Hibs, brought him on up front as a substitute in Moscow and changed the game. First away game we’d won in the UCL if I recall correctly.



    Think it was Lenny who saw the “Lenny” role for him, where of course he’s been awesome. But he’s always had that forward drive in him…



    Hail Hail

  21. Paul67



    When Brendan was a young kid they must have played with ‘ Backie In’ goalies, and no question Craig Gordon lost his place due to IBrokes where he gave the ball away causing major problems.



    Scott Bain knows why he’s in the side and is milking it with his feet.



    Can’t drop him for the Cup as he helped knock Airdrie out .



    Hail Hail

  22. Alasdair MacLean on

    On the referees debate, I saw the argument about cost of professional referees – and think this would be the main obstacle. Not just wages, but the administration and expenses of controlling the whole operation would be prohibitive.


    How about a swap scheme – among UEFA countries? We send our gallant lads out to other polarised societies, and get theirs in return?


    Every Friday, Sat, Sun, Mon and Wed we’d have refs and assistants flying all over Europe.


    Naa, Just get an agency in, – contractors.

  23. F.U.B.A.R.bhoy on

    I had a wee look back at the reactions immediately after ‘that’ game


    BSR called it straight away BR obviously reads these pages…?





    Celtic were beaten and dominated by Sevco for the first time in history, and had our opponents a striker or marginally better loanees, it would have been much worse. Just let that sink in, a squad assembled without any money has now finally beaten, sleeping Celtic who took nearly 90 minutes to have a shot near the target.



    Outplayed and out muscled Celtic were never in this game, and the eyebrow raising team selection will be dissected for months, but in truth Celtic’s big men let us down big time. Brendan Rodgers played the only cards available, and Callum MacGregor our only consisient midfielder was a racing certainty to have been played at left back in the obvious emergency where BR seemingly couldn’t play Izzy or out and out winger Jonny Hayes.


    Celtic duely obliged with predictable away ‘cave in’ performance reminiscent of the bad old days before Rainjurz died. Father Time and his law of averages caught up with Scott Brown and Mikael Lustig so skinned from the off , he decided a knee in the back was his early bath time, leaving Anthony Ralston to man his post


    Olivier Ntcham, James Forrest. Mikey Johnston, and Ryan Christie, were mugged how reborn Scott Sinclair stayed on the pitch and is a mere reminder of squad deficiency ala summer of 2018, as was the appearance of Ralston. If you can lose meekly at Tynecastle, Easter Rd or Rugby Park and think you’ll hump Sevco in the bear pit whilst Scotland awaits then we weren’t paying attention.



    Soundbites of strikers and new players awaited at Parkhead to out run the hun Sevco will falter in the staright because we still simply out rank them, the chequebook will out, and the world will remain on its axis.


    M.O.M Callum MacGregor ( despite being played out of position )



    p.s. Note to manager : Craig Gordon cannot be allowed to play the ball with his feet so frequently in any game.





    Only got the Chequebook bit wrong ?

  24. Melbourne Mick on

    Hello again all you young rebels.



    No grandkids, wee Grace was at prep school, the weemhan all 6ft 2 of


    him back at senior school so what to do?


    Well after Macjays post earlier today how about watching old vids of


    the mighty Celtic?


    Great idea, and you know even though some of these games were more


    than 40-50 years ago and i was there, remembering wearing the flared


    trousers, in the jungle, and the warm feeling down the back of the ankles


    when somebody needed a pee, and even though the establishment was


    against us we still fought our corner and won the trophys, and i must admit


    there was a wee moisten of the eyes at some points.


    I’m in Oz now, some times i wonder if some of you young dudes appreciate


    what our club means to us, i talk to people here in Oz not soccer minded


    but they know Celtic, they know our ethos, and as i love to remind all the


    reborn Man City fans or a huuuuuge club like West Brom, which club do


    you think your long serving players will ask to play in their testimonials?


    Oh thats right! the famous Glasgow Celtic.


    Hail….Hail the Celts are here…


    H.H Mick

  25. thelurkintim



    Well James Forrest occasionally posts on this site, maybe he will be able to elaborate.


    Cannot recall seeing any reference to this ruling myself.

  26. stephbhoy on 8th February 2019 1:53 pm




    That seems to be the line the Club are holding to at the moment.



    It won’t play well if it gets to court.

  27. UNCLE JIMMY on 8TH FEBRUARY 2019 9:01 AM



    When discussing Res12, one valid complaint was the lack of involvement of the other teams.



    Now, with the ridiculous performance of the SFA referees, there is genuine momentum there. Why then are Celtic being conspicuously silent? Let’s add our voice. Lobby for real and meaningful change. Otherwise, this will get worse before it gets better.



    Note, I’m asking for more from ‘Celtic’. I have no preference whether this comes from dugout or boardroom. With respect, Tom Boyd has made brilliant comments, though is neither.



    Latest blog on Sentinel Celtic https://sentinelcelts.com/2019/02/08/compliance/ picks up on your point and prompted this response I think worth sharing here.







    Anger will be the key but only if it is channelled to a purpose.



    That purpose has to be total reform of a governance organisation that is accountable to no one and so can stoke that anger with impunity.



    In a number of weeks Season Ticket renewal requests will go out from all Scottish clubs and Celtic supporters, if they are angry enough about unfair play, can take a lead by postponing renewal until credible assurances are given that serious steps are being taken to restore the integrity of OUR game and trust in those charged with running it.



    The difficulty is taking the anger off social media to real life and people who have some authority to take a lead.


    The two most prominent Celtic groups are the CSA and CST.


    Become members of both now and ask them to speak on your behalf. They are both well acquainted with Res12 skullduggery, but that is more concerned with off field events than on , where emotions take centre stage and anger can be the lead actor.



    On social media do not criticise those whose loyalty to Celtic and their match going friends makes a decision to postpone a difficult one. Without them those of us who watch from afar would have no team to support.



    However do try to persuade them that their loyalty is being used to protect a corrupt status quo. If they understand that but loyalty wins then respect that decision.



    As far as Celtic are concerned they face a moral dilemma when it comes to ST renewal.


    Can Celtic in all honesty ask supporters to renew if they have doubts about the integrity of the SFA and their failing Judicial Panel Protocol (that’s been sitting on Res12 issues since last July) without at the very least making those doubts public with all the evidence they know exists to support their case?



    In doing so other clubs will be faced with the same dilemma.


    Good! They should be for they are as guilty as Celtic are by their silence for bringing Scottish football into disrepute.



    So by all means get angry but channel it towards Celtic via CSA and CST seeking assurances before ST renewal with the overreaching moral message that might be taken up by other clubs supporters but still has moral strength regardless.



    There has to be a Scottish Supporters for change movement but as the supporters most affected by the way our game is currently misgoverned, Celtic Supporters have to take a lead or remain perpetually angry or walk away from a game and club whose integrity is undeserving of their loyalty.

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