Elite thinking and game management the difference


For much of the first half, I thought Newco played well against the champions. In the opening 30 minutes Celtic only created one clear-cut chance, a crisp movement which presented Kyogo with millisecond to fire a shot at goal from 8 yards, which went straight at Butland.

In return, Fabio Silva had a shot from a tight angle which went narrowly wide and really should have got a free header on target. The much-maligned loanee was key to much of what worked for Newco during that period.

Shots peppered in from Celtic.  Callum McGregor, Reo Hatate, James Forrest and, of course, Matt O’Riley all tried their luck from around the edge of the area (or further out, in the case of Reo).  It was a controlled finish from O’Riley from 16 yards which burst the game into life.

James Tavernier needlessly gave away possession deep inside the Celtic half.  It was an unforced mis-pass but not a culpable one.  Even the greats don’t always find their target destination. What then happened explains the difference between these two closely matched teams.

Callum McGregor ran past three Newco players into space down the Celtic right. He then spun 270° to see Matt O’Riley run past the same players into an unlikely empty space inside the Newco box.

It was a lesson on the dangers of ball watching, although O’Riley in particular deserves credit.  His run was tracked by Barisic, until O’Riley figured this out and checked his run.  Matt had already narrowly missed the target at Butland’s left twice but on this occasion found the bottom corner of the net to give Celtic the lead.

Newco match Celtic in so many areas and even spend more on player wages, but a few seconds in a game where elite level thinking comes up against standard grade grunts is all it takes to decide the outcome of a season.

Tavernier escapes too much criticism for the first goal but he was wholly culpable for the second. Cameron Carter-Vickers epic pass to Daizen Maeda was controlled expertly. Tavernier ambled towards play, giving Daizen time to get the ball under control and get a run on the defender.

His cross was met by the unfortunate Lundstram. Like Tavernier three minutes earlier this was just an unfortunate mistake, but Lundstram was one of the four statues McGregor and O’Riley waltzed around for the opener, and his afternoon was about to get a lot worse.

That should have been that but the old adage, the most dangerous time is just after you’ve scored a goal, came true. Alistair Johnston was isolated facing Silva and Barisic on the right, the latter pitched a cross at the back post for Sterling to head back into the six-yard box. It was a well worked goal, Celtic’s mistake was allowing Johnston to be isolated.

My pre-match prediction that Silva and Cantwell would be carded missed the mark, the former behaved himself and the latter spent the afternoon getting his tints done. Spotting a vacancy, Lundstram lunged into Alistair Johnston’s shin with studs up. Referee Willie Column missed the severity of the challenge in real time but VAR interceded and the first half ended with the red card waving at Newco’s midfield enforcer.

The better teams don’t always win at football because chance conversion is relatively low and occurs randomly. This was the only real danger to Celtic in the second period. They should have increased their lead. Adam Idah shot wide and on another occasion didn’t see the ball until it was too late.

Daizen Maeda could easily have remained onside and in acres of space for the second of his two goals disallowed for offside.  Nicolas Kuhn’s mazy run past two defenders deserved better and goodness, what price a reliable penalty taker!

In return, Newco threw the kitchen sink at Celtic but were unable to craft an attempt on target. Those of us who remember the 80s, with our perma-attack tactics and the memorable occasions when we lost a late equaliser chasing a goal we didn’t need, were happy to see all those green and white jerseys protecting Joe Hart’s goal.  Game management won out.

The final whistle was a genuinely joyous moment. The title is not concluded yet and the consequences of what has happened this season will take years to unfold. All for another day!

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  1. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    TOM MCLAUGHLIN on 13TH MAY 2024 11:50 AM


    Reading the number of comments about the incident, it seems to have taken 2 days for a lot of supporters to even notice the seriousness of the foul so how can you now blame the ref for not seeing it that way at the time?






    Tom, it’s taken most of us 2 days to sober up!

  2. forget winning fitba games, what is important for thems today is a new strip ub time for the marching season –



    Rangers’ new 2024-2025 third strip will return to orange. Footy Headlines can exclusively leak.

  3. Never thought Cantwell would start at the weekend.



    His agent should be busy seeking out alternative arrangements.



    Huns are neither a compact unit nor good at the long ball thingy and for good measure rubbish at trying to rumble up the opposition.



    If they persist with paying big bucks for essentially big lads that run about , then no change from them. Better to become a football team but that will take too much money and really their fans don’t want to watch that kind of play anyway




  4. bigrailroadblues on

    Good afternoon all from Ballyconnell, County Cavan. Time for a spot of luncheon with the small doll.

  5. the long wait is over on

    V minor gripe here – and maybe it’s just me – but can we get the league table on the right updated?



    It’s 3 games out of date – even the BBC aren’t that slow to show our wins…




  6. There was a marked gap between the sides imo. Time after time, one team plays football, the other fouls with almost complete impunity and go long ball at every opportunity.



    We deserved to win handsomely on a day where any win would have done.



    I read BR hitting back at some of his critics in the aftermath of the match. What our manager had to put up with this season from within and outside the Celtic family was ridiculous.



    It’ll be interesting to see if some of these critics have it within them to retract and apologise. For another day, perhaps.

  7. So Collum missed the severity of that “challenge”? That was scarcely possible. And he did nothing about the elbow on Reo but yellow carded Daizen for celebrating with the crowd. How much longer will we have to put up with this referee?

  8. Hrvatski Jim on

    According to the Scotsman, the 10 best-paid players in Glasgow are:


    Callum McGregor £1,924,000/


    Connor Goldson £1,924,000


    James Tavernier £1,560,000


    Ben Davies £1,404,000


    Cyriel Dessers £1,404,000


    Danilo £1,352,000


    Kemar Roofe £1,352,000


    Jack Butland £1,300,000


    Cameron Carter-Vickers £1,248,000


    Kyogo £1,248,000



    £8,944,000 Rangers


    £4,420,000 Celtic



    Rangers 102% more on this list.

  9. Prestonpans bhoys on

    HRVATSKI JIM on 13TH MAY 2024 12:48 PM



    I mentioned that on SC this morning, the most notable wage was for Goldson although to be fair you not only get a CB but also a goalie🙃

  10. Hvartski



    Scary how mismanaged they are.



    Buying players at peak and selling on for less value whilst paying top dollar.



    Seems they have learned nothing.



    It also shows how difficult it is to recruit good level oven ready players ….. even when throwing money at it.

  11. Very generous to newco Paul.



    the stats tell a different story to “two well matched teams”

  12. I was one of those who didn’t want BR back. Not because of how he left, that’s football and not because I didn’t think he is a great coach… I didn’t want him back because I always feel that players or managers returning after a very successful spell seem to struggle to recreate what they had before. I didn’t want Neil back for the same reason… obviously delighted to be proved wrong with BR and looking forward to see what he will achieve if he gets some players in and a fit squad…

  13. Hrvatski Jim on




    I originally typed (sic) after Davies, Dessers, Danilo and Roofe but decided that it was not necessary as most people would not be astonished at their stupidity.

  14. Assuming we do prevail


    And win league this week then they could have a chance at qualifying.



    They will only not be seeded if both Benfica and Brugge are in play offs. If the are then it really would be tough for rangers v either.



    If these 2 are not then Salzburg or Lille or Fenerbace or a Swiss team are all possible opponents in 3rd round or playoff.



    Tough for a rebuilding team.



    They will spend again with more soft loans and further longer term exposure. Our sensible financial policy will ensure we are well ahead for the foreseeable.



    If only it was as easy as spend spend spend then they would be at our throats.

  15. A wee while ago, fed up with the 60 millions prize point being forced fed as a thing I spent a couple of hours analysing the various payout pillars that would be paid by uefa in the next season’s expanded champions league.



    It was not difficult and the assumptions pretty easy.



    From this I determined Scotland participants would have guaranteed payout of 32 million euros.



    If a sole participant this rises to 35 million.



    And is winning and drawing two games this rises to 42 million.



    The record reports this today.



    60 million only achieved if you go into the knockout stages.



    How do I go about suing for stealing my story

  16. An Dun



    I was sceptical re BR. In my case not because of what he did before. I had no issue there. He is a professional manager and has a career to manage. I kinda thought he was yesterdays man and potentially a bit of an ego and thus seemed to be looking for excuses before a ball had been kicked. My son (who worked for him for a brief period) felt differently. He regarded him very highly.



    I would consider myself ‘not convinced’ rather than a critic…….not that my view matters.



    I think this past 3 months he has held himself and managed the club and especially the team really well. Huge credit is deserved. Unreservedly so.

  17. A great report



    Watching on TV I thought they were either tactically naive or weren’t able to run enough to stop the large spaces that we were able to exploit in the first half. They should have done what every other team does against us at CP. make us play in front of them, push us out wide and make us cross into a box with one small striker and lots of blue shirts. Then hit us on the break. Instead we were able to find a lot of space around and inside their box with short pasees, give our three midfielders time and space between the full backs and the centre halves and they’ll kill you. Nobody was getting closed down in the penalty box. Add in two wingers playing with confidence and with the beating of their men and they were giving themselves little chance.



    If they have played like Aberdeen did in the cup semi-final there’s a half decent chance they could have played on the crowds nerves at how poorly we defend basic crosses and got something out of the game. Everyone knows our vulnerabilities, either Clement isn’t a god manager or the players just can’t carry out his plans. Either way they played just how we wanted them to and by half time the game was ours.



    When they brought on some legs with Raskin I thought you saw the difference. Their midfield 3 was completely ineffectual, they didn’t have the running in them, you saw that with the red card, miles too late for what he was trying.



    Silva suffers with his 40m price tag but I thought he was their best outfield player and their only hope of doing something. He gave AJ a much harder time than whoever was playing on their right, targetting the right side of our defence doesn’t seem like the smartest move but the long balls down the channel did seem like their best bet.



    Watching back again without the nerves our game management at the end was good. We kept the ball up the pitch, all their crosses came from deep areas, we fouled them in areas which meant the ball had to travel a long distance from a good angle to defend. Booting the ball out for a throw was better than goofing it forward and having it come straight back.



    Considering their entire season rested on scoring in the last twenty minutes I can excuse the desperate defending we had to do. Important contributions are easily forgotten – Ralston hasn’t kicked a ball for months but his was vital. It was almost unbearable tension but at the same time I didn’t have the feeling we’d concede.



    Great to just about get it done. Clear and obvious short and longer term problems that are bigger than finishing this season just ahead of a mediocre Sevco who sacked their manager mid season. Hopefully everyone at Celtic Park is mindful every day of both

  18. A Shameful RE POST from Previous Thread…



    BIG JIMMY on 13TH MAY 2024 9:35 AM


    Song from 1976….







    ” IN ZAIRE” by JOHNNY WAKELIN. One Hit wonder.





    Its about the ALI V FOREMAN Fight.







    I can still remember the CELTIC Version of this song….Some of us used to sing…” Once there was battle there, ( in where ? ) in PARKHEAD…..A Hundred Thousand People there…( In where ? ) in Parkhead,





    One more Goal and Celtics there…( in where )..in Parkhead….





    HEAR the RUMBLE in the JUNGLE..( In Parkhead )….( In Parkhead )..







    The Celtic ” version” didnt catch on sadly….LOL.





    But IF you download the Song ” In Zaire”….TRY and sing the Celtic words to the catchy wee tune by Johnny Wakelin.







    Sorry, but I cant do any LINKS.













  19. Watching Jamesie on Saturday and Mikey Johnston playing for WBA in the playoffs on Sunday you have to wonder how MJ was getting a game ahead of Jamesie when both were fit.



    Form and fitness obviously plays a huge part but there was night and day between the quality.

  20. Brendan has a right to have a go at every one of us who criticised him, including me for our early season lack of an identifiable playing style. He has earned the right to do so by winning the league, even if it is won by just one point.



    Let him enjoy his satisfaction- he has a hard task ahead because we are back to seeing the league as our inevitable right (it never is) and demanding an improvement in Europe. He will have to do that without Matt O’Riley and possibly one or two more of our more prolific contributors.



    There is a big re-build ahead, I’d guess and we need to get any new bling gelling early before CL’s new group format starts.



    My predictions on leaving- MOR, Hart, Siegrist, probably Mikey J, probably Lagerbielke, probably Idah, possibly CCV , possibly one of Hatate/Kyogo/Maeda, and possibly Bernabei.



    That leaves us with recruitment for 2 new keepers, a new CB and LB, an attacking midfielder, even if we sign Bernardo, and a better replacement for Oh & Idah, who can challenge Kyogo more.



    It would be nice to get some Scottish players like Lennon Miller but there isn’t one I’d see as a n immediate first team Celt.



    Raid the English academies- plenty y of good blocked candidates there. Repeat the Frimpong/Dembele successes.

  21. “the consequences of what has happened this season will take years to unfold”



    Agreed. Against a poor Sevco we won’t get many better opportunities to risk developing a number of younger players. The risk averse strategy has left us with very few players who are further on in their development. It’s a necessity for next season or we’ll stagnate

  22. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Callum McGregor showed on Saturday, what a top player he is,was outstanding.

  23. The re-incarnation of rangers are not a good football team, not even close.


    Our squandering of chances over the season has allowed them to feel that the gap has narrowed.


    We certainly have to invest if we are serious about a good run in Europe.


    A win on Wednesday and then prepare for the Cup final, it would be a sweet double.

  24. Bhoyjoebelfast on

    Well we had fun on Saturday.


    Seven awful days ‘ they’ have had.Cliftonville winning Irish cup defeating Linfield,and Celtic winning.


    Have they suffered enough…er No.

  25. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Souttar, Goldson, Balogun, Sterling, Lundstram, Lawrence, Cortes, Sima, Danilo, Rice, Matondo are all out of the squad to face Dundee.

  26. Paul67 et al



    Why oh why perpetuate the continuity myth? (rhetorical question)


    NewCo (Same Club)


    Better yet use my own (copyright protected) phrase….



    OldFirmRus CSC

  27. Bhoyjoebelfast



    Add St Pauli close to winning B2 and def promoted whilst Hamburg don’t even reach play offs.

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