Finding sharpness, from the same players, with the same message


No one would have enjoyed hearing the score come through from Alicante last night as Spain crushed World Cup finalists Croatia 6-0.  By any normal measure, there should never be six goals between these sides, but team dynamics are more than just players and tactics.  Croatia exhausted every ounce of emotional energy at the World Cup.

Every clichéd action must have taken place as they overcame yet another opponent on the way to the final in Moscow.  After the dam burst against France, how do you recapture that belief that you are invincible?

There are parallels with Celtic last season.  With an invincible treble bagged, Celtic broke their own Scottish record for an undefeated run of games, but soon thereafter capitulated at Tynecastle.  Defeats from Kilmarnock, Hibs and Aberdeen followed.  The players could still raise their game, specifically to find fresh ways to humiliate Newco, but whatever it took to allowed them to reach remarkable levels every single game was gone.

Just as Celtic recorded another treble, Croatia will recover; the defeat to Spain was an aberration, but the formula for pushing players to the limit every game is elusive.  Celtic will comfortably win 8-in-a-row, but a challenge for the next phase of Brendan Rodgers reign will be to repeatedly find the same sharpness, from the same players, with the same message.  That will take more than “Here we go again!”

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  1. Ref the article I always thought the wisest thing Strachan ever said was that in essence after 3 years the manager had run out of fresh ways to say the same thing.



    As well as inadvertently highlighting his lack of ability to adopt new methods and approaches, he proved his own point by staying 4 yeArs and failing.



    So is Rodgers a 3 yeArs and oot type gaffer or will he continually adapt the message and approach?

  2. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    I agree!



    Hence the need to refresh and revitalise the squad during transfer windows!!

  3. Paul67



    Freshness was there when we thrashed Sevco 1-0.



    All we need to do is get to January, when we’ll have an ‘open window’ with £20M burning a hole in Peter’s pocket, and we’ll also get all the missing posters back to supervise the spend.



    Where we are in the league by then will be irrelevant.

  4. was it just me or did anyone else think the LG looked a bit out of shape when he came on for Scotland during the week.

  5. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Interesting article, Paul and I am sure we can all think of instances from the past. The disappointment of the trophyless 02-03 season pushed us on to the 25 win run in 03-04, but we couldn’t find any real consistency in 04-05.


    Ferguson was the master of challenging his players to keep achieving.


    Think Croatia might struggle though. That was really their big chance. Will they ever get back to a similar position?


    Europe has to be where we look to. We have done everything domestically and set records (invincible season, unbeaten run, double treble). As long as we keep winning the league. Maybe play more youths in the domestic cups.





    Once again,an excellent article. My grateful thanks,confirmed many a suspicion!



    Btw,I would be wary of BBC stats. I’ve spotted two this season which didn’t ring true. One-I think it was Suduva away-had us with one shot and none on target. While the hun game had possession at 57-43.



    Sky had first half possession at 76-24,and that would mean the huns had 62-38 in the second half.



    Keep up the good work,please. It’s nice to be proven right in our opinions-which you frequently do. It’s even better to have our perceptions proven wrong. Take the green tinted glasses off,etc.




  7. A great Hope fell


    You heard no noise


    The Ruin was within


    Oh cunning wreck that told no tale


    And let no Witness in



    The mind was built for mighty Freight


    For dread occasion planned


    How often foundering at Sea


    Ostensibly, on Land



    A not admitting of the wound


    Until it grew so wide


    That all my Life had entered it


    And there were troughs beside



    A closing of the simple lid


    That opened to the sun


    Until the tender Carpenter


    Perpetual nail it down –



    Emily Dickinson.






    Who would win in fight between a knee surgeon and a tree surgeon?




    A Knee Jerk reaction (esp on here) would take the two of them together :-))

  9. glendalystonsils on



    Who would win in fight between a knee surgeon and a tree surgeon?




    It depends how good they are with limbs! BOOM BOOM!

  10. the long wait is over on

    Celtic by numbers



    Really excellent article but , without detracting one iota from your labours,



    ah could have tellt ye Celtic are


    reffed differently in Scotland…

  11. Hunderbirds are Gone on



    The last sentence in your post at 1.02pm caught my eye. I have advocated using youth/squad players in the Cups for a while now. Undoubtedly doing so would surely help to maintain the first teams’ freshness for the more important challenges we face in the future (League and Europe). However my main reason for suggesting this, is so that we can give the first team pool an earlier start to the summer holidays. The following is for illustration only, and is not a prediction.


    If, repeat if, we could close out the league two, three (or better 5 or 6) games before the completion of the scheduled fixtures, and our main first team players were not involved in any Scottish Cup fixtures (hopefully Celtic would be involved up to the final) then our better players could have a proper break and a longer close season. If we were fitter, and had a few weeks longer coaching before the Euro qualifiers, then our chances of qualifying for the group stages of the CL would be greatly improved.


    Also, if our elite players were not involved in the domestic cups, that would be up to nine games less over a season. This would surely have a positive effect on our woeful injury stats. The aforementioned increase in down time over the close season would also surely have a positive effect on injuries and fitness.


    And another thing… we could give more of our Academy players more first team opportunities, and perhaps unearth more gems like KT, or at least confirm that some players will not excel at top team level sooner, and let them go, to be replaced by players from other countries.


    It’s win-win to me…


    … might have a problem convincing some supporters to give up collecting cups, for the greater good of the team in the league, and in Europe though.



  12. Paul67 et al



    Just a week after Paul67 alluded to Leppings Lane in his leading article on crushing in Janefield Street, the Match Commander at Hillborough that day, David Duckenfield pleaded not guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 Liverpool football supporters. Nearly thirty years after the fact, amid an establishment cover up. Janefield Street of course was just over a week ago, but since then the actions of both Celtic FC and Police Scotland should set alarm bells ringing. They are attempting to keep any investigation an in-house affair where the decision makers examine the impact on Celtic supporters of the decisions they made. That is unacceptable. Now, it appears that Celtic FC have hired consultants to give an “independent” view, but the thing is if you are paying them they are anything but independent. Paul, you yourself are a witness, as are many others on here, your recollection is on the record, but has anybody else been asked to come forward, I doubt it. If you haven’t already, write down your experience whilst clear in your memory, twenty nine years can put a strain on that. I said last week that the Match Commander and anyone involved at Celtic should be peremptorily dismissed, but let me take that further, they should be prosecuted for gross negligence, contravention of the stadium’s safety certificate, and on grounds of putting the health and safety of those in attendance at risk. Also appearing before the court was the former Sheffield Wednesday Secretary, Graham Mackrell, possibly the only club employee charged. The club itself was not charged, as the prosecutors decided it was not a legal entity at the time of the disaster. Celtic Football Club is.

  13. It’s a bit rich to shift the emphasis onto the Manager in such a fashion when it’s clear the Club haven’t recruited the players he wanted.

  14. Celtic Mac on 12th September 2018 2:14 pm



    “They are attempting to keep any investigation an in-house affair where the decision makers examine the impact on Celtic supporters of the decisions they made. That is unacceptable. Now, it appears that Celtic FC have hired consultants to give an “independent” view, but the thing is if you are paying them they are anything but independent”





    I completely agree and made a similar (though more abbreviated) comment when it was announced that Celtic were paying a consultancy to carry out an “independent” investigation. The Terms Of Reference for this is critical – but we have no visibility. Another poster mentioned the possibility of the HSE undertaking this investigation. I’m not sure if that is possible but would be way better than this approach which appears to be an attempt to contain rather than a transparent process.



    Whoever pays the piper calls the tune…

  15. david17



    Happens at every club from time to time, BR is getting on with his job, and proved it in the only game so far.



    Just give Hibs whatever they want? – the rest is conjecture and subject to review in which the reasons we did get one possibly two players will be analysed by all of those with the facts.

  16. I think it’s overly cynical to assume that any firm hired by Celtic to conduct a review will write whatever they are told.



    This business will sell its expertise on the back of its reputation. A reputation of honesty. Would be suicide to be a patsy for the club.

  17. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Hunderbirds are gone


    Yeah, you have expanded well on that point.


    Of course winning cups is always good, and it’s not to say we would be “giving up” on them. And at some point we will lose a domestic cup game anyway, first eleven or not.


    Also, if you look at some of our CL qualifiers in the last couple of years, we have had Lustig and Bitton played at CB and Forrest and Rogic up front due to injuries. Surely we should have one or two young players who can come in and do a job without having to use players out of position. By using them in domestic cups they will be more ready.

  18. natknow



    Has any Celtic supporter impacted by decisions made by Celtic FC and PoliceScotland been asked to give a statement based on their own experiences? I doubt it. The Match Commander et al should have been interviewed under caution by a superior officer, that almost certainly did not happen. The appointment of consultants is questionable, why not support a Public Enquiry, where evidence could be given and heard? Not sure about any role for the HSE, its’ main role is occupational risk, those most at risk were the footballing public, though no doubt some employees were affected to some extent. What we have here is a Corporate approach from both the main parties involved.

  19. The Battered Bunnet on

    Celtic have been very clear that they want all supporters who experienced the matchday chaos to provide evidence. There’s a confidential email for the consultants set up for the purpose, per:





    Following the events prior to kick-off at the match on Sunday 2 September, the Club has instructed Fairhurst, consultants specialising in sports event safety management, to conduct an independent review to identify the contributory factors to the incident, any issues that require to be addressed and what improvements might be made to prevent a recurrence.



    The Club has requested that Fairhurst consider feedback from supporters who attended the match.



    Any supporters who attended the match and would like to provide information to Fairhurst, please do so direct to 020918feedback@fairhurst.co.uk .

  20. Celtic By Numbers



    Some amount of work went into that – respect.



    I’m not so good at numbers so it made my brain nip but it confirmed my description of Scottish referees as being “disingenuous.”



    lacking in frankness, candor, or sincerity; falsely or hypocritically ingenuous; insincere:

  21. The Battered Bunnet on

    I might add, that it’s important you do.



    Equally, it’s important that as many as possible know about it. It actually disserves the purpose of the review of the incident to spread word that it is closed to supporter evidence.

  22. timaloy29



    They may be as honest as they come but what they are not is “independent”.


    What as natknow has asked, are the terms of reference? Think if I give them a call they will tell me?

  23. Paul67 et al



    Thousands of people put at risk by a combination of decisions made by, one, the Club they support, and two PoliceScotland. And yet some are satisfied by a Corporate approach, and the hiring of a consultant. Dear oh dear.


    Has PoliceScotland interviewed its own officers, including the Match Commander under caution? Have they interviewed any supporter with a view to preparing a case before the Procurator Fiscal, yes or no. Or are they happy to wait for the “independent” report? You know, the one paid for by Celtic?


    There is a reason why there are so few cases of Corporate negligence in this country. What we are witnessing is yet another example as to why that is the case.

  24. Hi vfr, just sitting here doing my usual lurking when I noticed your blog from last night, I was seated when I noticed you entering the theatre last night, thought to myself that has to be vfr, made a point of speaking to you at the end of the show, yes I was right, nice to speak to you, really enjoyed the show.


    .Hail hail. C’mon the hoops ???

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