Fine performance marred by bigger failings than Efe


I liked a lot about what we did last night. Leigh Griffiths provided more evidence that he is a remarkable predator. Kris Commons delivered another driven corner, his third of this European campaign to result in a goal, Lustig made first contact leaving Griffiths with only instinct to produce a shot on target. That same instinct clicked an instant later to turn the second shot over the keeper and into the net.

Do you remember a moment, before the first goal, when Fenerbahce enjoyed their best spell of pressure, and we cleared our lines aimlessly four times in a couple of minutes? It looked ugly and invited Fenerbahce to continue to pile the pressure on, but it was a salutary indication of how tactically well Celtic played. When under pressure, clear your lines, regroup, and get ready to go again.

On two occasions we dribbled out of a defensive position leading to a goal. Nir Bitton had ample opportunity to clear forward, but with opponents closing space all around him, he hesitated until he could play-in James Forrest, who surge forward to cross for Commons to score.

Scott Brown as immense all night, but having held-off a challenge 20 yards from his own goal on the wing, he should have cleared deep inside Fenerbahce territory instead of trying to make a pass. We didn’t get the ball back until the score was 2-2. Johansen and Lustig were both caught similarly in the second half but neither was punished.  Being brave in possession isn’t always wise.

Some of the passing football we played was a treat to watch. Bitton and Brown played their best game as a partnership, if not as individuals in a Celtic shirt; Brown was certainly that good. James Forrest, now fit, is drinking-in responsibility. He was effective last night, but not because he used his unparalleled pace, instead he delivered link play.

You’ll have noticed Craig Gordon likes a leg save. Few keepers do, they seem to try to get their hands or torso to a ball, but I like that Craig likes getting any hard part of his body in the way.

Don’t let it bounce.

“Don’t let it bounce.” There’s not a central defender in the world who doesn’t hear that phrase every week. When a ball is coming towards the danger zone in the air, get your head on it. If you let it bounce, anything can happen.

This was Efe Ambrose first mistake last night. He failed to read the flight of the ball. The moment it bounced, he was in trouble. With Fernandao waiting to feed on the scraps, Efe should then have concentrated on winning the physical challenge as the ball dropped a second time, but instead he found his ‘don’t let the ball bounce’ instinct too late and committed a second inexcusable error.

Think back almost three years to the opening minutes of the Champions League game against Juventus, Efe committed pretty much the same mistake. He lost the flight of the ball and we were a goal down and out before we warmed up.

Although Efe is taking a large slice of the blame in some places for the second Fenerbahce goal, I’m not convinced this is a fair assessment. To give due credit, it was an excellent corner and header – from a zone in front near post it’s difficult to score from. The point about zonal marking is you defend areas it’s easy to score from, at the cost of leaving less-risky areas unattended. Fernandao’s header didn’t come from a high-risk zone.

For some reason, wispy Leigh Griffiths was delegated to man-mark bulky target-man Fernandao. Wee guys can block big guys, but they need to be standing ball-side of the attacker, preferably facing his chest with arms out, so that when movement happens, he’s at least the right side of the attacker. Leigh was on his heels, completely unprepared.

Before the kick was struck, Fernandao was on the move, gambling on a near-post run. Should Efe have also gambled similarly? On first glance it looked like it, but that’s only because the ball went to that area and ended up in the net. Fernandao could afford to gamble by running into a space the ball may or may not arrive at. This is not the case for a defender. He has to wait until the ball is in the air. If he leaves his zone before the ball’s kicked to follow an attacker who has move early, he’s not doing his job.

It’s all about the block.

Great corner aside, we lost the second goal because we didn’t get a block on Fenerbahce’s target man. Before the kick was taken, Leigh Griffiths was adjacent to and looking at Fernandao, having been delegated the task by the impressive Kieran Tierney, but Leigh was also looking all around him and made no attempt to block.

Griffiths (5’ 8”), the smallest man in the Celtic team, should never have been near Fernandao (6’ 4”), the tallest man in the Fenerbahce team. That’s 8 inches of disadvantage and double figures of kilos weight.

There are two big questions to be asked about this goal:

Why didn’t we have a physical equal on Fernandao, capable of withstanding a shove, or better still, getting his own shove in first? Fenerbahce had one target man striker, we didn’t notice him. It doesn’t matter if you play zonal or man-to-man, if we are conceding 8 inches to the opponent’s main physical threat, we’ll continue to lose goals at corner kicks.

But the real curious question is why was it left to 18-year-old Kieran Tierney to instruct who picks up whom at a corner kick? Action moves so quickly at corners that everyone needs to understand they have a responsibility to take control, not just the central defenders, captain, or keeper. Or 18-year-old novice.

This is not happening at Celtic right now, which is why we’re playing our European football on Thursdays this season. If you put your smallest player on an opponent’s tallest, and it’s left to an 18-year-old to delegate responsibility, you deserve to lose a goal.

Last Man Standing 5

Last call for all those wanting to take part in Last Man Standing 5, in aid of Wee Shay McGinlay who is 2 and suffers from cerebral palsy. To date CQNers and friends have raised an incredible £5400 towards the fund raising campaign, to finance treatment for Shay not available on the NHS, which will hopefully improve his quality of life.

The current entrants stand at 72, so if you want to take join the LMS5 clique, then simply drop a line to Jobo and CRC at cqnlastmanstanding@gmail.com before 12pm Saturday and they will send you more details.

Thanks for indulging me bringing the work of the Foundation to your attention all this week. The Great Scottish Run is less than 48 hours away and dozens of Celtic fans have put thousands of hours into preparing for the event.  Those doing the ‘half’ are going to miss the Hamilton game, another consequence of playing Thursday night European football.

If you can support any of the runners, please do:

Click here for my linked donation page.

Here for Steve Gunn’s.

Here for Thomas Eman’s.

Here for Robert Doherty’s.

Here for Stephen Hewitt’s.

Here for Kenny O’Neill’s.

Thank you.

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  1. Going in at 2-0 up at half time,against a team whos head had dropped,and were looking at each other for answers,yes,I would say we were certainties to go on and win.The overwhelming comment on this Fenebache team from their own fans here is they have no heart.My neighbour,who is a fanatic,going with me in December,told me this morning that they were lucky.He thought Brown was immense,said he “Bossed their midfield as if they were babies”His words.

  2. I said last night that we must stop making excuses for EA, had if been a one off mistake I could accept that, but enough’s enough, he is a liability, sorry everyone but he has to go, his time is up.

  3. Neganon2,


    While I agree with a lot of what you say on numerous issues, I think you might be ignoring the chance of a release clause with a trigger price written into his contract and I honestly expect that is the case here.

  4. I would like to recall one of the most serious and consequential errors of a Celtic player in my lifetime.



    In season 1968-69, Celtic, having drawn 0-0 in Milan, were favourites to march on to the semi-final. Sadly they lost 0-1 at Celtic Park in the return leg. The goal came from a throw-in which Jim Craig took to Billy McNeill. Billy failed to control the simple pass and Prati latched on to his error and drove forward to score what turned out to be the only goal of the tie.



    Elimination from Europe at that stage was a disaster in the sense that if we had progressed we could have won the Big Cup again (Milan did win it). But thank goodness the unforgiving bloggers on CQN were not around to call for Billy’s head.



    As the Big Yin said, ‘if you weren’t allowed to make mistakes then you would not have an eraser on the end of your pencil’.

  5. BRISBANE 67... Peter Lawwell # Serving up Tripe & Trialists since 2003 on

    What is the absolute idiocy by some people on here who classify things as being ‘hun-like’? As if it is an all encompassing envelope that one can demonstrate quite scientifically that a person meets such and such a criteria of hunnishness.



    I have seen so many of the Tinpot Dictators on here throw the term around (ironically) without any obvious cohesive reason other than that which is arbitrary and pointless.



    Someone has a 67 in their username – must be a hun.


    Someone criticizes the manager/ a player – must be a hun.


    Someone criticizes the CEO – must be a hun.



    Got to be honest here and say that I’ve never known any Celtic fan, ever, to NOT criticize at some point a player, manager or a board member: without exception.



    That means that all Celtic fans are huns according to those morons on here who spout this tripe.

  6. My friends in Celtic,



    I would imagine that part of the criteria for persuading players to join us is that we will not hold them against their will if a move to a bigger environment beckons.




  7. Have to say thoroughly enjoyed the game last night. Great atmosphere, a big European night under the lights and to be fair an opposing team who played football without the usual theatrics.


    When KC scored I really thought there was no way we would not win the tie.


    Then Efe ballses up.


    At the second goal it believe he was far from the player to blame. SB lazily misplaces a pass to give away possession and is rewarded with chants of “Broonie, Broonie”. ML lazily heads away for a cheap corner kick from which LG allows opponent to run past him. Broonie comes off the corner post where he would have cleared had he stayed. CG did not look to clever either.


    But who was to blame for the goal? Why, Efe of course. Bloody nonsense.



    Be critical by all means but we should try at least to be fair.



    Talking of which, delighted to read Kris Commons comments today re Efe. Spoken like a real ream mate. Good on you, Kris.

  8. Dear Tony,



    Now firstly calm down and take some deep breathes.






    I think simply dismissing any criticism as an agenda and liberally accussing people of being huns is a little simplistic. You claim everything is great but we have been booted out of the CL twice (actually three times) in two years – all to clubs with lower budgets than us. I cannot fathom why you think thats great.



    Financially celtic are shrinking and diminishing – so no growth or innovation there?



    The number of supporters going to games is plummetting.



    On the pitch we are being led in the league by a team with miniscule resources compared to us. We are shipping goals all over the place and have no real striking options. We have sold all our best assets and not replaced them effectively.



    So how does worsening football performances and results, worsening financial results and diminishing crowds equal with a succefully run football club?




  9. coolmore mafia



    Ball playing centre-halfs?



    Reminds me of a Centenary Dinner 1988 and one of the Bhoys (brave thanks to drink) asks big Mick McCarthy why he didn’t play the ball out from the back.



    Big Mick says: “they can’t score from f@@@ing row Z!” (in Yorkshire accent).



    That was him told………………….

  10. Neganon I’m cool, your still at the old spin game.


    Doesent work for me I’m sorry, it’s the same old sheet, day after day after day, you dislike Celtic, find another club.

  11. Canamalar if there was such a release clause I’m sure we would have heard about it – celtic would have been delighted to claim they couldnt do anything about it because of a release clause (then again celtic could have just lied about it – just like they lied about the Simonivic “cost”).



    Dont forget we had had bids for VVD before so if a release clause had existed it would have been triggered before that last minute selling (which was so obvious).



    So I dont wear it Canamalar.



    Greenpinta – I think that argument is threadlike in how tenous it is. So players wont come to celtic unless we just cave into their every desire. C’mon.



    Look its dead simple – we love the money and coulndt care less about the footy so we sold him. Youve seen it for years now. Why is that so hard to acknowledge or accept?

  12. Neganon


    It’s only your opinion, it’s not facts, if we where in trouble, the SMSM would not be slow at giving it to us in the neck trust me, awe naw, we come in here and are supposed to believe the tripe you post? A don’t think so pal, but carry on with your spin by all means, your pals will be here to join you soon, that’s when you lot get funny.

  13. Tony your not practicing your breathing and you are getting to excited.



    Try again. Deep breaths. Go back. Read. Think. Read again. Think again. More deep breaths. Then post.



    So a wee question again. If celtic’s football results and performances are getting worse, our finances are getting worse and our crowds are getting worse. Why do you think that the board are doing a great job?

  14. Why do we not block off runs from opposition players,when defending a corner? Every other team does it,not pretty to watch,but it’s effective.Amateur tactics IMO.

  15. Tony. I just want you to answer the question. You say that if we werent doing well the MSM would be all over us? They are but they are institutionally racist so they always will be – so they are not relevant. Its not my opinion that our finances and our crowds are diminishing. You just need to read the accounts and compare year on year. I think you will find that these are facts. Similarly I think that most people would believe that we are a worse team than last season – at this stage that is more opinion but informed opinion?



    So again what makes you think the board are doing great.



    Incidentally I think my, ahem, pals and i are always funny – even when we are not joined together….

  16. tonydonnelly67 on 2nd October 2015 1:28 pm,



    The trumpet has been calling for a boycott of Celtic Park for months.His agenda is clear to me,if not some others on here who indulge him.Lets ruin Celtic,so that he can be satisfied.


    His facts never stand up.VVD,for example.”We did not need to sell him”.Unbelievable stupidity,in an attempt to try and score points.I suppose going by that thinking,we did not need to sell,Dalgleish,Hay,Macari,Mc Clair,all sold by boards before this one he hates so much.How are we supposed to attract players,who DO see us as a stepping stone to the EPL,if we adopt a hard line stance.His logic,would be to keep a grossly unhappy player,then eventually lose him for nothing.Then again,that type of thinking would fulfill his agenda,and ruin the club,giving him his “Brave new world”A cretin.If Celtic had won last night,we would not have heard a peep from him today.

  17. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Greenpinata 1:59


    Spot on. Same for any club. Players have the power these days.

  18. Its turkeybhoy. Good to get one of those mad rants out of you again. That special forlocktugging anger is something that the blog enjoys. Its very special and quite unique.



    Can we have another please?



    So my agenda is to “ruin” celtic? If that was the case I would be cheering and clapping DD and PL because they are doing a hell of a job in ruining celtic without me having to lift a finger.

  19. oneofthe70percent on

    Cannot believe the praise some players are getting,and the idea we passed the ball well is ridiculous,even when we find a celtic player with a pass it,s always just behind or a bit in front meaning it takes too much time to get control,that may be ok against the garbage we face in the SPL,but better teams in europe will close down far more quickly,we pass the ball in the air to often even over a few yards,the biggest culprit is Capt calamity,the poorest captain ive ever seen wearing the hoops,young tierney put in a couple of tackles early on then was always out of position and in the second half Forest had to cover relentlessly TIERNEY may become a good player,but europe is a step to far at the moment,As for the idiot in charge ,he should have wen,t after the Legia warsaw debacle,wher we should and could have lost 6 goals in Warsaw,but for them missing 2 penalties,the same board bumped Barnes after the ICT game, so why let this fitness fanatic with no coaching ability continue

  20. Neganon2


    Not for one minute do you tell me anything about Celtic I don’t know, your the last person I this world that would get my ear in that department, hahaha, naw naw, you just keep yer spin going in here you the last person I would go into dialogue in things regarding Celtic, please I’m being serious, you get no oxygen from me for you and your pals agenda,.

  21. TD67 – it was just a simple question but I guess we know why you wont attempt to answer.



    Incidentally have you been on the home brew this afternoon?

  22. Oneofseventy….,


    I was going to have a go at the gobbler and the gobshite but that is the biggest load of pish I’ve read today, I’m now convinced you are a hurting hun

  23. GuyFawkesaforeverhero on

    I think we’re in a good place in our Europa League Group two games in; sitting 2nd with two games of the four remaining to be played against the pot 4 team. Strangely, a loss away in Amsterdam and a win last night would have us with 3pts but lying 3rd. Football’s weird.



    I say thanks to the Bhoys for their effort and I appreciated two or three of them crossing the half-way line to acknowledge the supporters at the Celtic End at full-time. Maybe the Green Brigade banner pricked their consciences.



    On we go to Hamilton and the mission to collect league points.

  24. GuyFawkesaforeverhero



    I noticed that banner in the North East end of Celtic Park, same as the last one stating the obvious really, but they seem to think they have to put there stamp on it that they are the end all and be all that this is what Celtic Supporters are saying?


    Well they don’t, and never will speak for me, well it’s not all of them we know what it’s all about anyway, another agenda.

  25. !!BADA BING!! on 2ND OCTOBER 2015 2:14 PM


    Why do we not block off runs from opposition players,when defending a corner? Every other team does it,not pretty to watch,but it’s effective.Amateur tactics IMO.




    Not every other team does it. The Warlock with the big pointy hat who resides at Greyskull’s team forgot to do it big style against St Johnstone.



    Lower league team right enough.




  26. mullet and co 2 on

    Neil Lennon and Gordon Strachan learned that good Celtic performances in Europe were all about playing the percentages. The defences were for the most part well organised barring abberation from the likes oh Heid.


    Strachan was all about getting belief into his players to be confident on the ball. He succeeded in that to an extent but never asked players to do something they were not capable of they also recovered mistakes further up the park by working hard to get the ball back. See Neil Lennon or Hartley or Robson running back to help full backs as an example. Bitton hasn’t really added a reverse gear yet.


    It dumbfounded me that we needed a captain at the back to organise the defence even when we had VVD and Denayer. We compound the lack of an old head by bringing in raw talent and pairing it with two Bob nut Ambrose. The corner kick was a combination of ball watching and not sticking to task. Even Brown on the post looked non plussed. Zones or no zones make an attempt to get the ball if it comes near you. If its a corner shift your body to the side a bit so that you can see who is behind you. Schoolboy stuff. We would have been better served with 6 dustbins in the goalmouth.


    Ronny and his staff can tell players what to do but the players carry whatever’s in their head onto the pitch. I would stick to practice sing corner defending for the next two weeks.

  27. Hands up if you only support Celtic when they are winning.



    I’m guessing 99% of those who contribute to CQN want the best for Celtic, that includes results. And I know that it’s a blog where one’s spleen can be vented just like you do at the pub or with your mates (minus the sweary words if you please).



    Here’s the point of this post: Do you stop going to watch Celtic because the team is rubbish and aren’t winning?



    It’s a valid stance to take – I’m not paying money to watch that guff, especially when said money isn’t re-invested in the team to make us better.



    Me? I don’t have that option. Whilst ever finances, health and circumstances allow, I will go to every home game irrespective of results, form, league position, DD waffle, PL earnings, Efe bombshells, zonal marking,. I can’t help it.



    The other 1%? They must be the ones the TD67 refers to in his sign-off strapline.

  28. Neganon,you seem to like people giving you answers to your inane questions.Answer mine.


    Where have you ever heard me”Forelock tugging”,and being a “Board lover”.Just more guff from your endless stream .A couple of years ago on here I got pelters from the PC brigade for calling Desmond,”An Irish buffoon”.No need to mention the word Irish,I was told.My opinion of him has not changed.PL,I am totally uninterested in.He is CEO,we will be here long after he is not.He does some good,some bad,but Celtic will go on.We have had a lot worse,but you know that.The rest of the “Board,I only know Bankier,a chinless wonder IMO,who gives nothing to Celtic.The ones who interest me,are the ones who turn up every week to watch Celtic,as I did for all those years.The greatest love of my life.I have been through it all,the terrible times,the sublime times,nothing changes my love for the team.As long as whoever is in charge,does not have us ending up,as we did in the Kelly era,or go down the tubes,like the Huns,then they can carry on,until the next lot come in.


    I will await your”Forelock tugging”proof,but I think I will end up with a bigger beard than Joe Ledley awaiting it.

  29. Just been reading back..Wow…see this is what i dislike about CQN.Itssooo cliquey…i mean nicknames are being dished out like gobshite and gobbler and i huvnae got wan…who are these people..i demand ti know..man a want a nickname…..Lmao…Unreal..

  30. La Liga leaders Villarreal are keen on signing former Celtic striker John Guidetti from Celta Vigo, it has been claimed.



    Following spending last season with Celtic, Guidetti joined Celta Vigo in the summer on a free transfer, keen to prove himself in the competitive environment of La Liga.






    The Swede has scored only one goal so far this season, but his strike came in a famous 4-1 drubbing of Barcelona.



    His exploits have caught Villarreal’s attention and according to Spanish outlet Todomercadoweb, the Yellow Submarine are looking at snapping him up.

  31. CultsBhoy likes living wage hates heated driveways on

    John Kennedy is a smashing fella – my brother and I sat beside him at an Aberdeen game a hile back – he was scouting for an upcoming match..



    I believe he is dedicated and committed. However I don’t think he is very good as a defensive coach..or maybe hes not got very good defenders to work with..maybe its a combination of both? One thing is for certain – something has to change…and soon.

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