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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    John James.



    Supposedly an intelligent hun.



    Have my doubts ‘tho, because I’ve never met one.



    Or a handsome one.




  2. Wee question I have asked before (the last time I got berated for asking it)


    On a day that figures are being bandied about. Just how much in recent years have failures to reach the fnals of domestic cup competitions cost us?

  3. Sipsini, I’ve been wondering that as well. He’s a must read to understand the off the ptch stuff at Ibrox.

  4. EKBHOY on 2ND OCTOBER 2015 3:13 PM



    Hola amigo it is closed I am in PDC also at present & I watched the match in Keanes bar.

  5. The Battered Bunnet on 2nd October 2015 4:22 pm



    I agree but I think it’s a hard ask. There’s a certain type of fan that commits to a season ticket and when they decide to give it up be it financial, no more Rangers or family reasons they won’t come back unless there’s a change to that single circumstance.



    Controlling our own broadcasts would in my view be the best way to cover the gap.

  6. I used to have this mate, that when his mum wanted the channel changed she’d say whats on the other channel, he would say ‘British picture……. maw’. If she further insisted he’d say it’s some garbage eh…. ‘I think it’s called – I was Monty’s Double’, he maintained it worked everytime.



    nostalgia csc






    The economic crash wiped out much of the Irish support, and the Rangers liquidation did it for a similar number. –




    I would imagine that the proliferation of unsuitable kick off wiped out as much of the Irish support as the economic crash did.



    As for THEIR liquidation it is anybody’s guess.

  8. 16 roads - Celtic über alles... on

    Weeminger – You Sir are a hun troll. I would therefore appreciate if ye desist from responding to any statements that I make on here in future.



    Thank you kindly.




  9. Tallybhoy…



    He certainly knows his stuff about the newco, king, green and the rest.



    Jimthetim 53…



    I’ve read quite a few of his blogs, thought he might be a tim:)

  10. South Of Tunis on




    Weather is variable .Mid 20s sunny and some serious downpours..Insect heaven .- mozzies and huge flying ants .Bad night’s sleep – woken at 3 am by wailing sirens as the local caribinieri raced to deal with violence between Syrians and Palestinians in a receptiom centre some 18 kms down the road.

  11. Quonno…



    I would imagine that the proliferation of unsuitable kick off wiped out as much of the Irish support as the economic crash did.






    Good point mate and many from nearer, due to work commitments. HH

  12. 16 roads – Celtic über alles… on 2nd October 2015 4:33 pm



    My statement was as valid as yours.



    It’s simply not plausible to state playing or not playing any given player will win or lose the game. The whole game would be different. It wasn’t an attack on Stokes. I’d have said the same whatever player you mentioned. And I did so earlier when somebody else stated categorically that we’d have won playing somebody other than Efe.

  13. Nothing sums up Celtic’s moribund state than a month after the transfer window closed we are trying to secure the services of an out of work whose career is behind him.

  14. quonno on 2nd October 2015 4:39 pm



    I’m not wholly supportive of the Carlton Cole but he’s younger than Commons. Is Commons’ career behind him?

  15. I’d like to see Biton and Rogic together in midfield in European games.



    We’d lose possession less often and give away fewer free kicks as a consequence.



    (BTW, I was instructed recently by an English graduate (i.e. graduate in English) about how to use ‘less’ and ‘fewer’ properly. The former is for singular nouns and the latter for plurals. No, I didn’t know that, either)

  16. Sipsini, It reads like it could have been written by a Tim, and an a very clever one at that. Interestingly he had an article recently titled ‘St. Jude’ and he mentioned St. Jude being the patron saint of lost causes! Not a lot of non Catholics know that!

  17. quonno on 2nd October 2015 4:43 pm



    Fair point.



    Emmanuel Adebayor is out of contract too (but released after close of transfer window unfortunately). Can somebody not get him in for some training. He might like it here.

  18. Greenpinta – I dont think our decline can automatically be put down to our environment. If we had some ambition and regularly competed in the CL our numbers would look a whole lot better.




    But our custodians dont do growth or ambition.

  19. Decent performer ruined by amateur mistakes and lack of organization/leadership.


    Playing Ambrose isn’t worth the risk, we all know what he’s capable of.


    The lack of organisation at set pieces is an on going worry. We don’t have the players to successfully tonal mark. This has to be drilled into players almost from birth. This is why some of the Italians can do it.


    We are playing a system the players aren’t able to get right. To me you have to adapt tactics to suit what you have, not what you want. Stubbornness costs jobs.

  20. 16 roads - Celtic über alles... on

    Weeminger – That’s good.



    Wish that I had the means to build a gigantic bridge that ran all the way from one end of Scotland to the other – let yous all sit under said bridge and troll away all day long – see like proper trolls, real and authentic trolls.



    German style – that’s where the legit trolls originated from, the real McCoy trolls.



    Also the land of the hun, no dis-respect to the German volk, a great place with great people.



    Dastardly huns.




  21. Paul



    I agree Scott was immense but where I disagree is on the challenge in question Scott was clearly being fouled the ref was about to give it but because he stayed on his feet play was allowed to continue if he goes down certain free kick we need to learn that trying to remain upright is not always the best option

  22. 16 roads – Celtic über alles… on 2nd October 2015 5:02 pm



    I get you like Stokes, we all have players were quicker to praise or criticise than others. It’s totally natural.



    Your point was very reminiscent of those that criticise the board stating if we’d signed [insert name] it would have guaranteed CL football. There are no guarantees in football. If there were none of us would go as it’d be too boring.



    You haven’t even bothered to give reasons why you think Stokes would have made the difference. For me his lack of match fitness would have been a big negative. I’m not sure he’d justify selection ahead of Forrest or Commons either. Definitely not ahead of Griffiths.



    Just for the record, the next time I agree with you, will I still be a troll. Just for clarity

  23. stpatricksbhoy on

    EKBhoy on 2nd October 2015 3:13 pm



    Ha’penny Inn is closed I was there last week and watched the Ajax game in the Blarney Stone was unable to find anywhere showing Celtic TV league games had to watch on my Tablet in the apartment.I wonder where all the Celtic regulars have gone in Puerto del Carmen.


    Hail Hail.

  24. TBJ says Wee Oscar Knox is in heaven with the angels on

    Warsaw – maribor – Malmo – fenerbache



    I’ve had moments of frustration and even anger at our errors – costly errors that resulted in elimination or valuable points dropped






    I’m still a celtic fan – i support my club ( players and staff)



    Big Efe – i love him as he’s anot honest athlete who hardly misses a minute never mind a match.


    Debut was in midfield for us then across the back 4 – giving his best but like everyone he’s human and prone to mistakes ( at the worst of times)


    I’m days like this we should be supporting guys like Efe – i thought that was our DNA



    Happy clapper I am not but it gets my back up when I see our own making the kind of comments about a celtic player that we would point the finger at if it was a zombie commenting

  25. i'vehadtochangemyname on

    I hope the outcome of last night is that the team believe they can play on the front foot more and raise the bar in the spfhell which then gives them more confidence in the Europa etc. Btw we can be afraid of nobody in the Europa.

  26. Marrakesh Express on

    South of Tunis 3.58



    The AC Milan manager in 69 did fear us and the bookies backed him up. On the day of the second leg, Celtic were favourites to lift the Big Cup. The only other time was v Feyenoord in the 70 final.

  27. It’s been a good day chaps, and we’ve spent nearly the whole day talking about football. Long may it continue.

  28. 16 roads - Celtic über alles... on

    Weeminger – No.



    I don’t differentiate.



    The only thing that I ask of any Celtic player is that they are 100% committed to the green & white jersey.



    Obviously it would be preferable that our players are both effective as well as committed , in an ideal world – difficult though the case may be at times.



    A non-trier is the only Celtic footballer whom I cannot abide.



    Stokesy could have made the difference between a win and a draw – just a observation/opinion.



    Anton Rogan – now there was a Celtic warrior if ever there was one.







  29. Can we add talent to the list of commitment, dedication and triers.



    The team is only as good as the weakest link.



    Efe is our weakest link and we will not improve until the manager stops playing him.

  30. Few things from last night. Regardless of anyone’s views, no Green Brigade equals no atmosphere at Celtic Park, the place would be a library. Where or who else in the stadium generates the energy and passion that the GB do?



    SJ needs benched, Rogic would have offered more last night based on current form.



    A lot of talk about John Kennedy being a defensive coach, was RD not a defender in his playing days? Don’t buy into zonal marking etc. Scott Brown should have cleared the second of the line by positioning himself on the post, good old fashioned defending – end of, if SB would have cleared that header have the crap spouted on here today would not be happening.

  31. 16 roads – Celtic über alles… on 2nd October 2015 5:27 pm



    And there we have a justification for your original comment. His commitment to the cause. That’s all I was looking for.



    Enjoy your evening. I’m for the off.

  32. Neganon2 –



    Regards my point about VVD going from £9k per week at Celtic to the £45k per week at Southampton:



    I cannot believe you seriously expect it possible to keep and man-manage an unhappy player whom you’ve just denied quintupling his wages. You can’t just point a scolding finger at a multi-million pound footballer these days and tell him he’s got a contract and to do as he’s told or else. In what alternative reality do you consider that possible? You’re reaching beyond reason there.






    quonno on 2nd October 2015 4:39 pm



    Nothing sums up Celtic’s moribund state than a month after the transfer window closed we are trying to secure the services of an out of work whose career is behind him.






    Don’t watch Celtic, then.

  33. Sipsini.


    Huns I work with reckon Johnjames is Malcolm Murray, or if not him, he is being given the information by him.


    They reckon he ticks all the boxes. Agenda driven etc.


    I don’t know enough about it to form an opinion.

  34. the glorious balance sheet on

    On the theme raised earlier of Celtic needing out of Scotland…….



    I wonder how BATE borisov manage to survive and thrive without the riches of sky TV money, playing in a minor league with no challenge, in a stadium holding only 13,000 people, and dwarved by a financial behemoth next door in the shape of the Russian league.



    This season they are going for their 10th consecutive league title win.



    But despite all this they’ve made it through the CL qualifiers from qualifying round 2 into the group stages in four of the last five years. Impressive stuff.

  35. 50 shades of green on




    Thank God for guys like you mate, Honestly was beginning to think I was the only one with your mindset.



    We don’t care if we win lose or draw.




    We’ll support you evermore.



    2 lines missing from the moaning minnies on here.



    F’n twats the lot of them.

  36. i'vehadtochangemyname on

    Obviously I hope the sheep lose but if they don’t it’ll be very interesting to see how the team reacts on Sunday.

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