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.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. 8
  10. 9
  11. ...
  12. 37

  1. South Of Tunis on

    THe Glorious Balance Sheet.



    Bate Borisov



    Watched them beating an expensively assembled Roma 3- 2..Looked to be a good team .Played with pace , intelligence and techniue.

  2. My friends in Celtic,



    Is money everything for the EPL. We might soon see.



    I am the first to admit I am not coversant with the laws of constructive dismissal, but I hope Eva Carneiro takes Jose Mourinho via Chelsea to the cleaners. ( yes she might be bought off )


    By releasing a statement she is ensuring that this will not just disappear, this may be Jose Mourinho,s Achilles Heel .



    I also feel that by castigating a medical doctor for following the instructions of the referee he has basically overruled the official. Will the FA see it this way ?



    Nevertheless The whole basis of gender equality in the game has been set back 20 years. What club owners are now going to actively peruse females to work in any capacity.



    Hail Hail.

  3. Typically professional of Kris Commons publicly backing Efe Ambrose after his costly mistake in the game last night, and he’s right, that football is a game of mistakes. The second goal was identical in the type Virgil van dijk lost week in week out, and as recently as the Malmo game,where he was beaten to a ball in his zone, by a forward simply getting in front of him.



    Efe for now takes the heat off his back up whipping boy Dedryk Boyata, who was immaculate along with Mikael Lustig and if Jozo Simunovic isn’t the ‘crock’ his first month might suggest?, then we’ll see Efe return to his back up role which he’ll fulfil until he moves on



    The positives were the football Celtic played, two excellent strikes one by a poacher, and the other from Commons who should surely at least begin most Celtic games. Kieran Tierney can now walk straight into the Celtic side in SPL games, relieving whipping boy three, Emilio Izzaguire.



    When the draw was made Celtic supporters would have settled for taking any points from the two favourite sides to win the group, we remain unbeaten, with shock side Molde now a mouth watering prospect and another massive Euro night at Celtic Park in store.



    Time for Rogic and Armstrong to push their careers on, so that whipping bhoy four Stefan Johansen can get a rest and rediscover his mojo. Looking forward to Sunday, and confident that if Efe Ambrose is called on again, he’ll get the backing of the travelling Celtic support, if not the internet bandits.




    Hail l Hail

  4. Glancing through the sports section of this morning’s newspaper over here i spot an interesting piece by journo James Lawton who writes for the Express in which he is having aright moan about the fall from grace of the once great EPL judging by recent results in the Champions League.



    To quote, ‘ the grim decline was painted starkly by the sickening defeats of Chelsea and Arsenal by such relatively mediocre opposition of Porto and Olympiakos’ Little wonder reading this kind of arrogant bombast from this asshole hack that we despise the EPL and the superiority complex of the English. Sky’s Sundays not so super any more.

  5. Jimthetim53…



    Just been informed by An Tearman that johnjames is a hun, even so, he is on the ball re the debacle over at ipox and isn’t afraid to ruffle their feathers by speaking the truth, his last blog was on the ball about traynor.

  6. Cambhoy on 2nd October 2015 5:31 pm



    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.




    Zonal marking only involves some defenders staying in some zones, it doesn’t stop the other players from marking/blocking runners. We also have players on both posts, in this instance Brown decided to come off the post.





    When he posted on TSL,it was strongly suggested Jack Irvine was behind it. On whose behalf,who knows?



    Irvine was ignored by King. Not a good move against a smart and vindictive operator like him.



    If An Tearmann has further info,I wouldnae argue wi that!

  8. Jimmynotpaul…



    Ye, you might be right, when I mention johnjames in work to huns, I get he’s a p***k.



    Probably why they are where they are :)


    Re Efe being the current whipping Bhoy,I surely wasn’t the only Tim wishing that anyone bar him had screwed up for the first goal.

  10. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on



    My aol account was hacked last week and I’m still waiting on monies coming in from a couple of my friends to assist my sick relative in France 8-)



    Can you text any updates re next Saturday ⚽️⚽️

  11. Celtic v Milan in 1969.



    Never quite got over it!



    Second leg at CP, we bombarded their goal and the Milan goalie saved everything.



    Fabio Cudicini.



    Carlo (nice name) Cudicini’s dad. Best goalie in the EPL not a million years ago.




  12. You got to feel for the internet sometimes, but not last night at least the Celtic supporters stepped up to the plate, nothing worse than dashing to the pub to watch the match, and the crowd just sit there.

  13. bournesouprecipe on 2nd October 2015 6:31 pm



    Different day, different adverts on CQN?




    No adverts for me :O)

  14. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    First time I have had to post since last nighr. I thought we were sensational last night. We need more performances like that from Skoosh, Jamesie and Kris .



    Ronny needs to address the Kris Stefan dilemna. I believe if it is then we will see more attemprs on goal and controlled attemprs if you catch my drift.



    I thought the young lad Tierney wasc exceptional snd disagree with Paul67. The player that sees the full picture due to his position on the park has every right to organise what he thinks needs organising.



    I have not read back. I could no bare to read the mindless crap directed at Efe. I bet wee Jamesie had the night off.



    We need to get back to Pwter Lawwels wet dresm and spin of having two quality players for every position. Celtic plc player cash and caryy.. specialising in midfielders needs,addressed but that how DD wanrs it.



    The young lad Tierney should allow an izzy in midfield experiment.



    We still need a quality striker that will occupy two defenders.



    Onwards,snd upwards.




  15. Celtic played last night’s game at a very high tempo and at times were on the verge of overwhelming the opposition until Efe’s blunder just on half time and then conceding just after the interval. The team recovered well and still could have won the match.

  16. DD coming up on Clyde?!



    Aw naw!



    ‘British league, O** F***, R****** are a great club with a proud history, they will soon be back blah feckin blah…




  17. 16 roads - Celtic über alles... on

    WEEMINGER on 2ND OCTOBER 2015 5:32 PM


    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.






    Off to find a bridge to sit under?



    Aye right enough.



    Have fun.




  18. bournesouprecipe on 2nd October 2015 6:36 pm






    What device you on?




    Laptop, Firefox, Adblock, NoScript



    But also on my Android phone, Chrome browser, i see add at the bottom but no pop ups

  19. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on




    Replace the r’s with t’s and you’d hardly notice.





  20. BMCUWP…



    An Tearman text me, he can’t post at the moment but maybe will later.



    Not long until the hootenanny, hope you have a grand time and as you said…I’ll be oot the country :)…enjoy mate, as I’m sure you and all will. HH

  21. Awe_Naw



    I read ( deciphered ) every bit, and agreed with all of it.






    p.s. BBC Scotland who don’t do ‘next day Celtic reporting’ are wading into Efe.

  22. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on



    We escaped from Milan with a nil nil in a snow storm and really should have won that match


    But Big Billy didn’t take the blame for second leg he blamed the keeper 8))

  23. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on




    Play Efe at the weekend.



    It was og Boyata a few weeks back. I have not read back but I bet Jamesie hardly got a mention on CQN last night.








    Not been my best journey north so far. Seems people deliberately sabotaged the M6 by crashing their vehicles a few miles in front of me.






    Choking for a pint!



    Enjoy your holiday,mate. Does that mean the weans have an ’empty’?

  25. BT



    Of course TOHG played that night!



    Mind you he also played in the snowstorm in the first leg and did ok!




  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. 8
  10. 9
  11. ...
  12. 37