Game intelligence, selection miscalculations, second best


Celtic got what they deserved yesterday. Alarm bells were ringing from the opening minutes when Newco Rangers created several chances. Their goal on 16 minutes was reward for their ability to get inside the Celtic box with remarkable ease.

So much about football is down to game intelligence, something which bypassed Dedryck Boyata in the move which led to the opening goal, as he clumsily barged into the back of an opponent who was running away from goal. After Dedryck went off injured for Erik Sviatchenko midway through the first half, Craig Gordon had little to do.

This fact illuminates the only positive aspect of Celtic’s performance – the defence. Sviatchenko and Charlie Mulgrew both played well, while Kieran Tierney would have collected the Man of the Match award, had his team-mates delivered near to his level.

Sviatchenko wasn’t in the starting line-up because he’d been out injured, but with extra time, he played (well) for 95 minutes. Leaving him out, presumably over concerns he would be unable to play 90 minutes, was a miscalculation.

From midfield forward we were individually and tactically second best. Scott Brown provided more evidence that he’s not regained top form after his injury lay-off. His touch and decision-making were both off. He had an opportunity to clear at the first goal but his contact wasn’t strong enough.

This is a real concern. Scott’s 31 in the summer, young enough to have several good years at this level, but my expectation is that we need to manage the remainder of his career carefully, in light of the cumulative effect of injuries. If this concern is valid, it will have a big impact on Celtic next season.

I did a fair amount of shouting at Nir Bitton during the first half. We were regularly overloaded 3-against-2 on the wing, while Nir remained in a central position, 5 yards away from being able to effectively press. If this was down to team orders they were complicit in a dreadful first half performance. If it was a personal reluctance to press, it was inexplicable. I could believe either scenario.

It was all too much for Gary Mackay-Steven and Patrick Roberts. Gary’s form has been underwhelming this season, but when I questioned his inclusion ahead of the game the point was made that he’s chipped in with a number of goals recently. Ronny Deila turned and walked to the dug-out to instruct Gary’s substitution after one inaccurate pass too many.

In the starting line-up, only Gary, Patrick Roberts and Leigh Griffiths had scored in our previous 7 league games. I suspect we were caught asking the wrong question here – who’s going to score the goals? Instead of asking how best to win the middle of the park. With Roberts, Mackay-Steven, Griffiths and Johansen occupying the advanced four positions we were lacking in kilograms – literally lightweight.

Contrast to when Gordon Strachan plucked Charlie Mulgrew from defensive cover to play left side of midfield at Ibrox; winning a game well against the odds.

Stefan Johansen was another unable to judge the weight or accuracy to apply to a pass, he was hooked injured after 84 minutes but could have gone earlier due to performance. His replacement, Tom Rogic, brought a considerable improvement to our use of the ball. Had we started with Rogic and Sviatchenko it would have been a different result.

The plan didn’t work for Leigh Griffiths. He was unable to hold play up, get in behind or craft a proper opening.  He’s been our charm this season, but he’s no miracle worker.

More on the big picture stuff later in the week.

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  1. I’m sorry but its time to go Ronnie – and I mean now – I appreciate that it will add slight risk to the run in but (i) Ronnies performance in big/really matter games is soo bad that who is too say how well he’ll handle the run in (ii) it’d only be fair to the new manager/players to be assessed properly before the qualifiers.


    I appreciate that despite the kaka we got served yesterday we were pair of glaring misses and a half hearted clearance away from winning yesterday but no more excuses from Brooner or Ronny.


    We have now completely wasted about half the time we had if not more while Sevvy were away – remember the whole bring through/blood youngsters get so far ahead of them Generation of Domination thing


    1 striker? Understandable away in Europe or if the midfielders were chipping in 10+ goals a season but against spl or lower league opposition????


    Midfielders – I know we’ve been saying for ages that we need a proper DM / victor replacement – and I like my midfielders to be one or the other – a keanesque shield and scholesesque sword – one doesn’t score many or assist many but stops them going in , the other cant tackle a wet paper bag and really should even try but contributes 20+ goals/assists per season


    Brooner – once again thou for once not disciplinary in nature a liability when needed in a big game – if you cant hit the target from the edge of the box why are you there? Saying nothing of his later deflection


    Stefan had a good season last time out – but 4 goals from 36 vs Rogic’s 7 from 23 – I know who would be getting played more of he were Norwegian – I know its hindsight but if a midfield 3 of brown(33 games 1 goal)/bitton (41 games and 8 goals – which is fine) and Stefan – cant boss a lower league midfield – don’t talk to me about GMS – and therefore are an effective shield or sword why were they all playing – how would a bitton / commons / rogic midfield have started……



    Lets say we revert to something like 442 next year how many of our positions are settled?


    Goalkeeper – sorted though I think further failure in Europe may not meet his ambitions


    Defence – Young Tierney and Erik (if he can stay fit) and Jozo (if he can get fit) are the only sure ones going forward I can see – I can imagine Emilio wanting to move on and Saidy providing backup at left back – but I think its time for Mikael to have a change and for efe and dedrych to have a change of career, if Charlie fancies the English championship fair play


    Midfield – We need a proper DM, we probably have to Play young Roberts a fair bit, that really leaves 2 positions available – assuming Forrest goes – Scott Allan is 25 early next season/GMS will be 26/SA is 24/RC is 21/KC is 33 / CMcG will be 23/ SB will be 31 – assuming we sell Bitton even – how many of those will be here next season? Not mention the new Norwegian kid on the way


    Forwards – assuming we can sell scepovic and CKR hasn’t headbutted somebody I’m sure we’ll waste another few million on some workinprogress assistance for LG – unless we play the Norwegian kid there



    So yeah, we are really prepared for next year…………………


    Worst thing about yesterday’s result is it will probably have scuppered Lawwell’s chances of the Sunderland job…

  3. Paul 67,



    Looking forward to ” the big picture stuff later in the week”



    The past is past, it’s the big picture stuff that will be our future.




  4. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on




    Sunderland won`t be daft enough to imagine yesterday`s result had anything to do with P.L.

  5. Comment from previous blog.( I would like to see a repost of BMCUWP’s post)





    Whadda you know, too slow!



    At least you added some comment; I just c&p’d

  6. ArranmoreBhoyLXV11 on




    Been a while since I ve been on.. I feel moved because quite simply the soul of our club is at stake..



    The dross and underachieving , lack of ambition since 2012 has become a reality..



    PL if you read this,



    The embarrassing spectre of a half empty stadium is becoming a reality..



    It’s over to you..




  7. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    TheClumpany, will miss my nightly enjoyment of your blogs. The timing of this just adds to my sense of impending doom re the return of the Hun.

  8. A complete shambles and a disgrace. Disorganised, unfit and mentally weak. Lacking in character, professional game management and ability. I expect to scape over the line for 5 in a row, which is the only saving grace. The debate about Ronny is now over. He is finished.





    Gordon Strachan got rid of Charlie Mulgrew. It was Neil Lennon who played him that day at Ibrox.

  10. Wait until we secure the title.



    Ronnie will give us a roar.



    PL will give Ronnie a £750,000 treasure chest.



    We will be on the March.



    All will be forgotten.



    The cycle continues.



    Only, this time next year, under the current structure, leadership and management, we won’t be sitting about to retain a league title.



    Bleak, bleak times – it needs to change now.




  11. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Paul – the Charlie at left mid was NL’s first season. Other than that a decent summary.


    Had my reservations about Boyata all season but wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. Like Ambrose a decent footballer but doesn’t have the attributes to be a good defender.


    Need a proper DM who has the nous to cover defenders.





    I mailed you on the same subject. A few good people have also mailed me about it to say that they will help.

  13. I wonder if the big picture will include the board releasing plans for a casino and hotel complex along with a ‘floating pitch’ :-)


    IMHO words are not enough at this juncture, the board must demonstrate their ambitions match ours, do that and we’ll ‘show you the money’. For starters a PROVEN manager appointment announced ASAP, better quality signings and an end to buying projects in the hope of a fast turnaround.



    Mintys doppelganger CSC

  14. 67 European Cup Winners on



    I know you are hurting as we all are, I also respect it is not in your interest to completely blame the manager or suggest PL could be the issue – I also believe our best chance of winning the league is to continue with RD


    BUT – yes no answer – would you want RD as our Manager next season ??




  15. The Green Man says SACK THE Board on

    The stupidity of the PLC is off the scale.


    They have turned a thriving club into a disaster, in the space of three years.


    Who’s fault is that?


    Is it me that’s to blame, or the countless thousands of Celtic supporters who are sick today?


    What did the supporters do to deserve that disgrace yesterday.


    No…the simple truth is, that we have idiots running Celtic.


    People who do not give two fecks about Celtic.


    People who are more interested in personal enrichment than the team or the supporters.


    People who are not capable.


    People who are rewarded for failure.


    I can only come to the conclusion, that they are idiots.


    Only idiots would trash something some as beautiful as Celtic.


    My contempt for these idiots knows no bounds.


    They have sold the jerseys.




  16. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    The Clumpany


    Hope you re-consider your “retirement”. Loved your work. Even if it’s cost me a few shirts from spluttered out tea!

  17. North Cyprus (formerly Baku) Bhoy on

    Kitalba, have you been in touch with the Bhoys of Baku CSC?



    They already do a lot of good charitable work in and around the city, and at least one of the long-time members is involved with transportation.







    No criticism of the gutless players ?????!???????




  19. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    I sincerely doubt anyone even within Parkhead has the gall to be working on a sequel to the “Ronny Roar”, but if they are, here are some possible titles:



    “Ronny – The Hampden Tears”



    “Norwegian (Lump Of) Wood”



    “Ronny Dire”



    “Ronny Dumpling”






    “Lawell’s Lapdog”



    I know he’s a nice guy and all, but I’m past caring. He’s a small man in a big job and he doesn’t know what he’s doing. When it finally arrives, in suitably laboured fashion, this year’s title will be the most joyless and underwhelming in our long and uninterrupted history.



    Lawwell meantime is well on his way to emulating Michael Kelly as a hate figure amongst the fans. Michael’s so fondly remembered all these years later, eh?



    Time to go chaps, and no thanks for the memories.

  20. kitalba on 18th April 2016 12:06 pm



    A few of us on here have worked in Baku and your right abject poverty exists alongside oil fuelled wealth. Have you considered contacting the oil companies for assistance in transporting the donations to Baku. A number of Brit based companies are big players down there not least BP.

  21. All of these points about our tactical gaffes and lack of application were made to me yesterday, in real time by my son.



    He’s quite tactically savvy. But he only turned 11 last week……11 freakin years old!!



    And he’s asked the same pertinent and blindingly obvious questions for over a year now.



    The bigger picture story is the ONLY story right now.



    If the likes of me long stopped clapping happily then there’s something rotten in the state of Denmark (sic)






    HH jamesgang

  22. Im another hoping the big picture will give us hope. Today sure doesn’t feel like it.


    I am even more undecided than i already was about renewing my season tickets.


    Another cheap option appointment next season and yesterday’s result will become the norm.

  23. So there’s a Celts For Change 2 twitter account. It sounds like a trolling TRFC fan but probably isn’t, that’s a big problem with social media campaigns.



    Anyway regardless of that, I don’t think our club’s been run into the ground as stated. If it had been we’d be seeing massive losses and non-winning finishes. THAT’S being run into the ground. Remember those days?

  24. Dj67SupportsTheResignationOfLawwellDesmondDeila&TheToryWhores on

    I would just like to apologise today for the atrocious language I used on the blog yesterday.









    I’m hurting & I will continue to hurt for as long as the above are connected to our club.









    Pitiful times ahead.




    Oh aye,



    Sack The Chucking Board

  25. CultsBhoy can not relate to Celtic Board ambitions on or off the park on

    Intrigued why Paul67 feels the need to delay the big picture stuff?



    There’s a good train for freedom of the press . The ability to report or comment without fear or favour has a lot to recommend it.



    I feel CQN is now overly beholding to CFC Board. The blog is a collection of very reasonable ‘thinking Celtic supporters’ which is why it marks itself out from other celtic sites.



    From my reading of the last 22 hours – there is a strong consensus on the cause of our current predicament.



    Paul67 is the leader of this blog and leads it well for the most part IMO.



    Be interesting to know if he backs of challenges the consensus?

  26. The Green Man says SACK THE Board on




    Of course…They were minging.


    I didnt think the huns played us off the park…..but to see a Celtic team with ten men behind the ball against a team of misfits…is telling.


    Scott Brown played like a total fud.


    Probably something to do with the ongoing behind the scenes power struggle….allegedly, Scott doesnt like certain people.


    Might be a reason for his stinking attitude.


    Apart from Erik….who has heart, sadly lacking in the rest.




    CM…who is a good player.



    The rest should get punted.


    Nowhere near good enough.




  27. But at least yesterday my son Learnt through context the meanings of……





    Moral victory (by the FOD after only 15 mins)


    Guile – as in complete abject lack of…….



    He heard other words too. However they were in ashamed to confess, not new. And heard too often in relation to this team over the last year.



    HH jamesgang



    PS I remember a young Scottish talent just over a year ago ripping a hole through an average defence a la sevco’ yesterday.


    It was our defence.


    He’s now our player.


    His name is Ryan Christie

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