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. Is there a suggestion someone likes Collins?



    RD has been the architect of his own downfall, but the board really stitched him up by gifting him Collins as an assistant.

  2. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    Skoosh Broon has never been a skilful footballer and in truth would generally be troubled trapping a bag of cement. However, he made up for this through his other attributes, including mobility and motivation. If these too are now missing I’m afraid Broon’s time is up.



    It’s a ruthless old business and all the great managers knew when to let players go, especially their stalwarts. Stein, Shankly, Ferguson.



    Of course Ronny Deila is the furthest away from being a great manager you could possibly imagine.

  3. Sack the board? What is this pish? It’s like the idiots at the golf on the telly when a guy tees off on a par three ..get in the hoooole, attention seeking and the IQ of an African Dung Beetle, give us a break ffs.





    PAUL67 is entitled to voice his own opinions rather than those of many on here. My Dad nearly became a mineshafter yesterday,but is still clapping-slowly,mind you-so Paul isn’t the only one taking a more pragmatic view of things.



    For me,I’ve never been a fan of PL,but I’ve supported RD because I don’t fancy the alternatives,based on Lawwell’s history of cheap and malleable options. And if I’m honest,I hold the players more responsible for yesterday than Ronny.



    But he hasn’t helped himself during his tenure,and it is time up for him.



    The problem is that the person responsible will still be there,and still be making all the big decisions. Things won’t change while Lawwell is in total control.

  5. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Can someone explain who this “top manager” that’s going to come to Scottish football is? And will he be happy at buying “projects”?

  6. someone should contact trading standards if this was the description on the box that Deila came in




    His players are dedicated athletes or they don’t remain his players for very long. He is also one of the game’s intellectuals, a former teacher – and what I’ve been asking for since Neil resigned – a student of the game. His attitude to his own role is one of continual professional development.



    Ronny has a track record of improving players and improving teams. He is not a brand name, nor a shareholder’s whim. He is not being considered because he’s ‘pals with Peter and out of a job’.

  7. The Green Man says SACK THE Board on

    YNOT 67



    ‘Attention seeking’



    Seriously…you need to keep up.


    We will see what is attention seeking when thousands of Celtic supporters sing precisely that..’Sack the Board’


    Its over…enough is enough.


    We change or die.

  8. Paul 67,


    I suspect you are biting your tongue, and being too kind to Ronny D.


    Football is a tough , highly competitive game with little scope for sentiment or growing up in public, and yesterday epitomised Ronny D’s reign at CP


    The team was lightweight, unfit, no tactics, no leadership and players looked as though they didn’t know what they were doing.


    By contrast, we made Rankers look the equivalent of a decent level Europa League team – that’s not to say they are, but we made them look like one.


    We’ve now had 20 months of RD, and in that period good players like Brown, Commons, Mulgrew, Johansen , Bitton, Izzy have declined, whilst potential like Forrest has disappeared completely.


    Add to that, on paper decent signings like Armstrong , whom I still think of as a long -term club captain, have declined considerably, whilst others like Allan, Christie are nowhere near the team.


    If guys like Kazim-Richards and Cole weren’t his choices he should say so.



    NL had a good insight on Matthews, Ledley, Kelvin Wilson, Hooper, Commons , Forster etc before he signed them. He had played with / against all of them.


    By contrast the guys he didn’t know VVD, Wanyama, Miku, Lassad, Bitton , Efe etc were a mixed bag with some successes, some failures, and some ok.


    Ronny D doesn’t have that insight or experience.



    Bottom line is RD, in Norway, was the equivalent of a John Hughes, Jim McIntyre, Tommy Wright – he was managing a small club, in front of 4 figure audiences, and over achieved.


    He won a league; they won a cup.


    I now believe we should ditch RD asap, and whilst I don’t think we will blow the league, given his record of snatching defeat from the hand’s of victory it wouldn’t be a shock.




    Here’s the crux of the issue. Sacking the board may make no difference. It’s the people that control the board and they can’t be sacked. They can only be bought out. Who’s going to do that?

  10. MICKBHOY1888 on 18TH APRIL 2016 12:38 PM



    The idea was good, myself and many others thought and hoped it would work. Its backfired unfortunately.

  11. Weeminger,



    The supporters of the club are being milked by the PLC. People say RD is a nice guy. He might be, but his main qualification is that he is weak. PL has surrounded himself with weak people. It’s all about money. The players know it. They have known it for months.



    The PLC are going to kill the goose that laid the golden egg, all because of greed.



    This link is the most important thing (under construction) at Celtic at the moment, sadly.







  12. Does anyone think the current board actually have a plan in place? A strategy to take the club back into top European flight football? A plan to generate enough finance to support those ambitions? A plan to attract better players to the club through improved scouting which will make us higher profile across Europe?


    The only plan that is evident is the one that creates a more or less neutral balance sheet after significant bonus payments are issued.


    These board members that we entrust our club to had the gall to increase PL’s bonus last year based on his performance. He of course displayed even more gall by accepting it.


    Will he accept a bonus again this year based on winning the SPL title?


    The longer this situation prevails makes it more difficult to arrest it. It’ll take more money and a greater amount of time to restore us to the place a club the size of Celtic should be. Why why why?


    Why did we lose to a lower league opponent yesterday?


    Because the manager is incompetent and has incompetent players at his disposal.




    Because the best players are getting sold as soon as they have a market value which will bring profit.


    Because the manager appointment was made as they wanted someone who wouldn’t demand adequate funding.


    Action is needed now or this is going to get worse.





    Celtic Season Tickets-Under Construction?








    Yip,as you know very well,a company must invest in its infrastructure.



    We don’t. We strip our assets and “replace”them with cheap imitations.

  15. theglasgowcelticway on

    Dominate the midfield yesterday and the rest would look after itself. We would have pushed them back forcing them to play long balls to an ageing striker who doesn’t have the pace anymore. Their first goal comes from what happens when you concede the midfield,an error. Our wingers did very little to protect our fullbacks leaving us exposed on many an occasion. The concerns were there in the first half of the hearts game when a basic side was walking through our midfield with ease. JC had played in these types of games before when a more skilled but lightweight Celtic side were overpowered. Did he raise any concerns about the strength of our midfield? As I’ve said,they created one real chance that I can recall,missed it,yet scored twice. Not to mention the fact that their keeper rolled the ball out to their fullbacks for almost the entire game before we pushed up on them.

  16. The Battered Bunnet on

    The Ronny Deila project was over months ago, and yesterday was little more significant in that light than an unpleasant end to a lousy story. He’s a nice guy, Ronny, but he’s ill-equipped to work at this level. that much has been apparent for some considerable time.



    It’s what he’s leaving behind that’s the first concern, and what follows that’s the second.



    24 players have been signed since he took over, and 2 years down the line, he wasn’t able to put a team on the park that could deal with a patchwork of jobbing footballers, those who aspiring to be jobbing footballers, and those who used to be jobbing footballers.



    Where does that leave the bulk of the current Celtic squad? There’s nothing there of value that wasn’t there before he arrived, and much of that is on the down slope career-wise.



    One trusts that the Leadership at the club, having long ago recognsied that Ronny was regrettably inadequate, has been developing and are now ready to implement the new plan. If it looks like the old plan with a new whimsy, a new muse, the future of the club looks pretty grim.



    The new plan needs immedite credibility, adequate resources and something to spark the imagination of a support that is disengaging at an alarming rate.



    If there isn’t a new plan ready to go, Peter Lawwell has a hell of a job on his hands to transform what is a shambles of a football operation into a European competitor. And he has 8 weeks to do it.



    But then he and the Board have known since the Europa League that Ronny would be replaced in the summer, so of course there’s a plan, and of course it’s all but finalised. Of course. Yes?



    I trust David Moyes is already signed up to it, and awaiting the formality of the end of the season to be announced and get to work.

  17. What is the Stars on

    Terrible yesterday but if anything good comes out of it well then surely it has to be that we don’t have to listen to the Ostrich Brigade with the nonsense like


    In Ronny We Trust


    Give him time to build his team


    Wait until he gets his own players in


    His hands are tied.


    Great things happening behind the scenes in youth development


    In 5 years he will have a moulded a team that can compete at the top level in Europe


    Only people with a hun like sense of entitlement want instant success


    You cant sack a league winning manager.


    I remember the 50s when we won nothing


    I remember the 40s etc etc



    Well my dear ostrich friends the chickens have well and truly come home to roost.


    What was obvious in August 2014 is still glaringly obvious


    Ronny Deila was never up to the job.


    All of us knew that but some wouldn’t admit it.



    But it wont be long now,we will have a manager who at least knows the basics about football

  18. Celtic plc exist and operate to generate the necessary dividends for the preference shareholders and balance the books, the first team is not a priority which is unfortunate for the supporters because that is what they want their money spent on. A conflict that is not going away

  19. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on



    Come on, have you no been paying attention, according to the gobshites and half wits the board are our biggest asset can do no wrong and are completely exonerated from all failures at the club. In saying that, they are becoming a rarer breed, maybe we should put them forward for the Darwin Award.

  20. Bobby


    Most companies will comfortably manage a debt to income ratio of 15%. We were turning over £75m and should have continued investment into the playing side of the club.


    That would have given us a decent opportunity to maintain and possibly increase our income.


    Spending money on high numbers of players in the £1m to £2m bracket has brought failure to progress in Europe, which is where our main income stream lies.


    Sadly many have bought into the myth that the SPL is the problem, and we can’t attract top players to our club. Even worse, bought into the myth that we can’t hold on to our top players because of the SPL.


    Certainly when European football goes, then yes , players want away, BUT those players signed in the first instance because they had ambition to play in Europe. The SPL didn’t stop them signing and is not the reason they go.

  21. PeterLatchfordsBelly on




    Thought you’d be more of a looking on the positives type of guy, what with the moniker. Not the type to talk down our potential, imply this is as good as it gets etc.



    Maybe we should go for a modest Championship manager/ city trader type and give him 10 bob to spend on transfers. That seems to be a recipe for success…



    Oh no, hope Pistol Pete the downsizer in chief isn’t reading this….

  22. glendalystonsils on

    WHAT IS THE STARS on 18TH APRIL 2016 12:56 PM



    You missed out the one which really gets me for it’s utter negative pishiness.



    The one that says…’who in their right mind would take the job?’ The suggestion being that we’re never going to attract anyone better than Ronny. So the alternative is to stick with him????????? FFS.

  23. From previous.



    AULDHEID on 18TH APRIL 2016 12:27 PM






     Although it doesn’t feel like it, yesterday’s reverse may be a blessing in disguise. It may, over the summer, bring about some of the changes that a lot of supporters have called for. Season Ticket money will be due soon. Those who want change now find themselves in a position of strength. Thousands of fans are feeling aggrieved this morning after yesterday’s capitulation against a club with far fewer resources than we have. That means that there are thousands of Celtic fans at the moment who will feel that the last thing they want to do at the moment is part with hundreds of £££s for a season ticket. By withholding their money they have a chance of scaring and forcing the powers-that-be at Celtic into making some or all of the changes that many have been demanding.



     What are these changes that many have been demanding. According to posts on CQN this season, I would say that the most frequent demands for change are:-



     * a new manager



     * the sacking of Peter Lawell



     * backing a new manager properly by providing the resources he needs to compete effectively at home and in Europe



     * the Club’s approach to Resolution 12 and towards the SFA/SPFL



     If thousands of fans ignore the season book renewal form and hold on to their money, the Board will start to panic. Once deadline for renewal day passes the alarm bells will really sound. The Board will then have to actually do something to reverse the situation. They’ll have to actually try to find out what is ailing us. What do we, the fans want? I would suggest that will be the time to demand action on the points above and to keep your money in your pocket until you get it. I won’t be rushing to renew my ticket.





    In terms of changing not just the personnel but more importantly the thinking that has created the current level of disconnect there has never been a better opportunity than now.



     However fixing a problem means identifying the causes and then addressing them.



     The thing is football has moved on since the days when supporters were an incoherent mass of at best scattered islands of independent unity sharing their own view of the solution with The Board as most powerful island.



    Fragmented thinking produces fragmented results. The power of unity can make a club or a team punch above its weight – see yesterday.



     Quick fixes, as in get in a new manager in the hope that he will be good enough to put a team on the park, so that all other issues affecting the well being of Celtic get buried alive is the normal football approach. Well it has been but supporters are no longer an unthinking inarticulate mass to be fooled by quick fixery.



    Everybody who supports Celtic, from the very top down starting with DD down through the Board then through the Associations and The Trust to individuals, need to look at their part in bringing us to where we are.



     A bit of honest introspection to identify the issues and causes is needed first then when they have been identified and agreed can relevant solutions be found.



     A house divided against itself cannot stand and today we find ourselves more divided than ever.



    We can continue to fragment and lose support or take a long hard look at why we are where we are and that takes leadership.



     We might need a new manager (after the 0 0 draw at Dens I’d given up on RD) we might need a new CEO, but more than anything we need LEADERSHIP that can bring an end to the fragmentation and it’s causes. If it’s not already there then bring in someone respected enough across the support spectrum who has those qualities.



     A holistic solution is required but this one ran into the ground because no one wanted to give up what they thought they had, from top down.






     Time to rethink.

  24. BMCUWPs,



    Thank feck there’s no Sevconians here. I’m off to the beach. I hope your dad’s golf goes well, I wouldn’t like to be playing him today.

  25. YNOT 67



    Is that all you can do?, slag people off and call them huns?. Noticed there was no sign of you yesterday to answer my question. If I want to read people like you i’ll go to the hun sites. Amazed that while other people were getting it tight, the blog gives you carte blanche to slag all and sundry!.

  26. Never has a challenge been shirked like Regi Blinker’s until Peter Lawwell in 2012.

  27. On yesterdays performance teams like ……….Aberdeen ross county inverness caley thistle and hearts would have provided sterner opposition than newco……basically the underdogs got lucky…..with the usual help from the Mib.

  28. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    WHAT IS THE STARS on 18TH APRIL 2016 12:56 PM




    As you said at the time………………………………..





    MICKBHOY1888 on 18TH APRIL 2016 12:44 PM


    Warnings were posted as far back as 28 August 2014












    I suspect that if any of his hun playing partners give him grief,they’ll be feeling a putter over the napped as they retrieve their ball from the hole!

  30. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    The Battered Bunnet


    You think Moyes would come? What sort of players would he be buying?


    I reckon even the English Championship is out of our reach now (money wise).

  31. Brown and Johansen have energy and grit in abundance.Game intelligence is not their forte.


    Coaching is required to get the benefits of their abilities.


    Ronnie unfortunately coaches them to minimise their strengths and amplifies their weaknesses.


    Biton is just a dud but to be fair he is played in a role he is incapable of doing.


    As our central anchor he is positionally poor so gives away fouls and space in dangerous areas due to his constant habit of being wrong side of opponent combined with his zero forward momentum style he is just a deadweight.


    GMS was unnoticed the whole game.Was the invisible man tactic a coaching byproduct?


    They sussed Roberts was cutting inside so just funneled him to crowded areas.Our coaches were only guys in stadium not to notice this.


    LG has become a selfish player recently and yesterday was more of the head down and shoot no matter where you are style of recent games.


    Has he grown tired of a system that creates few chances for him and is trying to hard?


    Lustig has had a poor season.Does the system place to high a burden on him or is his better days over?Change of coach /system will reveal the truth.


    Having an overabundance of players in some areas and shortage in striking area is criminal and the coach and CEO need to realise neither should be in charge of footballing operations.


    The coach should go now as the players do not want to play his myopic and unworkable system.


    Lets hope we can still win the league and make sweeping changes to the football side of the club soon in preparation for next season.

  32. 45,000 at least will renew season tickets, others in here won’t and will sit in here bumping they’r gums trying to get true Tims not to renew, bad luck and sheet happened yesterday, but no one died, and I woke up this morning, some just live for doom and gloom, and are never happy unless they are moaning, others woke up jumped on here and want a guy who is earning an honest living SACKED? Ffs get a grip, who the F… Do you think you are? even guys from resolution12 slagging RD, honestly you couldent Mark they’r neck wi a blow torch, you would think even they would keep there head down? Irony?

  33. On a separate theme, what about those penalties yesterday. WTF? Broony had enough time whilst awaiting his turn to have an idea of what he was going to do, yet he steps up, with a run up akin to a 5 year old taking his first ever kick at a ball, and looks like he’s still making his mind up a yard from the ball?


    Pitiful effort.

  34. TBB






    I got leadership in afore you.






    A clever PLC would surely realise that to increase dividends they have to connect better with those on whom their dividend depends.

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