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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    I don’t want Alex Neil if Norwich go down.



    I might want him if he keeps Norwich up.

  2. Hebcelt



    Not that I am aware of, although someone who has more knowledge of it may have better insight.




  3. I don’t think Moyes is beyond us. His last 2 jobs have been chastening experiences, meaning he has something to prove.



    I think he was very unlucky at Man United, and got nothing like the leeway and financial backing LVG has got, and Spain always felt like an odd move for him.



    Football, however, is pretty divided into “EPL” people and the “the rest”. Moyes can be reasonably confident of a shot at an EPL job in the next 6-12 months. He might decided to wait around for that. Or, he might consider the challenge of rebuilding Celtic at home and abroad as a fitting way to restore his reputation.



    He will need money though. No-one wants to work on a shoestring these days.

  4. Davidopolous / Philbhoy



    Talk of Moyes & Alex Neil pie in the sky with club’s current salary policy for managers.



    Both great candidates and I would have either, but what do you think their salary expectations would be…..£30k – £40k per week?

  5. Hebcelt,



    The newclub only have to haave been members of their football association – in this case the Scottish fraudball association.


    Other than that, I would imagine they would have to satisfy the same conditions as those under which we the fans are questioning under Res. 12. for their spiritual predecessors iro 2012/13 season.

  6. Morning all, rough day yesterday and i’m afraid many of the concerns I had regarding this seasons performances came home to roost. I genuinely entered this season optimistic looking forward to a high energy, pressing team who would badger teams into submission with its energy and fitness. For whatever reason we’ve actually gone backwards. The players to a man looked heavy legged yesterday our level of fitness and energy was non existant.


    I’m with Paul I think starting Rogic and Erik would have been made a huge difference, but out with those 2 and young Tierney I think they’d be the only ones who got pass marks. Brown’s performance as captain was nothing short of disgraceful, his passing and use of the ball were appalling, and he along with the Lustig both look like there legs have completely gone. Bitton a player of obvious talent seems reluctant to stamp his authority on a game and far too happy to just cruise through it. If Boyatta was our number one signing target last summer then John Park needs fired immediately, I’ve never seen a big strong athletic center half be so lacking in all 3 of those attributes, he can’t head a ball he gets shoved around far too easily and his usage of the ball…..the less said about that the better. I’m also not concinced on his injury yesterday, I got the feeling he realized early he wasn’t feeling it and thought beeter of being out there. Joe Hansen is a coward of a player, lightweight, but clearly a Ronny favorite. GMS again is lightweight and lacking in any real ability to beat a man and deliver a good ball. Roberts can be given a bit of slack as he’s a kid experiencing his first game of that magnitude but his inability to hit the byline instead constantly trying to come inside hurt us yesterday. Even Griffiths yesterday was poor, his hold up play left a lot to be desired, starved of service he snatched at everything and resulted to speculative shots from distance when a simple ball and move would have been a better option. As for the management team no heart, no guile, no plan B i’m sorry time to move on.


    I’m not eliquent enough to vent with any great structure on how disappointed I am in the state of the club whether it be the state of the product on the pitch, the recruitment policy that has left us all with our hearts in our mouths the second Griffiths gets a knock as we all know that every other striker we have on the books is sub standard. or us having more attacking midfielders than we know what to do with. The Res 12 stuff has really left me baffled, I can’t thank enough the bhoys like Auldheid who continue to push this issue but I can’t help but feel like the board are stringing them on I honestly thing the board greatly underestimate the disaffection growing within the fan-base, hopefully the bhoys lucky enough to attend the final few home games this season will remind them.


    Where to go from here i’m unsure but moving backward wouldn’t be where i’d look MON and NL were both terrific servants to the club but its time to bring someone in who will energize the support and the club and to me Moyes isn’t that man. Personally i’d be going full guns blazing to recruit Brendan Rodgers, a man who speaks with great fondness of the club and who’s teams play attractive attacking football.

  7. RD is the CFC coach, and will be to the end of this season, and probably be here for next season, five games left, eight points clear at the top of the league, top goal scorer in the UK, sack the manager? Ffs get a grip.

  8. the long wait is over on

    Not deflecting away from our obvious malaise but all the bluenoses I know are reacting like they’ve just beaten Barcelona in the CL final.



    If they were so great and we were so terrible ( which we undoubtedly were) how is it that it took three missed penalties in the shoot out (with us having hit the woodwork twice and had a Miss of This or Any Season contender) for them to win?



    I detract nothing from our crying need for improvement but I’ll tell you what – we wont ever play that badly against them again – too many of our players froze.



    The biggest and ,in many ways , only issue for me right now is how the team ( forget RD’s position – we know , he knows and , most importantly , the players know he’s finished) react to this over the last five games.



    Winning the league will not assuage the anger the fans feel or the need for change but losing it has to be unthinkable. The players themselves have to go out there and secure that title as early as possible.



    Nothing else is acceptable.

  9. Allyhuntersgloves on

    I see a lot of comment on how the board have failed to act, there is no board, anyone who thinks our board make any big decisions are deluded, we have a puppet board. I was in the Celtic Board room for the Hearts match, they are grey haired millionaires and failed politicians. I spoke to 5 of them, I have never been more depressed after a Celtic match in my life. I also spoke to Fergus who was there, he got it, he told me what he thought of the manager, same as we do. Where is the 30 something entrepreneur brought up a Celtic fan? he isn’t there because he isn’t wanted, because only the absentee landlord makes any decisions and he doesn’t want questions or anyone else’s ideas. Its an old Bhoys club for the great and the good only. The fans own more than Dermot, yet these charlatans won’t allow a fan rep on the board (they are all fan’s apparently ), they don’t want a fan rep on the board because he / she would tell us what Dermot is up to !



    I believe Celtic have the worse of both worlds. Now many teams have billionaire dictator owners, the game is full of them and they call the shots, I get it. The difference between our Billionaire dictator and the others is that they invest millions into the team. Dermot dictates without coughing up. Our guy doesn’t even own a majority he has 29% (why, because anything over 29% and he would have to buy Celtic). Its a £70m turnover business for Dermot, small fry in his portfolio, not important enough to even go to the company AGM (last time he turned up he done the Times crossword under the table he was so interested).



    Dermot, do us all a favour , put up or ship out. If you want to call all the shots put your money up, if you don’t and your not interested then sell what you have. To us it’s not an incidental, to many of us its our culture, our identity and a big part of our lives.

  10. Moyes currently out buying a Villa replica kit apparently.



    Jim Mcintyre at Ross County is known to some on here both as a person and by others as a coach. All who speak of him in either context sing his praises highly.



    I always wondered if we were looking at a future Celtic manager. Perhaps the future could and should emerge more quickly than I’d imagined.



    He is perhaps to coaching what KT has been to playing. An ambitious young man who ‘gets us’, will bust a gut to inspire others and demands success ??



    HH jamesgang

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




    If DD makes the choice he’s keeping a dog and barking himself..



    He pays his CEOs very well for a reason.



    If PL got the bullet that would add 10000 on to the SB tally.



    Re Martinez- I think we’ll recruit way below his wage level.

  12. TULLY57



    And the rest!



    Not cheap!



    If we could offload a quarter of our first team squad we could well afford them.

  13. Is anybody really surprised the tribute act beat us. We are shite full stop. Player for player we are better but not as a team.


    Our manager as managers go is one absolute clown. If the fact that this board of ours realise there is no way he can he keep his job, at least one good thing came out of yesterday’s, f3ck up.

  14. ITALIABHOY on 18TH APRIL 2016 2:35 PM



    His reputation was built on doing it without money though (relatively speaking) for me that’s why it’s a good option for all concerned.



    If he did a really good job here, it would probably stand out more than getting a mid-table EPL team into top 6 and definitely a lot more than getting AV back to the EPL.

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

    The names being touted are hilarious.



    The only way ( and the right way) that could happen is if DD has 2 direct reports.


    A CEO for all business matters


    A Manager for all football matters



    No way Lawwell would manage a Mansger who exceeded his own bloated income level.



    The only other alternative if the manager is to report to Lawwell is to increase the CEO salary to circa £2m



    It’s not just the shareholders and as you say the fans pushing res12, CFC are pushing it as well, the res.12 are not telling you the whole story, and I’m not getting into it either, but what I will tell you is, that CFC have not walked away from it, that’s as far as I go with it, make what you want of it, time will tell, I’m off to the Monday Club for a swally.

  17. Izzy









    4 players who would have did better than GMS on the left side of midfield.



    Seems a likeable lad but anyone can see he is very very similar to Forrest .. 1 good game out of 4/5 games.



    Feel very sorry for izzy, has his weak points but commitment and attitude always very good. Poor management from ronnie, not even giving him 10/15mins in games.

  18. On a slightly different topic, does anyone see Tony Stokes being back at Celtic next season. Would a front two of Stokes and Griffiths make a difference to this side?



    I for one miss his corners ;)

  19. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Davidopoulos 2:27


    If Moyes is the man we’d be successful, but Celtic will be right back in the Old Firm love-in, because he shares DD’s view that Rangers are a great club with great history. That might be just what the board are looking for.




    I think that’s exactly what they’ll be looking for. MSM will be delighted.

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




    Given you blame the players for yesterday.. Who do you hold responsible for bringing these players in?

  21. DAVIDOPOULOS on 18TH APRIL 2016 2:45 PM



    He’s certainly made a difference to Hibs since he arrived…

  22. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    weeminger on 18th April 2016 2:39 pm


    If he did a really good job here, it would probably stand out more than getting a mid-table EPL team into top 6 and definitely a lot more than getting AV back to the EPL.




    Do you reckon?


    The English game see us as a Mickey Mouse league.


    Even when we beat Barca NL only got a job near the bottom of the Championship.

  23. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on

    And there you have from the donkey’s mouth and the real reason the donkey stopped braying.


    But why the board would advise the donkey and tell us to keep it confidential is typical of them.


    The donkey was agitating on behalf of the board.

  24. When I think of the Celtic Board Room I have a vision of Livingston, Bankier, Allison, Wilson et al sitting round a big table covered in cobwebs, bodies decaying, like Miss Havisham’s wedding feast in Great Expectations.



    I don’t think I am far off the mark.





    I honestly wonder if some of our support are playing with a full deck at times. They were desperate for this fixture more than tackling the SFA’s cheating.



    1. The club has been victimised for years by the SFA.



    2. The only manager to be lied to in Scotland from 3 SFA officials.



    3. The SFA granted a euro licence to our biggest rivals when they shouldn’t have.



    4. Cadette scandal.



    5. Pope email.



    The list is endless.



    This board are an utter disgrace but don’t worry pedro will bring in the fans choice & boom all is forgiven.

  26. South Of Tunis on

    WEEMINGER @ 2 15..



    I know 14 Glaswegians who could go but don’t /of that 14 ,9 choose to spend the money in places like Fopp or saving up for a monthly European City break etc etc.The other 5 don’t go because they refuse to validate the corruption and the ” accommodation and facilitation ” of the Zombies..



    It will take a lot more than the return of ” The ### #### for any of those 14 guys to return to having a season ticket.




    Well it depends on your definition of really good job – in mine it requires a good European run or two. That’s what would make EPL teams notice.

  28. The quicker our board deal with cheating at the SFA the quicker the SFA will think twice about breaking another rule in this country.#fact

  29. Midfield Montego on

    Regardless of the result there could only be one winner yesterday, Rangers. Celtic win and it`s a learning curve which Magic Mark will use to prepare his team for their assault on the title next year and, it was expected. Celtic lose and it`s club in crisis and in meltdown. They had nothing to lose yesterday and everything to gain. For now they are in the sunshine but there will be dark days to come and Warburton and Weir will find out what lies just under the surface. Of course it hurts losing to a team that have cheated, lied, manipulated and coerced their way through Scottish football for so long with not even an apology, hint of remorse or conciliatory words. Maybe that is their strength, but hopefully not. What is it about Celtic? we never seem to be sure of ourselves our purpose and where we are going. It always seems we are just waiting on the next crisis or missed opportunity to arrive and our ex-players seem only to willing to turn up and slate the club, yet across the city? I cant recall the last time one of their ex players criticised them ( mob rule aside). I`m not sure who would replace Deila, who would want to come to our league and Scotland but somehow we need to get ugly. As someone else posted we need a cause to rally around. For them its nobody likes us and stopping Celtic winning 10 in a row though on current form 6 might be a stretch. Its not all about Deila we have the highest paid because they are supposed to be the best. In the next 5 games its time for them to step up and prove it, no mistakes, no nervous moments just every team given a sound beating maybe then some pride might be restored and some forgiveness for yesterday.

  30. SOUTH OF TUNIS on 18TH APRIL 2016 3:00 PM



    Well it comes back round to different reasons for different fans. I just hadn’t seen the ‘OF Fans’ really listed as a defined group of non-attenders.



    I genuinely believe that even without a ‘fans favourite’ manager the ticket sales will be up next year.

  31. archdeaconsbench on

    What if Celtic were to release a statement tonight or tomorrow morning, confirming Ronny’s departure at the end of the season?



    Just throwing it out there…

  32. theglasgowcelticway on

    We have lost three semi finals in a row to inferior opposition. That says a lot about this teams abilities.

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