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. Cultsbhoy – a fair point, but it hasn’t stopped him before. By all accounts, he sorted out offering the job to Keane before PL spiked that with the conversation about the “package” on offer. I wouldn’t be surprised if DD regrets allowing that now and does this time “bark himself”, or at least leaves PL in no doubt who the boss is and who makes the decisions…

  2. coolmore mafia on

    I thought the Huns played very attractive football. They were without a few first team players, yet with a team that included dean shields, they were the better team.



    I thought we looked as we always do. It was another run of the mill Celtic performance under Ronny. Beaten fair and square by a manager who can make a team better than the sum of their parts, as opposed to Ronny, who can t.



    He has been a disaster from start to finish. Ronny wouldn’t have won the league against Ally McCoist, he is that bad. Luckiest manager ever in that he has had two years.



    We’ll lose the league next season unless we have radical change. The Huns are easily the favourites now. Mark Warbrton showed what a good manager can do.



    You can sense no one really believes the Huns will win the league next season- currently they are nailed on

  3. theglasgowcelticway on

    If RD was to leave in the summer by mutual consent and a statement was made I believe the Celtic fans would get right behind him for the remaining games.

  4. Coolmore,



    I wouldn’t say they are “nailed on”. But if Ronny stays it’ll be the most open league since the mid eighties with 4 teams in contention (us, sevco, hertz, and the sheep)

  5. PRAECEPTA on 18TH APRIL 2016 2:33 PM



    An excellent post! Nothing to quibble about there. My son and I were making all of your (tactical) comments yesterday during the game. As far as what is now needed, cannot disagree with that either.




  6. GlassTwoThirdsFull on



    Well maybe. I’m just thinking of someone like Pocchetino (who I do rate btw) – one good year with Southampton and gets the Spurs job.

  7. Going to a game like next Sunday’s when you’d lost to an EBT fuelled, tax evading, debt ridden Rangers, was bad enough, but going when you’ve just


    lost to Sevco!!!!!!!!!!!!



    That’s takin the pi** CSC

  8. coolmore mafia on

    Do you live in Italy Italiabhoy? I’d like an Italian manager- they are rarely out thought

  9. Moyes was 1/3 last week for job, now out to 6/4, a big drift in market.


    He’s declared an interest in the Villa post though no approach from club.


    Is he genuinely interested or possibly forcing Celtic’s hand, who knows.


    Ps both Owen Coyle 11/2 and Roy Keane 6/1 have been market movers.

  10. The Irish Raj was / is only here for the arbitrage punt and it doesn’t look likely anytime soon.


    The Bonus Thief is a second rate property bean counter who has strengths but has started to inbibe his own waste water and couldn’t spot a growth agenda if it bit him on the ankle.



    We are in a terrible place.


    The Irish Raj will never be dynamic.


    He sees that the EPL ship has sailed and he has better places to invest.


    PL loves the job — he actually believes he is good at it — and we will suffer interminably while some agents benefit from him taking the lead in our signing activities.



    We are rapidly becoming a text book case why companies fail in plain site when to an outsider it would appear impossible to fail.



    When Moneyball was first being talked about I speculated that we would rapidly need to work out how to live on a T/O of £50mill pa.



    That was significantly below what we had at the time but the downsizing was always going to have a negative effect at some point. Well now we are at that point and £50mill is starting to look good.



    We are heading to £30mill pa and relative obscurity.


    The Sheep and the Flats do not need to aspire to us, we will come to them.



    Shameful that we have fallen so far.


    Shameful that we have useful idiots backing the PL’s personal gain agenda.


    Shameful that we have had 10 years of stagnation, then decline and now ridicule.



    The whole situation does not make sense.


    And if it doesn’t make sense then you have to ask why?


    Yet still they clap — or at least they did.



    Not hearing much at the moment though I am expecting a co-ordinated back the club / board / team missive sometime on Thursday.



    For the record P67 has to take his share of the blame.


    He built a communications channel and has turned it into a sewer.


    You have to ask where did the sewage come from — straight from the boardroom?

  11. Not bloody Owen Coyle….his record is so poor he had to go to the US for a job, and he isn’t exactly sparkling there…

  12. coolmore, no (sadly!)



    Italian managers are very tactically astute, I agree. They require their players to be completely devoted to their plan, however. British players can still seem a little unprofessional to their eyes – Capello apparently struggled with the on-field lack of discipline of a lot of the England squad, for example.



    Looking forward to seeing how Conte does at Chelsea.

  13. MadMitch, I think we could attract a decent name. It’s still a reasonably prestigious post in the UK game, with ample options for silverware and European football.

  14. IB @ 3.28



    I admire your optimism but I fear it is misplaced.


    We struggled 2 seasons ago to close the deal with the bigger names.


    Now I don’t think they would even bother.



    However any thoughts on names?


    The squad are not the draw they once were.




    Are you so upset with Paul67 that you won’t post again?



    That wouldn’t be a shame.

  16. Y not67 on 18th April 2016 2:44 pm









    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




    The reason why we are not telling the full story is at CFC request you idiot, and with good reason that will come out.



    I don’t know where you get your info but breaching confidentiality helps no one.

  17. MADMITCH on 18TH APRIL 2016 3:26 PM


    Regarding a new manager — our stock is so low — who would come?








    Might depend on who the CEO is.

  18. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on



    He never breached confidentiality, his source did and I think it’s only right that people who actually support res12 should know more than him and paul67 neither of which actually supported the resolution.

  19. MM,



    I was told Moyes had agreed a few weeks ago – decent source. That might not be the case now, who knows?



    Brendan Rogers would be great – imaginative and bold. I suspect he will stay in England for the time being.



    Keane? Would take the job I think, but would want a decent budget. Lambert likewise (does he count as a big name?)



    MON – no. NFL – Reading the article on the sidebar it strikes me he has either been asked or is throwing his hat in the ring. Really not sure about him coming back…



    Scottish options: Neilson is the best of the Scottish-based managers IMHO. But he strikes me as a fairly unlikeable character and his teams are durty bsstrds.



    Stubbs – no. Jim McIntyre… – difficult to imagine he’d say no but strikes me as the Highland version of Ronny…

  20. We’re stuck with him — CEO that is — nobody else will pay him what he is allowed “steal” from us.

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

    Who would come?


    That depends on what’s on offer..



    Starting with salary. We could afford £1.5m. That makes us very attractive.


    We’d need to sell an extra 1500 SB to cover increase in cost. Absolutely doable.



    I think transfer budget important but not as important as total control and autonomy. A good manager would punt many we have ( even at a loss) and recycle what’s left into his own team.



    Who we get next will signal future ambition.



    Go for a good SPFL manager and we are aiming for domestic domination.


    Aim higher and there is still some hope for European impact.


    Martinez mentioned earlier and Id imAgine that is at the £1.5m level.



    For me Lenny is the must get.



    He’s available, he connects. He inspires and he knows the ropes.



    If I was DD I’d appoint him and manage him. Seperating business and football reporting.

  22. IB @ 15.36



    Not a very inspiring list.


    There must be better out there.



    Given our current position £30K paw plus big bonuses would be money well spent.



    A good coach / manager gets more out of the players than we would think possible.



    A bad coach / manager gets less out of the players than history or our own eyes would suggest.



    We all know where we are today.

  23. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    AULDHIED. Fella calm down calling another poster an idiot just seems wong coming from your goodself. H.H.

  24. South Of Tunis on




    ” Looking forward to seeing how Conte does at Chelsea ”



    Me too !



    ” If you want to know what obsessive intensity is like , spend some time with Conte” -Pirlo



    ” My advice to Chelsea players ? Don’t sit near the dressing room door at half time or full time..Sit as far away from Conte as possible.”



  25. Some right guff being spouted on here today,anyone who still has faith in the manager really does believe in miracles.I gave my ticket for yesterday to my son and against my better judgement I went to Heraghtys to watch it, I could not even watch to the end I left a few minutes into the first half of extra time.A bunch of overpaid spineless individuals who just don’t care,no plan,no team shape,11 individuals playing a team game.



    I go to games with a bunch of Tims who have all been season ticket holders for a long long time,the shortest time being since the Hampden season the longest since 1980 or so.There are 8 of us,right now only one of us intends to renew,what does that tell you about the state of the club? It will break my heart but if there is no significant change at the club before renewal time I will spend the season doing other things for the first time in 34 years.



    Doing nothing right now will only result in a lot of empty seats next season,even the glory hunting ‘Old firmer’ twats will not buy a season ticket for two games a season.Make the changes and make them now,don’t wait till the end of the season.



    If I’m seriously considering not renewing we are at a very low ebb indeed.



    Pretty depressing state of affairs.

  26. Whoever has the idea that Ronnie should be in charge of youth is bonkers.


    Name one thing he has improved at Celtic?


    Everyone lauds his promotion of youth .


    Why?Kieran Tierney i’m told.


    Do people forget that Kieran only got played because of injuries to Mulgrew and Izzy.


    When Izzy was fit Kieran was dropped despite it being obvious he was an upgrade in that position.


    It was after a few games of Izzy that the penny dropped that Kieran could win a tackle and cross a ball to a Celtic player that the right choice was made.


    Young guys like O’Connell and Henderson plus numerous others have been shipped out on loan.


    To gain experience ?


    If Janko is fit again why has he not challenged Lustig who has had an awful season?


    Young O’Connell looked assured and strong anytime he played for first team but was not considered.


    Henderson is a far better centre mid than any of the present incumbents.


    I’m all for praise when it’s deserved but i struggle to see anything that Ronnie has done to improve us.



    He never breached confidentiality, his source did and I think it’s only right that people who actually support res12 should know more than him and paul67 neither of which actually supported the resolution.




    Am i reading you correctly …….. that Paul67 does not support RES12?

  28. Italiabhoy,


    had Neilson been in our dugout yesterday, my guess is that we would not have had to suffer the abject, rudderless excuse for a display that was seen on nation-wide TV.

  29. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on



    I understand this could be his last ditched attempt to scupper however as you know I’ve suspected for a long time he is on here at the behest of someone on the board, I still believe he is and is trying their final play to scupper it or hijack it as their baby, especially after all the shit we have put up from him and them.

  30. Anyone mentioning an “Owen Coyle” is to be shunned……(his Granny is exempt)


    same goes for Keano ( emphasis on the No)………..



    Please leave Henke where he is, rightfully on that Blessed Pedestal.



    Keep-it-real lads…….please.



    Moysie should walk on his knees to Paradise for his one chance of redemption.

  31. With the exception of Tierney, Deila doesn’t play the youth!



    He loans them out or leaves them on the bench like Allan and Christie.



    What is the point?



    If I was a youngster at CP and couldn’t get into that team because fannies like GMS, Broony, Johanson and Lustig, for example, I’d ask for a transfer!



    So a wid.

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