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. Roy Keane? Although I’d love it to work, I would fear he would lose the head with our CEO and be out the door in a flash.



    I wouldn’t fancy John Park’s chances talking through the recruitment policy.



    On another note Mick McCarthy has a 6.4% higher winning average at Ipswich than Roy at Ipswich. I remember in Roy’s book he said that he didn’t like managing a team in blue though.

  2. Can you imagining waking up this morning and having had 24 hours to digest yesterday’s result, assuming you had the capability to think logically and analytically putting yesterdays result into context not only the performances you have witnessed in person or on TV this season & last, allied with the in your face mismanagement of the main product the business sells to it’s customers, you were still capable of being happy with all in the world that is Celtic.



    Not to down play those who struggle with mental issues but the person described above must be overdosing on Citalopram.




  3. Go tell the Spartim on

    Will this catch on






    Everyone has their favourites for the job, but for me Moyes would get football stopped, Martinez is a clone of RD (makes a good team less than the sum of its parts). MON wouldnt come, Lenny had his go, Keane hasnt done anything of note in a managerial sense, so its a tough call to please at least most of the people.



    Whoever comes in must have autonomy over the squad, if you dont act professionally get rid. I think the common hearsay in this regard is well known and they’d be first out the door.

  4. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    I think the posters saying that the Old Firmists among the Celtic support will buy season tickets for next season may well be wrong there are a good many current season ticket holders who say they wont be re-newing for one reason or another next season.The only reason for paying up front for a season ticket is to ensure your seat now if because many current season ticket holders do not renew there will be plenty of empty seats in the ground and you will be able to pay at the gate and not have to lay out to pay for a season for many games that you will not attend.It remains to be seen but the future for Celtic at this moment in time does not look to clever. H.H.

  5. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on



    There is no signed resolution from Paul67 amongst those who supported.


    Yet Peter Lawwell uses him to relate news to us, Paul67 knows more about the boards plans for Res12 than any of the Res12 representatives that’s how the board have been operating.


    So it’s not a great leap of the imagination to work out where Tony Donnelly gets his information and his attitude to Res12 during the last few years. Tony has been working against Res12 at who’s behest ?


    But for now, I’ll leave it at that like Tony did, suffice to say serious moves are afoot and Tony is as sick as a pig :)

  6. !!Bada Bing!! 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…



    I don’t think they will change the manager until the end of the season,but if they pulled the trigger,we could do worse than Davie Hay,Tom Boyd and Willie McStay to get us over the line. HH

  7. On the percentages Coyle 20.1%, Keane 17.7%, both have clearly been backed though Moyes remains an uneasy Fav.


    Next manager betting is extremely volatile and unpredictable so not reading too much into it, Keane was as short as 1/8 before Ronny appeared from nowhere.

  8. If there is no immediate change in the management structure, I will be surprised if we have more than an average of 20K attendees for the last few home matches.

  9. ITALIABHOY on 18TH APRIL 2016 3:57



    Phil having a dig at Paul67 ?





    Maybe, but at least Paul 67 watched his team. Phil had more important things to do.


    Maybe Phil should stick to repeating the same stuff about Sevco.




  10. Captain Beefheart on

    MO’N no thanks. No thanks to Coyle either. Keane would bring the thunder back but is a gamble. However, he is a worthwhile gamble.

  11. 67 European Cup Winners on

    Its like you and I


    if we have a job or the option of another job and we go to an interview and our reputation has a bit of clout (Rogers Moyes Monk even Keane O’Neill Lennon) – we are a bit more ‘demanding” about the terms, a bit more “inquisitive” about the responsibility , a bit more “interested” in the day to day responsibility


    When you meet/interview with Big PL you realise your job is to put the cones out and do the interview’s you think f–k that



    However if you don’t have a job or your job is pathetic or you come from Strongborgset (or wherever it was) you don’t ask any questions



    I fear our next manager will not be a “proper” tried and tested Manager because if they are they will not accept the PL strategy



    Unless big Peter takes a “Non Exec Job” and abdicates a bit of responsibility we are just as well going on The Apprentice for our next Manager




  12. i'vehadtochangemyname on

    commiserations to anybody who had face huns in work today – must have been painful

  13. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on

    It’s a blog that’s what blogs are supposed to do, allow people to have opinions, no ?

  14. !!Bada Bing!! on

    If Coyle got the job I would have a decision to make,knocked us back to stay at Burnley ffs,then went to Bolton,where 54 appearances makes you a ‘legend’

  15. The Green Man says SACK THE Board on

    Its bad enough Celtic being shafted by half-witted hun cheats and their blazer buddies of the secret society.


    But to be shafted by the Celtic PLC themselves is much worse.


    They have sold the jerseys with atrocious mismanagement and an arrogant superiority based on personal wealth.


    The stupidity is totally off the scale….to think that the bigot card will solve all our problems, is the agenda of idiots.


    They are clueless.


    Total change at board and management level.


    They cannot escape responsibility.




  16. Captain Beefheart on

    Brendan Rodgers has a big painting of… Well, Brendan Rodgers has a big painting of himself in his hoose. Can Paradise sustain such an ego?

  17. ....PFayr ..SACK THE BOARD on

    Constant comment re next seasons CL qualification



    A touch premature IMO … Notwithstanding how far ahead we are the league isn’t in the bag should we continue to play poorly as we have been this year

  18. From the BBC article on Moyes… hmmmm



    “Moyes was still at Real Sociedad when Villa’s head of recruitment Paddy Riley flew to Spain for talks.



    He questioned the quality of the 12 players Riley had helped bring in at a cost of £55m and the talks did not progress very far.”

  19. TheOriginalSadiesBhoy on




    Thank you for your reply to my earlier post on the last blog.



    I agree with you that the question of leadership is of paramount importance. As things stand there will be no appetite for wholesale change from DD and the Board without the threat of revolt from the supporters. Revolt in the form of withholding season ticket money.



    Matt McGlone and Celts For Change, led the successful campaign which ousted the previous dynasty and installed Fergus. In my view we are at that stage again. There is a need for change. The current incumbents, led by an individual, Dernott Desmond who is not the majority shareholder but gets to call the tune on club policy and direction, have squandered the advantage we held during the last four years. Their gamble – to keep the club ticking over and doing just enough to keep the natives happy until something better comes up has failed. Mr. Desmond is an absentee landlord and he treats us like his peasants. His bailiff, Mr. Lawell has mismanaged the club and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Victory being our Generation of Domination domestically. Yesterday, we were humiliated and forced to listen to the triumphalist baying of the Sevco hordes on the Hampden slopes.



    Money is the fuel that keeps Celtic moving along. I intend to hold onto mine until I see some changes taking place. I think thousands of others will do the same. This is the time to effect change by speaking in a language that the Board understand, ” Listen to our demands or lose our custom.”



    I realise that Dermott is not likely to worry too much over the threat of losing TOSB’s money but if sufficient numbers do the same then you never know. It would, of course, be much better if we had that leadership that you talked about Auldheid. The chances of success would be much greater. Such leaders are much needed but few and far between.

  20. Phil’s article is designed to distance Dermot Desmond from the blame for this season.



    His “shill” dig may well be aimed at Paul, but Phil ain’t exactly squeeky clean on that front. A bit rich me thinks.

  21. Managers will be clamouring for the job.


    Now that NEWclub are ‘back’ then the league is hugely attractive, fans flocking to the games, all the MSM attention raising the profile of the SPFL and the challenge that comes from playing against the best players that £30 million warchest can buy.

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

    DD could cut costs and keep Lawwell hPpy by making a left field Managerial appointment. …



    He could just formalise Lawwell as the new manager. Let’s face it he’s been doing 80% of it for a long time…

  23. johann murdoch on

    A combination of Jim McIntyre and Peter Houston would be infinitely better than RD and crew.


    Brendan Rogers and Davie Moyes would be my first choices..though doubt [but hope] one may come Hh



    still hurting..Viva la resolutioners!

  24. So huns back,…………..


    remembering how Scoddland treated Neil and M O’N…………..


    let’s get “Keano” in……….



    oh aye…………………………………that makes real SENSE






    …an’ he’s no’ a Manager, he’s a Millionaire.




  25. The Green Man says SACK THE Board on

    It wont be Moyes or Keane, thats for sure.


    It will be someone that PL can control.


    Any manager worth his salt….would not put up with PL.


    Thats why imo…..it will be NL.


    He isnt hanging about for nothing….and probably the only quick solution.


    And probably, the only one who could stand working with DD and PL.


    Same old bs.

  26. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    I do my best to keep things in perspective but it is many, many years since I felt so despondent after a Celtic game.



    Changing the manager is a quick fix [dear God not Roy Keane!], but there is something rotten in the state of Celtic, and has been for some time.



    I am loathe to give the MSM any credit but the BBC hack who said Celtic fane are in ‘purgatory’ was pretty close to the mark.



    Scottish football needs a strong Celtic.

  27. What is the Stars on




    Maybe, but at least Paul 67 watched his team. Phil had more important things to do.


    Maybe Phil should stick to repeating the same stuff about Sevco.




    In fairness if you read Phils Article he was visiting a sick child in hospital,


    Slightly more important than football ..maybe

  28. weeminger on 18th April 2016 11:20 am






    Physios etc? January I think.



    Do you think they’re going to tough it out? Interesting.



    *I believe that a former physio or doctor that was let go remarked they would be back soon.