Game management when the roof falls in


Back in the old days of the Uefa Away Goals Rule, a 2-0 win in the first leg at home had an 80% success rate at proceeding in the competition.  Away goals added a jeopardy for the loser in this situation, they need to score twice but conceding once meant they would have to score four, so they could not be too gung-ho.

AZ have no such worries tonight, they can pile forward knowing they need three goals to win or the same to take the game into extra time, should they concede one.  We go into the game knowing they will have lots of the ball and territorial advantage.

In all honesty, I don’t think we are anything close to an 80% chance of proceeding, more like 60%.  AZ created enough good chances at Celtic Park to suggest they can find ways beyond our defensive lines.  What will worry the home side is how prolific our forwards look.

European football is significantly about game management, especially this early in the season.  Think back to Neil Lennon’s first season, when he took a 2-0 to Utrecht.  That lead was wiped out within 20 minutes before a total collapse.

Think also about Brendan Rodgers first qualification campaign.  Having won the first leg against Hapoel Be’er Sheva 5-2, the Israelis went 2-0 up three minutes into the second half – within a goal of going ahead in the tie.  Brendan used all three substitutes by 65 minutes and went a touch catenaccio until full time.  When the roof collapses, it is all about how you respond.

However the game progresses, Celtic’s match fitness should be better heading into the closing stages, or extra time, if it comes.  We need to be ready with a strategy for these periods of the game.

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  1. This is a game that we’ve spent decades messing up. So most of us are not looking too far beyond the next 90 minutes.



    My strategy for extra time is don’t let it get to extra time. If this match goes to extra time then there’s only one winner.



    Keeping them shut out for the first thirty and tempering the home support will be enough imo. Scoring the opener would make for a much more relaxing evening.

  2. What I’ve often observed is that the opposition managers have tended to learn more about us ( and adapted) than we have about them.



    Hopefully Ange can work out a few tactical switches to out fox the Dutch …. Leil can be the secret weapon tonight …. With Jamsie out I’d go with





    Tone Carlos welshy Greg


    David Tommy Calum


    Leil Ed Kyogo



    Tell Kyogo to knock his pan in and Ryan to appear after 65 mins



    Not sure what to expect to be honest … delighted if we get through ….

  3. EKBHOY on 26TH AUGUST 2021 12:31 PM



    Perhaps Ange’s tactical switch could be to play Odsonne on the left and Kyogo through the middle, I think the pace of Kyogo would really frighten them, por cierto

  4. Bizarrely, this game may suit our current playing style perfectly.


    Indeed, we don’t even need to ‘just score more’. Rather, we could get away with ‘just scoring one fewer ‘.


    Could be an entertaining, if rather frantic, evening.


    Back the manager

  5. I saw a few asking if tonight is the night when we find out if it is a John Barnes or a Brendan Rogers we have in charge !



    I think we all hope and believe it is the later and even better. I also think it is too early and wrong to assess if it does not go our way.

  6. They have to score, they have to push forward, that leaves gaps. We now have excellent movement, we might even score before them 😉🍀

  7. Bada



    Only making a positive suggestion which might make folk who are anxious feel safe to attend.



    Happy to hear a more positive evidence based one if you have it ?

  8. Bada



    Sorry I should have been more clear. Apologies. I have done one of these LF tests each week personally regardless of the recent directive. It does make sense in my view.

  9. Although starting to play very well , our defensive problems could let us down . We have been linked with everyone over the past few weeks so at least the coach is aware of our weakest link , But I fear they should have been rectified before this . Tonight is an important game for us ,we will take a big hit going out of Europe this early. The same applies on Sunday, the scouser knows our defensive weaknesses, we will get battered with crosses into our box from head scratching decisions , we also have a few new bhoys who won’t have experienced the hate filled atmosphere they will encounter on Sunday . Tonight and Sunday will tell us how much we’ve improved . HH

  10. Dexter P. Bampot on

    Some chatter that Celtic and Venlo £150k per year apart re wages.



    Seems to me that Celtic should offer him MORE than that IF he bags 20 league goals (for example).

  11. Looking at the calibre of teams in the Europa Groups I reckon it would be a big deal to be part of this !



    The 8 group format really does tighten up the quality. Very few easy games but almost all teams would be beatable.



    Tonight is huge. As big, or even bigger than Sunday.

  12. POR CIERTO on 26TH AUGUST 2021 12:33 PM


    EKBHOY on 26TH AUGUST 2021 12:31 PM




    Perhaps Ange’s tactical switch could be to play Odsonne on the left and Kyogo through the middle, I think the pace of Kyogo would really frighten them, por cierto





    Could be a good shout … suspect Ange wants his wife men really wide … Eddy needs space either side of them …. After 30 mins I suspect he’ll rotate front 3 every 15 mins …. One of Neil’s old tricks to unsettle the defence

  13. B78- i commend your take on LF tests, without wanting to go over old ground, and pollute the blog with the c word,if we didn’t have people getting vaccinated, we would all still be on lockdown, how would we get out of this situation?

  14. Let’s hope our back 4 can handle the pressure that they will be under tonight.


    Can’t say I’m confident they will.

  15. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Not sure where I stand on this one.



    In my guy I’m not feeling 60% ?



    But a quick look at our season to date stats tells me I should be.



    – 9 competitive games played


    – 27 goals scored.


    – 4 clean sheets (all in last 5 games)



    Play Ange’s system.



    Trust it



    And keeping playing it at 0-1 or 0-2 or 0-3 or any other score.



    Apply pressure and see if this talented team can handle it.



    Last night a more talented team than Alkmaar (Monaco) …. from a winning position …. couldn’t.



    Strange creatures these human beings.

  16. Our good start to the league season has made going to Fort Apache, not the “win at all costs” game it could have been . We’ll get better players, hopefully, and play better as the season goes on, unlike them who really don’t have anything new to hit us, or any other team with, por cierto.

  17. ST TAMS on 26TH AUGUST 2021 1:12 PM


    “Let’s hope our back 4 can handle the pressure that they will be under tonight.


    Can’t say I’m confident they will.”



    Our midfield has to defend better this time as well though ST TAMS. That could be the difference to not losing 2 goals. por cierto

  18. Por c



    You are spot on



    It is this defending from the front we need to maintain our energy and endeavor with that to ensure those at the back are not exposed so often to overloads.

  19. Game Management is the key. There may be different strategy required at different points during the match. We need to be flexible in order to complete the tie.



    I expect an emotional night

  20. Burnley78 – as the winners of the SPL go straight into the CL group stages next year (I think) I would poltely point out that surely Sunday is more important.



    Tonight will be a tough ask.

  21. ernie lynch on 26th August 2021 9:10 am



    You just love JHB don’t you?



    As predictable as ever, no matter the topic or the individuals concerned its all hands to the pump to protect the union!!!!! Three cheers for the red, white and blue!!

  22. DEXTER P. BAMPOT on 26TH AUGUST 2021 12:51 PM


    Some chatter that Celtic and Venlo £150k per year apart re wages.




    Seems to me that Celtic should offer him MORE than that IF he bags 20 league goals (for example).





    Dear god some things are never going to change .

  23. I’m on the same page as many today regarding our ability to defend tonight, it is a huge concern. However on the flip side with the style of play and the personnel we have available our best hope is to score and put AZ under pressure. It will be a long night if they score first.



    One of my usual rants, but the lack of a commanding CH could be our undoing and the only ones to blame for that are the board.



    Our ability to score from open play and the performances of the three Scottish players in the back four have been fantastic so far, I just hope this can be maintained tonight but they are the best side we have played this season, an early goal will have everyone hiding behind the couch.

  24. jimtim on 26th August 2021 1:49 pm



    Agreed, it is painful to watch.


    Entering our second knockout match in Europe this season with the team missing several key positions.


    C’est la Vie.

  25. CELTIC MAC on 26TH AUGUST 2021 10:50 AM


    big jimmy







    From yesterday.





    Wasn’t so much correcting your spelling, but more quoting from the movie in question.











    NO Worries mate.


    As a youngster my spelling was excellent…but now…as an Old Yin…its just laziness on my part.




    HH Mate.

  26. If AZ play as well as they are capable of, this will be a VERY difficult game Tonight.


    if Celtic play as well as they are capable of….it could be a long night for AZ ?


    Stating the Bleeding obvious C/F/C.






    Mon the Celts…just dae it !



  27. Of the two games before the three game International break this one against AZ is by far the most important. Not so much a make or break game but more a make your season kinda game, in that it would be a terrific achievement for Ange’s team to make the EL group stage before August is aout. No need to try and turn it into a mathematical formula, score one and they need four to win. I think we will score, we scored in Denmark, we scored in Bohemia, we will score in the Neverlands.

  28. Big Jimmy on 26th August 2021 1:58 pm



    I agree, however I thought we were very lucky to escape with a clean sheet from the home game and I’ll be incredibly happy if we were to do that again tonight. From my recollection of the home tie there were periods in the game when Joe Hart and bad finishing kept them at bay, I hope we are not so reliant on Joe again tonight.



    My glass half full view however is that we score two on the break in the first half and they collapse :-)

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