Great teams can defend anywhere


Good teams can score anywhere.  Great teams can defend anywhere.  Celtic have set a modern time record for lowest goals conceded in a league campaign of 17, beating the record jointly held by Martin O’Neill’s Celtic 13 years ago, and by Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen in the 80s, by a single goal.

This is a remarkable achievement but the bald fact hides another story.  We conceded 12 times in their first 17 league games of the campaign, but conceded only five in the remaining 21 games:

St Johnstone scored with a rebound after Gordon saved.
St Johnstone scored when Danny Swanson fired unstoppable shot.
Inverness scored with a rebound after Johansen blocked on line.
Kilmarnock scored a deflection from shot from outside box.
Dundee scored from a move which opened Celtic defence.

Unstoppable shots, or deflections, from outside the box are, from a defensive organisation perspective, irrelevant.  If someone ‘buys a lottery ticket’ with a low percentage shot and it ends up in the net, you’ve no remedial action to worry about.

Two rebounds ended up in the net.  We don’t make many goal-line clearances, by keeper or defender, so reacting to the second ball is worth doing when opponents get inside the Celtic box.  Dundee scored an 87th minute consolation in a game they were completely out-thought.  Perhaps a momentary lapse from a Celtic team who thought their work was done for the day.

That 17 goal tally, a record which stretches back 96 years, is largely a story of the last six months, but it’s been a different story in cup games over the same period, where we’ve conceded eight in eight games.

The roof fell in over in the first half against Inter Milan at Celtic Park.  While the three goals could be put down to bizarre mistakes I suspect the real story is that we didn’t have the game-plan right for an opponent of that standard.  The remaining game and a half against Inter was different, where we conceded only a single ‘lottery ticket’ goal.

Dundee United scored with a disputed penalty (let’s not get started) and Inverness scored three against 10 man Celtic.  Those three Inverness goals contrast so sharply with the rest of the season that you could conclude that we don’t have a robust game-plan for playing with 10 men against domestic opposition.  The earlier 10-man performance at the San Siro was a different (much better) story, but tactics for Inter Milan and for Inverness will always be so different they are not worth comparing.

The loss of Jason Denayer and potential loss of Virgil van Dijk provides Ronny with a real challenge to maintain or improve the defence next season, but as you will know if you’ve been paying attention for the last 10 months, it’s all about systems, not players, so there’s a lot to be hopeful about going forward…….. apart from the fact that the only goals we’ve conceded since the middle of December in all competitions were to players wearing blue or orange!

Happy Lisbon Lions Day!

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    There is not a prouder man on God’s Earth than me at this moment. Winning was important, aye, but it was the way that we have won that has filled me with satisfaction. We did it by playing football. Pure, beautiful, inventive football. There was not a negative thought in our heads. Inter played right into our hands; it’s so sad to see such gifted players shackled by a system that restricts their freedom to think and to act. Our fans would never accept that sort of sterile approach. Our objective is always to try to win with style.”





    Disappointed for you,mate. But a worthy winner in your place.

  3. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    We need to sign a new C/H, pray M.Lustig stays fit and play C.Mulgrew in his best position [which is not midfield].



    And that’s the Sieve fixed for another season.


    Btw,you should have followed the BOGNORBHOY plan. Check for one of my posts around this time,as I have a habit of reverse podia.



    PAUL67 is such a tease…

  5. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    ‘It’s about Russia’.



    Ah, now I understand. I thought it was supposed to be about contented rabbits.




  6. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    At Lord’s NZ are 7-2 after 4 overs.



    They’re not goin’ to fall at their feet?

  7. TBJ says Wee Oscar Knox is in heaven with the angels



    Missed you at the corner yesterday



    hope you had a good one




  8. Gerryfaethebrig on




    Today’s podium is yours apologies for just logging on and stealing what was rightfully yours


    Hail Hail

  9. DBBIA



    7-2! After only 24 balls?



    It’s pouring down in Auckland at the moment.



    Maybe they should have taken the weather with them?

  10. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on



    Last day wicket? Not usually very good for batsmen. I would fancy England.



  11. fieldofdrams on

    NZ now 12 – 3



    Don’t dream this is over (but it looks like it might be)

  12. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Aff oot in the Brig


    Mondos for a spot of lunch then hopefully taken for a beverage to cheer on the Norwich and let my good lady experience how good it is being a Celtic fan in these very good times, she will learn this by watching me smile all day


    Take care & Hail Hail




    12:18 on 25 May, 2015






    Good Art Garfinkel interview in the Telegraph today.’






    I saw it yesterday, that’s what lead me to his library list.



    I think it’s fair to say that he’s got issues.



    OCD, Aspergers, Narcissistic Personality Disorder and all stops in between would be my guess.

  14. bobby murdoch’s curled-up winklepickers




    Don’t tell them the secret






  15. Dontbrattbakkinanger on




    Don’t dream it’s over?



    No flies on ole Jungle Jim.

  16. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    “if you’ve been paying attention for the last 10 months, it’s all about systems, not players”




    No doubt some truth in that, Paul. However, I think I’d rather we had good players playing in a good system than bad players playing in a good system!


    Lets hope the recruiting is good. I’m sure Ronny will have been planning ahead for this.

  17. just caught up om the shortbread dave king episode with spence and english on one side and derek ferguson and bomber.



    huns being huns.



    disgraceful perfromance from the bomber and daft deek.

  18. Still smilin’………………






    It’s guid to be a Tim.




  19. Sky Sports Presenters. White Weir,Tanner,Gilmour,McQueen Wilson,McDougal.and few more I can’t remember, what have they all in common.

  20. Great stuff.



    That’s some defensive performance, and overall it’s been a great season. Two trophies in the cabinet and ultimately some good memories in Europe against Inter.



    Although everyone would hope for much better Champions League campaign next season!



    And some better officials in the domestic game… [I can dream…]



    Here are some more thoughts on the season as a whole. And on those that would do down Celtic’s achievements.



    “ROAR!” https://theclumpany.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/roar/



    Enjoy the Title, and Happy Lisbon Lions Day!





    Hmmm,not far wrong.



    ‘I created a monster in Paul Simon’



    Classic. Thanks for the leg up,have a boot in the baws.

  22. For people like me who went through the bun 9 in a row and the seemingly endless pots of money they had it is so so sweet. Glasgow Celtic’s history continues. God Bless the Celts.

  23. jinkyredstar on

    Great day yesterday and good to catch up with DBBIA, Subteranean and meet Emerald Bhoy for the first time.


    What an Anniversary present from Mrs JRS – got to the game and she met me in BB’s afterwards – we even managed our romantic meal


    Hail hail

  24. Lennybhoy



    Prev article



    Iv read that on here..he came on near the end yday. I think he would be an improvement on izzy defensively from the little i have seen of him this year.



    Love izzy thou so be gutted if he lost his place.



    Did we let robertson go when he was teenager ? Think i may have read that





    Congrats on your anniversary. Hope the missus enjoyed the kebab(!)

  26. I watched the BBC’s paltry highlights of the game last night. I don’t think they even showed a rerun of the goals. An ecstatic Steven Thompson said that ICT are the best passing side in the league. Unbelievable that we have to listen to these characters. The least they could be is impartial. The other pundit, Michael Stewart, at least talks sense most of the time.

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