Griffiths walked away looking the grown up


Last night’s performance was at the upper end of my expectations.  We were sharper than I remember from a year ago, although not Nadir Ciftci, who is a couple of weeks behind, and looked a couple of pounds over, his team mates.

You could see how Stjarnan did so well against Lech and Motherwell last season.  They defended with six along the back and have a good keeper.  Celtic’s passing looked off, but I think that had as much to do with Stjarnan’s denial of space in advanced areas.  The chances came when we broke forward having allowed space to open up 50 yards out, and from a set-piece for the opening goal.

Stefan Johansen was my man of the match, he was the creative fulcrum behind all that worked.  And yes, Stefan, in a public spat with you, Leigh Griffiths, a man who eats Tea Cakes on the bench and cultivates a rascal persona, walked away looking the grown up.  You think about that for a while.

Emilio Izaguirre had a horrible World Cup and started all over the place last season.  It was months into the campaign before people started to notice his consistency was back, but the head seemed as though it was still on the beach last night.  He would have been punished severely by a mainland European team.

Ronny started with his traditional 4-2-3-1 but for a while after Leigh replaced James Forrest, he played a 4-4-2, which coincided with our best period of the game.  Nadir had someone to link with, instead of being isolated in a sea of blue shirts, resplendent with the old World of Sport logo.

It was great having Mikael Lustig back and although Dedryck Boyata was not challenged defensively, he was clearly on a par with Lustig as being a defender who is comfortable on the ball.  No mistakes and a goal is pretty much all that could be asked of him.

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  1. We did miss GMS last night.


    Forrest has a lot of talent but he was posted missing apart from one run and cross.


    Our strange tactic of moving the ball well then pausing in the last third cost us.


    Our movement and flow came to an abrupt halt and we then went square or tried to force passes after they had set a double defensive line.


    Armstrong showed a lot more when he came inside and i think he should be our creative pivot.


    Defensive coache need to work on our propensity to ballwatch as this could cost us against better teams especially at back post.

  2. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    From memory,Stefan was a bit of a larrikin in his (slightly) younger days.



    Maybe just needs to channel it.

  3. Johansen what, missed 3 sitters all created by Armstrongs superior passing and scored one.


    Indeed a man see’s what he wants to see and disregards the rest.

  4. Scary thing is with this second leg, the mankymob got to the Europa Final doing exactly that. (defending in depth)



    We need to be careful.

  5. Not just me that was reminder of World of Sport.


    Not bad result for first game. Next week, grab an early goal to settle any nerves, then onwards and upwards.

  6. Vintage 67



    Read your last post on the previous thread mate. Fairly lucid. I understand your anxiety to a point. I have seen us lose to a lot of poor opposition over the years but I can;t remember us losing to any side as poor as this.


    Comparing them to a team who bought players for millions and got to a UEFA final is crazy.



    Not going to argue all day about it but seriously chill out. We are through here.


    Let’s start panicking about the next round instead ;-)




  7. The Battered Bunnet on

    Few who were at the game will agree with your MoTM nomination Paul.



    I’m not one of the few. Stefan was hopelessly out of touch last night.

  8. West End of East End on

    Disagree about Boyata, didn’t think he had a great game at all…Thankful for the goal but also thought he was caught ball watching too many times and Charlie bailed him out…going forward he looks good but he’s a defender first and foremost…

  9. Mmmm all about opinion, I though Stefan was terrible last night, passing wayward, first touch awful, scored a goal, missed a couple of chances…. started off where he started off last season, terrible, but came onto a game, still like him. The penalty incident well I’ll leave that. Other than that we won and that’s all that matters.



    Scott Brown hardly put a foot wrong and gets my MOTM.



    Ayrshire is Green and White

  10. LiviBhoy



    Fair enough and I understand your exasperation with the odds of us going down.



    The Ghost of Artmedia Bratislava FC

  11. With GMS hopefully back next week and Ronnys words ringing in joe Hansens ears expect a similar scoreline next week


    Best advert for summer football so far


    Stadium looked great ,this is the time of year the naysayers said everybody was on holidays

  12. Go tell the Spartim on



    12:34 on


    16 July, 2015



    Indeed a man see’s what he wants to see and disregards the rest.



    True indeed, much like some of the assessment of Stokes and Charlie’s performance last night, wouldnt have either near the starting 11

  13. The sceptic may conclude that Celtic have an interest in selling Stefan J ,and Paul67 is talking him up to help hype a transfer fee.






  14. The Honest Cover-up on

    Dear Ronny/Celtic,


    Can we please never, ever again see the embarrassing spectacle of two Celtic players arguing over who is taking a penalty?


    As you say Paul, it undoubtedly puts the eventual taker off. We should have learned this from the league cup final if we didn’t already!


    You simply don’t see this at other top teams. Imagine Messi and Iniesta arguing over who is taking an important spot kick. It just wouldn’t happen.


    I don’t know what it is with Celtic and penalties. Since John Collins playing days I struggle to think of any solid reliable penalty takers. (Di Canio?)


    Even Henrik couldn’t be trusted with them.


    For what it’s worth I don’t think Griffiths is a good taker but if he is designated before the game let him take it without distraction.


    And none of this “I won it so I take it” or “I’m on a hat trick” nonsense. This is professional football not World cuppy down the park with your mates. Fix it Celtic!

  15. Agree with most posters so far in that Stefan had a dreadful game though to his credit, he never hides. Izzy would have cost us a couple of goals against a class side.



    These games define the season and indeed the reputation of Celtic to a wider audience,


    ( not forgetting the essential financial rewards), so i found the lack of urgency by the players at times somewhat puzzling.

  16. Armstrong my man of the match. Izzy had a nightmare but as we all know he has no competition. Charlie for a spell there or someone new?

  17. BBC Radio Scotland



    Is Liam McLeod paid by the word? I have never heard a commentator use so many words – he just never slows down. It takes away any effect from a real exciting moment when he has blabbered at 100 miles per hour all through the quieter parts of a game. Worst by a long way I have ever heard.



    Does Liam McLeod get a bonus for making up new pronunciations of existing words? He constantly refers to Aberdeen’s opponents tonight as “Rye-eeka” when the correct pronunciation is “Ree-yeka”. Now others are say it the wrong way also, even Jim Spence on his last broadcast as an internal BBC staff reporter this morning.



    Jim is going freelance – best wishes from me. Hope he will be able to speak his mind without censorship.



    Many congratulations to BBC for the McIlvanney interviews. He is so compelling to listen to. Also to Geoff Webster who asks good questions and then lets McIlvanney answer.

  18. ThompsonTwin on

    Defence of Johansen at the penalty.





    Is it really wise to entrust a penalty to a player who has just come on as as a substitute?



    Who would have taken it a few minutes earlier – Cifti?, don’t think so.



    It would most likely have been Stefan.



    Let’s hope we do not live to regret it – could be a £30 million cock-up

  19. Sandman



    But after a minute or so I longed for Broony to tear in from offscreen and clean that Chelsea strip right out…



    so did I…. but then thought ….wonder if he can take a penalty…. ;-))

  20. Broony my MOTM last night – held is all together consistently through the 90 while others flitted in and out of the game.

  21. Joe Hansen first half performance was woeful…Wee Jamesy first touch was poor…..Charlie Maldini shot attempt from 45 yards dreadful…..Big Efe’s first ( and only) challenge…book able.



    Otherwise fair performance for first competitive match…



    Brownie MofM….100% effort



    Pleased to see such a large attendance with so many youngsters…



    Big galoot with the loudspeaker must have scared the life out of the Kanoweans.



    Paddy T

  22. TBB



    I mentioned Johanson’s lack of touch on the previous blog.



    Touch is something that can come and go and is what raises a performance above the ordinary when present.



    Anyone who doesn’t appreciate that has never played organised football seriously.



    Johanson’s was off last night but I remember one incident at early part of 2nd half where he won the ball in typical style and was heading away from traffic. He had the opportunity to shield the ball and play it wide but turned back into traffic and even nutmegged his immediate challenger but lost the ball in the process.



    He was only inches away from creating that breakthrough space which turns a player from plonker to playmaker, so I’m not too critical, but the difference between one “p” and the other is so fine it needs good judgement as well as touch to be a playmaker.

  23. To various on Johansen last night:



    He scored one and assisted with the other.


    Created the early chance for Ciftci.


    Created the chance when Armstrong was clean through.


    Created chance in first half added time when Forrest was clean through.


    Crossed for Bitton header chance.


    Crossed for Ciftci header chance.


    Created chance for Stokes (his first touch of the game).



    No one else came anywhere near this contribution, clear MoTM.



    He did lots more which didn’t work (and clearly caught the eye of some), but that’s a measure of his total influence on the game. Without Johansen, that was a 0-0 draw last night.

  24. Go tell spartim,


    If you can I’d advise you watch the game again, I did and it confirmed my views.

  25. P67 – Johansen was also brought down for the penalty. Not bad for someone who had a so called terrible night.

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