Has this squad hit the ceiling or can we control, pass and move better


You and I both knew before last night that Salzburg are well ahead of Celtic, so a 3-1 defeat away to the top seed surprised no one.  However, the game itself provided positive, as well as disappointing aspects.

Odsonne Eduard looked a handful when running at defences.  His goal and the chance he created a minute before the break typified this.  For all Salzburg’s ability, they looked weakest in defence.  We looked like we could put the ball in the net every time we got near then, which, admittedly, was seldom.

That aside, Eduard’s distribution was as poor as the rest of the teams’.  There were two distinct phases to the game: before Salzburg’s third goal and after.  After this point, the home team did not press nearly as forcefully, which allowed Celtic to find men with passes and retain possession.  This merely demonstrated how poorly we did so earlier in the game.

Prior to then, passing and movement lacked the confidence needed to play out from the back.  For example, Salzburg did not mark defenders in front of or at either side of the box when Craig Gordon took goal kicks in the first half.  Despite having three options for an easy pass, Craig kicked long the majority of the time – by definition into areas with fewer Celtic players, as we had three back at the penalty box.

The goalkeeper just didn’t fancy the consequences of passing to an unmarked defender – the story of the game in metaphor!

Dedryck Boyata was the outstanding Celtic player on the park.  He won everything in his vicinity and I even noticed him chasing down a ball he had himself headed clear, before others reacted.  But, on one occasion, when Craig chose to send a goal kick straight to him, he panicked, lost possession and conceded a chance in a dangerous area.  There was an easy pass back to the keeper.

You do not need to be Iniesta to work the ball out from the back.  You need to be able to control and pass, while everyone in the team needs the awareness to move into space, ensuring no one is boxed in.  This takes lots of practice and confidence.  We are correctly working towards this kind of football, but we’re not there yet, even in the SPFL.

The pertinent questions is, has this squad hit the ceiling or can we control, pass and move better?  I’m sure we can improve, although perhaps only by degrees.

I know what you were thinking every time Salzburg got a corner kick, “Here we go again” – or was that just me?  Instead, we defended set-pieces well; in fact, it was the home team who conceded the two best chances of any type before the interval.

James Forrest tucked in well on the right.  He got unfortunate with the bounce at the penalty, which was correctly awarded.  No complaints at the red card either, although I could squabble that Dabbur, who was already cautioned, should have received a second yellow on the two occasions he displayed a Tshirt message after his goals, if the referee followed his guidelines correctly.  Pedants CSC.

The football business is all about the next game and right now there is nothing on the horizon more than St Johnstone on Sunday.  Lick your wounds and get a result, Celtic.


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  1. DAVID17



    The main issue for me was the lack of link up between the forwards and the midfield. We were quite deep so when we tried to move forward we needed someone to either take the ball and turn or for the forward players to hold the ball and wait for support. We weren’t good enough on either count and they kept coming and coming. It is easy to blame the defending but we defend as a team with and without the ball.



    This is an issue as i have often stated our spacing is awful.


    It is because we are not coached as a singular unit.Our midfield is often to far from the relevant zone be it defensive or attack.They neither bolster the attack or protect the defense because of this.


    Our coaching is to focused on possession and does not address the issues of off the ball movement positioning or spacing.


    We are clueless off the ball and particularly when we concede possession.

  2. That awkward moment when, Celtic’s PLC billionaires are put back in their box, by wee Anne Budge.


    That awkward moment when, Stuart Armstrong is sold for £7 million, and is replaced by the freebie Mulumbu, and the slevvirs are dripping aff the green gullibilly’s chins!


    The remnants of a once proud football club, lay in a pile of ashes, on a football pitch, in Athens, on August 2018.


    It seems that, when NFL walked oot for the constant selling of top players, only for the £millions to disappear up a lumb, then the recruitment of the guy(RD) who Roy Keane described as being behind him in the queue for the Celtic job, and RK said on ITV that, RK was tenth 10th in the queue, all of this, including RD parading round the pitch doing the ‘RONNY ROAR’ after the skelping of each pub team in the one horse race, all of that displayed to the PLC board that, the Celtic supporter base were no more than, spineless, green huns, who were ripe for exploitation further down the road in the shape of, the seamless scheme of reintroduction to the top league of Rangers FC, £49 Rangers FC, unpunished, not a trophy stripped, or a single £ paid back of the £140 million ebt swindle, that was part of the 25 years of Murray Mibbery.


    All of the above served as indicators to the PLC, of just how easy it would be to play the Celtic supporter base, who couldn’t spell the word ‘rebel’ if their lives depended on it.


    “The Game, The Game Is Over,….The Rebels Have Gone!”


    The first £49 Old Firm ticket that was purchased by a Celtic ‘customer’ that rubber stamped the same club lie, was the message from the Celtic supporter base that – “The Celtic Support Have Moved On.”


    Shame on you, you easily mugged cowards.






  3. I would suggest a more appropriate title of……….’Should this squad have been strengthened in the summer or can we control, pass and move better with what we have?’

  4. deniabhoy



    Our home form is going to have to be pretty good for us to have any chance of progressing from our EL group, especially with our next game In Leipzig. Time to get ziggy with it. Home form not great but not disastrous yet, only three goals lost at Celtic Park this season. Liked the look of Benkovic when he and Dedryck played together against Rosenborg, can only hope his injury is relatively minor. Didn’t expect to get a result against Red Bull without scoring one or two goals, got one, needed two.

  5. I had wondered at the time why Liverpool got rid of Brendan after them coming so close to winning the premiership. I thought it was ridiculous. Now not so sure, the deterioration is our performances mean only one thing. The players no longer believe in what Brendan tells them. If there is no improvement soon we will end up mid table in the SPFL and bottom of our EL Group. Brendan has managed to end up with 31 players in our first team squad eating up the highest wage bill ever at the club. According to Brendan he wanted at least another 3 players. That’s right squad up to 34.



    During the close season Brendan started to discuss to the press Celtic signing targets. We have never done this before. He then started to blame others at the club for not landing targets at the same time our performances dropped and we have struggled in almost every game.



    Now Peter Lawwell doesn’t speak to the players except when agreeing new contracts, so its unlikely they would give a monkeys what he said. He isn’t responsible for the performances. Its got to be the players relationship with the Manager. Players don’t like new signings in their positions.



    Mourinho is an example, Man Utd players won’t play for him. His arrogance is huge and players can see through him. They wont play for him. Is it the same with Brendan?



    Is Brendans time up? is he looking for another job. Will he apply for the Villa job?



    I would like to see us pick up our performances and give someone a hiding. A winning team could result in a lifting of performances and surge on to the title. Brendan could say he is staying, and look like he means it. We know our big squad has the quality to win the title but, they need lifted. We have added Christie, Morgan, Mulumbu, Benkovic and they all look decent players. We need to click and maybe something will enable it to happen

  6. Stairheedrammy on

    Theres repeating yourself and then there’s repeating yourself 49 times while becoming increasingly abusive about those you profess to be one of.

  7. FAN-A-TIC on 5TH OCTOBER 2018 4:06 PM





    Agree. Ntcham is particularly poor at understanding how the game is developing and where to position himself in a defensive sense as possession turns over. I’ve seen it for a while and there has been no evidence of any improvement. It was striking last night watching Mulumbu protect the defence until he ran out of gas. He was a one man midfield wall at times.

  8. Go tell the Spartim on

    I see its all back to blaming Brendan, i wonder if it were such at half time yesterday, doubt it.



    Why does no one ever mention player responsibility, its all too easy hiding behind tactics, tactics dont dictate your ability to control the ball or pass it to a team mate or even a first time pass.



    Big Jimmy hit the nail on the head, we are worse off quality wise than we were last year, lets see if we can address that issue, has it been covered in the corporate love in

  9. Celtic Mac



    I think it is imperative that we take something from the game in Germany. We need a point as a bare minimum.



    Otherwise I think we will be on to plumbs and finish 3rd in this group. 2 Red Bull sides will top it.

  10. CELTIC MAC on 5TH OCTOBER 2018 4:39 PM




    Our home form is going to have to be pretty good for us to have any chance of progressing from our EL group,



    imo forget europa big time, we have enough on our plate trying to win the domestic competitions , until we get this sorted then europa cup shouldn’t enter the equation.

  11. glendalystonsils on

    RON67 on 5TH OCTOBER 2018 5:02 PM



    I completely agree. I posted last night that I hope we’re not in Europe after Christmas as it would likely cost us a cup or even the league. Assuming that Boyata (and perhaps others) leave in January and we don’t strengthen, (as recent history suggests is likely) we will need all our resources directed towards domestic matters.

  12. weebobby can you send the three brooms to my wife and two daughters c/o the kerrydale suite tonight, after all halloween is fast approaching :)

  13. are all these BR signings who will all still be earning big wages ,actually doing anything for them apart from having a squad number and a front door pass.



    14 Daniel Arzani, (loan) from Manchester City, Aug 2018


    03 Emilio Izaguirre, free from Al-Fayha, Aug 2018


    33 Marvin Compper, £1m from Red Bull Leipzig, Dec 2017


    26 Kundai Benyu, undisclosed from Ipswich Town, Jun 2017


    15 Jonny Hayes, £1.3m from Aberdeen, Jun 2017


    88 Kouassi Eboue, £2.8m from FC Krasnodar, Jan 2017


    12 Cristian Gamboa, £1m from West Bromwich Albion, Aug 2016


    24 Dorus de Vries, undisclosed from Nottingham Forest, Aug 2016


    02 Kolo Toure, free from Liverpool, Jul 2016

  14. ruggyman



    Suppose there is always a possibility that Salzburg could beat Leipzig away later in the group, but think you are on the money, our double header against the Germans could pretty much decide how the group pans out.


    Ten points min man.

  15. Paul67


    Now I accept I was only watching the game on my iPad, so maybe not seeing the bigger picture ?


    James Forrest tucked in well ???


    I was watching a different game then


    Watch the 2nd goal we conceded again


    He offers limited support to any right back ( bearing in mind he is playing wide right of midfield)


    He is without doubt one of the weakest/ softest player you will ever see in a football jersey, not just a Celtic one


    No heart – even on Saturday against Aberdeen he pulled out of 75/25 % tackle ( him having the 75% chance)


    No idea what is seen in him

  16. Kev, you keep referring to the reasons why managers left Celtic. Last week it was MO’N and I asked you then did he not return to England because of his wife’s illness? No reply from you then, so was I correct?



    Today you claim that NFL left because of the ‘constant selling of top players.’ Do you know this as fact? There may have been another reason.

  17. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    Almost six million quid wasted on Hayes Kouassi Hendry and Comper ??



    Best ignoring, an attention seeker who’s never a Celtic supporter in his life.

  19. ron67



    Cannot exactly take four EL games out of the equation now can we? And, until we are out of it, we are still in it.


    December looks like being a tough month no matter what we do. But plenty of important games before then, starting with the Saints again up in Perth, an International break during which hopefully few of our players actually play, then Hibs, Leipzig, Hearts at Murrayfield. The Celtic support have done their job this season, but if the players and management cannot lift their game for any of these games then they are in the wrong business. I do not want to hear from Forrest, Tierney et al, after every defeat, I want to see them at something near their best on the pitch.

  20. setting free the bears



    Whoops! How about Salzburg beating Leipzig in Salzburg? That’ll work for me, whether it will work for us is another thing.

  21. Celtic Mac



    Interesting to see if they will play to enhance each other’s results



    e.g. If Celtic win their home game vs Leipzig, will Salzburg let Leipzig get a win or a draw in Austria?



    If Salzburg have qualified after game 5, will they rest players for the game in Glasgow, as you would expect, or will they be playing a full team for their sister club?

  22. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ BIGBHOY on 5TH OCTOBER 2018 4:41 PM



    I would say a couple of things about your post:



    “Brendan has managed to end up with 31 players in our first team squad eating up the highest wage bill ever at the club.”



    Not sure about squad numbers under other eras, but it’s correct that Celtic now have highest overall wage bill in their history. However, the wage bill does seem to be focused on more than say our record revenue or record money at the bank. No one seems to point to those. It’s always the wage bill.



    Additionally, it’s not necessarily fair to consider the wage bill in absolute terms as opposed to relative to revenue. In absolute terms it is higher than ever; however, in relative terms it is: lower than last year; lower than any period under Ronny; and lower I believe than all but one of Lenny’s years.



    So notwithstanding the bloated squad and some poor transfers by BR, we still have been more successful financial and on the park than ever before.



    ” Players don’t like new signings in their positions.”



    The majority of players (Griff excepted?) seem to have a good relationship with Rodgers (certainly in the first two seasons at least). Players may not like other players coming in, but competition is necessary. Look at James Forrest’s drop off in performance this season to last. I doubt players enjoy being criticised by their manager, but Rodgers has been (in the main) reticent to criticise the players.

  23. setting free the bears



    Well hope we don’t have a repeat of the 1982 World Cup! Somehow we need to find a way to ask that question, and we can only do it on the pitch. Know it doesn’t look good right now, might look worse later, but I tend to be a bit more positive re the football side. At least until the whistle blows!

  24. Some excellent albeit depressing reading on the blog today.



    The CEO and the manager are both equally to blame for the malaise that we currently find ourselves in.



    These days we only seem to play well against the zombie club – and that isn’t good enough.



    I accept that we have spent the square root of nothing in the transfer market, however the wages being paid to these players is astronomical.



    Youssouf Mulumbu, Ryan Christie and Lewis Morgan can help us improve if given a run in the team, if only for the enthusiasm they bring.



    HH. ?

  25. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ RON67 on 5TH OCTOBER 2018 5:18 PM



    You name 9 players but only 1 cost more than £2m.



    It’s evident now that buying circa £1m players will inevitably result in getting what you paid for, i.e. not great quality.



    Sinclair, Ntcham and Edouard all cost more than £2m and are good quality players.



    Rodgers has an element of MON about him. When given money, he is invariably on the money, but he struggles in the bargain basement market.



    Maybe an issue of scouting, as we seem to focus on England and Scotland where good value and quality are generally not found.

  26. Why tell St Johnstone that Broonie won’t play on Sunday? Never understood telling opposition teams any information……

  27. !!BADA BING!!



    hi Bada , at least they are getting updates on our injured player/s , a lot more information for them than us poor supporters .

  28. Fanatic ( ages ago )



    I agree but :



    We don’t need to remind ourselves that ‘ the limited group’


    hasn’t ever done particularly well in Europe, but BR managed to


    qualify twice for the CL?



    It’s basically the same limited group who have been humbled by mediocre sides


    in Europe periodically and especially this season, by domestic sides.



    As TBB suggests maybe they no longer believe in the system or BR: or as Paul67 suggests we are on the bounce from hitting the ceiling. Bada Bing posted the ‘inferior’ bombscare backline that humbled Barcelona.



    I have posted ad nauseum that when Celtic did buy it had to be from Harrods, exactly what we didn’t do, with the caviat that Benkovic the latest Croatian pimpernel is valued at £13M, but only on loan.



    I said after Tynecastle and St. Mirren there would be more of the same and we didn’t need to be psychic, to see it .



    The same group could beat Salzburg at Celtic Park with the same system, we’ve beaten Rosenborg the Norwegian champions twice , admittedly the Swiss champions and Greek champions however, are a step up.



    Tough, tough season ahead for ‘ the limited group ‘




  29. hi bhoys been trying to get my head around this, how have we become a team who reached the heights of the past couple of seasons to this, is there unrest in the dressing room, we don’t know, but my club, our club is definitely not firing on all five cylinders.hh.

  30. mullet and co 2 on

    I find it intriguing that Jim McGuiness is assistant coach at a club in China. Assistant and stating that he hopes the umbilical cord to Celtic hasn’t been cut.



    We had Chinese interest in Rodgers and according to Dembele , Dembele.

  31. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    Good grief.



    They’re about to start comparing Morelos to Suarez.



    Remember when they compared Boyd with Chevchenko (sp)?



    History repeats. The first time is tragedy, the second is farce.

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