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How did we do at the San Siro?

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Craig Gordon
I think we all have a desire to be generous to Craig for a couple of reasons: as Ronny said, without him, we would not have gotten through the group stage, and we are due him some support after he spoiled his copy in the first leg.  He returned to form last night, made several fine saves, but we would expect him to make all of them.

He also contributed a truly exceptional save from an offside attempt.

Adam Matthews and Emilio Izaguirre
Neither full back was as productive in the final third as they were a week ago, but that would have been a consequence of a different game plan, and the numerical disadvantage.  There is a tendency to criticise our full backs, especially Izzie, for bombing forward and leaving gaps at the back, but this is their role in the team.  It’s up to someone else to provide cover.  We’re as strong at full back as I’ve known us.

Virgil van Dijk, Jason Denayer and Efe Ambrose
For two want-away players, this tie was a big stage.  Virgil didn’t give a good account of himself.  The first booking last night was incorrect.  He stopped the player but played the ball and his challenge was never dangerous.  Scouts watching his second yellow will have recorded that he made a very bad decision which ultimately cost his team.  The referee had a nightmare, but the second yellow was a correct decision.

Jason and Efe played well.  There was one moment Efe failed to follow a player in the box but Craig Gordon saved.  Jason was comfortable throughout.  If he wants a morality tale on what could happen if he returns to Manchester City, he should look no further than his team-mate up front.

Nir Bitton
The scouts who were there to watch Virgil would have left with a notebook full of comments about Nir Bitton.  At Murrayfield against Legia, Nir was part of a midfield which included Mulgrew, McGregor and Johansen.  It was an abject team performance and the Israeli bore much of the brunt of criticism.

Here’s the thing: I’m beginning to think he’s our best player.  He could have played in any of the Champions League games I’ve watched this week, Sign him up, Peter.

Scott Brown, Stuart Armstrong, Stefan Johansen
A major reason last season’s European campaign was such a write-off was the absence of Scott Brown following his rush-of-blood red card and three game suspension.  We need players with the ability and engine of Scott and Stefan, both must be a nightmare to play against.

Stuart Armstrong looks like he has been playing in this Celtic team for years.  He’s fitted in very well and already looks like an automatic choice.  Wait to see what he’s like after 6 months.

Gary Mackay-Stevens
I couldn’t believe the innate criticism of Ronny after the game on BT Sport for subbing Gary, who was our best player until that point, after the red card.  When you are early in the game, away from home in the San Siro, it is a perfectly acceptable tactic to sacrifice a wide player (Gary was our only out-and-out wide player) for a defender or covering midfielder.

We didn’t win the game, but anyone who asserts that we would have won the game by leaving a wide player on in place of a covering midfielder or defender, is stretching credulity.  The tactics chosen kept the game alive until the 88th minute, albeit the break required didn’t materialise.

When he was on the field, Gary won the ball in a central position, ripped 60 yards through Inter, before finding a team-mate.  He looked to be revelling in the space and opportunity given to him.

John Guidetti, James Forrest, Chris Commons
This was a hard shift for all three.  John could have had a penalty but thereafter found himself on his bum too often.  He is a player who has not progressed as hoped under Ronny, yet, and has a lot of work to do between now and the end of the season.

James has not returned to his blistering performances from a couple of years ago, when he was clearly our M.V.P.  As his limbs mature his speed and injury record could go either way.  He’ll be with us for another few years, so Celtic have time to build resilience into those leg muscles and nerves.

Kris came on with 13 minutes left and used his unerring goal-sonar to squeeze an attempt out of the meagre provisions he had.  He also appears to have updated the referee on what an incompetent clown he is at the end of the game.

This was the first of seven European away games we failed to score in this season, but the reasons we’re out of Europe all lie in what happened last week.  You cannot make goalkeeping and defensive mistakes like that and remain in Europe, nor can you pass up so many clear-cut chances.

Don’t know where to start on the flare last night. I fear the next decision from Uefa will be more than a fine.

Thanks to everyone who donated to our Mary’s Meals school kitchen appeal yesterday while entering the ticket competition.  The winner was informed by email a few moments ago, so check your inbox.

If you need tickets for the CQN St Patrick’s Dinner, with a Q&A with Packy Bonner, Joe Miller, Tommy Coyne and Tom Boyd, Archie Macpherson speaking about Jock Stein, and music from Patricia Ferns, let me know, celticquicknews@gmail.com

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  1. Found a new bet to try out on tonight’s Falkirk game – Multi Corners. Number of corners in the 1st half multiplied by the number in the 2nd half. Gone for a score of “over 30” at odds of 7/4. Aff ma heid ;-)

     

     

    Come on the corners! Live updates on here from 7.45!

     

     

    justtogivemeaninterestCSC

  2. mike in toronto on

    the huddle … should he? yes? would he? I agree that may not be the case. But, that is a different issue … big clubs from big leagues get favourable calls…all sports and all countries. we all know it happens.. . Can we prove cheating? No. Are they so blatant that authorities would intervene? no.

     

     

    not sure that there is an easy answer on that one.

  3. Mike

     

     

    Push in the back, penalty and red card all night, no need for the green tinted specs to see the bleedin’ obvious!

  4. Had to laugh at this tweet sent by (ahem) “@RangersFC” – “Lee Wallace missing due to a tight hamstring, Zaliukas is out with the flu & Lee McCulloch misses out due to the same problem as last week.”

     

     

    I was compelled to reply and asked “What problem was that re Mr McCulloch?”.

     

     

    I mean, can they no just admit to anything????

  5. glendalystonsils on

    Jobo Baldie

     

     

    The ‘problem’ is the compliance officer who obviously doesn’t know how the system works!

  6. Lennon n Mc....Mjallby on

    If the flare guy is actually a Tim he’s a sad case,personally I don’t think he is,cannae be,wouldn’t surprise me if he’s a paid for plant,if no he’s obviously wired to a mars bar n doesn’t deserve to be going to games.

  7. Mike in Totonto – I agree with your assessment of Virgil’s bookings, however, I think a better referee would have pulled him aside after the second tackle and said to him he is lucky not to get a second yellow but he is on his last warning. I’m not sure that he committed any other fouls, so although 2 yellows may have been warranted in isolation, the red card outcome seemed very harsh.

     

     

    Not sure that even makes sense but you’ll get my drift

  8. mike in toronto on

    re: hankray’s question … I have a few minutes before my 2:30 telephone call, so will try to go back and check the johansen elbow incident. …. can someone tell me what minute that was in? it will save me some time trying to find it? thanks.

  9. embramike

     

     

    17:09 on 27 February, 2015

     

     

    ‘For those asking, automatic UEFA charges for contravening art. 15 (4) ” improper conduct of the team (5 cards or more)”

     

     

     

    ###

     

     

    The regulation uses the subjunctive. That suggests charges are not automatic.

  10. glendalystonsils on

    hankray

     

    19:20 on

     

    27 February, 2015

     

    Whatever has happened to Inter Milan’s traditional strip, much nicer than that awful blue. garb.

     

     

    They sold it on ebay to Hamilton accies .

  11. Watching BT sports Football tonight and was wondering who the fool who stated that Celtics inability to compete properly in Europe will continue until “rankers are back in the top division” was.

     

    No less than Don Hutchison.

     

    Tosser.

     

     

    HH

  12. mike in toronto on

    mncelt … I agree that would have been a sensible approach .. but, the ref last night wont be the first to be intimidated/favour a big home team… and sadly, he wont be the last. this is one I think we just have to learn from and move on …

     

     

    I’m already looking forward to sunday and hammering aberdeen.

  13. My tuppenceworth re the bookings;

     

    VVD first one – my gut reaction was a foul and booking

     

    VVD Second – IMHO it was a foul but not a booking. ( ref called it different.)

     

    The most annoying/frustrating things is…I wouldn’t call the Ref a cheat…but…

     

    When a foul given elsewhere on the pitch, is then replicated inside the box, and the Ref gives it the opposite way (or ignores it) that is at best inconsistent or worse cowardly.

  14. mike in toronto on

    mncelt .. VVD was in a tough spot… he had been booked already, the guy was on the wrong side of him, and he didn’t want to let him get away …. a cute clip, and hope that the ref wont notice … everyone of us who ever played has done it at one time or another … sometimes you get away with it, and sometimes you dont. last night, he didn’t. its done, VVD is still a good player and one of ours, so we put it behind us and move on…

  15. glendalystonsils on

    The Johansen elbow incident was not very clear on last night’s TV coverage. STV news tonight showed the elbow incident closer up, from behind the players. From that view it looks deliberate and should have been a red.

  16. I think Aberdeen will find themselves on the wrong end of a cricket score Sunday. It’s been coming and the Bhoys are going to be fired up.

  17. Don Hutchison………..

     

     

     

     

    Media career[edit]

     

    Hutchison has forged a new career with Al Jazeera and TalkSport. In his retirement from playing he commented, “I still text Ally McCoist saying ‘come on, if David Weir is getting a game at 39 there is hope for me yet’.”

  18. mike in toronto on

    havanalaugh .. one of my pet hates about football … a foul is a foul, whether in the box or not … but refs dont call it that way. up there with (i) not giving the forward the benefit of the doubt on offsides, and (ii) defenders obstructing the forward so the ball can go out for a goal kick … game s would be more offensive and much more fun, if these were called properly

  19. Mike in Toronto – I hope he is still ours next season. That goes for every one of our players last night – even James who was poor. I thought the team were magnificent. I don’t see any of them leaving in the Summer unless Ronny has a better replacement lined up.

  20. Lennon n Mc....Mjallby on

    How can playing a team we just beat 2 going on 6 help us play better in Europe?

     

     

    Is Hutchison looking for regular work?

  21. glendalystonsils on

    mike in toronto

     

     

    Can’t remember exactly but it was about midway through the second half.

  22. A Ceiler Gonof Rust on

    Jar Jar Binks is back in the hun team for their euro clash with Falkirkenberg.

     

     

    Is that in sweden?

  23. glendalystonsils on

    The crucial point about the elbow incident was that it happened before the goal. Gaurin should not have been on the field to score the goal.

  24. Skyislandfill.

     

    The same Don Hutchison who said he would only return to Scotland to play for one club.

     

    A clue. They are now deid.

  25. Lennon McJalby…………what Hutcheson’s excuse for the teams from the best league in the World who got dumped last night from Europa

  26. Glendalystonsils………..Seem to remember a Man Utd player getting straight red for a similar incident in the Champion’s League in recent times.

  27. mike in toronto on

    Hankray ….

     

     

    I just looked again at the guarin yellow …. at first blush, I thought it was intentional and a clear red … seeing replay, less convinced.. at least a yellow

     

     

    If he had been shown a red, I dont think guarin could have much to complain about .. have seen reds given for that sort of foul…

     

     

    before anyone asks, I agree that if the foul was the other way that ref would have been more likely to show a red.

  28. Lennon n Mc....Mjallby on

    Hankray

     

     

    That they don’t get the chance to play rangers reserves in bounce gemmes ;)

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