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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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1,061 Comments

  1. CaltonTongues

     

    15:51 on

     

     

    ‘It’s an automatic investigation by UEFA if any team has FIVE bookings during a game.’

     

     

     

    ###

     

     

    Do the regulations not say a club may, rather than will, be prosecuted?

     

     

    Would the ref have been aware of the regulation?

     

     

    Would it have affected his behaviour?

     

     

    Does he have a record of being card happy?

  2. Statement from Celtic FC

     

    By: Newsroom Staff on 27 Feb, 2015 16:14

     

     

    OVER 3,000 fans travelled to Milan and once again supported the club brilliantly. Everyone at Celtic thanks these fans sincerely for the magnificent support they gave the team on another European occasion.

     

    It is important to note that Inter Milan and the local Italian authorities have also applauded our fans for their excellent conduct and positive support.

     

    Unfortunately, one or two individuals have again damaged the club they claim to support, resulting in a further UEFA charge for the use of flares.

     

    Today we have been inundated with support from Celtic fans who want an end to this activity and, like the club, do not want those responsible associated with Celtic in any way.

     

    We would urge anyone with information on who these people are to get in touch with the club so that we can deal with this matter and get back to celebrating all that is great about our club

  3. mike in toronto…

     

    You usually make so much sense. Looks like you are having an off day.

     

     

    Equating a ‘fan’ willfully acting in a manner that he knows will damage our club….

     

     

    With…

     

     

    Players doing what they are paid to do.

     

     

    Players only willfully damage the club when they do things that they KNOW will damage the club. Assaulting the ref, spitting on an opponent, etc….

     

     

    Hope you are back to your usual best soon…..

     

    Ronnie in Ottawa

  4. Hamiltontim

     

    16:19 on

     

    27 February, 2015

     

     

    It was an incredible achievement but people also need to realise it was a one off akin to Burnley beating Chelsea. Or dare I say it Morton beating NLs team.

     

     

    These things happen in football, that’s what makes it so great and the reason why we fill the stadium for these games despite the reasonable expectation that we will get soundly beaten. We do it because we don’t want to miss that one off.

     

     

    Anybody that believes that result meant that NLs team would consistently achieve results at that level, or even one below it, is delusional.

  5. Neganon

     

     

    Is Sevco a religious term?

     

     

    You overstate Scotland being institutionally racist and sectarian.

     

    That statement says more bout yourself mate than Scotland

     

    The catch all broad sweep nonsense.

     

     

    Same broad brush used by the bigot against my faith.

     

    I object to it as i object to you tarring my country as such

     

     

    Education will overcome ignorance

     

    my religion teaches engagement

     

    it has a 1600 year old history in this country.

     

     

    Hope your good mate,

     

     

    HH

     

     

    HH mate

  6. Up over goal,

     

     

    Yup looks that way.

     

     

    Let’s leave it.

     

     

    On another subject, how did Legia still play in Europe after we eliminated them? ;))

  7. Have a great weekend Celts

     

     

    will be at Game on Sunday

     

     

    hope to catch a few of you there.

     

     

    Chin up.history ongoing since 1888

     

    :-)

     

    HH

  8. LB

     

     

    First VvD yellow was a robust but fair challenge with the ball being played and cleared away. At worst it was a free kick – overreaction by edgy and inexperienced officials (asst ref was flagging furiously) early in the game.

     

     

    Ref had created a rod for his own back and issued the second yellow for a clumsy, naive challenge prompted by the Inter forward waving the ‘card’ in the air.

     

     

    A more experienced official would not have reacted like he did I suspect, but this guy was trying to make a name for himself and had a very aggressive body language for a ref. Would love to see the Ref Observer report which is separate from Match Observer report.

  9. mike in toronto on

    Weeron …

     

     

    I agree that, on one level, there is a difference between carrying a flare and picking up a booking. That is certainly the case where a player fouls someone, for example. But (i) that wasn’t the case with KC, and (ii) on other levels, the principle remains …. did the flare guy, knowingly and intentionally break the rule? Yes. did KC do the same? Yes. If I know that a certain number of bookings brings UEFA scrutiny , then so, I am certain, have the players been told.

     

     

    What was KC hoping to accomplish? Was the ref going to change his mind? No. KC’s conduct was as pointless (and it turns out harmful) as that of the flare holder.

     

     

    Further, my broader point still remains …. and these issues are not unconnected. We rail against the ‘UEFA establishment’ (refs cheating to help big clubs, or help the italians, or whatever else I have been reading). Within Scotland, Celtic are the big club. Yet we still like to pretend we are the ‘outsider’. We aren’t. Money talks, and we have most of it in Scotland.

     

     

    Many on here are ready to throw accusations of misconduct against the ref, UEFA (many of which likely are true) without any real evidence. However, when people on here (with fairly strong circumstantial evidence) question the role of Celtic in, for example, the 5 way agreement, they are written off by many of the same people as paranoid, out to the get the club, and having no evidence.

     

     

    All I am asking for is some sense of perspective and fairness, which increasingly is missing from CQN. I am happy that people question things… I encourage it… just dont leave those inquisitive and sceptical minds at home when they show up at Celtic Park.

  10. tonydonnelly67

     

    16:40 on

     

    27 February, 2015

     

     

    And neither do I. It proves absolutely nothing about the person.

  11. Geordie Munro

     

     

    You really think we would have qualified after the Legia horsing? OK.

     

     

    Another way of looking at it is that we ‘lost’ our way to the Europa League.

  12. Mike in Toronto

     

     

    Any idea why Craig Gordon would be time-wasting at 0-0, with us on our way out of the EL?

     

     

    Do you think the players were expecting elbows to the face, drawing blood, to merit the same punishment as an innocuous foul?

     

     

    What was the difference between the incident with Armstrong in the box, and Virgil’s second booking?

     

     

    You’d think it had been Montevideo all over again reading your post.

  13. embramike

     

     

    Thanks for that mate. Sort of the way I seen them both. Wasn;t even sure the first one was a foul. Can see why the referee gave it though from his angle of view. Didn;t think it was a yellow.

     

    Knew when he made the 2nd challange he was off. The referee put himself in the position to make the call as much as VVD did with his positioning. Player asking for a yellow should be brought to task though. Can;t bear seeing that in sport.

     

     

    LB

  14. I see the players have got Celtic a uefa charge, what should be done about there conduct ???

     

    Ban them for life for bringing the good name of celtic down

  15. Who is this Hugh Dallas that so many posters believe is prowling the corridors of power in Nyon?

     

     

    I seem to remember a Scottish referee by that name but he has nothing whatsoever to do with UEFA.

     

     

    Very strange.

  16. tonydonnelly67

     

     

    16:40 on 27 February, 2015

     

     

    True,like a lot of supporters I don’t wear colours either

  17. traditionalist88 on

    tonydonnelly67

     

    16:40 on

     

    27 February, 2015

     

    Most of the GB/ultras don’t wear anything Celtic.

     

    =====

     

     

    oh well there you go, conculsive proof!

     

     

    Really Tony, who took your lunch money?

  18. hun skelper do you absolve the referee for issuing any of the cards or were they all merited.? H H Hebcelt

  19. sunny calmachie on

    I personally like the flares and pyro,

     

    but it seems to be jeopardising our relationship with UEFA, and breaking the rules,

     

    and for the second reason only we need to stamp this out,

     

    let’s leave breaking the rules to the huns,

  20. up_over_goal

     

     

    16:49 on 27 February, 2015

     

     

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander :-) HH

  21. How is anyone sitting in the house watching the game on TV able to decide that a supporter holding a flare amidst 3,000 supporters is a member of the Green Brigade?

  22. hebcelt

     

     

    16:52 on 27 February, 2015

     

     

    The ref was a joke but what’s that got to do with it,

     

    The supporter got celtic a charge and people want him band for life.

     

    The players got celtic a charge so I take it people want the same punishment ????

  23. tom mclaughlin

     

     

    16:55 on 27 February, 2015

     

     

    Because it’s easy to blame the GB for everything hh

  24. “You really think we would have qualified after the Legia horsing? OK.”

     

     

     

    Up over goal,

     

     

    Irrelevant.

     

     

    We would NOT have been out of Europe if Legia had done their homework.

     

     

    We would have player another qualifying round.

     

     

    I don’t know if we would have safely negotiated it and neither do you.