How to win against more resourceful rivals


Croatia eliminated teams currently 1 and 2 in the Fifa rankings: Brazil and Belgium.  Morocco emerged from the same group that knocked out Belgium, then despatched Spain and Portugal.  Despite Croatia and Morocco having little possession in each of these games, creating fewer chances than their opponents and having less illustrious squads, all of these results were deserved.

These two teams who made the semi-finals did all the basics well all the time.  Throughout the tournament, they were never caught up-field when the opposition broke.  They resisted the temptation to make a risky pass.  They defended their box and each ball that entered the area.  Do this and any side has a chance.

As a consequence, their players are being monitored by scouts at the richest clubs, their managers are feted as national heroes and their fans have lived through weeks with the kind of joy and excitement few sports fans get to experience.

None of this would have happened had they played like Celtic played in the Champions League.  One of them would have gone out to Belgium and the other would have been home soon thereafter.  There is no shame in playing as Croatia and Morocco have, far from it.  They have demonstrated a brilliant mastery of sport’s perennial challenge: How to win against more resourceful rivals.

It is not laudable to want to play as though you were Brazil of 1970, it’s naive.  After a few years away from the European big time and a season without a trophy, Celtic fans were happy to overlook Bodo/Glimt and finishing bottom of the weakest Champions League group we have ever entered.

But football fans can be fickle and you and I have been here long enough to know what happens next.  Ange, when in the Bernabeu, be Croatia, be Morocco.  You will never out-gun the strongest teams, but you may just out-smart them.

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  1. P67


    ‘..At 27, Josip is in prime Asset Management territory. We have already recruited his replacement, the only question is, how much? Or do we just settle for being cannon fodder?..’




    Ive just caught up with P67s header from Saurdays blog.


    The idea of having to sell our best players to raise money for purchases is absurd.


    We are sitting with £30 milion in the bank that could be spent on 3 top players and the club refuses to do so.


    Instead we hoard it.

  2. AOW – So sad.



    Prayers and thoughts with you and your family.



    May your Dad Rest In Peace.



    D :)

  3. Art of War


    I am so sorry to hear of your second bereavement in such a short time. RiP to your father.



    Very hard for you. There are plenty on here who will be thinking of you.

  4. Art of War



    Best wishes to you and your loved ones at this difficult time. May your Father rest in peace.




    Condolences on your loss. Prayers will be offered for your dad.


    You’ve had a very bad year God bless you and give you strength.







  6. CELTIC40ME – yes, you are right. I guess my question is does Paul’s opinion reflect PLs? If so, we have a chairman who thinks the manager is naive and who we know is DD’s main man regardless of his title.


    I imagine they are happy to wait another season or two and see how it pans out. The pluses far outweigh the negatives for the time being.


    The question marks will come when the revamped CL takes place in 2024. I imagine that Ange is expected to make sure we are involved in it.

  7. Agree paul67



    we won’t win a single game in the CL playing not angeball not because we won’t score, not because we don’t deserve to but because you can’t give teams who are expert on the break chances to break and because we can only play our tactics for 3/4 of the game.



    Slight changes will get us wins.

  8. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Cheers Pablo.



    Easy enough read and pleasant too.



    Basic argument established.



    Don’t agree with it at all.



    A key factor not even considered….



    … lack of intensity deployed by favoured team.



    This little “once every four years” gig being played out is not the acme of footballing athletic performance.


    (Sshh – the Champions League is).



    Players from big 5 lacking intensity – why?



    Too many games, too many expectations, too much dosh.



    No one playing for a move.



    Haven’t seen the data but I’d be amazed if any one of Spain, Belgium, Brazil, Portugal covered 125km in regulation time during those lost matches.



    As for the underdogs?



    Get fit, organised, motivated and …



    … crucially …



    … Implement a very basic tactical plan which only needs a shelf life of six weeks before being found out.



    For Morocco, 2022 read



    Iceland (2016)


    Paraguay (2010)


    South Korea (2002)


    Greece (1996)


    Cameroon (1990)



    Among others.





    Ireland 1990


    England 1990


    Norway 1998. Was at the Sco v Nor game and their fans couldn’t believe they got a draw

  10. DENIABHOY on 12TH DECEMBER 2022 5:16 PM



    I think it’s more straightforward than that. It’s just Paul67’s own opinion on an important but pretty straightforward problem the club faces.

  11. Art of War: my condolences to you and your family on your loss. May your father rest in peace.



    Paul67, I presume this is simply your opinion (and not that of DD and PL). I hope our manager remains in post for the time needed to embed us in the CL. He has us playing a class of football that I’ve not seen us playing consistently since Mr Stein’s heyday. We are a joy to watch. Long may it continue.

  12. GlassTwoThirdsFull on



    We have seen this drip drip stuff before (even very recently) and it is generally for a purpose.


    Step 1 After being fed all the lines about the importance of domestic football we get a sudden u-turn and start getting told that it’s all about Europe.


    Step 2 Develop the narrative that Ange’s style of play doesn’t work in Europe.


    I’m guessing Step 3 will be “if only we had a Neil Lennon/Gordon Strachan whose style did work (apparently) in Europe.”


    In less than 18 months Ange has taken us uncomfortably ahead of partner club and is talking about further improvement. His comments about not giving a hoot about what is happening at Ibrox won’t have gone unnoticed and you can guess how well they would have gone down with the big cheese and his minions.


    Watch this space…..







    The coaching is poorer as well – little champions league experience, none of the South American managers have managed outside the continent.

  14. I missed a couple of the Champion League matches due to travelling, but I think we gave a good account of ourselves in every match. At no point did I think we were going to lose any match by 6,7 or 8 goals… and to be honest I still fancied getting a draw in a couple of matches even when we were behind.



    If we have a few seasons of this then maybe we have to change something, but criticising the manager who had to rebuild a team and a team’s confidence after just over a year in charge is appaling.

  15. ART OF WAR



    I hope the below doesn’t miss the mark.


    Sorry for your losses.



    A Happy Manb


    By Edwin Robinson



    When these graven lines you see,


    Traveller, do not pity me;


    Though I be among the dead,


    Let no mournful word be said.



    Children that I leave behind,


    And their children, all were kind;


    Near to them and to my wife,


    I was happy all my life.



    My three sons I married right,


    And their sons I rocked at night;


    Death nor sorrow never brought


    Cause for one unhappy thought.



    Now, and with no need of tears,


    Here they leave me, full of years,–


    Leave me to my quiet rest


    In the region of the blest.




  16. Art of War


    so sorry for the loss of your father.


    Rest in Peace Willie


    Hail Hail



  17. Art of War



    Condolences and best wishes re the loss of your Dad, Willie Doogan


    And indeed to the recent lost of your Mother



    RIP Your Parents both

  18. Evening all.



    Just catching up with the blog.





    ART OF WAR on 12TH DECEMBER 2022 2:53 PM


    Once again, prayers requested for my dad Willie who passed away suddenly on Friday.





    He joins my mum who passed away 6 short weeks ago. After 63 years of marriage they were only apart for a wee while.







    RIP Willie Doogan





    Such sad news, may both your mum and dad Rest In Peace.


    Thoughts and prayers offered for you and your family.

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