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. Cosy Corner Bhoy on

    Art of War:


    My condolences on the loss of your father, especially so soon after your mother’s passing.


    I will say a few prayers and light a candle for both of them this week in St Winin’s, Kilwinning .


    RIP Wille Doogan

  2. Jimthetim



    Hope your keeping well mate,not seen you around




    Check in with a Christmas Carol



    Hail Hail.

  3. Cosy Corner Bhoy on

    The lead article on CQN frequently ‘talks a load shite’ especially when lauding up PL.


    The man is technically not even in position but already he is the new Messiah, or should that be Lazarus?


    Contrary to the author I think we can only get better by playing the same way as we are


    Luck played a large part in our losses and in my opinion pulling of the front three against Leverkeusen away to employ the tactics advocated cost us the game


    But what do I know… the same as most here a damn sight less than Ange

  4. Celtic’s perennial challenge is how to live in, statistically, the weakest domestic league in Europe every week and then adapt to the strongest (the champions league) once in a while. There are technical and tactical lessons to be learnt from how small nations adapted in Qatar. Ange will be watching and learning. He’s that kind of guy.

  5. The poster praising young Alistair’s presser – me too! Extremely eloquent young pro who is flaunting his hockey-honed physicality. The thinking man’s tough nut; perfect! Ange continues to build and whittle. HH




    Art of War; just caught up on your sad news. Peace in all your hearts.




    Saddened by this news out of QLD; 6 dead in a gunfire ambush. Tragic stuff as an ex headmaster goes troppo:


  6. AN TEARMANN on 12TH DECEMBER 2022 6:25 PM


    Today’s Presser with Andrew










    Great interview with AL JOHNSON.


    He comes across as a very bright, intelligent, strong willed and modest young man, with a thirst for success, especially with Celtic.


    One of the best interviews that I have ever seen/heard from a NEW Celtic player.


    His determination to be successful at Celtic comes shining through, as does his excitement of being part of The Celtic Family for the next five years….and MAYBE Five years MORE after that !



    I hope that AJ becomes a Celtic LEGEND before long….and a Celtic CULT Figure ?



    Thanks AT for Posting that interview.


    HH Mate.

  7. WARNING…Horse Racing Post…


    If NOT for you, feel free to SCROLL BY ?



    I hit the CROSSBAR again last evening with THREE WINNERS out of FOUR SELECTIONS. One Horse finished in 2nd Place, while the other Three Won at EARLY ODDS of…11/2, 9/4 and 2/1.


    Despite having one losing selection, I STILL showed a very healthy PROFIT…as I had ALL Four Horses in a ” LUCKY 15″ Bet.



    Todays selections are already ON…..and weather permitting I hope for another good wee day ?


    HH to ALL the GOOD Guys on here.

  8. Best of Luck to BOTH Argentina and Croatia Tonight as they meet in the 1st Semi Final.


    I am leaning towards Croatia, mainly because of JOSIP JURANOVIC and my ” Feeling” that even IF Croatia were to go a goal DOWN, they have the Savvy and Talent, and determination to come back again ….of course I could be completely wrong ?




    Can Josip Juranovic ENHANCE his growing reputation even further up against MESSI and Co ?


    I certainly hope so.



  9. Sad news for you and your family Art of War. Your da is together with your mum again. Rest In Peace Willie. Take care of yourself AoW.

  10. Good Morning Celts – Grand Day To Be A Tim



    A. O. W.



    So sorry for your loss, compounded by losing two parents so close together.



    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family – May you parents R.I.P.






    Big Welcome To Alistair Johnson, looks and sounds like a great addition to the squad, hope he has as good a time at Celtic as he envisages.



    AULDHEID @ 11:08 PM,






    Croatia and Morocco have some great players and showed technical ability, physicality and staminia – the team work and attitude of the players has been supreme



    Both in the semi-finals on merit, you don’t get there any other way – although it is not quite as rigorous (yet it is more intense), tournament football is similar to league football, in regard of the top teams getting placed



    Croatia has an eighty million pound defender and the priceless Modric, the only thing they have in common with us is their right back.



    And as far as I can see he played a similar role against Vinicius Jr and Brazil as he did against Mudryk et Shakhtar



    The Moroccan defence and the Croatian midfield have been outstanding and team work and playing for the Jersey has seen these “teams” advance.



    We have to remember that Ange’s Celtic is a work in progress and that the squad was a shambles when he came in



    He has been working on the players’ attitude, technical ability, staminia, conditioning and physicality – Ange knows it’s teamwork that makes the dream work.



    We are in a similar situation now as with MO’N in 2004/05 and BR in 2018/19, in that we need to strengthen in a very careful and tactical manner and bring in a few (3!?) quality players to take us to the next level. (over and above our current signings).



    Us competing with the best of our peers is palpable and we need to grasp the nettle and not bottle it again.



    You pointed to an article by James Forrest on the “Celtic Blog” t’uther day – in that fine piece he states exactly what BR wanted to do in the 2018 summer transfer window.



    It was simple; three quality players in and keeping his best players at Celtic – high value players that were replacable like Armstrong, Ntcham, Boyata etc could go – the strategy for the churn was excellent imo and getting those players in early would have made a huge difference



    This is crucial in Managers’ planning and implementation to maximise his performances and results



    For various reasons BR never had the players he wanted to utilise his strategies and tactics to the max, so at times his team looked limited



    Likewise, we can’t assume Ange’s tactics are one dimensional, it has very much been horeses for courses, so it is totally unfair to criticise his teams performance at the highest level when he inherited a basket case of a team



    Let me give you an example; my understanding is that Ange likes a back five sometimes, we haven’t had the players to make that work at the top level, yet it has been a highly effective formation for some Nations at this World Cup



    With Kobayashi and Johnson coming in that formation is now an option – whether Ange intends to utilise it or not, I don’t know but my feeling is this could be highly effective against better opposition yet still allow for Angeball



    In his excellent first interview at Celtic Alistair Johnson said he can play in a three, four or five at the back – that gives us options



    Over the next nine months Ange needs backing and serious backing at that, sniping from the grassy knowl doesn’t help.



    Hail Hail

  11. Good piece Chairbhoy.



    Not sure Kobayashi will be an instant playing upgrade compared to big Jenz, who I think is settling in nicely. Agree when you say that Ange’s improvement work is a process; hopefully we’re only in the early to mid range of that process.



    Sometimes I forget that and judge a player by a moment in time and cheer him on, or decry him on that basis.



    I’m pretty sure no-one is really a shite player that has ever pulled on the Hoops [shirley??]



    Well… certainly way less shite than any of us laptop warriors, anyway.

  12. Chair Bhoy


    Excellent summary


    As been often expressed ,some can’t see the wood for the trees .HH







    Kobayashi being left footed could open up more opportunities for him, we’ll have to see how quickly he settles.



    Our Centre Backs are interesting, Jenz has be very good but are we going to buy him in the summer? Also what about young Welsh?



    We have a good squad of high quality players and we often don’t appreciate it.



    As been often expressed ,some can’t see the wood for the trees, there is a huge amount involved in running a modern professional football department, as well as the obvious; the strategic planning, personnel management and club culture needs to be spot on and those type of things are crucial to the overall success that Morocco and Croatia have achieved.



    Hail Hail

  14. Apologies if already posted, it will be interesting i think. Aljazerra Sky 511 today at 4.30pm Celtic FC Fans.

  15. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Enjoyed AJ’s press conference (without reading anything into his actual ability of course).



    Genuine zeal and excitement – refreshing.



    Impressive communication skills



    … might be something to do with collegiate system (total guess BTW)



    … but North American sportspeople are routinely very articulate.



    Some of ours can barely string a coherent sentence together.

  16. Walsh gets the Sevco game on Thursday night,with his motley crew of linesmen, 3 points a banker for them and a red card penalty against Hibs, McLean for us at Pittodrie who cant see hand ball on a screen.



    Anderson versus Livi for us ,Collum gets the Aberdeen Sevco game.

  17. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Re chat yesterday about wild card teams in major tournaments



    Coneybhoy – cheers. I’d forgotten about Ireland and (mercifully) Egil Olsen’s Norway.



    Celtic40me – quality of coaching. Very good point indeed. Totally agree.

  18. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    PS – the rugby quiz question I posted which (perhaps understandably) no one gave a hoot about? 🤭🤔



    Dan(e) Cole(s).

  19. Alistair Johnston



    My mate who lives in Vancouver and is a coach says this about Johnston



    ‘bit of a raw player, late developer; but fit, strong and is clearly ready to improve so hope they treat him well’

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