Ignore the delightful and the dreadful


The best news of the week is the return to action of three injured central defenders.  Cameron Carter-Vickers, out since April recuperating after an operation, started last night’s game.  He was partnered by new-signing Maik Nawrocki.  Both were swapped out at halftime but should be ready for a fuller challenge against Ross County on Saturday.

Carl Starfelt returned to action for the second half, where he partnered Liam Scales.  While it is great to see Cameron, Maik and Carl all fit to play, surely Brendan Rodgers will give Liam the nod on Saturday?  He is likely to be the only one from this group fit enough for 90 minutes.

Also returning from injury, Anthony Ralston will be confident of starting against Ross County.  Tomoki Iwata is not a fullback and was undone by a simple ball over the top, allowing Athletic to re-take the lead immediately after Reo Hatate scored Celtic’s first equaliser.

These games are not about results or performances, so I would ignore the delightful and the dreadful moments in our play last night, they are not indicators of the season ahead.  There is a lot of fitness work to do, and a lot of systems to learn, before we will be ready to judge anyone.

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  1. I think Scaniel’s summary of the game was one I would go along with.



    Paul’s description of a mix of delightful and dreadful is also accurate.



    I can see the point of Scales taking a spot, for this one game, for a player returning from injury- but he will eventually fall behind Nawrocki (and Starfelt- if he stays). I cannot see us making any money out of selling him to Aberdeen so would we gain more if we loaned him down South after a year’s extension and put him in a better shop window. He has lots of battling qualities and suits the left side but can still be a bit raw at times.

  2. Liam Scales. Not good enough to dislodge our CBs but too good for Aberdeen.



    What SFTB said.



    Make him a better product of our trading model than losing that to the Dons. No sentiment for me.




  3. Now that pre-season is over, I imagine the starting XI for the opening games will comprise 8-9 of the treble winning team and 2-3 at most from the new boys. The latter need time now to settle in to their new environment and get introduced to games gradually as and when there are opportunities.


    A lot of us on here thought there was a good chance DT, Scales, Bernabei and MoR would be sold this summer but BR will be in no rush to push them out the door based on what we have seen pre-season.

  4. DENIABHOY on 2ND AUGUST 2023 12:31 PM



    I think that’s generous fella. Might argue for a +1 with Rocky but that would be harsh on CS after his record last season with CCV beside him. Could, and probably will change.



    Everywhere else suggests we start with the 22/23 players, with Yang closest to challenging Maeda and Abada on the wing.



    Will be absolutely fine for August but expecting the squad to shift shape with outgoings (Ange back for Hatate?) and incomings for September’s step up in opposition quality.



    All feels a bit behind schedule tbh but appreciate it’s not easy.




  5. GuyFawkesaforeverhero on

    Good luck to our Celtic B squad tonight in the Challenge Cup v East Kilbride.



    We can muscle up the Lowland League match players with some older guys for this competition, although whether we will do so is a 50/50 call going by previous seasons.



    The club’s twitter updates are readable to those who have signed up to a twitter account.

  6. Young Liam was subbed at HT versus Motherwell due to his inability to shift the ball out of his feet quickly enough to feed the midfield (reo and Callum) who were both getting fed up … for me young Liam is well short to be a regular for us but will have a good career in England lower end of the Championship, he is being played to line up a transfer not the first time it’s happened

  7. Liam Scales is a Centre Back in the wrong era. Not great with the ball at his feet but is good in the air, his timing is excellent, probably better at a club that wants their CB’s to clear the ball rather than play it from the back, por cierto.



    “Afternoon Bhoys from Lagos.







    Predictive text eh? You meant Largs didn’t you? :)))))

  9. Big Wavy – fair points. Two changes might be too many 🙄 Front three probably a given of Maeda, Kyogo and Abada. Back four still dependant on fitness tests so will change over next few weeks as CCV, AJ and Starfelt get back up to speed. Midfield is probably the most interesting area. With everyone fit/injury free who plays? Calmac a given. By the time we get to Ibrox, Pittodrie and CL games which two from Iwata, Reo, DT, MoR, Holm and Kwon will also be first choice? As you mention, Reo and maybe one other could be gone by then.

  10. bournesouprecipe on

    Delighted and pleasantly surprised to see CCV and Starfelt and look forward to the partnership on Saturday. Nawrocki did enough to suggest he could cover at CB. Half a game from Oh saw a much improved player, fitter and leaner in a slightly deeper not the same as Kyogo role, he looks to have benefited from a good pre season.



    Tony Ralston’s fitness level and natural game should be good enough to see him take over for the injured AJ. Big season for David Turnbull ahead could see the Brendan effect, releasing his true potential.



    Holm looked neat and tidy, all in all a great squad of players, with options all over. But for starters it’ll be Abada for Jota, – and there’s your dinner.

  11. I thought the worrying part of the first half last night was the stark difference in speed between the two teams – of movement and thought. I appreciate we’re in pre-season but so are they and they’re a week behind us, and we looked spooked by their quick high press, in a CL it could have been over before twenty minutes.



    Kwon is just in the door from playing in the Korean Second divisions so any judgement would be unfair at this point but he does look more than six weeks away from being ready for the champions league.



    What the first half showed clearly was that against that sort of press we need to improve dramatically possession in our own half, and move the ball quicker. We need our technical players to stand up and take responsibility. in a 3 man midfield an aggressive ball winner is a luxury if he cant act as an effective pivot. Macgregor would have been far better suited to the position Kwon played last night.



    I think we also got a bit of false picture from our second half performance. AB were a different team playing with a less aggressive press, it. was easier than dealing with a swarm press, there were more spaces and more time.



    Lots to work on before our first CL game and no opportunities to play against the sort of team we’ll be like to be up against, but Brendan looked a little shocked after the game so he’ll no doubt be working hard to make sure we dont get off to the sort of start we did last night.

  12. Celtic40ME



    “AB were a different team playing with a less aggressive press, it. was easier than dealing with a swarm press, there were more spaces and more time.”





    Bilbao only made two changes at HT and we made 10. 9 of their starters played more than 60 minutes of the game. I agree they were less efficient in the 2nd half but it wasn’t just a drop off in pressing; their passing to team mates was less precise and our “reserves” were more effective in intercepts and tackling. We also had no one like Kwon who turned the ball over on at least 6 occasions. Callum McGregor faced the same press as Kwon did but was not responsible for losing the ball like he did. The big fella had a mare last night but was better v Wolves.



    Like every Celt, I feared the worst after a very difficult first half and was pleasantly surprised by the turnaround. We deserve credit rather than feeling Bilbao eased off.

  13. kevinlasvegas on

    Lol Por.



    Largs of Algarve.



    I think Kobayishi is still injured non?



    The 5 new guys, the batting rate in the past 2 season is 3 out of the 5 should be crackers. Yang looked great last night, thought he was too slight, big strong quick bhoy, the big middy looked star struck for some reason, I had both pegged round the other way so what do I know. Had a feeling rocky and Odin will romp it up here. Tillio should be a rocket as well. Haska is done already I fear, Brendan effect hasn’t done a thing so far…… we know Brendan gets players to play better but he needs their buy in. I think haska might be the exception.










  14. I hope this wee repeat edited post (plug?) is OK on here….


    *** PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2023-24 *





    It’s been a long 9 weeks for me with only a handful of emails to scroll through, no 5-bar gates to compile and no spreadsheets to update. But thankfully that all comes to an end this coming weekend when Celtic’s competitive season gets underway.


    Firstly, thanks to those of you who have emailed me since the Scottish Cup Final encouraging me to continue this wee venture for season 2023-24. Even though last season’s competition did run out of steam a wee bit towards the end, hopefully the voting public will come back fully refreshed and raring to go.





    It’s quite simply an exercise to determine the Player Of The Year based on Real Time Voting. No waiting until the season end and forgetting what happened 8 months earlier. But rather a game by game voting system where players earn points whenever they are one of our top 5 performers in any given game.


    I toyed with the idea of introducing a different points system but I’m keen to (a) not overly complicate it and (b) make sure it’s still fairly easy for me to collate all of the results – last season I received around 3,500 emails! So, I’ve decided to just keep things exactly the way they were last season.


    The competition depends entirely on your regular participation, dear readers. After each game, anyone and everyone sends me an email with the names of the three players who you think performed best, in your opinion. No justification or explanations are necessary, just 3 names. The 3 players that you nominate all receive one vote. Remember, you don’t put the 3 players in order – all 3 get the very same 1 vote reward. I then go through each and every email, tally up the total votes from everyone who takes part for that particular match and put them into order. The player who gets the highest total votes gets the Man Of The Match award and earns 5 POINTS. The runner up will get 4, next gets 3, then 2, then 1.


    Your 3 nominations must be for 3 different Celtic players. And please remember that there are likely to be games where we play very poorly – it’s perfectly acceptable for you to then vote for your 3 least bad players! Much better to do that than to take the huff and not vote at all! After all, somebody has to get MOTM for every game regardless of the result.


    Of course, you don’t need to worry about the fine detail. All you have to do is nominate 3 players and I take care of the rest.


    And how do you vote? Simply by sending me an email to SENCELPOTY@GMAIL.COM . Again, you don’t have to explain your thinking or make specific detailed comments. When folk do that, I do feel guilty about not always sending a personal reply but I’m generally racing against the clock with a lot to get through. All I need is an email from you, short and sweet along the lines of “Hi, for the Ross County game my 3 picks are Auld, Chalmers and Lennox”. And neither do you have to vote after every single game – just the ones that you actually take in with enough interest to form your opinions. I mean, do you think I actually know whether voters even saw the game?? Your votes remain confidential – unless you decide to mention on the blog or elsewhere who you went for. But there will be no leaks from me, I promise!


    For each game, the voting opens straight after the final whistle and remains open usually until 10.00pm the following evening. I’ll do my best to then tally up the votes and post the results on here usually before 10.30pm.


    There’s no signing up process, no joining fee and neither do you have to vote on every game. Just participate as often as you can. Also, there’s absolute zero cost involved although, equally there are no prizes on offer!


    Absolutely anyone is welcome to join in, whether you post on here, post elsewhere or just lurk. And please, please feel free to encourage friends, family etc to join in too, whether regularly or just after certain games. So, if you’re watching a lunchtime away game in November in a bar in Tenerife, get those around the table to nominate their own 3 players and send an email on their behalf! Remember, everyone’s opinion is equally valid, and everyone’s votes carry the very same weight. If anyone wants to mention or promote this on any other sites, group chats, etc I’m absolutely fine with that – copy and paste till your heart’s content! The game by game results will always be posted on Sentinel Celts and almost always (when I can access the site!) on CQN but, again, I’ve no problem if they are then copied elsewhere.


    This is really just a wee bit of fun to maybe give us another topic to discuss as the weeks go on. And I think that it gives a much fairer, real-time assessment of how players are performing rather than just looking back at the year end. As the competition develops, I expect to notice certain trends – maybe players that didn’t catch the eye early season then developing into regular vote winners and vice versa.


    So the competition will cover every competitive first team game during season 2023-24 starting with our Flag Day visit from Ross County and hopefully ending after our appearance in a European Final! It’s OK to dream.


    Finally, if anyone has any other thoughts, ideas or just wants to check their email works please feel free to contact me at SENCELPOTY@GMAIL.COM . You might get an ‘automatic reply’, but I’ll try and send a more personal one over the coming days. Something else that I’ve been meaning to reassure folk on for a while surrounds your own email security. When you email me your votes I NEVER pass your email details on to anyone else. Also, I tend to delete ALL emails every 3 or 4 weeks so in terms of data protection etc I’m confident there’s nothing for anyone to be concerned about.


    Thanks for reading this far.




    Fair enough, I wasnt paying attention to the subs at half time. Their starters probably tired which wasn’t surprising given the intensity of the first 25 minutes in a pre season game, but we were pretty shocking during that period, albeit against a very quick skilful and well-drilled team. And although personnel and tactical tweaks helped I think the game was much easier for the second half team.



    It wasnt just Kwon last night, the other midfielders looked a bit spooked, the central defenders looked unsure of what to do and the attacking players kept turning it over as well. I thought we didnt know what to do against the sort of opposition we’ll face six times quite soon.



    We do deserve credit, though for turning it around. And taking our chances like we did bodes well for the CL this season as does the quality of our second half performance, especially considering how worried we were about the drop off in quality from the first choice 11.

  16. BSR,



    Abada the new Jota ?



    That’s a big step up for our Israeli, and a bit of a drop from our highest performing ECL player last season.



    On current analysis.



    Bold strategy indeed. Not convinced myself.




  17. TENNESSEE TIM on 2ND AUGUST 2023 1:47 PM


    Good morning from sunny Kentucky.






    Morning, weather has been perfect last few days in Louisville.




  18. We have an excellent manager, a good scouting network and a very decent budget but finding another Jota this summer is probably hoping for too much? Talent like that for 5-7 million is extremely hard to find. With Abada, Maeda, Yang, JF, Tilio, Haksa and an emerging Vata all still with us it would be hard to argue we need another wide player unless we lose 2-3 of the above.

  19. Tennessee Tim on




    Very nice up here in Northern KY as well. Forecast looks like we’re in for a decent run of mild temps.



    Low Humidity CSC

  20. KLV at 1:31 p.m.


    I was watching Haska at half time and whilst the other Bhoys were doing their fast passing drill he walked away and nonchantly threw his training bib to the ground for some lackey to fetch it later. At the time I thought a bit rude and arrogant but maybe he was just keen to get stripped for action. When he didn’t get a starting place i then thought his little act of petulence was an indication of something bigger. Hope not,…..may be that he is injured and couldn’t be risked, but if his attitude and application isn’t up to it then off he goes.

  21. Reo seems to me to have a lot to do to earn a move to a better league.



    He needs to be more of a ninety minute man , pacing himself through a match and his positioning and consistency upped a couple of notches.



    I’d be very surprised if an EPL team made a move during this window.




  22. DENIABHOY on 2ND AUGUST 2023 2:19 PM



    To thrive and survive we have to believe we have a higher hit rate. Even BR said it – there’s a lot of talent out there. Like early Ntcham, Jota & Edouard, maybe they are underappreciated ‘reserves’ at big clubs like City, PSG & Benfica. Asian markets. Earlier ages, etc but we have to believe (and have the right infrastructure) that we can unearth more Jotas.



    Of your list, JF (too old) & Haksa (too slow) & Vata (too raw) wouldn’t be around to compete. We’re missing someone who can carry a ball and threat at the elite level in a way only Jota came close to last season.



    Need to replace him with similar.




  23. bournesouprecipe on

    Big Wavy



    It’s only a few days away and “ there will be no transfers before Ross County “ – Brendan’s words.



    Abada is no Jota but he’s now more first pick than he was whilst Jota was a Celtic player.



    You could argue Brendan’s quote means, transfers after Ross County? he’s also on record of saying he wanted a replacement for Jota. The general consensus is we haven’t signed him yet.



    So we’ll see when the window shuts.




    On the same page…heard the post-RC game bit too…..




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