Incremental gains required


Before the weekend I argued against the early return of Cameron Carter-Vickers against Motherwell on Sunday.  Cameron’s injured hamstring has hampered the player throughout the season and the best remediation for a hamstring is rest. Returning to action before it is absolutely necessary is a risk.

My thoughts on when “absolutely necessary” is has moved since.  One central defender will not change the way the team plays, he will not stop a cross coming into the box or be at the back post to stop a header, but Celtic are in desperate need of incremental gains.  As well as performing traditional defensive duties very well, he is comfortable in possession and can help transition the ball forward.

He would also be a confidence boost to players and fans alike.  Let’s hope we see him on Sunday.

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  1. Happy Wednesday all!



    Heading to Lisbon for first time this May.






    Ps Sannies or gutties?

  2. We face Motherwell on Sunday, currently ranked 9th in the SPFL. They are a high scoring team with a leaky defence. They have a big awkward centre forward who is on a scoring streak and an attacking midfielder, Blair Spittal, who is also in good form. They will rough up their pitch and they will employ the usual tactics- a narrow deep block – an occasional press to frighten our nervous defenders – and, most importantly, severe man marking of Calmac and Matt O’Riley as our more creative ball carriers, while they will be happy to let the ball come out of defence if it is at the feat of Welsh, Scales or Bernabei.



    With these tactics, they are laying down a challenge to our wingers. They are left unguarded to receive the ball because opposition managers are seeing Celtic wingers currently achieving the square route of nothing- All of them- Maeda, Kuhn, Palma, Yang, Abada, recently departed Mikey J & Tilio, and in brief cameos, James Forrest. Only Palma in attack and Maeda in defence have shone at any time this season. Opposition managers are saying- prevent the ball reaching our midfielders or forwards- but, if we cannot win the ball, let it go to their wingers, because they produce very little.



    The only way we change this is to get more product and punch from our wingers. Yang doesn’t lack bravery in attacking players but hasn’t linked up with forwards. Palma has shown an ability to cross and shoot but again finding central attackers is a problem. Maeda has shown great endeavour and helps his full back but is not good at finding Kyogo or Idah. Kuhn has shown absolutely nothing so far. Reverting to James Forrest is a backward step but justifiable. Rocco Vata is not yet at their level but a case can be made that he gets a chance to show more than they did. Leil Abada has to be out of the picture for his sake and ours. This is not the time to rely on Leil’s ability to produce any form.



    So, whoever Brendan picks, has to be better than they have been recently if we are to overcome Motherwell and start to reduce the pressure that is rising around our club. I would persist with the two that have had periods of form this season, i.e. Palma and Maeda but they need to break out of their slump. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kuhn is picked but he needs to show more energy, at the very least, to convince that the is worthy of that pick. If fit, I would go with:-






    Ralston Welsh or Nawrocki Scales Taylor



    McGregor O’Riley Bernardo



    Maeda Idah or Kyogo Palma



    And they should all wear fit boots cos Sannies won’t work on a ploughed field

  3. AIPPLE on 21ST FEBRUARY 2024 12:05 PM


    Happy Wednesday all!


    Heading to Lisbon for first time this May.




    Ps Sannies or gutties?





    Enjoy beautiful place, but bring good walking shoes (sannies or gutties) as there’s a lot of walking involved particularly around the old town. Give one of the security guards at the Estadio Nacional a few Euro and he’ll give you a tour of the stadium, well worth a visit!

  4. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    Hear, hear.



    Necessity is the mother of invention (desperation?).



    It’s quite simple: expecting things to change without making changes is insanity.



    The manager needs to bold.



    I’d put Rocki beside CCV, bring in Iwata, move McGregor further forward and reinstate James Forrest.



    The likes of Bernabei, Yang, Oh, Palma, Kuhn and Bernardo should be nowhere near the pitch unless we are winning comfortably.

  5. BURNLEY78 on 21ST FEBRUARY 2024 10:39 AM



    Sack the board at Bayern.



    Oh wait they did that last season.



    Spent a fortune, like Ajax 2 years ago only more so.



    Failing to win league and looking tricky at last 16 in Europe despite spending spending spending.



    Sack another manager ???? Sack the board again ??? I mean what is it 11 out of 12 Bundesligas ? Rubbish eh






    In your desperation to be smug you couldn’t have made a worse comparison. The difference, if it isn’t obvious, is Bayern are trying to be the best they can be.



    Despite winning 11 consecutive titles, Bayern didn’t rest on their laurels and pluck some players from obscurity and tell the manager to get on with it, Bayern went out and spent £100m on one of the world’s best number 9s at 30 years old with zero sell-on value because Bayern are an ambitious club who want to dominate their league and win multiple Champions leagues. They gave Tuchel what he wanted; his failures are his, and today they cost him his job.



    The problem a lot of Celtic fans have with the Celtic board is that they are NOT trying. The Celtic board are NOT trying to dominate domestically, they fell into into by default when Rangers were liquidated. The Celtic board are NOT trying to compete at any level in Europe. The Celtic board would NOT sanction a big money move for a player with zero sell-on value even if said player could greatly improve the team. The Celtic board don’t have any ambitions beyond staying marginally ahead of Rangers and bringing in players cheap to sell them on for a profit.



    No one I know thinks we are entitled to win the league. But they expect us to do what we can within our budget to have the best possible recruitment team, the best possible manager, and most importantly put the best possible team on the park. When the Celtic board say they want to be a Champions League club, we know from their actions they mean doing the bare minimum to get into the group stages. When the Celtic board say they want to be world-class in everything they do, we know from their actions and the nepotism that is prevalent throughout the club that they are lying to the support. No amount of smug comments can mask that

  6. onenightinlisbon on

    REGGIE on 21ST FEBRUARY 2024 12:14 PM



    100%.Smug and the Celtic board go hand in hand though…..

  7. Peterlatchfordsbelly



    I appreciate your courteous reply.



    I have said what I have had to say on this matter (without much effect)



    It is legitimate to attack Burnley 78, myself or yourself, for what we say and how we say it. I don’t think it is right to attack any of us for who we are or who we know or knew. I have been portrayed as a Board defender because I opt out of the futile attacks on things we cannot and do not change. Some posters have said happy clappers must have relatives on the Board or are “plants” on here to influence the debate. It is a tiresome and stupid charge made by people unwilling to tackle the argument. Similarly, the critics of the Board or team will have suffered attacks as Greenhuns , Timposters or Blinded by the Daily Record and Clyde phone ins. Those tactics also by pass the argument to try and weaken it by attacking the man.



    That is my last word on this for the week. You are right, I think cynicism is a harmful position but its predecessor, scepticism, is a valuable starting position. I will try hard not to fall into cynicism.

  8. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    “Let’s hope we see him (CCV) on Sunday”



    Amen to that.



    Unless he pulls up injured of course



    Great thing about being an anonymous contributor to a blog .. Having your cake and eating it.

  9. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on




    We need jolly well more than incremental gains!






    Tongue in cheek I assume TBB ?



    FWIW – I have a suspicion incremental gains might be enough.



    Depends on the size of the increments I suppose and the extent to which these impact binary (WIN/DON’T WIN) outcomes.

  10. I believe we all share a common goal. It is how Celtic get there that differs.



    Better minds have put it more eloquently than I could.


    It is most certainly true.



    If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but never the goal.



    If we cannot or will not change the plan then that indeed is a problem.




  11. REGGIE



    Yeah, I thought the Bayern comparison was strange. Maybe if they’d signed a team full of protects, aimed to be a bit better than Leverkusen and brought back Ottnar Hitzfeld it might’ve been more relevant.

  12. Reggie



    Thanks for the feedback. It wasn’t meant to sound smug. More just ironic. They changed everything and spent lots but still have failed.



    Maybe less ironic but just as a consequence of the basic fact that even mighty Bayern needs to realise they are in essence actually a feeder league now and not vice versa.



    One team dominating leagues like Bundesliga French Ligue1 and Spain are no longer even a match for EPL spends in the long run.



    The same inevitability which we faced in 2004 and which our rivals didn’t which is why we rightsized and they went bust. It’s why they burnt cash and continue to do so although their numbers are at best opaque.



    The challenge, as amply exemplified by the Ajax catastrophe of the past few years despite playing in a bigger league and pop pool than us, is that it can go disastrously wrong and take years to rebuild. See rangers 2012/24. If loads of folks (board or owners) were taking loads of cash out of our club right now I would be more concerned.



    On a personal level my biggest grip is the lack of progress with the ECA and other bodies aimed at leveling the playing field commercially across European countries. We should have been in the vanguard on that.



    We saw the problem in 2004. We didn’t perhaps see how big it would be but I am not sure anyone did. No one saw then we would have one league becoming as dominant and the global brand the EPL has become. Not to that extent.



    We should have focused massive energy on the greeter good and a solution with the other non top 4 leagues. That is where our board has slept in my view. Keeping the business going and dominating domestically is less of a cardinal sin for me.

  13. BURNLEY78 on 21ST FEBRUARY 2024 12:40 PM




    Your points are valid but Ligue 1 is quite a tragic case. Arguably the most competitive and unpredictable league in Europe (look at the range of teams that finish second) turned into a joke by Qatari sportswashing



    I couldnt care less, but in the East End of Glesga ( where I was brought up ), it was always ” SANNIES”.



    I wasnt aware of the term ” GUTTIES” until I was in my Teens ?


    I can also remember having to play Fitba in my bare feet ) INDOOR Gym Classes) on occasions.



    NAE WONDER I was better than PELE !






  15. Majestic Hartson on

    TBB, I’m with Paul, it’s incremental gains we need. About 10,000 should be enough…




  16. Auldheid







    I respect your indefatigability as Mr Galloway once said.



    I wonder what outcome you realistically expected to achieve which would benefit Celtic ?




    Good question.



    If giving the folk who support Celtic a better say in how they are treated,


    particularly small shareholders who were lied to twice at same AGM, in order to prevent a repeat, is not seen as a benefit to Celtic then where does that put you?

  17. We need a competent defence a robust combattive midfield 3 or 4 ,sanddancers out, and put the opposition under pressure we never push up now and compress the game because we lack pace.



    Not a fair comparison in terms of quality but I watched Inter v Atletico Madrid last night, what struck me other than better technique was the fitness strength and stamina of the players even ones well into their 30s, that is another thing we lack fitness strength and stamina, sports science, conditioning coaches and physios seriously need to up their game, we are well off the pace in these areas, which, should not cost fortunes to implement , just get the right people with the right approach, the least we can expect is fitness and conditioning to be better than what it looks like.

  18. A filing is expected at Companies House by the 24/2/24 for Celtic plc, which is a Saturday, the interims maybe.

  19. BURNLEY78 on 21ST FEBRUARY 2024 12:40 PM



    All sporting dynasties come to an end. Eventually, failure either through complacency or incompetency is inevitable. There is, however, a way to fail, a manner in which you can stand tall and say you gave it your best shot and let the chips fall where they may. That is not what we are witnessing. The recruitment in the last 2 years has been both complacent and incompetent and the results are there for all to see.



    Ajax reached the Champions League final. We haven’t won a knockout tie in any European competition post Xmas for 20 years. As a club outside the top 5 leagues they lived the dream. We dare not dream at all.



    The only way to level the playing field with the EPL is a European Super League. Whether the appetite is there for that and whether we would be invited I’m not so sure. That is largely out of our control. Right now I’m more concerned with what is within our control and how we fix the malaise running through every level of our club

  20. Dessybhoy,



    We have world class training facilities at Lennoxtown.



    Are we optimising potential. Imo, far from it.




  21. Chairbhoy. SFTB



    Sorry I could not contribute to the discussion last night. My wife’s mother passed away yesterday and I had to drive down to yorkshire to be with her. It was ddfitnely her time after suffering from Alzheimer’s and more recently a broken hip after a bad fall so all ok.



    Re the timeline of success or failure.



    I agree Fergus and 94 was the catalyst and MON really finally made it happen vs an overheated opponent.



    Due to our opponents unsustainable strategy and ego driven big cup / domestic dominant obsession. (See Ken Gallagher article 2000) we had to over reach under MON in terms of budget and required a 3rd fund raise to pay for Seville and the squad back then. Revenues (match day, commercial and sponsorship) were not as well leveraged but costs were too high given the glass ceiling which was now in play for countries and small leagues such as ours.



    MON did well and broke the mould though and I am not being critical of that……but it was not great in terms of trophies despite our over spend. Also despite the craziness at Ibrox at the time.



    I saw both sides up close. Martin Bain speaks of the ridiculous nature of Murray’s largess and pandering toward Advocaat and the basic bad ego driven decision making which it allowed / encouraged. No surprise this ended in tears for them and allowed things to balance out at that time.



    The difference was that we ‘right sized’ our business model and respected the ceiling for the market we worked in. They didn’t. The mistake we made was not to seek to leverage our position back then to play in a bigger pond. To engage with the other small and medium countries which did not have the larger TV pools and get creative about the future of the game for such entities. We sat back and assumed change would happen in our favour. That is my criticism of the board. The irony of PL involvement with ECA now is not lost on me but that horse has likely cantered off now.



    I will finish this reply shortly guys.

  22. AN TEARMANN on 21ST FEBRUARY 2024 1:18 PM



    That is a seriously good goal. I wonder if he has changed his boots




  23. I think it a given that CCV will start at the next available opportunity. I’d also drop Scales for Nawrocki.



    Nawrocki looked very unsteady in the second half at pittodrie but hopefully playing alongside CCV can help him. If we persist playing CBs who simply can’t move the ball forward at pace then we will see more of what we’ve seen for many weeks now.



    If we’re gonna lose this title then let’s lose it trying to do something as opposed to waiting for the inevitable.

  24. Incremental gains? What Celtic need first is a new manager. Rodgers has single handedly ruined that team, with his tactics, his team selections, his signings and his management.


    He threw away the League Cup within weeks, he has almost certainly thrown away the League and I have little doubt he will achieve the treble.


    He will leave but we’ll be left with the debris.


    I have never forgiven him for sticking up his finger and walking out on us before and I won’t forgive him for this shambolic mess.

  25. No chance BR will drop Scales he likes his left foot for balance, Nawrocki possibly for Welsh but he is slow, Taylor van hopefully last 90 minutes we only have AR at right back, midfield cannot continue with a middle 2 it has to be 3 one of who should be a tackler so that will be Iwata not Bernardo, 2 mobile wide players who will work back and Kyogo, or Kyogo plus Idah with 1 wide player

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