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Last season’s Celtic edge over the line

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Shortly after Elfsborg cracked one against the crossbar last night I quickly scanned the Celtic team and had a thought.  For the second season in a row we are taking on the Swedish champions but we’re missing two of last season’s big performers and none of this season’s new signings were ready for action.  In short, this was Celtic 2012 minus Wanyama and Hooper. No wonder we looked unstructured.

Joe Ledley brought some vision to central midfield when he arrived, hopefully banishing the Brown-Kayal partnership to hidden corners of our mind once and for all.  Anthony Stokes playing at the front of a wide diamond was equally effective.  With the signing of Amido Balde, bids in for Kevin Doyle, and the addition of a wide-delivery-expert Derk Boerrigter, clearly Neil Lennon has a different plan for the months to come….. so there’s no real need for me to state the obvious.

Defensively we looked solid after a shaky opening few minutes.  I’m not the only one who was a bit nervous about Efe Ambrose after he was (again) caught underneath a long ball, but he settled quickly.  As we know to our cost, being great for 87 minutes is not how Champions League reputations are made, you are judged on your how vulnerable you become in your weak moments.

I said yesterday that Samaras and Commons were the two players who could cope at this level, which became plainly obvious during the game.  Georgios was the one player who frightened Elfsborg, they either swamped him with four defenders or fouled him before he got near goal.

Kris is simply the most intelligent footballer we have.  He is not the fastest, will never have the best stats, but he understands how games are won and is able to act accordingly.  Without these two players Celtic would be distinctly vanilla.

Thanks to those who sent over their 1254125 Great Scottish Run details, I’ll have them on the page later.
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  1. A Stor Mo Chroi

     

     

    Celtic would embarrass Rangers if we played them annywhere with the size of our support. There is no other team in the world with the passionate support world wide we have. English and big European sides may have plastic fans the world over but our fans are real supporters. I would wager we would have 80% of the fans anywhere in the world v them. I would prefer not playing them ever again though but it is inevitable at some point.

     

     

    LB

  2. canamalar1

     

     

    Big Mick looked like he had been told not to get as far forward as he usually does, to keep an eye on the back door perhaps which in turn left James a bit isolated as him and Lustig often combine well…

     

     

    Had a look at the game again this morning, a better performance than I thought in real time plus that team tried to kick us off the park as they had no answers to us, a wee bit of improvement here and there next week should see us through to the next round..

  3. up_over_goal

     

     

    Bangura did not get one shot on target all night.

     

    ===

     

    Indeed he did and Big FF had to save it – fairly routine save but a saved shot on target none the less

  4. SuperSutton

     

     

     

    13:32 on 1 August, 2013

     

     

     

    really good points, I know sammi and jf are different players but jf reminds me of sammi as it looks like the players around him need to learn how to play jf as much as jf needs to learn about playing, I know it’s heresy to say this but there were some god awful performances from sammi before lennie said to the others ‘ya see that lankie goon up the front, lob the ball at him then make sure you follow it up’

  5. Kilbowie Kelt on

    The Honest Cover-up

     

     

    13:30 on 1 August, 2013

     

    _______________

     

     

    Nobody is questioning your RIGHT to post whatever you please. It is a free country,..at least that’s what they tell me.

     

    Having the right to do it does not make it RIGHT to do it.

     

    What is gained by calling somebody ‘useless’, ‘hopeless’, or any of the other insults that are common on this site ?

     

    Most of us were never paid a pound in our lives to play football, yet we are happy to denigrate guys who earn thousands of pounds every week to do just that.

     

     

    Call them whatever you like, if you feel the need to do so, but don’t ever believe that it will help the player or the club in any way.

     

     

    You disagree with me.

     

    No problem.

     

     

    Good luck.

  6. I think what I’m trying to say is – sammi has always been the player he is, it’s just the teams and manager never knew how to play him, JF will probably not change what he is much and we have to learn to adjust to that. I think lennie’s good at that although I’ve always felt paddy was asked to turn into something he’s not – could be wrong !

  7. A Stor Mo Chroi on

    LiviBhoy:

     

     

    If we had played them in the States, or Australia, or anywhere else, I have no idea what the demographics of the crowd would be.

     

     

    Celtic played Central Coast Mariners in Sydney a couple of years back, the crowd was circa 19,500. They also played Melbourne Victory with a crowd of circa 20,000. Liverpool v Melbourne Victory this year, attendance, circa 95,500. Man. Utd. v A League All Stars, attendance circa 83,000. There are a lot you can do with those dollars that the plastic fans gave those teams.

     

     

    Our club is well supported but it does not get the plastic fans coin and won’t as long as we continue to play in the Scottish league.

  8. The James Forrest thing about crosses.Maybe we are all a bit too quick to moan.In the “Greatest league in the world”there are wingers who if put on the transfer market would cost upwards of £20 million and who do exactly what JF does.The biggest culprit being the exalted Theo Walcott.I have never seen a guy waste so many crosses.

     

    As someone said,”Its the ones that count we should be remembering”.

     

    We as a support do tend to nitpick a bit.Myself included.Nothing the matter with that,but should not be taken to the lengths we have witnessed with some players.

  9. 50 shades of green on

    anyone else think the elves tried to put Sammi out of next weeks game. naughty naughty elves .

     

     

    think the 2 center backs looked a bit rusty .Although i agree that throwing in the new bhoy might have been too big a gamble . Maybe next week .

     

     

    As for strikers not sure about Doyle seems to me he is off of the same mould as amido balde.

     

     

    If Sammi is fit for wed think we will do them by a couple.

     

     

    H.H.

  10. ‘I thought my two centre halves handled (Bangura) very very well.’ Neil Lennon gives his comical rating of last night’s performance.

  11. What I love about Sammi and Kris, is the fact that they love Celtic and everything about the Club. Kris’s good lady Lisa is also so much involved with the Club and its principals.

     

    Both players are a credit to our great Club and I believe they will both be here for a long time to come. Money is not their driving force. We are privileged to have them both and Lisa.

  12. 50 shades of green on

    lois tomlinson signs for Doncaster .

     

     

    thats One Direction i hope we dont go down .

     

     

    hat coat and oot bye.

  13. tommytwiststommyturns on

    What a wind up merchant that Lenny is! :-)

     

    Now that’s my FINAL word on the CB’s after last night.

     

     

    T4

  14. Mike in Toronto on

    Canamalar at 13:27

     

     

    Was about to say thank you for your kind words (‘big Mike … looked the part last night’), until I read starry’s response and realized you were talking about the OTHER big Mike. Ah, well.

     

     

     

    Torontony

     

     

    cheers again for dinner…. always a pleasure to catch uip…..great place ….and what characters!

     

     

    really, you have to watch Big Night… you would definitely have a laugh, plus you will forever be calling your pals primo and secondo.

     

     

    Cheers.

     

     

    Off oot (to court)

     

     

    HH

  15. I like Forrest, I think he has the knack of arriving late in the box to get on the end of things and should concentrate his game more on this. I do think he’s lost pace if anything and don’t understand that.

     

     

    But he hides in games and is no comparison with McGeady in terms of his big game impact. His ability on the ball and overall skill are nowhere near as good either but his timing of the run means he scores more than McGeady but his assists are lower. McGeady scores or assists every 2 games; Forrest it’s closer to every 3.

  16. At least for now we’ve avoided the dreaded headline…

     

     

    Celts come up short against Elfs !

  17. Paul67 et al

     

     

    Thought we were worth a couple of goals last night, though was glad to get the one late in the game. Incidentally the goal came from a clever throw-in from Izzy, (do not get to praise Celtic throw-ins enough these days) when Joe Ledley showed from the goal line, giving Izzy a wee bit time and space), and clever movement from Kris. More of an SPL type game, with the same problems and frustrations, and the persistent fouling being ignored by the Ref. We are not creative enough against defensive set-ups, but we are capable, (Derk, Sammy, Tony, James), of breaking quickly against the Elfs next week and grabbing a goal. Failing that, a shutout will have to do.

  18. know nuffink about derk ? a lot of people are saying he’s good – sure hope he’s a commons izzie sammi etc….

  19. Ellboy @ 13:35,

     

     

    Kevin Doyle IMO wouldn’t be a slap in the face, he is an experienced striker who can heid a’ ba’ and will score goals in the SPL and trouble defenders in Europe.

     

     

    But for me he wouldn’t be one of the two signings we need.

     

     

    “Not asking to break our wage structure but we need a quality striker and playmaker ASAP.”

     

     

    Think you are correct but for me if we have a quality midfielder he needn’t necessary be a play maker, the way I see it quite simpy this.

     

     

    We lost two of our top players and we are told it isn’t easy to replace these guys.

     

     

    That is true, Wanyama and Hooper were exceptional and no signing comes with a copper bottom guarantee.

     

     

    Having said that the only reason they were exceptional was they were very cheap to buy and pay, relative to their ability and value to the team.

     

     

    Now here is my thing, we are told Celtic wanted to keep both these guys and offered them contracts that put them on a level with Our best compensated players.

     

     

    Now that would be on the Brown, Ledley level, I’d say good International level.

     

     

    SO

     

     

    This money had to be budgeted for during the 2013/2014 Season anyway, no breaking the wage structure. It follows as the two didn’t sign these improved contracts, we can afford to pay two players a top salary for the current Season, i.e. Good International level.

     

     

    NOW

     

     

    As we weren’t relying on selling these players we have 17.5 Mil in transfer fees coming in that we hadn’t budgetted for either (although presumably if they had signed the improved contracts we would have hoped to realise these funds before the end of the contracts).

     

     

    So by using the two top salaries already budgetted for.

     

     

    And reinvesting some of the extra transfer monies we have got.

     

     

    We can sign a quality striker and midfield player.

     

     

    Hail! Hail!

  20. The question simply won’t go away.

     

    It was known for months that Celtic would have to participate in the July play offs.

     

    Also on the balance of probability that the squad would be weakened by the absence of Hooper and Wanyama.

     

    Why then, as there was no shortage of money at the time, was the squad not substantially strengthened in January?

  21. Livibhoy

     

     

    Have to beg to differ we played ManU in the states and we were well outnumbered within the stadium.

     

     

    Melbourne v Celtic Circa 25k

     

     

    Melbourne v Liverpool Circa 95k

     

     

    TV audiences for EPL have attracted fans and left Celtic miles behind.

     

     

    In Asia especially.

     

     

    TT

  22. Fassreifen

     

    Congratulations to you and the Mrs aka (the boss).

     

     

    and welcome to the celtic family to your Bhoy.

     

     

    Allchangefronowoncsc :))

  23. The Honest Cover-up on

    Kilbowie Celt.

     

    Fair enough, agree to disagree. I dislike the vile personal abuse players are sometimes subjected to but if feel if a player has a poor game it seems silly for supporters not to acknowledge that in a discussion.

     

    Pro football is tough. If a player genuinely can’t cope with seeing a supporter on a forum say they had a stinker then they ain’t going to last long in the profession and I don’t think that’s a reflection of the fans.

     

    Indeed, I hope Lenny tells his players (and I’m sure like all managers he does!) when they aren’t performing.

  24. I seem to remember that when we played Chelsea in a pre-season friendly in the US a few years ago, one of the stats that was shown at the start of the game was the number of supporters clubs each club had in N.America.

     

     

    Celtic had something like 300.

     

     

    Chelsea had 2.

     

     

    HH!!

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