Leigh at the margin, irony is finished


Football is often about the margins.  Virgil van Dijk’s header, when Celtic were 0-1 up away to Maribor, beat the keeper and defence, but struck Stefan Johansen on the line.  A year later, with Celtic 2-0 and rocking Malmo to their core, Stefan came close to putting us 3-0 and clear, but both Champions League playoff ties turned and a chapter in our history changed.

Trailing 1-0, yesterday’s tie against Astana could have tipped out of control but sublime play by both Patrick Roberts and Leigh Griffiths turned the game on its head.  It was a ballsy play.  Patrick wouldn’t give up, Leigh used all of his experience to despatch the ball into the net from the edge of the box.  It went exactly as I predicted in yesterday’s blog, “A great deal of responsibility will lie with Leigh Griffiths. He’ll have space to receive the ball from Roberts”.  Astana were stunned.

Not so stunned they think they’re out of it, in fact, after the game their manager and players were talking about winning at Celtic Park.  See Maribor, above, if you think that’s not credible.  They reckon the tie is “50/50”.  None of them were impressed by Celtic, the sentiment it they let us off the hook.  We will have work to do next week.

Kolo, is there anything you can do to sort us out at corner kicks?  Eoghan O’Connell lost his man, but we lose too many goals from corners inside the six yard box, or on the line, for me to ask no questions of Craig Gordon.  Is his starting position right?  Maybe if he started a pace off his line he’d get a fist on a corner before the striker.  It feels like there’s more going wrong than just the defenders losing their men.  If a goalkeeper comes for a ball in his six yard box but doesn’t get it, he’s responsible.

Irony is finished.

Care to guess which club issued this statement after the Scottish Cup final two months ago?

“Any attempts to attach blame to our supporters for the disgraceful and violent behaviour will not be accepted or tolerated by this club”.

Yesterday, the same club, Newco, not only accepted and tolerated those same supporters being blamed, they led the charge by banning them indefinitely and telling them they would lose their season ticket for the coming season without a refund!

“Any club’s supporters would have done the same”

Here’s the thing, after the cup final, Newco’s statement not only tolerated fans’ behaviour they made unprecedented attempts to justify it:

“We acknowledge that a tiny minority of Rangers fans also encroached on the pitch but only after having been faced with prolonged and severe provocation and in order to protect our players and officials who were being visibly attacked in front of them. Any club’s supporters would have done the same”.

If Celtic did this we would be mocked on every front page for a week. Unfortunately, Scotland does not have appropriate oversight in any walk of life, or the post-final reporting and political reaction would have been entirely different.

Thanks to all who are involved in the eBay auction for this incredible prize:

Courtesy of Celtic sponsor, Intelligent Car Leasing, we have an outstanding auction prize, as the centrepiece of our summer good causes. For the Kilmarnock game at Celtic Park, on 24 September 2016, you can win:

2 seats in the directors’ box
Champagne reception
5 course meal in the Walfrid Suite
Fully expenses bar (pre and post-match)
Half time snacks and refreshments
Car Parking
And a match programme.

The auction is open for only ONE MORE DAY.  This is a fabulous opportunity to indulge yourself in some high living while watching Celtic and contributing towards the construction of a school kitchen in Malawi for Mary’s Meals.  You can get involved here.

Thanks again to Intelligent Car Leasing.

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  1. Watched the highlights, they had quite a few chances. I’m hoping they are a bit like us and don’t travel well.

  2. jude2005 is Neil Lennon \o/ on


  3. I do reckon last nights performance would have tipped out of control under Ronny Deila; Brendan Rodgers has added some steel and resolve to the players and their response showed this.

  4. Talking of no refunds, are the debentured seats at Mordor under one of the dodgy roofs?



    Oh aye, the ‘lifetime’ seats only lasted as long as the lifetime of the club/team/company that they were bought to watch. So contract fulfilled, debenture ends, suck it up! Dry yer eyes, start following a new club.

  5. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on




    I always feel that at least one defender , instead of being static at a corner kick , should run out to head the ball in the same way as forwards run in.


    Their momentum usually creates an advantage for the attackers.



    Similarly , the late free kick which nearly cost us a draw.

  6. jude2005 is Neil Lennon \o/ on





  7. jude2005 is Neil Lennon \o/







    That explains it then; I thought it was just him flying through the air to no great purpose :>)

  8. Jude – fitba and opinions eh? Zonal done properly is better than man for man. The key thing though is ‘properly’.



    Our problem is a combination of personnel and coaching TBH.

  9. Thanks Paul, your first paragraph confirms that in the past two CL attempts, we were ousted by events that happened on the field of play and in the dugout – NOT – in the boardroom or on Peter Lawwell’s mythical heated driveway.



    We were on both occasions in eminently winnible positions going into the last match – much the same situation is now extant in the Astana tie.



    A naive tactical approach and off-form/off-colour players ‘blew it’ for us against Maribor at CP and in Malmo – I am much more confident this time with Brendan in charge.

  10. Watched all the goals from the Champions Cup this morning.Bayern Munich,Juventus,Spurs,Liverpool,Real Madrid.If you really want to see bad defending,have a look at this collection from supposedly “World class”players.Bad would be a kind word to use,probably comical,cartoon defending.


    If any of our players had performed like this,the hospitals would be full of CQNers on life support machines.

  11. “A ballsy play” have you been away to the USA Paul ? :)


    I once listened to a half time report from two American commentators , I knew they were talking about ‘soccer’ as I had just watched the game but had no idea what they were going on about

  12. traditionalist88 on

    RobertTressell on 28th July 2016 12:34 pm



    Jude – fitba and opinions eh? Zonal done properly is better than man for man. The key thing though is ‘properly’.



    Our problem is a combination of personnel and coaching TBH.






    At this stage, putting 11 guys on the goal line and taking our chances that our opponents wont be able to hit a corner and head it past it them all with sufficient power/direction may be the only solution. If the guy in the box takes a touch, we charge. Or some do.



    May sound mad but can’t be less effective than our application of zonal marking.




  13. Am I hearing things? Secco are odds on to sign Robin van Persie? I had to check today’s date to make sure it’s not the start of April.

  14. Very dangerous game next week,as was last seasons against Maribor,in which a 0-0 draw would have got us through.As we witnessed last year,and again a couple of weeks ago against Maribor,they have no qualms about playing on the break,even at home.Do we go all out at them,or play it cagey.Both could end in disaster.


    The boy Paterson from Hearts.Dont know if its true,but coukd be worth a small punt,loan him back for the season,to let us see how Lustig,Janko,fare.Would not want to weaken Hearts this season anyway.Someone will snap him up.

  15. traditionalist88



    In the last 10 years we’ve employed zonal marking poorly at times, but there have been times when we’ve done well. Apparently when it doesn’t work it’s because someone isn’t doing their job. Surely they have had enough practice!!

  16. Geordie Munro on

    Time to go back to zonal and implement it properly.



    That said, we will still lose goals. All sides do.




  17. Geordie Munro



    That said, we will still lose goals. All sides do.





    Such defeatism… ;)

  18. traditionalist88 on

    Davidopoulos on 28th July 2016 12:52 pm



    True, we have done well at times, but overall probably too many errors. Having the right personnel is key.



    The problem is any movement from opposing players and they go from being Ambroses guy to O’Connells guy in a split second. And what if hes on the boundary of a ‘zone’! Chances are its a free header.



    In theory its an interesting idea but in practice I think it may be over-complicating the issue. A corner is a corner, its a half chance but far from the best place to deliver a cross from.



    I’d stick 3/4 outfield players on the line(two on the posts, 1 or 2 in the middle) and let the keeper loose to go after the ball :) In theory he has a better chance of reaching it than anyone since he can use his hands. It’d be entertaining, at least!



    Maybe not attempt it until the next league game we have in the bag!




  19. thetimreaper on

    Sporting CP coach Jorge Jesus has dismissed suggestions the Lisbon side are preparing a move for Fenerbahce attacker Robin van Persie, with the former Netherlands international’s wage demands proving too costly.



    Van Persie has been linked with a move away from the Istanbul side after just one season, with Sporting believed to be among his potential next destinations.



    Nevertheless, the Portuguese giants have made it clear the 32-year-old is not a realistic transfer target.



    “Van Persie is a player who interests a lot of clubs. He is a great player,” Jesus told SportTV.



    “But if we are talking about great players, Messi is a great player as well…



    “If you knew how much someone like Van Persie earns per season. It’s madness. It’s impossible to even dream of it for most teams in the world.



    “But in Turkey it’s possible. I would love to have Van Persie in my squad, but we would have to sell our stadium in order to be able to afford him. We would have to sell everything.



    “And we do need a place to play our home games…”



    Van Persie has a contract with Fenerbahce until June 2018.

  20. Ronny changed to man marking at corners towards the end of his tenure and we still struggled with defending corners

  21. We broke all records for defending using the zonal marking system. EBT recipient Sky sports pundit brought up the zonal marking systems failure each time we lost a goal………..Sometimes goals happen in football guys.

  22. I was impressed the way BR used his subs yesterday. He chose just the right time to make the changes. Too often under RD and NL they let it too late or brought the wrong player off.


    Dembele can still all he likes, but he deserves to be hooked, and his petulance at not even getting off his arse when we scored shows BR will have to have a quiet word in his ear.

  23. traditionalist88



    My little theory is that football has become such a “thinking” sport that the number of players with the brain to operate at the highest level with the required fitness and skill is relatively small. These players end up at the top European clubs.


    Surely the objective for the rest the clubs is to devise a system that requires less thinking, less attention to detail, requiring nothing more than players carrying out a simple task well in a robotic manner. In other words finding players who are limited in skill but very good at certain repetitive tasks, and piecing them together into a team, i.e. what Moneyball was actually about.



    Why do we associate Moneyball with Celtic again?



    We can’t replicate what the Barcelona’s, the Real Madrid’s and the Bayern Munich’s do. I commend any team that tries but I don’t think it will be a success

  24. !!Bada Bing!! on

    When Brendan turned up the words ‘clear out’ we’re everywhere,and still are. Ambrose and Forrest would not have been on a lot of people’s ‘keep’ list,and with good reason when you look at their efforts in the last couple of seasons. Their time is up,and a few more,it would benefit all parties.

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