Levein culpable for Hearts red card, keeping Toljan on his toes


Whenever the next History of Celtic is written, yesterday’s 1-2 win at Tynecastle will hardly merit a mention, but right now, it feels like a hugely significant night.  You, me and everyone else in the country know that if Celtic can win a game like that in the 93rd minute, they are going to win the league.

A few observations:

Passing the ball along our own 6 yard line was always likely to lead to conceding a goal.  It looked like an individual error but it was actually a systemic mistake.  Notwithstanding this, we need to stick with the plan.  Opponents pack tight against Celtic, anything we can do that will tempt them forward, like passing this deep in our own box, should be done.  The answer is to get better at it.

I was worried when I saw Jeremy Toljan substituted for Mikael Lustig, the latter a player Neil Lennon signed for Celtic.  The worry is that players will suspect that Neil is favouring one of this own.  Jeremy should be back in the starting line up on Saturday.

Just as important as not having favourites, is making sure players who are only here for a few months are kept on their toes.  If Mikael can be used to get the best out of Jeremy, use him.  We have seen a few defenders arrive from the Bundesliga (Andreas, Edson, Marvin) who never convinced they gave everything they had.

When Neil Lennon’s excitement at getting the job died down, his mood must have dropped at the realisation he would have to play such an unfamiliar central mid combination.

While there was a large period of the game when we had a man advantage but still did not dominate midfield, we saw three good individual performances.  Nir Bitton was at his deep lying best, even if he gave possession away twice by shooting from ridiculous distances.  Scott Brown’s contribution for the winner was delicious.

Pass of the night came from Ewan Henderson, who took the Hearts midfield out of the game with a 40 yard slide-ruler to Scott Sinclair for the opening goal.

Five minutes before half time I predicted Hearts would get a man sent off before the break (I have witnesses).  Craig Levein bemoaned Jamie Brandon’s recklessness after the game, but it was in keeping with the rest of his teammates until that point.  Hearts figured their best chance was to batter Celtic players into hiding.  Levein should consider his part in the red card.  It was a consequence of Hearts’ tactics.

The only concern on the night came elsewhere.  Hibs won their fourth game in succession, away and with 10 men.  Saturday’s Scottish Cup quarterfinal will be an epic.

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  1. Just as BR (who) dropped Izzy and Ralston for their marking misdemeanours, maybe Lenny’s hooking of Jerry T was a wee reminder to him not to think he’s a shoe-in when, again, he gets himself booked by being on the wrong side of the attacker?


    Sure, Jerry is neat and forward-minded; but Celtic may be good for him to develop defensive street smarts.


    BTW,anyone got a pic of Jerry the Gerry looking very very merry (the way Timo or Burkey do??)

  2. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Three tricky away trips, three late winners, nine points. That’s why we’re champions!


    Ollie Burke has made such a difference to our counter-attack. Not only with his pace, but his understanding of how to execute it. Something he obviously picked up in Germany where they are really well drilled in this.


    Break as a three, giving yourselves more options. Look at how he glances to his right in the centre circle and spots Forrest. Then when he gets the ball he can play it across without needing to look because he knows he will be there. If nobody there he knows he has to take it on himself.


    Similar to the one v St Johnstone where he picked out Sinclair at the back post. Great signing. Would love it if we could keep him. Been saying for ages that we should be playing like this in Europe.


    Would like to see us go for a German/Bundesliga coach to get this style developed. It’s the way to go for Europe.

  3. French Eddy should be given a new improved contract because a certain manager of a mediocre English team will try to steal him.

  4. Toljan is showing a worrying inability to learn from his mistakes. His yellow card was worryingly familiar already



    And he doesn’t seem able to kick the ball with his left foot,

  5. QF @ 12.10



    Any chance you could find some new patter?


    Dictionary / thesaurus wouldn’t go amiss.

  6. I think JT is a cracking defender who links especially well with Jamesy, Oli and Broony – Lenny can help coach that positional nous into him. Be great if Jer could do so, and catch a bit of Celtic fever!



  7. Regarding the sending off — if if had happened at MF / Egg Chasers down the road the guy would just have headed up the tunnel without any MIB intervention.



    If you challenge for a high ball and make contact with the opposition in the air you have to come down with the ball. The Hertz player was only focused on JT — the ball was not on the agenda.



    Missed some of the start but it appeared that this seemed to be a planned strategy.

  8. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    Hearing from a man who knows a man who knows – from the horse’s mouth – that Burke seriously, absolutely, 100% LOVES being at Celtic.



    Mad keen to stay.



    Hope poinsonous EPL economics don’t stop it happening.






  9. It’s a cup game and I’m taking nothing for granted but if the BBC highlights are anything to go by, Hibs looked poor against a St Johnstone team who should have been out of sight. The Hibs penalty was at peak mibbery level.



    Would be nice to get some of the gang back by Saturday (Ntcham I hope) but clealry we’ve also got a guy in the dugout who knows the pretty well…..

  10. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    ‘ We have seen a few defenders arrive from the Bundesliga (Andreas, Edson, Marvin) who never convinced they gave everything they had.’



    -a bit harsh on hoops legned Herr Compper.



    In all the time he was with us he never missed a physio appointment.

  11. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    “anything we can do that will tempt them forward, like passing this deep in our own box, should be done. The answer is to get better at it.”




    Partly agree with that, Paul. I think the key is to mix it up a bit.


    If we are being pressed high, play a couple of longer passes to beat the press. Once you have done this the opponents stop pressing so high as they are worried about us getting in behind them. Then you can start building again. If they press high again do the same again.


    The key is to be unpredictable and have variations in your tactics. Not just with this but with all parts of our play.


    Agree about Ewan’s pass. Great vision. Think we might have a player there.

  12. MadMitch



    Their big forward with the exotic name just spent the whole game running around battering into our players.



    The experts in the commentary box thought he was amazing…..:(



    I really hate Sky’s coverage….

  13. Wonderful to have BRTH back on Blog, his posts are fantastic.


    I was actually delighted to see Lustig replace Toljan last night, I love Mad Mic.


    Re the passing along the back, OK up to a point but some of the stuff inside our box is way too risky. Opponents are expecting us to do it and are waiting to pounce if we hit a stray one. Think Lenny will cut out the risky stuff.


    BRTH was right in saying Rodgers brought plenty of good stuff to Celtic Park and we paid for that knowledge & infrastructure so it is imperative that it is preserved maintained & utilised to the ongoing benefit of Celtic.


    We are going through an exciting but nervous and indeed perilous transition.


    We can only judge it on a game to game basis, we came through a torrid test last night but another waits at the weekend, bring it on.


    P.S. What the hell is going on in Aberdeen, beaten 2 nil at home to the Accies. Saw a bit of the Hun/Accies game thought the Accies were the worst SPFL team ever. I was hoping the Sheep might cleanse the Cup Competition of the odorous Huns, have extreme doubts now.

  14. Not sure on the exact figure but £6mill has been mentioned — no better legacy for the club but use this money to bring in some new players at the youth level.



    Aged 18 / 20 — six players from outside to bulk up the youths.


    Try and get the best value from exercise — so the exact numbers will vary.



    £3mill / £1mill / £500K — Just who is available.


    Then we can watch them grow over the years to the squad and hopefully the team.



    BR left us with very little.


    The £6mill has the morality of blood money.


    Need to make the most of the situation we now find ourselves in.



    Is it lonely there – up in that turret of ever-imaginative and perfectly brilliant originality.


    Flawlessly avoiding word repetition (they’re only little words) and poor punctuative spacing wouldn’t go amiss.

  16. Don’t get the criticism of Toljan on here.


    His booking was deserved but it stopped a dangerous attack.


    He was targeted by Leveins stormtroopers but stood up manfully.


    He also created more in an attacking and defensive sense than KT on the left.

  17. Off topic but related to last nights game


    As much as I agreed with the banners regarding immortality and mediocrity I draw the line at songs about hoping that a former manager dies in his sleep at the hands of the IRA. I hope that whoever stood on a chair in the lounge of the Roseburn Bar last night took video footage of the song and for whatever reason posted it online is proud of the themself this morning. Bet you there are a few mammies and Daddies are really proud of their weans this morning Moron.

  18. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    DBHOY on 28TH FEBRUARY 2019 12:21 PM







    Don’t agree with the author (Niall).



    Do agree with the banner.



    Feel like a veil has been lifted.



    As I said to Favourite Uncle a wee while ago – I now regard the former manager as lower than a snakes belly.



    Acting like a ‘spurned lover’ ? Perhaps – but how should you feel when your supposed love-you-forever-soul-mate sneakily feks off with some wee ugly rich nyaff from down the road just cause he has a fancy motor. And you find out they have been feeding you bullshit since day one. “Thanks for spending time with me darling, enjoy your new motor”? Sorry – naw. He can fek off.



    Oanywho – the priest said on Sunday you have to love your enemy, forgive, etc. So trying to do that…



    On to the future – great night up at Tynecastle last night – mental at the end. Delighted for Neil – 100% Celtic – no false front. Edinburgh society wasn’t overly pleased. One of our public servants – looking like a very angy man – gave one of our supporters a full-blooded punch on the way out of the game. I had to haul another fan away – other servants were waiting to pounce – looked like a preconceived plan. Careful from now to the end of the season.






  19. BW @ 12.26



    Their CF tactic — mobile chicane to rumble us up was hardly a surprise.


    We need to be better prepared to deal with basic tactics like this.


    We seemed to want to pass on the problem to someone else.



    For the record I thought he was limited but pretty fair — you knew what you were dealing with.


    The cheap shot merchant who took out SB in the air knew exactly what he was doing.


    Our reaction to that incident was not our finest hour as a team.

  20. Hi Paul67,



    It was an excellent night, quite superb, this squad’ s temperament has been questioned but they proved once again they are winners.



    Great to see Lenny animated on the touchline, guess it was always nonsense to think he would take back seat.



    Totally agree on the goal conceded, we have to stick to the “plan” or radically change it. It has taken several dedicated seasons to get us thus far. Fiddling aboot is going to end in tears… RD’s cat herding was enough for one lifetime thanks.



    Also on the conceded goal; Brendan Rodgers was not responsible for it… He was 250 miles away. His teams didn’t concede a single domestic goal this year.



    We really need to screw the nut on this and stop the explicit and covert character assassinations… some of the diatrabe aimed at Brendan Rodgers has been sickening…



    On to Hibs now… should be a great game… but once again our quality should shine through… no hibsing it;)



    Hail Hail

  21. GlassTwoThirdsFull on



    Would love to see it happening. The finances may be tricky but it gives us a completely different dimension to our play.


    Don’t know if maybe Shved can give us this, but Ollie has clearly been well coached in the counter attack and would be a real asset to us.

  22. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    CORKCELT on 28TH FEBRUARY 2019 12:27 PM


    Wonderful to have BRTH back on Blog, his posts are fantastic.


    I was actually delighted to see Lustig replace Toljan last night, I love Mad Mic.






    Same – and that’s not a dig at Toljan either, who I thought did well.



    Love the Big Swede. You should have seen him at the Hertz fans down in the corner when he went out to warm up. They had been giving severe, agressive abuse to our young subs – Mickey & Timmo. Big Michael went down and started stretching and doing warming up excercises right in front of them – laughing right at them. Huge cajones – and took the heat right of our youngsters.






  23. Mickbhoy1888



    Thank god there was no social media back in the days when I was a young rebel travelling over from Belfast. It’s wrong but looking back I’m not going to hang them high as per our enemies or I’d be a hypocrite.



    A survey of Celtic fans would suggest 99.9% of respondents on seeing the footage responded with : “FFS boys, take a redener and cut that crap out.”

  24. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on








    From what I have seen of Shved, he also looks like a cracking player. Not the same physical presence as Burke, and not as lightning quick, but does have good trickery and a cracking shot. You’re right, though, he looks a good fallback.






  25. GB songbook — beyond embarrassing.



    Songs straight from the NRA, songs about hats and career change.


    Songs about low rent, mentalist right wing nutters.



    Just what political message is the GB trying to get a cross and why are they using the club as a megaphone?



    For a seemingly right on / left wing / progressive organisation they seem to have an unhealthy interest in all things militaristic with all this chatter about the Burton’s commandos of physical force republicanism / revolutionary violence.



    Bunch of St Al’s 6th year clearasil sponsored eejits more like.

  26. Amazing stat during game last night that I think stated that in last 35 games Wee Jamesy has scored



    Celtic have won.



    I have stats since Brendan arrived and can confirm 39 goals in 30 different games and Celtic have won


    them all.

  27. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    CHAIRBHOY on 28TH FEBRUARY 2019 12:37 PM



    We really need to screw the nut on this and stop the explicit and covert character assassinations… some of the diatrabe aimed at Brendan Rodgers has been sickening…






    Having said what I think about him – I will try hard to stop.



    A wee comment might slip out from time-to-time but you’re right, better to concentrate on Wee Lenny and those who are at Celtic – hopefully onwards to title number eight.






  28. Mentioned on the beeb last night was the IRA songs being sung, they would highlight it would they not!!!


    BUT, what kind of idiots are they who sing these songs. Do they not realise, really, that they are giving a big stick to the Celtic haters, of which there are many.


    I do not need or want a history of our great club from anyone but the fact remains Celtic is a Scottish club with Irish connections, not the reverse. For Christ’s sake would some people get over themselves and face facts.


    We all love our club, that there is no doubt, so please do not give these haters ammunition, it will do us no good whatsoever.



    Great result last night, and so happy for Lenny.




  29. I think 80 odd minutes of JT getting high balls launched at him by Hearts and getting some territorial advantage in doing so May have had some bearing on Lustigs introduction. I think Neill was at that point still hoping for the win but ensuring we didn’t lose.



    I also think at that stage we needed someone else on the park who ‘gets’ it re what the points meant and mika, footballing faults aside, knows The craic with Celtic. I thought it was a great substitution for many many reasons. Keeps mika on board, stopped jer getting a second yellow and a suspension. Toughened us up etc.



    Great game management

  30. Regarding any comments regarding BR — Humour needs to be involved.


    He has gone and we are a better club for it — we can keep his Euro L plates as a lesson learned the hard way.



    Plus I don’t think he will be needing them anytime soon.


    We are Watford — Snakes on a train.

  31. Musings from and about last night.



    Shooting from distance. Must be the most we have had in one game for a while. Bitton x 2, Broony x 2 or 3, Henderson, Weah – off the top my head. There were probably more. I don’t mind that most were high, wide and not so handsome. It gives defenders something else to think about.



    Getting in behind. Forrest, Toljan, Burke, Tierney, Henderson, Sinclair, all in great position but couldn’t find a man with the ball across. Shame. Waste of great play.