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. KL @ 12.50



    Battle for the soul of the club — do we as a support deepen or broaden?



    There are those in the away support that act like Green Huns / Uber fans who want us to become a sect hating the world around us. Plus we have “children” growing up wanting to find a place — not in the future — but in the past where things seem much more certain.



    Like too much in today’s world it all comes down to identity politics — keep it simple, find someone or something to blame and develop solely through an insular / inwardly focused dialogue.



    The two mentalists that every CSC had up the back of the bus have now coalesced together into a herd instinct that is killing us a support and their focus and energy is crowding out the reality they do not want to engage with.



    They make a lot of noise and the hard of thinking / spotty youth shout more.


    No understanding of history beyond slogans — All that was missing last night was “SS RUC”.




    Yeah! BR was not perfect and he should be expecting a few digs his way… He greatly disappointed a lot of good fholk who put their trust in him.



    But the tirade of dis-information and abuse… we’re better than that…



    Lenny is the man, he fitted in seamlessly and looked chuffed to be there… for the moment, one game at a time…



    Hail Hail

  3. As BRTH pointed out,Rodgers is a coach with wide ranging methods, would be stupid not to see if they can help us.Rodgers has gone,history, i have no issue with last night’s banner, but let’s move on.Tojlan needs to earn his jersey,and he has been poor last few games for me.A MF without McGregor, Christie, Rogic, we were always going to struggle to control possession. Bitton back after a year out,KT needs a couple more games.The worry from last night,was a lack of change in formation v 10 men.A great 3 points, a couple of days for Lenny to fine tune a few things, i don’t think trying to impose all of his ideas right now would be helpful, might confuse the players.

  4. GlassTwoThirdsFull 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…




    Agree with that. None of us are happy about the way he left, but giving him abuse and airbrushing him from our history? Surely we are better than that.


    He gave us great times and put things into place that will serve us well in the future.


    I don’t wish any ill on the guy although I certainly won’t be looking out for Leicester’s results!

  5. MadMitch



    A bit OTT there fella. Killing us ?



    In the spirit of balance the GB have brought us some cracking wee ditties and some terrific atmosphere over the last few years and if the club was that embarassed it wouldn’t highlight their contribution in its marketing. The Ra stuff is just a bit embarassing but I’m a sensible middle-aged man with kids now…



    Don’t want to enter the song debate but thought your comments were somewhat loaded.



    I thought we looked like our early season away team.


    I don’t think Lenny coached last night.Looked like Kennedy to me last night.


    I posted before the game i don’t like the Brown and Bitton central combo.


    It lacked forward momentum with Browns pass being the exception.


    Bitton constantly returned our out balls to stall momentum and committed 4 fouls in dangerous areas as per usual.


    A partnership that doomed Delia so i hope Lennon ditches it.

  7. will be difficult next 2 games. with no midfield. SB been great but miss Christie McGregor and especially Rogic for invention. OE is a great talent.. so calm under pressure. Need him on park from start

  8. BR legacy — we seem to be over coached and lacking in belief and spontaneity.



    Couple of times we made progress into the box down the side of from one of the channels — we stopped and time seemed to stand still as we couldn’t think of what to do next — all we could think about was the 100% that was not always there.



    Consequently a couple of really good opportunities came to nothing and was very frustrating.


    Something to work on.

  9. BW @ 1.14



    We are not the support we were 15 or 25 years ago.



    The world has changed — not for the better — and we have followed suit.


    We are a club that should be open to all — too many in the support do not follow that lead.


    They want to develop into the sect that is at “war” with the outside and the world.



    Born in the 60’s vs born in the 90’s — root of the issue?

  10. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    John Beaton has taken a lot of criticism, so it’s only fair he should be praised for his decision to abandon the Kilmarnock-Motherwell game.


    “My assistants couldn’t see the far side of the pitch….. The safety of the players was my main concern”




    Spot on, John. Imagine what could have happened. You could have had a player running around kicking and stamping on opponents and it would have gone unnoticed! Shocking!!!!!

  11. Go tell the Spartim on

    The BBC is one of the main bastions of bigotry in this wee bigoted country, obviously they dont do irony. As an honest citizen i pay the licence fee, but neither their news or the sports programmes should be viewed or heard (if you’re gonna watch put the sound off)



    Variation and tempo should be high on NFL’s list of things to introduce, i like that we try to play football all over the pitch, as said earlier we need to be good at it though.

  12. Anyone know the story with Ntcham?



    And how long until we see that big dote Tom Rogic back?




  13. BGFC 12.34pm



    I understand people feeling let down especially people like yourself who travel home and away to see the team. I get that folk are annoyed by Brendan leaving on the cusp of the treble treble but some of the comments from posters here and elsewhere are way OTT imo. Interesting to see what Lenny and Broony had to say about Brendan, both very complimentary.I didn’t agree with the banner and the singing in the pub was beyond the pale.



    Great finish to the game yesterday and just the tonic we all needed.







    CHAIRBHOY on 28TH FEBRUARY 2019 12:37 PM



    Thanks for that, totally agree on your thoughts regards the criticism of Brendan.



    He’s created a great culture around our club and a platform we can build on. Some amazing moments were achieved when he was in charge and I am grateful for the time he spent with us. Not happy with the timing of his departure but I’m not going to join in with the public shaming of him.




  14. Anybody else having a problem seeing the CQN pages on ipad?



    The main page comes up but when I click on the link to the article it just opens a new window with one of the ads from the site.



    Any advice gratefully received!

  15. Paul67



    Jeremy Toljan has had a busy spell and has been used extensively by he who is a memory, and now Neil Francis.



    Bit of a culture shock for him in league games and as posted before , his price tag is a marker of what you might need to fork out for a tidy full back.



    Much planning for the new manager, and it’s good to have both Mikael Lustig and Jeremy in the push for Lenny’s Eight.

  16. Watch the Hearts fan at the back of the boy getting sent off- he looks as if he thinks its Christmas- not the kind of excitement you would expect from a Jambo in that situation

  17. MADMITCH on 28TH FEBRUARY 2019 1:18 PM


    BR legacy — we seem to be over coached and lacking in belief and spontaneity.



    Completely agree.


    Our lack of anticipation is glaring.


    We are a side who possess frightening pace yet we do more to negate that than any opponent with our constant hesitation.

  18. Looking at Lenny at the end there and him and big Peter seem to be very good pals in spite of all of the chatter about why he left. Do the media not take microphones to Ibrox, or is the sectarianism chanted in a different language?

  19. GG @ 1.33



    There is too much spin in that narrative — I don’t think it tells the full story.



    The base point that the second rate bean counter that is PL does not recognise is that OE @ £9mill is very good value for money — he will be an great asset to the club going forward and is just the type of business we will need to get used to if we are going to move forward.



    PL = Low rent bean counter with no understanding of the need for a growth agenda or what needs to be done if one has to be delivered.



    the last 4 days have shown a light on the personality and abilities of BR.


    As you would expect he is not the single being deity figure that some people thought.


    For the record he is shallower and more ego driven that I thought.



    Hopefully we have learned from this whole exercise.


    My suggestion is that we use that understanding to question the actions of PL and DD.


    Starting with PL as he is actively stopping the club from going forward for personal gain.



    His various bonuses are based on running the club with zero risk to DD.


    Consequently we stagnate and will degrade over time as he coins it in.


    Neither want the same outcome as the majority support — better football on the park.




    Exactly, onwards and upwards…



    ‘GG @ 1:33 PM,



    Yes, that was amongst the type of things I was talking about @ 12:37 PM.



    Believe me, no one is giving Peter an apology on the basis of that…



    Hail Hail

  21. MARADOMINIC on 28TH FEBRUARY 2019 1:17 PM


    will be difficult next 2 games. with no midfield. SB been great but miss Christie McGregor and especially Rogic for invention. OE is a great talent.. so calm under pressure. Need him on park from start



    Agree on Ed was hard to understand dropping a guy who just scored two goals in previous game.


    Also take a look at the Killie v Celtic reserve highlights on Celtic tv.


    The pass from McInroy for Oko Flex goal is superb.And Dembele was sensational.


    If they are good enough they are old enough.

  22. Re the Rodgers stuff, yes he did very well while he was with us but the way he walked out and tried to take the entire backroom team at the most crucial part of the season was unforgivable. He obviously doesn’t give a shite about us. Was watching Leicester Under 18’s last night when we were playing,, doubt if he was getting score updates from Tynecastle.


    Guys singing Nacho Novo song putting in Rodgers name just clowns who can’t handle a few pints, guy who filmed it and posted it online an absolute banker. No fan can condone that kind of nonsense and the less air time it gets the better. Talking about these clowns only encourages them.

  23. Larry?the?lurker✊ on

    BBC reporting Scotland on about coin throwing and sectarian singing from Celtic supporters last night.



    Well done Celts last night.



    Welcome back Neil Lennon, good luck.



    Back to lurking. HH

  24. Talking about football philosophy, and the teams style of play.



    I personally hope we don’t completely abandon the Rodgers ethic of getting on the ball and making passes. It boils down to being brave and having belief. As shown in the first 45mins over in the Mestalla Stadium.



    Bain’s pass to Ajer, was sloppy. He didn’t scan the full picture, and most likely didn’t see the Hearts player pressing Ajer.



    The thing is, we are not a physical team. If anything we are pretty soft. So if you don’t keep hold of the ball, and play a more direct game… to me the game becomes a bit of a lottery. You get sucked into a battle with physical sides (such as Hearts), who ultimately are more adapt at the up and at em style.



    I would urge caution.



    Gaurdiola at Man City has tweaked the original tika-taka, and without abandoning those principles, has tweaked things / varied the style. And Man City play with a more modern, rounded style.



    Likewise we also only need to tweak, and vary. No wholesale change.

  25. I can understand some being nervous re passing in our own box. I am also aware that many are saying keep it but be more varied. That, I feel , is much easier to decide from a suppoter`s position than it is in the heat of the moment for a defender when any hesitation could result in a goal.


    Also, if we decided to ditch the passing at the back style, other aspects would be affected too.A class player like Calmac, for instance, could be in a position where the ball is regularly flying over his head.


    I am happy to keep this tactic and can accept the occasional error.



    As regards the `songs` debate, things have changed. Wee daft boys singing/chanting now is different from us as wee daft boys singing and chanting for one simple reason: Social Media.



    Finally, I am confident that even if we did stop the `traditional` stuff, the MSSM would be quick to find something else. It is not the songs they hate, it is us.







  26. Lenny pointed to our pace in his post match interviews – suggested we don’t utilize it enough. and the farting around in our box.

  27. Midfield is a concern at the moment.



    Hibs will be a test. Brown and Bitton together, isn’t progressive at all.


    Brown on his own as the sitting, fetcher and carrier.. great. But he needs 2 dynamic players in beside him, or just ahead of him.



    Hibs game now biggest of the season. New manager looks to of had an initial impact. 10 man Hibs winning at Mcdermaid park, is no mean feat

  28. traditionalist88 on

    RUGGYGMAN on 28TH FEBRUARY 2019 1:54 PM



    Lets do it from the middle forward. Instead of Bain and the back 4 forming little triangles and giving us all heart failure there is an alternative to going ‘direct’ to the forwards. Play the ball on the deck to the midfielders and get going from there. As soon as one can turn and get a wide view of the pitch


    he can pick the right pass.



    The defenders are there to back them up should they lose it. Let the defenders defend. The ones we have are not good enough to indulge in pointless overpassing.



    As Lennon said last night after the game, we have great attacking threats, but we need to get the ball to them earlier.




  29. Trad 88


    “Play the ball on the deck to the midfielders and get going from there”



    Sounds good but not so easy to do.There are very few spaces on the field in the modern game.


    Last night felt like the most vital game of the season. Now Saturday`s does !!


    Cheerio for now.



  30. I like the passing from the back and Bain has emerged as a key part of that. McGregor missing is a big part of that too and Benkovic has confidence with the ball at his feet. Don’t ditch it Neil.



    Humping it straight to an opposition player as a goalie and them scoring is a consequence too fellas.



    At our best on both ends of the park requires Benkovic, McGregor, Christie, Rogic, Ntcham, Sinclair, Forrest and other good footballers able to take in a ball and keep it moving. Play long, have central defenders break lines and hit the wings – variety and knacker them out.



    We’re playing a pacthed team currently. Bear that in mind.

  31. We have got to assume that the vast majority in a pub are over 18.



    Not daft wee boys. They are old enough to spell consequences.



    Thank f@ck there was no camera phones in my youth.