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

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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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363 Comments

  1. FOOL TIME WHISTLE on 28TH FEBRUARY 2019 4:23 PM

     

     

    Saw that the only person in the dugout that didn’t jump up to applaud our first goal was Craig Gordon. From the pics on TV he didn’t even seem to be applauding. It’s tough for him now, but Bain & DeVries have been supportive of him when they were just his training partners so I hope he sees it all now as an opportunity under a new manager.

     

     

    Big Craig turned down a lucrative move tae chelski as he probably didnae want tae spend the rest of his career warming the bench, if he’s still doing that at seasons end I think he’ll be for the joe the toff. As for dorus day, another of the failed European managers mistakes.

  2. HOT SMOKED on 28TH FEBRUARY 2019 1:58 PM

     

     

    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.

     

     

    *Absolutely and that’s what I was just thinking, as the great Bob Dylan once said if there were no blacks in America the racists would find someone else, possibly the Eskimos, to hate.

     

     

    BTW when I was a “lonely teenage rockin buck”, actually I was never lonely lol, I used tae travel by train tae watch the bhoys, from when we got on at Alexandria Station to Bridgeton we belted out the rebs, fully attired with our scarves and hats the only clothing missing was Aran sweaters, we were all mini Clancys.

     

     

    It’s what we did and when Stevie equalises against Vojvodina on that marvellous night a chorus of Sean South broke out in the Celtic end, my claim tae fame is that I started it.

  3. But imagine if we were singing “Viva la Quinta Brigada”

     

    or “North and South of the River”…

     

    could they complain about fighting fascism or Irish reconciliation? Probably they would.

     

     

    T

     

     

     

    Some high ground is not worth taking

     

    Some connections are not worth making

     

    There’s an old church bell no longer ringing

     

    And some old songs not worth singing

  4. TonTine Tim

     

     

    Serious question.

     

     

    You say our European failed ex manager.

     

    Given his record is..

     

     

    CL group stage, finished bottom

     

    CL group stage, finished 3rd last 32 Europa

     

    Last 32 Europa

     

     

    Just trying to gauge expectations, do you think our next permanent manager will better that record and do you expect him too?

     

     

    Ive compared his record too Strachan and Lennys, very similar.

     

    Although both reached CL last 16,Strachan twice, both had one season where we played one tie in Europe, oot before the schools went back.

     

     

    Strachan also had the advantage of automatic qualification.

     

     

    Im thinking careful what you wish for.

  5. GLENDALYSTONSILS on 28TH FEBRUARY 2019 6:14 PM

     

    JAMESGANG

     

     

     

    You got one of those wind up gramophones!? -))

     

     

    ———

     

     

    Yeah mate. I use it wind up BRTH and then press ‘go’ and he writes his post!!!!!!

     

    Whoooooosh!!!!! Whiiizzzzzz!

     

     

    Seems to work!

     

     

    ????

  6. SID

     

    The clue was in the word hoped.

     

    Never expected it to change instantly.

     

    I never said Pep was a poor manager i said his system has been rumbled.

     

    And has Guardiola won anything in Europe for the last 8 years?

     

    You could have refuted my points on an individual basis but prefer to be petty. and personal.

     

    Did he give 4 fouls away in dangerous areas?

     

    Did he mostly return the out ball back to where it came from?

     

    Did he slow us down by hesitating and taking to many touches then shuffled the ball wide.

     

    Also i have never said all our slow play is solely down to Bitton those are your words.But he does slow the play down.

     

    If you want to debate any of the above points on an adult basis i will be happy to.

     

    But i will not accept you attributing things to me i did not say.

  7. ‪Compare and contrast the fight and spirit on show last night compared to the insipid, gutless performance at the same venue at the start of the season. ‬

     

     

    HH jg

  8. Had an hour or so spare earlier and have watched a few videos re Brendan leaving, to a man everyone, pundits, knew that he was leaving in the summer, amazing how they never said so publicly.

     

    Anyways, he’s gone and we have Lenny in now, he will imo give his everything to make us as successful as BR made us, reading a few other blogs that folks are delight cos they think Lenny will do away with the building from the back, I very much doubt he will change it too much, I for sure hope he doesn’t, but he will try and get the ball to the front men far quicker and won’t be obsessed with possession like BR was, interesting times ahead.

  9. TET

     

     

    I’d have you in that dugout big stuff. I v seldom differ with you. Great mind, fools etc?

     

     

    HH jg

  10. Phil Mac’s pursuit of relevance is getting more desperate by the year.

     

     

    If anyone thinks that the short termism of the EPL will have Rodgers buying OkoFlex and young Dembele they haven;t been paying attention. Their project, who couldn’t make thier squad, is currently our best defender.

     

     

    Rodgers will be surviving to the end of the season and with £200m in the summer expected to go for the exotic…not our kids.

  11. JG

     

    Fool’s for sure ;-)

     

    Seriously tho, it’s worked a treat for seven silver baubles, no need to change it, tweak it a but sure, but scrapping it would be suicide imo.

  12. BBC Scottish TV……… Celtic win again and remain eight points clear, so its back to Sectaranism

     

     

    The clip they show is of Celtic fans in a pub singing about Brendan Rodgers?

     

     

    HurtingBad CSC

  13. I watched a you tube video earlier with fat Jabba speaking to Club 1690 ish about the BBC and how they are anti rangers, what a heap of shite he talked, but the huns will lap it up and repeat it verbatim, you would never get the BBC showing bits of huns singing stuff like that, it just doesn’t happen, yet they are anti huns, amazing.

  14. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Ruggyman 4:32

     

    As someone who has played as a defender, all be it not professionally, you do learn with experience the balls that you can win and those that you have no chance of winning. When to stand a yard off, and not get too tight etc. A good defender is all about sharpness of anticipation, and also not over committing. Stand your ground. Be strong and hard to beat. Don’t be rash.

     

    ————-

     

    Spot on, although it’s amazing how many defenders (even at the top level) don’t get it (and that’s before you even get onto the ball-watching!).

     

    Been really impressed with Jason Denayer when I have seen him for Lyon this season. He’s got it.

  15. Fanatic

     

     

    One thing I do have is a fantastic memory, i recall you specifically saying the major reason for our slow play was Nir Bitton, he then went out the team and it continued to happen. You’ve spun the other points well.

     

     

    Why don’t you give it a break with your Bitton bashing, he’s all we’ve got.

     

    If you were more balanced it would be ok.

     

    The midfield has lost McGregor and Christie at the same time, its lost its energy and dynamism , he is a specific type of midfielder one dimensional if Brown and not McGregor was injured the balance would be better.

     

     

    You seriously suggesting an academy boy is better than Bitton?

     

     

    How many fouls did Scott Brown give away?

     

    It happens when you play with wide players who can’t cope with the physical game and lose possession too easily.

     

     

    We have an option to change to more physical wide players and aren’t in the tough away games,at this time we have no other option than Bitton.

     

     

    You’ve made your point please get behind the player, not spoil the blog by repeating yourself.

  16. Don’t blame BBC Scotland blame the boozed up dick who thought it was smart to post the footage online. Exact same pub where Griffiths was filmed singing about Skacel. Popped into the boozer 2 and quarter hours before kick off for a pee I am so glad I decided to go for a walk rather than put up with that shit.

  17. I love big Ajer the big dork and his humble apology to Lenny last night for his mistake, and Lenny’s response, was great to see.

     

     

    If any of you have watched the video back it’s great to see Lenny go over and give each player a big hug. Wee Timo waiting for his is very cute

     

     

    Hoping Lenny’s personality will be a big factor in gettin the team over the line this season and maybe getting the loan players to extend their stays beyond the summer

     

     

    Would obviousltly mean Lenny stayin too of course

     

     

    B-)

  18. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan on

    Fool Time Whistle on 28th February 2019 3:45 pm

     

     

    BRTH

     

     

    I really appreciated both of your “Rodgers” posts in the last 16 hours or so. They both seemed to catch what I think the call the Zeitgeist of Celtic supporters.

     

     

    The first was obviously less complimentary than the second one and I wondered was there was some element of compensation for the first in the latter: I could understand it if there was.

     

     

    Personally, my negative feelings about the circumstances of Brendan Rodgers’s departure were assuaged by the performance & especially the result last night. I can only imagine my mood had we lost or perhaps just drawn the match last night.

     

     

    I wonder if there many other fans who were so antagonistic to our ex manager this time yesterday but who are also calming down a bit because of a result & performance last night.

     

     

    The words from your first post that stuck with me were to the effect that Brendan seemed to have run away in the middle of the night. Like some disillusioned spouse who just gave up on her marriage & whose partner only knew she was gone when he came home to find the wardrobe empty & the keys on the sideboard – with no explanation. The jilted partner went out that night to escape his angry thoughts & somehow clicked immediately with the nicest woman in town, who agreed to move in right away.

     

     

    I think I’ve become all Mills & Boon….

     

     

    I am puzzled & confused by how the last 2/3 days have unfolded & even had a conversation with my son this morning about it. If anyone had said in February after the last Scottish Cup victory against St Johnstone that the manager would be gone before the end of the month & Neil Lennon would be our manager for the next round of the Cup – we’d have laughed in his face.

     

     

    Anyway, I suppose we all need a reality check now & then or we’d start to take things for granted. I wonder though if Brendan Rodgers will ever regret what he’s done. Just like that unhappy spouse, not the leaving but the manner of it.

     

     

    HH

     

     

    ————————————————————————————————————————————————————

     

    FTW,

     

     

    Thanks for posting.

     

     

    My own view is that BR peddled whatever nonsense suited him to the board and/or to the fans.

     

     

    I have no doubt he is a very good coach but the running of a football club abd the necessary investment in a long term strategy depends greatly on the integrity and honesty of the key people who run the club – and one of them must be the manager.

     

     

    Could it be true that Brendan Rodgers had received an offer from China which he was inclined to accept at the end of last season?

     

     

    Could it be true that he wanted to take Dembele with him?

     

     

    Could it be true that the board were kept in the dark about this, got wind of it, and then decided “we can’t back this guy because it looks as if he is offski?”

     

     

    Could it be that Dermot tried to quell Brendan’s departutre notion by promising further support and big additional money to Brendan for qualifying for the Champion’s league?

     

     

    Could it be that even then there was an ongoing mistrust of Brendan and his long term vision and committment to the club and so the money was kept in the safe?

     

     

    Have a listen to this discussion from some considerable time ago from around 30 minutes in.

     

     

    https://www.bytheminute.co/podcasts/bytheminceltic/904

     

     

    It is clear that behind the scenes things were far from right between Brendan and the board and by the end Brendan, no matter what anyone says, decided to look after himself mid season and irrespective of any love for the club. He was never going to be there next season and possibly feared being asked to move on by the board.

     

     

    Everyone should listen to this and decide for themselves if Brendan lost the board or whether the board lost Brendan.

     

     

    Fascinating listening in retrospect.

     

     

    HH

     

     

    BRTH

  19. MICKBHOY1888

     

     

    Yes, point taken.

     

     

    Every football club has ‘boozed up dicks’ including us it seems, but my point was what has Celtic fans singing about Brendan Rodgers got to do with ‘sectarianism’?

     

     

    Plenty more appropriate singing shirley?

  20. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    If Rodgers had said that the reason he left was due to the corrupt, toxic environment in Scottish football. fostered by the SFA, he would have been carried shoulder high down London Road.

     

     

    It would have been a lie, but what’s new, in that airy, fairy land, (c) Ernie.

  21. now I also think nir bitton slows our game down, but im not savaging the bhoy, or making him a scapegoat, its just the way he plays, its not his fault.hh.

  22. Bournsouprecipe

     

     

    Lets all laugh at Rodgers would have been a more appropriate ditty. No contempt, just pity that another badge kisser sees the mediocrity of the lower echelons of the English premiership and no European football being preferable to one of the most high profile jobs in British football

  23. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    THE EXILED TIM on 28TH FEBRUARY 2019 7:11 PM

     

    Thom

     

     

     

     

    You been on the wine gums ;-)

     

     

     

     

    As if

     

     

    ******

     

    On antibiotics, so wine gums banned.

     

     

    I did say in that Airy, Fairy Land, where poor Ernie, the Fastest Milkman in the West, was laid to rest!

  24. Loving the early reports from training re Lenny tweaking the passing game, also bringing in 4 or 5 Academy players.

     

    So far Lenny seems to be pressing all the right buttons, now if only we could get him into a suit.

  25. Silver City 1888 on

    Is too much being made of Gordon’s lack of celebration? It’s fairly normal for FPs not to celebrate when they win against their old clubs.

  26. prestonpans bhoys on

    Silver,

     

     

    Unless you hate your previous club, its called good manners. Agree nothing untoward.

  27. During the BBC discussion on sectarianism tonight it was actually stated…it’s not JUST at Celtic……

     

    No shit, Sherlock!

     

     

    Meanwhile, overheard at the water cooler yesterday:

     

     

    Hun 1: gaun tae the game the night?

     

    Hun 2: naw.

     

    Hun 1: how no’ – yuv goat a season ticket huv ye no?

     

    Hun 2: aye, but ah’m jist gonny watch THEM implode oan the telly.

     

     

    A cunning plan even wee Baldrick would have been proud of!