Marginal advantages eventually come a cropper


One story which caught my eye last week was that we have 33 players out on international duty over this break, from a pool of 51 employed professionals (and that includes Derk Boerrigter). 13 Celtic players will join Scotland youth teams, with a further 6 going to other countries.

We know we can’t compete as we once did in the transfer market, so getting and developing the best youth talent has become an important part of the strategy.

All of this groundwork is for the long-term, though. Getting three points each Saturday and preparing for the challenges ahead is another question.

There was a moment on Saturday when Aberdeen manager, Derek McInnes, could have turned to his assistant and said, “If Killie hold on for another two minutes, the league is in our own hands”. That’s how close things got. Tom Rogic’s immaculate strike punctured that notion, before McInnes’ team’s second half collapse at Fir Park.

Now Aberdeen need us to drop seven points more than them, or eight if you consider goal difference. It’s not going to happen.  Aberdeen didn’t just slip up on Saturday due to a couple of defensive lapses, this result has been in the post for months.  They clawed their way into contention by gaining a series of marginal advantages – they haven’t won a game by more than a single goal since before Christmas – 14 games ago!

This season they have been ‘everyone’s favourite second team’ who have only just got over the line for three months of the season.  This is a statistical anomaly.  A more regular distribution of chances created and converted would have seen them win several of those games comfortably, but winning far fewer games.  Their dopplegangers in England, Leicester City, are benefiting from a similar phenomenon.  Both teams’ form could drop off a cliff next season, but the chances of either improving win ratios, if not performances, are slight.

Leicester are favourites to win in England because the behemoths, whose spending-power dwarfs most others, have been unable to dig deep to find a dirty win often enough.  Like Celtic’s on Saturday.  That, as we will soon declare, is why we’re champions!

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    Stoap predicting. You’ve got a worse track record than me at Cheltenham!

  2. It was a brilliant goal from Rogic that dug us out of a hole. The team is badly struggling and look completely devoid of ideas in the middle of the park not helped by the scattergun selection tactics. Hoping the Killie game is a turning point but think if we win the league it will be more due to Aberdeen’s failings than our abilities. The worst of it is that I think our players are capable of so much more.

  3. Paul67



    Expert predictions come true, and have left the Blog almost bereft of the bile.



    Celtic clear at the top where are the haters, – we want, what do we want?

  4. Re: Great Celtic goals



    A couple of strange ones that stick in my mind:



    I remember Marc Crosas scoring a blooter when the opposition fluffed a clearance from a corner. Will need to youtube it later ;-)



    Also remember Jarosik scoring a nice goal at Tynecastle. We never got the best from him!



    Now here’s a belter that gave me some false hope we were turning a corner…. Marc Antoine Fortune winner against Motherwell under Tony Mowbray. Every bit as brilliant as the Rogic goal.

  5. BARRYBHOY on 21ST MARCH 2016 12:15 PM



    The performance has been poor and I agree that a big part of the problem is the engine room (Brown and Biton don’t look fit after returning from injury)



    Winning when you play poorly is a nice habit though.



    I just hope that Brown, Biton and Commons will be in good condition after the break

  6. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    “They clawed their way into contention by gaining a series of marginal advantages – they haven’t won a game by more than a single goal since before Christmas – 14 games ago!”




    How dare you, Paul!


    Don’t you know these wins showed the “great character” that McGenius has instilled in his team?


    It’s our narrow wins that are “scraped”, “flukey”, etc and show a team in crisis!


    Don’t you pay attention to the MSM? :-)




    Had a problem with my computer last week and lost some emails, including one of yours, the reason I didny reply.



    Hope you and CCB are well!

  8. PAUL67



    To many positives in that article PAUL!!



    You’ll have all the negatonians all over you shortly.



    So watch out!!

  9. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Actually an interesting point, Paul. I always think goal difference tells you who will be champions. That’s why I think we were always more likely to see it out.


    It’s also why I have been thinking Tottenham might yet pip Leicester.

  10. Despite its eventual stunning execution, Rogic’s goal was all about an almost perfect first touch.

  11. Correction:


    ‘Everyone else’s favourite team in Scotland’ (this and any other season),


    is not A.F.C. ….


    It is actually A.B.C.



    Regards & Hail Hail



  12. More arrogance – that will bite us again. We may be champions but we are still a very poor team

  13. saltires en sevilla on




    Just read back – keep the heid up as good blood,is a good sign



    I’m in the ‘they can sort everything these days ‘ camp ;-)




  14. I mentioned last night that I had my youngest boy with me at Rugby Park on Saturday. He doesn’t get to many games as he plays rugby. His side are Champions having lost only one game all season – away to Currie in Edinburgh, who play on a plastic pitch.



    It was their worse performance of the season but they just lost having fought back from a terrible start.



    Celtic’s poor performances at Hamilton and Kilmarnock, from which we took 4 from 6 points, came on plastic surfaces. Kieran got injury, Broonie slipped badly to give Killie a chance, others were less than sure of their footing at times on Saturday. Meanwhile the home sides, at the boys rugby and at the two Celtic games, are more used to the surface.



    Here’s the stats on why we’ll win 5 in a row.




  15. I left a comment on the last thread,possibly the last post.I don’t know how to copy and paste it. I would be grateful if someone could do it.I don’t feel like writing it out any more.

  16. Timaloy29, I agree the engine room isn’t functioning properly and Brown has been very poor since he came back. He seems to have lost his bite and drive and fluctuates between poor and anonymous. Bitton also appears to have went back the way and lost the bit of dig he found last season. If the opposition are up for the fight then generally we are going to get bullied and over-run in the middle of the park and our midfield will provide little cover to our fragile defence. Couple that with ‘wingers’ that provide little width or creativity (Roberts apart) and No.10’s that don’t have options for forward passes then it’s no wonder we are struggling. That’s not even considering we only have one striker capable of scoring goals.

  17. South Of Tunis on 21st March 2016 9:25 am





    Billy McNeill -Scottish Cup Final 1965 .. 8 years on from 7-1 , 11 years since 1954 . A welcome to the future moment and what a future it was.



    *I often wonder what would have happened if we hadn’t won that day as Jock hadn’t exactly set the heather on fire on his return, some horrendous results early doors including drubbins from Hibs 2-4 at home, Falkirk 2-6 away and Dunfermline 1-5 away although the latter could be forgiven a wee bit as it came 4 days after the cup victory and 2 days later we beat the deid team 2-1 in the Glasgow Cup where a Yogi thunderbolt broke norrie martin’s fingers.



    Main memory though is the headline in the front page of the Sunday Mail “Billy’s Bumper”.



    I was working up in Duntocher at the time and that summer all us apprentices were still revelling in our good fortune.



    One bigoted crusty oul hun lashed out one day saying ‘I don’t care what anyone says, that’s the same team that’s won eff all for years and one fluky cup win’s no going tae change that”. Would love tae have been there 2 year later.



    Favourite miss — the sitter Vojvodina missed ” early doors ” at Celtic Park . Things could have been very different !



    *Favourite game ever, as Frankie Valli would say “Oh what a Night”..



    ” Favourite ” we are being cheated moment – Cadete’s disallowed goal at Ibrox January 1997 ..-the post match tele guff saw Duffield claiming hand ball , then a foul before settling for a perfect -” he must have seen something “



    *probably saw naesurname’s “distress sign”, will never forget him running down the track high fiving the monkeys’ after bo peep scored, that was unadulterated relief as we had pounded them.

  18. Was the Warbmiester –



    a) A City Trader, you know, stocks and shares, buy and sell,



    or was he a



    b) A Market Trader, you know, apples and pears, sell, sell.



    Emdy know?

  19. The Green Man says SACK THE Board on

    Tom Rogic saved us with that mega blooter, no doubt about that.


    However, we were very poor overall.


    We will win the league just, and when you consider the opposition, thats a true reflection of where we are.


    Just good enough to win in Scotland.


    Thats about it.


    If we play like that outwith Scotland, may i suggest we will get seriously battered.


    Sorry to rain on the wee parade.


    We keep playing like that, and anything can happen.


    To be honest, Killie were coasting until Tom smashed that in.


    We wont be able to rely on that good fortune every week.




  20. 3 welcome points on saturday……..still does nt alter a thing …Ronnie ( nice guy) has to go at end of season anyone who thinks otherwise is just kidding themselves on

  21. glendalystonsils on




    The worst of it is that I think our players are capable of so much more.




    indeed they are, and that is the dilemma that needs sorted out sooner rather than later. Because


    so much more will be demanded of them next season with CL qualifiers and referee assisted huns on the horizon.

  22. Several years back I took my oul father-in-law down to a neighbouring town to visit 2 of his oul pals that were over on holiday. These 2 were never miss a game Celtic supporters.



    We had sensationally won the League weeks earlier and were looking forward tae a wee drink and blether on that great season.



    “Worse Celtic team that ever won the League” was the comment, fae both of them tae.



    That was the “10 men won the league side”.

  23. While they look too far off just now, Aberdeen can’t discount Hearts from putting some pressure on too. Especially if Hearts beat Aberdeen.

  24. Raymac on 21st March 2016 12:21 pm




    James Forrest has an article re the Scottish cops in Focus(presumedly) running a sting on football fans.





    I’ve said this before—Scotland now resembles the old Stormont N.I. state more than ever. The Special Powers Act in “Ulster” allowed a cop to make his own mind up. If he thought you were going to commit an offence,then that was enough. It seems to be enough in the present day Scotland as well. Call it what it is. Sectarianism and Racism on the part of the authorities and MSPs.If you want an independant Scotland then set up the equivalent of Sinn Fein. There certainly seems to be few supporters of free speech in Scottish society. The SNP? Posturing joke of a party. By their deeds shall ye know them.


    – See more at: http://www.celticquicknews.co.uk/kilmarnock-v-celtic-live-updates-2/comment-page-40/#comments

  25. South Of Tunis on

    Philbhoy @ 12 33 .



    He did big volume / big value foreign exchange stuff .. .He seems to have been good at it .



    I have no idea if he sold apples / pears etc.

  26. The Green Man says SACK THE Board on

    One of the big problems imo….is the total lack of consistency in the midfield.


    All season we have had a mash up…Brown,Johansen,Biton,McGregor, Allan,…even Mulgrew.


    Two good games followed by two bad games, and some cant even manage that.


    Scott Brown isnt doing it…Johansen, well what can you say,…Biton, in and out, up and down.


    There is no drive in the team since SB has downed tools in a huff.


    More than a few bad attitudes in the team.


    The crux of the trouble on the park, is the nature of the relationship between players and management.


    Doesnt seem to me, that everyone is buying into Ronny’s methods.


    Can only end one way imo.




  27. Anyone got the dates for when Ashley takes on the SFA in court over GLIB’s fit and proper test pass? please?

  28. Watched the 3 part series about 1916 narrated by Liam Neeson last night, it was on PBS so a lot of begging in between went on. I would rather have that though than some of the scheidt you have to put up with from the national broadcaster at hame.


    There ‘s another excellent series on just now called “The Race to the White House”, produced by Kevin Spacey, the piece on Kennedy v Nixon is eye-opening if only for the confirmation that there was a huge opposition to the prospect of a Catholic in the White House.



    Following on the amazing St Patrick’s Day coverage last week the US has certainly moved on from those dark days of bigotry and sectarianism, and as I often say so has Canada.



    Back to the 1916 series, having read extensively over the years the history of the mother country there wasn’t much new in it for me. Still wonder though how De Valera slept at night.



    What I did learn was that Padraig stated that they would be blamed for the mess that they had fashioned but in later years praised for creating the country that it is now and James Connolly asking the Capuchin Father to pray for his executioners.



    And this was perceived to be the catalyst for other commonwealth counties to break free of the yoke of imperialism. It was even suggested that the October Revolution 18 months later had gained inspiration from those brave men and true.



    Towards the end the focus was on the “Troubles”, and one interesting statistic arose from that, more people lost their lives in the Uprising and Civil War than the 3 decades of the conflict. Sad but true and more civilians, lots of weans tae, lost their lives on Easter Week than the combined Irish Volunteers and british forces.



    God Bless and keep Patrick Pearse, Thomas J. Clarke, Thomas MacDonagh, Joseph Mary Plunkett, Edward (Ned) Daly, William Pearse, Michael O’Hanrahan, John MacBride, Eamonn Ceannt Michael Mallin, Cornelius Colbert, Sean Heuston, Sean MacDermott, James Connolly, Thomas Kent and Roger Casement.



    A terrible beauty was indeed born.

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