Midfield protection


While Neil Lennon’s mind will be more engaged with preparations for next season than SPL results between now and then he will be a bit alarmed at how porous his midfield has been recently. Celtic have been leaking goals at the back in an alarming manner but the cover from midfield has contributed most to the problem.

Injuries have been disruptive but it’s surprising that the team shape has not been maintained, irrespective of who is playing.
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  1. Arranmore


    That`s a point I have made before. Indeed, blue is my favourite colour and I was wearing a blue jumper on my first visit to BB`s on my way to Celtic Park. Winninggemmell alluded to my choice of colour in disparaging terms 0:-)




  2. 'crushed nuts?' 'Naw, Layringitis!' on




    16:35 on 2 April, 2013





    And they smell




    Crimplene rayon and nylon don’t come in green!

  3. This .. “The Next Celtic Star”



    Programme.. which.. Ah believe is Wan Hellava






    Reminds me.. of This.



    The L.A. Dodgers.. hiv nevah quite set The wids oan fire.. like they did.. when they


    wur Franchised in.. Brooklyn..



    And.. Last week when Ah wiz in L.A. in the Course of Ma Bizness Activities..



    Ah hid .. Lunch wi. and auld Pal of Mine..’



    Tommy Lasorda.. the Last Successful.. L.A. Dodgers Manager..



    Tommy is Noo .. A Young .. Octogenarian..which is Slang fur ..and auld Man..




    Ah asked Tommy..



    Tommy, whit is Wrang wi the Dodgers.. they hiv Gone from Bad tae Bad.. since..



    You Took them tae Winning The World Series.. in 88



    Well.. Kojo.. he said..



    Ah hid inherited a Bunch of Players who hid Come Thru the Auld Dodger Recruitin System.. which they Hiv Dropped.. a Few Years.. AFTER… they Came West Fae Brooklyn in ’57



    And Awe those Players .. wur Winners..but






    They ..Had Proved by getting a Place ,in the Organization,originally..












    Battlers.. Ye Need tae Fill yer Team









    They hid the Right Mental and Winning Attitude..fur they had Battled


    fur a Chance tae Get intae the Dodgers..and … They won.. and


    It Showed.



    So.. whit wiz the Auld Dodgers Recruiting System?



    Tommy.. Replied..



    When He Went tae the Dodgers, as a Rookie.. when the Dodgers wur playing in Brooklyn.. he went tae Thur TRY OOT CAMP.. in Florida.. afore the Season Started.



    He joined..



    THREE HUNDRED .. young Hopefuls…at that Florida Baseball Camp..



    Were he and They.. lived fur Six Weeks.



    He wiz a Young Rookie.. Left Hander..and he soon found oot..that



    He wiz competin fur a place in the Dodgers Organization. wi.



    Get this..


    TWENTY NINE ,ither. Young Left Hand Pitchers.. fur a Place in the Team.



    and ..thur were only .. TWO PLACES .. that wiz Open fur .. Rookie Left Handed Pitchers..



    Yes.. the Competition fur a Call up Place.. wiz mair than Fierce..it wiz..Pure..






    But, that wiz the Best Way.. on reflection.. tae Run a Healthy and Successful Organization..



    Which the Dodgers..Unfortunately.. No Longer dae ,dae.



    Fur…Ye canny beat..



    Raising Yer Ain Crops..



    Noo that the Dodgers..hiv fallen intae the Trap..of



    Trying tae Buy



    Ready Made Products..



    They are No Longer The Same Successful Club.. that Left the Brooklyn Yard.






    Competition. tae reserve a Place in THE Locker Room ..in Any Sport.



    Is always the Best Wey tae Build .. .LONG LASTING SUCCESS.fur the Franchise.



    and.. after Speaking with Tommy..



    Ah am more Convinced than Evah.. that



    This .. Programme. the Next Celtic Star..



    Is a Brammer..



    Fur.. Tae win that Event..The Next Celtic Star..



    You Must Be a Battler..and Willing tae Get aff the Dime.. BIG TIME and Work


    yer Bejabbers Aff..



    tae win a Starting Place in the Team.



    Ah hope Celtic continue it and Mak it an Annual Event..



    Fur.the is whit is Wrang with the Celtic..and the Dodgers..




    Neither Them.. nor Us..



    Hiv any real.. Tough.. Hardy.. Honest tae Guidness..Enuff



    BATTLERS,in oor Present Line-ups.



    Tom Terrific.. went thru a Similar Programme.. and He Battled his way tae


    getting a Place in the Final.. Few.



    And Won. Recognition.. which has Paid off…in his Move tae Us..








    Next Celtic Star..is a Beezer of an Idea..






    Still.. Laughin’

  4. ArranmoreBhoyLXV11



    This is not confined to Sevco fans. Supporters of many other clubs in Scotland are the same. Green is the colour they love to hate. Starts off with a colour to their kids and then they can get them hating the Celt’s in their teens.


    Hearts supporters also hate wearing the green for obvious reasons as Hibernian wear green. They do seem to hate us that wee bit more these days. It’s quite strange how they have a hatred of all things Irish these days as it was told by my dad that they used to sing Molly Malone at Tynecastle. Didn’t believe it myself and asked a few ageing jambo’s I know and they confirmed it. Can you imagine their fans belting that out these days? The bigoted side of their support would probably self combust!




  5. The Token Tim on




    Nowadays 1 system doesnt work. The players/team have to be adaptable.


    What would be the point of them being most comfortable as a 4-4-2 for example, when almost every SPL team will come to Celtic Park playing 1 man up front?



    Following on from LiviBhoy’s point re injuries, players these days are as much athletes as they are footballers (in some cases they are more, much more, athlete than footballer!) and so many more players are able to play in different positions now, especially the wide players.



    Additionally we cannot keep using Barca as the benchmark. They have managed to find the almost perfect blend (as much through fate/luck as any real coaching/training strategy) due to having the players to fit the formation……or is it more the formation who fit the players?? These type of teams come around maybe once or twice a generation and whilst it is laudable to use them as the benchmark, it is far too idealistic……simply due to the fact that they have, through fate/luck and strategy, managed to find the perfect combination of player and formation.



    Try as they might even the very best teams have tried and failed on numerous occasiona to combat or match Barca.






  6. Chris McLaughlin ‏@BBCchrismclaug 1m


    SFA lawyers to conduct financial due diligence into league restructuring following Hampden summit. #BBCSport

  7. From wiki – scroll on if you don’t have a minute or two :-)



    Choice and uses of formations


    The choice of formation is often related to the type of players available to the coach.



    Narrow formations. Teams with a surfeit of central midfielders, or teams who attack best through the centre, may choose to adopt narrow formations such as the 4–1–2–1–2 or the 4–3–2–1 which allow teams to field up to four or five central midfielders in the team. Narrow formations however depend on the full backs (the flank players in the “4”) to provide width and to advance upfield as frequently as possible to supplement the attack in wide areas.



    Wide formations. Teams with a surfeit of forwards and wingers may choose to adopt formations such as 4–2–3–1, 3–5–2 and 4–3–3, which commit forwards and wingers high up the pitch. Wide formations allow the attacking team to stretch play and cause the defending team to cover more ground.


    Teams may change formations during a game to aid their cause:



    Change to attacking formations. When chasing a game for a desirable result, teams tend to sacrifice a defensive player or a midfield player for a forward in order to chase a result. An example of such a change is a change from 4–5–1 to 4–4–2, 3–5–2 to 3–4–3, or even 5–3–2 to 4–3–3.



    Change to defensive formations. When a team is in the lead, or wishes to protect the scoreline of a game, the coach may choose to revert to a more defensive structure by removing a forward for a more defensive player. The extra player in defence or midfield adds solidity by giving the team more legs to chase opponents and recover possession. An example of such a change is a change from 4–4–2 to 5–3–2, 3–5–2 to 4–5–1, or even 4–4–2 to 5–4–1.



    Formations can be deceptive in analysing a particular team’s style of play. For instance, a team that plays a nominally attacking 4–3–3 formation can quickly revert to a 4–5–1 if a coach instructs two of the three forwards to track back in midfield.



    Early days


    In the football matches of the 19th century defensive football was not played, and the line-ups reflected the all-attacking nature of these games.



    In the first international game, Scotland against England on 30 November 1872, England played with seven or eight forwards in a 1–1–8 or 1–2–7 formation, and Scotland with six, in a 2–2–6 formation. For England, one player would remain in defence, picking up loose balls, and one or two players would hang around midfield and kick the ball upfield for the other players to chase. The English style of play at the time was all about individual excellence and English players were renowned for their dribbling skills. Players would attempt to take the ball forward as far as possible and only when they could proceed no further, would they kick it ahead for someone else to chase. Scotland surprised England by actually passing the ball among players. The Scottish outfield players were organised into pairs and each player would always attempt to pass the ball to his assigned partner. Ironically, with so much attention given to attacking play, the game ended in a 0–0 draw.





    So there you have it, pick a style and adapt if you need to.


    Do not change every time you play if it is not necessary. (let the opposition worry about you!)







  8. celticrollercoaster on

    55 and counting. Think they must be cringing at this and indeed the money that has cost them to win the 3rd division.



    On another point surely they must be able to count their Tennant 6s championships wins and increase this number or where these not purchased as part of the deal?



    I think the issue we have is an attitude problem. We can afford to drop points and still skoosh the league.







  9. The Moon Bhoys on

    Southside @ 16.34



    Excellent post, could almost taste that beer you just opened.

  10. Celtic can win the SPL this weekend after all, – but we need St Mirren to defeat Motherwell in a match played at the same time.



    WhereWereYouWhenCelticWonTheLeagueIn2013 CSC

  11. LB- Had to be us! :-)



    Huns invented “the foul”, “the penalty” and “time added on if huns are behind”.

  12. lionroars67


    16:45 on


    2 April, 2013


    Chris McLaughlin ‏@BBCchrismclaug 1m


    SFA lawyers to conduct financial due diligence into league restructuring following Hampden summit. #BBCSport



    and having studied all the evidence they conclude that The Rangers are champions anyway.

  13. Art of War



    Scotland have invented many things but the Hun is one of our worst!




  14. Aye……ah’m still here……..been thru hell for 10 days in cancer hospital…..the monster gied me pneumonia to try to hurry things up, but it didnae count on one tuff Tim and mental Celt.


    Plus…..gotta keep the numbers up agin those stoopid sevconians.


    Barça the night…..wrapped up tight………good to be back.


    btw……ANOTHER red kerd for Big Vic?


    Mibbery showin’ their racist side now, eh?

  15. they should include their Rowing trophies from the Gallant Pioneers.



    well its a continuous history isnt it.

  16. The Token Tim on




    have to admit that for many years (late 80’s through to probably the late 90’s) whenever we played them, I made a point of not wearing anything blue whatsoever!



    All other colours were fair game, especially green and white for some reason :-) but no blue!



    I should point out that I have never had an issue of wearing blue at any other time just that spell back in the day and even then it was ONLY when we played them!






  17. Martin O’Neil’s credibility today, is about as low as it’ll ever get with the DiCanio appointment surely the ultimate ‘salt in the wounds’.



    Downhill all the way after Seville where “he’d taken us as far as he could”


    for the purposes of his own career of course, and a steadying at Aston Villa


    and briefly Sunderland, not much consolation for the Irishman that aspired


    to the England crown.



    He’ll be back no doubt, but never at Celtic, tell me a Celtic manager that went


    on to bigger and better things?

  18. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    Scotland invented the passing game, the bicycle, the macaroon bar and the lovebite.

  19. Scotland and inventions?



    The caramel wafer and caramel log? Snowballs?



    Yum yum!!




  20. MurdochauldandHay


    17:00 on


    2 April, 2013



    expecting a Chuckles tirade in 5..4..3……

  21. Celtic_First on




    A big hello and hail hail to you, amigo. Great to see you back on the blog.

  22. DiCanio………..unbelievably nasty piece…….I don’t care we had him…….we got rid.


    Check his tattoos.


    Tell a story.

  23. miki67,



    sitting here in my wee hoose, feeling a bit rough with a man flu.


    your post fair shut me up to my couple of days illness.



    keep it lit bud,

  24. watching SSN.



    the Sunderland appointment.


    they managed to interview an Alf Garnett type.



    ps. would you employ Jim White ? he is actually a hopeless presenter.

  25. Marrakesh Express on

    Deluded shameless Sevconians will claim 54 or 55 titles with the brass neck we know they have and they’ll get away with it for as long as they’re allowed to



    As someone suggested earlier its probably best to ignore them with a sly grin when they’re itching for a chance to shout about ‘same club’. If pushed though my stock reply is ‘its the happiest I’ve felt as a Celtic supporter apart from Lisbon’. Hits the spot every time, as does the tribute act one.



    However I think there are legal issues which have to be addressed and I’ll give PL and DD till the end of the season to see what the record books say. We can forget the msm as they have nailed their colours to the hun mast a long time ago. The SFA, SPL and UEFA surely have a duty to correctly register results, achievements and awards. If any or all of these bodies credit Newco as having won a Scottish record 54 titles, they are surely depriving CFC of rightfully claiming this ‘honour’, (as an existing club) and therefore any income they might gain, however small, from using this record as some marketing ploy.



    It really annoys me to think that if Celtic had commited the crimes we’d be booted into touch by now, stripped of everything by LNS, and the msm still doing an 8 page daily pullout about how we disgraced the nation. Meantime we have to sit and listen to lie after lie from these same morons. Can anyone imagine NL getting away with a fraction of what the ned McCoist does, or Fergus with what Chuck Green does?



    The time is coming for PL to act.

  26. The Moon Bhoys on

    Yeah I agree Paul, the midfield are supposed to create chances for the forwards and help out in defence, a tough ask but all the really successful teams manage it,



    Don’t think we have ever won a game with Forrest and Commons in the same team (I like both players), this would be because they are too attack minded and the midfield gets over run.



    Let’s be honest, big Vic is the only solid reliable midfielder we have, when he’s off form or suspended we struggle. Certainly hope we have a plan B if Neil sells him.

  27. CRC


    “I think the issue we have is an attitude problem. We can afford to drop points and still skoosh the league.”



    That`s it in a nutshell. Why oh why couldn`t our historical rivals been simply football rivals intead of the Supremist group they became. That ” wee ara peepil” attitude led to their need to win at all costs and to their hatred of “fenians”. A combination which led to their downfall and to our worryingly growing apathy.




  28. Paul, gonna delete my earlier cut and paste from wiki just in case Moisty sees it and realises there things called fomations. Thx.

  29. Have to disagree with Paul – that’s twice now in two days!


    Our problems stem from the fact that half of the “spine” of our team is – as our ex-chairman would say “unfit for purpose”


    We have a reliable GK and real strength in midfield


    However we are well short at CB and CF


    The majority of the goals we are currently leaking are not so much the result of good play through midfield by our opponents – rather they are the result of the more basic punt up the park that misses out midfield.


    Since our CB cannot do their own jobs properly and clear these balls – we are put under pressure


    To suggest that we then drop our midfield even deeper to cover these inadequacies or worse take VW out of midfield to play CB – is ludicrous IMHO


    3 years into his reign Lenny still does not have one really good dominant CB on the books


    Scottish football is much more basic than European and the less said about the standard of refereeing the better – but that is where we play most of our football


    We were always going to win the league this season but we should have also had a Treble as a realistic target


    We have already lost in the semis of the LC and being honest we are not certainties to win the SC


    In the LC semi in the last 20 minutes we hardly got the ball in to SM’s penalty box


    We have very little in the way of a physical presence up front – apart from Hooper none of the forwards even really attempts to use their physique


    Scottish teams know that if we do not score early on then we have very little in the way of a plan B


    Since we just keep doing the things we do and simply commit more players forward as the game goes on that means the defence gets progressively less cover


    Since they cannot do their own jobs by themselves we become more vulnerable as teams have exploited this season



    In the summer if he stays Lenny must sort this out


    We need at least one proper CB – preferably two


    One CF capable of playing with his back to goal


    One creative midfield player


    Possibly one wide player who can go past opponents



    Say it again the problem ain’t the midfield – it’s the defence and forwards that let us down!




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