Moneyball Christie, subversive right hemisphere


Celtic always had the look of winners last night, but until Odsonne Edouard pounced on the rebound from Ryan Christie’s shot, the outcome was in the balance.  We are going to face a lot of packed defences like that this season, though fortunately or not, that could be the last we see of them in the Europa League.

Christie was back to his best.  I know his stats are far from impressive and he is criticised (by others) for his decision making, but I spent almost three years during Brendan Rodgers time wanting someone to mix it up.  Take shots that would force the keeper to work or a defender to block, or play the low percentage pass that we all know is going to miss most of the time, but will result in loose balls in dangerous areas.

Those poor stats are a consequence of randomness, which is something we loved in Frank McGarvey, but that was before the stats came along to both inform and confuse.  Stats are all about interpretation, which is the real lesson of Michael Lewis’ Moneyball for those who never read the book, or those who did, but didn’t understand it.

I tried most of the second half to figure out what changes Neil Lennon made at halftime that freed up Jeremie Frimpong.  During the first half, he was so well shackled, I considered the Sarajevo left back as a possible recruit.  At the break, the suggestion was made to me, maybe he is better as an impact player?

Sarajevo certainly opened up at the break, which may have helped, but Jeremie was back at his impactful self during the second period.  Credit also to Greg Taylor, who had his best game in a Celtic shirt.

I’m still pretty gutted about not being in the Champions League and at the manner of our exit, but Pot 1 seed in the Europa is an important place to land.  Last week we spoke about how it was to our advantage that all domestic rivals also reach the group stage.  We didn’t want them having a week to plan games against St Mirren etc., while we traverse the Continent.  Not this season.

That kind of left hemisphere thinking was nowhere to be found once kick offs were underway last night.  You can’t fake this stuff, it is just not possible to subvert the tribal instinct (which is why nationalism is so potent, and why Celtic is my only identity).  But, in a crisp and sunny autumnal morning, logic is back on top.  No one will get an easy pass to the title this season, including Celtic.

Uefa’s methods of seeding have never been perfect, this is not tennis, but those pots are full of variance.  I’m hoping to avoid sides from the big nations.  Farewell, Copenhagen, Basel, Sporting, Rosenborg, Legia (sorry, Zbyszek) and yes, even Galatasaray.  Strong sides are out of Europe, the potential to join them was real.

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  1. Melbourne Mick,



    To the words of others?…I’m pretty robust, but at times can fall into the trap of reacting spikily but hey I’m only human.



    If you mean the team? – I enjoy us winning, the repeat performances are boring the arse off me, the bench having many of the answers infuriates me and the presence of inferior players as first picks baffles and worries me as better teams advance towards us. We look still in pre-season mood, trying to fidn the team and a proper system.



    We are complex beasts who can’t be pigeonholed, which is what a lot people here wish to do to simplify the whole thing. Do you recall the embarrassing mineshafters v happy clappers? Cringeworthy attempt at an answer.




  2. It seems posters on here have 3 distinct groups.



    A- We are not playing well but still winning. once we click we will be unbeatable



    B- We are not playing well but still winning, if we don’t improve soon we will drop points and could lose the league



    C- We are not playing well and all the players are rubbish apart from the ones who want away. half the team are not trying, the manager is crap, the people who run the club are crap.



    Now I have over the years been in both the A and B camp but if I ever fell into the C camp I would find something else to do as it seems to give you no joy.

  3. Thought Taylor played well last night considering he was being asked to play as a left winger. This was because Elyounoussi was playing through the middle to support Eddy Thought he was very poor all night.



    I’m in the B camp and agree with BIG WAVY , there’s a car crash coming

  4. Nice introductory clip of Neil Francis….


    “Wev’e got the best fans in the world” Cheers Neil…








  5. Melbourne Mick on




    Used to have a wee mhate, great wee player, and well respected


    coach, we would back each other up to the hilt resulting in both


    of us getting a pasting.


    But conversely at Celtic Park he hated Johnny Doyle with a passion


    I couldn’t understand, when Johnny got the ball he would shout


    ” open the gates and let him run down the London Rd.”


    Now, me being the better player knew if Johnny was running he was


    dragging their defence all over the place.


    Negativity gets us nothing and gives the hun manna.


    Think we’re back to the start of the debate, I know you’re a good Celtic


    mhan but as I said take a moment.


    H.H. Mick

  6. onenightinlisbon on

    B camp for me – we are in danger of losing vital games as our stats mask the poor performances

  7. Could I just say that there are posters who are negative about Celtic during games, who provide reasons and evidence for their negativity. Big Wavy and a few others fall into that category. Others, like Tiny Tim, are die hard Celts who are constant worriers and are restless for improvement. I value the presence of posters like that, even though I , personally, think they worry and fear too much.



    I value them also because they are a bit more robust than many of the negatonians who have have a miserabilist bent- who cannot take joy in our victories- because it wasn’t a 5:0 hammering with silky football. Big Wavy and Tiny Tim do not buckle in fright if someone disagrees with them; they argue their corner and try to defend their views. In short, you can have a debate with them and , even if you don’t agree, you can move on in shared Celticness.



    There are others, mostly those who only post on match day, who will never say anything good about Celtic or who react to any form of disagreement and alternative views with a passive aggressive response of “I’m being bullied” or the old favourite “you are not allowed to say anything negative here!”.



    So, let’s respect the boundaries between the two groups and apologise if we misplace one poster in the wrong pigeon hole. As Yorkbhoy said above, we can all see the difference between a poor performance and a good one. And last night was not good.



    Time willl tell whose future predictions are accurate. If we lose to St. Johnstone or the Ibrox mob, posters will feel vindicated that what they detected was, indeed , a deterioration and not just variability in form.



    I will remain unconvinced on that until the situation becomes even more clear. That has been my practice every year. I have had 9 successful predictions in a row but I have always acknowledged that this is hte year I predict wrongly. Either way, I cannot influence it. The people who win the league on our behalf and fulfil our “ambitions” are the players and managers of the club.



    The league will not be won or lost on CQN; all we win or lose are a few arguments or debates but let’s not lose friends.



    Old Hippy csc

  8. Melbourne Mick



    I hear you mate. I hear you.



    I’m worried. I know that’s counterintuitive to the results and run we are on.



    But we are papering cracks that we really shouldn’t be papering.



    HH fella.

  9. SFTB,



    Good post fella and thanks for the mention.



    “personally, think they worry and fear too much..”



    – Speaking personally of me, spot on sir.



    Genuinely in one of those arms and legs everywhere moment of a Tom Rogic last minute goal against the Dons in the cup final I imagine every last poster on here in warm and glowing embrace at what it means for us all. You’d be hard pushed to spot the ‘camps’.



    For all my worry and downright repeated grumpiness I’m planning to be in that melee with all of you when the day comes.




  10. lets all do the huddle on

    right so option C is just ridiculous and actually detracts from a very relevant point between options A and B



    we are not playing well



    and im all for using the full extent of the squad to cope with the heavy schedule



    but the fundamental point is that for the most important games (eg 1 off euro qualifiers) then you play your best 11



    we have not been doing that



    our bench looks stronger than our starting 11



    that has nothing to do with transfer policy or budget



    its because the manager refuses to play the best players



    its utterly ludicrous



    and it boils down to the managers unwillingness to leave out any of the scottish core of the team which have helped win the leagues for us but are woefully short in europe



    they have no dig, no strength, no power and just get skelpt off the ball



    the fact that neither ntcham nor turnbull started last night is shocking



    we are being hamstrung by the managers pig-headedness

  11. Melbourne Mick on




    Don’t hold back, say what you really mean.


    How did the darts go?


    take it you got pumped.


    H.H. Mick

  12. Group A Roma


    Group B Arsenal


    Group C B Leverkusen


    Group D Benfica


    Group E eindhoven


    Group F Napoli


    Group G Braga


    Group H Celtic


    Group i Villareal


    Group J Spurs


    Group K CSKA


    Group L Gent

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

    ‘A’ and a half for me



    Or A# in music parlance (or B-flat of you prefer)









    you really think the manager refuses to pick the best 11 for any particular game ?



    or do you mean he doesnt pick the team that you think is the best 11 ?

  15. EL Group H


    Pot 1 Celtic


    Pot 2 Sparta Prague


    Pot 3 …


    Pot 4 …


    Matchdays: 22 / 29 October ; 5 / 26 November ; 3 / 10 December

  16. I think we’ll have our answer to the car crash theory by the end of this month.


    We’ve had too many performances of a similar nature, although while trying frantically to search for positives you hope this team has the ability to raise their game depending on the opposition.



    What’s certain is we’re not changing direction, we’re on a direct path and accelerating.

  17. lets all do the huddle on




    you really think the manager refuses to pick the best 11 for any particular game ?



    or do you mean he doesnt pick the team that you think is the best 11 ?





    are you seriously telling me that was the best starting 11 that was available to us last night?



    even allowing for personal opinions etc which is what you are saying – you would have to be some debater to back that opinion up

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

    Glad we avoided Leicester – couldn’t be bothered with the distraction of the associated circus

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