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. Toughie but hey, so was Lazio, Rennes and Cluj and that worked out ok.



    Bring it on.






    p.s Thanks for the AC Milan answers folks. Didn’t know that.

  2. SFTB – Sparta are 5 out of 5 in the league. Top. 15 goals but 5 against.



    I’d prefer the better teams anyhow.

  3. Lawwell would be very happy with that group if we could sell the tickets for the games.



    Unfortunately under the circumstances, it’s unlucky to draw such a tough group.



    I’m still confident though, Lazio and Rennes are better sides than AC and Lille.

  4. realistically we are never going to win it , its all about the big games and taking your chances when they come.

  5. Saint Stivs. Agree from before


    The notion that Lenny picks 11 he thinks wont get the job done, is bunkum.



    Our group – while looking somewhat chewy – is surely what all players want to pit themselves against and if our Celts are good enough, they’ll be more ready for those teams at the sharper end of the comp.



    Re travel upside; depends on how Covid waves affect geographic spots; could easily see a crowd-free comp if things get curly again.

  6. EUFA doing their bit for for their favoured sons in Pot 3 and 4?



    Small media markets from Pot 1 and Pot 2 so that the two down on their luck / low co-efficient teams from the Big Media markets have a better chance of qualifying.



    Now understand why we didn’t get BR from Pot 2 — can’t have 3 large media markets in the same group.


    it is bad for business.



    EUFA — don’t you just love them.

  7. Now a couple of days of transfer speculation. Some big games there for any potential signings to fancy being involved in.

  8. Would have been a great group for us as supporters, maybe tougher for the players without the crowds.


    That said next stop is Perth, let’s keeping our winning run going and hopefully gain confidence from it.

  9. Tough as – a champions league group without the music. Let’s get Ryan from spurs in and wee paddy

  10. Any of the away games likely to have fans inside stadium?


    That should have been 3 brilliant nights at CP.

  11. Got that buzz you get when the Hoops have big games coming up.



    First up is st Johnstone.




  12. Tough Group… as always. Sometimes happier to play against a decent team rather than a team we are expected to beat

  13. lets all do the huddle on

    why are spfl games on tonight anyway?



    something happening in scotland tomorrow that means they cant get played?

  14. An Tearmann



    “The law, in its’ majestic equality forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under the bridge……”


    You would hope that any bona fide Celtic supporter, even if they did not know the source, or the author, would understand both the sentiment and the meaning of such a quote, certainly our founding father would have. They would certainly never use it as a form of abuse.




  15. Become a Pot 1 club



    Get the toughest draw possible 😂😂



    Typical Celtic






  16. EMBRAMIKE on 2ND OCTOBER 2020 1:10 PM


    Same as last year – Italy, France and E Europe. Think we topped that group




    Milan, Lille and Prague would have been great trips for travelling fans.



    Hopefully, we bring in one or two quality signings (loans perhaps) this week.

  17. Its a great draw, one we should all be excited about.



    The negativity from last night beggars belief,



    I don’t know where this expectation of Celtic going away from home and battering teams about comes from Qarabag draw,Malmo defeat, Molde defeat, Elfsborg draw…not to mention red bloody imps! all in last few years.




    Why are we expected to this year?

  18. Normally pot1 teams are favourites to qualify – not on this occasion – but first let’s prepare for St Johnstone on Sunday.




    Uncle: John Crossan from Derry.



    Well done i posted before i saw your answer. Get yirsell a large JAMIESONS and i will square you up next time we meet. Hopefully in POLAND for final.

  20. Had to smile when I saw group, how can you get a Group like that from Pot 1.


    Anyhow it is what it is.


    Everyone is capable of taking points off everyone else.


    European football is a lovely distraction from the SPFL but this year is all about the 10 in a row.

  21. Bhoyjoebelfast on



    Was at the NI v Scotland game in 1965 when Crossan scored in a 3-2 win for the Irish,big Gilzean scored twice for Scotland.Knew I was at the game and guess what..the game was played Oct/2/1965.Settle for a cup of tea…wobbly water day’s are gone!

  22. CM @ 1.20



    OMG — there are two of you …


    Must be a bit crowded underneath that bridge of yours.



    Hans Christian Anderson CSC

  23. Didn’t Ibrahimovic test positive this week for Covid?


    Might take the edge off him for a wee while . . .

  24. Melbourne Mick on




    I can’t wait, middle of the night, mad warm, all sorts of animals running


    about the roof and gutters, ( huns ? ) and then the Bhoys score whooft no


    noise just a gentle pssst as another can of Guinness opens.


    And then just like a Credenza the strains of a beleaguered nation begin to


    rise, again and again ” Hail… Hail.. the Celts are here.


    What the heck do we care now ”


    Maybe only some people care, maybe some would prefer to whinge or


    whine, that’s their lump they carry about with them.


    The Celtic is the trophy, You’ve won the top prize as soon as you know


    win , lose or draw, that’s your team, your life, and no amount of beatings,


    negativity, or self opinionated twats of the hun persuasion will change


    your mind.


    Bring on the Europa giants, they’ll know what they’re up against, not just a


    team but a force of passionate magnitude they’ve never encountered.


    And …. and….the Celtic family.


    Not said it for a while.


    But…..Wha’s like us.


    H.H. Mick

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