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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    why are spfl games on tonight anyway?


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



    It’s because Scotland have an important international game and all SPFL games were moved to the Friday to give Stevie Clarke more time with the squad.


    Celtic and Sevco games ended up being moved, again, to the Sun because of the Europa Qualifiers

  2. lets all do the huddle on







    thought it might be international related



    im a big fan of friday night football



    means on a saturday afternoon i can sit in the pub and concentrate on the horses




  3. that is a good pub that lets you take the horses in






    why the long face csc

  4. Paul 67 et al,



    I am glad you gave Greg Taylor a mention. He was nowhere near the worst in a poor but ultimately fruitful night.



    Let’s compare Greg’s performances this season with some of our ” celebrity ” players.



    He compares favourably.


    Considering he has just filled the boots of a £60 m rated player, he is doing not too bad.



    By the same token it is not a fair comparison to compare anyone with Henrik Larsson. All would fail miserably.



    HH to all, the journey continues.

  5. jeez_I_thought_blinker_was_pants on

    Watched the Milan game last night after we had finished and they were lucky to get through v Rio Ave (Portugal). Went to pens , Rio Ave had 3 chances to put them out, but missed those 3 penalties. They had taken that many the keepers had a go (both missed) and it went back to the outfield players again. If we turn up, they are beatable.

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

    See yon Trumps have Covid-19.



    Hope it causes a re-think in the federal attitude in the US to fully endorsing steps to limit spread of the pandemic.



    Irrespective of how it impacts on them personally – less care in limiting spread = more spread = more cases infection = more hospitalisations = more people dying earlier that would otherwise have been the case






  7. lets all do the huddle on

    that is a good pub that lets you take the horses in





    to be fair most of the horses i back run like they have spent all day in a pub!!

  8. Jeez


    I watched the pen shoot out unfold and it crossed my mind after Milan got out of jail 3 times on pens that they would just drop into our group which if you compare with last year’s group, which we topped …


    Are Milan any better than Lazio were ?


    Are Lille any better than Rennes were ?


    Are Sparta Prague any better than Cluj were ?


    Are we a better squad than last year ?


    Confirmation of fixture schedule this evening. As Cpl Jones used to say “Don’t panic” !

  9. The draw shows that Pots are immaterial, how can a Pot 1 Club get a team from Pot 4,sitting second in one of Europe’s best leagues? Only a small safeguard to stop all the top clubs being drawn against each other.

  10. Melbourne Mick on




    Getting that horrible disease under control now here, still


    learning and same mistakes being made, seems to me jobs for


    the boys in Quarantine hotels.


    Biggest problem seems to be people charged with health care


    in hotels and care homes have multiple jobs and carry the


    disease from job to job.


    But do they listen, nope, health minister is now gone and the new


    one as any politician will do covering her erse.


    Any way , track and trace is the answer and unfortunately lockdown.


    We’re now down to single figures despite the bungles by the


    bureaucrats and hopefully as big Mel screamed …Freeedom.


    H.H. Mick

  11. Horse that goes to our local is a big Man Ure supporter. Suppose he’s just saddled with it.


    Need to rein these puns in

  12. Melbourne Mick on

    And that’s my cue to gallop oot o here.


    Neigh mer posts.


    See you al,l friends and foes, tomorrow.


    H H Mick

  13. Being of that age when we had the big guns in Europe coming to Celtic Park through the sixty and seventies , I am happy with the draw. Of course, I would have been more pleased if we had the chance to be at the matches. Nevertheless, I hope we do well and if we get a few good players by midnight on Monday, well, who knows.

  14. I suppose it raises the question of why weren’t the St Mirren squad asked to self isolate instead of being told to play on.


    As ever SPFL inconsistent

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






    We’re now down to single figures despite the bungles by the bureaucrats and hopefully as big Mel screamed …Freeedom.





    Great for you guy Mick :-))






  16. Was reading about the guy who was in Switzerland on business and visited the assisted suicide clinic. He was astounded to see the breakfast menu for the final day. CHEERIOS.

  17. How many games will Kilmarnock have suspended?


    Will wee jimmy kranky make a scathing statement?


    Let’s see .

  18. And another thing, for those that still blame Jim Craig and Billy McNeill was it, for the defeat by AC Milan back in 1969 ask yourself this…. how many goals did the forwards score over the two legs?

  19. I thought Taylor played well last night. His final ball can be worked on but I’d say the same with Frimpong also.



    Would it be the case that if the players were of the opinion of Taylor that many on here are (not good enough) they would be looking for another ball/man/option – that doesn’t seem to be the way IMHO

  20. Taylor is by no means a bad player he is actually a very decent leftback. Problem is we are playing him as an attacking left wingback in a 352. We are not playing to his strengths and it highlights the deficits in this game and makes the team very predictable.



    If we switched to a 451/ 442/ 4411 and taylor had a quick skillful winger in front of him I would be very comfortable with him simply doing his defending and we would see the best of him.



    My hope is we sign an attacking leftwingback and wee Micky johnson gets back soon. Those two things would make us a harder team to play against.



    Europa league draw looks good to me, few hard games but doubt many of those teams will sit in the whole bloody game.

  21. James Gang



    Interesting article- The Atlantic has produced some of the best writing during this “fake news” period of our history.



    Lots of us were struggling to find a cohesive explanation of why the Northern Italy pattern did not repeat, or why SE Asia seemed to shut things down so quickly, why did Sweden not have more serious problems or , indeed why, after praising our own country for so long, have we got such a high infection rate?



    When there are lots of unknowns, it is easy to reach for a fact-proof conspiracy theory which accounts for our ignorance by saying “it is all made up”.



    But, like Sandy Hook, where hte same allegations were made, the deaths were real and the grief was real.

  22. lets all do the huddle on

    speaking of covid conspiracy theories…



    was it not a bit strange that the UK’s covid numbers have jumped pretty dramatically both in scotland and down south immediately after boris and nicola gave their doomsday speeches last week?



    i wonder if the real numbers had been getting hidden from us all along until now 🤷🏻‍♂️



    anyway, i trust the political leaders to do the right thing



    if we cant trust politicians then who can we trust?




  23. gene



    We should have won (in Milan) on a snowy pitch……


    That suggests that we did win


    I’ll need to look back into that

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