Murdoch, Christie, Gordon and Boruc, Show me the way


I grew up hearing stories about Bobby Murdoch’s ability to play the game in four dimensions. He could play a pass forward into space, across the field, at the right height, and arriving at the necessary moment, when that area would look completely different than it did when Bobby made his move.

That ball from Ryan Christie for the first goal last night fired a childhood recollection. Ryan took the ball on his chest while looking to his left. He volleyed a pass in the opposite direction into unmanned territory. It ended Alloa’s remarkable resistance.  We still haven’t seen enough to know what level of player we have in Ryan, but there are reasons for encouragement.

James Forrest still had a lot to do but his shot was the first accomplished effort from Celtic after (literally) dozens of poorly composed attempts. The Alloa keeper deserved the plaudits, but he didn’t actually make a wonder save all night. He was repeatedly in the right place to do the right thing, we didn’t stretch him.

We dropped points at Inverness due to a truly inspired goalkeeper performance, and a remarkable attraction for the woodwork, but last night’s misfiring was all down to a lack of composure. Kilmarnock may reap a reaction on Saturday.

It’s hard being a keeper. Craig Gordon was caught off his line when Greig Spence got a millisecond of freedom in the first half. Spence fired off a remarkable shot which forced Craig into a diving block. It was as good as save as was made by either keeper all night, but what possessed Craig to go walkabout later, when Kolo Toure was on-hand to shepherd the striker wide is a mystery.

Decision-making like this has nothing to do with core goalkeeping skills. You can drill handling, reactions and starting positions all week, but if there’s a rush of blood on match day, or worse, panic, you’re going to lose a lot of goals.

We’ve seen this movie before. Artur Boruc was, by his own admission, the best goalkeeper in Europe in 2008. By 2010 we did well to get £1m for him, as he made his way to the Fiorentina bench. At 30, Boruc was all over the place. The superstar status had evaporated and few were sorry to see him move on.

Six years later he still has enormous potential for the haphazard, but he’s playing a lot of FA Premier League football on merit. He got his head straight and the rest followed. I’ve no idea what the issues are with Craig Gordon but if Artur can get himself sorted, Craig can too. He’s overcome greater odds already.

The same source of my Bobby Murdoch stories last night referred to Ryan Christie as Tony Christie.  It’s a generational thing.  Show me the way…..


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  1. I agree that Ryan certainly made a considerable difference last night, with the pinnacle of his play being that pass for the goal. And Big Jozo strolled through the first hour with excellent distribution, particularly as he has a tendency to pass the ball in front of the recipient.

  2. The pass was a peach! It did make me think of this in terms of the vision to put the ball into the right space at the right time.



    I’m not saying Christie is Pele, obviously, but the ability to see space and where to put the ball for maximum effect cannot be coached. You have it or you don’t. Ryan Christie showed last night that he has it!




  3. Jobo



    Seriously buddy, do you expect all players to be able to pass the ball a yard or two in front of their team mate allowing them to freely collect the ball moving forward without the requirement for a pause and then having to defend the pass or play the ball back? That is anathema to the modern day Celtic player. As is beating the first man from corners. Oh, and creating decent passages of play from throw ins.




  4. According to John James the Sevco Died Nuts will be plying their trade as weekly cup finalist after the next Glasgow Derby minor on the 31st of December. But then he did have them running out of cash in October so it’s unlikely they will be able to afford the hire costs if in administration and they certainly won’ t be able to pay for the Big asylum to be fixed either.




  5. After our other players had been running up blind avenues and alleyways wee Ryan made a peach off a pass and wee jamsies cool finish made sure I’d sleep like a baby.




  6. patmcgrathtakesapenalty on




    So is Celtic More than Just a Club



    I really enjoyed reading your article. You reiterated so many of the reasons why I support this club and could not transfer that support elsewhere. Thank you.

  7. Paul


    I was not lucky enough to see Bobby Murdoch snr play football but did see the Maestro ping passes like that for fun rain hail or sun and no matter the opposition -btw the source of my Bobby Murdoch stories may have some comment on your Ryan Christie comparison when I see him for our friday pint

  8. glendalystonsils on

    Don’t want to get carried away, but young Ryan’s pass was one of the classiest, most visionary and most devastating I’ve seen from a Celtic player in a long time.


    John James didnae miss very many there. Cracking new nickname for Traynor too.



    Demis. (shoooorly soon to be Demise.)



    Guffaw guffaw.

  10. Paul 67 et al,



    Poor decision making and going walkabout is probably the kindest terms to describe Craig Gordon’ s rash challenge.


    We have seen quite a few poor decisions from Craig over the last few seasons, but I think his shot stopper abilities which you term ” core goalkeeper skills” must make him our number one.



    Possibly he needs to address mind issues rather than footballing issues to cut our the continuous poor decision making. Que sports psychology.




  11. playfusbal4dguilders on

    On Gordon, we must remember he’s had to change his kicking leg from left to right to take the pressure off his bad knee. I think that explain a lot about the way he attacked the ball (man) last night. A right foot kick would have been easier and looking back makes more sense.



    Cant be easy all this talking about keepers being ‘competent passing around the back’ when you’ve adjusted your natural game just to play.




  12. playfusbal4dguilders on

    Apologies its the other way around, its Right to Left, but I’m sure you got the jist.









    So is Celtic More than Just a Club



    I really enjoyed reading your article. You reiterated so many of the reasons why I support this club and could not transfer that support elsewhere. Thank you.




    Thanks Pat; my thoughts are that we need to get back to basics and supporting the Club rather than getting caught up in other issues that deflect from that.



    I’ve got my tin hat ready though …………….



    FAC the Act




  14. Good afternoon. If you haven’t completed the consultation survey on the repeal of the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act please click this link and complete it now. If you are unsure about what to write, this crib sheet will help. Remember you are agreeing that the act should be repealed. Also remember to click Complete Survey at the end or your views won’t be included!




    FAC the Act!




  15. I think that Ryan is coming along very nicely.Should be a 1st team pool player next season.Brendan knows.


    John James has now become my first read of the day when the E-Tims Diary is late.


    Fantastic blog from JJ.CQN,Clumpany,Phil,James Forrest,E-Tims for a good chuckle.


    We are blessed at this point in time.



    Don’t want to get carried away, but young Ryan’s pass was one of the classiest, most visionary and most devastating I’ve seen from a Celtic player in a long time.




    Aye, since wee Lubo was gracing our hallowed turf I reckon.



    That vision cannae be coached, it’s there or it’s not.



    FAC the Act




  17. Composure and great shooting ability .


    Only Commons and Griffiths tick these boxes .






  18. JJ fawning of Jack Irvine is laughable.



    Jack Irvine would happily being doing the job of Jim Traynor right now. And his suggestion that if journalists were being threatened then the solution is for them just to put that in their papers – aye try and get that one past your Hun loving, hun advertising money grabbing, non Hun and Hun editors. It ain’t going to happen. they’ll throw you under a bus rather than lose face or hun cash. Just ask Jim Spence.




  19. Tiny Tim



    I disagree buddy. Kris Common’s time has come and gone. He has been out for far too long now and I seriously doubt that he’d cope with the pace Brendan has the team playing at. I agree he would still score a goal or two. But sadly his time is gone. However, if he shows in training that he is capable of regaining his old form and can cope with the pace of this Celtic team then Brendan will give him a chance.



    He was a class player for us, albeit his passing and first touch at time was poor but I accept that of Celtic players because if he had the great first touch and wonderful passing ability to go with his vision and shooting he’d never have been at Celtic in the first place.




  20. MOONBEAMSWD @ 12:39


    You nailed it, buddy. I’m glad I’m not the only one bugged by poor corners, throw ins, and passing that literally stalls momentum.


    How many corners did we have last night? How many caused Alloa any difficulty whatsoever?


    Watch Barca’s goal from yesterday. Short corner to Iniesta, instant diagonal cross, several Barca players racing to meet it, Rakitic wins, Goal!


    Now of course that is not going to work every time, but why on earth do we not try to vary our corners to at least trouble the keeper?


    I played a lot of football, took a lot of corners. God help me from the abuse from my own players (especially defenders) if a corner landed in a goalkeeper’s arms!


    As for throw ins, at least we are not still aimlessly hurling them up the line, which is meat and drink for CL defenders. But look at Tierney’s frustration when no player moves towards him to receive a throw. As for Lustig, most of his are foul throws.


    The passing behind players has been a habit of ours for years. It basically reduces the field to a Subbuteo game and renders us static as a team. All of these are easily rectified, so I am frankly puzzled why our coaching staff do not address them. Christie’s sublime pass, into space, and ahead of Forrest, created the time and space for the goal. The very best teams score goals within seconds of a change of possession and before defenders can regroup. Lesson to be learned there, I think.



  21. TINYTIM on 22ND SEPTEMBER 2016 1:31 PM






    Do you think we’ve been doing well in the attack part of the team, given that we’re unbeaten domestically and are still averaging over 3 goals per game?



    If the answer is yes. Why not simply trust BRs judgement, which currently seems to be that Kris Commons wouldn’t improve the team.

  22. The role of a goalkeeper has changed a lot over the last few years.



    When the pass-back rule was altered, they had to ‘learn’ to use their feet and be able to control the ball without using their hands, often dribble past an onrushing opposing player and try and find a teamate. Some adapted a lot better than others.



    Their is much talk about goalies who have ‘good feet’. All well and good, but I still prefer one who can command his area, instill confidence in his defenders and make the occasional save!







    Wholeheartedly agree. I can’t see Brendan Rodgers letting him anywhere near the first team now. He wasn’t exactly athletic last season and I don’t see any of that having improved since then.



    Then there’s the Malmo escapade! I wonder hoe Brendan would’ve handled that? I think the words Commons, taxi and for may have been re-arranged.



    FAC the Act




  24. Watched a wee bit of Villareal last night. No superstars but they are able to play quality pass and move football. Why can’t we?


    Good article,petrolheid.



    Must introduce you to long-time lurker The Bear at the hoot. He’s written a few,mainly historical,articles for the mag and elsewhere.



    Guid lad anaw!





    Pretty sure BR has that on his agenda,bud. We’ll see.

  27. West End of East End on

    Throw ins were one of my biggest moans at the game, to be fair Brendan must have read that and it has gotten better, not great, but an improvement to what were doing before in giving up possesion almost every time.



    Now it’s corners, so if a Celtic player puts the ball above his head it’s going to the back post. If not, it will be lucky to clear the first defender. Why not mix it up and have a few short corners, pass to the edge of the box etc. Definately needs work.



    I think we’re heading for good things under Brendan in the same way we were with MON, I thought that under MON the goalkeeper was his achiles, personally I would have given Broto a better chance back in the day. I just hope that the keepers position is not going to be Brendans achiles. Gordon’s tackle was right in front of me, I thought it was a straight red, nothing I’ve seen since has convinced me it wasn’t, same with Eric’s tackle against ICT. Maybe it’s the Brendan affect on ref’s that we’ve dodged a couple of reds, no doubt these things will even themselves up over a season :-)

  28. Just read the JJ blog, IF Sevco do relocate to Hampden to have their roofs repaired/replaced who is paying for this repair? At a time of austerity surely Glasgow City Council or The Scottish Government would not be funding a private company in this way out of the public purse? I hope should this move come about that the tax payers council, income, and business of Glasgow ask their councillors and MSP’s searching questions about who is paying this bill.

  29. Gooooood afternoon CQN


    Doing fine An T – thanks & 67Heaven, I’m trying to knock abooot £500 of your seat price, and I’ll be sitting next to you. – win win :-)


    Mickybhoy1888, if I wanted to, I can access the lounges from my own seat and have been able to since 1995, does that help – wouldn’t need your taxi either :-)



    Now more controversy – would have Ryan Christie in my team before, McGregor, Bitton and Armstrong, and probably Rogic, I know different positions from all, but mobility, aggression and vision all better with Ryan, plus knows where the net is, and a wee bit pace


    When at Inverness watched young Ryan dominate our midfield on more than one occasion, so can play in there, played up front last game of last season, and watched him run riot in coordinating our front line


    TinyTim, I am a big fan of Kris, but young Ryan is the future ?


    ( incidentally also watched young John McGinn dominate our midfield when he was at St Mirren)



    Hail Hail

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