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Neil and players deserve our trust

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Celtic notched up their 13th straight win in domestic competition against St Mirren yesterday.  That period included two wins against Lazio and a meaningless defeat to Cluj in the Europa League.  After losing to Livingston on 6 October, we were two points off the pace at the top of the table.  Now we are two points clear and have the League Cup back for the fourth season in succession.

Celtic have played two games every week since July apart from international breaks, when most Celtic players are in action for their nations.  Their return in this period has been nothing short of exceptional.  Were it not for a rush of blood to the head by Ryan Christie in Livingston and some penalty blindness at Easter Road, the question right now would be “Can anyone take a point off Celtic this season?”

Work still needs to be done to ensure we enter the winter break top of the table, but this is a script Neil Lennon and his players know well.  They deserve our trust.

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  1. The square pegs into round holes experiment should stop now. Performances have not been convincing over the last few weeks. We are surrendering to much possession in the middle of the park.

  2. Paul –

     

     

    Not sure how it is possible for us not to be on top going into the winter break.

     

     

    We’re 5 points ahead, not 2.

     

     

    I’m confident it will be 8 points in front on Sunday afternoon.

  3. St Tams,

     

    Correct,and I have no idea why this is.We have 4 terrific midfielders,but it is just not working.The passing between them last night was very sloppy at times.The Jullien yellow card,and resultant goal came from very poor play further up the park.The Huns WILL flood the middle on Sunday,and I think Lenny has had this in mind.It also concerns me that we are leaving ourselves very open at the back playing two backs who are very attacking.Dont know if it’s wise every game back 3,no problem,as Liverpool do.Maybe that’s why the talk of the Brazilian.Going back,I think Lenny has to move Ryan more centrally on Sunday.He is a shadow of himself out wide.

  4. “penalty blindness”

     

     

    ……..doubtless kaused by wearing the bloo-tinted glasses for toooooo long…………

  5. “Do you honestly think that when the Celtic lads are standing out there in front of 60,000 screaming fans that they’re going to be fearing anyone?”

     

    Paul Lambert

     

    HH

  6. The Huns thinking they can win on Sunday,is probably the best thing for us.In reality,it is probably the only game,were we have space to play in.Normally,playing against 11 men behind the ball.We have far better footballers,with more skill.

     

    Morelos is our biggest danger.I am not stupid enough to talk him down.Very dangerous,and big Chris will need to learn to tackle him with the correct foot and not go to ground.

  7. Anyone think Celtic will challenge Red Card Ross decisions when involved in any Game where Celtic play ???!

  8. Norriem,

     

    Offsides,very difficult to challenge.”Split second decisions”,blah blah.I looked at the Morelos goal last night,and thought,as the Killie players did,he was just offside.Some posters on here,saying onside.Even the Kilmarnock manager thought he was on.Wasting our breath going down that road.

  9. Turkeybhoy

     

    Ajer does not seem to learn from his mistakes. Namely going to ground and tackling with right foot on the left hand side

  10. We have played 19 league games and Sevco have played 18. I cannot locate an SPFL league table after 19 games last year but I can work out where we were at after 22 games each in 2018/19

     

     

    Celtic had amassed 48 points i.e. 4 points less than we currently have this year after 19 games. We made this target by virtue of a 100% home record (11 wins out of 11- BTW we remained undefeated at home throughout the season but dropped 2 points each to both Aberdeen and Livi in the run in). Our away form was disastrous- we lost to Hearts, Hibs, Killie & Sevco in those opening 22 matches and drew with Livi and St. Mirren.

     

     

    After 22 games, Sevco had amassed 39 points- they were already behind by the 9 points that would define the final league table after 38 games. They had actually topped the table in week 15 briefly before resuming 2nd place the following week and staying there pretty much until the end of the season.

     

     

    The gap is shorter this year because of their improvement. They have 47 points after 19 games, 8 more than they produced after 22 the year previously.

     

     

    So, in response to the myth of one team improving, we have the truth that both teams have (some Celtic fans seem only inclined to notice the one-sided improvement, strangely).

     

     

    In contrast to last year, Sevco have still got post- Christmas European fixtures to fulfil plus one extra league game where we have already banked the points. These are all reasons to be cheerful.

     

     

    Of course the race is slightly tighter but we still have a healthy lead. The idea that they or we will go through the rest of the season undefeated bar the games against each other is just fanciful speculation, not backed up by the history of all previous leagues.

     

     

    They have already lost 1 and drawn 2. We have already lost 1 and drawn 1. You will get generous odds against either team, but especially Sevco, remaining undefeated from here on in or that goal difference will be the decider (it rarely is after 38 games and that spectre has been raised every season by the more pessimistic section of our support, even when it was Hearts or Aberdeen who were our close challengers at Christmas).

     

     

    So neither wild pessimism or wild optimism fits the facts here. A sober refection that acknowledges their improvement and credits our improved response to that challenge does fit the bill. Despite all the fears, we remain 5 points clear with one more game played ( I refuse to credit them with 3 points before they earn them Paul). We are favourites to be 8 points clear after Sunday.

     

     

    Whether we are or not, no league title is decided. I said after our early Ibrox win this season that nothing was settled (they suffered a defeat, that is all- they were not put back into any box). And if fortune betrays us on Sunday and we end the day only 2 points ahead, and still, nothing will have been decided.

     

     

    I have said every year of our 8iar that leagues are won in the hard weather of January & February, and March. Occasionally, the race goes into April but that is not the norm. We still have 2 games against Sevco after Sunday but we , and they, also have to have our acts together for every game in this league.

     

     

    So far, Neil Lennon has made a marvelous job of that. He deserves congratulations and our support.

  11. Agree with all of that p67

     

     

    We’ve navigated a difficult period this past month or so and show no signs of slipping up. Yes, it’s been a tough run and not without it challenges and hiccups- but here we are with everything in our own hands and a challenge we knew was coming.

     

     

    We will win on Sunday. Guaranteed.

  12. Are Celtic goals only analysed for offside in ‘certain games’. If they are debatably offside did we miss the debate?

     

     

    TV pictures showed Odsonne Edouard was onside just like they ‘showed’ Jullien was categorically made offside, by SMSM.

     

     

    We will not be treated differently CSC

  13. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ST TAMS on 27TH DECEMBER 2019 11:45 AM

     

     

    Agreed. Playing Christie on the left is (almost) as bad as McGregor at LB or Sinclair or Morgan through the middle

     

     

    I didn’t manage to see the game yesterday but it seems as if it was a disjointed performances which should have been a comfortable victory save for some choice officiating. 3 points is all that matters, but still, we have now had 4 games where the margin of victory should have been much higher that it was. A striker is a priority in January.

     

     

    One thing which is slightly concerning is NL’s reluctance to use the squad. Despite its large size we yet again have players who contribute little to nothing: Hendry, Sinclair, Eboue, Shved, Arzani and (to a lesser extent) Rogic, Bayo, Griff, Bauer, Taylor and Morgan.

     

     

    NL talked (around the time of the away game with Cluj) of the importance of using the squad. However, save for that game which was unique (a mid-season game where the result was meaningless) he has stuck to using the same 15/16 players. This is another 60 game season, if not more (depending on the Copenhagen games). We need to let players like McGregor/Brown/Forrest take a breather. Plus, rotating the squad provides competition. How many places in our team have true competition? Not many is the answer.

     

     

    Unlike others, i think Ntcham is playing because NL only trusts three wingers at the club: JF, MJ and ME. One is injured and one is on the way back from injury, so Ntcham gets the nod and JF plays out of position on the left. Arzani, Sinclair and Shved are so far out of the picture they aren’t even considered.

  14. Sevco seem to start most games fast – they swarm all over the opposition and don’t let you settle. Strategy is easy to see, most recently against Hibs, Aberdeen and us. They control midfield, move ball wide to Tavernier or Kent and get it to Morelos.

     

    We, on the other hand, tend to play ourselves into the game, taking time to get our passing going. Against Hearts and Sevco we looked very vulnerable in first 20-30 mins.

     

     

    However, Gerrard has not, so far, had the confidence to play this way at CP. He has tried to keep it tight rather than go for the high press. By doing so our midfield has had time to take control and allow our defence to push up.

     

     

    I think he will play it tight again. A draw is an ok result for them, a defeat is a disaster.

     

    Morelos will get chances, he always does.

     

    So will Edouard.

     

     

    I think we will win 3-1.

  15. STFTB

     

    this is the best rangers tean I have seen since they died

     

    Also think I am incredibly lucky to watch a Celtic team full of so much talent

     

    will prevail

  16. SFTB & 12:37

     

     

    Good post in which you make salient points.

     

     

    Between January & March we have 12 league fixtures, five at home, and seven away, including Ibrox.

     

     

    They have nine home & four away over the same period.

     

     

    So, as you said, January to March is the proving ground.

     

     

    If we go in eight points clear by winning on Sunday, we will have a cushion of eight points which we will need looking at the way the fixtures are scheduled.

     

     

    At only two, or, five clear, things are more difficult, obviously.

     

     

    That’s why I believe Sunday is so important – not being pessimistic, just realistic.

  17. THE HANDS CANT HIT WHAT THE EYES CANT SEE on 27TH DECEMBER 2019 12:41 PM

     

     

    After the “car crash” of a performance, as you put it, at Hampden Lenny has picked a team with the next encounter against them in mind. 3 domestic games with pretty much the same formation and line up, even while MJ has been fit and looking dangerous.

  18. On a very serious note fholks I would ask you to keep my mate/neighbour in your thoughts and prayers. He was taken in to Hairmyers hospital in the early hours of the morning with severe chest pains and they are still working on him. He happens to be a blue-nose, never ever a Hun, but an all-round good guy and very deserving of our support.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Ave Ave

  19. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @CELTIC40ME on 27TH DECEMBER 2019 1:16 PM

     

     

    NL said in the press conference today that MJ has had his injury problems and they have been unable to start him.

     

     

    We have three wingers who contribute, one who has played but isn’t good enough (Morgan) and three who contribute nothing. We clearly need a winger as well as a striker.

     

     

    Hopefully some players will head in the opposite direction.

  20. Emerald, will keep in my thoughts,

     

    Visit if you can hospitals are lonely and uncomfortable places

  21. I’m sure The Screaming Skull, Alex Rae,will be calling for VAR ,for Eddy’s goal yesterday…….he will…won’t he?

  22. THE HANDS CANT HIT WHAT THE EYES CANT SEE on 27TH DECEMBER 2019 1:25 PM

     

     

    If not then we shouldn’t sign another winger. We probably shouldn’t sign one whatever. 7 is enough

  23. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ CELTIC40ME on 27TH DECEMBER 2019 1:28 PM

     

     

    We clearly do need to sign a winger. Of the 7, two are on loan and will leave in the summer and one is out of contract. That leaves behind MJ (who is still yet to have a full season under his belt), Shved (likely to be loaned or sold) as he has not contributed, LM (likely to be loaned out as he isn’t of sufficient quality) and JF (who is a stalwart).

     

     

    Hopefully SS leaves in January and frees up wages, but it would be stupid not to strengthen in this area. An injury to JF leaves us playing with CalMac on the left and Christie on the right.

  24. Turkeybhoy

     

    Sure there is enough evidence to show in games involving Red Card Ross

     

    That even 70/30 options involving Celtic, he goes against Celtic

     

     

    This guy decisions are seen through his Union Jack eyes, when we are involved

  25. Watching game back from yesterday.

     

     

    We are intent on too much passing around a packed penalty box.

     

     

    This has been the same when teams pack the box for weeks, we should be trying more shots from outside the box.

     

     

    D. :)

  26. Sftb- good post. I was at pains to do the Celtic da thing with my teenage Young uns and point out that the three points against st Mirren Park count the same as the three on offer against newco.

     

     

    Nothing will be won and lost on Sunday but the most telling result will be a celtic win. The pressure that would pile on them from game to game after that would be enormous. Not so much the other way about.

     

     

    If we turn up, counter their inevitable high intensity and high press and find a way to dominate the ball and play our game we should win.

     

     

    I like the fact that they think they are better than us. The slap down is all the sweeter that way.

  27. Norriem,

     

    The trumpet is not on his own there.

     

    I am sure Clancy will give us everything on Sunday to even it up.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

  28. THE EYES CANT……@ 13:36

     

     

    Our options are limited in some ways – Elhamed..out, Elyounousi….out, Johnston…in & out, Sinclair…out of favour, Shved…..out in the cold, Rogic…out & in, Forrest…out of position, Christie…out of position.

     

     

    Team for Sunday – Forster, Frimpong, Ajer, Jullien, Hayes(Taylor), Forrest, Christie, Brown, McGregor, Johnston, Eduard.

     

     

    Gordon, Bolingoli, Bauer, Rogic Griffiths, Bitton,

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