Neil Lennon pacing players through December


We have had a couple of scares in December, that late Hamilton equaliser and a solid hour of failing to form a coherent attack at Hampden, but chances have flowed like cheap prosecco at a Christmas party in our last three outings against Hibs, Hearts and Aberdeen.

Those games should have returned more than six goals but conversion rates tend to vary match-to-match, hopefully we will see a return to the norm in the two remaining games before the winter break.

Like Celtic, Thursday’s opponents, St Mirren, are also enjoying an excellent December.  They were on their own at the bottom of the table after losing to Motherwell on the first game this month, but three games later are now 9th, four clear of the bottom.  Jim Goodwin has made them difficult to beat.

This month Celtic have had the look of a team who are pacing themselves.  Players have been allowed to ease back to fitness.  Odsonne Edouard has not played a full 90 minutes top-flight football since 10 November – and that was one of only two 90-minute performances in domestic football since Celtic lost to Livingston 11 weeks ago.

In the week ahead, I hope we see the benefit of Neil Lennon’s patience in allowing Odsonne to ease himself back into the game.  For all the talk of our dependence on the big striker, his absence has not been evident in the results.

Of no less importance is the return of Mikey Johnston, not just for his ability to occupy defenders, but because when he is in the team we are more likely to see James Forrest and Ryan Christie return to their more natural positions.  It would be good to see them both start on Thursday.

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  1. Hope I’m wrong but I suspect Neil’s team for the last two fixtures of 2019 is set in stone. We’ve played the same players in the same positions with the same system for a few weeks now.



    That means Christie out right, Forrest on the left and Ntcham in the middle.

  2. Clancy for the Hun game ?


    That , for me , is terrible news.


    I don`t have a problem with Madden, Thomson and even Beaton but Clancy and Collum leave me worried.


    Who have we got V The Buddies?

  3. For all I firmly believe Scott Brown has been one of our top players again this season [top 3].


    I would like to see Neil Lennon keep him rotated a wee bit more.


    We would struggle without him long term.We need to keep him fresh as a daisy.


    I would like to see Greg Taylor get more game time.


    Johnny Hayes has at times been a credit to himself but at other times I see a winger played out of position.


    Neil Lennon is no mug.He will make difficult decisions to improve the team and squad [see scott sinclair].


    Things are going great but because of the improved competition we are only ever one bad result away from a crisis [of sorts]


    It would be incredibly unfair on Neil Lennon if his work this season ended in some kind of disaster on the title side of things.


    He has improved us so much and I firmly believe that if we had continued under the previous manager we would have probably finished things off last season for the treble [like we did] but we may well be behind by a bit of a gap in the league right now.


    Merry christmas Neil Lennon


    You are the greatest Celt since McStay and Larsson

  4. Iniquitousiv and a very good afternoon to you, back from Glasgow yesterday,getting the points- great but playing Forrest on the left and Christie wide right is not working,why does Neil persist with it ? May I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year. H H Hebcelt

  5. I also hope we see Johnston left, Forrest right and Christie through the middle



    Shoehorning Ntcham into the midfield upsets our balance and, going on past evidence, he isn’t up for the fight we will have in the midfield on Sunday.



    Bring him on in the last 20 mins when he has the space to do his thing…

  6. Timmy 7


    You could also try Maker’s bar, Jardin del Sol



    I watched matches here a few years ago



    Hope this helps

  7. AN DUN on 23RD DECEMBER 2019 12:40 PM


    Hope I’m wrong but I suspect Neil’s team for the last two fixtures of 2019 is set in stone. We’ve played the same players in the same positions with the same system for a few weeks now.



    That means Christie out right, Forrest on the left and Ntcham in the middle





    I think that’ll be the formation in next Sunday’s game. Had Elyounoussi been fit, then he’d start ahead of Ntcham. At times Ntcham can look like a world beater, but often lacks the consistency even over a full game. Feeling confident for two wins in a row. We owe Sevco a doing, after an (at times ) inept performance at Hampden.

  8. Good afternoon CQN


    Like An Dun, I believe we have Olly Ntcham start thes past few games for a reason


    Our midfield was totally over run in the recent League Cup final


    We need to get a better grip of midfield, before the game on 29th, hence Olly Ntcham has been playing


    Yes it’s impacting on Ryan Christie and James Forrest form




    They should be settling into the new roles by now


    Found it interesting on Satutprday, that after taking Ntcham off and changing 3 players position to suit, Lenny then brought on Tom Rogic, moved Ryan back out and took off Forrest


    Thought Mikey Johnston made a huge impact and far more direct once that change took place



    So for me


    We will stick with the midfield of Brown, McGregor, Ntcham, Christie and Forrest for next game as well, although I would be playing Mikey Johnson every day before James Forrest



    Hail Hail


    And a very Merry and Happy Christmas to you all when it arrives

  9. ERNIE LYNCH (last article)



    I agree only concerted government intervention will produce any real results. Measures would have to start contemporaneously in all countries and that will be very difficult to pull off. It’s almost like the nuclear thing – everyone wants the weapons gone, but that will only happen on a multilateral basis.



    In this country our hottest evet ten years have all been in the period 2002 to date – global warming is a fact, the only debate is the source, man-made, or, natural.

  10. Mikey is a very exciting player but I don’t think it’s a case of either him or Jamesie , if it was I’d go for Jamesie. I know he can be inconsistent but every wide player is susceptible to this and I suspect if Mikey gets an extended run in the side he would probably fall foul of the sort of jibes Forrest gets.


    On another note, if Cosgrove had tried that tackle in a European game it would have been a straight red every time .

  11. Hunderbirds are Gone on

    Having a mental blank here… Is Clancy the referee who always looks like he is going to burst into tears?



  12. GENE on 22ND DECEMBER 2019 8:59 PM







    As long as they convert loans to shares they will muddle on.








    Re the above…




    Would this lead to a drop in value of the existing shareholders shares and overall asset value of Sevco?




    I know they will subvert any governing rules at any opportunity which always gives them some wriggle room but I can’t see how this strategy is sustainable at all.



    Anyone any thoughts on the ‘aul switcheroo’ of loans to shares




  13. As soon as Cosgrove tackles young Ajer there are about 10 players and 20 yards between both of them.



    When was this smiling and winking up at Cosgrove done?



    Why do we never defend our players?

  14. Agree with the observation of Ntcham’s qualities, if he could marry those to the endeavour and application of Ryan Christie shows he would be some player.




  15. The most blatent bit of refereeing was the Reverand Mike Mc’curry when he refereed a Rangers v Celtic a few years ago when he booked 7 Celtic player’s in the first half then another two in the second half,it was so blatent it was unbelievable, he even booked our centre half for getting a face injury, he didn’t even book the hun that gave him the bloody face,refereeing at it worst.


    I turned round to my friend that was sitting beside me, and said I’d never go to watch the hun game ever again, and I’ve never been to watch them since.

  16. Dbhoy,


    Not every player has the same approach to the way they play the game.Does not make them inferior.Ntcham is a class act.Silky footballer,Ryan,all action,terrific footballer.

  17. MCNUT on 23RD DECEMBER 2019 1:55 PM



    In this country our hottest evet ten years have all been in the period 2002 to date – global warming is a fact, the only debate is the source, man-made, or, natural.





    There is no debate regarding the source. The scientific consensus is that it is man-made.

  18. I like Ntcham . He has more technical ability than the majority of our players. But….he doesnt buy into the ‘hype’ sorrounding the sevco game. Thats a plus for me but I understand everyones opinion.




  19. To keep players in their right positions,my line up for Sunday




    Frimpong. Ajer. Jullien. Boli


    Ntcham. Broony. Mc Gregor




    Forrest. Eddy.


    Ryan playing the no 10 role behind front two.Gives us 4 in middle when needed.Two full backs our wide men.


    Griff,Mikey,Rogic,Biton,great bench.

  20. weebobbycollins on

    Hunderbirds…indeed Clancy is the greeting faced one…


    Not a good ref for Celtic…needs to show his masonic bosses that he is so unbiased he can be counted on to do the biz for the cheating uglies…


    Give me a good old-fashioned hun ref…

  21. Turkeybhoy



    He’s a classy player no doubt, his effort appears inconsistent at times and looks like he’s playing within himself. It makes him less influential in games than he could be imo.



    I know they can’t all be like the perpetually moving green and white blur which is Christie in the hoops, but a bit more go from Ntcham would be good.




  22. DBHOY @ 15:31



    Agree with all you write. Ntcham looks after himself, like so many players in the modern game, Pogba being a prime example. No doubting the talent, it’s the commitment & application that can sometimes be suspect.

  23. A wee FtSPFL anomaly


    Celtic have played 10 home games in league so far, with 1 other to play before the winter break


    = 11 home games


    We then have 5 home games before the split


    = 16 home games from 33 games, therefor 17 away


    Sevco have had 7 home games with 1 more to play = 8 home games


    The cancelled game for cup final is a home game carried into 2020


    So they gave 10 home games pre split


    = 18 home games from 33, with 15 away post split




    Celtic should have 3 home games pre split = 19 from 38 games



    Sevco should only have 1 home game pre split to equal the 9 home, 19 away



    Wonder how FtSPFL, will arrange this one for their favourites 🤔

  24. Dbhoy


    Sorry for the late reply



    You’re right it continues to reduce the value of shares – how long the shareholders are prepared to continue is anyone’s guess. It will be interesting what happens when the Mike Ashley settlement is published.

  25. It’s difficult to fit Ntcham into our best formation IMO,Forrest on the right, Johnston on left,Christie in behind Eddy,Broonie and Callum anchoring MF…..

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