Neilson, Skovdahl, Starfelt, Rogic, Celtic deliver


Like you, for the most part, the football I have watched is mundane.  It is a necessary process towards an objective.  Last night was so different, I loved the game.

If you sit anywhere near me, there is a mantra you will hear whenever Celtic are well on top but not in the lead, “We need to score when are this dominant.”  You have seen the movie, good play is not always rewarded, and right now, we cannot afford to be on the end of a hard luck story.

By the time of Kyogo’s 33 minute goal, Celtic could have been well out of sight, but Hearts clung on.  Craig Gordon, the post and a multitude of faces and bodies got in the way of shots from dangerous positions.  Despite being behind, Hearts wasted time until 70 minutes, we mocked them, imagine wasting time when you are losing!

Credit to Robbie Neilson.  He knew his team could not cope with Celtic for any sustained period so sent them out to slow the game down, irrespective of the score, and wait to see if events would conspire to help them.  They did.

Tom Rogic and Carl Starfelt made their first appearance for over a month and James Forrest made his first league start in as long.  Rogic and Forrest were scheduled to be hooked when they tired.  Then events, dear bhoy, happened.  First Anthony Ralston limped off a few minutes after creating the goal.  Stephen Welsh put his leg in to block and took a blow with 20 minutes remaining, he left soon thereafter, but not before Jota pulled up with a hamstring injury.

Celtic’s subs were all used, Rogic, Forrest and Starfelt needed to find the energy to finish the game.  At this, Hearts stopped wasting time and started to look like a football team.  They dominated play until the closing minutes of the game.  In that time, they created good chances that could have seen them leave with a point, throwing our title campaign into more turmoil, but the defence held firm, Joe Hart was not called on to make a save worthy of the name.

Neilson could contemplate the words of the late Ebbe Skovdahl, who after a visit to Celtic Park with Aberdeen, with enormous clarity, quoted from a 40s Western, “The operation was a success but the patient died.”  Neilson did as well as he could, despite the loss.

Starfelt was a star.  A diving header 8 yards from goal, at an angle it was easy to get wrong and truly test Hart, was illustrative of his imperious performance.  That night at Tynecastle seems a long time ago.  Stephen Welsh continues to grow into the role of first team regular.  Anthony Ralston did what Anthony Ralston does – sends in crosses the like of which we have not seen from full backs in years.

Josip Juranovic got to play almost an hour at his natural right back position.  He is a player who will continue to flourish.

Although Carl won Man of the Match, my vote went to Tom Rogic.  Celtic have been particularly left sided in recent weeks.  Play went through Jota, by some margin our most creative force.  This is problematic, as opponents plan for this.  With Tom on the field, we could pivot away from our Portuguese, causing disarray in the Hearts defence.

All of that is a moot point for the games ahead, let’s hope Jota’s hamstring is better for the Cup Final.

I’m not one for writing about referees, as you know, but will touch on this tomorrow.


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  1. the long wait is over on

    NOTTHEBUS on 3RD DECEMBER 2021 12:47 PM



    Great to see Rogic being recognised. On his game, the best player in Scotland,



    Unfortunately when we do look to the bench we are lowering the standard quite dramatically. Changes often mean we are weaker finishing games.



    All the more reason for being more clinical with the regular first half onslaughts





    100% correct and if we don’t deal with it in January our title hopes will founder on every team in Scotland


    getting wise to it , if they aren’t already.



    A typical game plan against us becomes simple.



    1. survive the first 70 minutes to be at worst a goal down


    2. foul and niggle at our players with impunity ( how Hearts didn’t get a yellow card last night


    would be an amazement to anyone outwith Scotland)


    3. after 70 minutes our players – esp usually Rogic – are blown out or , better still, injured


    4. play the rest of the game against a much weaker Celtic , with the likes of Mikey Johnston and Ajeti coming




    5. put on your own subs with fresh legs to try and get an equaliser – a draw’s a great result.



    It’s that simple – depressingly so – and puts a huge pressure on the players who started and are still on after 70.



    That pressure is main reason why I thought last night was a massive result and performance and huge credit goes to Starfelt who was on point from start to finish. If he’d started the season like that we’d be raving about him.

  2. DAVID66 on 3RD DECEMBER 2021 1:36 PM


    I think the Green Brigade are a brilliant addition to our support.







    They need to be engaged by our club, encouraged and nurtured.








    Which would kill them stone dead.

  3. To assist in the biased refs argument, here are the penalty figures since 2016 when a Zombie team came back from the dead. Rangers have the “best” figures for awards and concessions but the margins may not be sufficient to win a clear case of bias, unless someone can add a weighting for how crucial the awards were for the points






    Penalties for (2016-17 onwards)


    (Total / average per league season)


    Aberdeen: 31 / 5.1 (six seasons)


    Celtic: 35 / 5.8 (six seasons)


    Dundee: 17 / 4.3 (four seaons)


    Dundee United: 3 / 1.5 (two seasons)


    Hamilton: 31 / 6.2 (five seasons)


    Hearts: 28 / 5.6 (five seasons)


    Hibs: 31 / 6.2 (five seasons)


    Livingston: 12 / 3 (four seasons)


    Kilmarnock: 31 / 6.2 (five seasons)


    Motherwell: 22 / 3.7 (six seasons)


    Partick Thistle: 4 / 2 (two seasons)


    Rangers: 41 / 6.8 (six seasons)


    Ross County: 17 / 3.4 (five seasons)


    St Johnstone: 30 / 6 (six seasons)


    St Mirren: 15 / 3.8 (four seasons)



    The Ibrox side have won 41 pens in the last five years and have had 17 given against them.



    Celtic closely follow them with 35 spot kicks for and 18 against.



    There is somewhat of a bias towards so-called big clubs with Aberdeen and Hibs both having won more than 30 penalties though Hearts are just under that figure on 28.



    But the Dons are also right up there with the worst for conceding spot kicks with 34.




    Penalties against (2016-17 onwards)


    (Total / average per league season)


    Aberdeen: 34 / 5.7


    Celtic: 18 / 3


    Dundee: 26 / 6.5


    Dundee United: 7 / 3.5


    Hamilton: 31 / 6.2


    Hearts: 16 / 3.2


    Hibs: 20 / 4


    Kilmarnock: 20 / 4


    Livingston: 21 / 5.3


    Motherwell: 40 / 6.7


    Partick Thistle: 13 / 6.5


    Rangers: 17 / 2.8


    Ross County: 31 / 6.2


    St Johnstone: 21 / 3.5


    St Mirren: 24 / 6



    Hamilton also belied their relatively small stature with a high ranking for penalties won during their stay in the Premiership with 31, an average of 6.2 per season (more than Celtic, Hearts and St Johnstone).



    Accies finished with the most penalties received out of all teams in both the curtailed 2019-20 season and the 2017-18 league campaign.



    By far the worst for conceding penalties are Motherwell.



    The Fir Park side have committed a staggering 40 fouls inside the box in the last five years, an average of 6.7 per league season.



    Partick Thistle only spent two seasons in the league during our period of analysis but were among the worst offenders, giving away 13 pens.



    Dundee United have had little luck in the box since their return to the top flight with just three penalties in the 18 months since promotion for an average of 1.5, against seven penalties being conceded.

  4. Good that the thug was caught that threw the bottle.



    Self policing at its best.



    Good to see so many banners in the Green Brigade and around the stadium about not employing the odious Mr Higgins.



    D :)

  5. Setting Free the Bears



    That’s some great work with you. The difficulty with this approach (not a criticism!) is the following;



    ‘The Fir Park side have committed a staggering 40 fouls inside the box in the last five years, an average of 6.7 per league season’.



    I understand of course that you are relaying the facts, penalties conceded/awarded. This is the crux of the matter. You equate the number of fouls conceded in the 18 yard box with the penalties given. In most leagues this would be a good assumption. However, in Scotland we have ‘fouls’ given in the 18 yard box, which are not fouls. As well as ‘fouls’ not given as penalties. This is where stats don’t offer too much, and this is where one team I believe benefits most. I doubt there’s anywhere this can be backed up, without trawling through thousands of hours of games involving the 2012 club. It’s a belief nothing more, but a core one, nevertheless.

  6. Jungle drums suggest Jota was cramp last night, not a hammy.



    …….which is nice, isn’t it?




  7. Do you think the board will announce the appointment of Higgins , I dont not for a minute, the fans may never know , how often would he need to attend the stadium on matchdays, so how would anyone know if he is employed by the club or not?

  8. I thought that while the team collectively tanked on about 65/70 minutes, and for a spell weren’t able to string 2 passes together we did steady things and finished the stronger of the two teams. Its obviously a tactic to play as much of the game in the opposition half when we’re ahead at the end of a game, and pushing for another goal instead of sitting back does seem to be working – we’re not conceding goals at the end of games at the moment. And you can’t argue that we looked more likely to score than they did. It doesn’t do anything for anyone’s blood pressure, though, and its tempting to allow that to be the overriding emotion you take away from a game like last night. But we won, and we’re winning a lot of games by a single goal by not conceding late on.



    Playing collectively at such high levels of intensity in every game will always mean that we have a period when we’ll tire. We do seem to have found a way of getting through those periods without conceding, at least domestically. I don’t think it happens by accident.



    Also such high intensity means that managing the players fitness becomes even more important. The days of picking a first team that we stick by and playing them twice a week are gone. Ange was heavily criticised for subbing Jota along with the other forwards a week ago but he took him off against Leverkusen on the 72nd minute and that was when he tweaked his hamstring last night. We’ve had too many muscle injuries to first team players for Ange not to be thinking about how it can be managed better. We need to get more rest for the first 11 and more involvement for the squad players, key players will pick up strains, pulls and tears if they have to play 2 games a week for months if we play like this.



    I hope Ange isn’t looking at all those hamstring tweaks as bad luck. We need to mitigate against the stress playing his way puts on the players bodies.



    Watching us against the team in third, the night after them against a team who’s only victory in the league in six games came after being behind to a team that played half the game with ten men, tells me we’re the better team at the moment. Their new manager bounce is nearly done, they seem to be heading back to where they were a month ago. However, last night made me think that their bigger more expensive squad might prove to be the difference, we could be looking at two months before January signings are in the door and settled.



    Still think we’ll win it, though

  9. BIG WAVY on 3RD DECEMBER 2021 2:14 PM


    Jungle drums suggest Jota was cramp last night, not a hammy.


    ….which is nice, isn’t it?







    Big Wavy – I hope so.



    D :)

  10. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Spent a late lunch break reading back last night’s and today’s posts.



    This one made me laugh out loud






    Edinburgh bypass part shut, great😈

  11. Ange has some decisions to make now for Sunday. I’d be tempted to play CalMac on the left. MJ isn’t really an option for me, he simply is t good enough. He could play Forrest out left and Abada on the right but Abada hasn’t been good recently. If we get past Sunday we’ve a couple of the easier league games ahead of us which will buy us time to get Jota back.



    Any win on Sunday no matter how we play and I’ll be delighted.

  12. Nerves aside, because we are human and we are scarred from last season, I thought the team looked well drilled and the system sound for most of the game.



    I’m wondering if we are going to have to give Giakoumakis an hour on Sunday? Kyogo wide right, jamesey left? Am I mad in the head?




    Giakoumakis is out for 2-3 weeks I think.



    We are back in the insane situation of only having 1 striker (such is Ange’s lack of faith in Ajeti).



    I think Ange has created a good team, but we have an incredibly weak squad.



    I have every faith in Ange to win the league but zero in the Board.

  14. Against Scottish opposition Celtic haven’t conceded a goal beyond 67 minutes in the last 15 games



    We might get tired but we don’t concede

  15. What’s actually wrong with Giakoumakis? Getting a bit worried about his signing. Definitely need another striker in Jan

  16. I think we should play Forest on the left wing and Abada on the right at the weekend.


    Big difference too when our”left back” moved to the right.



    As for the idiot bottle thrower, he should get his hole stretched, idiot. Another fine for Celtic and ammo for our enemy, WTF




  17. McPhailbhoy @12-12 pm





    can anyone say how much referees and 4th officials


    are paid per match in Scotland ?

  18. Gerry 123



    £800 per match.


    If they are in the UEFA category they also get the gravy train to Europe. ‘Elite’ get $6,500 per match down to a paltry $1,000 for Third, whatever that is. Is Gollum not an ahem, ‘Elite’ referee, causing mayhem all over the continent! Nice little earner when you consider that we don’t have professional referees in Scotland, in every sense of the word!

  19. BIG WAVY on 3RD DECEMBER 2021 2:14 PM



    Jungle drums suggest Jota was cramp last night, not a hammy.




    …….which is nice, isn’t it?







    Reading back not sure a few folk on here do think it’s nice.



    Some of the rhetoric about our club, players and support is quite shocking…for me anyway.



    Can’t decide whether it’s attention seeking, trolling or just ugly huns😂🤣😂



    Anyway thought we played well against the mini huns who’ll do anything for a result. They, along with so many teams are so lacking in class. Their manager hated us as a player and still does. He should have been sent off for interfering with play when he kicked the ball back onto the park to waste time. As P67 says time wasting.


    So pleased we beat them. Some time soon we are going to click and give some team an absolute doing. 🍀

  20. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Thanks to poster who posted clip of Ange interview with BBC.



    Well done Ange.



    The sheer arrogance of that BBC reporter us simply staggering.



    “You can understand how he (Neilson) feels”



    Anyone but Celtic is the clear editorial baseline of the quite a few.



    IMHO, time our club (from top to bottom) got bolshie with this shower.

  21. I am trying hard to be positive but Young James is at this time a luxury we cannot afford,2 misses last night and not a lot of gut busting contributions.


    Of course he has in the past contributed but I feel he is always careful when chasing back or confronting opposition.


    Never tackles,avoids physical contact,now I realise that’s not his game but you can’t always be selected on your terms.

  22. Jane Lewis the Motherwell fan, she has tried a few leading questions with Ange and you can sense her blushing as he destroyed her point, the nervous haha is a give away

  23. Tom McLaughlin on




    Celtic won’t be punished for the plastic bottle thrown from the stands. It wasn’t a UEFA tie.

  24. My friends in Celtic



    A couple of points from an enjoyable watch last night and reading CQN.



    Don’t get obsessed about who said what on a TV outlet: Exercise your control and turn the volume down.



    It’s just as well the bottle throwing incident wasn’t in a European game.


    Don’t agree with a life ban though. Only the most henious crimes deserve anything for life. It was crass and silly and maybe emphasises the clubs thought process in regards to a head of security.



    In part our songbook is sooooooo yesterday and not inclusive. It is not atmospheric, its just embarrassing and cringworthy. Ie. Orange bast@rds, bombs, rifles and grenades and good to be Roman Catholic.


    Seriously?????? Approaching 2022.



    Boots the chemist used to sell cigerettes. What was acceptable years ago is not necessarily acceptable or appropriate now. Education, education, education.



    Madhun did not have the worst refereeing performance. Reminds me of the boy who cried wolf on here at times.


    We will get a really really disgraceful refereeing performance at some point and nobody will listen to us.



    If the goal was for the other team, I would be screening for offside.



    We deserved our win. Ange style is the perfect antidote to cold, wet December evenings. Let’s not underestimate our performance against a well organised team with a superb goalkeeper.



    HH to all, the journey continues.

  25. i was at the game last night, i sit near the green brigade 2 plastic bottles were thrown, at different times, also a couple of coins. I am 100% behind the green brigade who bring colour and a great atmosphere. This happens again? ban them until they grow up. you do not agree, look at the media,drooling over it.



    own goal? its an own goal hat trick.

  26. anyone charged ever for the invasions at ibrox and the bottles, batteries, coins and drinks thrown at brown and griff ?



    any outrage from the press ?

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