Ntcham will be wondering, what more for a regular start?


After an ominous start, Celtic coped well with PSG’s superstars before they retired at halftime.  The midfield, in particular, looked effective.  Mohamed Elyounoussi, Callum McGregor and Olivier Ntcham were always comfortable.  The latter must be wondering, what more for a regular starting place?  I would not know how to answer that question.

The first half goals were irritating as inattentiveness contributed to them, taking the shine off what I thought was a really good demonstration of why we should play three at the back.  I know the club are busy with recruitment targets, but the shape of the team Neil Lennon wants to play will feed into details, like how many central defenders we need.  At least two, I suggest.  Nir Bitton does well, especially in possession, but his instincts are not those of a central defender.

It was great to see Tom Rogic back and looking the part.  We missed his presence in midfield for much of 2019, to the extent that my expectations of him have lowered.  It will be interesting to see how his fitness builds from this point onwards.

Hamilton Accies a week on Sunday will be a different challenge, alas.

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  1. Neustadt-Braw on

    BANKIEBHOY1 on 22ND JULY 2020 12:04 PM


    Our achievements are remarkable, our history our culture our existence all hard fought and won against a multiplicity of hardships and hurdles.





    We have brazen bigoted enemies; seen and unseen………..and yet we have stuck at it. On top of what’s already achieved this will be the season of a generation The Season Of Our Lives……and we might all consider pulling together.







    If anyone’s still anxious…they might take a breath…..calm down…and count to Ten!

















    smiley bankies rule ok thing




  2. If we need 2 CB’s we also need at least one GK, a LB, at least one winger and possibly a striker (If Bayo and Griff are a write-off)

  3. the shape of the team Neil Lennon wants to play will feed into details, like how many central defenders we need. At least two, I suggest.



    is that a hint that someone is for the off or a current lack of resources/quality.

  4. Consistency? I’ve seen games where Ntcham looks class in the first half, then the player who emerges for the second looks like he’s never been introduced to a football before. He’s a difficult player to trust with a start.



    I was pleased to see the confidence in our team yesterday, and the young players feeding from that and growing into the game. Frimpong in particular.



    Tom Rogic, where would he be if not for the injury problems? He’s one player who can look totally world class on the field, but on any return seems to take a month to recover back to his full ability, at which point he generally gets injured again. Rinse and repeat.

  5. Mr Braw…………..




    Thanks awfy for that!



    Every Blessed Word Meant!




  6. would like to see elhamed play the right side of a back 3 with frimpong in front of him playing wide right, but he seems to have issues for ever being injured ,as per rogic

  7. Jocks Immortal Lions on

    Sonsoferin, agree with your comments on Ntcham. We all know he has it in his locker it’s consistency he lacks. Hopefully this season will be the making of him.

  8. After watching us retain the ball, squeeze up and put PSG under pressure for a 15 minute spell in that first half, any doubts that we wouldn’t win the league quickly evaporated. We are by a length the best team in Scotland.



    Now we have to strengthen for Europe – GK in particular. I’m hoping we keep all our players as we’ll need proven quality for the busy periods on the horizon.

  9. SYDNEYTIM on 22ND JULY 2020 9:02 AM


    Blue grass. John Kennedy has virtually zero experience at playing and no experience at tactics



    He was the fitness coach who was responsible for putting the cones out during the BR time



    And is well known for being Pl man



    Apart from Neil we have no experience in the football department






    how do you acheive all this, without knowing tactics ? you dont half type some lillian.



    Coaching career


    After retiring as a player, Kennedy became a first team scout for Celtic in 2010,[49] working in this capacity for the club until 2011, travelling around Europe to help find new players for the club.[50][51]



    Kennedy gained coaching qualifications and worked as a coach with the club’s U19 squad in season 2011–12, and the Development Squad (reserve team) from 2012 to 2014. He lead the Celtic youth team to a league an cup double in 2011–12 and 2012–13 and a third straight title in 2013–14.[52][53][54] Kennedy also oversaw the Under-19 team compete in the NextGen Series in 2011–12, a pan-European competition for youth teams.[53]



    He became first team coach in 2014 after the appointment of Ronny Deila as manager,[55][56] winning the Scottish league championship in each of Deila’s two seasons in charge, as well as the Scottish League Cup in 2014–15.[57] He continued in the role under Brendan Rodgers from 2016, and Celtic won domestic trebles in both 2016–17 and 2017–18.[58] In February 2019, Kennedy was promoted to assistant manager when Neil Lennon replaced Rodgers as manager.[59]

  10. Everton have agreed to buy Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg from Southampton for £25 million. All that money for a player going into the final year of his deal



    Despite the predictions it looks as if the EPL transfer marketplace is going to be unaffected by Covid.



    That doesn’t bode well for our ability to hold on to our best players if money like that is flying around.

  11. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Jullien and Ajer are first choice CBs,so buy another 2,and pay them to sit on the bench?

  12. If last nights display is anything to go by we are in for a tense time in europe this year think we have enough to handle SPFL but to many underperformers final pass attrocious their first goal wayward pass to Eddy intercepted five touches later in the back of our net.Ntcham floats in and out of game same with Elyonoussi Ajers mind elsewhere and a £40 million centre forward with no service.Goalie out of the three games was only at fault with one goal and defence left him exposed and Mr Bitton is not a centre half.

  13. !!BADA BING!! on 22ND JULY 2020 12:55 PM


    Jullien and Ajer are first choice CBs,so buy another 2,and pay them to sit on the bench?






    Paul was suggesting that we are going to play with 3 CB’s more this season.

  14. !!BADA BING!! on 22ND JULY 2020 1:03 PM


    Timaloy- El Hamed, Bitton……






    Elhamed is never fit.



    Bitton is ok but we should be looking for better options.

  15. I fear if ntcham had the correct mental attitude he wouldn’t be anywhere near the Scottish game

  16. I’m glad we agree on Bittons defensive qualities Paul.


    If we are going to play 3 at the back, I would like to see a naturally left sided central defender signed. Ajer is very poor on his left side

  17. sid @2:09 am



    SFTB So you’ve moved the goalposts from proving his superiority to sounds like an accusation of inferiority, nice little pirouette. This is what you’ve inferred from my post, wrongly as it happens.



    There is no goalpost-moving or pirouetting involved on my side. The assertion that NFL is inferior to BR is exactly the same assertion involved in stating that BR is superior to NFL. I used your own words, not mine. ou stated that NFL had to “catch up” with BR’s record and you said that you doubted he would.



    So, to avoid further wriggle room- can you answer htese questions?



    Do you believe BR has a superior record with Celtic compared to NFL?


    Do you believe that NFL has an inferior record with Celtic compared to BR?






    I think its far fairer to compare BRs record of the last nearly 3 seasons to Neil Lennons 3 seasons which are back to back, the landscape was somewhat different 9 yrs ago for a variety of reasons.



    I think it’s tortuous to do so. Why omit the last season and a half where he took on BR’s squad and did everything with it that BR did, including losing at the last 32 of the Europa?


    The league was lost when NFL took over in March 2010- He won every league game he contested but lost to Ross Co. in the SC semi final. He then had 2 years with Rangers in the league, losing the first by a point and winning the 2nd by 20 points. His next two leagues were won without Sevco in them so, I accept that this disadvantages BR in comparison. All the more reason for including the last season and a half where NFL had to deal with them again.


    I cannot credit BR for “nearly 3 seasons” as he left halfway through his final season with only a LC won. That is precisely the reason for the Celtic support anger with BR, not his record. Nobody is criticising what BR achieved; I am disputing that what he achieved was palpably superior to what other managers did and I provided the stats to prove it. NFL, WGS and MON can hold their heads high in BR’s company and say they were as successful as he was in managing Celtic. Jock can look down on all of them and pat their heads. Hell, even Ronny Deila can claim he delivered 2 league titles and one Europa last 32 so, he is not far off that achievement level.





    I absolutely love what BR brought us but just for the record im also a big fan of NFL.



    Nobody is disputing your love or fan-status for both managers (though love does sound a stronger sentiment than being a fan of (unless you mean fanatic). But you did say NFL had to “catch-up” and you did say that, despite being a fan, you doubted he would. Does that not sound as though you hold one in higher esteem?





    Which brings me to my main point, why do fans indulge in a constant game of top trumps? To constantly snipe and put the boot into one of our most successful managers in our history says much more about the sniper than our ex manager. He left us 9M for his move, 8pts clear in the league, still in the Scottish cup and an unprecedented 50M in the bank, your stats don’t include that little gem. Quite frankly we’ve never been in a better position in our history.



    I think you still have to escape the charge that you were playing “Top Trumps” yourself.


    I can only speak for myself. I loved what BR tried to do here. He tried to make us braver in the way we played against superior teams; he did not die wondering what might have been. In his first season in Europe, it seemed to be working with our two draws against Man City and one with “That German Team”. But the Barca result gave us cause for concern- a record defeat (7:0). This concern was further exacerbated by the 2nd season of CL where PSG gave us 2 heavy defeats and we only gained credit for an away win in Belgium (negated by the home tie defeat) and a narrow home loss to Bayerm- small comforts but enough to earn us a Last 32 Europa. Brendan’s 3rd Euro campaign got us a respectable 3 wins (2 against the bottom seed) and 3 defeats to finish 2nd in Europa Group and earn a defeat to Valencia in both the home and away legs. No objective reading of the stats can be tortured to gain the view that he made us better in Europe. Neil matched the last 32 Europa in the following year, having topped a Europ a Group, something BR never did and beating an Italian team in Italy, a first for the club. I am not arguing (yet) that Neil is a better manager with better results, merely that he is not, clearly not, an inferior manager. The results do not bear that out.



    P.S. I think we were in a better position historically between 1966 and 1974.







    He had a clash of personalities with his boss, unless you’ve been in that position you’ll not know that its inevitable that one employee will leave and it certainly wasn’t going to be Peter Lawwell. For people to continually hold a grudge and continue to rewrite history for someone who was so successful and BR was the bad guy and Peter Lawell was the good guy, i question the motivation and feel sad for those who harbour those grudges, life’s way to short and precious for that imo.



    He spoke well of his relationship with PL and he still speaks with affection about our club. Yet he left us mid-season and he tried to leave earlier. Neither PL nor DD wanted him to go initially but lost trust in him for trying to engineer a move. To be perfectly clear, I have no problem with BR or KT going back/going to the EPL (or Spain or Germany)- it’s where any ambitious and/or money-minded footballer would want to go. I don’t blame John McGinn for choosing Villa over us; just spare us the sob stories. They all remain as fans of Celtic and no-one can take that away from them but they all chose to leave Celtic or not cometo us, So I’ll go on valuing the players who stay, even the poorer footballers, because they are ours.



    So, I plead not guilty to holding grudges. I don’t want his teams to lose; I frankly don’t care what they do. But, when he is used as a stick to beat the current incumbent, I reserve the right to present the actual unburnished record of what both achieved at Celtic and it does not show BR to be the better manager.



    I can’t hep feeling that you are arguing with Paul67 or other posters on this point, not me.






    I personally know 4 ex Celtic player’s not one of those 4 players sing the praises of Peter Lawwell, that alone tells me this was no good guy bad guy scenario its been painted. I’ll leave it there, where is the love?



    I’m not surprised. I have heard some Lisbon Lions speak very disparagingly about Jock Stein’s handling of their finances and transfer. They’d still acknowledge he was good at nuch of his job. I don’t hear many ex-players speaking the praises of the CEOs of their former clubs. The players are ususally looking for more money and the CEO is trying to not give them it easily; there’s bound to be tension.


    But I have no inside informants so I am in no position to judge the merits here. All I know is that BR tried to leave before PL or DD wanted him to go or tried to make it difficult for him to stay, if indeed, they did that at all.

  18. …..☘️☘️☘️☘️….








    …☘️……………. ☘️




















  19. RON67 on 22ND JULY 2020 1:41 PM


    Ajer is very poor on his left side







    add his right to that as well






    and hopeless in the air, and slow

  20. SAINT STIVS on 22ND JULY 2020 1:45 PM


    RON67 on 22ND JULY 2020 1:41 PM





    Ajer is very poor on his left side















    add his right to that as well














    and hopeless in the air, and slow



    and crap in goals

  21. The ex-players who line up to have pops at the club in whatever guise, I personally think they are not qualified to comment on the business model we use. They dont know what they are talking about.



    Kind of like supporters telling the manager what the deficiencies are of a player.

  22. Pingback: Ntcham will be wondering, what more for a regular start? Paul67 - Celtic FC News Aggregation

  23. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Good stuff Pablo and very interesting responses.



    Timaloy29 @ 12:27 – v.good point on size of shopping list.



    Definitely need a GK.



    Am torn on the LB position – We spent £4.5m on two guys last year but it still feels a bit “unfulfilled”?



    Johnny Hayes was nothing more than a 6½ / 10 cover (IMHO) but his departure has weakened the position.



    Torn also on striker. A fully fit Leigh is £8m bracket comfortably. Can’t see us going there so think we need to recuperate LG (again).



    Ron67 @ 12:36 – agree with you on Elhamed. A natural right side of three centre back IF he can stay fit.



    In general, I’ve come to lower my expectations of transfer windows.



    Brendan Rodgers first window was 4 years ago.



    We brought in five genuine first team contenders – Toure, Sinclair, Dembele, De Vries, Gamboa.



    We’ve never brought in as many first team contenders in a single window since.



    Would be surprised if this one was different.



    Timaloy29 @ 12:48 …



    £25m for Höjbjerg? Incredible !



    Hail hail



    Keep The Faith

  24. weebobbycollins on

    Saint Stivs …well done for highlighting John Kennedy’s career progress! Much more than a cone man…

  25. Didn’t Ajer come to us as a midfield player?


    Never a fan of ” Oh your’e 6ft tall so you can play CB”


    It’s a specialist position.




    I’d like to see Ajer getting a run in midfield’



    He can go past players and his finish against the sheep was sublime!



    He played midfield for his previous club and was a regular scorer.



    But………..I’d prefer Frimpong was played further forward as he,



    Canny defend


    Canny jump


    Is not very strong


    Canny read the game



    But he is pacy and can go past the fullback!



    I’m waiting on a vacancy in senior football management.

  27. NFL’s compares favourably with Brendan Rodgers.


    However BR had the ” x factor ” , when he spoke people listened.



    I remember a jam packed singing pub go completely quiet during BR’s after match interview. You could hear a pin drop.



    I don’t think I will ever see that again.


    I will never criticise Brendan Rodgers who I felt ( and still do ) was the best fit manager for our club.



    Not the best way to depart, but thanks for the memories.




  28. I’m all for Ajer being given a run in midfield. He is great at carrying the ball forward (and at pace!!). I don’t know why he was drafted into central defence. He has too many glaring deficences there.

  29. Based on his willingness to learn, a career changing incident that snatched away his chosen path, then working under how many managers now ? winning trophies with reserve and youth teams, and respected by his peers, then yes, John meets the criteria to be an assistant manager.



    If NFL trusts him, then why should supporters question his contribution.






    The Story Of… Damien Duff’s praise of John Kennedy’s work rate


    By: Joe Donnelly on 17 Jun, 2020 17:01



    ‘The Story Of’ is a web series dedicated to small but special tales from Celtic’s illustrious history. Here, ex-first team coach Damien Duff hails the work rate of a former colleague.



    SPEAKING after his departure from Paradise, Damien Duff described his time at Celtic as the best of his sporting life. One man who made his time in Glasgow so memorable is assistant manager John Kennedy – whose work-rate the Irishman could not praise enough.



    After moving into coaching, Duff joked about the stresses of working a 9-5 job for the first time in his career, and said any player who moves from the pitch to the dugout will face the same rude awakening. When Duff made the jump to first team coach, he said Kennedy’s idea of ‘regular hours’ was even more demanding still.



    “Let me tell you, working with John Kennedy, that man would stay at Lennoxtown until 8 or 9pm at night!” Duff told the Celtic View. “I might have said I was getting used to a 9-5 when I first started coaching, but when I moved up to the first-team, I was more from 8am right through until who knows when.



    “But seriously, it was amazing, and it was great to work with all of these people at the club. I do like my sleep, though, so I’ve been enjoying catching up with it at home during this down-time. The players work hard, but they don’t have a clue. When I was a player, I didn’t have a clue just how much work that goes in behind the scenes.



    “I imagine when the time comes, a lot of the boys will go into coaching themselves, and they’ll all get the shock of their lives whenever they do make the switch to coaching.”




    Duff added: “Neil Lennon is the best gaffer in Scotland, and John Kennedy is the best assistant manager around – I’ve worked with many coaches in my life, but John is one of the best coaches in the world, without a doubt.



    “It’s been amazing learning off him, and Stevie Woods as well, he’s well-respected all around the world and a world-class coach. Align that with the players. The players are the best group in the country, amazing characters, amazing talent.



    “The gaffer has been around for most of the run, so has John. Nine is great. People outside of the club can put as many asterisks beside it as they want, but nine is nine and that’s not going to change. We deserved the league. The lads after Christmas were incredible, and left everyone behind.



    “Nine is done, but knowing the manager, the staff, the players – nine is forgotten about now, and 10 is the holy grail. They’ll all be looking at that now. I’m celebrating nine with a wonderful and humble club, and now it’s on to 10.”

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