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The tried and tested, ‘Callum McGregor at left back, strategy’ proved predictably reliable last night.  Callum is not a left back and throughout the game had no instincts for the position, lacking muscle memory and positional awareness.

His absence from the middle of the park, where he exerts a metronomic control over Celtic, had a greater impact.  Neither Scott Brown nor Olivier Ntcham can do this.  Two successive managers have now tried this strategy.  The outcome is so clear, it is inconceivable that Neil Lennon will contemplate doing so again against moderately difficult opponents.  Last night, he learned what you knew.

After the game, Neil said, “In the first-half we were so passive. No tempo, I don’t know where that came from.”  I know where it came from: play without your metronome and you lose tempo.

I am sure Scott Brown would have apologised to his teammates after the game.  The ‘Forrest, Christie, Johnston and Edouard Show’ got Celtic out of trouble.  Cluj looked like conceding every time they were under pressure, but Scott’s handball to concede a penalty fortified the Romanians, who were never again subdued.  Scott was also on his heels at the start of the move that led to the first goal, did not stop the cross and did not close his man at the third goal.

With his injury profile, I have been anticipating signs of Scott slowing down for years, but let’s be clear – this is NOT that sign, he still has plenty in the tank.  This was no more than a bad day, however, it is time we accepted the fact that the only man in the squad that can dictate tempo from the middle of the park is Callum McGregor.

Callum played more minutes than anyone did in world football last season.  For the player, this is a heroic achievement, but it is an awful indictment of Celtic.  It means we are too dependent on him, we ask too much of him and we risk ruining him.

Buy someone who can share the burden, or watch Callum and Celtic deteriorate in tandem.  And please, learn that having a man play more minutes than anyone else is the world is not a boast, it is a problem.

Going 3-2 ahead, with 14 minutes on the clock, game management should have kicked in.  Boli Bolingo should have come on (for Mikey Johnston, if he was tiring), McGregor moved to the middle and Cluj would not have been allowed possession beyond the halfway line.  Instead, nothing happened until we conceded again, when an unedifying two substitutes finally broke whatever shape we had.  Bayo must be wondering what he has got into.

Last season’s failure at the same stage to AEK Athens was mitigated by our main central defender being on strike and our manager playing games while saying who-knows-what to Moussa Dembele.   This time, there is no mitigation

Those who said we were going backwards with Neil are justifiably pointing to this and saying “Told you so”, and that decision sits with our board.  Unlike some, I will tell you when they do well, and they often do, a historic treble, treble, is proof, but we were knocked out of the Champions League by a team with a tiny fraction of our budget, due to a strategic planning failure to be ready for this day.  After last night, I have no counter argument.

This feels as low a point as Bratislava.  It cannot be acceptable.

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449 Comments

  1. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Travelling back to Glasgow last night, missed the game so cannot comment on the performance.

     

     

    Where do we go from here?

     

     

    We probably need to take stock for a couple of days then reflect on whether this the beginning of the end of a really good thing OR a blip along the way.

     

     

    Lenny manages from the gut ( his attitude to Jozo and SS would indicate this).

     

     

    Nothing wrong with this approach if he is surrounded by a strong structure in the “football department of the organisation”.

     

     

    But he is not.

     

     

    Something has to change.

     

     

    Hail hail.

  2. Is the puppet still in charge ? I know he is still in the building —-but is he still in charge.

     

     

    Blaming the players is typical of him as per his Hibs exit.

     

     

    Lawwell will be doing his Angelo Dundee impersonation and asking him to go into the ring for one more round. Lawwell & Lennon are made for each other. It’s ironic they will bring each other down. Double KO for me.

  3. The Comfortable Collective on

    NATKNOW on 14TH AUGUST 2019 6:56 PM

     

    It’s O’Dea. Darren O’Dea. If you’re gonna slag off Celtic people, then at least know howe to spell their fucking name.

     

     

    And we’re looking for them to deliver our 9th title in a row – they already gave us the 8th title. That was last year season.

     

     

    ——

     

     

    Calm down dear. The point I was making is this is the level of coach that Celtic are aspiring to this season. Ex Dundee, East Kilbride, Motherwell coach. Aye. Ok.

     

     

    Oh and before you get your knickers in a twist again about me spelling one of the “Celtic People”‘s name wrong, you should have seen what people were calling Darren on here in December 2017 playing for Dundee after he put Tom Rogic out of the game with a vicious tackle for three months. Nasty names. Very nasty.

     

     

    But I’ve never put myself forward as an expect on spelling on here, so apologies for not getting his surname right.

     

     

    P.s. Also. If you are going to slag off people for their spelling abilities, your really should learn how to spell the word “how”. Its only three letters for fucks sake.

  4. I know there’s a lot of passion on the blog but have we done away with the no sweary words rule

     

    Asking for a friend

  5. the collective collective

     

     

    Well you are quite good at spelling swear words to be fair. So, I wouldn’t beat yourself up about it.

  6. The Comfortable Collective on

    CELTIC MAC on 14TH AUGUST 2019 7:48 PM

     

    the collective collective

     

     

    Well you are quite good at spelling swear words to be fair. So, I wouldn’t beat yourself up about it.

     

     

    —-

     

     

    Cheers old bean. Much appreciated.

  7. prestonpans bhoys on

    Gene 7:46

     

     

    That was exactly my thoughts, there was a time you would get a yellow card😱

  8. If it’s true that Lenny said he’s building his team round Broony, then heaven help us. Love Broony to bits but building a team around a 35 year old , gimme strength. Why not build a team round Denis Law!!!!

     

    We must dream and build a team round some young guy like KT, had he not gone.

     

    But, it’s always the same story with Celtic, always has, always will be, but I cannot understand WHY!!!!

     

     

    KINGLuBO

  9. The Auld Heid/BRTH our whoever you really are:-)

     

     

    So you think, or at least consider it a possibility the strategy(goals) have changed and Champions League Qualification is not currently the main goal, but winning 9 and then 10 is?

     

     

    It is possible of course, but do you really think NFL’s tactics last night were with that in mind?

     

    As in, without actually throwing the game, he threw the game?

     

     

    That is a stretch for me, but I’ll add this, in 10/20/30 years time, what would be remembered, winning 10 in a row, or qualifying/missing qualification for the CL for a season, or even missing out on Europa.

     

    This 10 in a row is a big deal historically.

  10. THE COMFORTABLE COLLECTIVE on 14TH AUGUST 2019 7:36 PM

     

     

    NATKNOW on 14TH AUGUST 2019 6:56 PM

     

     

    It’s O’Dea. Darren O’Dea. If you’re gonna slag off Celtic people, then at least know howe to spell their fucking name.

     

     

    And we’re looking for them to deliver our 9th title in a row – they already gave us the 8th title. That was last year season.

     

     

    ——

     

     

    Calm down dear. The point I was making is this is the level of coach that Celtic are aspiring to this season. Ex Dundee, East Kilbride, Motherwell coach. Aye. Ok.

     

     

    Oh and before you get your knickers in a twist again about me spelling one of the “Celtic People”‘s name wrong, you should have seen what people were calling Darren on here in December 2017 playing for Dundee after he put Tom Rogic out of the game with a vicious tackle for three months. Nasty names. Very nasty.

     

     

    But I’ve never put myself forward as an expect on spelling on here, so apologies for not getting his surname right.

     

     

    P.s. Also. If you are going to slag off people for their spelling abilities, your really should learn how to spell the word “how”. Its only three letters for fucks sake.

     

    ————————————————————————–

     

     

    You’re not an “expect” on spelling?

     

     

    :-)))))))

     

     

    You got the ex-Celtic player’s name wrong. Twice – so clearly spelling’s not the issue. It’s O’Dea – he was with us 6 years. It’s only four letters.

     

     

    But carry on with you’re hyperbolic drivel…

  11. When writing the phrase “…for f***s sake…”, please remember that an apostrophe should be used, i.e. –

     

     

    – “…for f***’s sake…”

     

     

    Or to put it another way

     

     

    – “…for the sake of f**k…”

     

     

    Let’s keep the standards up, bhoys.

     

     

    HH

     

    BGFC

  12. First of all great to see BRTH posting, Secondly what has happened to the CQN sweary rule, in past 24 hours there has been more swearing then the previous 10 years, Where are the f**king Moderators.

     

     

    In the first 5 European games and first 2 SPFL games we came through with flying colours but last night everything possible went wrong. Lennon, Brown & Bain were the main culprits, I’ll excuse CalMac as he was played out of position, but all 3 were heroes many times for us. So do we fling them all under a bus or do we give them a chance to redeem themselves .

     

    Lenny’s credibility is now under threat , but he had the team playing well up to this, the next few games are critical for him, Bain hasn’t looked as assured as last year and it’s time to give Gordon the jersey. Unfortunately Brooney seems to be showing a bit of wear & tear, and is no longer an automatic pick but bloody hell he owes us nothing what a player he has been for us , an absolute legend.

     

    He can still play a big part this season but his game time needs proper management.

     

    Beyond that our Achilles heel is our defence, we are scoring for fun but past couple of games have shipped 6 goals.

     

    We need a settled back four, we paid big money in Celtic terms for Julien, he should be up to the task.

     

    Elhamed looks OK, I’d like to see 2 of Julien, Jozo & Bitton as central defenders & push Ajer into midfield.

     

    It’s obviously Boli or Hayes for the other slot unless we go back to the market.

     

    We are all very down & depressed at the moment and all the conspiracy theories would drive you mental, but all that has happened is we lost one game of football. The importance of the game & the bizarre manner of our defeat has magnified everything but it is still just one defeat.

     

    We can & we will recover from this, we need a good month & win our next 6 games to restore our faith & confidence, the recovery starts Saturday.

  13. The Comfortable Collective on

    PRESTONPANS BHOYS on 14TH AUGUST 2019 7:52 PM

     

    Gene 7:46

     

     

    That was exactly my thoughts, there was a time you would get a yellow card😱

     

     

    —-

     

     

    When I joined CQN back in 2009 or 2010 I was of the same mind. No need for profanity when discussing football. Especially when the vast majority of posters are Celtic supporters.

     

     

    An honorable exception back in time days was ‘Edward Ursus’ a bluenose who was a valuable addition to this site. A supporter of the rangers but some one who’s opinion was to be listened to.

     

     

    However around this time another kind of poster also became prevalent on CQN. Nasty right wing bigots.

     

     

    Now. I’m not talking about people with right wing views. Macjay still posts on here. Another old favourite was Philvis Returns. Both have right wing views. Fair play to them.

     

     

    Both are welcome contributors. Even though I dont agree with anything they say in terms of politics. I certainly dont have any right to question what they say.

     

     

    However. Back to the bigots. ‘Kojo’ and his sidekick ‘the singing detective’ used to post regularly on here. They regularly posted the most bigoted anti muslim posts on here. Vile. Really vile posts.

     

     

    Ar the very least these bigoted pricks were indulged on here. I remember Paul 67 actually welcoming back Kojo onto CQN after he had been absent for a long time after surgery.

     

     

    Back then, if you said cunt, fuck or such like you were likely to be yellow carded. But these bigoted posts would remain.

     

     

    Since then, I have perhaps too liberally used swear words because if the racist bigotry of much loved posters like Kojo can go unopposed by many on here, then fuck you. I’ll swear.

     

     

    Cue – “Kojo wasnae racist. In fact he was dead funny” posts. Yawn.

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

    One thing which was brought up in support of Neil’s appointment (and to use as a stick to beat BR) and again since last night, is his past European record; the impression being that Neil had one up over BR in terms of European football. I think the position is a bit off.

     

     

    The highs during Neil’s first stint were certainly higher than under BR; Neil reached the last 16 of the CL and BR didn’t. However, the group we were in that year consisted of Benfica and Spartak vying for that 2nd spot- that’s certainly no Barca/City or Bayern/PSG, as BR faced. Nonetheless, a great achievement to get through the group, even if the last 16 that year resulted in a 5-0 aggregate score (notwithstanding some disgraceful officiating at CP).

     

     

    However, looking at the other three seasons in Neil’s first stint makes uncomfortable reading:

     

     

    – 1st season: knocked out 4-2 on aggregate by both Braga and Utrecht (4-0 in Holland)- no European football of any guise;

     

     

    2nd season: knocked out by Sion (3-1 away) which would have resulted in no European football, but saved by the bell- they played an incorrectly registered player! Finished third in the group- no post-Christmas football.

     

     

    -4th season: in the qualifying round we lost 2-0 away to Shakhter Karagandy but turned it around with a 3-0 at home (courtesy of a last minute winner). Group stages we finished bottom of a group consisting of Barca, Milan and Ajax- Milan finished with 9 points, Ajax 8 and we were a distant last with 3; while Ajax drew twice with Milan, we had an aggregate score of 5-0 (this Milan team finished 8th in the league that year and Milan haven’t been back in the CL since).

     

     

    The truth is that Neil had a magnificent group stage in one season but aside from that it was a pretty poor show. The scenes of Barca 2-1 and Tony f*****g Watt will live long in the memory, but maybe it skews our perception of the period more generally.

     

     

    For old time sake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74BrJXa-n3U

  15. don’t post much on here now, but ffs see what I did there no swearys, get feckin real ghuys we are a shambles don’t know what game the happy clappers were watching but it was not last nights game,.dont give them a brown hapenny.hh.

  16. Wonder what Pl thinks of BR giving Seething G Leicester’s all time highest scoring midfielder with most international appearances on loan for a season?

  17. Very disappointed with last night.

     

    I hope we don’t get to Europa League groups.

     

    We now need to concentrate on league cup and league.

     

    Europe doesn’t matter, and will be a distraction.

     

    Win the league. That’s what matters.

  18. TCC

     

    Disappointed with that post – sort of 2 wrongs making a right argument.

     

    Not for me

     

     

    Night all

  19. The Comfortable Collective on

    NATKNOW on 14TH AUGUST 2019 8:02 PM

     

     

    Yes!! I’m not an ‘expect’ In spelling.

     

     

    Did you not seen the wrong use of “your” as well.

     

     

    Thought if I was going to get someone to bite it would be that one.

     

     

    There’s another one to spot as well if you have time on your hands.

     

     

    Keep biting. I’m here all night.

     

     

    Actually. I’m away. Thumbs up!

  20. Didn’t play a football to a high level unless you call turning out for The Vogue in the Sunday Glasgow Amateur League the pinnacle but know enough to say players don’t get fit or used to playing in a system by sitting on the bench. Jozo can’t play on plastic so by default is a back up in My opinion , Jullien and Ayer should play every game, including Saturday and that should be it until injury or a real and sustained drop in form. Too much chopping and changing – settle the team, settle the fans. Has the search party found Shved yet – another weird decision by NFL.

  21. TCC

     

    No it’s ignoring the blog standards / rules – or at least as I understood them to be

     

     

    Beginning to sound like my dad

  22. And another thing…..Cluj were a dirty, sly team of players. Many have praised Petrescu for getting one over us but his team were a disgrace to their so called profession

  23. The Comfortable Collective on

    No more sweary words from me.

     

     

    Night night.

     

     

    When will Phivis return?

  24. AuroraBorealis79 on

    No it’s ignoring the blog standards / rules – or at least as I understood them to be

     

     

     Beginning to sound like my dad

     

     

     

     

    It’s not in line with the ‘bog standard rules’ would be a more appropriate statement

  25. Before I definitely go

     

     

    Before newco played hibs someone on here posted that newco were 1 loss away from meltdown. Well the sentiment was right just got the team wrong

  26. Did we always respond so aggressively and negatively to defeats such as this one?

     

    Has eight years of local success — including three years of unbridled success –turned us into something akin to Der Hun in terms of a sense of superiority?

     

    There was much that was good in last night`s game but it has been lost in a sea of condemnation.

     

    Like most, I am at a loss to explain why the best midfielder in Scotland was not played in his natural position but he still had a reasonable game. Indeed, quite a few players acquitted themselves well but some awful mistakes, an astonishing handball and catastrophic goalkeeping put paid to our chances of success.

     

    Nevertheless, we still have a season ahead of us and the Europa League beckons.

     

    ( Incidentally, many comments call for us to spend. We have spent. Eleven million on three defenders. Has it helped?).

     

     

    JJ

  27. we have spent £11 million on 3 defenders but 2 that cost £10 the players think are pish and who bought them.

  28. Need to start off with a pretty basic question — after last night’s result why shouldn’t we offer the job to DP?

     

     

    Surely we have all the evidence we need to work out that he is a better manager than NL?

     

     

    And while we are at it what about an offer to their CEO?