Partnerships, tactics and players


I remember an old debate about what was more important: players or tactics?  Current consensus is that tactics rule, but that’s because we live in an era of tactical innovation.  In the decades when tactics never deviated from 4-4-2, success in the game was about players.

There’s another element: partnerships.  Good players can be tactically right for a side, but still underachieve because their team-mates don’t move that fraction of a second before a defender reacts to the danger (or an opposing striker steals a yard).

You may be able to identify our strongest starting 11, but with so many changes to the line-up this season, you will struggle to name partnerships that have impressed you.  Until Saturday.  As Nicolas Kuhn cut inside and looked into the St Johnstone box, Kyogo did a 360° spin, creating space at the moment required to meet the subsequent cross, which our Japanese hero converted.

The opening moments of the second half saw a mirror image of this, resulting in the second goal.  Kyogo’s first touch took him wider, but Kuhn understood what would happen next, and made a run into the box.  The goal, against a packed defence, looked easy.

Over the years, you and I have seen what happens when players successfully feed off each other.  In possession, they look out for the other, the target player takes a cue to move when his partner is on the ball.  Confidence builds and soon everything works better.  With so many injuries and new faces to integrate, a lack of effective partnerships has been one of our major drags this season.

We learned on Saturday that Nicolas arrived at Celtic in January around 7kg (over a stone in old money) underweight; around 10% of his bodyweight.  He would have been weak, but there was no hiding.  Now fully fit, his trajectory is impressive.  Add him to the lengthy list of ‘written off too soon’ targets, season 2023-24.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5

  1. Silly comment Paul Re ‘written off too soon’.



    I can’t imagine anyone who would not appreciate a the challenges of young person coming to play for a new club, in a new city, in a different culture where 2 clubs dominate and command a massive proportion of monthly family incomes way disproportionate to any other city in Europe. A city where being second is failure.



    I can’t imagine any fan base which could possibly not appreciate these challenges and understand that they would not require a period to bed in and understand the way things work. Of course even more so where a guy arrives mid season or where there is a manager change, or even more so where the youngster arrives needing surgery before he can even play.



    But hey there are loads of experts on here who have viewed for 30 mins and judged and adjudicated. Guys whose have such encyclopedic knowledge that their opinion must be correct even on the flimsiest of evidence. Guys who ‘can spot a player’ and ‘spot a dud’. So good they can project Celtic losing a league every 6 years or so and rejoice at that. So good they can tell you who shouldn’t be running the club but of course never who should.



    Delighted Kuhn like Yang and like Iwata and many others before them seem to be made of sterner stuff. A strong mental attitude is needed to succeed here. Stronger than any of the sad armchair knowall critics for sure. I do hope the upward trajectory continues to the end of a successful season.

  2. Interesting point about tactics



    Our “successes” in the champions league came under two fairly tactically rigid managers at a time when there wasn’t much tactical innovation (WGS) or we were just starting to see the revolution that came with Guardiola. WGS scoffed at the idea of of tactics making a big difference, it was all about the players for him.



    Different times now, managers make a big difference. The top European clubs all have tactically astute managers, it makes the gap even wider between them and us than twenty odd years ago when WGS could compete with one of the best in Ancelotti. Mind you the team that nearly took Milan to penalties was hardly studded with stars, so maybe it was a bit of a humble brag as the kids say.



    We seem to be seeing the newer players putting in match winning performances at different times. Now they’ve had time to settle if we can manage to have them doing it collectively and consistently we’ll be there or thereabouts at the end of the season. Maybe it’s come a bit late to make up for the poor run that might decide the league but even if it does the signs are promising for next season. I don’t see many who won’t be useful

  3. Celtic have made a concrete offer to goalkeeper Etienne Vaessen, who is out of contract with relegation-threatened Waalwijk this summer, but Eredivise rivals PSV Eindhoven are also interested in the 28-year-old. (Brabants Dagblad)



    Charlotte general manager Zoran Krneta says it was pressure from the Israeli media, international team-mates and their head coach – rather than the visible support from Celtic fans for the Palestinian cause – that drove winger Liel Abada to leave the Scottish champions for the Major League Soccer club. (Walla via Daily Record)



    I think BOTH Wee GREG AND ANTHONY RALSTON are in the Scotland Squad for the upcoming Friendly games ?


    I hope that both Celtic players steer clear of any injuries IF they are involved………BOTH should just AVOID ” TACKLING” anyone, and avoid running a bout too much, watch those Hamstrings Bhoys ?






    Best of luck to our Two Bhoys.



  5. a crock of shit. what strides forward have they made ?






    Scotland’s head of referees, Crawford Allan, is to leave his post at the end of the season as the Scottish FA conducts a review of the role in light of ongoing VAR controversies.



    The governing body says Allan, who has been in post for four years, is leaving “to pursue new opportunities”.



    SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell admits that “VAR processes need to improve”.



    But he urged all to “work together to alleviate the unsustainable pressure on match officials and VAR operators”.



    ‘Ridiculous’ to disallow Motherwell goal


    VAR cost us a point – Hearts’ Naismith


    Maxwell wants “to remove the convenient blame culture attached to subjective or unpopular decisions and to ensure more focus is placed on the entertainers rather than the on-field facilitators”.



    He told the SFA website: “This includes all key external stakeholders having a better understanding of the laws of the game, the lines of intervention for VAR and the adopted guidance within Scottish football, especially in subjective areas such as the handball law.”



    The SFA it has started its search to “ensure an experienced replacement will be in place for the new season”.



    “This will coincide with a planned review of the operational priorities of the department based on the insights to date from VAR implementation, as well as feedback from category one match officials and VAR operators, the Scottish FA’s professional game board, the SPFL’s competitions working group and the independent review panel,” Maxwell said.



    The chief executive thanked Allan for “his efforts in implementing VAR within Scottish football and guiding refereeing through the Covid-19 pandemic”, describing the introduction of video assistant referee system as “a thankless task”.



    Allan considers it “an honour” to have been in charge “during such an historic period of change” following his 30 years as a match official, including 15 years in the top-flight.



    “While there are refinements and improvements to be made to VAR, as there are in leagues across the world, it has taken a monumental effort from my team at the Scottish FA and the match officials to have it embedded in the Premiership and cup matches at Hampden Park,” he said.



    “VAR is only one aspect of the role, albeit one that can overshadow the positive strides we have taken forward.”

  6. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Good point, Paul. The injuries, on top of the team-weakening, have had a significant impact on our season. Seems to be coming together better now.


    Great to see the 4-3-3 operating as it should – combinations in the wide areas, overloads, far-side wingers coming inside and scoring goals. Kuhn’s one was trademark Abada.


    Looking more like last season’s team now.


    If we keep this up and make sure the tempo and intensity are right then it will be difficult for any team to take points off us.

  7. Kuhn looks a very clever player. Will reserve judgement until he has had a run of games, but excited about the apparent potential



    Anyone writing players off after 2 games really isnt worth listening to

  8. The balance of importance between tactics and players is unresolvable.



    A winning manager is a tactical genius. A losing manager is a dud. When a tactical genius transfers to another club and struggles, he can become ‘temporarily, a dud or a dinosaur that’s been found out. If he moves on to a third club and starts winning, he has found his mojo again.



    Football is full of such circular thinking.



    Man U have chopped and changed their managers on a regular basis. Managers that they identified as tactical geniuses were provided with a whole bunch of players who had been recruited at great expense to provide the tactical geniuses with the best possible ingredients but every one has so far “failed” to get Man U back to their expected stature.



    None of them have been offered the time that Fergie was allowed to make their mark and build a club and not just a team.



    And it was the closed loop thinking of most football fans that forced the Manu Directors and owners to pursue short -term coaching decisions.



    My solution- Pick a good guy and give him time and resources.



    In other words, Brendan should not be sacked even if we lose this league.




    Well said.


    Totally agree.




    Nobody wrote Kuhn off. He was rightly criticised for lack of effort and endeavour in his first 2-3 appearances.






    several posters wrote the bhoy off.



    i have the list ready to post for when the bhoy becomes the next hun skelper.

  11. New player arrives to a fanfare and high expectation, which usually ends 20 mins into his debut, as after 2 misplaced passes 20k are howling at him and the manager, screaming for everyone to be sacked. A week or two later he’s the darling of the pantomime support. We see this countless times every season, very tiresome.

  12. Badda.


    Crawford Allen resigns.



    Good news.


    Any viper out the nest is a positive, even though the Ludge will be picking his replacement as we speak.

  13. If true, how can you loss audio recordings?



    Does such things not get saved to the cloud?



    No matter, everyone should be sacked if they have lost anything to do with var.



    Our lawyers should be making as many heads role as possible for this.



    D :)

  14. Crawford Allan quitting eh, cheating Cu*t.




    Freemasons run Scottish football.




    Sevco are strapped for cash so they need the 50 million, give them dodgy decisions this year and no pens against.




    Nice handshake with a nice wee earner for him, favours and job complete & he walks off into the sunset like his brother Hugh Dallas.

  15. Interesting article. About 15 years ago a fairly eminent statistician analysed EPL final league placings. He concluded that the most important factor in determining a club’s league position was invariably the amount of money spent in the transfer market. But he also identified two managers who uniquely bucked that trend. They were Ferguson and wait for it, Allardice.

  16. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    The huns thought we had run out of steam and they would coast to the title. An expected resurgence in form would really test their mettle, especially if we can get Hatate firing for Ibrox (long odds I know given his time out).



    It was great to see Kuhn and Kyogo being the best out in each other. Let’s not get carried away until we see it consistently, but they’ve definitely given us hope that was previously in short supply.



    Not having your last point. The reaction to Kuhn was in a context of profound and serial disappointment. Project players with future potential is supported by most fans so long as it’s in balance with experience. Too many instead of experience gives you this season. His initial performances were frankly woeful, notably against Hibs when their full back had him on toast. And why was he playing if not physically ready? Because our squad strength was so weak it demanded it.



    Players are judged on performances. Kuhn and Yang now getting plaudits because they’ve been terrific in their most recent performances. Idah got the opposite response to Kuhn. Low fan expectations immediately turned around because of his tremendous contribution.

  17. Crawford Allen resigns….. careful what you wish for and for god”s sake update the league table!

  18. What I saw of Khun made me desperately unhappy….so I certainly am one who had written him off because there was nothing absolutely nothing to make me think otherwise. I didn’t know about tooth operation or weight loss so I’ll be delighted to be proved wrong…..bit to go yet mind !

  19. Crawford lined up, happily,to take the rap for the diabolically noticeable cheating required for thems to win the league, stay strong, wise & quick Celtic.


  20. Du hast da eine recht kuhne Behauptung aufgestellt Paul.


    I’m on record here stating that signing Kuhn was a bold move.


    Whether it was the right move at the right time only time can tell


    Better than the wrong move at the wrong time as has often been the case…




  21. SAINT STIVS on 18TH MARCH 2024 1:00 PM






    Nobody wrote Kuhn off. He was rightly criticised for lack of effort and endeavour in his first 2-3 appearances.








    several posters wrote the bhoy off.




    i have the list ready to post for when the bhoy becomes the next hun skelper.





    How sad must your life be that you keep a list of posters who disagree with your view. Did you confront them individually at the time of their posts which would be the correct thing to do instead of publishing a list when he narrative swings in favour of your your own view? Sheesh.

  22. Ian_in_Hungary on

    If the Hearts VAR recordings have truly vanished, Celtic should demand that the match be replayed. The officials involved should also be suspended until an enquiry establishes exactly what happened.

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5