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Pass and move Celtic click into gear

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Last night’s performance was a vast improvement on the horrible displays against Legia and gave us our second insight (after United) into how Ronny Deila is changing the way Celtic play football.

Key to the performance was the movement of his two Norwegians, Stefan Johansen and Jo Inge Berget, Callum McGregor and Beram Kayal.  Johansen, who closed down space high up the field, pressurising defenders, played his best game for Celtic.  Less said about his clearance of a Virgil van Dijk header the better.

Watching Kayal was like meeting an old friend again.  The player, who in 2011 kept Victor Wanyama out of the team, has been a shadow of his former self since returning from injury two years ago.  He is another player who enjoys closing space.

I’m an acknowledged cynic when it comes to even remotely hyped young players breaking through the ranks, but Callum McGregor has now delivered repeatedly.  There is a long hard season ahead of him, and let’s remember, form fluctuates, but he has looked like one of the best players in the team so far.  I doubt any Celtic player has opened the scoring in three consecutive European away games.

The first 35 minutes saw Maribor sit deep, which allowed Celtic to build patiently.  Movement was good during this period, players in possession always had options, so we were able to switch play, force opponents to chase the ball, and penetrate with purpose.

Play was bound to change when Maribor started to close down higher up field, but Celtic reacted by playing low-percentage balls forward, which invariably resulted in possession being lost.  I would like to see us look for less-ambitious passes more often.

There were several concerns, not least of all at the back.  A defence which was impregnable for much of last season is now being cut open with regularity.  I don’t subscribe to the view that players suddenly lose instinct and awareness over the summer, so it’s likely that a change in the midfield shape is exposing frailties in defence.

Maribor players found themselves clean through on a couple of occasions last night, echoing what happened in Warsaw and at Murrayfield.  Ronny needs to find a fix.

Despite clearly being the better team, there is still a big job ahead for Celtic next week, better teams don’t always win, but a disciplined performance, no red cards, no mistakes at the back, should see us through.

Take no chances at Inverness on Saturday, make sure players are rested and fit.

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  1. Ht

     

    Celtic moved closer to the offers from palace, because Jo knocked back the contract offers from them, what you want them to do? Let um go on a free? Cmon get real.

  2. squire danaher on

    Hot off the Twitter presses from Squire Junior, apologies if already posted

     

     

    @OHenleyAlex: Reports in Spanish press this morning claim @celticfc have bid £2.4m for Sporting Gijon striker Stefan Scepovic. Gijon want more.

  3. Enjoyed the game last night, Ronny’s bhoys did good but caution required as this tie ain’t over and they will attempt to get those away goals on the counter attack, they will I’d say and therefore we need to score more (thumbs up).

     

     

    now where’s aw those poli TIC yins :¬)

     

     

    Hx2

  4. From previous

     

     

    ….PFayr supports WeeOscar

     

    12:13 on

     

    21 August, 2014

     

     

    I’ve never said that. He was great last year in his position and with the style of football we played.

     

     

    If RD plays a different style of football, and with a different formation it could be that Commons isn’t as effective and doesn’t get played. That doesn’t make him a bad player.

     

     

    On that basis is it better to keep him, or sell him and get a least some of his fee and wages for somebody RD considers to be more suitable?

  5. Two weeks into the season and talk of resting players. Can’t agree Paul, at the very least the same defence should start in Inverness, these guys need as many games together as possible.

  6. smoke and mirrors on

    Got to love “x player said this to me” ,,,” y player said Ronnie was a dud”

     

     

    Lets stick to facts not made up tales to suit an argument

     

     

    If I am offered double my salary to change jobs there must be a good reason NOT to consider it, footballers are the same.

  7. Paul67

     

     

    Great post sir.

     

     

    Can you imagine what a pain we will be as a team with pressing like that from Brown, Johannsson and Kayal all game ?

     

     

    I hate being pineckity but Charlie isn’t made for that attribute – too slow but a worthwhile squad player to have on the panel as centre half and in the SPL his delivery and passing is an asset.

     

     

    Stokes did really well work rate wise up front but glad to see we are ‘upgrading’ with a forward our nest target. The speed of a James Forrest and a Wakuso on the flanks and I’m salivating.

     

     

    Not getting carried away. From a truly horrific start (where many on this blog lost their nerve) it’s constant growing up, learning, hard work and improvement. That’s all we can ask.

  8. matte

     

     

    12:23 on 21 August, 2014

     

    Two weeks into the season and talk of resting players. Can’t agree Paul, at the very least the same defence should start in Inverness, these guys need as many games together as possible.

     

    ___________________

     

     

    That’s really a very good point, the rest I would shift about .

  9. There are a couple of things which puzzle me about the Malky McKay issue:-

     

     

    1) How could someone who was guilty of such casual racism (the homophobia, I am afraid, is more widely shared within football) operate and deal with the varied player nationalities and colours that he had to deal with? Ron Atkinson was a strange one as he was guilty of the language abuses but had a generally positive attitude to using and promoting non-white players.

     

     

    2) Malky’s e-mails were seized in the course of an investigation into dubious and fraudulent transfer dealings. Yet, within hours of the authorities seizing these files, there were leaks about their racist content.

     

    Now, you can obviously see the vengeful hand of Vincent Tan behind this but he would have to a) know that the police seizure had begun, and b) still be vengeful over Malky even though he had already won his compensation battle, according to some reports.

     

     

    Does this not leave the police culpable as leakers of the material? How would Tan know what was in Malky’s e-mails?

     

     

    The final point is one involved in all our interests. If private racist banter was discovered, incidentally, in the course of investigation of another offence, should it lead to charges in the courts? And, if so, what purpose does it serve to leak the material ahead of any charges being proffered or any trial?

     

     

    I am not seeking any sympathy for Malky, far from it, but I am concerned about further police and press collusion in the wake of all the recent Murdoch and NOTW evidence on hacking.

     

     

    Any views?

  10. MattE –

     

     

    I agree. You can’t just rest players for fear of injury. They need time to work together. If a player has a slight knock or a strain then yes, rest him for Tuesday, but not just to protect them from an injury they MIGHT suffer.

  11. Brth’s post on last blog was spot on. We should all read the Secret Footballer.

     

    Enlightening and depressing for all of us who just love the game.

     

     

    We need to remember that Celtic outlives us all, for most our love of Celtic is lifelong but the average stay of a player is what 3 years?

     

    It’s a huge imbalance and warps our perceptions at times.

     

     

    I’ve left a good few employers over the years. I retain find memories of many, links with some but I still left!

     

     

    Interesting also to look at eg NFL (American football, not Neil). Players seem to grow up dreaming of winning the Super Bowl and emulating their heroes. With whom is less of an issue. A good franchise will do nicely. They’ll choose to wear the same number as their childhood hero, but not necessarily the same ‘uniform’.

     

     

    Now I’m an Incurable footie romantic and want us to be more than a club. But I also need to live in the real world of players and agents. We all do.

     

     

    HH jamesgang

  12. The Honest Mistake loves being first on

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

     

    It is with a heavy heart that I need to report that wee Evie (the wee girl that we helped in Wimbledon with the CQN night) has taken a turn for the worse and has been sent home from hospital to be with her family until she is at peace.

     

    Thoughts and prayers with her and her family. God bless.

  13. TonyD

     

     

    Can we do this without bickering mate?!

     

     

    I know what you’re saying, Celtic feared losing Ledley for nothing and subsequently they cashed in.

     

     

    However, my point is that he didn’t want to leave and I’ve neither heard or read anywhere that would suggest his intention was to see out his contract and then go for nout.

     

     

    I need a smoke :-)

  14. setting free the bears for Res. 12 & Oscar Knox but saying no to CQN racists

     

     

    Similar to the Shug Dalas situation for me. Malky is finished in football if these allegations are true.

     

     

    LB

  15. The final point is one involved in all our interests. If private racist banter was discovered, incidentally, in the course of investigation of another offence, should it lead to charges in the courts? And, if so, what purpose does it serve to leak the material ahead of any charges being proffered or any trial?

     

     

    ______________________

     

     

    It didn’t in the Hugh Dallas case?

  16. The Honest Mistake loves being first

     

     

    Horrible news. May god be with her and her family.

     

     

    LB

  17. Someone posted the other night we were looking to bring in a Serb and a Gambian, think he meant to write Ghanaian . Can’t remember who it was but fair play to him

  18. Rather than rest players we should play the intended starting 11 for Tuesday and give them at least an hour. That starting 11 should be the same as last night, knocks and injuries permitting.

  19. The Honest Mistake loves being first

     

     

    Awful news my heart goes out to her and her family.

  20. Ht

     

    I’m not bickering, I’m only posting what was in the article and saying get real,.

     

    If I was bickering I would have posted……….get real Ffs ya crackpot ;)

  21. livibhoy

     

     

    11:40 on 21 August, 2014

     

     

     

     

    Agree with what you say that despite what alot want to think most transfers are suited to both parties.. Celtic double/treble etc what they paid for player so makes business sense

     

     

    Player side- play in a better league and earn 20/30k a week more.

     

     

    Hooper- id say he was same as forster, did great for us, doubled his value and left in world cup season hoping a good season in epl might get him in plane to brazil. Cant knock the lad for that .

     

     

    Ledley- after signing for us on free transfer i believe he was given pretty good wages.. Do you think celtic were offering to match or better those in new contract or reduce them ?

     

     

    Ledley said he hadnt made up his mind but when bid was accepted he felt it was best to leave.. Not sure what to believe myself and dont really blame celtic for taking the money instead of gambling on him accepting new deal in summer.

     

     

    But on his new contract maybe celtic could have offered better.

     

     

    I really liked joe. Good player who looked like he enjoyed playing for us alot.

  22. The Honest Mistake loves being first

     

     

    Absolutely heartbreaking news. Thoughts with her family and friends at such a terrible time.

     

     

    Too many youngsters being taken from us before they had a life to live.

  23. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon ....The angels are with Wee Oscar in Heaven.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    neganon2

     

     

    10:50 on 21 August, 2014

     

     

    We just wish you could enjoy supporting Celtic ……. I hereby order you to post a positive comment once a week…..:) …… and I hereby order you to ignore TD…. Hahahahahahaha

  24. Tickets for next Tuesday ?

     

     

    Me and the wee man have season tkts but older bhoy

     

    asked me to get him and his Girlfriend a tkt for next week.

     

    (Poor students)

     

     

    I Phoned up last Friday after hearing that game was free on season tkt.

     

    thinking there might be a wee rush on.

     

     

    I was surprised that was on hold for about 20 minutes and nearest they

     

    could give us to approx 5 rows and 40 odd seats away.

     

    (North Stand Upper 443)

     

     

    If planning to go get in quick.

  25. The Honest Mistake…….

     

     

    Tragic for the wee girl and her family.

     

     

    I will remember them all in my prayers.

  26. neganon2

     

     

    10:50 on 21 August, 2014

     

     

    We just wish you could enjoy supporting Celtic ……. I hereby order you to post a positive comment once a week…..:) …… and I hereby order you to ignore TD…. Hahahahahahaha

     

    _______________

     

     

     

    That’s when he’ll will freeze over ;)

  27. The Battered Bunnet on

    SFTB

     

     

    It’s not a Police enquiry, least, not yet.

     

     

    It’s an enquiry by Cardiff’s lawyers into alleged misappropriation of funds linked to transfer deals during MacKay’s/Moody’s time at Cardiff. There seems to be a lot of smoke around a number of deals, but no fire as yet.

     

     

    The material was taken under warrant by the solicitors, and promptly copied to Cardiff, being as it’s their case.

     

     

    Cardiff “were obliged” under (their reading of) FA Rules to report the material to the FA as it breached a number of rules relating to conduct of officials.

     

     

    Whether it was leaked by the law firm, the club or the FA, leaked it seems to have been, and I share your scepticism that it was done blind to the consequences on MacKay’s future career.

     

     

    Few are likely to emerge from all of it with any credit.

     

     

    TBB

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