Physically light Celtic


Celtic responded to consecutive league defeats last month in decisive fashion, with authoritative wins against Livingston, Dundee, Newco, St Mirren and Buckie Thistle.  The record books will show another win on Saturday against Ross County, but the champions lacked even modest authority.

After their capitulation at home to Partick Thistle in the Scottish Cup a week earlier, I assumed Ross County had “chucked it” and would bring minimum resistance to Celtic Park.  There’s a reason I don’t bet.  Refreshingly, County pressed Celtic throughout and were denied a point by the width of the crossbar and an added time save by Joe Hart.

After taking the lead in the opening minute through a fortuitous Alistair Johnston deflection, the champions should have finished the game off in some style, but by halftime it was clear a spark was missing.  By then, County keeper George Wickens had a few of us reading his bio (on loan from Fulham).  He had not only saved a Luis Palma penalty, he did so twice, after an encroaching defender cleared the first rebound before Luis could latch onto it.

Palma and Alexandro Bernabei were involved in the move which led to the goal, but as the opening half closed, both looked short of confidence; Alexandro has surely been pondering his place at the club in recent weeks, Palma with penalties on his mind.

The midfield pairing of Matt O’Riley and Paulo Bernardo, which has been so important in Celtic’s winning run, failed to cope with the game.  Maybe Matt’s week, full of distraction, didn’t help, maybe the Celtic Park pitch, which has was in its worst condition in years, interrupted their quick passing game.  It was certainly a day for an industrial, as opposed to cultural, midfield.

Palma and Liel Abada were replaced during the second half by Nicolas Kuhn and Mikey Johnston.  I worried for the debutant, it is always easier to introduce players to a team that is playing well, instead of hoping a new face will turn the tide.  As it was, the changes made little difference.

As we left the ground it struck me how physically light we were.  There was not a bruiser in any midfield or forward position.  In defence, Cameron Carter-Vickers has width, but Alexandro Bernabei is almost adolescent-looking.  On a wintery pitch, these things are noticeable.

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  1. !!BADA BING!! on 29TH JANUARY 2024 12:14 PM


    Is the £100 million plus, still resting in our bank account?



    Careful BB you will be admonished by the accounting clique for quoting a specific cash figure, don’t you know there are outlaws of cash as well and ongoing costs and salaries……………and bonuses…………..and large dividend payments…….



    Defend the balance sheet CSC

  2. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    Too bad there isn’t a transfer window where these shortcomings could be addressed…



    Interesting that various elephants in the room being ignored in this match report blog. The divisions that were revealed by the post-match booing, the fact we’ve entered the last few days of the window. Nothing doing this week?

  3. bournesouprecipe on

    The Celtic blame game.



    Celtic supporters ‘booing’ was predicted, because of what they think they see in the post, and not so much poor 1-0 home wins. All of the summer signings have now been underperformed for sure, and the fans that saw it all coming, can go to bed at night malcontented with their remarkable foresight, some who were apparently able to judge players, after twenty minutes on the internet.



    A standard that dipped before the title was clinched last season, wasn’t raised and BR has had a difficult time in his £9M three year contract, certainly more difficult than he expected. Fielding, pre season questions he said a remarkable job had been done in recruitment he was well happy to shoe horn in, tweaking the Ange rebuild, without his slogans, remember the players we re-signed?



    We’re now scrambling for sticking plaster signings, that might help preserve the two point gap between Sevco and the SFA, it shouldn’t have been this way because we’re not reliant on excess players, coming to Scotland for a rebirth.



    We are a level above in supporter built, legitimate wealth, even if we win the title this year, a rebuild was always on the cards for Summer of 24, let’s hope its root and branch should the unthinkable happen.

  4. lets all do the huddle on

    “As we left the ground it struck me how physically light we were. ”





    i’ve been saying that on here for a decade Paul!

  5. PAUL 67



    There has been many a poster asking for physicality ( where do we get that type of player can you name them) to be added to the squad , maybe now you have brought the subject up it might not be met with derision .



    Brendan from the first time complained about the state of pitches ……..



    Grass to long


    Grass to short


    Pitch not watered


    Pitch sodden


    Plastic (we all agree) ban it .

  6. Badabing


    You dont need no tinhat,ever,for the info you bring to blog,i agree there is monies to buy,i am as estranged as you as to why not


    Just not the sums to up the level.good to see its 100m now :-))


    Ps did you see ex Celt youth centre back Hjelde went from leeds to sunderland as a left back!?2mfee today.




  7. If we don’t strengthen in this window we are sending a clear message to sevco that the league is there to be won. We haven’t even spent the money received for jota and starfelt never mind the £72m we had in the bank.


    A quite incredible state of affairs.

  8. Agree, we need more physicality.


    Think that has been apparent for a while.


    Is the current squad good enough to retain the title?

  9. We’ve been physically lightweights for 3 years or so now.


    All over the pitch we lack strength and it’s laid bare particularly in Europe and Set pieces in the SPFL.


    What’s baffling also is that despite having four or five lightweight wingers in situ , the one and only one signing thus far in the window we’ve managed to yet again purchase another winger who looks the same height as MJ.


    Why don’t we scout something different for a change.


    We need minimum 2 more in the next 72 hours and we need them to be quality / strong / and not bloody lightweights!!

  10. I thought Matt was playing within himself after he pulled up with what looked like a back muscle spasm of some kind. He wasn’t himself after that.



    Any sign of some fresh faces at Lennoxtown?



    Looking forward to having a fit Hatate back and Daezen Duracell Maida too. I think Kyogo is missing his mates. Me too!

  11. Most of us have noticed (remarkably) that we have been physically light for some years. Even our current manager has noticed and asked for pace and power. Seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

  12. Holm won’t solve our physicality issue – talk about looking adolescent ! I’ve a heavy coat that I think weighs more than that lad.



    I’m sure given the fact our gaffer has spoken of the need for power in the team that our recruiting team have a suitable candidate in mind.

  13. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Why is everybody moaning about the lack of new signings? We’ve got the four we needed.


    Abada is back from injury. CCV new contract. O’Riley didn’t leave. That’ll count as three new players. And Kuhn makes four.

  14. bigrailroadblues on

    Good afternoon all from the International Bar, sunny Polmadie. I’m going to celebrate the transfer window slamming shut this week. Be rude not to.

  15. Celtic are attempting to play a brand of quick attacking football and when we get confronted by mass defences , once touch keep ball. So to get a game for us you need a decent technique.



    Sometimes this approach can flounder or look a bit rubbish in the middle of winter against big blokes and a dodgy pitch.



    Equally, at this time of year we get the usual pleas for physicality, in just about every position in the park. Our preferred style of play means that the last thing we want is a bunch of big lumps ….



    From my vantage point in the North Stand seems to me that our fundamental problem is that the distribution from the back is very slow and laboured , multiple additional touches on the ball been taken. Our entire back 4 were culpable at the weekend, and not for the first time.



    Gives the opposition ample time to get into some sort of shape to make life difficult.



    We sort of proved that we can score in the Champions League but when push comes to shove (i.e. away from home ) we are so vulnerable at the back it’s borderline embarrassing. There us such a gap between the backline and the centre forward , we’re lucky to get any shots on target.



    Seems to me best approach is to assess what we have now and thin the squad right down now and in the summer and have a re-build starting with the defence.



    Clearly , a strategy which cannot be spoken which allows the shock jocks and click bait providers plenty of opportunity to fill the gap with endless moaning.






    Somebody should tell the players that Kyogo wasn’t called up by Japan






    That my friend, is funny! Spat a little coffee out.

  17. I know nothin’ about fitba’ but isn’t right that the huns always sign a a big lump at the back . a big lump in the middle and a big lump up front??? Thus ensuring that when they can’t rely on the Mibs they an just barge thur way out of any likely trouble?



    This works for most of the Scottish opposition, usually ensuring they scoop most of the domestic points available.



    How do we at least match or counter that? Our success is incredible and I’m grateful for it…..despite that awful fella Liewell’s attempts to derail us…………. but can we sign more Bobo’s and less Booboos…..






    HH CQN.

  18. Any business , always operate on a 5 year plan, yeah ?


    The board tell us nothing, no plans, all a big secret, yet we fund them because of our love for CELTIC..


    Such a shame we have the urine constantly extracted from us, when will we ever learn.


    Does the board REALLY want to win the league this year, makes me wonder sometimes



    Best to all on here




  19. AIPPLE on 29TH JANUARY 2024 12:13 PM


    Who is Power and what position does he play?




    Plays for Kilmarnock I think. Position? Midfield ‘enforcer’ aka thug

  20. BTw – nice to see some o’ the “I never post here types” back postin’……………………;)



    They’ll keep the “tourists” company I suppose.



    Ye’d huvtae laff…………………….



    BrassNeckers CSC

  21. Tom McLaughlin on

    6 posts in and QUESTION — No me neither — trying to start a fight, before running away and hiding behind the bike sheds to watch the bloodshed.

  22. I didn’t notice any particular ‘physicality’ from RC. They pressed our back line and midfield and they got clearances and tackles in at the back.



    The kind of energy we showed vs the huns (up to the red card).



    all about attitude and making the right pass is what has caused our poor performances and our excellent ones.



    As others have said, I think Hatate and Maeda (to a lesser extent) coming back in will be refreshing. Maeda was not fully fit in his last few games and took some pelters as well from fans



    I think it is time for Scales to take a break at CH as well – either to LB or a wee rest. Has been playing beyond expectation but his old positioning issues have crept back (at the weekend but also against Buckie of all teams). I think Ralston deserves a chance as Johnston (despite his screamer at the weekend) has been very prosaic going forward this season. I really miss Juranovic



    My ideal team for Sat:





    Ralston CCV Nawrocki Scales


    O’Reilly McGregor Bernardo


    Abada Kyogo Forrest



    Likely team (no change)





    Johnston CCV Scales Bernabei


    O’Reilly McGregor Bernardo


    Abada Kyogo Palma

  23. onenightinlisbon on

    I’m sure the manager will not allow “brand Rodgers” to be harmed in any way. Watch this space.

  24. Dear Tom



    Actually I post in (relative) peace.



    I most certainly have not run away. I did not start a fight. And I do not see any bloodshed.



    I simply want cold hard cash spent on a couple of quality signings. This window. No I don’t know who they are, as that is not my role, but a proven big striker is required.



    I also get a bit fed up of comments that tell others not to quote £70m / £100m as that will not be the current cash balance. Until there is an official update quoting the most recent figure is not unreasonable.



    Away for a cycle now, gets cold round the back of the bike shed.

  25. GLENOWEN on 29TH JANUARY 2024 12:47 PM


    Agree, we need more physicality.



    Think that has been apparent for a while.



    Is the current squad good enough to retain the title?




    What do you think?

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