Plaudits, Brendan not for changing


It was all so promising.  35 minutes in, eight Celtic attempts on goal, zero for Valencia.  Even when Jeremy Toljan left the field for a second yellow card, there were still positives.  We both know that last night’s game was never really about qualification for the next round, so too did Valencia, but it was a useful yardstick for where we are now and where we can hope to be in the summer.

Scott Bain was already established as first choice ‘keeper, but, without seeing much of him before joining Celtic, I think we can say this was the best performance of his career to date.  He can play at this level and has been an excellent acquisition to the team.

Brendan Rodgers felt sore about Jeremy Toljan’s second yellow.  The full back was pushed before falling into Guedes.  It was harsh and the referee probably failed to spot the push, but Toljan was caught in the wrong position and his fall was unnecessary.  Jeremy is undoubtedly an upgrade on Mikael Lustig, but small lapses like this is why he’s not at Dortmund right now.

The three central defenders were stand-out successes.  Kristoffer Ajer will replay in his head, the header from the free kick and volley from the corner.  They were chances to open the scoring but his all round play came close to Man of the Match levels.

I had written off Jozo Simunovic’s usefulness, largely, but not exclusively, on the basis of his fitful availability.  However, he showed again last night that he can contribute to the team and deserves a place in the squad.  Like Scott Bain, Jonny Hayes had the game of his life.  He looked intent to make his mark at the Mestalla and did so.

Callum McGregor was my pick of the midfield players.  He was forever tidy under pressure, operating with calm in very tight spaces.  Scott Brown was at his best, although a rash tackle brougth an early booking that looked ominous.  We got little from the more creative mids, James Forrest and Ryan Christie.

The entire Oliver Burke story was there to see.  Great pace and strength, clumsy touch.  There is an inverse relationship between speed and control.

Odsonne Eduard made a quick impact when he came on but was eventually subdued.  The occasion looked too high a step for Mikey Johnston.

In his post-match interview, Brendan addressed suggestions that he should change his style of play for these matches, citing Leipzig and this game as certification that it can work.  Last night had the concession of a third central defender, at the cost of an attack-minded player.  We should also caveat that Valencia were two goals up from the game in Glasgow, with little to prove.

The manager is not for changing his high press game, so devastatingly successful domestically, but so open to debate in Europe.

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  1. Ajer looked a top class defender last night , pace ,power,concentration, agression,he was bursting out that jersey, magnificent for a youngster.

  2. Personally, I don’t think the centre of our defence needs major surgery.



    Based on last night Boyata was the lesser of the 3 centre halfs.



    I rate both Ajer and Jozo, and feel that if we supplement both these guys with an older experienced centre half, then we will be in a good place.



    Also feel the search for back-up to Tierney is also over. Johnny Hayes is the man.

  3. Wonderful story on BBC Breakfast, about a guy who tended a memorial for 56 years,to 10 US airmen, killed when their plane crashed in a park in Sheffield. He met BBC presenter Dan Walker a few weeks ago,and this morning arranged a flypast,about 20,000 turned up to honour them,and Tony himself,emotional stuff.

  4. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Did really well up until the sending off and even after it, although it pretty much killed our chances of winning the game.


    Hayes did well, but lacked a bit of composure. Bain showed there is a good goalkeeper there, not just a good footballer. Defenders were good but switched off at the goal. Ball watching costing us once again.


    Overall really proud of the bhoys though. Much better than the first leg, particularly re pressing and ball retention.




    Where were you earlier with all your Spanish speaking attributes


    when i was in touch with the Valencia tourist board about those


    nazi bassas posing as cops? 8-)))))))


    H.H Mick

  6. I know nowt about nowt, especially fitba’ but despite us being written off pretty much the first 30 mins of last nights game had me feeling that we might have been on one of those special Celtic nights when the team does those special things that keep us in Love.



    We didn’t get the result but we got a performance and hopefully the team will see what is possible when things click.



    Meanwhile, at home. Scotland ducks the big issues affecting the national game and sleekit huns try to pin the problem on the Tims.



    Haw, huns – why can’t you say these words? Actually use them……. LIQUIDATED, BIGOTRY, SECTARIANISM?



    Avoiding your responsibility is UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOUR!




    Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarruuuuuuuuumph CSC.

  7. glendalystonsils on

    Hard to be definitive about last night’s game . If they were not already 2-0 up would we have seen a different Valencia in that opening period?


    Did Celtic perform so well in that opening period because we had nothing to lose?


    Was the way we froze in the first leg due to the weight of expectation ?


    Whatever way you look at it , last night provided some vindication for Brendan’s football philosophy and some signs that we may be capable of carrying it out against better teams.

  8. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Should also have said that we seemed to be a lot more varied in our play with the ball. A few longer passes and some through balls down the channels for our fast players to run onto. Makes all the difference when the opponents can’t set up to stop you because they don’t know what you are going to do.

  9. I take it no journalists covering last night’s game can vouch for the brutality dished out by law keepers to football fans.Is there CCTV in operation around where fans were attacked………just in case fans who were attacked feel to clear their name if they are/ were accused of inciting violence.Or…………maybe Celtic FC could ask some questions as why their fans were treated in such a bad way.


    Why not CSC?

  10. Sacrificing an attacking midfielder for a third central defender was a pragmatic decision.



    Can we have more pragmatism in Europe, please .


    The step up from our domestic game is huge. Adopting a more pragmatic formation and tactics is the first step to avoid monumental humpings. We live and learn. HH




    Good shout, but journalists, no chance, more chance of them saying


    Celtic fans attack police, but your right our club need to address this.


    H.H Mick

  12. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    !!Bada Bing!! on 21st February 2019 11:39 pm


    Gerrard, though, was unmoved by Clarke’s claim he’d had talks with Gers about the Ibrox hot seat prior to his appointment.


    He said: “That’s a question for Steve to deal with, really.


    “Although I can remember an interview when he said there was no truth in that.


    “I’m a little confused on that now — did he get offered it or didn’t he? But to be honest I’m not interested.”




    My recollection is that Clarke said there was “no offer”.


    So taking his two quotes together you would assume that he was sounded out to see if he was interested and he said no. Therefore you wouldn’t make an offer to somebody who wasn’t interested.


    Not that difficult really, although it probably doesn’t take much to confuse a guy who doesn’t know how many figures are in a million…..

  13. Looking at things objectively, Valencia did what they had to and nothing more last night. As I said after the first leg, they are a competent outfit. They did not press the game as intensely as the first leg and were missing Condogbia in midfield who is real quality.



    From our perspective we were very good. We passed the ball superbly and defended very well. We have improved since Zenit away last year, no question. I think there is some substance to the Celtic Park thing, we do struggle with expectations especially if things go against us. We’ve seen it a few times now. The opposition also rise to the occasion.



    So some positive signs but also some caution I would suggest. The upshot is that we won’t find out until next season and the positivity from last night will give us good momentum for the run in.

  14. Much better performance but some our play was very nervous.


    DB and JS had some hairy moments and KA got himself into some issues.



    However KA stood out with his attitude and desire to get things done.


    Long road ahead but he is the future.


    Need to make the most of him.



    If we don’t do it someone else will make him a huge star.

  15. DD



    Said it earlier, they will get theirs and probably from their very own.


    mark my words, and i’ll be quietly satisfied.


    H.H Mick

  16. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    The Strong Rangers Association probably classes foreign refs as being from outside Lanarkshire…….

  17. MELBOURNE MICK on 22ND FEBRUARY 2019 12:32 PM



    Gallivantin’ en el ciudad de Melbourne, amigo!!



    Huvva great weekend down the riviera wont you!!



    Again, what a spirited performance; embdy else mildly puzzled by Mikey and not Timo??

  18. Almost no comments in media about SC saying there was no point in turning up at Ibrox. I wonder why!!!

  19. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    The five across the back even looked more solid when we were defending.


    Valencia, like all Spanish teams are very comfortable on the ball and can pass quickly and accurately in tight spaces.



    No shame in losing this tie and, as Brendan talks about adopting the Leipzig and Valencia tactics in the future, it more than suggests where he sees that future for him.




    Mickey is the future, Timo is not.


    Paddys day coming up, sure to be massive on the peninsula


    so keep that day clear for you to attend.


    H.H Mick

  21. Paul67



    Agree with all of that, Craig Gordon is a memory at the moment Jozo Simunovic when fit is still an asset.



    Bit harsh on Ollie think his pace and power is unique, it’s more his second and third touch that gets away.



    We should be thinking of how to get him from WBA permanently.

  22. MM – yet Jeremy’s not the future, either. Nor Oliver. Or Dedo.


    Timo plays like he loves that jersey; maybe an Odss-on(e) conversion?


    Achht; they were all true Celts in the Mestalla.


    Diary out for Paddy’s Day.



  23. Had a great day out in Valencia yesterday. Kept my 6-year-old off school and drove an hour north ftom Denia to the stadium at 10am.


    As we have Spanish ID, my plan was to get two tickets from the stadium before the crowds arrived. I checked the Valencia CF website the night before to see if there was any news on it being sold out and it said nothing. So off we went.


    To our surprise, they had announced the ticket office would not be opening. I exppained to the boy that it was a no go, he was crestfallen.


    A Spanish gent then approached us and said he had unused season tickets for the family enclosure. Row 13, right behind the goals.


    We agreed on a price and shook hands and on a meeting place to give him his season tickets back after the game.


    I got the boy a Valencian scarf to wear and off we went to enjoy the afternoon.


    We headed back towards the stadium around 4pm and picked a random cafe 5 mins from the park to go in for a drink. Three Scots were sitting sharing a bottle of wine – including Jackie Macnamara Snr.. I think he can remember every minute of every game he played in. Sharp as a tack. :)


    At the stadium, we got in no problem. Didn’t see any heavy police presence there and the fans outside mixed well.


    Our seats were fantastic and there were plenty other Celts in besides us (many wearing Vlcn colours). I saw the security guards move in a couple of times to tell people to sit down / calm down in order not to annoy the locals hut nothing else. Plenty of hand shaking at full time.


    I was proud of the team and the support and delighted at how the Valencian people didn’t get upset to discover we were in amongst them.


    Great experience.

  24. My friends in Celtic,



    Great performance that sets us us for the rest of the season. Apart from a dubious sending off we leave Valencia with no regrets.



    That is all I asked for.



    Shocking brutish behaviour by the Spanish police.



    Our fans have been unjustly treated no doubt however some fans must wisen up and show some common sense.


    On the Facing Book we had a discussion about a flag some supporters were carrying going to Valencia. It contained the flag of the 2nd Spanish republic and the Catelonian flag. Spanish politics is volatile we should keep well clear. Red rag to a bull.



    Make no mistake this does not justify the brutish behaviour of the Spanish police, however some of us must use common sense, accept personal responsibility and keep politics out of football.







    Yes, it looks as though Timo would love to be a Celt, but maybe


    i’ve sort of seen it all before.


    Look after our Keirans and Mikeys i say.


    H.H Mick


    P.S hearing it might be free Guinness on Paddy’s day 8-))))))

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