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Predictable Celtic, the need for a target man

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Having removed any remaining shred of doubt that the league title would be heading to Celtic Park for an eighth successive time a week earlier, the most important aspect of the game against Livingston was to prepare the team for this Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final against our perennial Hampden opponents, Aberdeen.

Neil gave starts to Filip Benkovic, Tom Rogic and Ryan Christie, each still working towards full fitness, while Kieran Tierney got a further 90 minutes under his belt.

Despite the avalanche of chances, there was plenty not right about Sunday’s performance.  Three central defenders did not work (again).  Neil benefited from this experiment by Brendan Rodgers at Easter Road in December.  Livingston played a straight 7-2-1 formation, leaving Dolly Menga drowning in green and white hoops for most of the game, but a consequence was that Celtic were heavily outnumbered in and around the Livingston box.

I think we need a three at the back option; being too predictable has been the downfall of Celtic teams before, so it is worth pursuing this strategy in certain league games between now and the end of the season.

An additional negative consequence of three at the back was the inefficient functioning of midfield.  Scott Brown did not drop into his normal deep-lying role, as he, Callum McGregor, Christie and Rogic struggled to maintain a recognisable shape.

This line-up is the most creative we have fielded in months, and while we forced Livingston keeper Liam Kelly into 11 saves, none were outstanding.  Our game plan is to pass and move in order to drag defenders out of position and create space.  When this does not work, we would normally look to Rogic to shoot from the edge of the box, but Tom is still leggy and never looked likely.

The other alternative, of course, is to have a Hartson-type target man.  John was a player of his time who would not fit into the modern game, but with him on the field, you had a devastating goal threat whenever you could launch a ball into the opposition box.

There is a lot of work to do in the summer, but I would like a proper target man added to the list.

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  1. mullet and co 2 on

    As for the squad, rather than thinking about who needs to leave we should think about who needs to come in.

     

     

     

    The Goalkeeper is fine. Bain is now worth a heck of a lot of money. We have been very lucky with not spending any money at all in the goalkeeping department and ending up with our last 3 goalkeepers. We will need a back up though and one who can play with their feet.

     

     

     

    A new right back is a must.

     

     

     

    At least one centre back is also a must. I think McKenna may be one of those though it will depend on Lawwell and his opinion and his contacts opinion on him.

     

     

     

    A left back looks to be a must in order to back up Tierney.

     

     

     

    A holding midfielder doesn’t look to have the same urgency as it had given McGregor demonstrating his ability to play there. Brown is getting older but looks good for the 10. It may be that we need to bring through our own or scout well in the long term for this specialist position. Browns absence or longer term retirement may bring about a change in formation or approach rather than looking for a direct replacement. I would be trying Christie in a deeper role alongside McGregor to see if he could transition in the same way Paul Lambert did on leaving Motherwell for Dortmund.

     

     

     

    On the number 10 role, it remains to be seen if Tom Rogic can contribute more than 50% of the time he has been able to give. Injuries, match fitness, formation changes and his international career all contribute to loss of form and return. I think we could get better than Tom on a more consistent basis. We have stopped trying passes through the middle when we are close to the opposition box. We also lack pace when Rogic plays and we need to counter. A number 10 is key to away games in Europe and their ability to take the ball under pressure and get it to our striker. A number 10 is needed.

     

     

     

    We also need at least 1 winger given Sinclair will go without the protection that Rodgers afforded him from Lawwell. I also suspect Forrest will go. Shved will come in but we need a left sided winger who can also protect the left back. It would be interesting to see us go with a proper 4 -3-3 next season with Edouard on the left but that depends on getting a central striker! Edouard has had some stand out games but more in the mould of Samaras than of Larsson. We need a Larsson to go alongside Edouard. So that should be dead easy!

     

     

     

    So we also need a big fast skilful striker to complete the pack!

     

     

     

    A right back and centre back are a 10/10 must. The others are less of a must, perhaps 9/10, but should be a priority.

  2. I am conscious that Neil Lennon has been getting it tight from a large proportion of the fan-base, particularly after the draw on Saturday.

     

     

    I would temper any current frustrations as both he and the players need our support to get the title concluded, and the Scottish cup won.

     

     

     

    The key observation from the Livi game, would be the tactics / formation. It definitely looked like a 3 at the back. And with Edouard up top, it would seem it was a 3-4-2-1 …. Or simplified a 3-6-1 . Christie and Rogic were more advanced than Brown and McGregor, but by n large that was the shape.

     

     

     

    That in itself cannot be criticised. Experimenting and going 3 at the back. It is something that Rodgers done to a fair degree. Particularly in the double treble season, he quite often played a 3-4-2-1. So I don’t overly think Lennon should be called out for starting like this.

     

     

     

    My concern, from a coaching / management perspective is that we persisted with 3 centre halfs on Saturday, until Benckovic went off around the 78mins mark. This is where I have question marks on Lennon’s capacity to see things.

     

     

    Livi played with 6 sometimes 7 players strung across the back. Their 18 yard line was overcrowded. Between the 18 yard line, and say 25 yards from their goal, it was an absolute sea of bodies. There was no space.

     

     

    Now to my mind, and I may be wrong, but to open up such a congested defensive line… I believe the key is width. Not only do you need your 2 wingers (left and right), but you also need attacking full-backs, who push high up and over-lap. The best way to break down a packed defensive line, to my mind is to get in behind the line, get to the byeline, get them turning towards their own goal, then get decent crosses cut-back from the byeline. Now I believe this to be true. If I can see this, then I really would of expected Lenny and the coaches to make the necessary adjustment much earlier than they did.

  3. Whilst their public utterences on the matter say one thing, I believe a good many of our squad are still devastated at BR leaving and are struggling to come to terms with it. This is to be expected and in normal circumstances you generally get the chance for a long goodbye towards the end of a season. The fact that he slipped away in the dead of night, without so much as a goodbye, will have left many of them reeling.

     

     

    As such , not surprising to see the team playing on auto and going through the motions, so to speak. Yet as last Sunday showed, they do wake up when the challenge arrives and I expect next Sunday to be no different.

  4. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Mullet- good post,but i would have Christie furthest forward of our MFs,he knows where the goals are,and has quick reactions. HH

  5. Some customary brilliance from our own Auldheid on previous thread too………………………well worth a look.

     

     

    CQN at its best!

     

     

    HH

  6. lets all do the huddle 🍀 on

    “Despite the avalanche of chances, there was plenty not right about Sunday’s performance…”

     

    —————-

     

     

    too right,

     

     

    and the worst thing about Sunday’s performance was that it happened on Saturday :-)

  7. !!Bada Bing!! on

    GFTB- From ages ago- just posting my opinions, Sinclair’s new year option will be probably the same money he’s on,or more, both with a signing on fee,Bitton was in for a couple of weeks then disappeared. I think NL has been tasked to manage a few guys out of the door. As for Moyes, i don’t want him,but think PL and DD still see him as a ‘big name ‘,to keep our profile high,both in England and abroad. HH

  8. Auldheid, et al

     

    Tremendous respect, and grateful thanks, for the Res 12 compendium. What would be of great value, imho, is a simple tabulated chronology, giving an overview of events and their relationship in time, to events since 2012, without going into a myriad of detail. Add a footnote link to the detailed information for more in-depth reading and understanding. Possibly a route to wider dissemination. Maybe this one-page (or two pages back-to-back) could be reproduced in a leaflet and distributed at turnstiles? HH

  9. lets all do the huddle 🍀 on

    have we really been worse since NL took over than we were for large parts of the season before he arrived?

     

     

    im not so sure

  10. Moysie…………….

     

     

    *shakes heid vigorously*

     

     

     

    A David O’Leary in Waiting.

     

     

     

    Nay, nay and thrice nay!

  11. Bada 12.20pm

     

     

    You are probably not far wrong, am hoping our next manager whoever it may be will have the final say on who is staying or leaving, the board must trigger Sinclair year option whether he is staying or going

  12. South Of Tunis on

    Philip May .

     

     

    A multi millionaire . A big cheese at Capital Group . A US financial services company with some $ 1.9 trillion in assets . Big in offshore investment ..Big on tax advice . Not comfortable with the new EU Anti Tax Avoidance Directive . Moved a lot of their London money to Luxembourg . Been coining money from the Brexit uncertainty . Really looking forward to those trade deals between Trumpland and Brexitland

  13. MULLET AND CO 2 on 8TH APRIL 2019 12:08 PM

     

     

    Can’t see Celtic signing anybody but a very cheap option for the third-choice spot. This will allow the two young keepers to go back out on loan where they have been having success.

     

     

    I understand we are crying out for a RB but I really like Ralston. I don’t think we should count him out yet. Give him a chance to compete for the jersey.

     

     

    Why do you think Forrest is going to leave? He’s contracted for another 3 seasons.

  14. Too many, too quick to pan Neil Lennon on the internet, whilst he’s getting us over the line, and Celtic aren’t even thinking about next season, only overly anxious tetchy supporters. NFL has all but completed the first part where only a catastrophe will lose eight in a row, we have a week to prepare the latest downing of Aberdeen.

     

     

    If things go to plan if there is such a thing at Celtic, the recruitment strategy will start after the final whistle of the Cup, should we participate in the final remains to be seen the appointment will depend on whom Dermot Desmond and Peter Lawwell bump into over summer at the races, maybe the golf course or whether Neil triumphs again with a majority vote in the road shows?

     

     

    Linking David Moyes, Alex Neil, or yada yada, is done to get Celtic fans whipped up and neatly divided ahead of the task in hand, but its only the internet, tickets for Hampden are all but sold out, season tickets renewing nicely doesn’t depend on who ‘the board come up with’ for nine.

     

     

    What is evident and has been for most of this season is that those that critiqued last summer’s transfer window had basis for doing so, and the quick fix in January ( Weah Burke Toljan and Bayo ) was barely enough, especially when we weren’t to know Mr Charm was to become Mr Smarm jumping ship, with land clearly in sight. The genesis of a good Celtic side, is here, better players are now fit, but the locus is definitely on the PLC to maintain the gap created that brought us players no other club in Scotland can buy. The coach is less important IMHO it wasn’t BR that enticed Dembele, Edouard, or Ntcham it was Celtic, and I do believe that master tacticians in football, are a fantasy.

     

     

    Great Celtic managers are born e.g. Stein, Burns, and Lennon never off the training ground, they get Celtic, Celtic get them, dancing along the touch line, with the fans, NFL has won the lot, including important away games to take us to the land only careerists could resist.

     

     

     

    HH

  15. God forbid that Dithering Dave is our next manager – his peak years finished around 2009 by which time he had been named English Manager of the year on three occasions. In the subsequent 10 years he has got rich by being part of the managerial merry-go-round without doing anything of note. He got the biggest gig in English football at Old Trafford thanks to Alex Ferguson and the pressure cracked him (as it would most managers).

     

    We need someone who is on the way up, not on the way down. Someone who has something to prove and hungry for titles rather than thinking about their pension pot.

     

    Martinez would be a good fit.

  16. This is not the time to be suggesting replacements for Neil Lennon . Personally, I’m just delighted he was available & willing to see us through a difficult time after Brendan’s hasty departure.

     

     

    Mullet & co 2

     

    I don’t think wee Jamsie is in any hurry to leave Celtic , who rightly gave him a new contract recently. I also like Ryan Christie being further forward in midfield.

     

    Opinions / bellybuttons, and laughing at the zombies. Common denominator CSC

  17. Surely the permanent manager depends on what alternatives are available. Neil Lennon is in position and if he wins the League and cup then it would be hard to see any other alternative being able to trump that.

     

     

    With 8 in a row in the bag, then this is not the time to experimate.

  18. Watching a BBC News Clip of PM May and her Husband.

     

     

     

     

    Apart from her being one ugly Unionist Bitch….Her husband is dead ringer for TWO guys imho………

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Woody Allen…and one of the unfunniest so called Comedian EVER…….Arthur Askey !

     

     

     

     

    I’ll bet Money that NEITHER May or her Husband had previous Boyfriends/Girlfriends before those Two Met…they deserve each other.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    He strikes me as being ” Right Under Her Thumb” since Day one..I fail to understand ANY Man allowing a Woman (or Gay partner for that matter ? )..to Rule their Life.

     

    Likewise, for ANY Woman to be under a Husbands ( or Partners ) Heel ?

     

     

     

     

    HH

  19. Priority signings in the next window …

     

     

    1. Someone who can score from the penalty spot

     

    2. Someone who can score from corners

     

     

    Could maybe even be the same person .

     

     

    Simple thinking CSC

  20. OR Someone who can score from 4 yards out…now that would be helpful ?

     

     

    For Me, Olly Burke has a very poor 1st touch, and often the Ball gets away from him, whether if he’s trying some Chest Control and/or a Ball delivered straight to his feet. I know he has some attributes, his pace and strength etc, but to be a Top Celtic Player..he needs to add to his game imho.

     

     

    He also somehow manages to “Scaff” shots, and not putting his foot thru the ball when trying to shoot ?

     

    Hopefully, Neil and the others in the Coaching staff, have the Bhoy working on his weakness’s ?

     

     

    HH

  21. The Johnatron on

    Heard a rumour a few weeks ago about Martinez (current Belgium coach) and Maloney (his current assistant). Maloney particularly is obviously familiar with Scottish football and I’m pretty sure Martinez still know’s whats going on. I think this would be a great combination to take us to the 10. Nothing against Lenny, but I think he’s had his shot and more than done his bit for the cause. Grateful that he was available to step in when required to fill the gap and keep things tic-ing over, but we have to move forward. Perhaps a coaching role for Lenny as I’m sure he would love to keep involved somewhere in the set up. Thoughts?

     

    TJ

  22. Don’t get me started on Scott Sinclair….What has happened to the Brave Bhoy since last season when he didn’t think twice about running AT Defenders and making them commit themselves etc ?

     

    He appears scared to try anything now, and thats been the case for some time.

     

    HH

  23. Friesdorfer on 8th April 2019 12:22 pm

     

    Auldheid, et al

     

     

    Tremendous respect, and grateful thanks, for the Res 12 compendium. What would be of great value, imho, is a simple tabulated chronology, giving an overview of events and their relationship in time, to events since 2012, without going into a myriad of detail. Add a footnote link to the detailed information for more in-depth reading and understanding. Possibly a route to wider dissemination. Maybe this one-page (or two pages back-to-back) could be reproduced in a leaflet and distributed at turnstiles? HH

     

     

    ===============

     

    You mean something on these lines that was published in NotTheView on sale at the Livi game?

     

     

    Its 2 pages but could be reduced but needs

     

     

    1. Funding

     

    2. Someone to organise/guide content

     

    3. Someone to place order, collect and then find enough volunteers to distribute.

     

     

    It would help if there were a lot more helpers/volunteers which is where the CSA/CST could step in.

     

     

     

    From NotThe View

     

     

    Read all about Resolution 12 adjourned at the Celtic AGM 2013.

     

     

    (The one that asked for UEFA to investigate the circumstances under which Rangers were granted a licence by the SFA to compete in the Champions League in 2011 because it appeared there was overdue tax payable to HMRC that was a reason to refuse the licence and open the door for Celtic to replace Rangers with the consequential financial benefit to Celtic and their share value.)

     

     

    If you want chapter and verse, not only on what took place in 2011/12 but about how the SFA dealt with questions raised by a group of Celtic shareholders, who considered that by denying Celtic CL access as a result of events in 2011 , there was a negative effect on their share value that the SFA are accountable for, then please check the incredible narrative at:

     

     

    https://www.res12.uk/

     

     

    • Read why proof that there was no overdue payable tax to HMRC at 31st March 2011 is highly questionable.

     

    • Read how that proof, provided to SFA by Rangers at end of March 2011 is apparently contradicted by court testimony and hard evidence, requiring an investigation by the SFA Compliance Officer that finally began in September 2017.

     

    • Read how that SFA Judicial Panel Disciplinary Tribunal set up by the Compliance Officer to establish if the licence was granted on false pretence or not, decided in July 2018, that the Court of Arbitration on Sport must adjudicate. This apparently as result of an argument made by The Rangers Football Club Ltd that the Five Way Agreement of July 2012 required CAS to be the adjudicators.

     

    • Read how any false pretence was kept from discovery in May 2011 by non-disclosure of an HMRC letter indicating significant change from the basis on which the licence was granted, a letter in which HMRC accused Rangers of negligent or fraudulent behaviour.

     

    • Read how non-disclosure of that same letter, not only in 2011 but again by Rangers Administrators Duff and Phelps in 2012, allowed Lord Nimmo Smith to state in the LNS Commission Decision that there was “no question of dishonesty individual or corporate” when evidence to the contrary was excluded from the scrutiny of the LNS Commission, an exclusion which in a court of law would normally invalidate the findings once uncovered.

     

    • Read how Craig Whyte was never charged by SFA of not paying the £2.8 M wee tax bill but was charged with not paying VAT and PAYE thus keeping the wee tax bill from scrutiny.

     

    • Read how the SFA from 2014 failed to act on the contents of that letter presented to them by Celtic on shareholders behalf until Celtic shareholders employed a lawyer to pursue answers in 2015.

     

    • Read how UEFA were eventually approached in 2016 and their reply that told the SFA by copy that UEFA viewed the club based at Ibrox applying for a UEFA Licence after 2012 as a NEW club/company and therefore UEFA could not sanction Rangers FC who had gone into liquidation in 2012 for any breaches they committed in 2011.

     

    • Read how SFA prevarication from 2014 contributed to UEFA also justifying not investigating because of 5 year time bar regulation after which they could not investigate licensing matters (although there is no time bar on corruption).

     

    • Read how STV reported on UEFA’s response omitting reference to the “newness” in UEFA’s response that SFA never corrected.

     

    • Read how charges of noncompliance with SFA Articles relating to honesty/good faith were finally brought by the SFA in 2018 after court testimony in 2017 suggested the licence was granted under false pretence.

     

    • Read how the new Rangers responded and that the charges relating to the grant period at the end of March 2011 were dropped on the basis that accusations (never actually made under Res 12) were groundless.

     

    • Read how volunteered evidence that false pretence did take place at end of March 2011, that the SFA have the power to confirm, was presented to the SFA in June 2018 by Res 12 lawyers which has not been addressed by SFA.

     

    • Read that in July 2018 the Judicial Panel Disciplinary Tribunal (JPDT) decided they had to pass their power to act to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) under the full terms of the secret Five Way Agreement.

     

    • Read why Celtic shareholders expressed unhappiness at the CAS referral at the Celtic AGM in 2018 not knowing if what was presented to SFA in June 2018 by Res12 lawyers in respect of end of March 2011 was to be part of that referral.

     

    • On its way: The implications for SFA governance and their Judicial Panel Protocol as a result of the JPDT having to cede their judicial power to CAS under the secret Five Way Agreement and the stunning implications of that for the LNS Commission in 2012/13 and SFA’s handling of Resolution 12 from 2014.

     

     

    As matters develop the Timeline at

     

     

    https://www.res12.uk/ will continue to be updated – so stay tuned.

     

     

    Let’s see if transparency can lead to accountability.

     

    =================

     

    Something on those lines?

  24. Lennys the Man Full Stop !

     

    He deserves our support, and jsut imagine how MUCH BETTER it will be IF he’s the Celtic Manager IF we do the TEN ?

     

     

    The Hun mob will be biting each others noses aff !

     

    HH

  25. AULDHEID on 8TH APRIL 2019 1:17 PM

     

    …………………….

     

    Probably a Daft question…but cant the SFA also be held to account thru The Freedom of information Act ( FIA) ?

     

     

    HH

  26. The set peices under Brendan and now under Neil are beyond a joke.

     

     

    A floaty ball into the box is then followed by a first defender clearance Quite incredible really.

     

     

    Have we scored directly from a corner this season?

  27. THE JOHNATRON on 8TH APRIL 2019 1:16 PM

     

     

    Heard a rumour a few weeks ago about Martinez (current Belgium coach) and Maloney (his current assistant). Maloney particularly is obviously familiar with Scottish football and I’m pretty sure Martinez still know’s whats going on. I think this would be a great combination to take us to the 10. Nothing against Lenny, but I think he’s had his shot and more than done his bit for the cause. Grateful that he was available to step in when required to fill the gap and keep things tic-ing over, but we have to move forward. Perhaps a coaching role for Lenny as I’m sure he would love to keep involved somewhere in the set up. Thoughts?

     

     

    ___

     

     

    Bobby Martinez played for Motherwell and has a habit of signing Scottish based players (McGeady, McArthur, McCarthy, Maloney)

     

     

    He’s my number 1 pick. But it’s very unlikely. He has a chance to win the Euros with Belgium and that’d eclipse anything he can achieve here.

  28. The need for a target man?

     

     

    Where’s Bayo? I thought be was meant to be more of a physical presence than our other striker(s).

     

    Surely we’ll be able to give him a couple of games once we (finally) win the title.

     

     

    We’ve also Shved and Morgan to come in to offer more of an attacking threat. I’m optimistic about Shved and I’ve liked the little I’ve seen of Morgan thus far.

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