Preparing for gargantuan task in 8 days time


In eight days Brendan Rodgers takes Celtic into the Camp Nou to face Barcelona.  While Barca are not current European champions, there is little doubt they are the best team in the world at the moment, and no doubt whatsoever that they are the greatest team of the era.  A gargantuan task lies ahead.  This week we’ll have a look at that challenge and how we might best prepare.

While Brendan has carried all before him in domestic football, and at home in Europe, his Celtic lost in Gibraltar and Israel, while taking a creditable draw in Kazakhstan.    Playing in the Camp Nou is another world entirely,  however.

Neil Lennon did very well top inhibit Barcelona on three of the four occasions he managed Celtic against them (the fourth was a dead rubber for Celtic, who conceded six, but was a must-win for Barcelona).

On the three meaningful Celtic games, we won once, lost once with 10 men, and conceded a last minute winner in the Camp Nou. A remarkable return against one of the best teams in the history of the game.

Neil’s team defended his 18-yard-box with remarkable endeavour, even with Efe Ambrose and Kelvin Wilson in central defence – and Adam Matthews at left back. Not exactly a legendary defensive line-up, but what Neil proved more than anything, football is about the system, not the individuals.

In some respects, defending against Barcelona will be more straightforward than against St Johnstone.  There will be no reluctance to clear the ball long, instead of trying to thread a pass in the middle of our own half.  There should be no complacency, and at all times defenders should be aware that their defensive partners are not far away.

In defending the 18-yard-box, Neil’s Celtic conceded space near the corner flag, an area we would normally contest, as this is where dangerous cross balls can emanate from.  What that Celtic team had was no only a comfortable height advantage over Barcelona, but this advantage combined with a natural ability in the air, which say Celtic score regularly and defend successfully.

I expect Mikael Lustig, Erik Sviatchenko and Kolo Toure all to play along the back line (will be amazed and concerned if Mikael plays a conventional right back role), with Nir Bitton dropping deep from midfield.  So we will not be short of height, but gelling them into a cohesive unit will be one of Brendan’s major tasks when players return from international duty.


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  1. The Green Man says SACK THE Board on




    You were hovering there….beat me to it by a half a second.






  2. Chavez on 5th September 2016 12:03 pm



    VFR800A8 and Bobby Murdoch



    I’m not getting shouty about it – I just think it’s dangerous to talk about any game as if it’s a foregone conclusion. On paper we are definitely better but if the players show complacency it could go wrong. We played them last year and got knocked out the Cup, when we had a much better squad than them (albeit with a crap coach). I’m not nervous about this game just now. That might change on Saturday morning though :)






    Chavez (and BMCUWP), I am not saying it is a foregone conclusion, but I expect a comfortable home win.



    Answer me this: if Saturday was Celtic V Hamilton or Celtic v Kilmarnock (2 teams that they have drawn with recently), what would your expectation be?






    The new articles appear 1st on twitter. Merely a coincidence. “hovering” pshaw!

  4. The Green Man says SACK THE Board on

    The Lurkin Tim



    The one and the same.


    The man who sold his soul to the Devil:)




  5. A large portion of the current group of Celtic players have already shown that no game is a foregone conclusion.


    A midfield that has both the names Bitton and Brown in it has already performed miserably in Gibraltar and Israel.


    We should win. I think we will win, narrowly, but its by no means certain. IMO.

  6. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    VFR800A8 on 5TH SEPTEMBER 2016 11:58 AM


    thomthethim for Oscar OK on 5th September 2016 11:30 am





    As for the Apple/ Tax thing, I have no idea what is really going on.




    I have chosen the little known loophole in Irish tax law.




    It’s called the Opt Out Of Tax facility, or OOT, for short!






    Is that not the Opt Out Facility For Tax – oofft?









    Unfortunately, that option is only open to multi-national, global conglomerates and involves receiving extra cash from Government.



    The poor old PAYE avoider gets hit again!

  7. Nailed it Clumps



    “So lets ignore that distracting pish about sectarian singing, the LNS farce, the Offshore Game Report, the UEFA ‘same club/company’ letter, 276 stiffed creditors, EBTs and side-letters.


    In fact, stop caring about whether Scotland’s national game is actually a sport.



    Because the pretence of an ‘Old Firm’ is the only show in town! Happy days are here again!




  8. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    My only on field concern is that we don’t use Saturday’s game as a warm up for Barca and allow them the freedom to come at us.



    There is always the chance of a lucky one and, of course, strategically awarded free kicks and penalties.



    I beleve that if you start a game on the back foot, it is very difficult to switch to forward momentum.

  9. The Green Man says SACK THE Board on

    Sevco are a jumped up First Division outfit.


    Why shouldnt we smash them?


    Do we have the quality, or not?


    Id say its a lot to do with mentality as well.


    Are we a better team?


    We shall see.


    I say we are too good for them.


    Cmon Celtic…..rag-doll the bigots.




  10. The Green Man says SACK THE Board on

    ThomThe Tim



    Yeah…we go for the jugular…pace, power, aggression, harassing them whenever they get the ball, pronto.


    We dont allow them to play.




  11. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Don’t think height will be much of an issue v Barca, Paul.


    Concentration, fitness and game awareness will be though.


    Surprised you didn’t mention the contribution of Fraser Forster in those games.


    Anyway a league game before that. Let’s swat away that newly-promoted team first, using as little energy as possible.

  12. Paul67


    I m trying to choose my words carefully .


    I am very surprised at the arrogance of this thread.



    Every opponent should be treated with respect on the park.




  13. The Green Man says SACK THE Board on

    If we really go at them…they will fold.


    They will need Police Scotland to instruct Celtic to stop.


    Go right at them…test them to the extreme, lets see how good they are.


    Give them Hell on earth.




  14. I think Brendan Rodgers and the players have treated all our opponents with respect; we have had a couple of below par performances in Europe, both in the heat. Our form also dipped for a period against Aberdeen; much of that could be attributed to the hard mid-week game we played in the Negev Desert.



    The Rangers will be treated with the same respect in the FIRST EVER Glasgow Derby in the league against them.



    Treat them by respect by all means (as Barcelona will do with us on the 13th), but be confident of beating them (as Barcelona will be with us on the 13th).



    NotArroganceButConfidence CSC




  15. The Green Man says SACK THE Board on

    The Lurkin Tim



    Good for the legend.


    He left town, could hardly play a note.


    Met the Devil at the Crossroads….The rest is history:)




  16. The Green Man says SACK THE Board on

    They should fear going to Celtic Park.


    We need to make it hurt badly.


    Get the fear into them with a scintillating display of power and pace, grind them down.






  17. The Green Man says SACK THE Board on

    The Lurkin Tim



    I think in reality though.


    He simply tuned his guitar from E, up to A:)


    But, it was the Devil that gave him the idea:)




  18. VFR800A8



    Our results in Scotland have been great.


    Our performances out with Scotland show how poor we can be.



    Our performances in Scotland have been mixed.


    We were dominated for long spells by Hearts.


    Matched toe to toe for periods by Aberdeen.


    Very vulnerable against Happoel.



    The Motherwell cup tie was our best performance.




    Much room for improvement .



    I do believe Brendan knows how to get there.



    But we should be 100% concentrated on our next match,not underestimating a team who embarrassed and beat us on on pens ,the last time we played them.



    One game at a time ,and all that.



    If the Darnel get a draw it will be a blow to us and a huge lift too them.



    Stranger things have happened .



    I posted in a similar manner before our semi final defeat .


    I was derided then for being negative.



    I want us to smite The Darnel.



    Not underestimate them.


    We will have to earn victory against a very determined opponent that are managed by a clever man.





    If this was an important tricky fixture I would not be missing it!


    They as a football team are horrendous


    Them as peepul are deplorable.


    I am not concerned in the slightest as to the outcome of the match, more so the fallout in Glasgow.




  20. glendalystonsils on



    ThomThe Tim




    Yeah…we go for the jugular…pace, power, aggression, harassing them whenever they get the ball, pronto.



    We dont allow them to play.



    Aye……………but whit aboot Sevco? -))

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