Progress will be about how we defend, penalties


There’s been a palpable sense of relief among all of us since Leigh Griffiths scored in Astana last midweek, but as Wednesday’s second leg draws nearer, the reality that our Champions League hopes are very much on the line is dawning.

Astana’s natural game in Europe is to defend and play on the break. They kept a clear sheet in Vilnius in the last round and conceded only twice on the road in last season’s three away qualifiers against Maribor, HJK Helsinki and APOEL Nicosia – decent qualifier opponents by any measure.

They will put two men on both Patrick Roberts and Leigh Griffiths, and sit deep, hoping to draw Celtic into leaving space at the back. This is the exact scenario we lost out to otherwise inferior teams in Europe over the last two seasons. We enjoyed possession and territorial advantage (home and away) but were ripped open on the break.

Progress to the playoff round will be all about how well we defend.

The bulk of tomorrow’s training session should be set aside for the practice of penalty kicks. Celtic lose far too many penalty competitions, and despite legacy notions which persist in British football, penalties can be practiced. 10 players should hit at least 10 penalties each.

Dreadful news that Tommy Gemmell was hospitalised over the weekend. He’s been a great friend to CQN in recent years and I know we all send him our best wishes.

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  1. I don’t care if it’s 0-0 or a penalty shootout. All that matters is we win.



    Same greetin’ faced buggers will be on here to complain about the performance but it will only be the 3rd of August under a new coach. He will need time to turn this squad into the team we’re hoping for.

  2. Hail Hail



    Still trying to recover from a mad but great weekend/week in Dublin


    Great to see so many Celtic supporters enjoy the match and the hospitality


    Big thanks to Almore/ Corkcelt and others who welcomed us with open arms.


    Also to Mark from the Bad Ass Cafe in Temple bar for the welcome.



    Good to see the TBM/ Jimmynotpaul posting last night Tam hope you are on the mend.


    TG. prayers said for the speedy recovery.



    Need to get back to Glasgow to Detox?


    Hail Hail

  3. Paul67


    Reason we have been hit on the break so often is simply we are not a team.


    The spacing of our players is erratic.


    Often the distance between our forward.midfield and defensive units is huge.


    Brendan at least recognised this in Astansa and took off a forward to add to the midfield.


    The game sense of our players is lacking particularly in central areas.


    It seems that when we press our defense is still to deep so if our midfielders push up there is a huge gap between the two that allows our opponents an easy and dangerous break out.


    Until we put a conductor in the defensive and midfield zones it will always be an issue.


    At this moment we do not have intelligent enough players in vital areas.


    If the defense do push up it is also vital to have a goalie who can act as a sweepers coaches need to work on this.

  4. quadrophenian on

    Hunnish journalism alert! The Scotsman’s 2nd top football story concerns a peripheral ex-Celt who blagged some gear from his work.


    Post Burnley, you can smell their fear.

  5. jude2005 is Neil Lennon \o/ on





  6. jude2005 is Neil Lennon \o/ on 1st August 2016 12:58 pm





    Burnley bound apparently. Sunderland also interested.


    Is astana game on tv??

  8. Dexter says HAVE WE ALL FORGOTTEN ABOUT THE LIVING WAGE AT CELTIC PARK??? on 1st August 2016 1:19 pm


    Is astana game on tv??




  9. northeast ghirl on

    I for one hope we don’t try to sign McNair. We should give our own kids a chance rather than help develop some Man ure player who can’t cut it there.

  10. Jude2005


    Yes big Tam scored a cracker of a free kick very early in the Benfica game.


    Later on (2nd half) I was ‘white hankied’ and got to sit behind the goal foe a wee while with the St Johns Ambulance guys – great view once I got my breath back!

  11. To be honest, I would put Toure in on Wednesday for his leadership and experience. He will sort out the defence. If we play a flat 4 with Janko, Toure, O’Connell/Ambrose and Tierney or a 3 with Ambrose, Toure and O’Connell (Tierney wide left of a 5 in midfield) we will have enough organisation and pace at the back to cope with Astana.



    Personally, I’d go with Ambrose, Toure and O’Connell.






    Ambrose, Toure, O’Connell



    Roberts, Brown, Ajer, Johansen/Bitton, Tierney



    Griffiths, Dembele



    At the back, Koule can marshall Efe and Eoighan who have plenty of pace to cover and KT can tuck into a flat 4 when needed. Efe has plenty experience at RB.



    I think Ajer deserves his chance and Johannsesn (if Bitton isn’t fit) will add some energy to the midfield. Ajer, Roberts and Tierney will add a freshness and some pace to the midfield and with Griffiths up front, we will get goals. I think big Moussa looks as if he needs a goal and I’m sure that pressing forward on Wednesday he will oblige.



    Having Lustig, Emilio, Rogic, Forrest, Janko, McGregor, Ciftci and Armstrong on the bench gives us plenty of options to change it if needed.

  12. Saw quite a few references over the last couple of days to the fact that on the BBC website there was absolutely no mention or reference to The Rangers’ 0-3 defeat to Burnley. Well, Bhoys and Ghirls, I can trump that!



    Leave aside all prejudices and go onto the ole official site of our formal rivals. Then click on ‘Matches’ and select last season’s results, 2015-16. There you will find that the last competitive game that they played was against Livingston in the league.



    Now I was pretty certain that they had a subsequent game in May but clearly, my ageing years are starting to affect my memory.




  13. minx1888 praying to Wee Oscar on

    Campaign News



    01/08/16 First step in the process to repeal the Offensive Behaviour Act announced today!


    Proposals to repeal the Offensive Behaviour Act have been lodged today by James Kelly MSP. This is the first step in the process to get rid of the expensive, anti-democratic mess that this ill-thought-out and badly worded legislation has created. There will be a public consultation on the Act, the details of which are on the Parliament website and also can be linked to from here http://www.scraptheact.com , which will run from today till 23rd October 2016. It is imperative that everyone who has concerns about this Act: its impact on, particularly, young people; its cost; its illiberal nature and the effect it has had on the relations between the Police Service of Scotland and young, law-abiding citizens who happen to be football fans, should respond to the consultation. We will update on the responses as we move through the next twelve weeks. Please make sure you fill in the consultation survey and if you have any problems please let us know so we can sort them out. Please also contact your MSP to find out if they will be supporting this move and encourage them to do so.


    We understand that the responses will be analysed and that a Bill will go before Parliament early in 2017 which will call for the repeal of the Act. We will keep you informed of all developments over that period.


    We are in the final stages of our five year battle against the Act and victory is now within our sights. Please make sure you spread the word on a daily basis and let the Scottish Government know that the Offensive Behaviour Act must go!



    Big Tam really shouldn`t have done this.




    And yet…………….




    Nemo me impune lacessit.










    Just as well the big man didnae use his left peg or Heller would still be on crutches! Nearly as good as his punch in Montevideo!

  15. vfr800a8 on 1st August 2016 1:28 pm



    Toure won’t play.



    We’re likely to go with the same team as in Kazakhstan. MAYBE Ajer will come in for McGreggor or Armstrong.

  16. quadrophenian on

    VFR800 and TIMALOY29; I could see Kolo as a 2nd half shorer-upper – going to 4 at back – if we were 1 or more up. Dont feel CmcC or SA offering anything at present.

  17. VFR800A8 @1-32


    That takes me back.


    The day after the above incident there was a pitched battle between our school and the local protestant one.


    The day after that the headmaster lined up the entire school in playground and tore into us for being hooligans and having terrible role models like Tommy G.

  18. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Surely Brendan will give big Tom Rogic a game on Wednesday night he looked good against Barcelona.H.H.

  19. TIMALOY29 on 1st August 2016 1:39 pm



    I tend to agree with you; however, I can hope for a wee change to brighten things up!



    FAN-A-TIC on 1st August 2016 1:49 pm


    Aye, the good old days wi’ a regular punch up wi’ the local prods!

  20. Jude2005 behave yourself where would any selfrespecting Celtic fan listen to or care what keevins had to say, oh no you did’nt listen to SSB – shame on you!! H H Hebcelt

  21. quadrophenian on 1st August 2016 1:46 pm



    If Toure wasn’t deemed fit enough to feature in a friendly I don’t believe he will feature at all against Astana.



    Starting 11: Gordon, Lustig, Ambrose, O’Connell, Tierney, Roberts, Brown, Ajer, McGreggor, Dembele, Griffiths



    Bench: Fasan, Janko, Izzy, Rogic, Armstrong, Forrest, Ciftci



    I can’t see BR changing it up much.

  22. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    For all of us Tims who loved big Tam and revelled in his exploits , he represented an attitude.


    Not a backward step.


    To anybody.




    I`m confident Brendan understands.


    Hail Hail

  23. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    JUDE2005 IS NEIL LENNON \O/ on 1ST AUGUST 2016 1:25 PM



    Thanks , mate.

  24. Hunderbirds are Gone on

    Earlier talk of the teachers union, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS)……



    Reminded me of this old one……….



    The National Farmers Union, the EIEIO




  25. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on





    One of Billy`s……..



    Old Mc Donald was a dyslexic


    I E O I E



    Buenas noches todos.

  26. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on 1st August 2016 2:06 pm



    VFR800A8 on 1ST AUGUST 2016 1:32 PM






    Nae prisoners.





    Aye; raid like Apaches. drag a few oot, gie a kickin’ and yhrow them back in!

  27. Was at that Benfica game in Lisbon. 3 day trip to include some sightseeing, including visits to Fatima and the National Stadium where we won the big cup in 1967. At end of game it wasn’t til we got back to hotel to learn about winning by toss of coin. Trip was oganised by McGinley Travels I think. Any other old CQNERS out there who went as well?

  28. Tobago Street on

    Of course we should practice penalties, not to do so would leave us ill prepared.




  29. Paul 67, penalties can not be practiced the way you are saying. Certainly not high pressure penalty shootouts anyway.



    No way should the bulk of practice tomorrow be penalties. It should be defending and scoring from set pieces, and going over and over and over again the game plan, and plan B and so on.



    Then at the end, there can be a small amount of time added for penalty practice. To make it a bit more high pressure, there can be a competition at the end, the ones who score get away early, and get some kind of treat, whatever it is that the players don’t normally get, but would like. And the ones who miss, obviously do not get that treat, they don’t get away early, they need to stay behind for extra penalty kick taking practice, and shuttle runs or something equally boring, and tidy up the training area/changing room after. ie something they really won’t want to do……



    But you really cannot practice to a high degree. Players need to know where they plan it hit it, with what part of their foot etc. Get them ready, but as we saw in the euro’s just now, if the pressure gets too much, the players make mistakes. Players who you expect to score miss. Have them ready, yes, spend all day doing it? No way. More important ways to win the game before we even get to that stage!

  30. The Battered Bunnet on

    Ron Bacardi



    Sounds like your trip was organised by BRTH’s father.



    The ‘youngster’ is talking lately about running a charter to Lisbon next May. Look out for word.

  31. The Battered Bunnet on

    Penalties can’t be practised. Really? Apparently that’s because you can’t simulate the pressure of the moment.



    Couple of observations on that.



    Firstly, if that were true, then free kicks cant be practiced. Ask Nakamura. Serving for the match in tennis can’t be practiced. Clinch putts in golf can’t be practiced. Double 16 can’t be practiced in darts. And on, and on.



    Key thing in all of this is that the more one practices a specific shot, the better one is able to use it when the moment arises. The purpose of practice is to do it a sufficient number of times that it becomes embedded memory: The execution of the task remains instinctive irrespective of the circumstances.



    For penalties, each player should have his ‘own penalty’, the same shot, hit the same way, to the same target of the goal, time after time after time. The best players have one penalty which, if hit properly, cannot be saved by a 6 foot keeper in a 24 foot goal.



    There is always the influence of the human factor, and practice doesn’t make perfect, but it certainly improves.

  32. BABASONICOS71 on

    There’ll be no need for penalties on Wednesday night,we’re improving under Brendan and with a big crowd behind us we’ll see off Astana.


    With regards to taking penalties in training,I’ve always believed penalties should be practised along with all other aspects of the game.Never been able to get my head round professional players who DON’T practise all aspects of their game.Every time I hear of players having a ‘weak’ foot I wonder why they don’t spend extra hours working on it.Or their passing.Or shooting.Or first touch.Replicating atmosphere and pressure can’t be done but repeated drills of any skill will enhance chances of success when applied in a real game environment.Most of the players on view in our league have trouble simply trapping the ball or finding a teammate or hitting a shot on target so extra hours on the training pitch should be an obligation.That new tattoo won’t improve ball control.

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