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. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Thought we might struggle to win the tie if we didn’t get an away goal. Not too worried now, although plenty can still go wrong if we don’t prepare or execute properly.


    Get well soon Tommy Gemmell.

  2. Gary67



    Thanks for that , didn’t think we would be forced to play two days after hearts game , then again …..

  3. Ron Bacardi



    I was on that trip to Lisbon – I was a young lad of around 15. There were a few McGinley trips around that time. I remember that save John Fallon made from Eusabio as amongst the best I’ve ever seen.

  4. We used to play a game called ‘Baawwwrrie’ ( phonetic spelling ) but basically you had to hit the cross bar usually from about 20 yards.



    There were some brilliant Bawwwrrie players back in the day.



    Rubbish at fitba mind.

  5. Tobago Street on

    “STV understands that under the terms of a renegotiated TV deal following the removal of Rangers from the top flight in 2012, a clause was inserted making the league liable to additional production costs (up to £250,000) incurred setting up at lower league grounds.”



    Where are “The Rangers” getting the money to pay transfer fees and big wages?




  6. I was great at Bawwwrrrie, but not when playing it, just when taking penalties in real match. Celtic need to practice to avoid Bawwrrieing.

  7. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    The Battered Bunnet on 1st August 2016 2:30 pm




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




    A myth started by the English players after one of their many penalty shoot-out defeats (in which they HADN’T practiced).


    Much easier to blame bad luck!




    A very good question. There is the conspiracy theory that they have access to some money from questionable sources (think Zanussi or Hotpoint). Alternatively they could spend any spare money as soon as it becomes available out of pure habit…

  9. Tobago Street,



    Not so sure about Transfers.



    Sevco claim to have sold 35-40k SBs.


    They have also got access to the Rangers Trust, Rangers First monies via Club 1872.


    Sponsorship.(Who know’s what’s happening there).


    Money on loan through places like Hong Kong and associates of the criminal Dave King.



    Quiet on here Traynor, Kerr et al must be at a meeting :))

  10. Rowley Birkin QC on

    Is my ST activated for use on Wednesday nights game? I purchased a ticket on website and the cost included a £1.50 internet fee (no idea?) but so far I haven’t received a paper ticket?



    Any advice would be appreciated.




  11. I’ve read about and watched various TV articles about the science of penalties. Fascinating. (sadly for you I don’t have time to be fetching the links!!)



    However I read that if you have the choice of power or placement choose power, in subsequent articles this seemed to hold true as one key element is minimising keeper reaction time. If you minimise his reaction time you massively reduce the keepers ability to use anything other than prediction or luck.



    However the assumption is that you’re facing a keeper who is also well prepared for penalties with research on both you as the taker and penalties in general. If he’s not he just has luck if you hit it hard enough. The way you run and shape up is surprisingly predictive on direction. This is really something a keeper should study hard. It’s not luck that some keepers save many more penalties than others.



    Absolutely no surprise that a well placed penalty with as much power as you can muster is statistically how to take one. The dink or the ‘just inside the post’ penalty sacrificing power are massive risks. Both give the keeper reaction time to adjust if they are on their game. So practice in getting that right is important for the taker, and sharing this insight with the keeper as he tries to save them will improve his ability to predict and save.



    The most recent study I watched on TV suggested that there isn’t a perfect penalty that cannot be stopped. This was based on the power that was feasibly achieved by a football player coupled with accuracy in direction. i.e. to accurately get it right in the corner it can’t be hit as hard and fast as putting your laces through it down the middle. The dimensions of the goal allow a keeper to get there at the speed/power generated. We Forrest’s against Leicester was an example of a reasonably placed penalty that lacked power. Schmeichael wasn’t lucky, he saw it and got two gloves on it.



    Anyway, that’s some of the science, apparently. I wonder if clubs use these studies or if players simply practice their favourite.



    On a separate note I have been offline since Friday night, nursing the Fife sunburn I had managed to avoid in 9 days in Majorca. Great day at Aberdour with great people, and a truly humbling experience listening to John O’Byrne tell us from his wheelchair what he does in his sort of ‘make a wish’ way for sick kids. Well done to everyone who raised so much money on the night. Also amazed to see Eurochamps67 buy so many drinks for others. Again, humbled :)

  12. Tobago, Not sure they are paying any transfer fees, wages are paid monthly and they probably have a few million in the kitty from Season Books. They seem to be gambling that Barton & Co. may be enough to win Title & get them on the Euro gravy train. When gamble comes unstuck they will be up s***creek without a paddle.



    Earlier guys analysing the Efe OG, are blaming Gordon & the other defenders for not giving him a shout, just wondering how do they know whether they shouted or not. I was very close to the action in this incident and I don’t know.



    Overall thought Efe played well, but it can’t be just bad luck that he is the one involved in so many of the high profile incidents. I will support him as long as he wears the Hoops but I really feel it is better for both player & team that we part ways asap.

  13. Leading on from TBB’s point re penalties, with athletes there is such a thing as muscle memory. If one practices doing the same thing over and over it becomes as second nature as you and I pressing F5 on CQN. I mean, nobody buckles under the pressure of an F5 button press at podium o’clock, do they? Do they?????

  14. ROWLEY BIRKIN QC on 1ST AUGUST 2016 3:17 PM



    I was told that my season ticket would be activated and no paper ticket sent.

  15. BARNEY67



    I have no such problem, my right bicep always goes on about that time Celtic scored 2 in the last 2 mins against Dundee Utd in the Scottish Cup in 1996. Mostly because my brother “inadvertently” gave me a dead arm when Andy Thom scored.




    If you are in the home ticket scheme your card will be activated


    and the money taken from your bank account

  17. Rowley Birkin QC on

    Thanks for info Barrowbhoy.



    I’m not in the scheme but just made a one off purchase. Seems my card will me activated. Still not sure what the £1.50 internet charge relates to?




  18. Mountblow tim on

    Good afternoon CQN



    Just landed in Dublin from L A


    Waiting on flight to Glasgow



    Get well soon TG



    Hail Hail




  19. WDH



    Could be. Strangely it was the one thing that Henrik wasn’t good at.



    btw Your package was duly delivered by Jobo, incredible and made a huge difference. Will be in touch.

  20. Tommy Gemmell – Best wishes and a prayer said for a speedy recovery from your fractured Hip.




  21. whitedoghunch on



    I’ll forward a wee mail about the package cheers



    The penalty stats come from an episode of QI where I get all my knowledge ! – will try to find it



    hasta pronto

  22. Can anyone hyperlink me to the Q&A Tommy Gemmell did a few weeks back on here. He made a comment that I think is up there with anything that’s up on the walls of Celtic Park and I want to get the wording right. It was about what Big Jock told them about defending and attacking. It was so in evidence from Barca at times on Saturday.

  23. So if a goalie never dives and just stands his ground in the middle, he will save at least 2. Brave goalie to do that, but u could only try it once.

  24. BARNEY67



    Stefan Klos tried that when Henke took a penalty against him. The press had been snagging Larsson for hitting it down the middle on a few previous occasions. Klos stood still….Henrik put it in the corner.

  25. The most important factor for me in taking a penalty is disguise.


    I took penaltys from boys club to junior football and missed one out of approx 45.


    I always placed it, why would you need to smash it when the vast majority of times the keeper is taking the bait and going the wrong way.


    I would start with the placing of the ball, I would have a sneaky look at the corner I was disguising to go to, not to obvious though.


    The seed is planted, as I address the ball, my body shape is to go across myself, at the last moment I open my foot and put it in the other corner. Simples.

  26. Delaneys Dunky on

    So sorry to hear about Tommy Gemmell.


    My mother is recovering from a fractured hip bone, and she now wears a pendant alarm round her neck that can attract help from the health authorities, in an emergency.

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