Regrets, we’ve had a few, but then again


…OK, I suppose we have to mention them.

I did a preview for STV on Monday and was asked what my expectations were for last night but had to admit I had zero expectations.  This season I hoped we would get into the Champions League group stage, or at least, the Europa League.  We remarkably overshot.  My real hope for the latter stages of the tournament was that we would exit without taking a hiding.

Technically, 0-3 at home is a bit of a hiding but it doesn’t feel that way for several reasons.  The first half was the best football we have seen from a Celtic team in years; far better than either of the performances against Barcelona, and on a par with anything under the Strachan and O’Neill eras.  Unlike Barcelona, this match plan was flawed, but it was an honourable flaw.

The “gamble” to play Efe is one which Neil may consider, in time-honoured Celtic tradition, will be inscribed on his gravestone.  When you face Juventus you need to take gambles; if they all worked, clearly, they were not gambles.  This one didn’t, we learn and move on.  The player put on a brave performance and I’m very proud of his achievements this month.

With an away game at the daunting Juventus Stadium to come, many considered that our best chance of qualification would be to win the home game, and we clearly went about our business with the intention of doing just that.  Had we faced Juve in the group stage it is possible we would have left fewer spaces at the back.  Any watching Barcelona players must have marvelled at how big Celtic Park looked on TV last night compared to their visit two months ago.

We don’t know how good Juventus would have been if we camped in front of our own penalty box, as they did for long periods, but they were a more-than-effective counter-attacking team.

It is hard to pinpoint what we were missing.  Georgios Samaras would have played if fit and would have given us the height-dimension up front we lacked without him.  He would also have given Gary Hooper the support he badly missed.  Charlie Mulgrew’s status as Best Corner Kick Taker in Europe is at risk if he doesn’t take corner kicks until Kris Commons has innumerable tries.

Juve were prepared for the Celtic threat from corners and behaved illegally throughout the game.  One of the referees should have had the strength of character to deal with the problem but they were sadly unable.

There were many positives.  Emilio is back to his very best.  On one occasion in the second half two Juve players were goal-side with only Forster ahead.  Emilio made-up the five yard deficit and stopped the attack.  His pace, skill and decision-making were first class.

Kris Commons repeatedly took-on a crowd of Juventus players before releasing a team-mate or making space for a crack at goal.  He looked like he enjoyed the occasion but didn’t get the clear-cut chance his play deserved.

Lustig and Matthews are both excellent right-sided defenders with pace and skill.  Kelvin Wilson did well, as did Efe for long periods.  Fraser had little to do all night but had no chance with any of the goals.  Victor Wanyama bossed everyone in his vicinity, and this was some vicinity.  Roy Keane played 13 games for Celtic and, after an unfortunate debut, I remember thinking “This is what all the fuss is about”.  Victor elicits the same sentiment; more on the consequences of this another day.

On Friday 1 March the Lisbon Lions will be at the Kerrydale Suite providing commentary and answering questions on their magnificent European Cup final win in 1967. This has never happened in 46 years since that game, to say it is a unique opportunity fails to tell the whole story.

The event is part of our 125 4 125 campaign – central to reinvigorating the charitable spirit which is part of the club we love. It will be a family occasions, tickets are available at £10 for adults and £5 for children. The night has been organised by several fans working in conjunction with the people at Celtic Charity, so please do your best to support this great occasion. Individual tickets or tables are available, details here.
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  1. If I were to take on Usain Bolt over 100 yards I would need a start. No one could argue with that. When you consider the relative spend of Juventus as opposed to Celtic, it is a fair assumption that we need something of a start when facing teams of that quality. That has been the way for a long number of years. The Celtic supporters have always provided that advantage with their sheer passion enthusiasm and unfailing belief. It has over time proved mighty effective. Many have tried and failed to stop the green and white juggernaut that rolls onto the Celtic Park turf on European match days.


    Last night however our start was negated after only 3 minutes. It was a horrific error by Ambrose, but he is not the first and won’t be the last Celtic defender to take centre stage in a calamitous piece of defending in Europe. I do not think for one minute though that it is entirely correct that he shoulders the guilt for what was an error of judgement that was cruelly punished by an alert striker. It has happened now and whether or not he recovers from it and goes on to be a success at CP or not, should be based upon what Neil and his coaching staff see in training and on match days. Ambrose will get (and is getting) slaughtered today in every media outlet nationwide. The last thing he needs is his own support turning on him as well. I am sure he feels bad enough. I wish Kris had also made his feelings known to Ambrose in private and not slaughtered his own team mate in public. Neil signed Ambrose, selected him knowing the hectic schedule he had endured,, and has to accept it was probably the wrong decision. Then again, Neil himself spoke only this week about how Sir Alex Ferguson advised him to stick with his gut instinct. Neil did, and on this occasion he lost the battle. He has won more than he has lost on a European battlefield though and lives to fight another day.


    Referring back to our head start provided by the crowd, not only did the error set us back, the officials then contrived to ensure we were actually going to be handicapped. Our most effective tactic in Europe this season, punishing teams from dead ball situations, was not allowed a run out due to sheer incompetence. That incompetence warrants further attention, but do not hold your breath. I am sure Neil had spent many hours on the training using set piece scenarios. Wasted effort but then how was he to know the rulebook was not being used last night?


    The title is all but won. Before we know it, the qualifiers will be upon us again. I hope the next adventure is as exciting as this one has been. One step back last night. Two steps forward in the next campaign. If we can manage that, that elusive lasy 8 place may be waiting, and if we make it, I am sure last night’s experience will have played a major part in our progression.


    Down, but definitely not out.



    Shoulder to shoulder with Efe.



    Hail Hail



  2. Not often I get a first . Thoughts last night?



    Good first half, tempered by the early goal. Until the 77th minute we looked the most likely to score.



    Working beside a juve fan last 2 days – he was complimentary of us, team , fans, stadium.



    Hail hail

  3. Repeated from end of previous thread



    Celtic competed well last night and only the most myopic wouldn’t agree. More shots on goal, more possession, more corners – sure Juve were defending an early goal but Celtic get regularly castigated for not winning on “stats”. The early mistake, the counter and the coup de grace when heads finally dropped made the scoreline flattering to Juve IMO.



    The reality was that teams from diddy leagues (like the SPL) do not have the strength in depth that teams form the richer leagues have – our starting 11s can compete (even win in Porto’s case), but after that we struggle.



    Evidence of that was Celtic playing Efe Ambrose 3 days after he won the African Cup of nations in South Africa. Juve had a player in similar circumstances that they chose to rest. Ambrose missed our best chance and was involved in 2 of their goals. I’m absolutely not blaming him for the result or for Lennie picking him over Rogne (5 starts) or Gershon (1 start), just that these are the cards we are dealt.



    Re: Subs. Adam Matthews was a straight replacement for an injured Lustig – that’s a no-brainer. Watt for Commons? Taking off a midfielder who had played his heart out, but maybe whose legs were going a bit and putting on a young pacey striker with for the last 20minutes chasing the game? Seems logical to me. Who should have been put on? Miku? Then Kayal for Scott Brown? Broonie was on a yellow, we were 2-0 down with 10mins to go. I don’t see the substitutions as costing us the game in any way and given the shots on goal, possession etc, I’m not sure anyone can say Lennie’s tactics were “wrong”. For depth: see Juve bringing on Anelke for the last 5 mins.



    Ref was poor in that he declined to make decisions – his giving yellows to both players involved in incidents reminded me of a schoolteacher who gives the whole class detention rather than actually punish the troublemaker.



    If he’d given an indirect free-kick to Celtic for the Juve lad’s wresting, that would have curbed it. Then if Hooper blocks the keepr (as he most probably would have tried if he’d had the chance) he could have given a free kick the other way, everyone whould know where they stand. Instead of the distracting farce we ended up with. Ditto booking Brown for trying to get away from the guy holding him.



    Hey ho, we’re out but the Bhoys have don well to get this far. Thanks for the millions lhads. :)

  4. Raymac


    thanks. Been ridiculously busy and in and out of the country endlessly, or so it seems. I hope you are well.



    Efe was poor last night, and geez, didn’t we suffer. As I say in my post above, I hope he does not now carry the burden of guilt for too long. He shoulders the blame, yes of course, but to move on he needs his team mates and fans behind him. If he does not have that, then for sure, he will have to….move on!

  5. We can all debate until we are blue in the face, sorry about that, but what’s done is done and it won’t change the result. It is half time in the tie with 3 weeks to recharge and have a rethink. I said last night that we should play exactly the same game against them, in Turin, as we did last night, but this time we need to keep it tight at the back. This may mean a change of personnel but the game plan was right just one or two of our players were not at the races. I would stick to the same tactics for corners but rotate the players at blocking their keeper. This may sound overly optimistic but this time we do have nothing to lose.


    As we sometimes say, in Glasgow:




  6. …For what’s done is done & what’s won is won,


    And what’s lost is lost & gone for ever.


    I can only pray for a bright, grand new day


    For this team that we love so well.



    Next up,… Dundee United.



    Everything is for the best, in this best of all possible worlds.

  7. We had 5 goal attempts in the first 10 minutes. That’s an incredible statistic against a team who’ve only lost 3 times in 18 months.



    Imperative that the players and management team learn from the entire experience. If they do, we will be back!!

  8. CultsBhoy loves being 1st forever & ever on

    Ambrose is 24 -he has had a great African Cup of nations – his club are playing Juventus in last 16 of Champions league..a chance to shine in Europe – he feels literally like a world beater.


    He is asked if he wants to play…what is he going to say?



    Of course he is going to play. Doh!



    He will learn from that as will Lenny.



    Onwards and upwards!!!



    Commons (whom I rate highly) should focus on his own shortcomings..

  9. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    No regrets, Paul …..!!!. Just memories of the Celtic Family at it’s best again this season…. Can you imagine where we would be if we played in one of the big leagues, or didn’t have to perpectually resist the anti- Celtic culture …….

  10. Sitting in an Italian restaurant in Corstorphine and Turnbull Hutton is at the next table. Trying to eavesdrop as he’s talking about Celtic.

  11. I only post once in a blue moon, as does Glasgowghirl, but we’re not making this up! He’s just been talking up our performance last night, and against his own team recently.

  12. Efe will have floated into Celtic Park on cloud 9 after winning the ACN.



    He probably was so sure of himself, so full of confidence after the month he has had that Neil must have thought he had a complete winner to put in at CB.



    Unfortunately Efe was probably tired of mind and body but his adrenalin and the excitement of a tie against Juventus was too much to miss.



    The big man will be back and we need to back him.

  13. I do not blame anyone for our defeat last night. We were playing a great team, one that converted 3 of the few chances they had. We, unfortunately could not capitalise on the many chances that we had.



    That is fitba, we have to live with it.



    There is no way that we can win the tie I’m afraid, so will be looking to gain some pride form the return leg. See if we can come home with a 0-0 or 1-1 draw kinda thing. Mot being defeatist, simply pragmatic.



    I am so proud of The Bhoys and the way they played last night, all Lenny needs to do is to hang onto the whole lot of them for next season’s Cl qualifiers.







  14. “It was hard to pinpoint what we were missing”.



    I would say it’s a player with guile who can open up a defence with a good pass. When we went a goal down early in the game against Hibs we were unable to break down a massed defence. So when Juve go a goal up and get every player behind the ball, you know it will be difficult to score.


    I don’t think Neil will address this problem, as he clearly prepares workhorses in midfield – Kayal was on the bench, but no Dylan McGeoch and Paddy McCourt omitted from the CL squad.


    However, Neil and the players deserve our congratulations on a great CL campaign. It was galling to lose 3-0 when the team played so well for so long. Full marks to the full-backs and Kelvin Wilson. Kris Commons also excellent. Why was he substituted and not the ineffective James Forrest? (Why did JF start in the first place?) It’s a mystery.

  15. I really dont think Kris Commons should airing this in public.



    Commons says: “The manager pulled him to one side and asked him if he was feeling okay. He said he was feeling brilliant. If he wasn’t feeling okay then he should have said so. If he felt good then he should have put in a better performance.”

  16. glasgowghirl



    12:44 on


    13 February, 2013


    Sitting in an Italian restaurant in Corstorphine and Turnbull Hutton is at the next table. Trying to eavesdrop as he’s talking about Celtic.






    He’s not having the lamb, is he !?

  17. CultsBhoy loves being 1st forever & ever


    12:40 on


    13 February, 2013


    Ambrose is 24 -he has had a great African Cup of nations – his club are playing Juventus in last 16 of Champions league..a chance to shine in Europe – he feels literally like a world beater.


    He is asked if he wants to play…what is he going to say?



    Of course he is going to play. Doh!



    He will learn from that as will Lenny.






    Every player in Efes position would say they could play, but the Manager had to say no for the good of the team

  18. Lifted from hunmedia…



    A piece from Charlie chuckles stand up act in oz….



    We have cash in the bank and are debt free – there is not a single club in Italy without debt. We have £20M in the bank. We have no borrowings yet people are still trying to make mischief. The Orlit situation. We had agreed to pay introductory fees to the stockbroker of 5%. Now we are doing so well they are asking for £230K more and have placed a winding up order against the club! It is complete nonsense and they will not get a penny from me as I will never give in


    to blackmail and threats.

  19. Kilbowie Kelt


    12:37 on


    13 February, 2013



    Everything is for the best, in this best of all possible worlds





    Okay Pangloss!

  20. Great summation Paul.



    I thought Forrest was also another ‘gamble’ that didn’t come off either.



    I would have went with Watt, Kayal, Ledley, Dylan or even Matthews in right midfield in front of Lustig.



    3-0 definitely does not reflect the balance of the match at all.



    Two of the goals were absolute gifts by a player who looked jaded and caught in the headlights…I just hope Efe recovers from the ordeal. I also though we missed Sammi big time last night, winning headers, running at them with pace and just overall big Euro game performance he seems to pull out the bag.






    We have exceeded all expectation, anything else was always going to be a bonus. The players have done really well this year. Its a very young group of fairly inexperienced players and this will give them the experience they need. ..as a wise man once said: “It’s not the end, it’s just the beginning”

  21. sipsini



    12:53 on


    13 February, 2013


    Lifted from hunmedia…



    A piece from Charlie chuckles stand up act in oz….



    We have cash in the bank and are debt free – there is not a single club in Italy without debt. We have £20M in the bank






    No wonder they are debt free. The scuttled away from £35gazillion of debt from their toxic forebears.

  22. Thing that really bugged me last night was watching Tony Watt hurrying to get Pirlo’s shirt. Pirlo had taken it off and was casually holding it out —- he didn’t even bother to look at Tony Watt .



    Something’s not right about that.

  23. Like many on here,I thought the team gave us a great performance last night and deserved better. I can’t criticise Neil for including Efe as I was glad to see his name on the team sheet.


    It was a mistake but I’d made the same mistake.



    What it does tell us is that Neil has little faith in his other Centre Half options.


    This should be our next scouting priority.

  24. Murdochbhoy, yermanfromMK on

    This season in our European games we had a very impressive chances/goals ratio, unfortunately it slipped a little last night, but considering we played against one of the best defences in Europe it shouldn’t come as a surprise really.



    Looking forward I’d like to see NL give Gershon and Rogic as much game time with a view to preparing them for an appearance in the away leg.



    Rogic would add an option of attacking the centre of their defence and he’d also give us some height and I’d like to see if Gershon builds on his impressive debut.

  25. I hear a lot of people talking about inability to thread passes through the middle of Juve defence.



    Why with 9 men behind the ball would we want to thread passes through the middle?



    There was nothing wrong with the chances we created except we struck/headed them straight at Buffon. Poor finishing.

  26. Afternoon all



    Still gutted after last night not helped by supposed Celtic fans who weren’t there telling me were outplayed.



    No point in blaming anyone – Efe made two bad mistakes which led to goals and our manager made, on balance, an error in picking him- there were alternatives. I’ve seen Celtic greats from MacNeill to Larsson , Deans to Petrov having disasters in Europe and Jock Stein making selection and even tactical errors in huge matches. All recovered quickly- these two guys from last night will be pilloried but both are made of stern stuff. All is pretty much lost for this season’s European campaign – but thanks for the memories guys.



    No thanks to UEFA though any organisation than can hold a draws rehearsal practice draw for the last 16 which is then reproduced in the actual draw stinks of something. The referee was appalling last night and two of his assistants useless. Absolutely nothing will be done about it.





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