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Result gives platform for progress

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Last night’s win didn’t look on the cards until the opening goal; Astra were passing the ball better and creating as many chances as Celtic.  It looked like the game we expected – without Commons or Guidetti. However, we find ourselves top of the group with 7 points from 9 at the halfway point, having recorded a draw away to top seed Salzburg.

There’s still a lot of work to do, a win away at Astra next time out in no way guarantees qualification, but we stand an excellent chance of progressing and a decent chance of topping the group.

Having thumped Ross County at the weekend there was a notion we’d turned a corner, which fed some of the frustration last night, despite the result.  What we saw was very poor passing from a disjointed team.  Players were receiving the ball in too little space, where options were already closed.  This impacted the effectiveness on Callum McGregor and Mikael Lustig in particular, but it seemed when every Celtic player looked up there wasn’t a good pass on.

This is all a consequence of change.  We look disjointed because we are disjointed.  We’re disjointed because we’re rebuilding.

The relevant questions are:

Do we need to rebuild?
Are we making progress?

Yes, we need to rebuild.  The squad, tactics, training and other processes are all going through change.  For so long we watched Celtic squads remain constant and grow old (under Martin O’Neill), or out tactics become rigid (under Martin and Gordon Strachan), to the point that we were crying out for some experimentation.

The above is seldom disputed but the question of progress is more important.  Right now Celtic need results.  They need to survive in the Europa League long enough to test and improve their passing, movement, instincts and, where necessary, squad.

Last night’s win wasn’t pretty but it was vitally important.  The next challenge for this team is also important; we need to go to Romania and put on the kind of performance we did in Salzburg.  If we can do that, we’ll have earned a platform to build on.

Caesar & the Assassin, the accounts of Billy McNeill and Davie Hay as Celtic managers, is available below.

Billy and Davie will both sign the early orders we get to them, more here.

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  1. Som mes que un club on

    Blame Ronny, naw blame the board, naw blame Ronny, he is clueless, naw it’s john Collins’ fault….

     

     

    Yawn yawn yawn….

     

     

    I wonder what manchesterunitedquicknews is like a the moment.

     

     

    Lets understand their current form…

     

     

    1st day of the season, a home defeat to a relative newcomer by PL standards, Swansea.

     

     

    A draw away to a team who were humped 0-8 at the weekend past, then they follow that up with a 0-4 defeat to MK Feckin Dons!

     

     

    They follow this up with a 0-0 at newly promoted Burnley, and three weeks later get a 3-5 tanking from newly pronmoted Leicester.

     

     

    In between, they have beaten at home the giants that are QPR, West Ham and Everton.

     

     

    Sack van Gaal? Sack the MU Board? Sack anyone?

     

     

    The abuse dished out on here is despicable

  2. Neil……

     

     

    The board have said it is vital that they control costs at this time.

     

     

    Are they lying?

     

     

    Does anyone REALLY know the additional cost to the club?

     

     

    Can someone also look into their crystal ball and tell me how much profit the club will make each year for, say, the next 5 years.

     

     

    Thanks.

  3. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    I feel I must,for once,give credit to the board.

     

     

    This time of year is usually a difficult and fractious time for Celtic supporters,as the annual poppy debate rears its ugly head once more.

     

     

    Yet again though they have ensured we are distracted by a largely harmless living wage debate.

     

     

    (Another debate about ‘poppy’,of course)

     

     

    Well done,say I.

  4. Its great to see the blog alive with debate about football for once!

     

     

    As you know, I am very much backing Ronny and John Collins.

     

     

    However, last night was very poor. I have not seen Scott Brown play that badly in as long as i can remember. Normally, Scott may misplace a pass or 2 but his sheer enthusiasm will see him though. Last night he looked well below par.

     

     

    A few others were off it as well. In fact, during the game I was laying into RD and the team.

     

     

    Once the game finished, I reconsidered.

     

     

    I see some are saying we can’t pass the ball well with our first touch so should change tactics to suit the players etc…..

     

     

    Rubbish. All these boys can play. They are just indoctrined in a slow, methodical build up under the last 2 managers.

     

     

    Now, both managers were successful so no complaints but it will take a while to get the guys to change the mentality.

     

     

    We see Zagreb, Astra and even Hamilton zip the ball about quickly with one or two touches. The players in their teams are no better than the ones we have / could sign.

     

     

    One difference is that those sides had space against us to play on the counter. We are trying to pass quickly in condensed areas as the opposition sits in. That is harder.

     

     

    Traditionally, we have had slow build up and ground these teams down.

     

     

    Ronny is far from finished with us but if you look at our Europa league run you will see that already we are creating a lot more chances in Europe whilst conceding more to the opponents.

     

     

    Hopefully January will see us sign players to negate the latter.

  5. How easy is it to pass a ball, to move into space, there was one bit of the game last night Celtic in possession and a very large space in front of the 18 yard box, it was obvious space to run into, the pass was on, no one made the run, that worries me.

     

    I feel the players or some of them are at it.

     

     

    Ayrshire is Green and White

  6. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    PHILBHOY

     

     

    The board told us it would cost £500k. And that it affected 178 employees.

     

     

    They also said that those employees used their Celtic wages as a second income.

     

     

    It is £2800 per employee. The difference between the living wage and the minimum wage is about £1 an hour.

     

     

    So each of those employees is working 60 hours per week in a second job-5 weeks holiday,btw-or someone is telling porkies.

     

     

    Or just possibly,the £500k includes how much it would cost Celtic to employ them-in total. And not,as was implied,the cost of implementing the living wage as opposed to paying them minimum wage.

  7. Another win in the Europa League?

     

    Top of the Group you say?

     

    Celtic?

     

     

    I’ll take that thank you very much. Perhaps especially, despite the way we have been playing this season.

     

     

    Ronny needs the whole season to rebuild and perhaps re-educate this squad.

     

     

    HAIL! HAIL!

     

    Token

  8. I aslo see people suggesting we chance to convential wingers.

     

     

    Thats certainly an option but i thought last night we got into good crossing postions on countless occasions.

     

     

    Big Stefan nearly scored 4 headers.

     

     

    That tells me something is working.

     

     

    If you have a winger who can cut in and a flying full back overlapping you pose a real question.

     

     

    The consequence is leaving yourself short at the back if the winger loses the ball.

     

     

    Thats where we need to work.

     

     

    Big Virg and Denayer did not cover themselves in glory last night.

     

     

    I wonder how Denayer or Virgil would get on in the Mulgrew role? We could bring Efe in at CB and his pace would be an asset

  9. Margaret McGill on

    the token tim

     

     

    12:46 on 24 October, 2014

     

    With education costs these days ….. No way

  10. Very good article Paul, we will have a bumpy ride for a time, not too long please, but if the squad are buying into it, we should too, and stick with Ronny and his vision.

  11. tomtheleedstim/Livbhoy from earlier…..

     

     

    Yep, the Pie and Cups of Tea Corporate Donator was a hero alright…..Livibhoy, if it is yer old man I will definitely buy him a pint sometime…..it was in Block 209, level with goal line at the Green Brigade end of North Stand.

  12. OK, here are my positives from last night. I know it can be difficult to see any when the performance was so poor, but there are some.

     

     

    (1) Last night we faced our 6th different opponent in Europe this season. That is good, because it allows the players and manager to come up against different styles.

     

     

    (2) By the end of the Europa Group stage we will have played 12 matches in Europe. That too is good. The experience the players and coaching staff gain this season will be vital in the coming 2 or 3 years.

     

     

    (3) Scepovic scored. OK he missed another 3 or 4, but at least he scored, and looked seriously pleased. The guy has probably been very worried at his lack of goals and lack of match time.

     

     

    (4) We have a good goalie.

     

     

    (5) We won and now have a good chance of adding to (1) and (2) above.

  13. TBJ says Wee Oscar Knox is in heaven with the angels on

    Ironically … If we get a win in Romania and Salzburg win … We’re both through

  14. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on

    Philbhoy,

     

    Are you for real

     

    OBSCENE BONUSES helps control costs eh,

     

    Control costs that pay OBSCENE BONUSES, bankers

  15. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Happy with the win, but obvious issues to be resolved. The passing was woeful, but might have been down to the lack of movement.

     

    Lustig looked particularly frustrated at this.

     

    No movement between the lines. Commons missed middle-front. Mulgrew seemed to be behind the two CBs rather than in front.

     

    Of all the players we have lost in the last couple of years, the one I’d have back tomorrow would be Ki Sung Yueng.

     

    Biton would be closest – seems happy to want to take a pass.

  16. Congratulations to bobby murdoch’s curled-up winklepickers on his podium.

     

     

    Normal service should be restored when Philvis gets out of his Lemsip-infused rut.

     

     

    Anyway… we won. I’ll never criticise a Celtic manager or his team for winning. More wins, please.

     

     

    For so long we watched Celtic squads remain constant and grow old (under Martin O’Neill)

     

     

    Funny you should mention Martin O’Neill.

     

     

    I dreamt about him last night.

     

     

    After I got tired of coughing and snuffling, I slipped into an uneasy sleep, and the next thing I knew a bespectacled, softly spoken Northern Irishman was talking to me.

     

     

    “Sorry Martin, what did you say?”

     

     

    He sighed, took off his glasses, rubbed them on his sleeve, put them back on and looked at me intently.

     

     

    “I said you should stop feeling sorry for yourself.”, he repeated.

     

     

    “About the flu thing?”

     

     

    “Yes, about the flu thing. And if you don’t stop feeling sorry for yourself, I’ll send Lenny to have a word with you. He’s less patient than me. So pull your socks up, young man. You’re not dying.”

     

     

    I thought about it for a second, then said “OK.”

     

     

    Martin smiled at me benevolently. “Good lad”, he said “That’s amazingly brilliant of you.”

     

     

    Then he turned to go. I put a hand on his elbow and said “wait… is there any chance I could take a quick selfie with you? Or an autograph? You’re my favourite Celtic manager.”

     

     

    He grinned. “Sorry fella. I would, but this is just a dream.”

     

     

    And just like that, Dream-Martin was gone.

     

     

    Then I had a nightmare about a lion in the garden trying to eat my cat. (thumbsup)

  17. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    TBJ. Strange after lasts nights performance I am more confident of Celtic getting the away win than I am about Saltzburg .We need to get our Centre backs to pick up there defensive work they allow the opposition far to much space and in my opinion they think the are better than they really are.We must retain possession of the ball better we kept giving the ball away even when we were not under pressure. H.H.

  18. Neil…….

     

     

    The bonuses will be well down next year as we did not make the CL Group Stages.

     

     

    I wish every business in the country paid their employees £20 per hour.

     

     

    But….it aint gonna happen.

  19. Paul, good analysis, although by this stage (end-Oct) I had expected more progress than what we’ve achieved.

     

     

    The passing quality is very poor in most games…..trying to think of a game where we’ve had more stray passes than last night in recent memory…and I can’t. Very often this happened when we weren’t even under any pressure – there was one absolute bullet from Denayer to Broonie that he understandably could not control and ended up with a chance for Astra in last few minutes that beggared belief….

     

     

    Ronny also has to establish some ground rules. One major one for me would be not to let your centre half – at this stage we were defending a 1-0 lead, around 77 mins – to get into a left winger/inside left position and try and hit the by-line to get a cross in…unreal….big VVD won a corner but you have to wonder about positional and tactical discipline at that stage of the game.

     

     

    The Europa League experience is great however and I am comforting myself with the comparison of Lenny’s poor league start and it was the EL that helped him turn the corner.

  20. I know why we won last night despite our poor passing et al, simple really I had to go read my daughter her bedtime story on 65 minutes and “hey presto” two goals.

     

     

    The book was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix BTW.

  21. I think folk forget sometimes how young and inexperienced our central defence is.

     

     

    Jason Denayer is 19 and has played only a handful of top flight matches. Virgil Van Dyke is 23 and has only 100 or so club games under his belt. They are still both learning their trade, let alone establishing a partnership.

     

     

    Both are going to become top class central defenders. Let’s enjoy watching then develop in their best position rather than thinking about where else they might play.

  22. “Result gives platform for progress”…

     

    _____________________________

     

     

    I hope you’re right, but apart from the Dundee Utd and Ross County games every other game this season has been shocking. A fractured team who look unsure of each other.

     

     

    I take no comfort from the result last night, as all it proves is how poor Astra is if they can’t beat a team who constantly passed the ball back to them.

     

     

    Its definitely more Tony Mowbray than Martin O’Neil.

     

     

    I find it all a bit depressing.

  23. philvisreturns on

    Owen – you’re lucky.

     

     

    I tried reading my boy “The Fountainhead”, but he just started chewing the woodwork on his cot and then hammered away at his musical toy to drown me out.

     

     

    How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child. (thumbsup)

  24. tully57

     

     

    13:03 on 24 October, 2014

     

     

    Paul, good analysis, although by this stage (end-Oct) I had expected more progress than what we’ve achieved.

     

     

    The passing quality is very poor in most games…..trying to think of a game where we’ve had more stray passes than last night in recent memory…and I can’t. Very often this happened when we weren’t even under any pressure – there was one absolute bullet from Denayer to Broonie that he understandably could not control and ended up with a chance for Astra in last few minutes that beggared belief….

     

     

    Ronny also has to establish some ground rules. One major one for me would be not to let your centre half – at this stage we were defending a 1-0 lead, around 77 mins – to get into a left winger/inside left position and try and hit the by-line to get a cross in…unreal….big VVD won a corner but you have to wonder about positional and tactical discipline at that stage of the game.

     

     

    The Europa League experience is great however and I am comforting myself with the comparison of Lenny’s poor league start and it was the EL that helped him turn the corner.

     

    ________________________________________________________

     

     

    That has been happening all the Time, I can’t get my head round that one at all.

     

     

    I’d put that down to the players, each time. It isn’t rocket science.

     

     

    Ronny will overcome, he has to.

  25. lawwellsacountant on

    Hope all the Deila fans who were having an orgasm after we humped a shit team at the weekend,will finally see that the manager is piss poor,Astra are A FOURTH RATE EUROPEAN SIDE,and we made them look like a top side,we need to get back to the days when we dominated and beat some of the top sides at home,it will not happen with a lower league manager in charge,in 3 months this guy has turned a record breaking defence into a joke,and we are struggling to beat rubbish Spl teams and losing to diddies like hamilton .we had a great opportunity to sack him and have 2 weeks to appoint a decent manager, but that might have affected the CEO,S bonus. we are playing european games at a less than half full stadium what a feckin joke we are becoming,next season we will be lucky to have 20,000 season book holders if things don,t change

  26. mullet and co 2 on

    I am comforted that others saw the same as me last night and not a continuation if Ronnys formation problems.

     

    Mulgrew had another absolute stinker. Brown was not his usual self and McGregor seemed to be 2 yards away from where his team mate thought he was every time they tried to pass to him. This resulted in several occasions of losing the ball in right midfield areas. Charlie’s slackness would have cost us a goal in most other matches. It’s not the first time this has happens to Charlie under Ronny. Passing the ball across your own box when you can’t see is willie Columesque.

     

    Strange game. Gave me sore head watching it trying to figure out when a Celtic player would play a pass then move to get it back. The continuation of the debate between Stokes and anyone he is trying to link up with is frightening. Either he is on a different plane or they haven’t played with him for long enough.

     

    It is patently obvious that our wide men don’t offer as much as their current job description demands. Wakaso was beaten for pace b their full back when he had a full 60 mins on him. McGregor offers goals but little else. Tonev was better last night and covered a fair amount of grass but god man please pass instead of shooting – successful in no attempts from double figures means pick another choice.

     

    We need a centre mid in January and one or two more wide men to try.

     

    Hopefully we get Europe after Christmas and we then get a choice between Guidetti and Scepovic.

     

    Thought it was the right decision to keep him on last night.

     

     

    Another wee thought. Why is there no concentration on Brown being out of contract? He may be on a testimonial but would Scott bank on making more from that than he could from a move down South for a couple of years?

  27. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on

    philbhoy,

     

    It’s no just executive OBSCENE BONUSES, we pay execs, exec wages to do their jobs, we pay players to do their job, and we refuse to pay a living wages to low paid and use the refusal to pay an extra pound an hour as some sort of evidence that they are serious about controlling costs ffs.

  28. lawwellsacountant

     

     

    Good points well made.

     

     

    Oh and what’s an orgasm?

     

     

    As if you’d know.

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