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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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1,761 Comments

  1. glendalystonsils on

    Is Stokes injured?

     

    Charlie doesn’t deserve a start after Thursday’s display but then again, McGregor looks like he is overdue a rest.

  2. Celtic: Gordon, Matthews, Izaguirre, van Dijk, Brown, Guidetti, Scepovic, Denayer, Johansen, Wakaso, McGregor. Subs: Zaluska, Ambrose, Mulgrew, Lustig, Tonev, Griffiths, Kayal.

     

     

    Kilmarnock: Brennan, Barbour, Hamill, Connolly, McKenzie, Clingan, Obadeyi, Eremenko, Chantler, Magennis, Pascali. Subs: MacKay, Johnston, Ashcroft, Slater, Ngoo, Westlake, Muirhead.

  3. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    New article will be up with soal probavly cheating his way to a podium again….

     

     

    cmon the hoops.. club calling…

  4. Not enough cover in midfield in that line up imho…but hope I’m wrong. I hope we’re not on here at the end of the match saying we lost it in the centre of the park because we were outnumbered.

     

     

    Playing 2 up top and 2 wide is fine…if you give them the supply. They need good quality supply if they’re going to do anything.

     

     

    I’m also concerned about our wide players’ ability to provide cover and tracking back for the full-backs.

     

     

    Will be delighted to be 100% wrong!

  5. Doc, if I knew where the old Newmarket pub was in Bannockburn I’d be wiser! When I take the grandkids to school I turn left at the roundabout to get to St Mary’s–is it near there? I don’t see anything on here for a Stirling CSC so I’m assuming that Bannockburn is the nearest.

  6. RD does not look as if he’s learning. Two in midfield is an accident waiting to happen. You don’t need a Playstation to work that one out. Izzy and Matthews bombing up the wings. Where have I seen that before?

     

    Oh–and VVD looks as if he’s believing the hype. He’s strolling round the place like Bobby Moore or Franz Beckenbauer. Now, if only he’d a tenth of their ability.

  7. 16 roads – Celtic über alles…

     

     

     

     

    05:33 on

     

     

    26 October, 2014

     

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

     

     

    I will take any winning margin! I am not confident in Deila.