So much achieved in landmark Celtic win


Scouts who watch Celtic will know they can go months without facing a high press.  As a consequence, when we are forced to hold the ball in our final third without a safe option, you, me, and 11 Celtic players get a bit anxious.

Greg Taylor was the most senior Celtic defender and took on the role comfortably.  His early authoritative touches set the tone for those around him.  There was no panic (not on the field, anyway), the players trusted themselves and each other while they moved the ball across the face of goal looking for a way forward.

Feyenoord play in a different league than us and are more accustomed to this type of challenge, but the teams were evenly matched.  As a result, we got to see both sides play the ball rapidly across the turf, creating chances with clever movement and thinking.

Stephen Welsh’s only appearance this season came as a substitute in August.  He has not started a game in any competition in 14 months, but he came in from the cold to partner Liam Scales in central defence.  His legs lasted 75 mins of relentless but denied pressure.  The sense of achievement the player had when he turned to applaud crowd on leaving the field was clear.

Yesterday, I hoped Mikey Johnston would enjoy what is likely to be his last game at this level.  Like Welsh, he left the field proud of his night’s work.

In an evenly matched game, it can often be the little things which determine the outcome.  When the referee suggests you should not to pull an opponent at a corner kick, it’s usually a good idea to do what you’re told.  Feyenoord’s Zerrouki was the idiot who could not contain his wish to hug Liam Scales at a corner kick, resulting a penalty, converted by Luis Palma, just after the half hour mark.

Thoughts that this game would be less competitive were dispelled as the Feyenoord players tried every trick in the book to intimidated Luis and mess with the lie of the penalty mark.  There was nothing gracious about the visitors.

For the second time in three Champions League home games, Paulo Bernardo made an early substitute appearance, on this occasion replacing injured Tomoki Iwata.  Just as against Atletico Madrid, he played well throughout.  These are big tests for a 21-year-old who had made 19 career starts before arriving in Scotland in the summer.  What is his ceiling and how do we get him there?

Big games call for big players and in this Celtic squad none are bigger than Joe Hart.  A different goalkeeper would have resulted in a different outcome.  None of his six saves were worldclass, but at four of them, his opponent would have hoped to see the net bulge.

Each side hit the woodwork, Feyenoord when chasing an equaliser, Callum McGregor with a thunderous 25 yard shot that skimmed the crossbar moments after the equaliser arrived.  That chance was enough to stop a tidal wave of Feyenoord attempts, three in three minutes, as the Dutch champions looked for the winner; Celtic were permitted some breathing space.

When Luis Palma was forced off through injury in the 75th minute, Brendan Rodgers had few options to choose from, and turned to Mitchel Frame (17, less than half Joe Hart’s age), who had yet to make his senior football debut.  The lad was also asked to play out of position, on the left wing, not the left back role he played as a youth.

Unperturbed, Frame got on with the business and won a corner kick as the clock hit 90 minutes.  Taken short, the ball was switched out right to Alistair Johnston, who pinged one to the back post.  Mat O’Riley’s marker could not get there, allowing the Celtic midfielder time to take the ball down, look up and measure a cross in front of goal for Gustaf Lagerbielke to attack.

Was I the only one taken back to 2008: Johston in the Gary Caldwell role, O’Riley as Scott McDonald, with Lagerbielke waiting on the cross, just as Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink did so deliciously 15 years ago?

Gustaf, without a minute’s play since September before his late cameo to replace Stephen Welsh, made no mistake with the header.  Players need a break at the right time in their careers, just look at Liam Scales, who would be playing Europa League football tonight, were it not for a series of early-season injuries at Celtic.  Instead, he was Man of the Match in a Champions League win.

Gus got his break, he and the manager need to build on that platform. The player is a full Sweden international, and as we continually say, our job at Celtic is to make players better, not waste their potential.

Although Feyenoord pressed for a second equaliser and the Celtic players were looking tired, the final minutes were comfortable enough, even when the visiting keeper came up for a corner kick (their deliveries were poor all night).

Not every pass out of defence worked, players were caught in possession on a few occasions, but so much was achieved.  Post-match, Brendan Rodgers revealed that in the dressing room before the game, he told the squad that win, lose or draw, they would be better players afterwards for the experience.  How true.

Brendan could have fielded Nat Phillips, who already has Champions League experience at Liverpool and Celtic, but Nat’s horizon here is closer than that of Stephen Welsh or Gustaf.  This was a 90-minute investment in squad development that worked like a dream.

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  1. Delighted with last night, but overall, very, very disappointed with our Champions League season.


    Some of our players are simply not up to this standard.


    A decent Celtic team should be challenging for European football after Christmas.


    However, it is what it is.


    Now, lets get our sh*t together and win the League.

  2. Good appraisal of yesterday eve Paul – was a great night for us on a number of levels. And I think all players -old and young – knew they owed us a bit of a show; and they did not disappoint.




    And from prev article:







    I think that comment from DA reflects the fact that the fitness standards at Celtic are higher than at many clubs. He isn’t the first player to arrive here under BR or AP to have had to work on his fitness to get up to the same levels as players who have been here a while.








    Could be GGHS: To me it’s weird a young player whose had a coupla seasons playing numerous games (albeit in AU league) and passes fitness tests at Citeh and then Celtic is not pushed or tested in meaningful ways by what we know as the pre-signing ‘physicals’. Do these tests only look for injuries and weaknesses and not endurance and stamina too ? While Celtic is a demanding standard, we’ve been outrun and outmuscled by even more durable sides than wursel’s.



    Still and all; a pertinent read for Marco T who BR has said needs to get up to ‘the intensity’ or words to that effect. Else it’s back to the Skippy League for that flashy winger.




  3. Good win last night , got the breaks unlike previous games.



    More strength on the bench would have kept us more on the front foot first half, but great to see the winner go in.



    Nat had to be dropped after a shocker at the weekend , simple really.

  4. Excellent lead Paul67,



    Spot on.



    We’ve had a few false dawns this season but I’m thinking things are really coming together now…



    Hail Hail

  5. bournesouprecipe on

    Stephen Welsh got injured the day after he penned his new contract another one where Brendan Rodgers definitely had the final say, and nodded him through, from memory of his first spell in charge. No hesitation in batting back offers from Europe or playing him for Nat Phillips a crisis loan signing, that didn’t really pay off.



    Liam Scales has gone from surplus to star and gradually dispelled the ‘ not Celtic class ‘ cliche. He’s followed the Kris Ajer example of developing on loan and the CB’s there were men from Dublin and Coatbridge both of whom dovetailed to stifle the Dutch champions, and put Celtic in a more respectable ‘fourth’ in the table.



    The Irishman’s next move will be signing a new contract like Welsh did, after a season start as Celtic’s best most dependable defender, who will lead the way to the next CL campaign. Those fine margins, that are finer in the CL with a depleted squad, but didn’t prevent BR eventually usurping Ange’s attempts.



    M.Johnston was in sleeves up, socks down Jimmy mode, and took the ball time and again to the Dutch Champions until he eventually ran out of puff. Kyogo’s chances unfortunately fell early and on his less favoured left foot, but in his case there is only one cliche, ‘form is temporary class is permanent’. Gustav’s unexpected back post ‘nod in ’marked his arrival at Celtic helped top up the biscuit tin booty by £29.7M excluding ticket sales.



    Happy to wait and see what Santa brings Brendan for Christmas, he did well, his selection box is Revels, everyone wants to pick their favourites, always avoid toffee or coffee.





    Liam Scales

  6. Hopefully a line in the sand moment, we showed pace and togetherness, great scenes at the end, so many pluses ,Hart,Taylor, Scales, O’Riley, Bernardo I would like to see more of,Frame was very good playing out of position. Callum said Lagerbielke was doing great in training……..mmmmm,a great win and a monkey off our back.

  7. A good win and hopefully a platform to see us through to the break with 15 points from these 5 remaining league games.



    Palma significantly upped his effort levels last night. He made numerous recovery runs to help out his defence – now he needs that approach for SPFL games.



    Don’t really share p67’s praise for MJ. Barring a good piece of play at the start of the second half which almost seen Palma convert his excellent cross, there really was nothing else from a creative view point.



    We’re very heavily reliant on O’Riley to create for us with little coming from out wide. If he has a quiet day, we will struggle. Hopefully this will improve with Maeda returning and Abada not too far away.



    If we match the effort we seen last night then Hearts and Livi at CP should be straightforward.

  8. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Well done bhoys. Much needed and most welcome win, even if it took way too long! Maybe even be seen as a turning point for us when we look back in the future.


    Just think what could be achieved with a bit of vision and ambition…..

  9. We are not miles off. LAzio and Feynoord very much in our peer group.However I doubt if we will see 75% of the players who played last might in another CL campaign for us .



    Last night we got some luck, the ball following the right way. We havnt had much of that In our CL campaign.



    I now look forward to Brendan building his own team to take pus to the next level. The CL money will allow him to do just that.

  10. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Always liked Welsh. The thing that concerned me about him was a tendency to over-commit and end up going beyond the ball. If he can cut that out we could have a really good defender on our hands.

  11. garygillespieshamstring on




    Forgot he arrived here from Citeh.



    That is where my claim falls to the ground, just like the guy in the Monty Python sketch who claimed that “I wrote all Shakespeare’s plays and my wife and I wrote all his sonnets”.



    However a very worthwhile read. I agree with your view that Marco’s time here may be short if he doesn’t get stronger and fitter quite quickly.

  12. John Hughes nailed it on ACSOM yesterday re the question of pattern of assistance …well worth a watch

  13. I wish some of our board would watch it ..and to quote John ..,have the testicular fortitude to do something about this blatant cheating in favour of one club in Scotland ..the evidence is there in black and white 🤔

  14. garygillespieshamstring on

    An Dun



    I agree with you about Palma’s efforts last night.



    I think he is a very skilful player who has provided us with some wonderful moments.


    However I feel that he is a bit careless in the SPFL games in terms of his passing and needs to work harder when we don’t have the ball.



    If he had Maeda’s attitude and work rate to go with his skills he will be some player.



    Greg Taylor looks more exposed in games where Palma is on the left wing compared with Maeda playing.

  15. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    Delighted with the win against a good team. Exactly the type of quality opposition we should be competing and benchmarking ourselves against. That should be our level as a club, not Man City etc.



    Also delighted for Stephen Welsh. One of our own and a lovely football player. The only issue with Stephen is that he’s a smidgen short for his position and can’t be outmuscled at times. He can work to improve the latter if not the former.



    We needed a feel good result like last night to properly launch our season. If we can beat a team as good as Feyenoord the players should be confident we can beat anyone in Scotland. The team and squad remains less than the sum of its parts despite last night. We need Rodgers to up his game from what we’ve seen so far this season and for the Club to have a much better window (ins and outs) in January. I have much greater confidence.

  16. After all the doom and gloom after Sunday on that rain soaked plastic it was great to get back to real turf and Celtic put the smile back on our faces wiith a fine performance. I remarked on Tuesday that we’ve seen in the past how the Hoops can bounce back after playing poorly in the previous game and thankfully it was last night. This was no rubber and it was important to finish the campaign with a victory and four points.



    Celtic’s home form in the end was quite good and could have ended unbeaten except for that horrible luck against Lazio. Feyenoord played much better than in the previous match and a lenient ref allowed them bully Celtic with consistent fouling. Scalesy and Welsh were rock solid paricularly in the physical departement with Liam probably having his best game in a Celtic jersey. The Dutch player had us believe that Scalesy told him his neck roll should not have been a penalty. Cute hoorism is alive and well in Holland.



    A brilliant penalty by Palma under severe pressure to finish his european campaign with two goals only a hairs breath offside denied him of a third.


    Great control, feint and cross by Mat for a terrific winner and confidence booster for young Lager. Good performance, not perfect but well done Hoops.

  17. A big morale booster but frustrating because so much more could have been achieved in the CL if we had strengthened in the summer.


    Interestingly, Feyenoord played their league match last Thursday, giving them nearly a week to prepare, while we played on Sunday. The SPL does nothing to help us.


    The game against Hearts will be our 3rd in seven days. But the mood in the Celtic camp should be good.


    I don’t think that was the first time our right back has been at fault for conceding a goal in the CL. If it had been Greg Taylor we’d never have heard the end of it.

  18. glendalystonsils on

    !!BADA BING!! on 14TH DECEMBER 2023 1:43 PM


    BBC Scotland News- European football continues today……..without a mention of our game



    If we had lost last night we would have got a mention . Along the lines of ‘ Celtic’s miserable run in Europe continues , it’s up to Rainjurz to keep Scottish hopes alive…..etc .’



    That kind of thing .

  19. Bhoy From The Boyne on

    Liam Scales is a good back to the walls defender.



    But he isn’t the ball playing centre back that Celtic badly needs to build attacks and Celtic won’t progress much so long as he is in the team.



    A good win last night to get the 10 year monkey off our backs and more importantly for the co-efficient points.



    But that’s about it for me, a lot of the optimisim is misplaced IMO.



    Also, Calmac doesn’t have what it thanks to play the number 6 role in Europe. He has given the ball away far too much as the 6 in this seasons CL. He needs to play as an 8 in Europe as a double pivot or not play at all.



    Just sayin…..

  20. Hello fellow tims,


    What a great result last night and response from many maligned players, and still we have folks whining about how certain players played last night. Enjoy the fact that we finished with a very good win. I guarantee that the mood at Lennie town or Buzzbomb town is a lot better today when the players come in for a wee relaxing session. As the maestro used to say, there’s a buzz about the place. Lets enjoy it and not rake over the ashes of what might have been. We have a big game against Hearts this weekend. what happens in January is out of our hands as fans. Brendan knows more than anyone what areas need to be improved. Lets get behind these bhoys and back them when they put on that jersey. Liam Scales, I applaud that young guy. What a turnaround. he is now undroppable. He is getting more confident with every game. Yes he will make mistakes, but you can see the determination in the guy to want to succeed, where others have failed. keep it up big Mhan. The support were outstanding last night. My best ever ever atmosphere at a European game was when I was a wee yin on the terraces when we beat a very good real Madrid team, or the game vs Sporting Lisbon when the Wishy Emerald bus made it back not by driving, but by bouncing, and then my wee da giving me money for a fish supper as they all piled into the cross keys to continue the celebration. results like last night have been few and far between, even during this period of success at home.


    Enjoy it my friends and keep piling on the agony and putting on the style.


    Sorry for the long windedness.


    Hail Hail.



  21. What a vile piece of shock jock excrement Tom English is.



    Odious individual dancing the tune of Richard Wilson and his pond life friends.



    You could see the damage perpetrated but this scum in the covid season. Manipulating the perception of all things Celtic and our collective energy.



    Few remember that we were actually in a very healthy position get year until about 10 games in when the barrage took root. We lost to rangers and the seeds of malcontent were sown and grew. The same vile tactics were there after Kilmarnock. Of course we have genuine ready made perma rage punters who hate anyone in authority involved at the club and will be quick to support these negatrons.



    Great to see many genuine fans on here today acknowledging the power last nights win can give us.



    Just a shame Petec and St Stivs and Tom Mc can’t make an appearance. Haven’t seen Hot Smoked either.

  22. Well said BOONDOCK SAINT on 14TH DECEMBER 2023 2:23 PM



    My nerves were shattered before and during the game, as the big Mhan used tae say we don’t play friendlies well we also don’t play dead rubbers, also read on another site that the huns whether it be deidco or sevco huvnae won a Champions League game since 2010 against Bursaspor.

  23. Boondock Saint



    Sporting Lisbon 5-0 and Real 2-0 were amazing.



    Leeds at Hampden also really special as was the jungle for the 2-2 v Ajax when we went over and won 2-1 there against a phenomenal Dutch side.



    My final fav ‘old stadium’ euro atmosphere was 3-0 v Cologne. Overturning a 2-0 deficit.



    In all of the above the real magic ingredient was the team and support engagement. Every throw in roared for. Every tiny hint of progress applauded. The authentic spontaneous alignment of fans and footballers drove the team on the achieve really great heights against the odds.

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