Socially distanced defensive structure


One of the frustrating things is, you and I watch teams play the way we needed to play last night more than any other type of football.  Against vastly more resourceful teams, create a tight defensive unit.  Do not allow an opponent space inside the box or in a central position outside the box.

That way, if an attacker drops the shoulder, there is always another body in the way to block him.  For reasons that need proper consideration, Celtic’s penalty area was socially distanced.  Atletico were able to find dangerous space and make attempts at goal without pressure.

The opening minutes gave us a glimpse of what might have been.  Celtic were comfortable in possession and continued the good work from two weeks ago.  Then, Callum McGregor dropped deep to head the ball into an empty space he would normally occupy.  The shot took a deflection, but we conceded a good chance to Atletico’s top striker very cheaply.

Until 42 minutes we looked able to get into the dressing room still technically in the game, then something changed.  The second goal was preceded by Celtic’s disintegration, Atletico could easily have scored twice in added time at the end of the first half.

Did we run out of energy inside the first half?  There is certainly an energy deficit compared to other Champions League teams, but before halftime?  That’s a worry.  The contest was over by the break, the only question remaining was how bad the score would be.

Brendan Rodgers is entitled to take chances with the game gone.  He chose to leave the back four as it was, but none of the six who started in midfield or forward positions finished the game.  With five subs and one red card, we looked like a Celtic Select team, assembled for a testimonial.  Whenever Oh managed to take control of a clearance, he was surrounded by defenders (and still 40 yards from goal).

Manager’s often moan about individual errors costing their team defeat.  There were precious few individual errors from Celtic last night, in fact, Joe Hart and his defence all came through the game remarkably well in that respect, considering the scoreline.  The problem was one of structure.

They tell us it can be more difficult to play against 10 men than 11.  That’s because the 10 drop deep, deny space and stop trying to compete up field.  ‘They’ don’t watch Celtic.  We have a skilful squad full of potential, but we can be a soft touch.

You could convince me Daizen Maeda’s red card was an Atletico objective.  There was no injury, no weight or even stiffness behind Daizen’s leg as he went to block.  Atletico know all the dark arts; when an opponent blocks, leave your leg there.  It’s sure to result in a great photo op.

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  1. Saw these figures elsewhere on the net.



    CL 2023/4



    Benfica – 0 pts 70m spent this summer- highest fee- 25m


    Union Berlin- 0 pts- 30m spent- 13m high


    Antwerp- 0 pts- 7.5m spent- 6m high


    Young Boys- 1 pt- 20m spent- 4m high


    Red Star- 1 pt- 20m spent- 4m high


    Copenhagen- 1 pt- 8m spent- 3m high


    PSV- 2pts- 50m spent – 15m high


    Braga- 3 pts- 16m spent- 6.5m high


    Celtic- 1 pt- 16m spent- 6.5m high



    Some of these might improve their points tonight but it won’t be Benficaand it’s unlikely to be Braga






    Do these figures tell us that spending just a bit more (or a lot more) guarantees the 4th seed peripheral league CL fodder anything?



    Show me your working!



    We all want better but that is an aspiration- it is not a plan.

  2. To think only a couple of weeks ago the pundits on TNT were waxing lyrical re Celtic playing the most entertaining football in the 4Nations League and then BANG …..last night hit for six. My expectations for last night were modest knowing what we were up against, a good team performance and possibly a result if really lucky.



    Down to ten men after Maeda got his marching orders and conceding that deflected goal and it became mission impossible particularly with that slithery frog Greason popping up in dangerous positions all over the place.



    A depressing night best forgotten but the it’s only sport at the end of the day and has to be taken into context with what’s happening to unfortunate families in countries not too far away from us.

  3. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Napoli – Union Berlin just finished 1-1.



    Terrific game.



    UB no.11 deservedly collapsed to the floor with exhaustion on 96 minutes.



    He did incredible running for the team.



    Shades of us in UB.



    They have shown up well in four games … and have one point to show for it.

  4. “HANKRAY on 8TH NOVEMBER 2023 7:43 PM


    A depressing night best forgotten but the it’s only sport at the end of the day and has to be taken into context with what’s happening to unfortunate families in countries not too far away from us.”



    I can understand that sentiment but it is not the reality for me.


    If I hear on the News that thousands of people have died in an earthquake and I happen to have toothache, the pain in my tooth will still affect me more directly than the terrible and objectively more important News.


    When Celtic lose as heavily as they did last night, that, at the time, is more on my mind than the horrors of the world.


    To be clear, I am not saying it IS more important globally, just in the world between my ears.

  5. SFTB- FC Copenhagen were very good v Man U a couple of weeks ago,and very unlucky to lose to a 95th minute penalty, will be interesting to see how the return game goes tonight, Elyanousi plays for them,I didn’t realise they would be able to afford his wages coming from EPL.

  6. Brilliants post there from kinglubo and hot smoked, as meat loaf once said “you took the words right out f my mouth”, also noticed the happy hunterlopers have disappeared as the non gullible Tims didnae bite

  7. TONTINE TIM on 8TH NOVEMBER 2023 8:03 PM



    Thanks and glad you liked them. I feel SFTB`s 7:40 pm statistics post is also worthy of mention.

  8. …..and as it is always good to leave on a positive note, I will say cheerio for now and begin to think of a good victory on Sunday :-))

  9. Bada Bing



    We were able to afford Elyounoussi’s wages too. He was not, after all, a big success in the EPL, and Southampton would have been keen to get rid.



    There have been a number of such talents at CP- good skilful players without a lot of heart to impose themselves on games (Jarosik, Ntcham, Elyounoussi)

  10. Good evening, friends.


    A few diehards have gone to the trouble of voting. We are probably heading for the lowest ever turnout but you have it in your power to change that by emailing me (up to) 3 names in the next 90 minutes. Understandable and expected that many have lost the will to participate this time around. SENCELPOTY@GMAIL.COM


    results out just after 10.00pm.

  11. HOT SMOKED on 8TH NOVEMBER 2023 8:21 PM


    TONTINE TIM on 8TH NOVEMBER 2023 8:03 PM



    Thanks and glad you liked them. I feel SFTB`s 7:40 pm statistics post is also worthy of mention.



    *it puts things intae a proper perspective

  12. bournesouprecipe on

    Benfica European masters of buy cheap, develop sell big, topped £1.5 Billion in sales, top buy £25M



    Pointless CSC

  13. bRRB


    Still a Tim 👍


    My wife said to me last night Why do you put yourself through that.?


    I am a TIM,always will be ,Slan






    Good evening, friends.


    Sincere apologies but I have no real desire to do any sort of match report of last night’s very poor result. Instead, I’ll just explain my own thinking at the 3 players who received my own votes. So, in no particular order…


    Joe Hart could have caught rather than punched and could also have avoided his attempt at hiding in his own net. Nevertheless, 3 or 4 good saves prevented, potentially, our worst ever result in Europe.


    Daizen Maeda was playing pretty well during the short time he was on the pitch, hitting the bye line a couple of times and being close to winning us a penalty. The red card highlighted the farce that VAR has become – the referee did see the incident and thought it warranted a yellow card. Did the review of the tackle really merit the referee deciding that he had made a “clear and obvious error”. Really?


    Hyeon-gyu Oh – introduced at half time, I felt that he gave us more of a presence up front, chasing a few lost causes and battling away sometimes against 3 or 4 Atletico players.


    We have now played 17 games, winning 10, drawing 3 and losing 4 with 31 goals scored and 20 conceded.


    Having the energy to vote on this one was a challenge for many, myself included so a very special thank you to the 36 who decided to do so.


    The total votes cast for each player are as follows, with my own nominations asterisked.



    Hart*: 8


    Johnston: 6


    Carter-Vickers: 22


    Scales: 21


    Taylor: 5


    McGregor: 0


    Bernardo: 5


    O’Riley: 0


    Maeda*: 9


    Kyogo: 0


    Palma: 8


    Oh*: 18


    Holm: 1


    Yang: 1


    Turnbull: 0


    Iwata: 1


    Nae-bdy-else: 3



    And so, the players receiving POINTS for the game against Atletico Madrid are –


    Carter-Vickers – 5 points


    Scales – 4 points


    Oh – 3 points


    Maeda – 2 points


    Hart and Palma – 1 point each



    The overall positions after 17 games played are –


    47 points – O’Riley and Scales


    19 points – Kyogo


    18 points – McGregor and Maeda


    17 points – Carter-Vickers


    14 points – Palma


    12 points – Yang


    11 points – Johnston A


    9 points – Nawrocki and Oh


    8 points – Hart


    6 points – Lagerbielke, Taylor and Turnbull


    5 points – Hatate


    4 points – Bain


    2 points – Ralston


    1 point – Forrest and Holm


    0 points – Abada, Bernabei, Bernardo, Haksabanovic, Iwata, Johnston M, Phillips, Starfelt and Welsh



    Next up, a home league game this Sunday against Aberdeen with a 2.30pm kick off.


    Hail Hail!

  15. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    We’re not Champions League standard, we could spend all of our cash reserves and still only improve our competitiveness in that comparison by 10%. I’m no fan of the plc but even they can’t be blamed for football economics. A lot of the anger from last night was misdirected from that fact. Until last night we’ve been very credible this season, but we have a glass ceiling. We do need to stop the humiliations though. Not good enough.




    If we set up differently away from home against better teams we surely would have a better chance. We still went gung ho against a top team with 10 players at their home ground. That’s asking for trouble.


    With a few better players in the positions we need to improve, and with a more pragmatic approach, we might actually do something

  17. SFTB- Armstrong was on 42k a week when he went to Southampton, Elyanousi possibly on similar, so I was surprised he went to Copenhagen,

  18. We need to accept we will not make inroads to the CL when we live as we do just now.


    Im not one for busting the bank to get three or four players to ‘ make a difference’ as we are a backwater.



    IMO…we need to get tae to flourish & no matter what the rest of SPFL say they dont want us to leave.


    Unless we create a junior league with the other 11.




  19. Hello again all you young rebels



    Great read back this grey looking morning here in Oz.


    Think the general consensus from most of the level


    headed supporters is that until the football/ moneyball


    landscape changes we are where we are.


    As one of the top supported teams in the world in my


    humble opinion, it’s not what we want to hear, and as


    regards those that want to spend more on better players


    it’s still the same fallback question already asked “ Will


    they come to the SPHell “


    Doubt it very much.


    Anyhows my focus is on the weekend game against the


    Dons, and if Brendan can lift what will be a dejected squad


    and propel them to another 3 points and another title.


    Great to read that BRRB is finding pubs somewhere in the


    world that I haven’t visited 👍🍺


    H H. Mick

  20. I’m the mean time Man Yoo lose 4 away from home against a weak league team….worse than letting 6 in v Atleti

  21. Been saying for years we are getting fk all out of Lennoxtown, except getting players set for Livingston or Ross County, either shut the youth academy down and use that money for first team ready players, or get the guys behind the likes of Copenhagen in to operate it

  22. bigrailroadblues on

    Melbourne Mick 10.22


    I’ve visited as many pubs as you have mate. But I’ll never be a dancing champion like you and big Jimmy 😉👍

  23. Bada


    I’ve been saying this for years.


    The academy, is a waste of money, from where we are getting no return.

  24. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Since becoming Man Utd manager, Erik Ten Hag has bought 7 players for a combined £372m (plus Eriksson on a free).



    An average cost of £53m per purchase.



    Tonight his team sit bottom of the group.




  25. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    BTW – VAR was terrible tonight for both Copenhagen and Man Utd.



    Owen Hargreaves, having listened to Brendan and Martin last night, now parroting the VAR isn’t good line.

  26. Real Sociedad manager coached youth team for 7 years,6 of those players started tonight, another 9 of them on the bench,pumped Benfica 3-1 tonight, and are top of their CL Group

  27. From the beeb re the manure gemme:



    Anon: Poor defending at the end there, but the whole game turns on an incredibly harsh red card. So hard to keep any team out with 10 men. VAR is deciding games too often this season.



    Jack: Another game ruined by VAR. The game I grew up loving has had its soul sapped out by the ridiculous use of technology that is not fit for purpose.



    As Jimmy Ruffin once said “I’ve passed this way before”

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