Substitutions were not wrong


I see Ange getting a bit of grief for making the wrong substitutions in Leverkusen last night.  His first decision, on 72 minutes, was to swap James Forrest and Jota for Liel Abada and Mikey Johnston.  Four minutes later, he hooked Nir Bitton and Kyogo for James McCarthy and Albian Ajeti.  There were mitigating factors.

That 72 minutes was James’ longest outing in 14 weeks.  His race was run and keeping the player on would only have led to different negative events.

Until this point in the game there were several potential man of the match candidates, all of them in Celtic colours, but mine was unequivocally Nir Bitton.  He had a knack of making the important interception around the edge of the box.  Composed in possession, he carried the ball out of the Celtic defensive third and brought others into play.  Of course, he also made the lung-bursting run to support the break that resulted in Jota’s goal.

Losing Nir was in itself the major change to affect Celtic’s play, but he was injured, as with James, there was no decision to be made.

Callum McGregor was moved back to the 6 position when James McCarthy replaced Bitton.  It didn’t work, but even with this knowledge, is anyone offering an alternative suggestion?  In the circumstances, it was the right decision.

Liel Abada is not known for his defensive duties.  He is a player with huge potential who I suspect is more of a striker than winger and who has already delivered for us in his short time at the club.  Granted, he is not an ideal sub to take on when you need to defend a lead away from home in Europe, but the alternative would be to break and remould the team shape – something that feels OK for the final few minutes when you can hoof the ball forward, but not for longer.

Like you, I think Kyogo can do anything and everything, I see no limits to his energy or abilities.  No player has reminded me of the Great Swede as much in the last 17 years, he too seemed to be physically without limits.  This faith is possibly overstated.

While I am burdening our current talent with unhelpful comparisons, Jota’s impact on Celtic is comparable to that of Scott Sinclair, when he arrived in 2016.   Two transformational players who lifted Celtic to a level higher.

Ange is not a man who lives in the moment.  He knows the stamina levels of Kyogo and Jota.  He also knows what he wants from the players on Sunday.  Yesterday I wrote that our priority was the forthcoming Aberdeen game.  If you are not ruthless to the plan, do not bother planning at all.  Be in no doubt, Jota and Kyogo were substituted to give them every chance of performing fully on Sunday.  I like a manager who is strong enough to make difficult decisions like this, as do you, really.

The material change on the game was the injury to Nit Bitton, without which, there is a chance we would have won the game.  Everything else is just noise, a distraction from what actually happened.  Nir’s injury was not the only reason we lost last night, but the substitutions, if not right, were not entirely wrong.

Our thoughts to Bertie Auld’s family and friends as they gather to say goodbye to his mortal remains today.  The rest of us have many memories of Bertie, those are immortal.  What a gift he was.

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    Not a fair comparison!



    If you played Danny in goals he would have been brilliant!




  2. I am not comparing Danny with JJ per se.




    I am saying the lesser player, Alann Sneddon , was trusted by the manager to play against mighty madrid, and didnt let us down.



    same as Tony in the league, he hasnt had a really poor game yet, and indeed in ever game he contributes something, goals , assists, set up plays, and whisper it ……….. good defending often.



    oh and a few recovery tackels and goal line clearances,



    he is not that bad really.

  3. BHEAVER @ 12:13



    No not a Livingston collapse – just *Rangers doing in 7 minutes what we couldn’t do in 180. Titles are won & lost on such statistics.

  4. Total collapse after 15 minutes. Why can we not beat this pub team. 5=points dropped to them which may cost us dearly as the season pans out.

  5. taking advice from me old granny “who wants a game of keeping quiet the longest”



    lets all have our own game of “dont respond”



    you dont engage or acknoledge, and it starves them of the attention craves.



    go on try it, it works for me.

  6. and on that note, brace yourselves for some long winded parody nonsensical incoming bluster and name calling.

  7. Watched the orcs until the second goal. What our intrepid master tacticians, feart weans, ibroxonians our bored journalists with an agenda on here haven’t noted is the different way Livingston have set up and played against them than they did against us. The blanket defence isn’t there, they are getting forward in numbers and not getting back. They didn’t leave the same gaps as they have today. If they played like that against us we’d be six points better off without doubt.



    They either don’t care as much about neon beaten by the ibrox franchise, they don’t fear them as much or feel they are better able to play a bit of football against them, or they are just having a bad day at the office.

  8. or their manager isnt too bothered about getting points against his heroes, but is definately bothered about anti-ffotball stopping the celts.

  9. played outof position succesful 11.



    1, Packy Bonnar


    2, Grame Sinclair


    3. Danny McGrain


    4. Chris Sutton


    5. Michael Conroy


    6. David Hay




    8. Kenny Dalglish


    9. Tom McAdam







    fill in the blanks

  10. Nightmare on A69 -3 car collision. Hopefully no fatalities. Us ,Leeds and Sheffield buses have been stuck for hours. We’ve already drunk the raffle.pray for us.

  11. In fairness Living responded very well to the 1st goal.A bad lapse.I thought he was onside the ball was played,but then so was Abaca at Tynecastle.

  12. SAINT STIVS on 28TH NOVEMBER 2021 12:29 PM


    or their manager isnt too bothered about getting points against his heroes, but is definately bothered about anti-ffotball stopping the celts.





    could it not be the case they fancy getting something from Rangers and know we’d murder them if the played open expansive football …………………… Rangers have more ball winners than we have …imo .

  13. Livingston first goal against them in 15 hours. 10 matches without a goal. Unbelievable stat and shows you the lack of effort this team puts in against the huns.

  14. PAST and present Celtic captains Scott Brown and Callum McGregor will lead the tributes to Bertie Auld today when the Glasgow club play their first match at Parkhead since the Lisbon Lion passed away.



    Brown, who moved to visitors Aberdeen in the summer, and McGregor will take wreaths out onto the pitch before kick-off in the cinch Premiership game and then both teams and the crowd will take part in a minute’s applause.



    The current Celtic skipper feels it is right that supporters get the chance to pay their respects to former midfielder Auld, who was laid to rest on Friday, and that the European Cup the midfielder lifted in 1967 will be trackside.




    “For us as a club we want to show our appreciation for Bertie and what he did for Celtic,” he said. “It will be a great tribute.



    “We have just been at the funeral as well and it is a real emotional time for the club. One of our legends has passed away and the club has come up with a very fitting tribute, as it always does, to remember Bertie.



    “We will be trying to create a special atmosphere for him on Sunday and then we need to try and match that with the result as well.”



    McGregor added: “It is good that Scott can be part of it. He was hugely successful at the club, is a real legend as well. So, yeah, it is certainly fitting to be able to honour Bertie with one of the other greats. It has all come together at a good time.”

  15. never mind the zombies keeper, catching up with yesterdays games, what a performance from craig gordon for the hertz,



    rolls eyes and sighs with a big “why oh why oh why”

  16. BHEAVER on 28TH NOVEMBER 2021 12:50 PM



    Livingston first goal against them in 15 hours. 10 matches without a goal. Unbelievable stat and shows you the lack of effort this team puts in against the huns.




    Not really. Plenty of effort today – they’re simply a very limited team.

  17. Living doing OK.Having a go. Mc Gregor stopped it being 2-2.Fekin Ref.Kent hits the ball too far in front,then lunges in,injures the player.Yellow everywhere else,nothing.Minute later Kent gets nudged in the back,by Devlin,Yellow card.Timmy sounding Devlin be lucky to finish the game.

  18. BHEAVER on 28TH NOVEMBER 2021 1:00 PM



    How limited are they when they play against us.




    Very. They defend deep, block low and we haven’t shown the quality to open them up. Something Ange will have to find a solution for.

  19. RC on 28TH NOVEMBER 2021 1:00 PM



    as mentioned by someone earlier , Soro its a no from me, more sorrow if he plays.




    Yeah, it’s a shame he hasn’t kicked on in the way we’d hoped but Ange clearly doesn’t fancy him and when I see him play, I can understand why. Careless in possession and rash in the tackle. Bad combination for that role, unfortunately.

  20. Watched 1st half of Hun game,


    Livi are trying.


    If it stays at 2-1 for another 30 minutes we could still have an interesting finish.

  21. BHEAVER on 28TH NOVEMBER 2021 1:05 PM



    Not just Ange but the last 3 managers struggled against them.




    Livingston are third from bottom and have lost seven games. If you accuse them of laying down against Sevco then you also have to suggest they lay down against almost everyone in the league. The fact is, they’re not a good team.



    We have had issues with them but that’s down to us to find a solution.