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.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author


  1. right off to celtic park.




    the foodbank needs nappies, that we are still doing this in 2021 always makes me feel bad,







    See new Tweets






    Twittering on about the ETims website, Celtic and anything else important that affects our club including THEM! We do like a laugh or two….


    Scotlandetims.netJoined April 2009


    924 Following






    Tweets & replies






    E-Tims’s Tweets


    Pinned Tweet








    Aug 12


    Players thank the support at full time. Big praise of el capitano #scottishxavi who was poetry in motion. Loved watching #AngePostecoglou reaction. Great to be back seeing #Celtic again 🍀




    0:01 / 2:01


    Show this thread


    E-Tims Retweeted










    Back in Cesar’s after the game today


    Quote Tweet






    · Nov 26


    This Sunday we are back in @cesarsirishbar after Celtic v Aberdeen. We start at 6pm.


    E-Tims Retweeted


    Celtic FC SLO






    Nov 27


    Reminder for everyone attending tomorrow, if you are able to support the foodbank collection it will be appreciated greatly..thank you 🍀




  2. Live keeper watches hun forward head the ball into the net. No effort to move. Pathetic lack of effort when it counts.

  3. Hart, Kyogo, Abada, Turnbull, McCarthy, Jota, Carter-Vickers, McGregor, Ralston, Welsh, Juranovic.


    Subs: Bain, Scales, Ajeti, Soro, Johnston, Forrest, Montgomery

  4. lets all do the huddle on

    Live keeper watches hun forward head the ball into the net. No effort to move. Pathetic lack of effort when it counts





    sounds like he was more a dead keeper than a live keeper



    or a hun

  5. super sub makes it 3 now. Told you last night that escobar would ensure the points for his favourites

  6. BHEAVER on 28TH NOVEMBER 2021 1:46 PM



    Live keeper watches hun forward head the ball into the net. No effort to move. Pathetic lack of effort when it counts.




    Livi have given plenty of effort but very little quality.



    Sounds like you’re trying to overcompensate mate. I can see through it :)

  7. GEEBEE. Don’t be pathetic. I have been a shareholder since Fergus took over. Also I was a season ticket holder from 1998 to 2006 and have attended matches every penny season since. Considering I travel over from Ireland it takes a bit of effort. Don’t question my Celtic credentials. I am a bigger Celt than you will ever be.