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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  1. And what would this magical plan B entail.Please let us all know.Who could we have brought on last night that would have helped.






    There’s nothing magical about a manager having a game management plan or changing the set up to accommodate his subs. It’s a basic. Like for like subs using the same system means a huge drop off. We’ve seen that in Denmark, Holland, Spain and now Germany. Failure to learn this lesson as looks likely means more failures lie in wait.

  2. I have to say I remain astonished that so many posters seem to believe that they know more, much more, than the Professional manager in charge of football matters at Celtic Park.



    I can see my point being met with an ` everyone is entitled to an opinion` response but many of the opinions are stated as simple facts ! Of course, if the opinion entitlement is a fact, then Ange is entitled to his,too. So, whose opinion is more likely to yield success, the Professional Manager or the enthusiastic supporter?

  3. Enjoyed the game last night and like Stan Petrov had this notion all week that the team would acquit themselves well and the players didn’t disappoint. Despite all the upset and multi changes in the camp when the team was given no hope of European football Ange and his team have given a good account of themselves in this Euro campaign and are still there and has helped the maturity of young players like Ralston and Welsh.


    Ange still needs reinforcements to his squad.



    The protocol regarding head injuries in football leaves a lot to be desired. The German ‘keeper should have been red carded for the assault on Kyogo and Nir should have had a HIA after sustaining a serious head injury and was allowed to play on only to collapse again on the pitch – not good enough.



    The German ‘keeper had a great game at Celtic Park but Joe Hart responded in kind last night with some magnificent saves.

  4. You can lose a game by reckless attacking and you can lose a game by parking the bus. And you can win games by continuing to attack but you cannot win games by parking the bus, though you may preserve leads gained by a commitment to attack.



    You cannot hire managers like Rodgers, Bielsa and Postecoglou and then say, change your approach. If you want a pragmatic unambitious manager to keep drubbings to a minimum, hire Tommy Wright or Calum Davidson or Steve Bruce.



    I was hugely dissapointed by the late collapse last night and the subs are all getting the blame. Truth is – we rode our luck and our courage in the first 70 odd minutes and could well have been down in that period too. When the subs came on – they tried to be brave too. Have you ever seen Ajeti be as direct? Mikey J was courageous and took on their defenders. He messed up a pass to Jamesie for a chance that might have seen us home and he lost out on many of his attempts to beat menbut he is still short of match practice, like Jamesie (who was merely ok in the first half), after a long injury.



    Abada did not help our defence but he has shown he can core and frighten defences with his pace and movement. James McCarthy remains disappointing- he was always a classy player but lengthy injury and game absence have dimmed not just his pace but his closing down and anticipation. Our Sports Science team need to work on him as he ahs the calmness and experience to help in the league AND, though I am glad to see Nir in midfield and performing well recently, I do not expect him to remain a first team starter – so the DM role is still up for grabs at Celtic.



    Ange’s reign is much more exciting than last year’s collapse but we have an eminently winnable league to aim at and I have no great hopes of progressing too far in the Euro Conference (q- finals would be great) so it’s all about Sunday for me. Aberdeen are a wounded animal and will be dangerous. Let’s keep this league race on the road.

  5. “Who is that plonker with the wig”. That was a question put to me last night by an English based relative about a Sky panellist who chewed and spluttered his way through a European goals programme. No it wasn’t the intelligent, insightful, Gary Neville but none other – surprise, surprise – than the truly infantile Boyd. Goodness only knows why Sky continue to use him as he increasingly brings embarrassment to the broadcaster, let alone to himself. But if you are as thick as mince, it’s unlikely you will realize that. Good article by James Forrest on this very subject.



    In fairness to Boyd is not the class clown – he’s not as clever as that.

  6. Think the subs should have been spread out to close game out.



    Need another midfielder to help Calmac, who struggled last night, but ran his heart out.Think him and Billy Gilmour,based on what iv seen with Scotland, would work very well together.

  7. Its great to see Bitton and Rogic being recognised as key men for Celtic.



    two fantastic footballers that have been mismanaged for most of their time at Celtic.

  8. How many appearances has MCCarthy made?



    The concensus on here is that he’s a dud.



    Is Ange aware?



    Why not play Shaw or Scales in midfield?



    If they are duds as well we are no worse off.



    But at least we’ll know.

  9. I have to say I remain astonished that so many posters seem to believe that they know more, much more, than the Professional manager in charge of football matters at Celtic Park.






    Hi Neil.


    How’s the job hunt going ?

  10. JIMDOM on 26TH NOVEMBER 2021 1:19 PM



    The vibes coming from the football writing hacks, and former player pundits, is that the Celtic support is far too accepting of Ange. We are turning a blind eye to the persistent defensive frailties and would previous managers be given such leeway ? Their annoyance is tangible.



    Well, I couldn’t give a Jack Ross what they think. After the season from hell, we may not have reached heaven but we are certainly chapping on the door of purgatory.




    So you don’t give a toss about the meeja but you highlight what they say.The Celtic support know football,they are more patient than you all ,and we do not have the luxury of tailoring our opinion daily to who ever ,no 2 f’s are givin by what meeja say about Celtic.we are building a team.the man has only been in job since August. We are building and there are improvements on last year,I do note your propensity to hark back to last year.its with it.


    One Celtic on the go since 1888.





  11. An Dun



    With all due respect I think his search for a coaching role is going better than yours would were you to try



    I think suggesting you change a teams formation to accommodate the subscshortcomings might get you shown the door pretty quickly



    Ange said earlier in the season he was giving as much game time as possible to all the squad players so they were all as comfortable with the new system. It’s how he plays, and it’s how he expects all his players to be able to play

  12. Maybe if we give James Mccarthy, 9 seasons, like Bitton has been given.


    I’m sure he’ll come good. He will be 39 though

  13. All very well being critical, but what an improvement to the last time we played them. The future is without doubt Green and White. I am supremely confident about that.


    Looking forward to the next transfer window. No doubt we lack squad depth, Ange know that and I trust him 100% to sort it





  14. Berties funeral today.


    Emotional scenes in the Calton and at Celtic Park.



    Hardly a comment on Here about the greatness of him, or the sadness of him passing.



    Oh well.

  15. ST STIVS



    The outpouring on here when his death was announced was amazing.



    I watched his funeral today on my phone, said prayers for the repose of his soul and for his family and friends.



    But didn’t have anything to post that I hadn’t already done.



    Think your post is a tad unfair.

  16. I have said before that the time to offer the first judgement of Ange & Celtic will be in January.



    At the moment our overall win percentage is 64% – in the league only, it is 61%. Neither of those figures will be good enough to lift the title. However between now and the end of December, we have the opportunity to boost the win percentage up to 76% – that should put us in title-winning contention.



    January itself could be a massive month with the *Rangers game & the transfer window integral to our ambitions this season.



    That will be a fair time to assess where we are. At the moment it is work in progress only.

  17. McCarthy was never a dud same as Shane Duffy but we bring in players that do not fit the coaches system.



    Frimpong is a better player since he left………….wee need a complete rebuild of coaching……….i wont hold my breath.



    Hot Smoked


    Time will tell.I watched a bit of “the rangers” game they are still a better Team.So far.


    We are a good team in the spl but that’s it.

  18. World Cup Draw…



    Scotland v Ukraine



    If they get through will play the winners of…



    Wales v Austria



    Hail Hail

  19. World Cup Draw…



    Scotland v Ukraine



    If they get through will play the winners of…



    Wales v Austria



    Scotland have an away tie if they get through…



    Hail Hail

  20. Celtic will not play a team as good as who we played last night in a meaningful game again this season. 3 Europa league games and a cup semi final in the last ten games and a win percentage of 80%.



    Good enough form to win the league

  21. TIMHORTON @ 4:35 PM,



    Definitely could have been worse.



    Remember going to the play-off at Ninians Park when Big Jock died.



    Jock and Fergie the management team in that game. Big Roy putting Mark Hughes in his place.



    We’ll see how this pans out…



    Hail Hail

  22. prestonpans bhoys on

    PHILBHOY on 26TH NOVEMBER 2021 4:08 PM



    Agree with you there, this blog has been no different today from other Celtic blogs.

  23. Paul 67



    Disagree on subs and timings, looked flash switching two wingers for two more, but they weren’t like for like, one off form, the other with no form.



    Nir Bitton’s exit was telling and shows up the need for more in middle a mobile DM and a playmaker.



    Its all or nothing with AP and we’re all signed up, but he’s needs re-enforcements if Celtic are to prize away the one in a row, and the CL money that’s already earmarked to prolong Sevco.

  24. park the bus>blootir it>goal>simple on

    If Rangers win at parkhead it’ll put us under a psychological arm lock until they are uncatchable.


    I don’t want to see us ever beaten by them.


    But, if a run of defeats from them created enough anger at parkhead to force a regime change event, then I’d view it as well taken medicine.


    The Celtic Way bullsh*t is a mindset trap.


    Ange, Mowbray, Barnes, Burns, Brady, all victims of falling for this, Celtic Way idiocy.


    The Celtic way is to recognize who we are, and what we’ve got, not who we want people to think we are.


    Who would be whining at Ange if he, at us 2-1 in front, if he parked the bus and blootired the ball oot the park?


    That’s one of the millions of reasons why José will always outsmart idealists like Celtic, even MON should’ve parked the bus and blootired it in Seville, but he didn’t, and he and us paid for it.


    Smarter recruitment could make a difference, not last minute EPL razzmatazz signings, Ajeti, for example, who would Stein have bought, Ajeti or Liam Boyce?


    I know it wasn’t Ange who bought Ajeti, but PLC last did, and he was part of last years failure, so he’s a dud end of.


    If the PLC sacked Dominic for blowing a fortune on McCarthy, then they were quite right.


    But the PLC also know that their misdeeds should’ve led to wholesale sackings, but they also know they live in a fools paradise that used to have, hardened peripheral housing scheme hard men, tickets of the schemes, who knew how to look after themselves if need be.


    Their ‘day oot’ was every second Saturday where they were content to stand in the pish flowing Jungle at parkhead, singing about the IRA’s armed struggle against real imperialist oppression, at a time were the simple act of wearing a Celtic scarve could lead to establishment suspicions that you were in some way involved in the IRA, not just standing singing about them or putting monies into the tin, not the now a days imagined oppression, were Celtic supporters in the main, vote for a political party that puts f*nny pads in men’s toilets, and other hideous things, whilst also, the now a days Celtic supporters sing Wham songs, like real rebels do eh.


    No wonder the club is like the football version of, “The House of Usher” and that fell btw, you who pay for, and vote for such an environment, are 100% to blame for it, not some imaginary oppressors.


    hh ✌

  25. Watching celtic going at teams in Europe is perhaps not everyone’s cup of team but I much prefer it to the backs to the wall bullocks.



    Hart has been the very good signing



    Ralston is an honest rightback that will improve, but we need better in there.



    Welsh is not as good a defender as starfelt who is not as good a defender and player than starfelt.



    CCV has been a good signing, hopefully we can get him signed up long term.



    JJ is adequate at ĺeft back, but we need better in there



    Mcgregor is consistent most games



    Bitton had a good game but lacks pace



    Turnbull seems to lack energy but lacks pace



    The lack energy and pace is the middle is killing us I my honest opinion.



    Kayogo is class



    Jota is class



    Forrest looks like he needs more games bit will contribute much



    Abada shows flashes of being good



    Johnson has missed a lot of football, he needs games but perhaps a half season away to play will help jump start his football career.



    Ajeti looks like he will score with right service bit does not suite our system



    Mccarthy is struggling and needs games



    We need a good january window to add some more quality to the team in key areas




  26. park the bus>blootir it>goal>simple on

    PHILBHOY on 26TH NOVEMBER 2021 5:04 PM


    If ma granny had baws……………………




    How do you know she didn’t have baws?


    Cellic supporters voat for folk who are not meant to have baws.


    You should get out more.



    P.S. only kidding aboot yer granny in case ye drive yer tanks intae ma living room again, wi yon unfairhill geezer jumping oot the tap bit like a monkey wi a gattlin gun. lol 👍 😶