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. France 24 – International breaking news, top stories and headlines


    Chaos at Bayern AGM as members rebel over Qatari deal



    Issued on: 26/11/2021 – 11:16



    Bayern Munich president Herbert Hainer addresses the club’s AGM on Thursday



    Berlin (AFP) – Former Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness said he was “shocked” after the Bundesliga leaders’ Annual General Meeting descended into chaos as supporters rebelled against a Qatari sponsorhip deal.







    “This is the worst event I’ve ever seen at FC Bayern. I am ashamed,” fumed Hoeness after Thursday night’s five hour-long AGM turned heated.



    Tension has been building between the German giants and a group of Bayern supporters disgruntled about the club’s five-year sponsorship deal with state-owned Qatar Airways, worth around 20 million euros ($22.5 million) per year.



    The deal is due to expire in 2023, but some Bayern members are putting pressure on current president Herbert Hainer and CEO Oliver Kahn not to renew it.



    The club’s rebels point to human rights groups, who accuse Qatar of exploiting foreign workers, particularly in the construction of stadiums for the next World Cup, which kicks off in November 2022, claims Qatari officials have rejected.







    At Thursday’s AGM, a large group of around 800 members reacted angrily amid shouts of “Hainer out!” and “We are the fans you don’t want!” after the club had blocked a motion to allow members to vote on the Qatari sponsorship deal.



    Earlier Thursday, a regional court in Munich had ruled that Bayern was “not obliged to discuss the further sponsorship by Qatar Airways” and club bosses referred to the legal ruling during the AGM.



    Faced with open rebellion among their own members, senior Bayern figures insist there are better ways to influence the situation than not renewing the sponsorship deal.



    “I remain firmly convinced that dialogue is the best way to bring people together,” Hainer told the AGM.



    The Bayern president revealed the club had “by no means decided to continue” the contentious sponsorship deal, but insisted they will see out the contract.



    Kahn said the club did their due diligence before signing the deal in 2018, pointing out that Bayern has “a very clear criteria for such partnerships. There are compliance requirements, as with any partner”.



    The Covid-19 pandemic has also taken a toll on Bayern by hitting Germany’s richest club in the pocket.



    The club’s total turnover shrunk by more than 100 million euros for the 2020/21 financial year from 750.4 million to 643.9 million since their record year of 2019.



    The group’s profit has also plunged from 52.5 million euros to 1.9 million euros after tax in the past two years.



    “For football, the pandemic is an immense challenge. Since 8 March 2020, we have had very few matches with spectators in the Allianz Arena,” said Kahn.

  2. HOT SMOKED on 27TH NOVEMBER 2021 11:04 AM



    It certainly appears that way.



    UEFA are the only organisation with the power to make Sevco balance the books.



    It’s questionable whether UEFA have the stomach for it but we won’t have long to find out.

  3. “NORRIEM on 27TH NOVEMBER 2021 11:58 AM


    Why or how are professional football players at Celtic, getting tired during a game:



    Do you mean more tired than other teams whose players put as much into their game as Celtic players do?


    If so, there would be an obvious fitness level problem.If not, there are other possibilities.

  4. “SAINT STIVS on 27TH NOVEMBER 2021 12:26 PM




    which sem-final do they mean ?:



    I am assuming the UEFA Cup semi. I would be surprised had that been sparsely attended ,though but that wouldn`t stop the odd couple from claiming otherwise.

  5. NORRIEM on 27TH NOVEMBER 2021 11:58 AM



    Can I ask,






    Why or how are professional football players at Celtic, getting tired during a game






    Are players not trained to last 120mins, in preparation for any game that may have to go that long.






    So certain players, cannot even last 90mins 🤔





    Our style of play involves constant movement, with and without the ball. We managed to get players who’ll press and track back. Statistically more turnovers resulting on a shot at goal than any other Europa team.



    This takes work.



    There’s literally no rest. Watch🤓



    Cowan reckons few Celtic supporters attended the semi-final before going to Seville



    The night Celtic drew 1-1 with Boavista at Celtic Park, Tam Cowan watched the game in the Railway Tavern in Motherwell surrounded by about 100 noisy Tims.



    Maybe that’s why he thought there was a low turnout at the stadium.



    The official attendance was 57,845 by the way.

  7. TOM MCLAUGHLIN on 27TH NOVEMBER 2021 12:45 PM



    Thanks for that.



    Cowan simply adhering to BBC Scotland `Always negative about Celtic` policy.

  8. looking at the records, 2000-2020 onwards, Leage Cup semi-finals, were poorly attended for all teams supporters, seldom sold out (only a glasgow derby one did)



    exampleas –



    2000 – Aberdeen v Dundee United at Dens 9,500


    2000 – Celtic v Kilmarnock at Hampden 22,900


    2004 – Dundee v Livinstone at Easter Road 6,500


    2004 – Hibs v Original Rangers at Hampden 27,000



    in 2003 semi final we played Dundee United at Hampden in front of 18,000



    so what is their point about semi final attendnaces having any bearing on what a team will request for the final ?

  9. Ange: “It’s ( V Aberdeen) a good challenge for us because the players put so much into Germany physically and emotionally and I am going to have to make a couple of changes just to freshen them up.”



    Hmm… I wonder who will feature in those `changes` ?

  10. “SAINT STIVS on 27TH NOVEMBER 2021 1:03 PM


    so what is their point about semi final attendnaces having any bearing on what a team will request for the final ?”



    I think a bright chap like yourself knows their point. ie Criticise Celtic.

  11. Starfelt for Welsh?


    Rogic for Turnbull?


    Soro for Bitton?


    Bolingoli for Ralston?







  12. So in justifying a complaint about LC Final ticket allocation, Cowan refers back to a semi-final on a freezing Thursday night in February 2003, only a week after more than 35,000 Celtic supporters filled Hampden for another LC semi-final.



    I think the word is desperation.

  13. Methinks that the cup final ticket issue is just faux outrage by Jack Ross, just trying a somewhat pathetic attempt at generating a bit of a siege mentality for his side.



    On a different issue completely, does anyone know if there was another club in Europe that sold more than Celtic’s 55,320 season tickets for empty stadium season 20/21 ?

  14. Supporters who can’t be at this weekend’s league match v Aberdeen can still tune in to all the live action from the comfort of home, with StreamDigital offering Pay-per-view for Sunday’s match.



    Goals in either half from Kyogo and Jota secured the points for the Celts at Pittodrie when the sides last met, and the Hoops will be looking to make home advantage count in front of a sold-out Celtic Park this weekend.



    Sunday’s match will also be an emotional occasion as the club with current captain Callum McGregor and former captain Scott Brown, will pay tribute to Bertie pre-match on what is set to be a special day for the Celtic family, as we honour and remember the legendary Bertie Auld.



    It’s a 3pm kick-off with pay-per-view available to supporters in the UK and Ireland only, priced £12.99.

  15. as a wee aside.



    I am absolutely delighted that the cup-final does not feature a blue meanie tribute act team.

  16. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Apologies if this has been posted already but just love this quote from Thomas Tuchel about Ralf Rangnick ….



    “He showed us it’s not important to follow people to the toilet in football games because that was the belief.”



    There’s a refreshing candour about Germanic & Scandinavian culture. Professionally, they’re typically very assured in their faith in design and process.



    As a result, they seem more comfortable telling it like it is.



    …. Add to the mix, the natural tendency to cut some slack to foreigners speaking in a second language (even though Tuchel & Jürgen Klopp are more coherent than most English managers) …..



    .. and you get away with quotes like these.



    Aside from the mirth, clearly an important message that coaches need to constantly be rethinking the game.



    Er … take note … Scottish football ?




  17. E-Tims








    Hi Scotland..what you watching on







    Englands Women!



    But why?



    No one knows!

  18. To quote Larry David – Let me ask you a question.



    Why do so many Celtic supporters think John Kennedy is a “defensive coach”? Just because he was a defender?



    Ange was a defender. Does that mean he knows nothing about coaching attackers?



    JK is a coach, as is Gavin Strachan.



    Also, much is made of Ange not having his own backroom staff. Why?



    According to Ange’s own words, he received his first contact from Celtic by phone and LESS THAN 24 HOURS LATER he received a second call offering him the job. So apart from the length of time it took to replace Lenny, Ange’s recruitment was very swift.



    Upon accepting the job, Ange had to uproot his entire family and migrate to the other side of the planet. In those circumstances, I wouldn’t expect the make-up of his backroom team was a major issue for either party.



    We couldn’t get a backroom team to move from the south coast of England never mind Japan.



    Ange has openly stated that he is happy with his coaching team and said that any changes would be for future consideration.



    Understandably, many Celtic supporters have a very low opinion of anyone connected with last season’s debacle. However, I think JK and GS get a very bad press by association with NL. Ange is happy with their performance, and the players speak highly of them.



    Good enough for me.

  19. Tom,



    Exactly what I said earlier.


    There always has to be some kind of moan.Don’t have one ?.Easy,just regurgitate an old one.




    It was your earlier comment that prompted my post.



    To be fair, after last season I can completely understand the moans in the case of JK and GS, but as I said, guilty by association.



    We need to let Ange manage and lead. As you said, if he feels he is being let down by either or both, he’ll be man enough to take action.

  21. danny o'velinski on



    Don’t lie, its Hunnish, or, Celtic plc-ish.


    The same…..”I don’t have the figures to hand.”….bullsh*t.


    Usual line from this party of Celtic hating, liars and deceivers.





    I just fail to grasp why Celtic supporter’s fall for these, glorified councillor’s????


    Any Celtic supporter’s who vote for a Celtic hating political party, should have their tickets removed.


    No trials, no tribulations, nada, zero, just boot thum oot!!!!



    If a leader of a political party, who can’t even say the name, “Celtic” without her skin visibly crawling, and who inflicts over and beyond, the call of duty, restrictions, and infringements, on Celtic, and you as a Celtic supporter, continue to vote for this political party, as you did in May this year, knowing full well, the hatred that your political preference will bring upon Celtic fc, and its supporters, then can you yourself a supporter of Celtic fc, knowing full well the injurious consequences that will be visited upon Celtic, do you ‘REALLY’ call yourself, a Celtic supporter?


    I mean ‘REALLY????


    It should be written into Celtic FC’s constitution, that if you vote for the separatist parties of Scotland, who not only can’t conceal their rabid hatred of Celtic fc, and everything else within the Celtic sphere, but the thirst, hunger, and even lust, after the day that, these separatists want to turn Scotland into a new version of the six counties, where, Celtic orientated folk will be lined up as sitting ducks, even more than they are today with the expected influx of disgruntled Ulster Scots who’ll bolt from the soon to be united Ireland, law officers from the six counties are already in Scotland, Arlene Foster has already identified, Fife, as her destination, with all of that in mind, I know that in this context, what I’m about to say is ironic, but Celtic executive has to aim a smoking gun at customers, unthinking, and lazy, me me me, type of Celtic customers, who’s voting preferences, are presently, and in the near future, will lead to the creation of a much worsened environment for Celtic to operate within. So the message should be simple.



    “We regret having reached this point, were we have to take this line, SO, to vote for a political party which can hardly conceal its contemt for Celtic fc, or the environment that it wants to create for Celtic fc, and ‘ALL’ within the Celtic sphere, to injure Celtic, and ineffect, treat Celtic fc from a sperate rule book, then we’ll have ‘NO’ option open to us, but to sadly remove you from any future attendance at Parkhead. Celtic is a club as you all know, was born out of a politically, hate filled environment, for Celtic’s founders, and for us to knowingly invite such an environment back onto Celtic today, would be committing Celtic’s suicide, and we surely don’t want that?”



    Sack the lazy unthinking fans CSC 👊

  22. dearie me,



    blissfully quiet and thoughful reflections pondering in the reading room when some maniac spoils the peace by ranting and raving, foaming at the mouth and offending the locals.



    oh well,



    time to go out anyways.

  23. danny o'velinski on

    SAINT STIVS on 27TH NOVEMBER 2021 3:09 PM




    That’s right, don’t respond to the post, “Not got the figures to hand?”



    lol 😉

  24. I seem to be in the minority as I think the subs on Thursday were crap , but in mitigation to ange you can only field what’s there , which in some positions is not a lot . We do also have experienced internationals who fall out of games far to easily which is a huge worry , ( well for me it is ). Could we not have continued with jota , when the Johnstone chance came I would have backed jota to bury it as he did our second goal , he did put in a power of work but this lad is only 22. Maybe a bit hasty taking him off . A transfer window coming up I hope for some quality coming in , but I also hope for some making room for quality coming in .

  25. Our strongest team should be playing tomorrow none of this resting players pish Ange.



    If that’s the case Ange has prioritised the wrong tournament.



    I am fully behind Ange but twice now his subs have been poor and if he is prioritising the Eurooa league ove winning our the League then I just hope does not live to regret it.



    We do not have a big enough squad to rotate players at this moment so for me the same players should be starting who started on Wednesday barring injuries or players coming back into the team from injury.



    D :)

  26. PHILBHOY on 27TH NOVEMBER 2021 10:14 AM


    What would you say if Kyogo says he won’t play in the Conference, it’s beneath him?




    Philbhoy – I would say great keep him for the league.



    D :)

  27. Off topic, I was watching Man Yoo mid week on a South African channel of all things. They use English commentators and pundits. As the game proceeded, commentator says “McTominay of course plays for Scotland even though he’s not a Scotsman, and he’d be the first person to tell you that”


    I don’t mind “Scotsmen” twice removed playing for Scotland but, I’d like to think that “they” at least THINK of themselves as Scottish. If not I’d say thanks but no thanks. I’m guessing he rather play for England but will use us because he’s not good genius’s to get picked for them

  28. Kyogo, and any other player, will want to play in the Conference League simply because of the chance to be Celtics first ever goalscorer in the competition, and/or become our record all time goalscorer in that competition.



    I might be alone in this thinking, but I do like the 3 tier format, and the chance for clubs to participate longer in european competions. A fairer distribution of the prize fund would be appreciated, but why turn our noses up at progressin in a lesser competition.



    Its not exactly the Petrofac cup.



    Maybe a country, or club who takes it serious becomes the dominating feature at each level.


    England . Spain in CL,


    Spain , Sevilla in the EL


    Celtic in the Conference.



    I tell you, if we get beyond the qualifier round , there will be thousadns sailing and flying to wherever we can follow.