Tactical call leaves Celtic impotent


The big decision of the day was to move Callum McGregor from central mid to left back, leaving Celtic with a Scott Brown – Olivier Ntcham central midfield partnership.  This was the central mid pairing we started the season with, when form was at its poorest for years.  Due to injury, the side changed at halftime at Murrayfield in the League Cup semi-final against Hearts, infusing the season with fresh impetus.  Without that change in October the league table would look significantly different right now.

Jonny Hayes could have started at left back, as he did at Pittodrie on Wednesday, allowing McGregor to partner either Brown or Ntcham, but Brendan Rodgers’ gamble did not pay off and Celtic did not compete throughout the 90 minutes.

We hoped for tactical changes at halftime but injuries to Filip Benkovic and Mikael Lustig limited what the manager was able to do.  Odsonne Edouard replaced Mikey Johnston on the hour, which improved things, especially when Callum McGregor was able to get into the box in support, but Newco had control of the game throughout.  It was a one goal victory that could easily have been four.  Special mention goes to Craig Gordon, who repeatedly got his teammates out of trouble.

Although we got little from James Forrest, Scott Sinclair, Ryan Christie and Mikey Johnstone, we were forward so seldom, it is difficult to be too harsh on any of them.  Dedryck Boyata’s chances of a big money offer next month were not enhanced as he repeatedly mis-controlled and mis-passed.

We had two late chances to equalise, McGregor put the ball in the net but was marginally offside, and Ntcham had a great chance blocked, but a draw would have flattered the champions.

I seldom complain about officiating, but Morelos kicked, punched and stamped on Celtic players off the ball, without caution.  I assume referee John Beaton missed each incident but we should see retrospective action.

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  1. Among the pundits it seemed to be that Beaton had a really good game,Could it possibly happen in England that a previous season ticket holder at Liverpool would be allowed to referee Liverpool v Man Utd,I doubt it very much .Morelos had carte blanche to do whatever in the game.I wouldn`t count too much on retrospective action being taken.Iam getting very fed up of withBrendan`s clever ploys that don`t work,play players in their best positions.Mikey Johnston up front at Celtic Park against Dundee and Motherwell worked but it was never going to work away from home. Aberdeen excepted, our away form has been abysmal.Brendan has plenty of credit in the bank but yesterdays meek resistence from the team and himself did him no favours.

  2. Oglach



    Who was the last proven striker we signed??



    Gary Hooper scored everywhere he played and did that for us.



    Much as tho’ we would all love us to sign a reasonable name striker I’m guessing we’ll be signing an up and comer or an out of favour player in a big squad.



    We paid 9 mil for Eddy as a young striker who’s done literally nothing in the game..



    Crazy times for sure..

  3. Sn@kePLissken67 on 30th December 2018 2:04 pm




    My money is on Kolo Toure knowing about Bayo. He has been a key part of Dunajska Streda’s rise this season. Not a big club in Slovakia but there are a few teams over here spending money and for them to be doing as well is kind of like Kilmarnock doing well in Scotland.




    Snake, the 1.7mill question. Could Bayo do a job for us straight away or would you consider him a project? Also how does Slovak football compare to the SPFL? Watched a wee clip of Bayo and yes he scores goals, looks decent in the air but having said that the defending looks very poor.

  4. We don’t have the level of ability to play this game, Guardiola can do it with his high quality expensive players, we don’t have that calibre of player. Coaches always follow the most successful coaches but some things you cannot do if the quality is not there. Every coach in the world has followed the tippy tippy of Barcelona but there is only one Messi . No matter how much Rodgers would like to play this system we are nowhere near the quality to do it. Every single game this season we have lost or almost lost goals from trying to play from the back. We should have lost more goals through this than we have. You can only play to your level of ability not beyond. Don’t expect a Rolls Royce performance from a Volkswagen.

  5. We need to play our best right back Kent did nothing in the 2nd half when Tony Ralston came on but damage done in 1st 45 gave them so much confidence Hayes left back and broony is gone we have Hibernian best midfielder last year watching the Edinburgh Derby the real old firm game 6 million on the Belgian right back Imo try villa 6 million for McGinn, Still top but Brendan and the club must warn if refs wont protect our players be prepared for an Abandoned game 5 Celts sent off , That wee Coward morelos kicks brownie in the nuts and stamped on Tony Ralston and we had lusting booked for a block he can’t Avoid it’s getting Chronic and we should put our foot down with Hibs no players released except for the World Cup ties,Dust ourselves down and Unbeaten last half of Season and lastly next game Celtic park not a seat to them HH

  6. Sn@kePLissken67 on




    Put it this way, Slovak football is technically better than anything in Scotland and all their teams would be decent in our league. No one watches it bar two or three teams who historically have big supports – Slovan Bratislava, Spartak Trnava and Zilina and maybe Nitra (Lubo’s old team).



    Trencin and Tatran Presov (who play in green and white hoops) are also reasonably supported.



    No teams in Slovakia play with 11 men behind the ball and so the defending won’t be like anything Celtic face regularly – crazy notion two teams who try to beat each other in every game. It just is not done so maybe the young guy might not get the space in Scotland but pace and power seem like his thing. I’ve not been paying that much attention but it’s a little unusual to see a team like Dunajska Streda doing well. In recent years Spartak Trnava, Zilina and Trencin have been vying for top spot with Slovan. Dunajska are 8 points off the top with Slovan above them which in itself is typical of Slovak football. In Scotland he’d get more chances at Celtic and for me is worth a punt. The Fortuna Liga is now on Winter break until February 16th so if Celtic want him, this would be the best time to get him.

  7. starry plough on 30th December 2018 2:09 pm






    Who was the last proven striker we signed??


    Gary Hooper scored everywhere he played and did that for us.




    Griff perhaps? But there must be some 30 something quality striker out there warming his posterior on a bench most games who would jump at the cahnce to join us and who could do a ‘Lubo’ for a couple of seasons. We need quality and experience to lead the line and pass on his experience to our talented but fairly inexperienced youngsters, we defo do not need not another Amido Balde type project.

  8. Oglach,


    Well said, enough of the projects, we sadly lack hardened professionals, leaders, we re far too easy to play against, this was proved yesterday.

  9. It’s been well publicised that our nhoys are heading to Dubai for winter break training. Where are the other SPL teams going? Serious question, I just haven’t been paying attention!

  10. OGLACH



    Completely forgot about Griff, that being said we got one huge season out of him then he’s been in and out of the team, plagued with niggling injuries, and is now deffo out for the foreseeable future.Get well soon son:))



    We can but hope that this windae will give us something to build on..



    30 something quality striker currently warming the bench:))



    That’s quite an ask!



    Fingers oot scouts!

  11. Sn@kePLissken67 on 30th December 2018 2:19 pm .



    Thanks for the detailed reply re Slovak football. Sounds as if Bayo could be worth a punt as long as we also sign an more experienced striker as well (imho)



    The other teams, refs and authorities are all heading to an orange hall in govan so they can celebrate sevco’s first win over Celtic.



    In fairness to Griff he has had to fight adversity in that neither the present or last coach seemed to rate him as first choice.

  14. Sn@kePLissken67 on




    Getting in three strikers would be good – Bayo, Weah and another – provides a lot more options. OE could even play left side if the others were there.



    Weah would be for 6 months unless there was an 18 month thing going on.



    People forget how young Patrick Roberts was when he came to Celtic and his impact was pretty important in giving Celtic a lift that season.



    If we’re looking for bargains – I have always said Eastern European leagues are where you’ll get quality for decent prices.



    A RB, CB and some forwards are what are needed.

  15. starry plough on 30th December 2018 2:28 pm



    30 something quality striker currently warming the bench:))



    That’s quite an ask!



    Fingers oot scouts!




    They are out there, just need to 1st dispense with the policy of mainly only buying projects to sell at a profit (those few who actually turn out to be worth anything) and be willing to take a big hit on zero resale value and maxing out our wage structure to secure their services. Short term pain for long term gain.


    And totally agree – fingers oot scouts.

  16. FAN-A-TIC



    That’s a myth mate that somehow Brendan was holding him back and as his off field problems have come to light I think Brendan gave him every chance he could.




  17. FAN-A-TIC on 30TH DECEMBER 2018 1:51 PM



    Craig Gordon will not receive the credit he is due until he is no longer playing for us. I would bet anything that CQN in 2025 will be singing his praises and reminiscing about his great shot stopping ability.



    The stats on Gordon and McGregor were provided by Sky before the match. Gordon had the better statistics.



    I totally agree with you regarding his distribution. Players must make themselves available and their movement must make it simple for CG. Currently they are not doing that.



    Surely this must be practiced daily as it is now such a fundamental part of our game.




  18. What is it that Brendan sees in Lustig? How many goals do we lose down the right side? I really think he has given up and his comments after the game yesterday were scandalous.

  19. Ah wonder if all of Celtic’s homeless supporters will be at the airport to cheer their multi-£millionaire heroes, on their way to their well ‘deserved’ break in Dubai ?



    Brother Wilfrid’s club for the poor, starving, refugees, died, when it fell into Tory ownership, in 1994.

  20. yes, ffs why do we have to get players on loan, how can you get a settled side when you know A or B is going back to their own club sooner or later, look we have got money to spend in the transfer window, if we don’t and we let the new kids on the block overtake us, our forefathers will never forgive us.hh.





    They do not have one player i would want in a Celtic jersey.


    Congerton has done nothing but who has hun scout unearthed.


    People will point to Morelos who has the benefit of Scottish refereeing and will be sold at an inflated rate then will disappear like Baumsong as his actual talent is recognized on a level playing field but he was found by Jonathon Johansen.

  22. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Hi all.



    I genuinely try to respect all views here, particularly those angst ridden posts every time we lose.



    That said – Go Tell The Spartim’s 12:09 contribution had me laughing out loud.



    Hail hail to us all.



    How is it a myth?


    Brendan quickly played Moussa over Griff when he had been our previous seasons top scorer.


    Griff has had to fight constantly in Brendans tenure to earn a jersey.


    I think Moussa was a better all rounder than Griff but the fact that the coach was willing to play someone unproven over our previous season’s top scorer tends to suggest that he had doubts.

  24. Bad day !!!


    Yesterday was my number 2 son’s 40th birthday ,- so we had a box at Vale park and got there to watch the game first – thankfully there was alcohol available to numb the pain. If that was not bad enough we had to suffer watching Vale lose 1-4.


    The party that evening was a bit flat to begin with but soon got going.


    Amazed that I didn’t have a hangover this morning.

  25. Griffiths does not have the physical stature to be the lone striker (Johnson neither) , so unless we play with 2 strikers (seldom) then Griffiths will always be a fringe player.

  26. BREENY


    If that is coaches mindset then why did he play Johnston in that role yesterday when everything Sevco talked about before game pointed to a physical game?

  27. fanatic



    i would have morelos, tavernier(sp) and candias(sp) imo.



    we were beaten by a bunch of loanees and journey men, that should not happen with the money we spend on wages.


    we will be beaten but should not be totally outplayed by any team in scotland.

  28. Why can’t we not employ ex players for recruiting players,The 2 I would like to see getting that role Would be Paul Hartley,and John Hughes, just a thought,

  29. Fanatic,


    I think you are agreeing with me, it was always going to be a physical game and no way could Johnson play the lone striker role. Maybe no alternatives if Eddy was not up to a full game.

  30. FAN-A-TIC



    Do you think that Brendans knowledge of Griff’s personal problems had anything to do with his decisions?



    Brendan did actually say that Griff had to be fit to play for Celtic did he not??



    Did you think Griff looked fit after the summer holidays, it was remarked upon on here?



    Perhaps Griffs fight was against something else?



    I honestly would not have one of them.


    They scraped a 1-0 because our coachies and players did not turn up.


    Tavernier is a terrible defender.


    The other two are imposters facilitated by cheats with whistles and bummed up by a mssm with an agenda.

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