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.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author


  1. eddieinkirkmichael on

    ‪When I was growing up apart from a short though glorious spell for Scots football either Celtic or the Huns won the league and most of the cups.


    Now there is no real sustained challenge from anyone, to say this era is special is disingenuous, with our resources we should be winning most of the silverware on offer. Given the vast financial disparity between us and every other club in Scotland we should now be looking to secure trebles on a regular basis.‬


    Results like yesterday will happen from time to time but really there is no excuse for the amount of times we’ve not turned up away from home or indeed in Europe this season.


    I’ve no doubt that others will have already pointed out BR’s failures in the transfer market since he arrived. I would say only 3 have been anywhere near a success, I discount Mousa as he was identified before BR was in post.


    So for me if BR doesn’t get this transfer window right then serious questions need to be asked.


    I would contend that most managers in the SPFL would bite your hand off if offered those players yet they were truly abismal and turned in the worst performance I have ever seen in a game against the Huns in all my 56 yrs. now considering I’ve watched teams put out by Macari, Brady and Mowbray that was some failure yesterday. Even when we got beat off them on penalties in the cup we at least put up a fight and had something like 27 attempts on goal.


    Something isn’t working at our club when our 1st choice players aren’t available but given what we pay to understudies then we should still be able to compete with any other club in Scotland. Why are we not seeing these guys regularly in the reserve league to keep up their match sharpness?


    I don’t know how you fix it but then I’m not getting paid a kings ransom to so in Brendan we have to trust, regardless of his failures to address these issues over the last yr and a half.

  2. LAMBERT14 on 30TH DECEMBER 2018 7:22 PM





    ‘Peter Lawwell undermining Brendan Rodgers in the summer transfer window leaves Celtic impotent’



    I’ve fixed your header for you.






    Paul was unusually quick off the bat with a blog yesterday, i wondered if is was an attempt to set the agenda. I worry that is an insight into ongoing unrest between Peter Lawwell and Brendan Rodgers.

  3. In many ways I can understand Calmac at the back, he has slotted in there often in the past and done Ok so Brendan trusted him in the role, as it turned out he was our best player on the day so he maybes was justified in that decision.


    The main reason imo that were were overran in the mid was Olly not turning up, forget all the Forrest and Sinclair, the real issue was in the middle, Broonie couldn’t cope on his own, Brendan then had the problem of players getting injured and having to be replaced, this severely ham stringed his choices imo, I am no expert by any means but Olly’s body language is shocking, it’s been the same since his mate departed for Lyon and he didn’t get his supposed move to Porto, with respect to the boy that’s not good enough and he has to be moved on, we can’t afford to have him play one decent game and a handful of crap ones.


    Then the referee has to shoulder a great deal of the blame, had he done what 99% of referees worldwide would have done and red carded Morelos for his kick out at Broonie in the first few mins, it would have been a VERY different game, so to say the referee didn’t make a difference is bollix.

  4. 50 shades of green on

    Anyone think Morelos ran about kicking and punching cause he knows hes offski???




  5. David17


    That was my first thought too.


    I would hate to think that Paul67 was given a copy and paste by Lawwell after the game and told to do his bidding.


    Bear in mind that Paul67 made no comment about the boards ineptitiude re res12 at the last AGM.

  6. glendalystonsils on

    50 SHADES OF GREEN on 30TH DECEMBER 2018 7:47 PM



    That occured to me too. If the rat was to move would any ban move with him?

  7. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    DAVID17 on 30TH DECEMBER 2018 7:32 PM


    I worry that is an insight into ongoing unrest between Peter Lawwell and Brendan Rodgers.





    David17 – I had that same niggling thought when I read the article – felt it was a bit like the ones that came out around the time of the Brendan interview when he spoke about his frustrations with the summer transfer window.



    Having said that – I do agree with the vast majority of what Paul 67 says; I’m probably seeing things that aren’t actually there.



    McGregor at left back was a nonsensical decision – he’s not a great left back and it negated our best chance of establishing any rhythm in midfield.



    McGregor needs to be established in the position where he has been a revelation – the space currently occupied by Broonie. Build the team shape around him, play Broonie slightly ahead where he can disrupt the opposition’s initial build-up play.






  8. David 17. 7.32


    I thought the same yesterday.


    It appears to me that agendas may still be at play.


    Corkcelt posted earlier, about how thin our squad is in regulars v outcasts v injured players.


    He didn’t use that terminology but he made excellent points.


    This window is crucial,no time for egos.


    Oli Ntcham has been slaughtered on here by some and Brendan questioned as to why he started him, but as I posted last night, Oli was MOM in the last Glasgow Derby, hindsight is a wonderful thing.


    Hail Hail




    Agree re tickets.


    We should have refused the entire amount stating safety concerns and cost from the public purse to police.


    Sevco and Police Scotland could then have handled the outcry from Sky.

  10. Celtic please listen on

    Next Sevco fixture get a couple of goals in front someone step up cement the wee Columbian pick proper. Jobs a good un.

  11. Shinnie should have been banned after his dive the other night, but played and no mention of a ban, Morelos could easily have walked yesterday from his first kick on Scott Brown to his punch on Christie, Aberdeen have called for a review of decisions made by referees, the huns got a player off with a red, abused a referee in several statements and were given a minor fine which they probably wont pay, however both clubs have got decisions on the back of these complaints, wisen up Celtic and Brendan stop the Mr Nice Guy routine it is tiresome when we are being refereed differently from other teams and everybody can see it.

  12. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    50 SHADES OF GREEN on 30TH DECEMBER 2018 7:47 PM


    Anyone think Morelos ran about kicking and punching cause he knows hes offski???






    Although I do understand your thinking, I don’t think so.



    He’s been doing that with complete impunity since he got here – nothing different about yesterday’s performance.






  13. 50 shades of green on



    50 SHADES OF GREEN on 30TH DECEMBER 2018 7:47 PM




    That occured to me too. If the rat was to move would any ban move with him






    I think they do, but he would escape retribution from Celtic players.




  14. 50 shades of green on




    Agree with that mate, but he seemed to just try it on every time he got near a player in hoops.



    Maybe also knew he was immune from cards after his first kick-out at Scott.




  15. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    Knew the result was on the cards yesterday a half-hour before kick-off.



    Was down in England to see one of my big brothers and we watched the game in the Wolverhampton Emerald Club – bizzare being in England surrounded by so many Celtic-shirted tims.



    Anyway – went to the bar for the first round – two lager shandies (me and Wee BGFC), a lager, a Smiths and a Newcastle Brown Ale. Barman clocked it in on the till – came to £16.90 !!



    I thought – Karma is giving us a sign to not be careful about being cocky about 10-in-a-row. As Brendan says – keep humble.








    PS – I told him to fek off, and give me a bag of crisps too :-))

  16. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    I hope Morelos isn’t sold. He is overhyped domestically, impotent when he plays us and ill disciplined in Europe where he costs his team.



    However, the media have built him up and I could see someone parting with a good few million for him. I would have no doubt that Sevco would reinvest every penny they receive in the team. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sevoc’s net spend this January is higher than ours, just as their net spend in the summer was higher than ours.

  17. glendalystonsils on

    50 SHADES OF GREEN on 30TH DECEMBER 2018 7:58 PM



    I think they do, but he would escape retribution from Celtic players.



    Unfortunately we are woefully short of ‘retributioners’ in our team. We could do worse than employ Bertie Auld as a ‘retribution’ coach.

  18. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    50 SHADES OF GREEN on 30TH DECEMBER 2018 8:02 PM



    Aye – I know what you are saying. The first one on Broonie was a clear yellow card all day long – you can’t just kick someone in rab-ha’s and expect not to be at least yellow carded. The one on Ralston too – deliberate stamp – unpunished. I never saw the Sinclair one, but assume it was similar.



    Since his red was recinded vs Aberdeen, and McGregor’s kick vs., Ajer went unpunished soon after, they have known the score – fill yer boots.






  19. celticrollercoaster on

    Hands up if by going to work tomorrow you qualify for a bonus of £2,296,000 to be paid to you on the next pay day?



    Anyone, anyone, Peter?







  20. Very rarely post, but wee thought I had – seeing as this post-mortem shows no sign of relenting.



    Mind Celtic going through their rough patch at start of season – a hun work colleague suggested that this was BR’s intent; to basically show to the board that we needed to spend, to bring in quality, new faces? Obviously didn’t work.



    BR did say pre-match that they’d be in either a good, or a very good position, depending on the result. So what do you have to lose – let’s play a rather odd tactical match and see how it pans out?



    If we win or draw we’re clear with a game in hand, and after the furore of the last transfer window there’s still sure to be some spend, If we lose, and how, we’re still top of the league with a game in hand, and the necessary spend is guaranteed?



    As I said, just a thought.

  21. Where can Morelos go, I very much doubt he would get a work permit in england, he aint good enough for a host of other leagues, China was never on the cards and they are stopping most of their foreign transfers due to having to pay tax, unless someone is willing to offer a couple of mill cos that’s all he is worth, they are stuck with him as far as I can see, I agree that someone needs to cement the shitebag.

  22. celticrollercoaster on

    *** Goals Galore 4- just 6 days to the big launch***



    Thanks to the 35 teams that have registered so far. You should have received an email from us already.



    Welcome to the launch of our brand new competition, “Goals Galore 4” which will commence on Saturday 5th January ( Don’t worry LMS will be back after a wee rest)



    Simply pick a different team each week over the course of the next 10 chosen “fixtures weeks” and the entrant with the highest aggregate goals scored will take the top prize (roughly 90% of the total prizepot). To keep everyone fully involved, there will be a separate prize (about 10% of the total prize money) for the entrant who does best over the final 3 rounds. So even if you get off to a disappointing start, there’ll still be everything to play for as the weeks go on.



    The cost of entry is £10 per team entered and this gets you one free joker which, when played, will double your score that week. You can also buy one additional joker for £5. You can also enter as many teams as you wish and your payment is due by Thursday 31st January, so the next payday will have come in time.



    The prizepot will consist of 50% of the entry and joker fee, with 50% going to support two great causes, soon to be announced.,



    Email us at cqnpredictor@gmail.com to take part.



    Please feel free to tell your family and friends, share on Facebook, twitter, involve your work colleagues, etc. We are a competition Open to All. The more that enter means the bigger the prizepot and the more that goes to good causes.






    CRC and Bateen Bhoy

  23. lets all do the huddle ? on

    Hands up if by going to work tomorrow you qualify for a bonus of £2,296,000 to be paid to you on the next pay day?










    i am



    hang on, naw am urnae, just had too many jars today

  24. GreeninbingleyinOslo on




    I think there are two root problems.



    For three seasons now we haven’t had a close season of anything more than maybe 3 weeks, thanks to UEFA.


    We’ve got CL qualifiers starting a month after the Scottish Cup Final. Crucial games. We’ve won everything domestically for the past 2 seasons, which means our players are playing 50-60 games each season with scarcely a break.


    A lot of those games come into the must-win category, which takes its toll mentally and physically. Our players are tired, injury-prone, and no wonder.



    Secondly, the squad is big, loaded with well-paid players who, for whatever reason, aren’t in the first-team picture and probably never will be.



    Brendan said when he joined us that the squad was too big and that he wanted a smaller group. Two years on, the squad’s the same size.



    This January window is the chance to do what should have been done years ago – strip the squad down by moving players on, and get Brendan his targets.



    Might have to take a cash hit in moving players on, but we’ve got the money to cover it, and it would result in a smaller squad of better quality, which I think is what Brendan wanted in the first place, and less of a long-term pointless financial drain, which I think is what Pistol Pete wanted in the first place.



    Gawd. I should’ve been a marriage counsellor :)

  25. TET,


    sorry,cant agree with your view on Calmac.Not hindsight from me.I said when the team was annonced,it was a poor line up.With Rogic out,Calmac should have been in the middle.Our most creative,goalscoring,midfielder stuck away from the action.Sorry,sheer stupidity from Brendan,on a par with wee skinny Mikey playing through the middle.

  26. The Board hating division outbin force today.Funny how after the last 10 wins against the scum,I never heard one come on and give the Board any praise,but a defeat,dear God.


    Away and havea look at yourselves.You never get tired spewing the same bile out.



    Welcome to Week 1 of Goals Galore 4. Please find below the fixtures for the first round. Simply pick the team you think will score the most goals and e-mail cqnpredictor@gmail.com with your choice. If you’re feeling very confident that your selected team will score a barrowload of goals, you can choose to play your Joker, which will double the amount of goals your team scores !!


    Easy, huh ?


    The Pick for Celticrollercoaster in Week 1 is ARSENAL and 1 joker is being played.


    The pick for Bateen Bhoy in Week 1 is also ARSENAL, and 1 Joker is being played.



    Good Luck ?



    FA Cup 3rd Round


    Saturday 5th January


    AFC Bournemouth v Brighton and Hove Albion (12:30)


    Burnley v Barnsley (12:30)


    Manchester United v Reading (12:30)


    West Ham United v Birmingham City (12.30)


    Chelsea v Nottingham Forest (15:00)


    Derby County v Southampton (15:00)


    Everton v Lincoln City (15:00)


    Blackpool v Arsenal (17:30)


    Crystal Palace v Grimsby Town (17:30)


    Newcastle United v Blackburn Rovers (17:30)



    Sunday 6th January


    Fulham v Oldham Athletic (14:00)


    Newport County v Leicester City (16:30)

  28. Linesman David Roome who flagged for offside , record when officiating at our games.


    Rangers 1:0 Celtic


    Motherwell 1:1 Celtic


    St Mirren 0:0 Celtic


    Hearts 1:0 Celtic


    Celtic 0:0 Dundee


    Hearts 4:0 Celtic


    Roome told the East Kilbride News: “I first met Bobby Madhun when we were both at EK Thistle together in the under-21s., didn’t see any of more or less assaults yesterday but had excellent vision of CMcG.

  29. lets all do the huddle ? on

    i thought one of the “best” moments yesterday was near the end when the ref gave yet another non existent foul to sevco right in front of the dug outs when the hun just fell down so help waste some time



    the camera panned to Brendan who had a laughing smirk on his face to say to hun Beaton you are havin a fekin laugh



    it was mentioned on here earlier in the week that Beaton was a very deliberate appointment



    sure was



    and before anyone says that the ref wasnt to blame for us losing



    we all know that



    but i can rub my stomach and pat my head at the same time



    hang on



    just tried it



    i cant




  30. Having taken some time to reflect on yesterday and what it means in the bigger picture, i can see a number of positives that could and should come from the defeat. For a minute, put yourself in Peter Lawwell shoes before kick off yesterday. He would have been praying for a win, it would have finished the League and relived a lot of pressure on him and the Board to sign players, as Sevco and the SMSM would have went into a few weeks of meltdown as they turned on Gerrard. We would have been delirious and rightly so.



    As it happens we lost. Regardless of tactics and individual performances, the facts is as Kev says, £40m pounds worth of talent left the squad in the summer and was not replaced. The ‘we come out stronger than we go into a window’ strategy is in pieces. The result yesterday has lit a fire under Peter Lawwell. The timing of his £2.3m bonus is unfortunate, and that is putting it mildly. I’m afraid you reap what you sow, Peter.



    Another point is that the pressure is off Gerrard for a period of time. He is a youth coach doing no more than a decent job. Pumped out of Europe, the League cup and 21 points dropped so far in the League, not far off the record of Warburton and Caixinha. 8 goals scored in 9 December matches tells us he is not a good Manager and they are not a good team. Better teams with more quality would have shredded us yesterday. Hibs, Kilmarnock and Hearts all defeated us in similar fashion with similar ease. Neither of those teams are good sides. It was not a watershed moment for us, it was a fourth defeat this term and yet another debacle. The result allows Gerrard to continue ticking over which is not a bad thing imo. I loath benchmarking against them but that is what we have been reduced to.



    Anyway, back to the main point. As a Club we must now refocus. We still have fantastic first 11, Rogic, KT and a fully fit Edouard will make a huge difference. We all recognise the need to trim the squad and add quality, Brendan Rodgers is on record saying so himself. It is a crucial 31 days ahead and the spotlight is well and truly on Peter Lawwell to deliver an efficient, productive transfer window. Whether you think it is the Board or the Managers fault or not, that I’m afraid that is the reality. Brendan Rodgers has won 7 trophies out of 7 and added millions to turnover. He deserves to be backed properly, and only then should we judge him.

  31. For months I have been having terrible problems with CQN jumping about and taking ages to load using Adblock and Firefox browsers on Samsung galaxy S8.



    I pretty much chucked trying to read any comments on my phone.



    Tonight I have loaded Opera browser which has a built-in Adblocker and it is loading really well.



    Definitely recommended.

  32. Turkeybhoy


    I never said I agreed with the decision to play Calmac at the back, I said I understood it, a world of difference ;-)


    I also thought that the set up was wrong, as you say hindsight.


    Had Olly turned up and the ref was honest it would have been a very different game.

  33. Anyone want a go at the Board.Yep.Their disgraceful decision to accept tickets for yesterday.Their disgraceful decision to say nothing today,about the offensive banners on display yesterday.They should be making an official complaint to the scum,and Police Scotland,about their display,and Police lack of action on them.We heard enough about the rubber dollies.


    Their disgraceful lack of comment on the bile being sung yesterday,and their lack of comment on our players being assaulted,racially abused,and the target for missiles on the last visit there.Res 12 should be the icing on the cake.Sick listening to,PLs bonus,not signing Mc Ginn etc.Old news and fekin boring.


    I could list a load of good they have done,but the usual suspects dont want to hear that.Narrow minds,no room for balance.

  34. Turkeybhoy,



    Agree. The board weren’t playing yesterday. The team we had on the park cost how much ? And is worth how much ?


    This is the team that numerous posters commented that man for man we were better in every position ( goalkeeper excepted )



    The players, manager and coaches must accept responsibility.



    However we regroup, top up out tans and move on.




Do Not Sell My Personal Information