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. 50 shades of green on

    All round poor performance today from the management to the players, we lost I’ve every confidence in Brendan to sort it out.



    Next game please.



    I’m away to read back, I so a am would rather watch a re-run of the days game.






    In Brendan we trust…..

  2. Couldn’t get a ticket.



    Dumped sky months ago.



    Washed the beemer.



    Feck them!!.



    OH and if cosgrove played for us, he’d be suspended half the season!.




  3. Greenwells Glory on

    Hi Ghuys, Salve salve ;- Well well not too good today, I think the main problem has been injuries, I think both Benkovitch and Lustig were carrying injuries and as already been said and our Sevconian friends took full advantage. We were indeed lucky to come away with just a 1 Nil defeat. A pity that Brendan did not go with Tony Ralston and Johnny Hayes at full back and Ajer at CB but hey them’s the breaks I hope for a productive transfer window and a refreshed Celtic after the break.


    Stercus accidit




  4. No heart in team.


    Blown away by journeymen and loanees,not good enough.



    Not the game to experiment,Hayes should have stayed at LB,Sinclair got a game courtesy of his hat trick,which if analysed were 2 tap ins and a fist time connection,no extensive workrate involved.


    JF disappointing, never tried a leg, siimilar to Nchamp leaving Brown exposed.



    Injuries limited ability to make proper changes,but to be ran ragged by the likes of Halliday is not on.



    Honourable mention for John Beaton ignoring a kick in the groin to Brown,a punch in groin to Christie,and a stamp on Ralston,and thats just from Morelos.



    McGregor goal would have stood at other end,subtle,prejudiced.yet effective.

  5. I keep hearing from BR that lessons will be learnt from bad performances, a basic rule of football is if you win the midfield you control the game, our midfield is poor we are timid and not physicall strong enough, Ntcham and Brown don’t work if you want to take the game to any opposition, far too slow and Brown appears finished, Ntcham not interested, huffy, scared take your pick, one thing for sure we appear not to be learning lessons, the manager seems totally incapable of calling out attacks on our players but a couple of days later comes out with some meak sentence, not good enough not by a long way and Mcgregor at left back is probably his worst tactical decision since he came here.

  6. PETEC on 29TH DECEMBER 2018 3:19 PM






    Will do mo chara.



    STILL top of the league, with a game in hand.



    STILL in Europe.



    STILL on the way to a Triple REBEL Treble.






    HH. ?

  7. has anyone ever seen a more timid player than SS , runs about a lot to look interested but does nothing.

  8. Angel Gabriel



    The only thing that can stop us winning this league ( apart from corruption) is Celtic.






    The Celtic squad is by far and away the better, thats why our leagues go on totting up.



    We can always come up short in a ‘one off’ game especially away like today and injury cost us our Talisman of recent years, much to our detriment, the extent of which as with Easter Rd, is changing the system from winning to losing.

  9. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    A serious question but can anyone actually explain to me what the tactics were?

  10. Paul67



    ” Jonny Hayes could have started at left back, as he did at Pittodrie on Wednesday,”



    He didn’t, but I know what you meant.



    BR chose to alter the system again and the internet will have its say.

  11. I thought managers are supposed to protect the development of young players. playing MJ up front on his own and with a weakened midfield surely not good for his confidence

  12. 16 ROADS. on 29TH DECEMBER 2018 3:34 PM


    PETEC on 29TH DECEMBER 2018 3:19 PM














    Will do mo chara.







    STILL top of the league, with a game in hand.







    STILL in Europe.







    STILL on the way to a Triple REBEL Treble.














    HH. ?





    I’m with you mucker .hh

  13. Not posted for ages.Gutted At result but as soon as I saw the team feared the worst.We no longer win games when Ntcham and Broonie start.Weee Calum must start every game in central midfield when fit.Rogic and Christie must play alongside when fit.Need a new Right Back and Left sided forward.Onviously replacing which Centre Back leaves.If we learn one thing today though Broonie and Ntcham can never again be in the same Celtic team.

  14. Well, that was disappointing. Losing always is, but more so when you don’t turn up. Still. 3 points dropped today. No more, no less.


    I’d have been more disappointed if we’d played well today and lost. We didn’t. We made the opposition look good and allowed them to play, and they took confidence from that, and deservedly won the game. No complaints. Same happened a couple of weeks ago away to Hibs.


    We have a break now, and the team looks like it needs it. We’ve already played a full seasons games and it’s not the end of the year yet.


    The next month will be very interesting one way or another, and this place might be the same with the absence of seeing the bhoys play. Pity they decided to start their winter shutdown at 4pm on Boxing Day. ?



    P.S. In the absence of ‘real fitba’ over the next few weeks, why not get involved in Golden Goals 4….


    Details later, when things have calmed down a wee bit ???

  15. mullet and co 2 on

    Today’s game was the same as most other away games including Pittodrie.



    The pedestrian passing to defenders from the goalkeeper to midfielders not knowing what to do or where to move to help the defence. Slow insipid passes and no player at the back with any confidence to show and help a team mate.



    We box ourselves in and cause our own difficulties with this play from the back. Add in mistimed tackles and passes behind their target and generally Ntcham being worse than a man short and we get what we deserve.



    The answer can not be to spend money. It may provide a sticking plaster but our away form tells it very clear story.



    Rodgers very clearly dropped Izzy with no real plan for how to cover Kieran Tierney absences in future. Johnny Hayes played one half against Aberdeen. Then McGregor becomes the sacrificial player leaving serial mistake maker Ntcham to play. Ntcham sent off v St Mirren, Salzburg lack of marking at their 1st goal… why is he not hooked by Rodgers in the same public manner as Izzy?



    The second half of season requires careful alternatives to play in building attacks from deep in our defence and the full back situation needs sorted… if we still have £15m on the table from Porto for Ntcham I’d bite their hand off.

  16. dissappointed but not down.



    this was on the cards now its over i am really looking forward to the remaining games.



    they have had there win, thats the end .

  17. 7 trophy’s in a row


    A few shite performance


    Along the way


    I think he’s developing a team and players


    To every scenario


    He knows what he’s doing


    No doubt about


    8 in a row


    For me



  18. Clamac played his best football of the season in front of the back 4 but since Brown came back he`s been moved around, is there any reason Brown could not play a bit further forward to accommodate Callum.Iam more disappointed at the performance than the result.Any team can lose a game but to do so as meekly as this is unacceptable.Now getting a bit fed up with Brendan trying to be too clever,it was never going to work with Mikey up front.Lawell.Ntcham words fail me!!!

  19. if you can bare it, watch ON after ML is sold a dummy at them’s goal , he just gives up, get rid, and why does SB not just kick the ball clear as it was not travelling at speed instead of a weak attempt at closing his legs.

  20. If you can’t pass or tackle then tactics arent the problem it’s the personnel



    Although the tactics were all wrong as well :)

  21. You’ve got to wonder what BRs thought process was in coming up with Callum at left back today. And did itanyone in the backroom staff question



    KT injured but good enough for the bench,mmmmmm


    Izzy guff at Aberdeen but still a proper left back, so worth a start, nope out of the squad.


    Hayes played well at left back in the last game, seems the correct move, nope on the the bench


    Callum our best midfielder, he’s got a left foot and I have to start Brown and Ntcham, so perfect what can go wrong :O)

  22. Celtic got mauled Today.



    That wiz the Dave King thing.



    It is the Mentality thing. If you think it isnae an issue. Go read a self help book. Dinnae please for petes sake.



    Sevco were cornered rats.. To be Honest they played the game relatively fair. There wisnae any really nasty Smith ordained challenges.



    Celtic need to Freshen the Squad up with real Quality. Let’s do that.



    Mikey is gonnae be a Superstar.

  23. Result in perspective – beat 2-0 by Hibs, 2-1 by Killie, couldn’t beat Livingston or St Mirren.


    No surprise we lost today. Spend some money FFS.

  24. Couple of comments:



    1. Thanks tae big Craig we are still tap of the league, my last visit tae hades we were tap, playing pretty good, LC in the trophy cabinet thanks tae another Dixie display against the hibbees, what we failed tae notice was harpers a barrel also got a hat trick that day, big Billy was like Broonie right now, times up and he retired after winning another cup thanks tae Paul Wilson, we had signed top ranked Ronnie Glavin the harry wrangler hero in that horrible loss a couple of seasons before, while they had picked up a nobody fae the buddies called mckean, they went on tap that day thanks tae their only 3 shots on goal as well as an outstanding goalie display while ours left the park with his shorts as white as when he went on in a dreicht winters day when they also wattered doon the park on the days leading up tae the game. The following week we lost at hame tae the steel men and our quest for 10 ended as did our goalies Celtic career.



    2 unfortunately they were eventually going tae win one game so if it had to happen the days as good as any when we had a tired and injury hit squad.



    3 jj was right when he said the mitb and accomplices were chosen for a purpose and for us tae win we would have tae bring our “A” game we didnae, beathun and company will be drinking out of the loving cup as I write this.



    4 time now tae get our players rested and fit and our next 4 games including the SC are all at parkheid.



    5 it will be 2019 in 3 days and no 1975.

  25. Well!Didn’t see that performance coming.Their goal had been coming for 27 minutes.When Callum managed to get himself forward,he was our most dangerous and creative player.We definately missed him in a more forward role.Lesson learned?


    The referee did not have any major decisions to make but too many 50-50s went against us stopping any potential momentum.


    A disappointing game in my view.. HH.

  26. Brendans worst day at the office domestically imo.


    Moving the player we should be building our team around to left back was a poor decision.


    Gordon might be shite with the ball at his feet but thankfully his shot stopping is first class or we could’ve took a hiding.


    Still top, 3 home games in January to come, make them count Celtic.

  27. Beat out the gate today. That was coming all season. Poor away performances marked by Rodgers tinkering.



    The Brown or McGregor debate is over.



    We need a right back and a striker in this window capable of coming straight into the team. If we lose Benkovic or Boyata we need to immediately find an adequate replacement.



    Today has to be the rocket up the ass that Celtic and I suspect Brendan Rodgers needed.

  28. i'vehadtochangemymind on

    Yup Paul67 agree with that – our good players were in the wrong place and our bad pairings were in the right place for the hubs.

  29. i thought today was an improvement on easter road.


    we were crap today but we were beyond crap against hibs.


    things may not get better.


    don’t be surprised if sevco outspend us in january.


    the people who run our club don’t know what they are doing.

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