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. Much as Brown has been a great servant of the Club, I think it is glaringly obvious now that Calum McGregor has to be playing in front of the back 4. His distribution is far superior. He allows us to play forwards far more quickly.



    We were poor today but surely both Morelos and Beaton will face retrospective action. Morelos for his awful behaviour and Beaton for not taking appropriate action against him.

  2. westcraigs on 29th December 2018 4:20 pm



    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.




    Nah we were poorer today than at Hibs, though we weren’t much better against Aberdeen just scored the goals at the right time.



    Fairly certain we’ll outspend everyone combined in the January transfer window, if we’ll be improved after spending who knows.




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

  3. the_huddle on 29th December 2018 4:27 pm



    *ignore that last line, bad copy paste :O)






    I wiz gonnae challenge for that ba’ as well. :)))))))))))))))



    We need to have the players well sourced before spending the cashboola.

  4. what have celtic plc let us become?openly mocked by seethin gerard our club llowed to stagnate to there level,


    if i did know better i would have thought some one wanted this.did anyone see gerard after the final whistle are you not embarassed that this how low we have sunk now beaten by an 8 year old club and our benefactors our happy.

  5. In away games we do not create many chances which is why any goal against us is usually at least point for them.


    Did McGregor have a save to make today?


    Our possession often leads to chances for opponents.


    I am pretty sure the keepers in our away games often leave the field with a clean kit.


    I know many on here talk about us using possession to open up opponent’s but this is clearly not happening.


    Everyone has sussed to press us high to force errors in our half and if this fails just hold position in defensive end while we revert to cross field and backwards passing.


    Time we looked at possession in all it’s phases like positive ,passive and control rather than the ineffective for the sake of style we have now.

  6. BR played the wrong players in the wrong positions today, that’s a given, but, the players have to accept responsibility for their individual displays por cierto.

  7. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Surprised when I saw the line up. Thought it would have been Edouard for Rogic and Hayes LB from the start. Tactics and attitude are two different things, however. Both need to be right.


    Beaten by a better team on the day, as we were against Hibs. I’m actually more annoyed with the two points we threw away at Motherwell and the painful possession without purpose displays at St Mirren and Livingston.


    Much to be worked on at all levels in the club next month.


    Oh, and anyone expecting retrospective action against MoreLoss must be deluded. The wiping out of his red card against Aberdeen was an absolute joke. As was the ref’s comments to a Hearts player when they played at Tynecastle.

  8. SoT I remember that 1959 game, I listened tae the last half hour or so on the wireless, it should have been abandoned as not only was the pitch a quagmire and a howling gale meant the ball was flying everywhere but the lines on the park had been obliterated, when we got the penalty wee ten thirty had tae search for the spot as it was wiped out tae. The reason he missed was he had tae thump it as he couldnae place it and it hit the bar and then stuck in the mud instead of bouncing out.



    I was listening tae it with my mother and 2 aunties, my da was visiting his elderly mother in Dumbarton nae chance he would go near that place back then.



    Anyway we all got excited at the penalty and when Bertie missed my mother was livid, not at missing it but at “that wee bhoy having tae take it” she blamed the likes of smiler and oulder players for bottling it.



    We had played them off the park, bad weather or no with their veteran centre half larkhaws favourite son at the time who was only signed tae replace dickie valentine getting a roasting.



    8 weeks later we grubbed them 2-1 in a SC game, their goal was scored in injury time, after a gruelling win over the bully wee a couple of days before in a replay. The much maligned Andy Lochhead tore the same centre half a new one in that game.



    In typical Celtic fashion at the time we lost very heavily 0-4 tae the buddies in the semis of same cup. Yet the week following the SC final we went tae hades in a Charity Cup game where we won on the toss of the coin after a 1-1 tie.



    Due tae lot of crowd concern in previous games the authorities requested that since this was a Charity Cup game would the game be played in that spirit, only 1 player was cautioned in spite of the thugs in the deidco team, wee ten thirty lol. 2 years later Sir Bob sold him.



    The following week we won that cup beating the bully wee, who were a good side, 5-0. Hot and cauld right enough just like the current side.

  9. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    If there was one reason, unfortunately there was more than one, but if there was, then the decision to play Mc.Gregor at full back was a cardinal error by the manager.




    For most of this season, Callum has Ben the man who has got us playing, yet Rodgers takes him out of midfield. Why??



    Even at full back, he was the only Celtic player who looked comfortable with the ball at his feet.



    The only mitigation for the manager is the forced substitutions, which robbed him of the opportunity to make tactical changes.




    Once the dust settles and the break is over, we will come back stronger, chastened and begin another in a row run against them.




    It’s still too raw to say we needed that result, but some of us are inclined to get a bit carried away regarding our superiority.




    Looking forward to the break and the transfer window.

  10. glendalystonsils on

    Inferior players and management but with superior attitude and application to their opponents, can still win games . Nothing we didn’t know already.


    Don’t know if the preponderance of baying huns affected our players but I’ve never seen such a jittery performance. We needed Scott Brown in all his gallus ‘in yer face’ pomp to shake up our shrinking violets but I fear he is past being able to influence games like this the way he used to.


    Sinclair , Ntcham , Boyata Forrest were unable to shoulder the kind of responsibilty this kind of game demands and it would be unfair to judge young Johnston as too much was expected of him.


    Mikel sold himself at the goal and the defence in general were beaten to far too many aerial crosses. Calmac was our standout and |Gordon for his saves which gets him off the hook to some extent for his awful distribution. I agree with an earlier poster who said this was the ‘perfect storm’ of injuries and enforced changes both before and during the game . Everything , including the referee, conspired to go Sevco’s way but we did nothing to help ourselves




    Yes said it all in that post por cierto.

  12. Celtic need to get as many home grown Celts into the first team as is possible.



    We are doing that.



    Delighted with Callums display the day, I also thought Mikey done very very well despite having literally nothing to work with.



    So we lose the 13th game. ;))

  13. On the plus side, a competitive league, particularly one underpinned by the bigotry and sectarianism of the old firm, probably won’t do the share price any harm.



    And, when all is said and done, thats the most important thing.

  14. 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

  15. Hard t not just say what isn’t being said by many regarding the decision to play Calum McGregor at left back, personally the fact that the management team even contemplated it never mind went ahead with it is the real worry.



    With no physical presence upfront ball retention was crucial for us yet our best player in executing this is played out of position, inexcusable!



    As we all know only Celtic can stop Celtic, today was a perfect example of this.

  16. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    All season I’ve been anxious about complacency. A lot of folk even after today saying not to worry. Sorry to say, but if you’re not worried you’re not paying attention. We have a great first 11 when all fit and playing in position. How often does that happen? Inevitably we rely on a squad that has been considerably weakened this season. Those players are no better than their SPFL opponents, at least when away from home.



    If we don’t add first team ready pros in January we are in trouble. It’ll be worse if either or both our first pick CHs leave. The league becomes 50/50 if that happens. Didn’t have to be like that. It’s a product of deliberate choices made by the club. Complacent about their margin for error. Again.

  17. If Scot Brown goes we need someone with a winners mentality and fight.


    We have a lot of pretty players and not enough steel for the combat arena Scottish football is.


    Would also like us to stick to a playing system until we make it work properly.


    If we are going to insist on playing it out from the back then the midfield needs to be set up to receive.


    Gordon is not the best with his feet but to often a hopeful punt is his only option.


    I personally prefer Bain but today Craig saved us from a hiding.

  18. ernie lynch on 29th December 2018 4:58 pm



    On the plus side, a competitive league, particularly one underpinned by the bigotry and sectarianism of the old firm, probably won’t do the share price any harm.



    And, when all is said and done, thats the most important thing.




    Who’s watching that today and thinking Celtic or the huns are good investments, poor football and no serious money coming in from sponsors.



    Scottish football has been on it’s knees for years and only a mug would invest money

  19. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    Por Cierto,





    Something Glandalystonsils said above struck a chord.



    Today’s performance was reminiscent of many visits to Ibrox in the late 50’s – early 60’s.



    We seemed overwhelmed by the occasion and allowed their physical superiority to dominate us.


    We had players who went missing then, too, but ultimately, the game was too big for us, as it was today.

  20. Sn@kePLissken67 on

    Hi folks,



    Firstly, yes it is me, I just had to change my username slightly.



    I hope you are all well and having a good and peaceful time of the year.



    I have not been in touch for a very long time (bit of an understatement) as I’ve had some major changes in my life hopefully all for the better but we’ll see.



    Today was another truly awful result and matched by an abysmal performance from far too many. Every game Celtic have lost this season has been similar – our team don’t turn up and the opposition run the legs off themselves to beat us helped by a different set of rules as to what constitutes a foul. If the opposition know they can get away with being that physical, they’ll do it and that happened today a lot.



    I lost count of how many fouls Arfield was allowed to make on Scott Brown after the ball had been played – jerseys being pulled constantly and then what Morelos got away with. As those things mounted up, they knew drew greater confidence while ours evaporated. It was a factor but not the biggest one.



    Too many in that team look to me like they are either knackered, a spent force or lacking somewhere. Lustig and Broonie are on their last legs – 2 years ago Broonie proved us all wrong when we lost the semi-final and came back stronger than ever but Father time is calling and he slows us down and was targeted today. He could not keep up with three men hounding him at every turn (and fouling him with zero protection from Beaton). Our best form this season was when Brown and Ntcham were out of the team. It says a lot that we’ve stuttered with them back in there. At Easter Road he should have walked for that awful challenge – that was because he knew his legs were not working the way they once did.



    Lustig is in the same boat – a great servant needing to be moved on for similar reasons.



    I love them both but this is their last season here.



    Boyata can go when he likes for me after that performance. Done a job, distribution and concentration is a big problem, time to let go. Thanks for the memories.



    The manager needs to have a long hard look at himself as well. HIS insistence on this stupid faffing about at the back has cost us far too many times. This started away back last season at home to St Johnstone when McLean scored because of all the faffing around and Brendan came away with a stupid comment when he was asked is it not better to clear your lines he said you’ve been doing that in Scotland for years and haven’t qualified for any major tournaments as a result. Well I am sorry Brendan, clearing the ball and keeping it away from your box means the opposition don’t score and you cannot get caught out by a high press. That’s your fault Brendan and that philosophy has cost Celtic far too many times in Europe and when we have lost in Scotland. Teams notice it if you make the same mistakes over and over.



    It doesn’t work. Cut it out. We are not PSG, we cannot play the ball that accurately.



    As for what comes now – investment is imperative. This is a squad running out of steam. We have one striker who is hardly prolific but is class when on his game. We need a RB, CB, MF, LW and 2 strikers (not 18 year olds). The money is there, not spending it in a vital season will see teams of journeymen continue to hurt us and we could blow the league. WE will throw it away, no one will win it and like all our recent issues, it will be self-inflicted when it didn’t need to be.



    Now for some better thoughts –



    When we beat them in September they played out of their skins to keep us at bay and should have been down to 10 men. Had their best player that day been ordered off as he should have been, it would have been 5-0.



    Today when they beat us it is widely accepted that Celtic were abysmal and made most of our own problems. Craig Gordon saved us from embarrassment but they scored with a deflected goal and Morelos yet again did nothing in terms of playing football and was allowed to assault Celtic players. AS average as he is, should they lose him, they are in bother. Look at the chances they had today and fluffed pretty much all of them bar the deflected goal.



    The levels are important.



    They cannot play any better and won’t ever again – just the same as Hearts last season when they ended the unbeaten run. Everything went for them that day just like it did for today’s opposition.



    Celtic will NOT play as badly as that again for the rest of the season. It would need to be something catastrophic to do so.



    In September they didn’t lose a centre -back to injury or have any of their best players out of the game.



    It is a day out for them, complete nonsense about them being brilliant again will flow for three weeks now.



    Let it.



    Provided the people at our club do their jobs in the next month, this will be a blip and nothing more.



    The question is: Will the custodians do what needs to be done?



    We’ve been here before.

  21. ron67 on 29th December 2018 4:59 pm ,



    That was offside. It was so very close to being truly Magical by Callum. It was offside though.



    I’d went through the roof celebrating it but the replays proved it to be a right call.

  22. Talking about hun alerts, does anyone remember the cqn article of 12th July?



    Have a look for it and consider whether it might have some relevance today.

  23. Paul


    The only retrospective action we will see is Beaton being appointed to more big games.


    Morelos kicked Brown in the haw maws at the start. Fouled Christie and CALMAC constantly and ended up stomping on Ralston.


    Beaton had every opportunity to card him, but the more he got away with it the more he left his boot in or tackled late.

  24. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    Team selection, shape and tactics were all dreadful today.



    Ntcham and Brown kills us totally. Both were terrible today. Terrible. Broony is a legend, but time for him to go to Oz and let CalMac take over. Ntcham’s Attitude stinks. Sell him to Porto or anyone that will take him in the window, Build the midfield around CalMac and Christie.



    Rodgers worst performance as Celtic manager.

  25. thomthethim



    I’m feeling your pain



    Callum MacGregor was first mooted to play left back by ‘the internet coaches’ shortly after the game finished at Pitoddrie and that was before Emilio Izaguirre was declared injured ,and not even in todays squad.



    BR had the straight choice I believe between two non left backs Jonny Hayes and Callum, and he decided on the better player IMHO albeit the resultant change in format was crucial.



    He like others thought Brown Ntcham Christie Sinclair et all would have been good enough in a midfield that’s by and large, been undefeated by Sevco until the thirteenth hour.



    Brendan’s are human CSC ;-)

  26. Sat 29th Dec 2018


    James Forrest


    200 League Apps for Celtic


    151 Starts


    049 Sub


    078 Subbed


    001 Sent Off League


    120111 Hamilton Accies 1-1 Celtic


    045 League Goals


    001 Pen League


    240213 Celtic 5-0 Dundee


    001 Hat Trick League


    071018 St Johnstone 0-6 Celtic (4 in game )


    151 Wins


    029 Draws


    020 Lost .

  27. glendalystonsils on

    I would put my house on us reversing that result when they visit us next with 50/60 Celtic fans to every one hun in the crowd.

  28. bournesouprecipe on 29th December 2018 5:10 pm



    Callum MacGregor was first mooted to play left back by ‘the internet coaches’




    Yeah I don’t believe that, who on earth thought moving Callum to left back would be a good idea??



    Until it happened today I hadn’t seen it mentioned



    Once it was announced the internet coaches questioned it.



    It was a massive balls up by Brendan.



    Though you get the impression if he had the game over again, he’d start the same 11

  29. Brain: Swear to God Snake, I thought you were dead…


    Snake Plissken: Yeah, you and everybody else!




  30. That was a scandalous performance today. I wouldn’t give anyone pass marks from Gordon in goals to BR in the dugout.



    Gordon clearly isn’t able to be the sweeper keeper BR craves and must be dropped in January for Scott Bain.


    Lustig – thanks for the service but time to empty your locker.


    Broony- thanks for the service but time to empty your locker


    Boyata – thanks for the service but time to……oh, looks like you already have!



    Finally, BR, Ronnie Deila was sacked for drawing 2-2 with Sevco at Hampden. His team did not put in the spineless, gutless & clueless performance that your team put in today. Outfought and outhought by a rookie manager.



    In fact, we showed more fight the day we lost 5-1 at Ibrox in 1988!

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