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. So just to recap



    We have played well last few seasons and won everything in sight while players and manager have been praised and celebrated.



    Today we PISH and rightfully team and manager are being criticised.







  2. succulentlambstinks on




    Sorry but he is 100% responsible. He picked the trash that pick an odd game to turn up ie lustig stinkhair ntcham. He obviously sets the team up to play left wing where we’re a man down with stinky instead of telling the team to get the round object to Forrest on right wing. He has to punish Gordon for the kick outs. If teams close down back 4 then they will be gifted the ball from Gordon.


    But to most that’s ok. To most just forget it and carry on regardless. At some point Itl all catch up with us. Today was the start of being caught. Few more like this and it’s bye 8IAR. But that’s ok to most don’t criticise the team or ur a hun a troll or otherwise. Fence sitters will cry the hardest il tell ye that.

  3. i'vehadtochangemymind on

    Well, it had to happen.


    Dreadful performance today but now’s not the worst time for it to happen


    (Injuries knackered BR’s choices


    Morelos shudda been off


    Our goal was onside imho)


    Game in hand


    January window


    The worst outcome of today (I wasn’t there) was that we know it’s the end for this squad.


    The pliability isn’t there anymore –


    Broonie’s towards the end of a great celtic career


    ON is not a player who can play every now and then to a high level (he can’t be blamed for that)


    We don’t have a/many centre forwards


    we’ve found the best position for calmac so ya gotta play him there


    There’s something wrong with our squad away from home


    There’s no reason to think our away form will suddenly improve



    Anyway, poor game, a good team would have been 3 up by half time, they will drop points, trouble is so will we.

  4. GORDYBHOY64 on 29TH DECEMBER 2018 7:03 PM




    Plenty of criticism of the selections and tactics on here today,and rightfully so,


    but to have posters saying he should go because of the result,or inferring that we are colluding with the huns is just a lot of nonsense.




    Oh ah know.


    Stripping £27 million off of the quality of the product on the pitch, without putting any of that intake, back ‘onto’ the pitch, coupled with, off the wall, tactics, formation, team line up’s, is not in any way colluding with, or strengthening the Old Firm ?


    Next you’ll be telling us that, former PLC puppet manager WGS, didny drop McGeady, to help the huns to stop 4 in a row, ten years ago!



    Nurse! Nurse!




  5. We learnt nothing We did not know before todays game i.e. lustig and Brown are past it. Izzy and hayes are not good enough to cover at left back. CG cant passed out but can save a shoot. Boyata is very it or miss.



    The team dont like getting passed hard and are to passive at times. killie, st mirren, motherwell, livingston, hibs, hearts and rangers have taken points off us because of these problems.



    We are top of The league, We have a game in hard and We have money bank to sort out The issues and We dont have to worry about impact on wages cause of all The players out of contract in The summer. january is as good a times as any to deal with The issues




  6. KEV on 29TH DECEMBER 2018 7:19 PM






    Ye are even worse.



    Happy day today for ye.

  7. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Moonbeams 7.10pm



    Callum MacGregor (out of position) and Craig Gordon only pass marks the rest were garbage … am not one for slagging bhoys who have gave us so many good days especially in these games but am content in saying every other Celtic player was mince today .. but nothing won or lost today apart fae the Sevs having their first ever victory over us … or their first Glasgow derby they won in 90mins …



    Am gutted but by no way despondent and for the record I blame … SFTB he highlighted something I have been saying for years … they will beat us one day… if Brendan goes another 12 unbeaten in these games I will be happy as he will be here for another 2+ years … Brendan has made one or two errors but FFS he has been, and is a brilliant Celtic manager … long may he continue in this role

  8. Sandman 6.5/10 for Browniey



    Na. Nae chance!



    The rest I canny question too much.



    MWD you’ll get plugged for awe those bad words though.



    I’ll take 00:05:30 in the sweep for time before deleted




  9. MOONBEAMSWD on 29TH DECEMBER 2018 7:26 PM



    I’ll take 00:05:30 in the sweep for time before deleted






    I know, I’ve got the popcorn on and the stopwatch out… ;))

  10. GerryFaeTheBrig



    I hope he has 2+ more years.



    But he needs to learn to setup team to play away from home who’s managers have sussed not to give our back 4 an inch to build attacks.




  11. Paul67 et al



    Similar performances as away to Hearts and Hibs so no learning curve there. Hayes on bench and CalMac at left back only Brendan can explain that. Time to strengthen while still on top.

  12. Sadly, neither result nor performance today were surprising.



    Our away form has been relatively poor all season.



    I believe our problems stem from the tragically inept summer transfer window of 2018.



    Vitally important that we use this window to sign players of the required quality. Our needs now are as they were then. Full backs and a striker.



    Time for cool heads and appropriate spending.



    No more songs re 10IAR please. Focus on #8 for now.

  13. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Moonbeams 7.30pm



    Not sure if other managers have “Sussed” him out… I think more the players in the hoops (or yellow) strips have let the other team run dictate the play …. am pretty sure 7 out of 7 trophies (unheard of even in this backwater of fitba) let’s see if Brendan has been “sussed” out … agree with the back 4 trying to play fitba why not let the goalie save the shots, the defenders defend and the attackers attack :-)

  14. Goals Galore 4


    Good Evening CQN. Banish those derby day blues. Get yourself a large dose of happiness and sign up for Goals Galore 4, which, should you be the winner in 11 Weeks time, will make you as happy as Mr Happy on Nitrous Oxide.



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    Really, really simple to take part and all you need to do for now is just register your interest by sending an email to cqnpredictor@gmail.com. If you have a moniker, nickname that we can use to identify you once the competition starts then please tell us that. We’ll get back to you with full details asap.



    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.


    The First round of fixtures will take place over the 5th/6th January, and will feature games from the 3rd round of the FA Cup, when the ‘Big Boys’ join the competition. There will be 12 games each week, so 24 teams to pick from. Easy, huh ? No-one gets knocked out, and everyone has a chance of winning a prize right up until the last set of fixtures



    Huge thanks to those of you who have already signed up, and you will have received an e-mail a short time ago outlining rules and payment details. If you haven’t received this, then please send an abusive e-mail to me at cqnpredictor@gmail.com.






    CRC and Bateen Bhoy

  15. Brendan came from nowhere, and he’ll go back to nowhere.



    He was brought in to, nip in the bud, any threat of an empty seat protest, when the £49 huns came back into the top league again, two years ago. His job is now done, the Old Firm game is back onto the fixture list, without the PLC board having to deal with, in any way, the same club issue.



    Next question should be, what manager has the cojones to try and deliver a Celtic ten10 in a row in orange / masonic Scotland, in the same year that Ireland is reunified ?


    Hmmmmmm ?



    Nurse! Nurse!




  16. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Kev 7.41pm



    Kev, a nobody from nowhere can’t be a squirrel to fudge the Celtic support … cmon I know you are excited today but surely you contradict yourself with that post alone ….. along with many, many more :-)

  17. SB is finished , done if we want to play a high tempo, forward movement attacking football , if you want the exact opposite, he can still play and hold us back , i know what i prefer.

  18. Still Fuming with that performance



    Very Poor Celtic


    Time to re-group and strengthen where required


    And there is a few places needing strengthened

  19. Guid to see the fool komplement of hunposter(s) settin’ abooot thur sleekit wurk……….



    A woeful performance today made thum look good, the ref helped but we were hopeless.



    My positives came from Big Craig’s shift and the knowledge that we won’t play that poorly again.



    It’s Good To Be A Tim.




  20. The CQN-hating troll is never energised by a glorious win……..






    As anither agitator wance said.



    Just think abooot that.







  21. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Ron67 7.49pm



    Totally disagree



    Broony is far from finished, a bad day at the office (like many of his co-workers) … the bhoy has been written off many times … do you think Ncham is finished ? As both were nearly as bad as each other today … Oliver was marginally worse in my opinion

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

    This year has been interesting in that I think we have performed at a higher level (at times) and produced better results than last year. We have played more free flowing football, started winning by higher margins and our home form has been fantastic; last year we failed to win 4 league games in a row and were unexceptional for the near entirety of the season bar a couple of performances (Bayern/Zenit home and a couple of games v an imploding Sevco).



    The issue I see with this year is the complete dearth of quality behind the first 11. This has led to an inability to drop players who are not in form (Sinclair/Lustig) and rest players who are being run off their feet (Eddy, JF, Tierney and CalMac (the latter having almost played 40 games this season already)). We also have to remember that, we have lost Dembele and Paddy and that we didn’t replace them (and Griff can also be added to that list of important players absent from last season).



    This inability to rely upon quality outwith the first 11 has been felt most keenly following significant games (and exertions) by the team, case and point:



    -our home draw with AEK is followed by an away defeat to Hearts;


    -our home victory against Rosenborg is followed by an away defeat to Kilmarnock;


    -our home victory against Leipzig is followed by an away draw with Livingston;


    -our cup final victory against Aberdeen is followed by an away draw with Motherwell; and


    -our home defeat to Salzburg is followed by an away defeat to Hibs.



    Brendan undoubtedly messed up tactically today, but the prosaic fact is that the squad does not have the quality in it; we certainly have the depth, but far too many were purchased as cheap options (Gamboa, Izzi, Mulumbu, Compper, Hendry, Hayes, Morgan, DDV etc) but must combined take £5m in wages per year.

  23. Not for the first time this season have I looked at our team selection and thought “we might struggle to get a result”. Most times I’ve been right.



    At times I could understand injuries or bans had a part to play, but even then I thought changes of shape don’t augur well.



    Then we had a good run where changes were kept to a minimum, but injuries and absences caused disruption which results reflected.



    Now whilst that applied today I’m a bit mystified by BR making the choice to play McGregor at left back that he did.



    He must have had more faith in Ntcham and Brown to master midfield than in Izzy or Hayes to provide a solid defence.



    That faith wasn’t repaid and must cause some rethinking about our best midfield. In McGregor Christie and Rogic we have enough creativity and Rogic apart, energy, but is Scott Brown the “enforcer” he was last season? Ntcham clearly isn’t.



    I say surprised at McGregor being played at left back because it was an obvious risk that if it didn’t pay off would draw criticism of BR so why did he take it?



    Hopefully there will be some internal analysis of the selections that have not worked and why and restorative action taken.



    One last thing. We really should be more respectful of the improved opposition provided by other SPFL teams.



    If wages were the only factor that provide dominance why is there only a one point gap between Killie and TRFC?



    Today was an awakening. We have not been dominated in Scottish football since 2010 and only by a club then on financial steroids.



    We now face the same challenge from the same source. They might not have steroids of the same strength, but there are other ways of levelling the playing field, it was on show today, and there we have been asleep at the wheel.

  24. The bottom line is that today will be Sevcos highlight at the end of the season, as long as we get the finger out. How the season pans out is in our hands.

  25. Kev may not be that far off the mark you know, In a round about way we are digging the huns out of a hole, we may not be giving them money as such, but when we don’t strengthen when our manager blatantly want’s to. that’s as good as imo.


    The suits have got what they want back, the OF back, the OF is box office, it pays the big bonuses, it fills the ground, bigotry and sectarianism pays big time, maybe doing just enough won’t be just enough this year, who knows, but I for one wouldn’t be as confident that we will win the league, aye for sure we have better players, better players don’t always win, we are showing that on a regular basis.


    But we have a wonderful balance sheet, it will stay wonderful imo, very little will be spent in January, we tried blah, blah, January is not a good month etc, the PLC are playing us for fools, have been for years,


    I suppose that makes me a hun troll.

  26. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Auld heid 8.02pm



    Delighted to read that post, sometimes (with all the non fitba stuff) it’s good to read your thoughts … that is no disrespect to the important stuff but I totally agree whether we have “regressed” league cup in the bag, top of the league, Airdrie & Valencia to look forward too or the league is more competitive… Killie & Aberdeen are joining the Sevs…. as a football (small) nation that should be a good thing … or maybe some just either want to win all the time with no respect for the teams you need to try and win against :-)

  27. Some over the top reactions on here.


    For those wondering why Brendan chose Oliver, maybe below is why.


    Calling players trash, did I really read that? Succulent Lamb Stinks, or have I misinterpreted your comments..


    Celtic 1 Rangers 0


    Celtic vs Rangers


    Scots Prem 12:00pm Sunday 2nd September Celtic Park (Att: 58865) man of the match – Olivier Ntcham



    Ntcham impressed during Celtic’s 5-0 dismantling of Rangers back in April, and this was every bit as eye-catching as he capped a performance full of energy by finishing off a swift team move to clinch the points.



    Former Manchester City midfielder Ntcham showed his pedigree once more on the big occasion


    Former Manchester City midfielder Ntcham showed his pedigree once more on the big occasion


    The 22-year-old controlled proceedings alongside team-mate Scott Brown in midfield, winning the ball back and setting up attacks as Celtic were rewarded for their constant probing just past the hour-mark.



    Brown said of Ntcham’s display: “Olivier seems to get better and better. He’s composed on the ball and he’s got a goal in him as well, and that’s what makes him a top-quality player.”

  28. Fool Time Whistle on

    Gordon made several great saves.


    Gordon’s distribution is awful & causes chaos by his hospital passes.



    Brendan’s selection was as mystifying as his tactics.


    Making 7 changes from the side that beat Aberdeen – 3 in defence, 3 in midfield & 1 in attack – confused us more than the opposition.


    If Edouard & Tierney are not fit then they shouldn’t be on the bench.



    Boyata & Benkovic had pooor games.



    Lustig was ineffective before he was injured.


    Lustig should have been subbed when he was injured.


    His poor play in one v one left us exposed.



    Callum McGregor was a threat, even at left back – he was fouled by Tavernier as he broke away in the first 5 mins.


    He became our best outfield player when he was moved inti midfield.



    James Forrest returned to the form of old. He saw plenty of the ball but delicvered zero.


    He worked back effectively..



    Which is more than can be said for Sinclair. He was poor in attack & defence. From being the MOTM against Aberdeen he turned in a wretched performance that we’ve seen too much of this season.



    Ntcham was poor on every conceivable level. Passing, tackling, positioning.



    Brown was ok in my opinion, but EVERY time he had the ball they took it in turn to deck him. Morelos kicked him in the nuts in front of Beaton & wasn’t carded. (more of that later..)



    Ryan Christie also did fine IMHO, but he too was floored, clattered and biffed with impunity. Possibly let Jack run free for their spawny goal, but he worked so hard & tried to make something happen.



    Johnson was off the pace & was easily marshalled by their CBs.


    Service to him was either poor or non existent though.



    We played poorly as a team, but the referee has a responsibility to do his job impartially. Beaton didn’t.


    3 Celtic players were booked for fouls, Lustig, Brown & Ajer. They had one player booked for time-wasting. Those stats suggest that we were the fouling, kicking aggressive team. We weren’t aggressive enough & we were the vicitms of a level of thuggery & brutality that we last saw at Tynecastle early in the season. it’s hard to believe that they did this with their one man crime wave, Lafferty remaining in the bench.



    Morelos has the distinction being a thug who was indulged by the officials & celebrated by their fans.


    He not only could have been red carded 3 times for kicks, stamps, punches – but he resorts to simulation at the drop of a hat & could easily have been yellow carded twice for those offences. All of these incidents ignore the over the top tackles & barging that he inflicts on any Celtic player within his range.


    That this man remained on the fied and was not carded at all – is an indictment of the game in Scotland & particularly of today’s officials, but also of officiating in general in this backwater of a footballing country.



    There’s a tendency for referees to hide behind any restrospective reviews, in the safe knowledge that itll get sorted by the beaks. But as others have rightly said whn players of one team are allowed to commit egregious fouls & assualts with impunity during a game – and remain on the field – the vicitms are punished twice The original crime exacerbated by the opposition remaining at full strength for 90 mins.



    In today’s game, Beaton was conned regularly or was selectively blind.


    Candeis conned him by blocking Lustig when he knew Lustig was running at full speed in his general direction. He simply put on the breaks & let Lustig connect with him, then he feigned a bad injury


    while sneaking a look at the ref. Lustig who had been been blootered earlier while near the touchline was mystifeid that a foul was given against him but astonished that he was carded.


    Morelos conned him repeatedly but for only some of his play. His assaulst were not disguised, or done out of the ref’s sight. Beaton just chose to do nothing for the whole game. It defies any logic or critical thinking that he saw nothing in that man’s performance that was worthy of a card – but that’s what the records will show. Morelos’s thuggery played to a crowd that roared in encouragement & Beaton appeared to award fouls against Celtic in response to the howls of the baying bigots.



    A 10 man Rangers would not have been so able to close us down & who knows how things might have evolved.



    Beaton was bad, Douglas Ross MP as standside lino in the 2nd half was just as bad.


    That Beaton didn’t book a single Rangers player for foul play or ungentlemanly conduct is the foulest deed of all. Beaton is incompetent or easily intimidated by bawling bigots & simulation from players.


    He is just not fit for purpose at any senior level.



    We played poorly & I’m reluctant to make excuses for that ever.


    But when the gulf between the application of rules towards two teams in one game is so clear & one sided, I find it hard not to consider whether Celtic were just not allowed to play – not by superior play or players – but by blatant thuggery indulged by compliant & complicit officials.



    However, we do need to have a serious review of our existing playing staff & sentiment should play no part in retaining club servants or old friends as players. We stumbled upon a team formula at Murrayfield that was a joy to watch, but the return of experienced & senior players today led to most of those 7 changes.


    Those changes were clearly too radical as we lacked physicality all over the field & no one seemed sure where a colleague would be during the game.



    We shouldn’t go crazy in the January window, but we need some quality additions. We need to be panning for the summer window much better than we did last summer.



    Exotic names such as Weah might make for sports headlines, but recruiting any 18 year old as an improvement on our own players seems bizarre. If he’s not for instant first team use, then we should stop talking about him. We need more than this to get back on track.



    Happy New Year to all Tims, especially my son & his pals who are a on a 6 day “football research trip” to London. They only arrived yesterday but one has already retired “sick” to their hotel. He’s not the only one feeling that way tonight.



    Ron67 7.49pm


    Totally disagree


    Broony is far from finished, a bad day at the office (like many of his co-workers) … the bhoy has been written off many times … do you think Ncham is finished ? As both were nearly as bad as each other today … Oliver was marginally worse in my opinion



    SB is done/finished if we want to play a fast flowing high tempo game , ON imo is working his ticket a shocking attitude today , watch a reply of the goal , he chucked it when ML was sold a dummy.

  30. Gerryfaethebrig on

    TET 8.08pm



    Hun troll ? Never ?



    Delusional ? Maybe ?



    Plc’s have always done as Plc’s do.. top of the league, league cup in the bag, Airdrie & Valencia early 2019… those dam board people are taking us for a pure ride…… it’s honestly not as bad as some think even during the “cheating BoS sponsored titles” we never went 12 games with beating the cheats … sometimes enjoy what we have

  31. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Wee Sparky at the Edinburgh derby tonight.You were missed today Sparky.Brendan how does it feel to be humped by an ex under 17 coach and his band of lower league free transfers ? Folk on here still saying your the man I hope so Brendan but you have looked pretty clueless recently never more so than today.The title is up for grabs and the money we pay for players and the money we pay players that shouldnt be the case.I have no confidence in you or big Peter bringing in the quality of player required in the transfer window and that I cannot see you getting rid of the non first team players who are draining our finances we are not in a good place as a club and you and big Peter have a hard task in the second half of the season if you want to secure the SPL title.H.H.



    Brendan undoubtedly messed up tactically today, but the prosaic fact is that the squad does not have the quality in it; we certainly have the depth, but far too many were purchased as cheap options (Gamboa, Izzi, Mulumbu, Compper, Hendry, Hayes, Morgan, DDV etc) but must combined take £5m in wages per year.



    That’s the size of it, in my opinion, lots of finger pointing on here, but in truth , there’s been a few mistakes made by all important cogs in the wheel.


    Brendan has won 7 domestic trophies out of 7. He deserves our support.


    We may have been poor today but these are still good if not great times.


    Hail Hail

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