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Tactical call leaves Celtic impotent

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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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819 Comments

  1. I broke the habit of a lifetime today and watched the orcs celebrations. My reasoning being that I will enjoy kicking their arses the next time out all the more.

     

     

    Having reflected a bit on the game I am struggling to pick a sevconian who had a good game football wise. Yes, they out fought us and out muscled us but a good side would have taken our mistakes and really punished us. They are not a good side. They have a small side mentality. It was written all over the celebrations.

     

     

    Goodnight

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

    Not sure if Brown is finished but he certainly seems obsolete in our system.

     

     

    BR likes his team to pass out from the back. Why we do this, i’m not sure. Theoretically this tactic should draw the opposing team out and create space for us to exploit; practically speaking we either: pass it around the back four before one of our defenders punts it up the park (which CG could achieve in the first instance); or lose it in our last third when we are out of formation and allow the opposition to drive at our back line. I really don’t see the merit in the tactic, but it looks like we are going to persist with it.

     

     

    Now given that none of our defenders (bar Tierney) are good with the ball at their feet, it seems sensible to place a deep lying playmaker who can pick the ball up from the defenders to build attacks and exploit the space- CalMac can do that, Scott Brown can’t. Unfortunately, Scott’s presence therefore seems obsolete unless we are playing the likes of Barca and we know we need someone to break up the play and provide additional defensive cover.

     

     

    A word of CG. No other recent Celtic keeper (Boruc or Forster) has been asked to play as sweeper keeper. CG has been tasked with doing so and, save the best keepers in the world, this is a role which most keepers are not asked to perform due to the high level of difficulty. CG is a fantastic keeper, but not a fantastic footballer; and I don’t think it’s fair that we ask him to be the latter (and I don’t think we will find anyone in our budget who will fulfil that role).

  3. Gerry

     

    We will see, the problems stem from the top all the way down, with the financial advantage we have pound for pound we are feckin brutal :-)

     

    A post or two ago the likes of Mulumbu, Gamboa, Izzi, Mulumbu, Compper, Hendry, Hayes, Morgan and a fair few others were mentioned about how much they are draining from the club, it’s financial mismanagement, I have said so many times, where is the quality ? we are throwing money down the drain, the recruitment hasn’t changed cos Brendan has come in, the policy is still the same as it’s been for years.

  4. Brown can do a job from the bench for us. Christie and McGregor need to be the go to men. After Easter Road and Ibrox, I suspect we’ve seen the last of the Brown/Ntcham midfield partnership.

     

     

    If we feel to sign a right back this window then quite frankly we deserve days like today.

  5. Fool time whistle

     

    You may want to watch the Brown deflected goal again

     

    James Forrest does not do any tracking back

     

    He let the Aberdonian run past him to have a free shot at our goal

     

     

    He reverted to his poor defensive or tracking back self

  6. Lordy Lordy

     

    Foaming at the mooth

     

    I’ve never seen

     

    Since the

     

    Falls of Dochart

     

    “Tap o the League

     

    And they’re no”

  7. SANDMAN@7:16

     

    Well said, that man! A very accurate assessment. If anything, your scores were generous. A truly hideous performance from Celtic today. I can’t recollect one single piece of skill from any player in 90 minutes.

     

     

    Although not endorsing Kev’s conspiracy theories, it is passing strange that we do not strive to improve the first team every season, are not willing to extend the distance between ourselves and Sevco, and in fact give them oxygen when they need it. ( I refer to our reluctance to act on the overwhelming evidence of Hun and SFA corruption gathered by the Resolution 12 gallant 4.)

     

     

    Why we retain a bloated squad of 32, with a large number of players destined to never reach the first team, yet include only 2 strikers, is beyond reason. Our lack of planning or foresight has predictably come back to bite us.

     

     

    The blissful optimism of some contributors, although endearing, is simply baffling. ( Some think we will win the Europa Cup!). Too many of us are only looking at the past two seasons. We have been dire at St. Mirren, dire at Livingstone, dire at Kilmarnock, dire at Motherwell, dire at Hearts, dire at Hibs, and now appalling at Sevco. Anyone see a pattern here? Brendan’s lack of a explanation, or responsibility today, is disappointing. Stating “They were the better team, “ begs the question, “Why?” Stating ”We defended well” is simply nonsense. Who is he fooling? We were limp and gutless, and he was out coached by a neophyte Ned. He should take a good look at himself.

     

     

    IniquitousIV

  8. Gerryfaethebrig on

    TET 8.28pm

     

     

    Plenty of dodgy signings, loads of mistakes, the board/owner I think fcucked up in the summer added to Boyatas unprofessionalism (if that’s a word) big Dedryck then started playing football and has been great for us up to 28th December :-) … after that performance today I think a pre-contract has been signed … I will stick to players who want to play with us.. financial advantage sounds like the BoS Murray era… wages do give you an advantage (sporting) but the players still have to put a shift in… our team didn’t put a shift in today … no other reason

  9. Fool Time Whistle on

    NorrieM

     

     

    You’ll probably be correct.

     

     

    I can’t look at it again this soon.

     

     

    It was all just my recollections after I went for a walk.

     

     

    JF seemed to more tracking back than Sinclair, or maybe his tracking back (as I recall it) was more effective than Sinclairs.

     

     

    My imperfect recollections tainted by my own faulty interpretations.

     

     

    Still, if we’re unhappy about stuff from today, I imagine & hope that players & staff will be really annoyed.

     

    Enough to find the resolve to fix things.

     

     

    Top of the league, game in hand, League Cup won, Europa League after Chrismas,

     

     

    Happy New Year

  10. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    As others have said, we have a great starting 11 and a squad full of dross that massively drops our level when we have starters out. That’s a product of parsimony and poor recruitment. Last couple of windows have been dire. Replaced quality like Moussa, Roberts and Armstrong with mediocrities, loanees, spotty faced youths and various ‘projects’. Add to that a couple of our stalwarts coming to the end of their time (Broony and Mika – our captains!), Boyata and Ntcham looking elsewhere, we need to sort our recruitment out. Pronto.

  11. TET,

     

    The big money is to be made in Champions League qualification,

     

    why would the board want to risk losing that by helping the huns?.

     

    I agree they have had poor transfer dealings,but for it to be suggested that we are financially helping the huns is just nonsense

  12. Gerry-GB 64

     

    I agree the big money is in the CL, so why compromise with qualification, we knew for long enough what we needed yet we didn’t strengthen, we have gambled with CL qualification for years, we were blessed that we qualified in Brendan’s first two seasons, so why gamble again, it doesn’t make any sense, sporting or financial, none whatsoever.

  13. Craig Gordon saved us from an absolute pasting today yet gets criticised because he can’t pass the ball,

     

    Brendan brought in De Vries because he was a good player but ultimately he was duff between the sticks,

     

    Different generation now when goalies get judged this way, McGregor at the huns is worse than CG with ball at feet but he’s a good keeper.

     

    Spend £70/80 million like Liverpool and Man City did if you want the finished article.

  14. Mulumbu, Gamboa, Izzi, Mulumbu, Compper, Hendry, Hayes, Morgan, everyone a football department signing. I hope they have players, ready to go straight into the first team, lined up for this and the summers transfer windows por cierto.

  15. Game number 13for Brendan against them. The law of averages tells us that you Will eventually lose to them. A game in hand and them to play at home. Don’t have any doubt as to what the outcome will be, maybe not a treble but we will win the league.

     

    Sometimes in football when you start as badly as we did today it just gets progressively worse and that was the case today. Been for a pint tonight and ran into people I’ve not seen for at least six years. It’s the hope that kills them. Goodnight HH

  16. FOOL TIME WHISTLE on 29TH DECEMBER 2018 8:11 PM

     

     

    —————————

     

     

    Good, fair and accurate summation.

     

     

    HH. ?

  17. Crazy as it sounds i still think McGregor was the best player on the park today .They outworked us and outfought us, creating numerous chances which were handed on a plate, yet they still couldn’t finish them, their only goal coming from a deflection. We were well beaten yes, but by a team that has averaged 0.88 goals per match in 9 December outings. Look at Hibs form before and after they played us, it was terrible. Teams are raising their game against us which is expected but we are not fighting hard enough in return.

  18. THE EXILED TIM on 29th December 2018 8:53 pm

     

    I agree the big money is in the CL, so why compromise with qualification, we knew for long enough what we needed yet we didn’t strengthen, we have gambled with CL qualification for years, we were blessed that we qualified in Brendan’s first two seasons, so why gamble again, it doesn’t make any sense, sporting or financial, none whatsoever.

     

    ———–

     

    Doesn’t have to be a conspiracy just simply bad decisions.

     

     

    Were we a better team than Athens? Yes

  19. 0.88 goals rate, 50% win rates, 03% kick out rate.

     

     

    It’s was our Heart Rate that was totally lacking today, Heartless! por cierto

  20. gordybhoy64 on 29th December 2018 8:46 pm

     

    TET,

     

     

    The big money is to be made in Champions League qualification,

     

     

    why would the board want to risk losing that by helping the huns?.

     

     

     

    ####

     

     

    The really big money (for the investors) is in the EPL.

     

     

    Joining the EPL would allow The Great Desmondo to make huge profit on his investment.

     

     

     

    Celtic are more likely to join the EPL as part of The Old Firm.

  21. Well that was the worst performance from a celtic team as I’ve seen in a long time . I can’t understand why there were so many hiding places on that pitch today . Forrest hiding , ntcham hiding again , Christie hiding . Sinclaire how in the name of god did some posters on the blog this morning expect a game out of this guy , based on 3 goals against the sheep . Boyata today was nowhere near ibrox , mikael great servant but past it , broonie always gives us what he,s got , unfortunately time is catching up with him . Any team who has a go and gets stuck in against us , always causes us problems . Because we have no battlers in the team , no enforcers , young mikey was hung out to dry today , we hadn’t,t a player who stood up to them . We had,t a player whom that young boy could look to for back up . We today saw just how many replacements we need to get the 8 .

  22. The_Huddle

     

    Bad decisions by who ?

     

    Lots of them from the top down imo.

     

    Better teams don’t always win, we are a far better team than the huns, same could be said for every other team we have dropped points to this season, thing is, we are really only as good as our last game, sentiment doesn’t cut it, I have no idea where the confidence is coming from when a bunch of loans and journeymen can out fight us with ease, aye we are still top of the league, will we be at the end of the season, I sure hope so but I won’t be holding my breath, half of that team today were a joke, and it’s no like me to slag the players, but they were brutal today, no desire whatsoever.

  23. Lots of angst today and so there should be.

     

    The reason we lost was our manager made a complete balls up of things.

     

    I’ve made a few quid over the past 6/7 years betting against the Hun in various ways. Seen the team today and didn’t part with a penny.

     

    Calmac, our best player by a feckin mile at left back???

     

    Some people slating Scott Brown but it must be hard playing with two wage thiefs – Sinky and Ntcham.

     

    Sinky did ok on Wednesday but that was a one-off. Ntcham only plays well when we’re two up.

     

    Back to Brendan. Shocker mate, complete shocker.

  24. THE EXILED TIM on 29th December 2018 9:09 pm

     

     

    Better teams don’t always win, we are a far better team than the huns, same could be said for every other team we have dropped points to this season, thing is, we are really only as good as our last game, sentiment doesn’t cut it, I have no idea where the confidence is coming from when a bunch of loans and journeymen can out fight us with ease, aye we are still top of the league, will we be at the end of the season, I sure hope so but I won’t be holding my breath, half of that team today were a joke, and it’s no like me to slag the players, but they were brutal today, no desire whatsoever.

     

    —————–

     

    I agree, bad decisions from top to bottom.

     

     

    Just don’t think those bad decisions are on purpose.

     

     

    Why spend money when you think you better than the opposition?

     

     

    Maybe it’s arrogance. Fans included.

     

     

    And if we do spend money, are we going to improve? Not likely based on recent seasons.

  25. prestonpans bhoys on

    I remember saying to Miss Prestonpans at the league cup final that all of this could not last. Eventually we would lose a cup game or even a hun game, I remember walking down the road to Perth after a defeat and their fans roasting us from a corporation bus, said to her let them have their moment could be years to the next.

  26. Stick the Wolfies on.

     

     

    God bless the Celtic of Glasgow.

     

     

    10IAR here we go.

     

     

    HH. ? ?? ? ?? ? ?? ? ?? ? ??

  27. Ernie is correct.

     

     

    Yeez’ve awe been had!

     

     

    Then, yeez’ll queue up for more.

     

     

    Nurse! Nurse!

     

     

     

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  28. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    Like others , I feel Brendan got it wrong tactically today and he`ll get it wrong again.

     

    He will go away and learn from today .

     

     

    Since he arrived he and we have won every domestic tournament we have entered .

     

    He has earned the right to get it wrong.

     

     

    We don`t look invincible any more. That`s all .

     

    Others have improved. That`s all.

     

     

     

    Having said all of the above , Brendan had to cobble together a team for today.

     

    How many definite starters or tactical subs were missing ?

  29. KEV – 7 trophies on the bounce says Ernie is full of mad dog’s keech.

     

     

    Some say the devil is dead. ?