The greatest save, fighting the urge, goodness – a masterstroke


Space inside the box when you have the ball at your feet is at premium and whatever you have, closes quickly.  The ancient part of our brains kicks in at this point.  We become alert to the dangers of the shrinking space.

This reaction is biologically evidenced.  The associated rush of adrenaline flushes the muscles with energy but it also obscures peripheral vision.  You will know this yourself if you’ve been in possession of a football for as much as a second with defenders closing a loop around you.  This is why, from the stands, we can often see a pass, but the player in possession fires off a shot that is easily blocked.

Watch Odsonne Edouard before he passes to Ryan Christie for the equaliser.  Running towards goal with the ball, he has to fight against all of these biological factors to suppress the urge to panic into a premature shot.

His presence in the box induces the same adrenaline rush in the Lazio defenders’ brains and limbs: they focus on Odsonne, but the Celtic striker is winning the fight against nature.  He maintains enough peripheral vision to spot the slenderest gap at 90 degrees to his right.  Ryan Christie is in space and while all others panic, Odsonne pings a pass into Ryan’s path.

You can give players all the benefits sports science allows, train them until they are built like supermen, but the game is played in the mind.  That ability to defy the natural instinct and control your body is where greatness lives.

I was troubled at halftime.  Celtic did not deserve to be behind but Lazio scored an excellent goal and were clearly a very good team, while Cluj were ahead in Rennes, the result we did not want.  The opening 15 minutes of the second half were controlled by the visitors, with Celtic unable to hold possession.

We needed energy from somewhere and Ryan Christie stepped forward.  He covers 20 yards with great speed and regularity.  His run to the corner around the hour, which created our first chance of the second half, looked like he was propelled forward in a pinball machine.  His sprint forward, drop back, then repeat action, change the flow of the game.

It is not just Celtic who seldom score from corner kicks, such goals are the Hen’s Teeth of the modern game.  Defenders mark the main threats, while others attack the space most likely to produce a goal.  With the inevitable numerical defensive overload and set plays video analysed to within an inch of indecency, corners are the football equivalent of a Brexit deadlock.

But still, when Scott Brown’s shot from outside the box was deflected wide with two minutes remaining, we could dream. Christopher Jullien is as commanding in the air as any Celtic player since Bobo Balde.  His sheer upper body bulk make a challenge from lesser mortals futile.  His leap and glancing header inside the far post were like a great cruise liner gracefully launching down the slip.  We were going to win this, or so we thought.

Fraser Forster had already made an incredible block with the score at 1-1, but in the final minute of added time, his leap to stop the unstoppable volley from Cataldi was the best save I have ever seen.

Crowds react to great save with cheers, or applause on lesser occasions.  This save was met with an audible gasp.  Shock from the ancient part of our brains was articulated an instant before the subsequent joy, not to mention respect.  We were not to be denied.

When Hatem Elhamed went down injured inside the last 10 minutes, Moritz Bauer, a straight replacement at right back, was told to get stripped, but Neil Lennon quickly changed his mind.  Instead, there was an Israeli shuffle, with Nir Bitton replacing Elhamed.  Celtic went to a back three and two minutes later, Neil replaced Boli Bolingoli with Jonny Hayes.  Coming so late in the game, Lazio had no time to react; Celtic were setup to control the middle of the park.

Goodness.  In the dying minutes of a game against the top seed with the score at 1-1, we change tactical formation, going three at the back against two strikers.  You have to hand it to Neil Lennon.  Without this change, Scott Brown is nowhere near the Lazio box to be able to latch onto a loose ball and shoot to secure the corner that produced the winning goal.

It was an absolute masterstroke.  Well done, boss.

For most of us, our days are full of small joys and trials.  Spontaneous, shared, exhilaration is in rare supply.  But, here we are.


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  1. Go tell the Spartim on

    Its about time we had some luck in the big games but sometimes you make your own luck



    Well done all



    Can anyone explain to me, why, the BBC whilst reporting on incidents surrounding football, only ever mention Celtic in the headline, normally its Football supporters? There are 3 stories in the last hour on that bastion of bigotry website where they openly mention Celtic. I dont wish to seem paranoid, surely its just coincidental.



    Criminalsshouldfeelthefullforceofthelaw CSC

  2. Go tell





    Can anyone explain to me, why, the BBC whilst reporting on incidents surrounding football, only ever mention Celtic in the headline `



    I think you already know the answer to your question !

  3. Its all about opinions. I’m not here slating any one of our players.



    It maybe stems from my vantage point. I watch the game from 405 in the North stand upper tier.


    Row Y, right at the back, looking down from a high right across the half way line.



    You literally see everything from there.



    Christie stuck to the task well, and got his reward. However, our other centre mids, to me were off it.


    Hence why we became so open. Hence why Lazio had 3 or 4 really dangerous situations 2nd half.



    The game was stretched, we were getting exploited in parts. McGregor and Brown lacked the energy to close off the spaces that were opening up on regular basis.



    I think you can separate tremendous result, and still have a pragmatic / realistic view on performance.

  4. I know that certain folk on here and on SC will be happy to know that as a result of a serious infection two weeks ago, which in turn has led me to have a heart attack, and has meant that I am still in hospital since October 13th, I had to rely on Bet365 for the Celtic score last night. I am in a private room in hospital , with a TV…but no remote control and the poor signal is driving me nuts ! I hope to be back home in a few days, but well done to the Hoops last night..it cheered me up no end. HH

  5. Ruggy, I certainly agree it’s all about opinions, if it wasn’t there would be no point in having a blog.


    I also agree with those who point out flaws in our performance but we were up against a very decent team and it was a huge step up from the SPFL..


    I thought we played better in the first half & were unlucky to go in one down but Lazio were the better team in second half & created 5 or 6 great chances. On another day we could have been on the end of a hammering but we stuck in there well & we got that vital bit of luck when they hit the post from a clear cut chance.


    Minutes later we were level & the rest is History.


    WE are well equipped to kick on in the Domestic game but we will be up against it in Europe. No shame in that, but we now have 2 wins & a draw in 3 games and I think it’s right that we can spend 24 hours celebrating before getting too analytical about our future European prospects.

  6. Sorry, I meant to add thanks to those on CQN last night for the updates last night, although I also had to rely on Bet365 on my phone for scores. HH

  7. i'vehadtochangemymind on

    “I went in the dressing room after the game and it wasn’t brought to my attention. It was only brought to my attention five minutes ago.



    “We’ve got to think about the safety of the players. We’ve seen that on numerous occasions. That must stop.




    chopper talk from donald gerard

  8. glendalystonsils on

    I thought that coolness and composure were exactly what we lacked last night and it cost us control and fluency for large parts of the game. Ryan’s equaliser was one of the few moments of composure up to that point. Passes were overhit or rushed , often finding a Lazio jersey instead of a Celtic one. Their pressing and very quick defending seemed to take us by surprise and unsettle us although we should have known what to expect from them.


    Still , the fraught nature of the first 88 minutes made the Jullien winner and Frasers wonder save all the more dramatic and thrilling.

  9. Big Jimmy


    I for one am happy to hear that you seem to be on the mend and wish you a full recovery.



    This is only a blog – real life is what matters



    God bless

  10. I also thought Broony was immense last night only Ryan beat him in Jobo’s man of the match with big Frazer sneaking into 3rd place (in my 3) a goalkeeper who saves you matches and wins you matches is very special



    Big Jimmy sorry to hear of your trouble, I thought you’d maybe just took a wee break



    Get well soon and glad the hoops cheered you up



    And lastly how many games have Celtic (especially) in European ties played really well and got beat… last night we had 2 shots on target and 2 goals … am no CBN but the most important stats last night, Celtic 2 goals Lazio 1 goal

  11. Paul67,



    A good article.



    Delighted for Lenny and his battling Bhoys.



    That was a hard game to get a chance never mind a goal, they were superb defensively, Celtic were most Excellent as well.



    Keep it going Lenny.

  12. Big Jimmy.


    I would be surprised, if any fellow Celtic fan was happy that you have been so ill


    Most of us have differences, but it’s only a blog, and as Corkcelt said earlier, we should expect differences ( or words to that effect ).


    I wish you a speedy recovery.

  13. Celtic are on to something really special here IMO, I just hope that Callum stays as he is simply superb and was Incredible again last night, off and on the ball.

  14. Petec,


    I agree 100% about Callum. The work he does off the ball is often ignored but he is always available.



  15. YogiHughes,



    I hope he sees whats happening here and stays, I’m sure Celtic will make him their best possible offer.

  16. Good evening,friends. Still another 3 and a half hours to vote on last night’s Top 3. Over 50 emails received so far and I haven’t actually read one yet – my Friday evening is taken care of! Results out sometime after 10pm. Vote here – CQNPOTY@GMAIL.COM HH

  17. Bada – I think it was Odsonne that was caught dribbling out of defense. Rogic picked up the ball as it broke and had a chance to play a forward ball down the right wing but passed to one of their defenders that then led to Fraser’s brilliant save.

  18. Watched the game again today and we could have scored a few more as well…as we pressed when their goalkeeper had the ball they made plenty mistakes. Top stars after a relaxed viewing were Jullien Hatem Broony Christie and McGregor. We had the wherewithal to go for the win and got what we deserved. Ref gave them plenty fouls for their diving and denied ur 4 around their box that were definite trips not to mention the guy who should have been sent off.


    Fair result in the end but there are things we need to do better but isn’t that always the case


    Kikinthenakas 🍀🍀🍀

  19. Great to see you posting P. We need the Old Brigade back on here. Where are the bhoys that stood with me,


    B.T, Starry Plough, Weet Weet Weet, Hamilton Tim, even the Dublin Brigade led by Almore & WITS are rare visitors. Haste ye back Bhoys.

  20. Big Jimmy,



    Sorry to hear about your health issues. Wishing you a full and speedy recovery mate.



    Every time I raise a glass amongst friends and family the toast is always “To your good health” as without it you don’t have much whether you are hated, loved, skint or a billionaire.



    Awrabest ,




  21. mncelt on 25th October 2019 6:37 pm



    Bada – I think it was Odsonne that was caught dribbling out of defense. Rogic picked up the ball as it broke and had a chance to play a forward ball down the right wing but passed to one of their defenders that then led to Fraser’s brilliant save.






    It was definitely Big Tam.



    He is very rusty and shouldnae have been daeing that there, especially given the way the game was at the time.

  22. WITS,






    I think there has been a mixup, Big Tam was really unwise @ approx 75minutes.



    Just finished a rerun of the game and I can see where MNCELT was thinking different.



    Fantastic stuff by Lennys magical Bhoys.



    Cluj urnae doing too bad either – I was hoping for 2 draws in their h2h with Rennes.



    This Group is not over yet. It’s a cracker of a Group tbh.

  23. Called my boys after the game; they had been at the game. Told them Christie was my Motm, only to find that from block 404 in the North Stand, Christie has been getting pelters all night. I was aghast. And inevitably they thought he was poor – swayed no doubt by the opinions around him.



    Told them to watch the recording and having done so they can see why I called it right!



    My point? Those at the game with high vantage points will definitely see the game differently from those lower down, or indeed watching on the telly.



    And possibly influenced by those around them / commentators.



    I watched on my own and tuned out of the commentary so had only my eyes and brain to go by.

  24. You want to know what’s tight at the top? The player of the match stats from last night. 2 hours to go and only 3 votes separate the top 3. Interestingly, 10 of our 14 players have so far picked up votes showing that it is indeed all about opinions. Whilst I don’t think we will beat the vote count for the Cluj game, we’re only 10 contributors short of making this the 2nd best turnout so far. So, last reminder, I promise – cqnpoty@gmail.com

  25. Last night was a fantastic experience. Neil Lennon was realistic enough to recognize some players’ naïveté, likening Rogic’s late play out of defense to Stewart Armstrong’s error in the 2-2 draw with Englandshire. A decent pass from the Australian and we would have had a two on one break towards their goal. Get it wrong, as he did, and we had to have big Fraser bale us out.



    I was really delighted at the change in tactics at our corners. For months, we have had Ajer, Jullien and others all bunched up, or lined up in front of the opposition goalie, getting in each other’s way, having no momentum to jump, and all to frequently missed all together by a corner under or over shot. Last season, it was successful once in 119 attempts. Last night, we spaced out, Julien hid behind Bitton, who stayed where he was, and made a curving run to leap and attack the ball. Simples. Begs the question why we have not been varying our strategy before?



    Looking ahead, Cluj must fancy their chances. Rennes missing a penalty yesterday did us no favors. Surprisingly, Lazio also fancy their chances. Beating Cluj and us at home, and Rennes away is not beyond them, and would give them 12 points. If the Romanians lose in Rome, and beat Rennes at home, they would hope to beat us and also achieve 12 points.



    Ergo, if the worst happens in Rome, we must beat Rennes and get a point in Bucharest. Otherwise, we will be pipped at the post.



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