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. I’ve just read this article so don’t know whats up with Big Jimmy.



    Anyway Best Wishes for a speedy recovery.



    I Hope Celtics epic win last night has helped.



    Onwards and ever upwards to Aiberdeen.



    Greenpinata is right, Every Celtic player wants the European experience as much as possible. These are the Highlights of the Season – especially when we win. ;))



    Seeing Odsonne so excited after the final whistle with Fraser said EVERYTHING to me.




  2. bigjimmy


    get well soon.



    flaws- we are wide open most of the time and easy for good teams to pick out there man.



    cant remember celtic being any different other than under gs.




    Get well soon big fella. It may be a blessing in disguise now your heart is damaged they mad glesga burds will no want to steal it.💔



    Take care big mhan.




  4. Leicester 5 up away to Southampton.



    Lenny is a Genius – I’m tellin ya.



    Somethings Happenin’.



    Celtic Park is a hotbed of Talent. I just hope we keep Callum as he is the Energy Bunny that has the most Composure currently. :))))



    That can change within a year. :D

  5. SS, I used to sit in 404 there were guys who used to criticise the players as they warmed up, Tom Boyd was a favourite target, once the game started it was anyone playing that side of the pitch

  6. corkcelt,



    The ads and the random reintroduction of the most obtrusive wans is enough to stop anyone posting/ trying to post a comment. This has been going on for a few years – not Everyone is tech savvy and I reckon so many have just said it isnae worth the hassle.



    I hope you are right Howevaaah Corkie and the Blog makes a Comeback like a Lenny team against Lazio. Needs a bit more attention from the Owner IMO.




  7. glendalystonsils on




    I’ve been watching Celtic since the early 60’s and I can tell you there were plenty of these moany types even then , giving the likes of Jinky pelters.

  8. Lennys started it all — MAGICAL – So I’m hoping, especially as the Sevco support REALLY wanted him to be the new Celtic Manager, that he, this Time is allowed to do what he is Incredibly Good at. :))

  9. Stewart Armstrong comes on to save Southampton, only 7-0 down at home to Leicester after 70 minutes.

  10. glendalystonsils on

    That rain down in Southampton is doing some terrible things to Stuart Armstrong’s lovely locks.

  11. glendalystonsils on 25th October 2019 9:37 pm



    That rain down in Southampton is doing some terrible things to Stuart Armstrong’s lovely locks.







    Bank balance is healthy though, thats not what its about.

  12. BIG JIMMY…….



    KEEP THE FAITH bIG MAHN and turn a negative into a positive



    I had 3 stents put in some years back and I haven’t looked back.



    Keep on supporting……..

  13. I thought El Hamed was Superb AGAIN on Thursday. It was a Dream to have such a hard choice to pick a best 3 against such a very Skilled and very well drilled team.



    Magical Celtic!!!!

  14. glendalystonsils on

    PETEC on 25TH OCTOBER 2019 9:43 PM



    Too true Petec . Armstrong hardly gets a kick of the ball for Southampton these days , while we are enjoying wonderful nights like last night.


    You have to live with your choices.

  15. Brendan Rodgers sets another record as a manager. 9-0 away from home.wow.



    Get well soon Big Jimmy.

  16. The mair Leicester play like that the mair likely our Best player will Leave in January.



    Celtic do whatever ye can to keep Callum.

  17. Some result for Leicester City. Still want his veneers to rot and fall out.



    Will never forget what he did for us but can never forgive what he did to us.

  18. ** Voting Closed** ;-)


    Results shortly (I’m about to do a recount as it’s rather close!!)

  19. Petec 9.51pm



    I think El Hamed has been a terrific signing but last night was one of his worst games, thought Broony spent more time covering that area after mistakes …. we can all look out the same window and see a different landscape :-)



    By the way I thought Broony was Lennonesque last night… I have enjoyed reading everybody’s differing views on here today, obviously punters at the game see a far different match than what the tv shows … pretty sure Jobo will be the same sifting through his man of the match emails :-)

  20. glendalystonsils on

    Leicester fans enjoy it while you can . Brendan will already have one eye on his next move.

  21. *** CQN PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2019-20 ***




    Another memorable European Night under the disco lights and whilst quite a few of our players were, individually, not at their best, the sum of the parts was greater, and a real team spirit got us over the line.


    As you will see from the votes below, the spine of our team received around 80% of the votes cast.


    As always, a huge thank you to the 64 people who emailed their votes for top 3 players of the match. The votes (my own choices are asterisked) were as follows –


    Forster*: 45


    Elhamed: 6


    Jullien*: 49


    Ajer: 1


    Bolingoli-Mbombo: 4


    Brown*: 28


    McGregor: 7


    Forrest: 0


    Christie: 50


    Elyounoussi: 0


    Edouard: 1


    Rogic: 0


    Hayes: 1


    Bitton: 0


    Unused subs – Gordon, Bauer, Sinclair, Bayo.


    So, the players receiving points for the Lazio game are –


    Christie – 5 points


    Jullien – 4 points


    Forster – 3 points


    Brown – 2 points


    McGregor – 1 point



    This means that the aggregate total points are now as follows –


    Christie – 22 points


    Edouard – 21 points


    Brown – 18 points


    Jullien – 16 points


    Forrest – 15 points


    Bolingoli-Mbombo – 13 points


    McGregor – 12 points


    Bauer – 11 points


    Elyounoussi – 9 points


    Frimpong – 8 points


    Elhamed – 8 points


    Ntcham – 5 points


    Forster – 4 points


    Bitton – 3 points


    Bayo – 3 points


    Hayes – 2 points


    Ajer – 1 point


    Rogic – 1 point


    There’s one game left to play in October, our trip to Aberdeen on Sunday. Voting will reopen just after 2pm and run through to 10pm on Monday evening.


    When the results come out, I’ll also reveal October’s Player Of The Month (September’s was James Forrest, with 15 points, but clearly he won’t be retaining his title as he has yet to pick up anything during October!)


    Enjoy the weekend.


    Hail Hail!

  22. GFTB,



    Thats mad as Aidan was pointing out Broonie giving up tracking back at wan point he was up the inside right.



    Every Celt is Giving Everything.



    Lenny and Broonie are building the Team.



    El Hamed has some exquisite skills for a big Laddie.

  23. BIG JIMMY. ( see what I did there).


    Sorry to hear about your latest set back, I hope you’re health will improve .


    Keep your spirits up BIG MAN we are all there for you .

  24. ** CORRECTION **


    I forgot that we play St Mirren next Wednesday. So another 2 games before I can determine October’s Player Of The Month…..

  25. Owen – I assume that you are referring to the votes going to James Forrest. If the votes so far are anything to go by then perhaps it is indeed the case that he is eitehr brilliant or almost invisible. Here’s his own ‘performance’ (votes cast and points received) for the 10 games he’s played in since I started this thing –


    AIK – 56 – MOTM


    Sevco – 0


    Hamilton – 38 – MOTM


    Rennes – 11 (5th best)


    Kilmarnock – 33 (2nd best)


    Hibs – 2


    Cluj – 8


    Livingston – 1


    Ross County – 2


    Lazio – 0

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