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. PETEC – like to think of it as ‘more than a competition’ and, certainly it is Open To All ;-)

  2. Jobo,



    I might miss some deadlines for whatever reasons,



    I am Honest when talking about things that really matter, I also am honest about Celtic.



    I’ve started asking Aidan his top 3 players and asking his Granda too noo.

  3. Hello again all you young rebels.



    PADDYMACOZ rushed to hospital last night, struggled to get a breath


    and his wife and two bhoys heading there now.


    Worrying times for our CSC president and family.


    Some good news, BIGYINMILAN is out of hospital and being tended to


    by a home nurse.


    Prayers said for both fine Celtic men.


    H.H . Mick

  4. Maradominic on 25th October 2019 10:44 pm



    Cfc. Official members of the craft.





    The Celtic Triangle said so much.



    We should never take our I off the ball about just Enjoying the Good Times we have.



    The Prince of the Air is Rampant @ the mo.




  5. Celtic AGM will be fiery. Board are apparently recommending voting down Res 12. Watch this space.

  6. Big Jimmy, aw the best hope you are feeling better! You will be champin at the bit big man to get back among the gallowgate burdz!! HH

  7. Just reading back now and see Big Jimmy also had health issues.


    Hope you’re well soon Jimmy and back romancing all my old


    dancing partners in ye Auld Shipbank.


    H.H . Mick

  8. weebawbabitty,



    Where is KevJ these days?



    I know he had health issues, I also know he is a Big Celtic Supporter, did he just give up because he isnae tech savvy?



    And it is Good to see you on posting as well m8ty.



    Hail Hail

  9. BIG JIMMY! Seemed to have lost a post to you ! Anyway big yin awe the best to yourself! Get yourself better and oot and aboot the gallogate burdz!! Bet you’re CHAMPIN AT THE BIT to get oot !HH

  10. Celtic is Building – Rome wisnae built in a Davie Hay.



    I am a lot less enamoured by the Secret Architechs but a lot more DEEELIGHTEGHTED by the TOMMY BURNS School that permeates through Celtic.




  11. Celtic cannae be held back much longer.



    In the Mean Time – Listen to the West Side Banners.



    So much Cashboolah in the Bank.



    Don’t be Ultra Capitalist.



    Lenny is Bringing the Lightning, get in tune with the Celtic Support.



    I appreciate we are well Good in the black Money wise.



    Show real appreciation for the costs for Celtic being so successful to the Mega Supporter, never mind the normal Supporter.



    I AGREE with the Jungle Bhoys banner.



    Take it on Board, Celtic Board.

  12. PETEC ! Hi and as always a gentleman my friend, ! Kev j legend of CQN , is well missed on this site ! Don’t know what most think, but if you agreed with him or not he is a massive loss to this blog HH

  13. I reckon Neil Francis Lennon is Fighting for Celtic to lower the Season Ticket Prices.



    Neil is a Fighter with Love.



    The Masonic inverting Triangle (externalisation of the hierarchy) and Earth Worship by the Children (sick) – Wow – definitely End Times.

  14. Edouard was Awesome Thursday Night but he didnae make the top 5. That makes me Happy.



    Edouard was Bigging up Fraser at the end.



    Mega stuff.



    Olivier needs to Grow up. Neil is the Man to get the very best out of him.

  15. At the end of the day, maybe he isnae what he is so Promised to be.



    Broonie is always there, he made a few shocking errors (age errors right after the break) but he came back on to a right good game.



    Yer as well leaving the Broonstigator out on the field when the HT whistle blows IMO.



    Age and sitting down. Remarkable so the dude is, he needs to be replaced howevaaah.



    Lenny says he is building the team around Scott, I have laid bare my reservations, wan thing is Certain. Neil is Blessed.



    I know Nothing.



    I do Know these are, as GFTB says, Incredible Celtic Times, NJOI for petes sake.

  16. Big Jimmy



    Best wishes regarding your health


    Look after yourself











    Good to see you post again,you were missed.


    I hope you enjoyed our victory on thurs




  17. MARADOMINIC 10.44



    Crc.Official members of the craft.



    Maradominic, is this a statement of your own? Could you give us some detail as to how you come to such a conclusion.





  18. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Good morning.



    Still a very happy chappy after Thursday.



    Good times.



    These are our good times.



    Leave your cares behind.

  19. Our former manager is having a great first season at Leicester.


    It reflects well on Celtic’s achievement under his leadership.




  20. Best wishes to fellow Celts going through difficult times with Health issues, BIG JIMMY, BIGYINMILAN and PADDYMACOZ, stay strong guys and prayers for a full recovery and return to better health for all. 👍

  21. Good morning friends from a dry, bright and mostly clear skied East KIbride . Looks like perfect conditions for that repetitive weekly thing I do….

  22. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on

    I see the Plc have finally scuttled Res12,


    Well at least we know for sure that the Plc have no interest in a fair game, as long as the money keeps rolling in they will accept any treatment.



    Their response to the reopening of Res12 to the AGM is that it is a matter for the SFA to resolve.


    This is their response after


    UEFA told them to open correspondence on the matter.


    The SFA advised the world they cannot resolve the matter.



    Just to remind you all, Rangers and the SFA conspired to defraud Celtic of a place in the EL, is this the Plc demonstrating they do not work for or protect shareholders interests.



    So no ethics please we’re Celtic Plc.

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