The pragmatic, substance over style, Neil Lennon


Brendan Rodgers thrilled us for two and a bit years, but the one persistent issue many of us had with him was his tactics against vastly better European teams.  His first experience at this level, a thrilling 3-3 draw with Manchester City, flattered, but subsequent losses of five goals at home and seven away were humiliating.  Brendan was a purist and not willing to send a team out prepared to clear their lines.

His teams suffered only one setback against Newco amid scores of four and five, so it is unfair to hold the mistakes made in December’s reversal against him, but we both know that the manner of Sunday’s win would never have happened under the previous regime.

Neil Lennon is above all a pragmatist.  Substance over style, tracksuit, not tailored suit.  He has significant challenges ahead in the Europa League, and if he ever wants to face a tier one club, he needs to get through a Champions League qualification campaign, but if and when he gets there, his team will not be shredded as easily.

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  1. Siempre Celtic (formerly Traditionalist88) on




    Absolutely. Rodgers seemed to become more of an idealist as time went on here.



    Absolutely suicidal trying to play the same tactics playing PSG or away at Ibrox as you do against Hamilton. PSG thought all their Christmases had come at once and could have put 10 past us and we handed the huns momentum with the ridiculous keep ball amongst the back 4 – rather than silence the home crowd we got them excited by inviting them on to us and inevitably made a mistake.






    John Thomson, 5th September 1931. Forever remembered



    Top quality podium jim :-)



    We are our history



    John Thompson rip




  3. Certainly, just like Cluj at home, oh wait a minute, thankfully they weren’t a top tier team so we only lost the four, we were shredded and then some.

  4. Siempre Celtic (formerly Traditionalist88) on

    FATHER JACK on 5TH SEPTEMBER 2019 10:25 AM



    I think its been well documented that several other errors were made that night, by the manager but not solely.



    Your captain trying to catch the ball in the box when you’re 2-1 up tends not to help, for example.




  5. FATHER JACK @ 10:25 AM,



    Yes another partial lead article that’s a bit of a headscratcher.



    Last time Lenny was in the group stages of the UCL we got only three points…



    GF: 3



    GA: 14



    We paid out around £13M in transfers



    We recieved over £20M in transfers



    The more things change eh!



    Hail Hail

  6. Debateable list, but when you’ve signed 12 players you can hardly say we’re not trying.



    GK – stronger.


    LB – stronger


    RB – stronger


    CB – stronger


    CM – same as


    DM – same as


    AM – same as


    WL – stronger


    WR – same as


    Striker – same as



    What a difference a week makes CSC

  7. Siempre Celtic (formerly Traditionalist88) on

    CHAIRBHOY on 5TH SEPTEMBER 2019 10:46 AM



    Sometimes, not always, the odds are stacked against you no matter how you set up.



    But there is a way to minimise your chances of an absolute drubbing – there is a reason PSG averaged 2.7 goals per game in France yet against us got 5 and 7.



    Yes … they were brilliant.


    But also… we played into their hands.




  8. Siempre


    True, but errors were made, it matters not who makes them, the games against PSG and Barca when they done us mistakes were made as well, all over the park, yet it’s only BR that is taking the flack, personally I would rather get beaten 5-7-0 giving it a lash than 2-3-4-0 parking the bus, we can’t park the bus, we don’t have the players for it, our strength is going forward, so it’s the pragmatic thing to do play to your strengths, it works sometimes just ask Pep, much of our problems come from giving the ball away cheaply, against the better teams we get punished, it’s always bugged me that a pro footballer can misplace a simple pass, yet in europe we do it all the time, skill is only part of the makings of a pro footballer, it was a golfer and a good Celtic supporter who gave the best analogy of a pro, no matter the sport, ” A player can have all the technical ability in the world, if he doesn’t posses the mental ability to produce it he will never be in the top tier ” Sam Torrance.

  9. Siempre Celtic (formerly Traditionalist88) on

    FATHER JACK on 5TH SEPTEMBER 2019 11:26 AM



    We can’t play the same way against quality European opposition as we do against Hamilton. Provisions need to be made. The PSG game could have been 10. Setting up defensively is not a crime, in fact it is naive to do anything else and as Rodgers had 4 or more players pressing high up the pitch away from home!



    We lost 12 goals in 2 games. In France they averaged 2.7 per game.



    Its about minimising the risk of a serious battering and sometimes you minimise it enough and beat Barca 2-1 at home.



    Plus, in no way was the strength of Boyata and Izaguirre with the ball at their feet attempting tiki-taka 20 yards or less from their own goal!



    Make no mistake, for PSG we were a joy to play against. Why anyone would want to play into the hands of the top teams by being so open and being picked off at will is beyond me.







    Yes and convenient;)






    Great name change… not that there was anything wrong with your old nome de blog…



    Yes, of course the 4-2-3-1 system was implemented before BR joined Celtic and as I’ve oft said looked many times like we were herding cats under Ronny.



    On PSG – was BR making a point he didn’t have the players to play the system? Was he playing these tactics regularly to drum the system into the players? Don’t know.



    For me he hadn’t learned how to play quality continental opposition. When you consider his results against Man City, a top European side it’s odd. Yet he knew how to play EPL sides. Maybe he just couldn’t set a team up against good continental opponents.



    It was a tough one to take, think that loss in Paris was a huge blow to Dembele after he had scored. It does little for morale.



    Yet my point really is two-fold.



    Why do we have to continue to knock/blame BR. It’s past.



    And why are we using this argument to determine we won’t get shredded under Lenny.



    Lenny’s penultimate Champions League game was a 0-3 defeat at home to AC Milan and his last game was a 6-1 shredding in the Nou Camp.



    All in all a strange lead with a headscrathing conclusion.



    Hail Hail

  11. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on




    ” We can’t play the same way against quality European opposition as we do against Hamilton. Provisions need to be made.”






    Yes, indeed.



    And that`s why you check out the opposition before you play them.


    Assess their strengths and deploy accordingly.

  12. Siempre Celtic (formerly Traditionalist88) on

    CHAIRBHOY on 5TH SEPTEMBER 2019 11:36 AM



    Thanks, it was time for a change!



    On continuing to knock BR, I think comparison with the last manager, or at least the last successful manager, is almost inevitable. I remember on here the endless Strachan/ONeill debates. Well, we thought they were endless! But they were pretty pointless, it was a new team and a new system, and nothing was going to bring Larsson back!



    But its only in more recent times we have seen the home record, built up since the days of O’Neill, Strachan and Lennon in his first stint, erode. We’d never had a battering, home or away, like PSG gave us either, despite coming up against top quality in Man Utd, Barcelona a few times (6-1 came close), AC Milan, incredible Juve team, and so on. Its natural to look at reasons for that. And one of those reasons is that BR was/is an idealist but that is not something you would say about O’Neill, Strachan or Lenny.



    And being an idealist reflected in the tactics.



    Lets hope we get 6+ points at home in the EL and encouraging away performances and that will do us, and the confidence of our young players, a world of good.




  13. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    I guess it all depends on the level of ambition, Paul (the primary one seemingly being to be a bit better than “Rangers”). Are we content to lose by lower margins in Europe? Is that it?


    Park-the-bus football is well past its peak now and we should be looking forward rather than back.


    Interestingly, Neil Lennon had five wins in four years (group/knockout stage), Brendan Rodgers five wins in three years.

  14. What I like about NL’s thinking is what I liked about MON’s.



    Make sure you have big guys ready to fight the corner of the wee guys.



    Taylor is probably the smallest of our first squad defenders but his two predecessors weren’t exactly giants so every rule has an exception.

  15. Glasstwothirds.



    You could hardly accuse NL of park the bus football because of one game.



    My hope is that knowing when to do it in the EL for a season will create a platform to enter CL next and not get humped but give a good account of ourselves.

  16. GlassTwoThirdsFull on



    It wasn’t a specific point about one game or even Neil Lennon in general. Paul spoke about the need for pragmatic football and has compared Strachan with Rodgers before.


    Park-the-bus football had a very successful period around 2004-12 but things have moved on. Rodgers (and also RD) wanted us to have a more progressive style. This would have worked better if our ball retention and defending had been better, but I don’t think we need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. You can defend well without parking the bus.

  17. Silver City 1888 on

    Had a quick look at how we were doing time last year. After four games we had already lost one. Games five and six saw a draw and a loss. Let’s hope Neil’s pragmatism keeps us ahead of last year’s start to the season.

  18. Celtic’s Europa League squad announced:


    Fraser Forster, Greg Taylor, Moritz Bauer and Mohamed Elyounoussi have all been added.


    New Celtic Trio Jeremie Frimpong, Lee O’Connor and Jonathan Afalobi have NOT made the squad.


    Fringe players Eboue Kouassi, Jack Hendry and Daniel Arzani have not made the list.

  19. Silvercity1888



    And we were lucky to beat Hamilton 1-0 as well. Deserved the win v Aberdeen but it took a great Sinclair goal to do it.



    We were very pedestrian and predictable 1st half of last season

  20. In my opinion Cluj at home was a one off abomination, however Cluj are no mugs either, I reckon they would have beaten AIK had the result gone the other way. However by delicious Irony we are going to get our theories tested, the fact that we have both ended up in same Europa Group means we start again against Cluj with a clean slate so bring it on and it will prove whether we have progressed or not.


    I’m delighted with window, I was devastated to see KT leave but am excited by the Bhoy’s we brought in.



    So far I’m hugely impressed by Elhamed, and in goal, whilst Gordon has done nothing wrong somehow I feel more relaxed with Forster, . Julien was a beast against the Huns, that’s the way I like it, if he plays like that on a regular basis then we have an absolute gem.


    Of the others we have only had a glimpse of Bauer so you can’t make a definitive judgement but for a player who only joined 10 minutes before he was sprung off the bench in a Derby game he was hugely impressive & that long throw of his could be better than a corner.


    Boli was shaky first couple of games but was brilliant against the Hun & the rest we haven’t seen yet but they all have pedigree from the Southampton lad to Taylor & the young Tigers.



    I really believe we could be on the cusp of a producing a great Celtic team.




    Lenny has never parked the bus,.



    In 19 games his group stage and knockout record is won 5 lost 10 drawn 4



    BR’s record in 21 games is won 5 lost 14 drawn 3



    Lenny’s Celtic was beaten by two or more goals 6 times in 19 games – 31%



    BR’s Celtic was beaten by two or more goals 10 times out of 21 – 45%.



    Lenny 33 goals conceded in 19 games – average 1.7



    BR 48 in 22 – average 2.2



    The point I believe Paul is making is that in Neil Lennon we have a manager who is better at adapting his tactics to get results against better opposition than we had in our previous manager. One horror show apart, this version of Celtic seems to be pretty good at dealing with poorer opposition as well



    I never really got why people thought he’d become a poor manager since he left us – everything I have you’ll read on CQN around the time of his departure suggested we’d all welcome hm back any time. Maybe football has moved on since then but its a bit insulting to suggest that an intelligent man like Lenny is a dinosaur and can’t adapt. Especially when that also suggests that the mighty collective intellects of scottish football have grown and changed beyond his capabilities.

  22. Celtic40me @4;05pm



    That`s the kind of post I like ie facts before an opinion.




    Having said that, I can only offer opinion here:



    ” And now, with the Hoops in their rightful place at the top of the table,”


    That came from Celtic in an email giving information re tickets for the Killie game.


    IMO, that ` our rightful place`comment sits beside the `ten in a row` chant in reflecting a sense of superiority I would normally associate with another Glasgow Club.

  23. Silver City 1888 on



    League winning performances I think you’ll find.

  24. AuroraBorealis79 on

    Interesting article from Reporting Scotland regarding Odsonne Edouard, which apparently originates from L’equip



    “Celtic star Odsonne Edouard ‘had agreement with Monaco’ say reports in France



    The Ligue 1 club are said to have pulled out of a deal



    SHARE By Gabriel McKayReporter



    Reports in France state that Monaco moved to sign Odsonne Edouard in the summer, only to pull out when a deal seemed to have been agreed.



    The Celtic striker has started the season in blistering form, with six goals in 11 games


    According to L’Équipe though he could well have departed this summer, with reports that talks with Monaco were at an advanced stage.



    The newspaper states that in June the Ligue 1 club made a concerted effort to convince Edouard to sign, and he had agreed in principle to a contract.



    After talks advanced with Celtic, the striker was ready to fly out to the principality to sign his contract with Monaco, but the principality club pulled out at the last moment without telling Edouard why.



    They returned later in the summer to try again, but after the breakdown in talks the Frenchman was not interested.



    Monaco then signed Wissam Ben Yedder and Islam Slimani, who have four goals in two games between them.”

  25. We are running out of moaning material ghuys….always the same with these international breaks.

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