The script is written


Notwithstanding the possibility of further setbacks from tonight’s international games, or from commercial flights back to Glasgow, the core of Neil Lennon’s team for Saturday looks stable.

Assuming Christopher Jullien is fit, he will play alongside Shane Duffy and Kristoffer Ajer, with Vasilis Barkas in goal.  The central metronome of the team: Callum McGregor and Scott Brown, will be in-situ, Jeremie Frimpong and debutant Diego Laxalt will occupy the wingback roles.

That leaves three places for the manager to fill.  Albian Ajeti is now beyond his expected recuperation period and should be ready for 90 minutes, but Neil will be mindful of how his decision to throw a recuperating Mohamed Elyounoussi into December’s League Cup Final backfired.  Moi was a passenger at Hampden and Celtic did not spark until after he was replaced.  Albian plays a different role and I expect he will get the nod.

That leaves two slots to fill, a forward and an attacking mid.

Odsonne Edouard’s health will be assessed when he arrives in the country less than 24 hours before kick-off.  It is a lot to ask of a player to start under these circumstances, but he persistently terrifies the Newco defence.  If he has remained asymptomatic throughout it is likely we will see him at some point.

I would start Leigh Griffiths in a heartbeat.  He has experience performing in and winning these fixtures.  His attitude is perfect for them and he is a born goal-scorer; for years, the sugar in our tea.  Patryk Klimala will be full of confidence after his remarkable recovery and goal in Perth last time out.  I doubt he will start but he is a striker – just think back to the aforementioned League Cup Final, when Lewis Morgan started up front.  That really was an understrength Celtic team.

Ryan Christie would fill the attacking mid role, were he not excluded while healthy, but this is one position Neil is drowning in options for.  Olivier Ntcham is most likely to get the start, but Elyounoussi, David Turnbull and Tom Rogic are all more than capable, although I would hold Tom for a late goal-scoring cameo.

It is understandable that news of pandemic exclusions are alarming, but frankly, I don’t know what anyone is worried about.   The script is written for this one.

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  1. One game at a time Paul. Come on Scotland! ;-)



    Garcia Lorca from last article – is your younger brother, Jimmy? Asking as an ex colleague ;-)







    I’m sure bright bloggers here and supporters generally can both enjoy the moment and question whether complacency is evident. Huns have got better. Have we?



    Forster better than Barkas?


    Julien better than Duffy?


    Frimpong better than Lustig vintage?


    Laxalt better than Boli?


    Midfield still too reliant on an aging Brown?


    Ajeti better than the Griff?



    I think we have a terrific squad but has the first 11 upgraded or are we too reliant on those with the winning gene as the strategy ?



    They have a disciplined team with an understood system. Clarke showed at Killie you can go far on that even with inferior players. They have less reliance on Morelos for goals.



    I hope 10 months of Neil mulling that defeat will provide us with the win but our play this season has felt all a bit pre-season still, getting by on last ditch hail marys or moments of superior skill.



    I hope we hammer they bassas but very close to call. Worth asking : how did that happen?




  3. Pingback: The script is written Paul67 - Celtic FC News Aggregation

  4. If we have no more call offs I think we have more than enough in the squad to beat the tribute act.



    Its about formation and tempo, set our stall out early and defend on their 18 yard line.



    D :)

  5. Given Lennys comments about Jules match readiness affecting his earlier performances I’m not sure throwing him in is greatest idea..

  6. Wednesday and I’m oddly confident.



    Not overly, just a little.



    I fully expect to be bricking it come Saturday morning.



    What time do the pubs open?

  7. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Nice and positive Pablo. Like it.



    Bit of a conundrum up front for me.



    Ajeti doing 90 minutes?



    Leigh is ready to make a significant contribution but not 90 minutes.



    Patryck can easily last the whole game.




    Garcia Lorca – your recollection of the 1957 cup final in the last thread was an absolute joy to read.



    Thank you.



    Hail hail



    Keep The Faith

  8. A midfield diamond of Callum at the base, Ollie on the right, Moi on the left and Tam Rogic at Number 10.



    Ollie supporting Frimpong, Moi and Diego on the left. Balanced attacking on the channels.



    Eddie (left) and Ajeti (right) doing damage in the box.



    Cameos from a very important Scott Brown (a la St Johnstone) to close us out, Turnbull, Leigh Griffiths & Polish Paddy (to stretch their tired legs)…



    Three big lads at the back.



    HH ya dirty Hun scum :)

  9. Big Wavy



    How did it happen?



    It was inevitable. All Empires fall and, one day, don’t know when, we will lose a league.



    No team wins for ever. These days you have to rebuild the team every year with half a dozen squad departures and a half dozen arrivals. When those who depart leave for big money, they are rarely replaced by better as we have to recruit from a less rich market than that to which we sell.



    We landed lucky when we replaced Moussa with Edouard. Eddy was not in Moussa’s class but, after 2 years here he was reaching those standards but, when he goes, we will have to repeat the trick againand might not be so lucky.



    We were not so lucky when we replaced Virgil, eventually, with a big punt on Jullien. I can confidently state that, at no time in the future will big Chris reach Virgil’s standards but he has proven to be a reasonable asset nonetheless.



    In our project buys, we have landed lucky with Ajer and Frimpong, both derided as “projects” when we acquired them but both quickly made the first team. There is bound to be a lot of wastage, however, in the prospects market, whether bought or loaned in with a view to buying, and Arzani, Musonda, Weah etc; were not successes



    I remember, back in the 90s feeling that Pat McGinlay or Mike Galloway might be the final pieces in the jigsaw to get us back competitive with their financially bloated 9iar team but I was deceiving myself. It took the arrival of players like Van Hoojdonk, Di Canio and Thom to make us competitive but they were not the ones that eventually beat the old Rangers.



    Whne we won in 1997/98, we did not have a sperior squad to them, but we had one devloping genius in Henrik Larrson, we bought a backbone of dependable pros who were not intimidated by previous defeats to Rangers ( Reiper, Lambert, Burley, Boyd, Stubbs, McKinlay and O’Donnell) and we developed a couple of youngsters who had not been damaged too much by previous lost campaigns (McNamara and Donnelly). We still had severe weaknesses in the goalkeeping and subs bench realtive to them but, we had, at long last, got a squad together that proved capable of beating their battle -hardened superstars.



    They helped us a bit with this by announcing that so many were leaving at the end of their 10iar effort, that a bit of complacency crept in until it was too late to stop the slide. Still it was a damn close run and we almost threw it away ourselves ahving earned the lead with a few games to go.



    Sevco fans believe they have met their 1997/98 moment. They believe that Kent, Kamara, Morelos, Jack, Hagi and Barisic have got them to that level and they have surrrounded these with hard working cynical journeymen like Tavernier, Goldson, Davis, Roofe and Balogun. Personally, I think they are a bit short on the flair front and, certainly on the bench. Only Kent and Barisic have consistent excellence. Hagi and Tavernier can turn it on occasionally but have more off days than good and I cannot see Goldson & Helander as anywhere near the level of Stubbs & Reiper or Kamara & Jack being able to match Lambert & Burley.



    But, I might be wrong. All it takes to put us in peril , is a bad batch of injuries and suspensions, relative to them, or a Covid size hole in our team. We all fully expect a lot of departures once or if 10 iar ha been achieved but , so far, no-one has made the mistake of announcing they are going in January or June, so we learned one thing of value from their lost 10 campaign.



    I genuinely believe that we will prevail this season, Covid allowing, but, with a massive re-build ahead of us as we see retirals and transfers being sought by players who have “done it all” up here, I would not be laying odds on us making it 11.



    But, it was always going to be closer. We play each other in a competitive league, 4 times each season. Teams that beat us in one out of 4 of those games are heartened that they can do it again, Before you know ith they are winning half of these games or more. That’s how a title gets lost.




    We might lose out on 11iar, 12iar or Xiar, who knows, but we will oneday lose it, that is a safe guarantee




    On the bright side, competition, believe it or not, is good for us. We become a better team when challenged. Constant winnig with ease might be good for spectators hearts but it is not good for the developmet of a team.




    I want a challenge but I want us to triumph in that challenge. It is an age old sporting dilemma. If you wnat o better yourself, you had better experience defeat occasionally and take lessons from it.

  10. Big Jimmy – Hope you are well, get on here and let us know you are ok.



    MM- missed your usual Red Biddy posts sir, hope all is well in Ozland.



    D :)

  11. BIG WAVY on 14TH OCTOBER 2020 12:28 PM –



    love yer passion in your post sir especially the last line.



    D :)

  12. SFTB,



    Good post fella and good points. Players bettering themselves with some decent competition should also extend to boards, management teams and us as fans – I can see complacency but I live in hope that we correct things come saturday with a new system that failed to deal with the huns twice last December.



    I’d be more confident if I seen that system being practised and refined to date on the field this season.




  13. onenightinlisbon on




    Great stuff but some of our supporters don’t know what it’s like to lose in the same way as many of ours didn’t know what it was like to win in the 90’s… I hope we keep winning but your words are true, teams lose sometimes…let’s ensure it’s not saturday though….

  14. In the run up to a game that is not An Old Firm Game, though it certainly seems to generate as much interest as one, anyone wondering how we come to be where we are might find some clues here.







    ‘Celtic backer Dermot Desmond misses rivalry with Rangers


    Last updated on3 October 20123 October 2012






    Celtic majority shareholder Dermot Desmond admits he misses the city rivalry with Rangers in the Scottish Premier League.



    Rangers are playing in Division Three following a summer financial meltdown, leaving Celtic to dominate the SPL.



    “For us, it’s disappointing that they’re not there,” Desmond told BBC Sport.



    “But that was a decision by the various clubs, a decision by the various leagues and we accept those decisions.”




    The only chance of an Old Firm derby this season will come in knock-out competitions, with the next possibility coming in Thursday’s draw for the quarter-finals of the Scottish Communities League Cup.



    Desmond was talking the day after Celtic ended their long wait for an away win in the group stages of the Champions League with a 3-2 victory over Spartak Moscow.



    And he would have relished the continued domestic competition with Rangers at a time when he believes manager Neil Lennon has created a particularly strong squad.



    “Rangers is a great football club, it has a great history and it’s unfortunate that they have been relegated,” said the Irish businessman.



    “We would certainly like to contest with them every week – we believe we’ve got a better team and a better management structure.



    “Rangers is a fantastic football club, it is one of the greatest football clubs in Great Britain, we’ve got to acknowledge that. But we can only look after ourselves.”



    Desmond is sure that the Ibrox club will eventually return to Scotland’s top flight and believes they are needed there for the size of their support alone.



    However, in the meantime, he believes that Celtic, following a summer of turmoil and division in Scottish football, can help lift the spirits of the nation by their exploits in the Champions League.



    “There’s been some controversial issues, but the performance in the Champions League certainly boosts everybody who takes a pride in Scottish football, pride in the club itself, but also it creates an appetite to support Scottish football in its entirety,” he added.



  15. Ernie – Yep. Keep them close enough to make it competitive does seem an unspoken corporate strategy.



    Not one the huns seemed to care about during their tainted 9IAR…




  16. OnenightinLisbon,



    The 1990s! The first Mrs Wavy, a football-hating, Parisienne lady, met me at the front door after another ballache of a defeat by der hun and said: “Why don’t you just support Rangers, they always seem to win” !



    Divorced a few months later.




  17. I wonder if DD still feels the same way about them, after hearing the songs from the directors of the new club, if what Phil said was true, when we lost the penalty shoot-out, mibees aye, mibees naw, por cierto



    Hun-skelper Rogic for me.




    All day long fella.

  19. Melbourne Mick on

    Hello again all you young rebels.





    Just caught your post from earlier David, kept myself of the


    rid stuff, so far, lol, this week.


    I know I’ll be absolutely rat ersed this weekend after the Bhoys


    hump the bilious bigots.


    And we’ll all be glued to the telly on Sunday to hear Daniel Michael


    Andrews tell us what restrictions he is lifting.


    Hopefully the pubs will open and I can murder a lovely pint of the


    black nectar 8-))


    H.H. Mick

  20. Has Rogic been away for international games? Been looking and couldn’t see any Oz games…

  21. Bada – He’s been on the Celtic training videos and pics since last week. Looking extremely fit, handsome, sexy, skilful and in need of a hunskelp…




  22. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    SFTB – enjoyed that. Cheers.



    Much of it I agree with.



    I’d take a different view on the seasons after this one.



    If we do 10IAR, Sevco are finished and 11 and 12 won’t be as difficult to achieve.



    In the meantime, hopefully they can do us all a favour with their Europa League results and get Scotland into 12th place ahead of Turkey (or even 11th ahead of Ukraine).



    Scottish champ goes straight into CL playoff with EL group stage guaranteed.

  23. MM – aye have to be a good Bhoy during the week so as the Mrs lets us party at the weekend. :)



    Well maybe no party but a good swally.



    D :)

  24. Largely agree Paul, and hope COVID doesn’t render your selection musings premature.


    But, naw; starting even an experienced FB with no English speaking skills might just put a twist at the end of the script you mention.


    Not that I want that, but for me GT is (snuggles tin hat on) knows the stakes and is a more reliable bet to start right against that lot. HH

  25. Jobo Baldie @12.08pm


    Re the 7-1 game and Lisbon. I am the middle of 3. Jimmy is older than me by 4 years and is, I believe, an ex colleague of yours from Centre 1. I am guessing now.

  26. Back to Basics @12.21pm


    Thank you for the kind sentiments re the 7-1 game. My left brother ( by 4 years ) will almost certainly be able to add further colour.


    I still have the match programme.

  27. Garcia Lorca


    I have just read and thoroughly enjoyed youe 10:55 am post. The past becomes the present when I read those kind of stories. I listened to it on the radio and remember asking my sister to get out of the way as the penalty was about to be taken !






    `I would not be laying odds on us making it 11.`



    My feeling is that , if we win the tenth, Sevco will go downhill and we will continue to win title after title.

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