The SFA are trolling Celtic


We won the game, so this is not sour grapes, and the goal which gave St Johnstone the lead was a lesson in defensive failures: Matt O’Riley should have cleared the ball, Joe Hart should have commanded his six yard box, both carry a lot of responsibility for the goal.

However, Matt had to break free from a shirt hold to even get to the ball and the St Johnstone player who won the ball one yard in front of goal did so with his arm, which was fully extended from his body.  There is no need to fire off into a ‘They’re all against us’ rant, this may well be true, but it does not matter.  What is without doubt is that our refereeing and video assisted refereeing is not good enough.

There is so much shirt pulling in the game that referees and VARs could effectively decide the outcome of any game they choose.  Sometimes it is punished, on other occasions it is not.  Matt O’Riley was ‘unlucky’ in this respect yesterday.

The handball rule is clearer.  Play the ball with your hand or arm when it is extended from your body inside the box, and you can expect VAR to get involved.  It is inexplicable that such an event led to the opening goal yesterday.

VAR has not made our game worse, it is not the thing that has enabled one team to benefit, what it has done is turn the spotlight onto something which has been going on for a century.  We need VAR because we need its spotlight in order to drive improvement.  There was no way referee Don Robertson could be accused of turning a blind eye to yesterday’s handball.  He was unsighted and it happened too quick.

The VAR on the other hand?  It is just not good enough.  The SFA are trolling us if they pretend otherwise.  And for the record, I don’t believe the apparent randomness of outcomes is random.

It is a great benefit to know what your opponent will do.  Celtic absolutely know what our next several opponents will do at corner kicks.  They will put a wide-bodied player on Joe Hart.  Unless things change, Greg Taylor will attempt to out-muscle that player and prevent him from inhibiting Joe.  Joe will be unable to command his six-yard box.  What happens next is anyone’s guess, but the likelihood of a goal being scored is far higher than the paltry 3% industry standard.

Armed with this knowledge, we should never be fragile from a similar situation again.

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  1. Hart couldn’t get to catch the ball due to bodies in front of him,he should have went over the top of them and punched it

  2. Oh has earned a start now,we need to play him and Kyogo up front now,look how much more possession we had in the St Johnstone half when he came on,and if we start Iwata as a holding midfielder, and play Callum further forward, it could transform the team IMO

  3. Here’s a daft suggestion. When defending a corner leave only Joe Hart in the 6 yard box. If Joe can’t get to the ball then it must be obstruction.




  4. “The SFA are trolling us ”



    Should have stopped that sentence right there Paul , it’s been going on for ever …😜

  5. “ Armed with this knowledge, we should never be fragile from a similar situation again.”



    Lazio did the same thing for all of their early corners and had clearly spotted the weakness. We did go into Sundays game forearmed.



    We have had a statistical anomaly at corners for at least 10 years. We concede from too many and score from previous few. (Or at least that’s my strong perception).



    I don’t concede that this is down to the players; there must be a way to coach this better, we need to spend more time on it.

  6. In what Planet fitba would you designate Greg Taylor to mark, say the Motherwell centre, at a corner kick. Who dictates this, Is it John or Brendan? Cannot possibly be Callum McGregor, who is Captain only in name, though he did offer some leadership in the second half. This is basic stuff, we have three other centre backs not playing, including one on loan from Liverpool who is pretty good in the air. Out of Europe we can switch to a back three for the rest of the season, push Greg forward if necessary, and play two up front. I stated yesterday I do not want any new signings in January, no projects, no panic buys, no, use the squad we have, not the one Brendan now apparently wishes he did have. Let him and the coaching team do their job, there is more than enough skill, ability and footballing nous at Celtic Park to push on and win the SPL and the Scottish Cup, one game at a time Sweet Jesus. Starting Wednesday against Hibernian.

  7. I’m afraid I have zero sympathy here. Joe is now becoming a liability and Matt had ample opportunity to mess up his hair and heeder the ball away



    oFC the last minute save redeemed him, but the defending really need a second look. Johnston for the hopless attempt at stopping the cross and Scales and Taylor for schoolboy ball watching

  8. Shaun-



    Not sure if you have seen this angle

  9. I dont think the 3% stat really applies to a Celtic team that will always be smaller than our opponents, we’ll always have a trouble at set pieces against a team with 3 centre backs and big strikers. Given that, our set piece defending has been very good in the last couple of seasons, Gavin Strachan seems to have been good at his job.



    It would be nice if the referees were a bit more “aware” of the tactic thats being used against us, theres foul play against our keeper every time, obstruction doesnt seem to be a thing anymore, but they arent and wont be so its back to the training ground where we’ll have to work on a another solution to a uniquely Celtic problem.



    I wonder if it will come into the club and Brendan’s thinking when looking at a new keeper. Not easy to find a six yard box keeper these days – watch the best in the world in the EPL and very few of them seem to be. Playing the ball out from the back, and making saves seems to be far higher a priority, and the best are still making a lot of errors if you believe the experts.



    Difficult for someone to get someone with the required skills and the mentality to deal with the pressure of making the inevitable errors that all keepers make

  10. CELTIC MAC on 4TH DECEMBER 2023 12:29 PM



    GT doesnt mark the man in front of the keeper. He tried to stop the guy from blocking JH



    We need our big strong guys to header the ball away

  11. CELTIC MAC on 4TH DECEMBER 2023 12:29 PM



    One of our weaknesses is poor / delayed distribution from both centre halves , Liam being the biggest culprit , going to 3 at the back will just make this worse . The young Polish lhad although looked more capable of breaking into midfield and playing a forward pass, if he ever gets fit.



    So I can’t see a back 3 anytime soon.



    We are facing the same problem for the last 10 plus years , the rest of the league is getting poorer and poorer every year , and our biggest problem week on week is complacency then followed by the jump in standard when facing European competition.



    Both problems are the reason we can’t attract experienced players at what is loosely termed the next level.




  12. JH , has never commanded his 6 yard area since he came , and for GT trying to block their player that is nonsense.

  13. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    “VAR has not made our game worse, it is not the thing that has enabled one team to benefit, what it has done is turn the spotlight onto something which has been going on for a century. We need VAR because we need its spotlight in order to drive improvement“.



    In this context we would define improvement as the ability to officiate with impartiality. But in order to improve at anything there must first be a willingness to improve. The only thing the SFA and it’s officials will attempt to improve on is making their bias and cheating less obvious.

  14. celtic40me



    Really? And he does this with his arms around a guy twice his size.


    Tactical nonsense.

  15. The Battered Bunnet on

    Top class teams don’t lose goals from corner kicks, or more generally, from long balls into the box.



    Celtic do.



    Celtic’s is very much NOT a VAR problem. The root cause is a little closer to home.

  16. CELTIC MAC on 4TH DECEMBER 2023 12:52 PM



    It was Jaiyeshemi who isnt a big guy. Our big guys are better employed being up against their big guys

  17. ekbhoy



    I think a back three allows the wide players to receive the ball a bit further forward, or at least offer up that option. SPL teams tend to cause us problems on the break, eg St Mirren recently, a back three should be able to cope with that. Seem to remember Boyota, DeNayer and Benkowitc was it, under Brendan last time out as a back three, so he’s tried it before.

  18. The Class of 67 on

    If VAR can determine off-sides, should officials not use it to tell refs where to draw 10 yard line. Sunday’s measurement was a joke!!!!

  19. Got to say, not a fan of VAR, but used correctly !!!!, I can deal with it. However, we all know how it goes, do we not ?


    Yellow cards now bugging me, an small foul, a yellow card, spoiling the game. Just award a foul and get on with the game, it is a contact sport after all , no?




  20. Im not sure about the whole season but at this point last year our xg conceded from corners was excellent, almost twice as good as the next best team, Sevco.



    Scales brings qualities to the team that Carl didnt but defending corners has never been the strongest part of his game. I wouldn’t do it myself but maybe we need a stronger defender alongside CCV

  21. A big part of our set piece problem stems from the absence of Starfelt imo. His biggest strength was aerial clearances and his reading of the game to get into position to allow him to header clear. Liam for all his good work is very much a downgrade at CB for me.



    So at corners, if you can’t beat them, join them. We get more corners than our opponents, stick CCV on their goalie and get physical. The referee will find it difficult to allow goals like yesterday to stand if he’s blowing us up for the same fouls at the other end.

  22. stephenofderby on

    Yesterday in commentary Chris Sutton referred to crowding Joe Hart as a ‘tactic’. If St Johnstone used the same ‘tactic’ against the The Rangers the whistle would been blown before the ball even reached the box for a foul. It’s not a tactic. It’s sanctioned foul play. It’s exactly the same scenario when we are defending our box from open play. We are nervous as kittens and terrified to make any sort of contact which can be looked at on the new trial by TV. I always knew that in Bonnie Scotland VAR would be applied to suit and coupled with the game management in real time it makes our title campaigns so much more difficult.



    We were not great in the first half yesterday and thats why Brendan gets paid the big bucks. Mikey Johnson changed the game and the three points are massive. Imagine just for once that the VAR decision goes the way of Celtic and the goal gets chopped off. Never going to happen……

  23. CELTIC MAC on 4TH DECEMBER 2023 1:01 PM



    I take your point on board , I just don’t think we have the players to get the ball out from centre back at the moments

  24. There were a couple things VAR could have looked at on their goal. Obvious one is the hand ball, but the player who committed that foul also bundled 2 players into Joe Hart as the ball was coming down. I thought VAR reviewed every goal?



    However, it’s just bad defending by us. Hart, Taylor and O’Riley had no desire to get to the ball and StJ wanted it more. We should not have Taylor and O’Riley in these positions as they’re way under powered. How many goals do we have to lose before the coaching team see that Taylor is a liability in the box at corners. Stick him on the post where he can at least maybe stop a ball crossing the line.

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