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Three again outshines four at the back

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Celtic were at their scintillating best as they hit St Johnstone with a treble of goals in the opening 26 minutes; the home team were fortunate the score was as low as three when Leigh Griffiths volleyed Greg Taylor’s cross into the net.

The link-play between Odsonne Edouard and Griffiths, as well as the crossing from Taylor and James Forrest set the tone.  The silky pitch encouraged Callum McGregor and Olivier Ntcham to display their range of passing, but for me, the formation is the most consistent predictor of Celtic’s performance.  When we play three at the back we play better than when we have a back four.

On Saturday we play on the bumpiest acre of Lanarkshire, so Neil has my sympathies in having to decide how to approach that game, but I would make last night’s formation the default from now on.

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  1. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Roll on midnight.

     

     

    Can’t come quick enough.

     

     

    So Benkovic to Bristol City then?

     

     

    Does that mean the club will be rescinding its ‘Happy Birthday Brendan’ message?

  2. “Talking down,” not denying.

     

     

    I equally love and hate the way deadline day makes me feel. .

  3. Want an eye opening laugh fest?

     

     

    Graeme McGarry in the Herald!

     

     

    Kafka couldn’t have imagined this up!

     

     

    AlernativeuniverseCSC

  4. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ TURKEYBHOY on 31ST JANUARY 2020 11:26 AM

     

     

    Celtic By The Numbers have produced numerous articles now on Broony individually and relative to other players (Soro and the player from Motherwell). It’s clear that he is declining (as you would expect on account of his age) and that his level of performance is now dipping below those he has been compared to. There is no shame in that. Lambert, Boyd etc- all were around as club captain who were no longer first choice.

     

     

    I would like to see Broony dropped for home games against weaker opposition. When playing against opposition who play 10 men behind the ball, I don’t see the utility of playing Broony who is neither creative or a regular goal threat. I acknowledge he got the winner against Hamilton, but the stats are clear that Broony is not a creative/attacking threat in general.

     

     

    Ibrox away/European games- first on the team sheet. Ross County at home- give me a midfield three composed out of: McGregor, Christie, Ntcham or Rogic.

  5. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    Sevco linked with Burnley player on loan- Matěj Vydra. 26 caps for the Czech Republic. Again, not a bad signing for them.

  6. GuyFawkesaforeverhero on

    Possible two Celts on BBC Scotland tonight, Thistle v Ayr.

     

     

    Ross Doohan seems to be first choice goalie at Ayr, Lee O’Connor may get a run for Thistle. I can easily imagine him voted the best player in the league by the end of the season. Good luck to both.

  7. Wanyama will not be coming . We need a centre a half and winger.

     

    Bitton is not and never will be a centre half..Actually cant believe we gave him another contract

  8. Celtic squad currently coming out the window. I’ve added a few notes for players covering.

     

     

    I wouldn’t panic if we fail to add.

     

     

    Bitton, Elhamed & Welsh can help out the other 3 at CB.

     

     

    Christie has shown himself capable of covering at LW.

     

     

    Maybe things look different if Neil Lennon doesn’t rate Arzani or Shved at all. But we don’t really know. Especially in Arzani’s case considering he’s only just became available for selection in January.

     

     

    GK (3) Gordon, Bain, Forster

     

    RB (3) Elhamed, Frimpong, Bauer

     

    LB (2) Taylor, Boli, Hayes (cover)

     

    CB (3) Jullien, Ajer, Simunovic, Bitton (cover), Elhamed (cover)

     

    CM (7) Ntcham, Brown, McGregor, Soro, Henderson, Bitton, Robertson

     

    RM (3) Forrest, Shved, Arzani

     

    LM (2) Elyounoussi, Hayes, Christie (cover)

     

    AM (2) Rogic, Christie

     

    ST (4) Edouard, Bayo, Griffiths, Klimala

  9. CELTIC40ME on 31ST JANUARY 2020 11:35 AM

     

    Big Victor will smash Huns for fun

     

     

    —-

     

     

    Maybe a younger, faster, fitter Soro will too.

     

     

    And….

     

     

    Play with a new CH team mate who knows how to repel their corners.

     

     

    And…

     

     

    Play with a new wide man who gives their RB and LB no chance to get forward.

  10. BIG WAVY on 31ST JANUARY 2020 11:53 AM

     

     

    Nah, set up properly win the midfield and we’ll beat them

  11. THE HANDS CANT HIT WHAT THE EYES CANT SEE on 31ST JANUARY 2020 11:45 AM

     

    Sevco linked with Burnley player on loan- Matěj Vydra. 26 caps for the Czech Republic. Again, not a bad signing for them.

     

     

    ____

     

     

    Pretty good signing.

     

     

    Guy has never really cut it in the EPL but has always been a top player in the Championship.

  12. Timaloy29

     

     

    The squad issue is more complex than names on a list though…

     

     

    – Gordon is unhappy and wants away.

     

    – Injury crisis at RB and a loanee who looks like a Jerry Toljan ‘all fur coat and no knickers’

     

    – Boli out the picture at LB and Hayes a utility man.

     

    – Jozo can’t do a run of games and so we have no cover for the 2 CHs.

     

    – Robertson and Henderson are younngsters and won;t be be picthed in for the fothcoming dogfight

     

    – Forrest is unopposed as Schved is doomed and Arzani needs nursed back\

     

    – LM is a waste for RC, Hayes average and Moi a long-term injury

     

    – Up front ok as long as Leigh remains ‘healthy’ and Klimala hits the ground running.

     

     

    Our squad is imbalanced, too many undroppables, poor injury records and lacks quality in back-up. I fancied more work done in January than has happened, even before thinking about the end of contract for Frazer, Moi and the departure of Eddie.

     

     

    Systemic issues that aren’t being addressed.

  13. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ TIMALOY29 on 31ST JANUARY 2020 11:51 AM

     

     

    The problem is that some of those players’ injury records mean that they cannot be relied upon to be fit for the run in. If 3-5-2 is now the favoured formation which, by Lenny’s own admission, it seems to be, then we really need another CB in. Preferably someone with a bit of pedigree on loan.

     

     

    Lenny has already stated that he wants 4 strikers- for two positions. By the same reasoning, 6 CBs for 3 positions are required. Now, Jozo cannot put a run of more than 5 games together. He has played an average of 31 games a season for the last 3 years, i.e he misses roughly half a season each year.

     

     

    Nir has already missed a couple of large chunks of the year and with another hamstring injury, it’s likely we won’t see him till late Feb?

     

     

    Elhamed- great player but he has played roughly 1/3 of games this season of which only 4 have been league games. His injuries have seemed to be muscular in nature as well, as opposed to trauma related. I can’t see him coming in and playing from now to the end of the season. In any event, when is he due back, mid to late Feb?

     

     

    We realistically only have two reliable CBs in Jullien and Ajer. We need more cover. Given our resources and what is at stake, we should be making it a priority of getting some CB cover in. Losing 9IAR will result in a loss of millions, far outweighing the cost of any signings this window.

     

     

    On the winger front- again, a signing is required. Neil talked of a winger at the beginning of the window. We have subsequently lost Sinclair and Morgan and MJ (seemingly) for the season.

     

     

    In terms of reliable wingers, we have ME and JF. We need quality cover. To go into the rest of the season relying upon Shved/Arzani/JH would be crazy.

  14. Siempre Celtic (formerly Traditionalist88) on

    “Celtic are being a bit coy in terms of confirming the talks” – Luke Shanley

     

     

    Could be for several reasons, such as not to scupper the deal, alert other parties, or that there are no talks!

     

     

    HH

  15. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ CELTIC40ME on 31ST JANUARY 2020 12:02 PM

     

     

    Sure. At the moment they really struggle if Morelos is out. If they sign this guy they have another option who has a decent CV. Championship level is more than adequate to do a job in Scotland for Sevco.

     

     

    Would you say Bayo or Klimala are better than Vydra?

  16. 31 January 2020

     

    12:05

     

     

    BIG WAVY on 31ST JANUARY 2020 12:02 PM

     

     

    – “Gordon is unhappy and wants away.” – Gordon isn’t going anywhere. Once the window closes, he will have to focus on his fitba. He’s not going to refuse to play. If Forster gets injured its actually an opportunity for Craig to save his Celtic career or put himself in a shop window. It’s an issue to address in the summer.

     

     

    –”Injury crisis at RB and a loanee who looks like a Jerry Toljan ‘all fur coat and no knickers’ “- To be honest, its hard to say if it’s a crisis or not. We currently have Bauer fit who is fine. We await news on Frimpong’s tests and Elhamed’s most recent update was: “positive news, should be back soon”

     

     

    We had a fine young RB in O’Connor leave on loan. That should suggest we have confidence Elhamed will contribute. How many right backs should a team have on the books? 4? That seems excessive for one position in the 11.

     

     

    – “Boli out the picture at LB and Hayes a utility man.” – Greg Taylor is pretty good and should have the durability to see through the second half of the season. Boli isn’t completely written off. That wasn’t what Neil Lennon said. He’s lost his place but injury would give him an opportunity to grasp. Hayes isn’t ideal

     

     

    Same as above. I don’t think we need 4 people to cover LB.

     

     

    – “Jozo can’t do a run of games and so we have no cover for the 2 CHs.” – A CB would be nice I agree. But at the end of the day, Jullien & Ajer have proven a durable partnership. Jozo won’t be required to do a massive run of games. Elhamed & Bitton are returning shortly and can share the burden.

     

     

    – “Robertson and Henderson are younngsters and won;t be be picthed in for the fothcoming dogfight”

     

    We have Soro, Ntcham, Brown, McGregor & potentially Christie able to play that position. I think that’s suitable numbers. I think Henderson is up to it against most teams. I’d prefer not to play him at Ibrox but he’s an option that can be utilised. Allows other players a chance to rest/recover

     

     

    – “Forrest is unopposed as Schved is doomed and Arzani needs nursed back\” – I can’t know Lennon’s opinion for sure. Maybe he doesn’t fancy either at all. Maybe he’s being sincere when he says Shved just needs time.

     

     

    – “LM is a waste for RC, Hayes average and Moi a long-term injury” – Moi is due back soon. Disagree on Christie. He’s played on the left plenty and has done so effectively. We were playing better before the Sevco game with Ryan on the left. We changed it and brought MJ in. It hampered us.

     

     

    “Systemic issues that aren’t being addressed.” – January isn’t the time for major surgery on the squad. The time is limited and the options even more so. The summer is a far more important window and I believe the last one was a success.

     

     

    Do you see any well run clubs doing a lot of business? Liverpool, Manchester City, Bayern Munich? It’s very limited.

     

    It’s amazing to me that the squad becomes not fit for purpose every window regardless of results. 10 domestic trophies on the bounce. 16 wins in 17 domestic games. Europa League group won with 2 games to spare.

     

    That was done with the same squad. We’ve had no meaningful departures.

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