Three at the back may change tomorrow


Liverpool’s domestic invincibility contrasted with their result away to off-form Atletico Madrid last night.  Domestically imperious PSG fared no better in Dortmund.  In Europe, even for the reigning champions, away ties are difficult.

Copenhagen manager, Stale Solbakken, sounded far from confident this week when discussing his team’s chances against Celtic, but tomorrow night, 38,000 people will make the Parken Stadium as intimidating an environment as we have visited this season.

Solbakken noted the success Celtic are having with playing three at the back.  His game plan will be based on exploiting this formation.  The tactical hierarchy is not absolute.  Better systems emerge, are nullified and decline.  Neil Lennon changed formation a back four at Pittodrie on Sunday when we were unable to play through Aberdeen.  We could see the same change mid-game tomorrow.

Some of us will remember a 2001 visit to Scandanavia, when Rosenborg knew a front three would beat Celtic’s 3-5-2 formation.  Martin O’Neill was not one for varying tactics.

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    I had left the club by 1985, hung my boots up due to old age!



    Thanks for the memories!

  2. St Tams not too sure about that, Frimpong is brilliant going forward but hasn’t really being tested defensively against better opposition,


    If we are going 3 at the back & Jeremie was playing a more forward attacking role OK but with a back 4 I would prefer Elhamed if available.


    I would be surprised if Taylor is fit after Saturday and I’d expect Boli to slot in on the left of a back 4.

  3. Think we’ll go with Ajer at RB.



    Forster- Ajer – Simunovic- Julien-Taylor (Hayes if he’s injured)



    Forrest- Brown- CalMac- Elyounoussi







  4. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    CelticForever’s @ 9:32 – cheers.



    Popped over to JJ’s site for a look.



    Decent article but some of the comments are, IMHO, I’ll informed.



    Celtic have not kissed and made up with Sky.



    On the contrary – for Celtic there is no downside to taking this all the way.



    In the meantime, our board will ensure we retain the moral high ground by fulfilling all our contractual obligations to Sky (unlike them).



    Match day access is one.



    Non match day press conference access is not.



    Someone previously posted Ofcom SLAs. (Apologies – can’t recall who – but thanks)



    This one unlikely to conclude before the end of the season.



    Hail hail



    Keep The Faith

  5. Siempre Celtic (formerly Traditionalist88) on

    Its far from a given that 3 up top against our 2 at the back will result in a loss.



    If it was the case, they’d all be doing it to us!



    IF Lenny wants to keep the same system and they go 3 up front then an appropriate tactical adjustment can be made to account for that (if required). eg. limit the licence of one of the wing backs to bomb forward a little. Thats just one example.



    Then, they have gone 3 up, leaving nice gaps in midfield and/or wide areas for our attackers and spare wing back to exploit.



    I’d almost go 3 at the back just to tempt them in to going with 3 strikers, then watch us pick them off.




  6. Siempre Celtic (formerly Traditionalist88) on

    Also, no one has factored in the question of quality.



    Copenhagen have scored a pretty poor 37 goals in 21 domestic games and yesterday sold their top striker.



    If they have 3 strikers left, get them all on the pitch and watch the gaps appear in nice areas for us!




  7. See that the Glasgow Evening Times are still showing their own branch of sleekitery. VideoCelts have put up a tweet from FC Copenhagen which includes a short video welcoming Celtic fans tomorrow, with a Brexit reference that at least they(we) are still in Europe. For some reason the Evening Times have decided to headline that the video is ‘bizarre’!?







    The only thing bizarre is that a failing news(?) outlet decides to continue to alienate a potential readership.

  8. Celtic By Numbers – Are you taking requests?



    I’d love to see an article analysing Celtic’s performance at throw-ins, how quickly they are taken, ability to find an unmarked player, how long we retain possession from a throw.



    From my observation I’ve noticed we are painstakingly slow at taking throw-ins, we allow the opposition plenty of time to position, press and harass all the potential receivers. We’re also pretty dogmatic on the throw-in taker, even when a player is right at the ball they’ll often jog away while the left or right back makes his slow way from half-way down the field to take it, again presenting extra time for the opposition to position and press. Our movement at throws is also relatively poor.



    Opposition teams seem to have sussed our lack of confidence or ability in this area, they press every throw, even those in our own half. In contrast we often allow the opposition freedom at their throw-ins.



    No idea if this kind of data is monitored/recorded but I’m often left shouting at the TV at our inability to take a quick throw, or instantly lose possession from a throw.

  9. The Battered Bunnet on

    MON’s 3-5-2 is often referenced as a go-to standard, and there’s much evidence for its effectiveness in his first two seasons.



    However, we often overlook that we lost some critical matches through its inherent weakness (on show again at Pittodrie on Sunday) and the system was rumbled at the Scottish Cup final in 2002.



    2003 started with the loss to Basel, although the team was disrupted that night with Laursen and Sylla as wing backs, later replaced by Agathe and Guppy(!).



    We beat Liverpool in an unforgettable match at Anfield, but we forget that we were then promptly papped out of the Scottish Cup by ICT in our next match.



    In the matches versus Rangers that season, P5 W2 D1 L2, one of the losses being the League Cup Final. McLeish by now had figured it out, Mourinho followed his lead, and we lost to Porto in painful but similar circumstances to the two cup finals.



    The following season we beat a diminished Rangers five times in succession (the season the Egil had landed), but lost to Hibs in the League Cup and to Villareal in the UEFA Cup, having beaten Barca in the previous round.



    No system is infallible, and 3-5-2 is a system like any other, but it’s notable that we lost every away match in the Champions League during MON’s time, bar a solitary draw with Barca in 2004/05 in which we played 4-4-2, the season we finished 4th in the group.



    MON’s 3-5-2 gave us some of the best moments and memories, but also some real dull yin results. Against limited teams it’s apt to deliver a lot of goals scored, but against quality teams who know how to work it, it leaks goals at the back post.



    Personally, I’d rather we didn’t use it against better equipped sides.

  10. TBB – I don’t think MON was huge on fitness.



    A few pundits would remark how sluggish we sometimes looked with the exception of Henrik.

  11. Siempre Celtic (formerly Traditionalist88) on




    Of course as you point out every system has its weaknesses.



    I like 3 at the back for the extra body in the centre, where most goals are ultimately scored. You can also be flexible with the wing backs giving you extra cover if needed or support going forward.



    At Pittodrie on Sunday conditions were such that it was never going to be pretty. And.. we won.



    The Rangers league cup final was the one where Hartson had a perfectly good goal disallowed for offside.



    Also, I’d suggest that Copenhagen are not one of the better equipped sides anyway looking at their domestic goal return.



    I’d stick with the system at least at the start and rather than be afraid of 3 of their strikers I’d be excited about the possibilites the space they leave further up the pitch offers us…



    Ultimately I think we will be too good for them either way.




  12. Sanctions .


    Rangers not Celtic: Tues18 February 2020






    Charge 1 – Proved under deletion



    Sanction – £5000 fine, £3000 immediate and £2000 suspended until End of Season 2019/20



    Charge 2 – Proved



    Sanction – £10, 000 fine, £7000 immediate & £3000 suspended until End Season 2019/20d





  13. Certainly we need a bit more height in the team so I wouldn’t really want to see Frimpong defending the back post.

  14. surely a good idea to e mail Man City to cite Rangers (in liquidation) as


    evidence against their ban in europe

  15. Liverpool not doing too bad with the 3-5-2.Everything hinges on your wing backs.Liverpool have 2 terrific ones.Personally,I think Taylor and Jeremy are perfect for us.Both can bomb forward,both have pace to get back.We have loads of options for any system,without weakening the team.Terrific pool of players all over the park.

  16. Concur with SONSOFERIN’s views above re throw ins. I also find it odd that Christie ( reported in yesterday’s CQN article ) has no idea if he will be taking penalties, or that ‘ somebody might grab the ball off him.’ Shouldn’t the designated penalty taker be hitting 10-20 of them in training every day? This maybe explains why we miss so many.



    We have plenty of height,Jullien,Simo,Ajer.Andy Robertson,small ,at LB for Liverpool.Dont see that affecting them.Too many attacking positives to worry about the odd cross getting through.

  18. Throw ins are the one thing that drives me nuts watching games.Why we don’t use the multi-ball system,with more ball boys around the park is beyond me.Lost count of the number of times Taylor has no one to throw the ball to,because of the time we take to take the throw in.Every player marked.Aberdeen won possession 4 times in our half from our throw in.Cant believe it’s gone on so long.

  19. The Battered Bunnet on




    I’m enjoying this extended chat on the topic.



    You say “the extra body in the centre, where most goals are ultimately scored” but I’d make two observations.



    Firstly, my experience is that most goals from open play are scored at the back post 6 yard line. I don’t have any hard data to back that up, but I’m pretty confident. See Taylor on Sunday for example. (Maybe CBN can lob in some stats)



    Secondly, in a shuffle and block system, you’re a man down in the box as soon as the back 3 shuffle, not a man up, and the man is short at the back post. Generally on the six yard line…



    Of course we can point to the wing back as cover, but equally we know the shape of the game moves quickly, and unless you’re playing a strict 5-3-2 or 5-4-1 it’s inevitable that the space will go unoccupied repeatedly throughout the match, notwithstanding the huge athletic strain on the player.



    I do hope you’re right about Copenhagen, mind.

  20. The Battered Bunnet on

    An Tearmann, looking at the SFA notice, it’s the club that’s been sanctioned, not any given player. Both Morelos and Kent have outstanding (and adjourned) cases against them specifically. I think these two cases are for the behaviour of coaching staff.

  21. PHILBHOY, i’m lead to believe a good pal of mine is a bit of a legend down Cumbernauld Juniors way. Jim Moore, any truth in this?? HH



    I would love to see Elhammed at right back, as I think he is a class act. But I think this game has come to soon.


    We could always go with a back 4 of Ajer, Simonuvic, Julien and Taylor.


    As long as Bitton and Hayes are not in the back 4. Not defenders and don’t have defenders instinct

  23. Alan Hutton retires.


    Comment on The Bear Assed Den,


    “Get back up the road Alan,and get a job as a pundit.We need more Ra—-s men on .Too many Taigs on BBC”.


    Passed out,after reading that one.

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