Tie remains alive but AEK did their homework


This is one of those hard ties to analyse.  AEK were no more than a decent team.  Certainly not a clear cut above, and for that reason, the tie remains alive.  But despite being preseason, they defended impeccably.

They did their homework.  Tom Rogic, who was immense on Saturday, was not given a yard.  Celtic opened well with Callum McGregor the principle threat, most often when linking with Kieran Tierney.  After those two crafted the opening goal, AEK man-marked McGregor out of the game.

James Forrest was effective when used; it was his change of direction which drew the second yellow card for Galanopoulos, but we were overtly left sided, reducing Forrest’s effectiveness.  Olivier Ntcham was our creative fulcrum after McGregor was shut down, but the normally incisive balls into the box didn’t quite come off.

A few early mis-steps from Jack Hendry were not punished, but the resulting nervousness throughout the crowd was clear.  Central defenders are crucial to how Celtic play.  If you inhibit their willingness to step forward or show for a pass, you inhibit the entire team.

I’m not sure what Kris Ajer thought when he let a cross ball bounce inside the box a minute from the break.  It was an inexplicable decision which brought AEK level and changed their game plan for the second half.  Even tiring with 10 men, they defended their box flawlessly.

We regularly tried to find Odsonne Edouard with a ball over the top, but invariably found the striker dropping off to take a ball to feet.  Nothing seemed to work for him.

A word on Scott Brown.  Much of what Scott does is understated but I thought he raised the bar last night.  He bossed all his personal challenges.

I called AEK favourites when the draw was made and they are more so now, but they are not Barcelona, circa 2010.  We have been here before; no throwing of towels just yet.


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  1. I see over on Celtic news now they have an article that Mousa will be back for game on Tuesday.


    I think we will beat AEK with or without him over there. Obviously I want him back fit and rearing to go.






    D. :)

  2. Nye Bevans' rebel soldier on




    A very good analysis about the goings on at the club but we should


    have been able to land JM even with a Europa league budget.

  3. I rarely post but I feel compelled to do so after the last 72 hours. I always find it distressing when I read Celtic fans turn on each other. I have read some ridiculous comments from some because some fans have chosen to agree with our Manager abput the direction of the club.



    Brendan could not have been clearer on Tuesday. He is unhappy with the transfer activity (or lack of it) and also the signing policy of the club.



    Therefore when other Celts accuse some Celtic fans of being ridiculous and overly ambitious I find that incredible. The Manager is unhappy. That is what matters. BR is not an unreasonable man,



    Anybody with the ability to comprehend an interview (or interviews) can see that he is disappointed/unhappy/angry by not having signed one and he is making it clear to the fans that point.



    What is also key though is that he is also worried about who we are looking at. Its surely about balance. Develop some but have some that are ready.



    What concerns me is that this is not a read between the lines situation. BR is very articulate and considered when he speaks. For him to be so clear can only concern fans. You have to give your manager some of his targets and not just “club signings”



    Does anybody honestly think that BR has scouted Izzy, Denayer or Arzani? Really?



    We don’t know the facts of who we have looked at but we do know that for the third summer in a row we have gone into the Champions league qualifiers with inadequate defenders.



    As BR said we need to replace the three players that have left as a minimum. Not for numerical reasons but for quality reasons. We have five centre halves. Two of them are very young and raw (and both started on Wednesday), one is a waste of a salary and Boyata and Jozo have both made plentiful mistakes in the last two seasons.



    Several people have spoken about business decisions as to why we didn’t sign John McGinn. I find that laughable. He would have signed for us weeks ago. He was a target. Whether or not people think he would have been straight in the team is not the point. BR wanted him. Armstrong has gone and was not in the team every week but you need good replacements.



    We lost Roberts and signed Arzani. Where does he fit? We have Hayes, Sinclair, Forrest and Morgan already – not to mention Rogic and McGregor.



    As again the Manager says we can not just fill the team full of development players.



    Every point BR has made in the last 72 hours I have discussed with friends in the pub over the last season or two. I agree 100% with him on them all. He is not being unreasonable. We are not operating on a budget like Hibs or Aberdeen. We can attract quality players. His net spend is not a lot.



    The squad should not be a numbers game. It should have bene about bringing in two or maybe three really good standard players to bolster the squad. Instead we have arguments galore amongst the support and a negative feeling at the ground once again.



    We have a very strong squad but all we need to do is add some better quality and experience throughtout defence and midfield.



    It’s all unnecessary. Quite frankly it’s baffling.

  4. i'vehadtochangemymind on

    Don’t read the record this morning – serious warping of space time when it comes to BR

  5. mullet and co 2 on

    I wouldn’t worry too much. This is the unfolding scene at Lennoxtown.



    Marvin Compper is busy making his morning cuppa at Lennoxtown when he notices Peter Lawwells buggati Verona appearing on the horizon.



    He immediately drops his spoon and rushes to the Bosses office.



    MC: boss boss pistol Pete is coming up the driveway.



    Rodgers pauses from reading Lee Congertons latest scouting report on Motherwell and rises carefully from his desk to ensure he doesn’t tear his just the right side of tight pantaloons.



    BR: So he is Marvin. That must have been the quickest you have moved since you got here big man. Mind you he is taking his time coming up the drive there sure. If he mentions getting the driveway heated again here in order to make sure the players make it in in the snow I’ll turn his wee pistol on him. He tried to tell me to get it at my place when I phoned in to tell him I couldn’t get the Range Rover out during thon snowmageddon.



    MC: boss I think he might be in to go tonto over your justified and really accurate comments about transfers.



    Brendan sits back down and assembles his smile and practices his deep breathing on his Apple Watch app. Crosses then in crosses his legs.



    BOOM- the door flies open – Lawwell bursts in quickly followed by that guy from Celtic quick news who is trying valiantly to throw rose petals in Lawwells path.



    BANG – Lawwells fist smashes of the table sending powder into the atmosphere.



    PL: Right Brendan wtf are you doing? That’s 2 press conferences and 1 exclusive interview to Java’s tea boy too far.



    Brendan rises slowly (reasons explained above but It looks like a ploy to irritate Pistol).



    BR: Morning Peter have you met the Marv?



    Compper looks sheepish. Brendan knows Compper has been playing double agent for months since he dropped him. Informing Lawwell at every turn of how hard training is, how he pushed Kieran Tierney like an army drill sergeant and body shames Leigh Giffiths.



    BR: What’s up Peter? Fist bump?



    Peter Lawwell unbuttons his double breasted suit. This takes what seems to be an enternity due to the mans size and stature. A religious unbuckling of garments that gives a sense of the burden which is about to be unleashed.



    PL: Look wee man. I told you that money was for the Hotel and your away schmoozing with your wee pals in the press.



    BR: it looks like a green toblerone Peter. Big Billy will be holding the big cup looking at a green toblerone for centuries. If you really must build it just make sure my statue faces the Emirates. But you know my thoughts. McGinn or a premier Inn? Roberts or a Ramada? You brought me that sand dancer from Man City, he won’t be fit for 6 weeks and you have a contract that says he has to play in how many games? We have Dedryck here – a big beautiful Belgian…your coming in here with that guy bearing the moneyball book like he’s on the altar? I mean big Deek is like Paul Elliot in his prime and you want me to sell him and buy some other centre back who is just a young talent from Man City and develop him?



    PL: You picked Anton Rogan in your all time best Celtic eleven. I’m surprised you didn’t pick Martin Compston! Anton fecking Rogan – tells me everything I need to know about your understanding of coaching a defence. That alone should constitute a breach of contract and I’m surprised double D didn’t terminate you on the spot – mind you he hasn’t got a fecking clue either – Roy bloody Keane to work for me pah!



    BR: look Peter, I respect you. You are fine man and great person. You have developed this football club and you have done a fine job in making the double breasted suit look classy again after it was only seen on ageing jackeys but I need football players not LED lights. I need a full size indoor training pitch so that our wonderful Olivier can actually hit the target for once on a full size pitch. The fans won’t come hear to see the lights and Toblerone Ibis they are here for the one and only King Billy and Jimmy Johnstone … they don’t mind wiping their hands on their trousers after going for a pee or paying through the nose for a Diminoes. … but they are here to see the Celtic.



    PL: but this is part of the growth agenda and growing the commercial part of the company. Folk want green hotels modelled on that craggy design on the away strip in the bad old days. It’s the match day experience – walking past the hotel and up the Celtic way.



    BR: Peter I’m only here for 10 in a row. If you want to appoint Stevie Clarke fine but he doesn’t fit the shareholders rules on looking sharp? He’s a bit scraggy looking and sounds a bit Paul Lambert. I mean those guys you hang about with upstairs moaned about wee Lenny enough and his too tight Trackies snd then you went and brought in Ronnie to piss him off. Hibs might be our saving grace against Slippy G and the post truthers this season. If I go you’ll go with Stevie for two years then bag him cos he’s too defensive and looks a bit untidy and the fans moaned cos he played his favourites.


    Who are you going to go with then?



    PL: look let’s forget the hotel get big Deeds signed up and wee Paddy and hug this out.

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