Unprepared Celtic


Shakhter Karagandy covered 5k more ground than Celtic last night, 500m per outfield player.  That’s 5.5m per minute, per player, or an extra meter every 10 seconds or so.  That kind of advantage means that when the ball breaks loose in and around the danger area, the more active team are in space – which happened at both goals.

Conversely, when Celtic were in advanced positions Shakhter players were there in numbers. The difference was not caused by exceptional exertion by Shakhter, in their match with Maribor last night, Viktoria Plzen covered 11k more than Celtic, or a clear 2 meters every 10 seconds per outfield player.

Despite enjoying the vast majority of possession the Celtic players were lacking in movement and ideas. Being short of ideas is one thing but lack of movement is altogether unacceptable. We have to prepare fitness levels ahead of the second leg meticulously; Inverness on Saturday is only relevant for those who need game time ahead of Wednesday.

The Mouhokolo-van Dijk novice partnership was a surprise; a lot of faith was shown in players few of us know much about.  Could we have held Kelvin for another few weeks?  Would it have been less of a risk to play Ambrose and/or Mulgrew in defence? Yes to both, I suspect.

We learned Georgios is not a striker in 2009.  He is one of our most effective players when away from home but not as a striker.  Anthony Stokes is a striker but his style is just as unsuited to the formation we played last night as Georgios’. We seemed to pick a team to combat Shakhter’s strengths which didn’t play to our own.

I’m not convinced signing a player one week before an important game is an ideal preparation but taking the money early for Hooper, weeks before Amido Balde (or anyone else) has settled and considered a viable starter, is a calculated risk which is now in sharp focus.

We should also show some respect to Shakhter.  The club are miles out of their depth at this stage of European football but they left with all the credit.  After the game, manager Kumykov played down his chances, “we are not the favourites”.  He’s a clever man who knows what he is doing.

It is possible Celtic will play as badly next week but it’s more likely that we will put on a vastly better performance. Between now and then we have plenty of opportunity to wallow in an embarrassing defeat, so knock yourself out, but I’ll hold fire until the tie is decided, which I expect to be in Celtic’s favour. Bring it on.

You got to love European football.

Penalty kick practice, please……
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  1. Oscar Knox is my Hero - RWE on

    Just found out that Clarke Carlisle is Chairman of the Professional Footballers Association.



    In the USA we didn’t have him as co-commentator (Provan & Crocker here) but I saw an earlier post that Carlisle seemed to delight in his comments about Celtic players last night.



    Other say he called it right every time.



    If the players had been members of his own PFA would he be just as happy to stick the boot in?

  2. Somesaythedevilisdead on

    Still in shock and disgusted with that performance last night. We never play well and apply ourselves when we’re the so called favourites and it’s really starting to piss me right off!!! There’s way too much at stake to be performing under par en masse so I hope they’re as embarrassed as a lot of supporters trudging into work this morning. Karandy we’re average at best and will park their double decker at Parkhead right in front of the goals, are we good enough to get through them 3 times without reply? I think so but a repeat of that performance last night and a lot of goodwill towards certain players will be gone forever. So it’s over to them to repair the damage done hope their baws are big enough for their sake as well as the clubs…



    Still nipped CSC

  3. Morrissey the 23rd on

    tonydonnelly67 @ 03:48


    All you ever seem to do is moan and call Celtic supporters Huns.



    The Spirit Of Arthur Lee @ 12:14



  4. oscar knox is my hero – rwe



    12:23 on 21 August, 2013


    Dexter @ 1202



    Largely agree with much of what you posted.



    Team performance was well short of what they are capable of against a very beatable team. Commons was our best player and maybe is the captain in disguise.



    My apologies if any words yesterday caused offence. Defeat can bring out the worst in us.






    No problemo amigo



    Paul- you are conspicuously quiet on the (lack of) strategic moves by the club in respect of repairing the holes in the squad.



    We may well go through. We should go through. BUT WE SHOULD NOT BE IN THIS POSITION. Those with perceived influence in fans’ groups ought to be shouting from the rooftops that the gambling of the PLC board was unnecessary and dangerous and should be righted immediately.



    HH to the GB

  5. northerncelt67 on

    like Paul, I am going to leave my judgement until the second leg has been played. I am annoyed at how we performed last night, how one- dimensional we looked and just the overall lack of a plan B. I am however , convinced this is an extremely average team we are up against and I don’t believe we will perform as poorly again either.


    It looks like we the support, the 12th man, are going to have to raise the roof and if the team can score early doors, it becomes squeaky bum time for the visitors. I don’t see any new signings being made between now and then, not even a token one, so we will as ever put our trust in Neil and our team to get us and Mr Lawell out of this mess.








  6. tommytwiststommyturns supporting Wee Oscar on

    Commented on here a few weeks ago about the lack of movement within the team while in possession. If it was one or two players, then it wouldn’t be so bad, but it’s almost all of the forwards and midfielders. The blame for that must be placed with the coaching team!


    They should all sit down and watch games involving Lubo and Naka, two guys who made pass & move look ridiculously easy….which it should be, it’s a basic!!!




  7. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS forza Oscar and Mackenzie on




    I think he’s after a summariser’s job in Scotland,and knows the best way to go about it!

  8. The result just doesn’t get less embarrassing a day later. We packed the middle againsta team with no midfield…Let’s be honest, every facet of last night’s performance, from team selection, line out and substitutions reflect extremely badly on Neil Lennon.

  9. Oglach HH brave Oscar on

    Taking a lot of flack today over last night’s result. Ajax and Groningen supporting colleagues droping by my office just to let me know how bad Celtic are / look. Why did Virgil Van Dijk join such a poor team, Celtic Schijt etc etc . Last night’s game was dire in the extreme. Hard to believe that there were 2 teams vying to enter the CL group stages and compete with the Braca’s Man U’s and Inter Millans of the football world. Had I not had prior knowledge of the nature of the competition I would have guessed it was 2 poor pub teams playing. On the evidence presented last night either of these teams in the CL proper are going to be mere cannon fodder for the other teams to rack up decent goal differences. We have had shocking results in Europe before and suspect we will do so again however I do not think I have ever seen a Celtic team with show so little commitment and fight in such an important game. As MO’N would have said, “Shocking, absolutely shocking”

  10. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS forza Oscar and Mackenzie on

    Repost from earlier….



    “bobby murdoch’s curled-up winklepickers forza oscar and mackenzie



    07:19 on 21 August, 2013


    Having sold the spine of the team to secure the balance-sheet as a safeguard against failure to qualify for the CL group stages-which looks like a self-fulfilling prophecy…..



    Does Peter Lawwell think he can do the same next year?



    Bearing in mind that few of the players Neil Lennon has to work with carry much transfer value,I await with interest this financial genius’ next move.



    I’ll offer him a wee bit of assistance.



    In order to improve the finances of the business,you would do well to remember that Celtic is a FOOTBALL CLUB….”

  11. I see Izzy getting in the neck all over the internet, is that because we’re all too afraid to name the elephant in the room? Charlie Mulgrew at left mid is an accident waiting to happen everytime we play him there, unfair to the player and to his team mates..

  12. pintaguinness



    12:47 on 21 August, 2013


    Celtic flight arrives in Glasgow 14.30



    Ticker tape reception



    FF not on the plane- he never took off

  13. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    If we do end up in the ole Euro-Ramsdens then that is the level the squad is currently at.



    Having said that travelling difficulties aside this was the best draw we could have got in the Qualifying stage and we should beat them at home.

  14. Duntocher_Bhoy on

    “club are miles out of their depth at this stage of European football ” I have a real issue with that statement. Get what you deserve and last night, not a single player deserved pass marks. Van Dijk is particular had the look of Loovens, strolling around when he should be chasing back etc. Nervous now!

  15. Henriks Sombrero


    12:32 on


    21 August, 2013



    I just had a look at Ajax’s transfers last season to see how one of the supposed model clubs for us are doing it.



    There’s two things that struck me straight away



    a)can you imagine the outrage at that amount of to-ing and fro-ing from us


    b)they don’t just bring in youngsters



    that said they’ve been at it a lot longer than us



    They won the league but finished 3rd in CL Group before being ejected from EL by Steau Bucarest.

  16. Dexter



    … And he couldn’t “catch” the next one!



    Probably being unfair but need a laff

  17. time for change on

    Paul 67 there’s stats and stats…I’m sure at some point I saw a stat showing we had 80% possession during the second half…it’s the end product.



    Got my ticket for next week and still expect us to qualify. Playing badly last night we created at least 6 good chances.



    Roll on Saturday.




  18. Macjay1 – izzy may well have been his man but Charlie/joe was between man and ball initially and could/should have put laces through ball rather than trying to shepard back to ff. possibly weren’t aware of the player being so close, agree that izzy should have been tighter and even given Charlie/joe a shout.

  19. Anthony Stokes is a striker but his style is just as unsuited to the formation we played last night as Georgios’


    Sums up the problem to me, why play a system if you do not have the correct type of players to play it. Makes you wonder who is identifying players to bring in as surely any manager would try and sign players to fit the system he wants to play, No?


    Result next week all about how the players apply themselves and what tactics the manager deploys. Statements by Ledley and Mulgrew have been heard before, not convinced we could have scored six or should have won last night, not even Messi scores every chance he gets.


    Roll on next week and make some noise but it will take more than noise.



  20. Henriks Sombrero


    12:32 on


    21 August, 2013



    I should probably add that Ajax took in 29M Euros from players sales last season and spend 5M on new recruits.

  21. ProphetOfRegret on

    i think the problem is that noone wants the ball in our team except commons. watch when ledley/mulgrew/brown get the ball in the centre of the park. noone is giving them an option. its like they’ve been told not to pass it to each other. they’re only allowed to pass it backwards or out wide. i didn’t see any one-twos between the CMs at any point (admittedly i was watching through my fingers). we had a team full of footballers none of which wanted to play football.

  22. Oscar Knox is my Hero - RWE on

    starry plough forza oscar


    12:33 on


    21 August, 2013



    Saw Commons frustration on several occasions.



    Kayal does not convince.



    Conundrum seems to be that if we use alternating attacking fullbacks then we need cover for the space they vacate, which in turn leaves us one down in the midfield and so vulnerable to counter attacks.



    Surprised to read the stat from Paul that Celtic covered 5k less ground than Karagandy. Yet we had 61% of the possession.



    Were they running round after us or were we just encamped in their area?



    Gotta love stats.

  23. As a symbolic gesture, the 300 fans who travelled to Kazakhstan in significantly less comfortable modes of transport than the players should be given free tickets to the 2nd leg with hospitality at Celtic Park. The cost should be borne by the wages of those who played in Astana.



    HH for the GB

  24. gallowgate mad squad on

    I think a problem we have created for ourselves is signing Boerrigter. He is a left winger. Sammi is by far most effective on the left wing. I can see Sammi being played out of position for next two or three years if Boerrigter is fit. Boerrigter better be good!



    In a way I think we are back to square one – after last night’s performance, maybe Europa League is our level this now until reinforcements come in or come good. Clubs with similar signing policies find it impossible to create a sustained challenge for the CL on a regular basis- ask Ajax supporters. That’s what happens when football resembles the FTSE100 rather than a sporting endeavour.



    On another note concerning the The Rangers, it reminds me of Silence of the Lambs. Celtic are Clarice Starling – an inherently good, nice person. The The Rangers are Hannibal Lecter – an evil monster. Without the evil Lecter, Silence of the Lambs wouldn’t have been as compelling a movie. Hopefully they will crawl to the SPFL and be in such a bad way (and with Sally still in charge), that we will get a few more years laughing at them, before the evil empire extends it’s cold steely fingers over all that is good.



    On a further note – i think bring back the GB, (if they pay for the seating damage at CP first). Root out the idiots and the Men Behind the Wire- if PL thinks we are going to satisfied sitting in silence listening to people abusing James Forrest whilst we scrape past SPFL fodder, he is mistaken. Even just create a singing section which isn’t for the GB.

  25. Not sure about the tactic of bombarding the box and for players to be all over the keeper. Most European referees will blow for free-kicks at the slightest sign of this and therefore momentum will be lost when play is broken up. This will suit them not us.



    Plenty of long-range shots and following up, mixed up with good crosses would be more efective.



    Árd Macha

  26. Not to enamoured by the stats Pau67, headless chickens could put in a statistically great shift.



    We were one goal away from a decent result but not a decent display, I think, like you that we’ll beat them next week.



    Shocking gamble by the board IMO



    Re big bonus for our gamblers…,




  27. Oscar Knox is my Hero - RWE on

    BigChipsUK – There are only two SPL teams in Glasgow… Celtic and Partick Thistle


    12:44 on


    21 August, 2013


    Dexter (12:16)… the spirit of arthur lee (12:14)… “I take it that nobody tracked the Celtic plane home last night. Certainly, Izzy wasn’t tracking”



    Izzy missed the plane last night. He was at the wrong end of the airport when it boarded and looking the other way when it took off.




    Any laugh today is worth a repost.

  28. lennon's passion on

    I’m not convinced signing a player one week before an important game is an ideal preparation



    You are having a laugh not signing a player is a bonus know. Are you for real. Do you send your comments to PL to be proof read before you post them.

  29. yeah…we are a better side


    yeah..players were jet lagged


    yeah..we should have bought a striker


    yeah..some of our players were tired


    yeah… we do it in the 2nd leg


    yeah..manager played players out of position


    yeah..some players couldn’t be bothered


    blah blah blah



    I tell you what…if the players don’t seem up for it….well don’t play them


    nobody can tell me that gambling with the CL qualification is the right way…cause it is not


    Id like to know why the fans, who don’t forget, fund the team…are treated with disdain by the board…who gave PL the right to gamble with the team.


    Other posters were right….questions should be asked of all concerned


    we have just been beaten by a team we should have thrashed….it was like watching a team who couldn’t be bothered….


    I think the fans should be listened to…not ignored or demonised because we wont accept the spin from the board.


    PL…you have no right to gamble with CL qualification….id suggest you start listening to what people are saying rather playing the role of some wise man who knows best.


    your gamble has left us dangling in the CL against the poorest CL team ive seen in a long while.


    You better hope that your gamble with the fans money comes off.


    Don’t forget….its always better to ask questions than sit in silence.


    ive had my say.



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