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. Oglach HH brave Oscar on



    12:56 on


    21 August, 2013


    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.




    Good call

  2. Actually Ajax are looking rally interesting in terms of sales v buys model.



    No point talking about the current season as the transfer window is still open.



    So last season 29M received, 5M spent.


    2011/12 – 11M received, 11M spent


    2010/11 – 25.5M received, 4.4M spent


    2009/10 – 11.5M received, 10.5M spent


    2008/09 – 33.5M received, 30M spent


    2007/08 – 46M received, 23M spent



    So they never, ever spend more than they receive and occasionally (especially recently) spend only a fraction.



    All info from transfermarkt.co.uk.



    I might revisit this later with a look at performances alongside it.

  3. Beamishismypint on

    IMHO Carlisle had no axe to grind and called it as he saw it. Would you have him spin sideways passing and nervy defending. Paul’s stats just support what he said in the context of two teams with vastly different resources and the so called weaker team running themselves into the ground. I abhor the use of bad language on here but defend the right of bloggers to be critical (my understanding is that a bog is somewhere to express your views). It’s not like expressing an opinion on here is akin to booing at a match. The logic that nobody should be critical seems to have been extended to an analyst who in all probability has no feelings about Celtic one way or the other. HH

  4. shocking display, but if ma granny had b*** it could have been so different but it wisnae. They play 5 at the back we play 1 man up, no creativity at all, very poor team selection also. New pairing at the centre of defence in such a game says it all for me. Wee jamesie hardly kicked a ball, sammy’s hair was all over the place, but he wisnae, personally I think Lawwell and co are quite happy to go with what we have got, cross their fingers and hope for the best., scared to shop at sainsbury’s so to speak……..if we qualify they will say “told you so” if we dont hump the kahzakstani’s then we have a squad capable of winning the premiership again….easily…… If you ask me who is getting shafted here, its us the supporters again.We have plenty in the bank, but nothing in our tank to play with the big boys…”.the.scunnered so I am.c.s.c”…

  5. Just some random points from last night.



    As everyone has said, to play two centre-backs together for effectively the first time in such an important game is … unusual. We were asking for something to go wrong. They will both go on to better things.



    The ITV4 commentator said in the first half (a) Samaras will not win many high balls against these 3 tall centre backs. (b) You can’t easily go round a back 5, you have to be able to move them around through the middle. Prosecution rests.



    Celtic often seem to confuse possession with attack. We play the ball from side to side and then back again (yawn!), but we don’t have the players making the short runs to draw people out of position: our attackers and midfield seem to be more comfortable finding a space where we can receive the ball under no pressure, and then passing to another player under little or no pressure. Then eventually we send in a high ball. We are a very static side. This is bad coaching.



    And lastly, we need someone up front attacking the ball. This doesn’t need to be an out and out goalscorer, but we didn’t have anyone doing this last night. Many really good teams have 3 or 4 players who can do this.



    Last night was frustrating to me because it was one of the most tactically inept displays I have seen from a Celtic team (I’ve seen Lennon play some good tactics too). I think that many players seemed to play badly because of the way we were set out.



    If someone would ask me who I would bet on to go through, I’d still say Celtic. On paper, we should still be good enough to score a couple of goals (although I don’t think Shakter were as bad as some seem to think). But that, I’m afraid, is my head ruling my heart.

  6. Stats can mean what you want them to



    David Allan once said “33 percent of road accidents are caused by drunk drivers. That means 67 percent caused by sober drivers. So all you sober drivers keep off the road and leave it to us drunks!”



    The only stats that matter are goals

  7. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Surprised at some Bhoys on here dont have Stokes in there line up for next week if he is fit for me he would be the first name on the team sheet. H.H.

  8. lennon’s passion



    13:00 on 21 August, 2013


    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.



    Mark Hately, Peter Lawwell and Paul say that not signing a new player for next week is like a new signing



    HH for the GB

  9. Paul67 et al



    I will repeat what Gordon Strachan said after the game, forget about scoring three goals or more, focus on getting two, at any time in the game, and if necessary take the game into extra time. I said last night that while Shakhter are no Juventus they were quite effective at counter attacking movement. They played to their strengths, got their tactics right, and if the stats quoted are correct, worked their socks off. Celtic have done this in recent memory. As for next week, well we could adopt exactly the same tactics, get lucky, or lose in similar style. Shakhter will still look to get a breakaway goal, think Juve in the home tie, and they will still defend against width with five at the back. Kris Commons best effort happened when he stepped forward, ie past the their four, and hit the ball well. Scott Brown drove forward once in the whole game, running into traffic before he reached their eighteen yard line, and Joe Ledley ballooned over from midfield. Not great from the attacking side. There were other moments of course, in a packed box, and a lot of forward play, most of which, but not all, was ineffective. James Forrest, much criticised by Celtic supporters, though not SadiesBhoy, by drifting into the box late in the game had one good chance, the header, (Dixie Deans would have buried that one) and one half chance which he volleyed high and wide. Point being, just a little bit of quick movement and a chance was there. Could Stokes not have done something similar? Could Stokes do something similar next week? Let’s hope so.

  10. gallowgate mad squad



    12:57 on 21 August, 2013




    Why should I pay for damaged seats?



    Who damaged them, what damage and are they not repairable.



    I’ve not caused any damages, why should I pay?

  11. BobbyLennoxtownbhoys on

    Cant argue with that Paul…Mulgrew/Abrose is a must just now,at least they know each others game…I think NL was worried about height last night, i wouldv started Kayel to give Broony more support and Forrest wouldt have been startin last night…i wouldv started Stokes as hes the most likely to score for us…..it will be like breakin down a wall next week…their keeper must be put under pressure from the off….penalty practise??? My gut feelin also….We the fans have a very big part to play next week and im sure we wont let them down…..we cant afford to loose a goal, So i say go for it from the whistle and defence keep a solid shape at back with our full backs gettin up the pitch as much as possible….if we play football with ball on ground we have a great chance KTF BLB

  12. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    We could sign Nesta and Costacurta in their pomp and they would struggle to make the kind of instant impact we need.



    If we were unprepared/underprepared then the wee trip to Dublin was an avoidable error.

  13. Oscar Knox is my Hero – RWE


    12:55 on


    21 August, 2013



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




    How many times have you heard in commentary that you make the opposition run about when keeping possession and you tire them out quicker. That would explain the stat but didn’t help us out. We actually looked tired both physically and in ideas . No movement off the ball . No creativity other than from Commons but his ideas were lost on his team mates who failed to run into the space he expected them to.



    Still believe we can score 2 goals in 90 minutes without reply and win it in extra time.


    If it went to penalties then surely European experience would show thru. It doesn’t bear


    thinking about to go out in penalties!

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




    Ajax have spent about £80m in the last five years,and recouped about double that.



    We won’t spend a fiver in case we lose it.



    Big difference.

  15. I dont know if this is correct or not. Maybe someone could enlighten us.


    Is it not true that any team that surrenders so much possession as they did last night, will have to work so much harder and will therefore cover much more ground.


    So the stats for kms covered should favour them by default.


    Or is that all tosh (and Irish tosh at that)

  16. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Listen Bhoys Lennie messed it up and not for the first time two new players at Centre Back when he knew we would face an aerial Bombardment.Not playing a striker was another error also his weakness of leaving Forrest on the park when he is invisible.However,its past now we might consider ourselves fortunate to only get beaten 2-0 but that does leave us with a chance in the second game.Lennie needs to learn from his mistakes but will he ? only time will tell.H.H.

  17. Livibhoy @ 12.32



    I wish I had your optimism.


    I can’t see us going through, as I don’t think we can score 3 against them, however, if you’re right, and I hope you are, I will be the first to remind all on here about your prediction!



    Just being realistic like.




  18. leftclicktic oscar in our thoughts on

    twists n turns (God bless our little hero Oscar)


    Got Email Sir and replied, and to think I actually thought of not logging in this morning.



    The celtic family are well…….. Family nuff said TnT

  19. ArranmoreBhoyLXV11 on




    one of those nights… The chances fell the wrong side of post etc..



    The long throw could ve been better defended..



    I m more concerned by the lack of effort highlighted above.. It’s been this way for a few yrs..



    That’s said we took 9 off Aberdeen a season or 2 ago..



    Same again Celtic!




  20. This is turning in to a cyber version of The Celtic View,deflect anything and everything from PL and the management team.

  21. The Battered Bunnet on

    Pussy-footed defending apart, 2 things knarked me last night.



    First, the absence of intent when we win the ball. It goes backwards, sideways, forward, and backwards again. By the time we’ve established that we have clean possession, the opposition have regrouped and are back in their defensive formation.



    Last night that meant 4 midfielders in front of 5 defenders. We have one up front, plus Commons finding space in ‘the hole’. Effectively, we won’t move the ball forward until 8 of our guys are the wrong side of their 9. Hopeless.



    Second, the simple stuff: Commons giving the ball away repeatedly was one. Izzy and Ledley’s ‘finishing’. Mouyokolo heading the ball into the left back position when the left back had just lost the ball at the other end of the pitch.



    I know Charlie is played in these ties because he is apt to deliver a cross or free kick, and hence a goal, but in open play he contributed zilch last night.

  22. .



    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.






    Thoroughbreds take the Inside Rail..Carthorses..(See Kojo)..Plough the Fields..



    Sometimes the Carthorse Wins..






    Ps..Not a Embarrassing Defeat..We were beat Fair and Square..



    13:08 on


    21 August, 2013



    As I’ve said they’ve been doing a lot longer than us.



    Can you imagine the meltdown on here if we shipped 16 18+ age players for 29M euros and spent 5.1M on 6 incoming.

  24. leftclicktic oscar in our thoughts on

    gallowgate mad squad


    Can play on the right also.




  25. gallowgate mad squad on

    VHMAN- I’m not asking you personally to pay for 100 plus seats. A large group of people damaged a large number of seats in an area populated by the GB. I’m no Sherlock Holmes but my guess is people affiliated with the GB did the damage. Is this a reasonable assumption or is everyone just going to go off their heads at such a suggestion? If it’s not reasonable, could someone can give me a rational explanation about who damaged 100 plus seats. I’ll be online waiting. We all just want this resolved asap.

  26. I thought we done ok yesterday.


    I dont think the players we have can play much better than what they did.


    Had Wilson, Hooper and Wanyama been in the team, I think we would have won.


    The 11 that started cant do any better than that. Its their level.

  27. I am not in the least bit surprised by the “ground covered” stats provided by Paul. It was obvious throughout the 90 mins that MOST of the Celtic players were not willing (or not able) to work hard for it last night. It certainly gave me the impression that they thought it would be easy, backed up by the first 10 mins or so when Celtic could easily have scored a couple. I have no doubt the travelling also had an effect, but what was most obvious to me was the lack of movement when in possession. Off-the-ball work is crucial to opening up opponents, and this was, and indeed has been, distinctly lacking for a while now. Also, James Forrest continually cut inside then laid the ball back to Lustig or Brown. Neil, young James is a winger. Surely he must be deployed in his natural position with the instructions to hit the bye line? Particularly when the Karagandy defence looked rather unstable to say the least which we discovered in the first 10 mins! Exceedingly frustrating. Having said all that, I still feel we have enough to get into the group stage, and I feel Derk will have a major part to play.



    HH & KTF!

  28. leftclicktic oscar in our thoughts on



    Emigrated from ML4 over 30yrs ago and when the Occasion arises i’m still the interloper :))

  29. So we lost because we didn’t run around as much as Shakter?



    Because all the top teams run about daft, don’t they?



    We lost because our defence is/was garbage and we didn’t have a striker on the park or players with the skill and confidence to play through Jock Stein type cones.

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