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. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    CPAG wins BBC complaint



    Following a complaint by CPAG, the BBC Trust ruled that The Future State of Welfare with John Humphrys, broadcast in October 2011, breached accuracy and impartiality rules. Among other things, the Trust found that the programme provided evidence of the number of job vacancies but failed to mention the number of unemployed people – leaving viewers with the inaccurate view that unemployed people are responsible for increases in benefit spending, when in reality there are not enough jobs to go around, and jobseeker’s allowance is only 3 per cent of the total benefit bill.



    This ruling made headlines in both broadsheet and tabloid press – an important step forward in challenging the evidence-free myth of a ‘dependency culture’ portrayed in the programme.



    Read CPAG’s press release


    Read Ruth Lister’s blog for CompassOnline

  2. Oscar Knox is my Hero - RWE on



    14:06 on


    21 August, 2013



    By the bye, why did Van Dijk take the free kick, which is usually the preserve of Mulgrew or Commons?





    For the same reason that none of us expected it, neither did Karagandy.



    Obviously something that we had worked on since Mulgrew & Commons are both lefties. The wall and the keeper were set up for that, and they would have ignored Virgil’s presence at the ball. Just like we did.



    Like the well worked free kick involving Commons that came to nothing.


    We caught them on the hop.




  3. Livibhoy


    I think it was the fact that they were so average that makes the result worse.


    We had cool possesion for long periods, especially from the off but it was FF’s poor goal kick that put us on the back foot for the first time.


    They then scored from the long throw in that came because we were on the back foot and that let them raise their game.


    They are a team of hard working players who will make life difficult but are by no means unbeatable over 90 minutes on grass at a packed CP.

  4. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    Innocent Emeghara Isle’s stat – he is 1.70582475825385234563m tall [approx].

  5. glendalystonsils on

    Next week, Celtic need to target the guy that takes the shies. Forget kicking his ankles, go for the arms!

  6. Innocent Emeghara is a tiny Grasshopper.



    He is unhappy on loan at Siena. Says its just not cricket

  7. Henriks Sombrero


    14:08 on


    21 August, 2013



    I think I might take a look at that as you say, and as I said in more detail with regards to Ajax’s competition performance, and also changes of manager.



    My initial impression is that player trading and scouting looks like it’s performed separately to 1st team management, and the coach is presented with a squad (albeit a good one) and told to get results.



    If that’s the model we’re looking at it’ll take a lot of people a lot of getting used to.

  8. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    glendalystonsils.With the shies to defend against the long throw you get a tall player to stand in front of him as near as the ref will allow that way he has to put even more height in the throw which means he loses some of the distance I cant understand why we didnt do that last night.We have to really get in and amongst there defence next week and force them to make errors and I believe big Balde could be just the player to do that.H.H.

  9. Wonder if Police Scotland will be demanding a summit and greater police powers?



    POLICE arrested 34 people as rap star Eminem performed to a 30,000-strong crowd in Glasgow.




    The US singer played in Bellahouston Park last night as part of the Summer Sessions series of concerts.



    Police said 34 people were arrested in and around the venue for a range of offences, including two allegations of sexual assault.



    There were eight reported assaults, with the remainder of the arrests for drug and disorder offences.



    A 35-year-old man was held after officers seized heroin, ecstasy and diazepam with an estimated street value of £1,500.



    Thirty people were arrested at Bellahouston on Saturday night when Swedish DJ Avicii headlined at the park.

  10. pedro67 hail hail wee oscar on




    Good height!!!!


    But does he run around a lot?




  11. beamishismypint



    13:48 on 21 August, 2013


    From SSN:



    Italian press reports claim that Celtic’s search for a striker has led them to Switzerland international Innocent Emeghara. The 24-year-old Nigerian-born forward spent last season on loan with Siena from Lorient.


    by Jon Holmes 12:56 PM







    Rumour that we are in for s striker from Edinburgh.


    Not proven Provan.

  12. Oscar Knox is my Hero - RWE on

    The Tipperary Top is now collectors item for all the wrong reasons.



    Mind..it’s a long way to go in the tie.



    Naebubbleswater CSC

  13. We need a midfielder who can pick the ball up in midfield and drive at the box committing defenders which makes space for the strikers like petrov used to do maybe rogic is that man because they won’t go more than 25yds from there goal we need to make them come out, passing side ways (brown,Ledley ) isint going to do it HH

  14. Oscar Knox is my Hero - RWE on

    Running about like a wee Innocent thing, bless him.



    Is he the mascot?

  15. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    hunskelper. Down both sides to the bye line and feed crosses in to Stokes and Balde play behind there defence not in front of them.H.H.

  16. Oscar Knox is my Hero - RWE on

    Joe F.



    Izzy did that once last night and created our best chance for JF.

  17. Vinibhoy - Supporting Wee Oscar + Mackenzie on




    Great article, although I would disagree about Stokes not being suitable for that formation.



    We tried to play through them last night, straight down the middle. Stokes is brilliant at linking up this sort of play with his vision and quick passing.

  18. Izzy trying to get forward and put crosses in,both Mulgrew and Ledley on the left side should be covering him,basic football tactic.

  19. jude2005 is neil lennon \o/



    13:51 on 21 August, 2013


    I do want us to go thru but maybe dropping into the Euro cup wont be a bad thing for the young ones at Celtic. A good learning curv!!!



    Accepting 2nd best is for losers mate, you learn against the best for me it’s all about the champions league, anything else will be a huge disappointment and the season will be brutal HH

  20. Afternoon Bhoys and Ghirls,



    Thought I’d try to adopt a different perspective today.


    So here’s what came of it.



    Celtic Home Record 2012/2013




    28Games 21 Wins 4 Draws 3 Losses




    14/28 Games were won by a two goal margin



    11/28 Games were won by a three goal margin



    04/28 Games were won by a four goal margin



    02/28 Games were won by a five goal margin



    Figure you can find a reason for cautious optimism.


    We all know the team will win games at Celtic Park


    by comfortable margins many times this season.


    Lets hope it happens next week.



    Some sharp minded folks might also point out certain players


    have since left. Probably best not to think about that.


    Or look at who scored the goals in those games…



    Ignoring that, seems like we could say there’s a 50/50 chance?




    This was quite literally scribbled down on the back of


    an envelope, I may have miscalculated. Check here yourself.




    If you click on “show” in the far right it displays goalscorers.


    You might not want to do that.

  21. Celtic have no partnerships on the park, Anto and Hoops had one it was great to watch, Joe and Izzy when played on the left had one, it was great to watch, pass and move football…



    We insist on shoehorning players into positions they’re not suited to play Sammi as centre forward, Charlie at left mid and Scott Brown at centre mid, you’re three men down already on a big night..



    Congratulations to the Shaktar for having done his homework…

  22. !!Bada Bing!!


    14:37 on


    21 August, 2013


    We bought Rogic and Balde,yet don’t play them?



    We have a development team/U20 team full of similarly aged players and don’t play them either.

  23. I'm Neil Lennon (tamrabam) on

    Im out in the middle east at the moment where a guy from belgium and a guy from holland both told me that Celtic were beaten by a team no one had heard of


    seems we become more famous every day



    regarding strikers, for me its stokes


    we had two strikers at CP hooper and stokes who between got around 50 goals a season


    we sold one and if we fail to use the other and instead rely on big sami we can expect to be about 50 goals a season down



    rocket science csc



    we better get this return leg right or CP will be occupied by scatterings of happy clappers demanding to see the accounts book on the big screen so that they have something to rustle their sweetie wrappers at ;-)



    Seriously though, get it sorted Celtic its only half time

  24. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Well we have a chance on Saturday to send out the team we feel will do the business on Wednesday a dress rehersal if you like.I am sure ICT will play in a similar way to shaktar ten men behind the ball and hit us on the break.H.H.

  25. It was madness not to keep Kelvin Wilson for these games. He was a very under-rated player. A new central defensive partnership for a vital game makes you wonder about Neil. The biggest miss, of course, is Victor. He could have been kept until January, the guy was no problem, it was his agents that were pushing for a move. Poor, poor preparation by Lawell and Lenny.


    Let’s hope we can still do it, but there are not much grounds for optimism. One goal at home to Elfsborg, 2 against the Cliftonville part-timers, and 2 against Ross County.

  26. Kayal33-we have quite a big squad ,yet some guys get a game even when they are not playing well over a fair few games.This possibly shows through a lack of urgency from some.

  27. No Bobby Does It Petta on

    It’s very hard not to be overly-emotional and reactionary to such a bad result.



    But the manager must take full responsibility. His team selection and formation were baffling.



    Bleeding a new centre back partnership in such a huge and crucial match for the club is just incomprehensible.



    As was the apparent strategy of getting to the byeline and swinging in crosses. For who exactly?



    Fair to say most managers have their favourites and wee James is certainly Neil’s. I just don’t see what he contributes to the team.



    It has to be 4-4-2 next week, with two recognised strikers. And a more experienced CB partnership, if that is possible.



    Back to lurking.

  28. cliftonville celt from belfast praying for oscar the wee legend



    13:32 on 21 August, 2013


    Some questions for our management team I like most other fans want answered :



    Why Mathews doesn’t start?



    Defensively Matthews is weak and Neil is reluctant to go into European ties with 2 very small full backs



    Why Sammi up front ?



    Height in the team , outlet for long ball



    Chas in midfield ?



    Need to keep Chas out of the back 4 , dead all specialist and defensive cover for when Izzy is on rampage



    No striker but 3 on bench ?



    Bench not yet trusted



    JF ????



    Speed merchant – should only be brought on



    Why does it take so long to change things when they aren’t working/going wrong ?



    Cautious approach



    Not very satisfactory answers but Neil is cautious and we play a steady possession game – looks rubbish when we are knocked out of our stride

  29. I’m Neil Lennon (tamrabam)-I like Stokes but he has looked sluggish so far this season,look at the energy Balde had v Liverpool,that’s what we need next week IMO .HH

  30. LiviBhoy - God bless wee Oscar on




    Neil Lennon coaches the team. I’m sure it was not his decision to sell these guys.


    We have enough at Paradise now to beat this team. I have no idea why everyone is panicking.


    We do need to stregthen for the rest of the season though. On last nights showing we need at least 4 players and 3 would walk in the first team. I reckon we will get 2. A striker and a player with potential.




  31. Really good insight in Paul’s lead article. The lack of movement is summed up by Neil’s continually baffling decision to play Charlie in midfield.



    In yesterday’s game Brown , Ledley and Forrest all bailed out the defence on more than one occasion. Charlie was nowhere to be seen. He hasn’t got the legs, he hasn’t got the pace to match runs from attacking midfield players who are breaking from deep.



    If Neil starts Charlie anywhere other than centre half next week, I fear for our future in this competition. I also fear for Neils future, as top managers do not continually make the same mistake, just to prove they can see something nobody else can.

  32. 16 roads - Wee Oscar the Celtic warrior. on

    So that is the general consensus on how to eliminate the Borats next week then?



    Hit high balls into their penalty area,and get the ball out wide and cross it into their box as often and quickly as possible?



    These tactics are very original and modern for this day and age.

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