Valencia draw gives Celtic a chance, lessons from Easter Road


Those suggesting Sunday was the worst Celtic performance of the season have short memories.  The campaign was full of days like this until the emergence of Ryan Christie and halftime in the League Cup semi-final at Murrayfield.

Brendan Rodgers acknowledged he got things wrong.  Three at the back works on paper when you are a few full backs down, but we simply did not know how to defend the flanks when Hibs broke with speed, which fortunately they didn’t do too often.

Every team has to compensate for absences, often with a straight choice: find a direct replacement but maintain the structural integrity of the team, or give the pack a significant shuffle in an attempt to shake things up.  Celtic’s away form this term has been such that Brendan cannot by criticised for wanting to try something new, but 46 seconds into the game it was evident the players did not know what to do.

So what did we learn?  Brendan will not deploy the same line-up/tactics combination again.  We know already we are heavily dependent on fast-thinking-fleet-of-foot players like Ryan Christie, with Callum McGregor in the deep playmaker role.  We know we need a striker to assist Odsonne carry the load – Brendan wants two.  We know energy levels are low with the squad facing two games a week, pretty much since June.

Valencia beat Manchester United last week in the Champions League, so will have no fears of travelling to Celtic Park in the next round of the Europa League, but this draw is neither impossible nor the easiest possible for Celtic.

The Spanish club are 14th in La Liga, a healthy five points above relegation, but will surely be more focussed on getting their domestic results sorted than hoping for Europa glory.  The teams last met in competitive action in 2001, when two home 1-0 wins saw the Uefa Cup tie go to penalty kicks, which Valencia won 5-4, with Larsson, Petrov and Valgaeren all missing for Celtic.

Valencia were also Celtic’s very first European opponents.  The teams met in the 1962 Fairs Cup, Valencia winning the first leg 4-2 before the teams drew 2-2 at Celtic Park, when John Clark missed a penalty.

The games do not take place until February, but Brendan Rodgers will be encouraged his team are in with a chance.  Practice penalties, please.

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  1. traditionalist88 on

    Valencia won at Old Trafford last week in the Champions League






    They didn’t, actually. They beat Man Utd 2-1 in Spain and drew at OT as far as I remember?




  2. How many of our rested players are now out injured ? Play the best team available when they are available to play and rest them when they are injured !

  3. Europa Gods were considerate!


    Just watched EPL highlights and have a wee question about the concept of space on the park.


    Space, making it or closing it down, is key to how good teams win games, right. So my question Bhoys…


    Do Scottish-based defenders mark way better/tighter than EPL defenders (creating less space) OR


    Are English-based attackers way more mobile and dynamic (space-makers) than their Celtic/SPL counterparts?


    Every goal in the EPL was about guys finding/making/sneaking a wee half yard to grab a goal.


    Christie is a case in point about making space by energy and drive – his team-mates should watch and learn!

  4. Paul67



    Go to a back three ( which was ripped apart ) because they don’t have sufficient cover when Mikael Lustig is unavailable?



    You should be able to straight swop for Mikael especially as he is nearly the end of his career, but fact is Tony Ralston or Cristian Gamboa were not playable.



    Very poor for a crucial away game on top of our dreadful away form.



    p.s. How is it Peter Lawwell gets the blame when John McGinn admits he chose Aston Villa over Celtic? – are Celtic fans saying we should have offered John McGinn Aston Villa wages.



    I don’t get it CSC

  5. PS CQN article ‘Celtic face Spanish Cracks’ potentially maligns Valancia as a pack of conyos (sp).

  6. Happy with the draw. Glad we missed the Brits. The inevitable Battle of Britain headline always gets on my tits.


    Attractive venue for fans, short haul for the team, we will still be rank outsiders but Leipzig wouldn’t if they were there.


    However they are out surpassed by the mighty Glasgow Celtic so why not, bring it on.

  7. Hi Paul67,



    True, it seems to have happened all too quickly, there is now a Ryan Christie shape hole in Celtic’s midfield…



    It is now very obvious which type of player we need and which positions need strengthening in January. Let’s do it Celtic!!



    Valencia is a good tie, enough glam to make it an attractive European fixture but with a possibility of a place in the last 16…



    THE_HUDDLE @ 11:15 PM,





    From last night, meant the PLC, not SPL, spellchecker interfering…



    My view is there has been many factors at play in our away form, Brendan Rodgers being the least of them…



    DAVID17 @ 11:22 AM,



    From this morning, Yes good point, Mcginn saying exactly the same as Rodgers over the summer transfer… can we not stop intimating these ghuys are liars…



    Hail Hail

  8. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    The issue that needs addressing is how badly the quality drops when we have more than two or three regulars out injured.


    There are players who only seem to play in an emergency. And when they do their lack of game time (or possibly just not being good enough) shows.


    And of course this means that the ones who are trusted end up being overplayed. 39 games in less than half a season for Callum? Odsonne still a very young player but being asked to play every game and up front on his own.


    Do we not have any young players who can come in and do a job? Aitchison or Henderson up front, McInroy in midfield? We’ll never know if they are good enough if they never get a chance. I know Johnston played, but it seems like a really poor hit rate.


    Big work to be done in January. Less quantity, more quality.

  9. No matter how poor early season performances were, Paul, you can’t deny that Sunday was one of the worst if not the worst of all, and most supporters could see that after about a minute. When opponents raise their game to play against us, there’s no point in making it harder for ourselves by trying to fit square pegs into round holes.

  10. Gerryfaethebrig on




    Good to see you posting …



    Think Valencia is a tough but decent draw just glad we didn’t get Chelsea as we all know how bad their fans are :-) they blinking wrecked Manchester and were not even playing in 2008

  11. Bournesouprecipe



    No you never do when the board is at fault.


    Paul was on these pages saying we’ll just wait and get him for nothing.


    Celtic thought he would come to Celtic regardless, we dithered and penny pinched, in came Villa, the rest is history.



    Im not particularly bothered personally but if you want someone, go and get them we’re not the only club in the world.

  12. THE EXILED TIM, ah terry cassidy blast from the past wonder how the new celtic park would be like

  13. Valencia are beatable for sure, nowhere near as good as they were in previous seasons. Not much better than Villareal this season. Not one to fear, that’s for sure.




    Lose two games in a row and they are out in force complete the first leg of the treble…………CQN tumbleweed.



    Celtic should say it like it was John McGinn chose the big bucks.

  15. Watched both of the Rube / Valencia CL group games . Rube won both .. Rube wound them up , distracted them and reeled them in .

  16. The formation from the start yesterday wasn’t working, should have tried to change it after about 20 minutes IMO



    Brendan the player of youth is a myth based on Raheem Sterling who was an exceptional talent.


    How long did it take for him to give Christie a chance?


    Ralston like all young players had some good and bad performances but was quickly discarded.


    I know we have played Nt’cham but he was already playing in the Italian league.


    Has Johnson really been given enough game time?


    Ed was a loan and who knows what playing conditions were attached but he really did not get decent game time to the second half of the season.


    Our youth recruitment process is either very poor or Brendan has no faith in young Scottish talent which should be a concern.

  18. The person most at fault yesterday was Brendan. Changing formation for such an important away game was high risk but the real problem was not changing it back, when it was obvious it was not working,


    None of the players looked comfortable, Hibs sensed it & tore into us & fully deserved their win.


    I don’t know what Mulumbu is doing at Lennoxtown but why didn’t Brendan revert to a back 4 with Ajer & Izzy the fulls. I’d have hooked Oli for Mulumbu and then what’s this thing about wingers.


    Sincy has not been playing well for a long time, every now & then there are flashes of the old Sincy but it hasn’t stuck, don’t know why Brendan persists with him. Sadly Jonny Hayes has just not worked at Celtic,


    Mikey Johnston or Morgan look the better options,

  19. Hello again all you young rebels.



    Never mind practicing penalties Paul whit aboot corners, free kicks


    and throw ins, don’t think we can blame the board for how bad


    they have been recently.


    Great day with HEBCELT from this parish on Sunday in the Dubliner


    Mornington, i think it’s amazing that a Celtic fan comes from one end


    of the world, Stornoway, to visit a Celtic club at the other end.


    Hope you enjoy the rest of your holiday Louis and we see you again




    Oh and your Stornoway Celtic tops will be raffled to help buy more


    pressies for the sick kids hospital.


    The Hibs gemme? who cares when you read that.


    H.H Mick

  20. Paul



    We had a perfectly good full back in Emilio . Had he played that role both goals wouldn’t have happened.



    Brendan was pigheaded not to change a system even the most tactically naive could see wast functioning.However the system is no excuse for multi millionaires jogging about with 7 mins to go 2-0 down looking cold and bored.



    My memories pretty good and I would make that performance yesterday the worst of the season and perhaps the worst under BR domestically



    To say we are looking for a reaction on Wednesday is putting it extremely mildly

  21. DENIABHOY @1-16


    Valencia not one to fear.


    We seem to approach all European ties with such caution it could be interpreted as fear.


    There is a lack of belief throughout our club at the European level with the exception of our brilliant support.

  22. Gerryfaethebrig on

    BSR 1.18pm



    I stated yesterday that the blog would be busy since we didn’t win



    I suppose it takes all sorts to make the blog work :-)



    Just heard big John Hartson talking about Valencia… it’s a tie that might attract new signings if Peter Lawell opens the purse strings

  23. Re the McGinn saga, I seem to remember that the vast majority of the sages on CQN were also saying Eff Petrie, don’t be blackmailed and we will get him for nothing at the end of the season.


    It’s easy to be wise after the event but as was said earlier if McGinn had come Christie could be back at Aberdeen by this stage.

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