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. A bit of trivia : Average temperature in Benidorm ( one hour away from Valencia) is circa 17 degrees C in February , but February is the Med’s coldest sea temperature .



    HH, the journey continues.

  2. Melbourne Tim


    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.



    I couldn’t agree with you more. Celtic never have a man running to the near post (I would say 40% of corners don’t get pass the first man). Larsson always ran to near post. Also, the number of passes coming from the wings, no one running to near post. This not only offers the opportunity to get a touch, but pulls/distracts defenders allowing more space for attacking players. Izzy put at least 2 passes between goal and defenders for tap in, no one attacking the ball.



    Throw ins abysmal, no movement no one looking for the ball. Before thrower icks up the ball, he should know where he is throwing it. KT never takes a quick throw.



    Quick freekicks is a rarity. Practicing these small things can result in goals that win games.



    I don’t understand, why teams have all their players back defending corners. By doing this, it allows attacking team to have one/two players on half way line. If a small speedy forward is placed on halfway, it will require at least 3 defenders to cover him, as a quick throw out from keeper offers a quick goal opportunity at other end.



    A question with BREXIT looming, what is the position with visa for foreign players for British clubs?







  3. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Nir Bitton



    Would be like a new signing :-)



    Now there is a player who can retain the baw

  4. Modern football structures make it harder for coaches to fully implement their intent and style.


    At the really top level this impact is softened by having the budget to buy the best players softens the blow.


    A lot of clubs fail their coach fully by having no strategy for team building and focus to much on individual players.


    Coaches also fail by focusing on individual signings rather than a growth and evolving strategy.


    This is why the football departments have to do a better job of working in unison.


    Scouts individual likes of a player may blind them to seeing that he is not right fit for clubs needs.


    Coaches and scouts need a much more cohesive strategy it seems.


    Also financial limitations mean some teams are always going to be selling clubs which often means signing guys on resale value rather than importance to team.


    Looking at the performance of Red Bull structure on the field and financially if i was Celtic i would be examining the structures they have in place that has fueled their success on and off the field.

  5. Gerryfaethebrig on




    Just watched Brendan’s after match interview, he tells the truth, we are lucky to have him



    Peter Lawell CSC :-)

  6. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Starry 2.34pm



    Nir Bitton is one of our posters favourite player, am not a grass but Dallas Dallas likes our Nir :-)

  7. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Starry 2.41pm



    Nir Bitton splits opinions, like you I think he is a player and would probably walk into the Aston Villa midfield or defence :-)



    Celtic need good players and the Israeli international enhances our team



    Starry 2.34pm




    Nir Bitton is one of our posters favourite player, am not a grass but Dallas Dallas likes our Nir :-)



    I personally think he is a waste of a jersey.


    If he comes back into team i hope he proves me wrong.

  9. CATACH @ 2 pm on how



    “with Brexit looming ” .



    As with all things Brexit -nobody knows . The answer depends on there being a deal and then depends on how Hard or Soft Brexit is . Freedom of Movement might disappear / there might be something called Restriction of Movement etc etc . Wait and see !

  10. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Fan a tic



    I think a “waste of a jersey” is a bit strong, surely if he was that bad he wouldn’t get near an international cap, I do think he splits opinions … but for me I think he gives us an option



    A dead-ball coach would be a start.


    It gave a mediocre England team some success at the World cup.


    At this time we would be as well forfeiting any dead-ball in our favour as it just results in turnovers and opportunities for opponents especially now Christie and Griff are out.


    Though dead-ball specialist will have to teach our players how to hit free kick over a wall thats only eight yards away.

  12. i have been lucky enough to follow celtic for 55 years (ahm jist aboot 60) and honestly a lot of the so called fans on this blog really need to go and find another team. We have last season did a double treble, and remained unbeaten for well over a season.Invincible. we are 1 point off the top of the league with a game in hand and are now in the mix for the next round of the EL


    We have no divine right to beat harmony row under 14,s. never mind Hibs. As always we have to be the best team on the park and to be that 100% of the time is impossible. These should be happy times.i have no problem in the armchair coaches or the terracing tacticians but the vitriol towards our team and our management is way beyond the pale.What most of these so called tims do not realize,(but they will,they will) is that life is short ,so enjoy the moments that are in front of you.these are the futures halcyon days.


    Alas it will not always be so.

  13. 50 shades of green on

    You know its bad when KeV is calling for the nurse:-).



    Is anyone still wanting the AEK centre halfs??.




    John Mcginn is a Aston Villa player end off.




  14. Gerryfaethebrig on

    50 shades






    I was in Tenerife and all I read on here was how good AEK Athens centre halves were …. sometimes these people who post on a blog know heehaw (myself included :-)



    Just my honest opinion.


    He is either used as a central defender or central midfielder.


    Both positions are vitally important.


    He has an innate ability to be wrong side of opponent then gives away free kicks in dangerous areas trying to recover.


    In Delias final season most goals against us came from around edge of box where he was wrong side of opponent.


    He can’t tackle either.


    Defensively the same in Europe particularly he was awful.Against the team( Quarbag i think) when only our home score saw us through as his calamitous performance in away leg directly resulted in 3 goals against.Also against that team in Israel in red he was a total liability and continually gave the ball to that Swiss guy we had from Man U who was covered by two opponents because he did not have the bottle to take any responsibility.


    The odd decent pass is not enough to mitigate the negative impact he has on team.

  16. Bloemfontein Celtic getting beat 2-1 today.



    A win would have seen them go second in the league table.






    HH. ?

  17. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Fan a tic



    I think we were all rubbish against Quarabag… again I think Nir splits opinions and your posts prove my point … I just want all Celtic players to be the best they can :-)

  18. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Gerryfaethebrig on 17th December 2018 2:31 pm


    Nir Bitton


    Would be like a new signing :-)


    Now there is a player who can retain the baw




    He also gives us the option of a ball-playing CB. His ability to hit accurate longer passes is something we could use when we are being high-pressed. Did it really well in the league cup semi against Hibs last season.

  19. petrie is a latter day harry swan, after MON mugged them for wee Agatha there was no way this was happening again, we paid through the nose for Broonie, money well spent IMHO, and he would have been on his way tae bader park for less if it hudnae been for another real hibbee WGS.



    There is nae way they’ll let us have another player as long as he and the hades season ticket holder are there. BTW sevco will scud them on Wednesday as they’re no that good.

  20. one of our main issues in yesterday’s abysmal performance was playing SB and ON together, doesn’t work especially as both players are very slow in thought and mind.

  21. mike in toronto on




    Given how much time most of us spend on here, it is a Good thing people forget bad stuff and remember the good stuff, or most of us on here would be divorced






    Ron67 3.30pm


    Selective memory affects us all :-)







    Given how much time most of us spend on here, it is a Good thing people forget bad stuff and remember the good stuff, or most of us on here would be divorced



    lads, probably just an age thing.