Vanity tactics


Efe Ambrose looked a tad nervous at the start of last night’s game.  He wasn’t the only one.   Adam Matthews was pressed into an early return from injury, a forced change, but Celtic’s decision to deploy a more adventurous line-up than in previous encounters with Barcelona was by choice.

The result was 36% possession, heady heights compared to last season’s win and narrow defeat, but oh what a price.  When Barca went 4-0 up early in the second half I suggested “This could be our record defeat”.  My Dad said “Artmedia was only one more than this”.  I meant THE record defeat, not the record European defeat.  We were a few bounces of the ball away.

Results like this are always possible at this level if the game plan is wrong.  In the minutes before kick off on Champions League nights, when the stomach knots with tension, I tell myself there is no shame in defeat, but “let’s make sure it’s not 3-0 again”.  This must always be the priority.  There seems to be a couple of rules:

If we defend the 18 yard line, in numbers, we have a chance of winning Champions League games, but beauty will very much be in the eye of the beholder.

If we chase vanity marks, as we did at home to Juventus and Milan, and away to Barcelona, we’ll lose heavily.

Last season’s Champions League campaign was a textbook lesson on how pot 4 teams from weak leagues should tackle the tournament.  Spartak Moscow had more possession at Celtic Park than Barcelona had at the Camp Nou last night, but Celtic won both games against the Russians. There is a shout out loud lesson here.

Between now and the beginning of the next European campaign we have a great opportunity to build upon the type of football we saw in the last two domestic games.  If we do this well, we can prepare for next season with a more mature model, but venues like the Camp Nou should only see our bedrock tactics for the foreseeable future.

The Celtic Graves Society are commemorating the life of Peter Scarff, who died of TB 80 years ago this week at the age of 25. Peter, a teammate of John Thomson and Jimmy McGrory, scored 54 goals in 112 games for Celtic before contracting his fatal illness at 23. A short service will be held at Peter’s grave in Kilbarchan Cemetery at 11:30 this Saturday, 14 December. You are all welcome.

There’s a Celtic shirt signed by the first team squad available for auction on ebay in aid of the Wellburn Care Home in Dundee, run by the Little Sisters of the Poor. It’s currently going for a song, so get there and fill your boots.

“The centre of Astana very much had a western feel- vibrant, affluent with a splattering of large video screens on the buildings advertising top of the range cars to luxury apartments. With skyscraper office blocks and top-end hotels with marble kerbstones, this very much is one side of Asia.

“The stadium itself looked fairly new, the shape of it reminded me of Tyncastle, thankfully we were made welcome here though!”

From a trip to Kazakhstan page 136 of the 2014 CQN Annual, available here:

Puchase Options

Sean Fallon, Celtic’s Iron Man:

Select Delivery Option

Click Here for Comments >

About Author

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. ...
  10. 20

  1. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    macjay1 for Neil Lennon


    12:06 on


    12 December, 2013




    11:47 on


    12 December, 2013



    “ridicule and taunt”?




    Ignore irrelevancies.


    That`s the worst of insults.



    Eilan Donan? Remember it well.



  2. I'm Neil Lennon (tamrabam) on

    Oh well


    i assume that attrocious result has managed to get the GB off the back pages


    to be replaced by pics of our defeat i assume



    one of the worst Lenny, no getting away from it. That was bad…….

  3. Steinreignedsupreme on

    Paul 67 –



    Celtic have to be cautious at this level or we are cruelly exposed.



    Two home defeats to average Serie A sides (by the standards of teams we have beaten at CL level) was proof enough.



    Hopefully last night will be a painful lesson learned.

  4. Nat Know



    replied to you on last thread







    One of the problems in pursuing the 6 or 7 man constant defence tactics in order to achieve Euro points is the question of “when do you know you have outgrown that stage?”.



    If you never try a more expansive approach, how will you know if you are ready to grow beyond being a purely defensive team? What better time to attempt this than in a dead rubber where it did not mater whether we lost 2:1 or 6:1?

  5. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on



    12:03 on


    12 December, 2013



    Have loved the way you have stood up to the hunnish barbs and insults and the concerted and bullying efforts to silence you and your opinions.




    A true Tim.


    Enjoy your day,pal.

  6. leftclick Together we will get justice for the Dam 5 on

    Paul McConville R.I.P






    If I can ever be of any use to you feel free to get my Email off Paul, you are no longer alone my friend





    09:05 on


    12 December, 2013


    Thank you for that :))

  7. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    ‘Peter Scarff was born in 1908 and played alongside Charlie Napier in the early 1930s, when they were both considered highly talented young forwards.



    As a player he was a powerful forward, playing as an inside-left, and had a a very laudable goal scoring record. He was said to be able to get past his man as well as he could score, so must have been a great talent. Said to be a worthy successor to the great Jimmy McMenemy, which was quite an accolade.



    He was to be a mainstay in the first side, and he was in the team that beat Rangers for the 1930 Glasgow Cup, and won the 1931 Scottish Cup final against Motherwell in a replay. The legendary Jimmy McGrory considered this Celtic team the best he played with, and Scarff was an important and quickly improving part of it.



    Scarff went on the 1931 tour of America with Celtic, where funnily he scored five goals against Montreal Carsteel while wearing a green dress shirt because there weren’t enough hooped strips to go around. This was Celtic’s first ever tour of the USA and it was during the Great Depression, so times where hard.



    He played in the match where John Thompson died in his prime after a challenge on the pitch in a game v Rangers in what was an accident. It was to shake the club down to its bonds, but no-one was to know that this was not to be the only tragedy to unfold in time for those members of the Celtic team on the pitch that.



    Following a game against Leith Athletic in December 1931, Scarff began to cough up blood. He took unwell and was admitted to the Bridge of Weir sanatorium. Despite hopes of a respite giving chance of a recovery, it was announced on July 19th 1933 that his football career was at an end.



    Tragically, exactly two years after he took unwell on 9 December 1933, and at the age of only 25 he died of tuberculosis. Too young an age for any man to die.



    He was beloved by the support and the support took his passing away very hard. It was a difficult one for all to take especially after the loss of the great John Thompson two years before. The impact of the double tragedy is incalculable.



    At his funeral in Kilbarchan Cemetery, Celtic manager Willie Maley laid a Celtic jersey on Peter’s coffin before internment.



    Willie Maley, is said to have been impacted heavily from the twin tragedies of Peter Scarff’s & John Thomson’s deaths, which brought a deterioration in his mood, manner and health.



    During his career Scarff won one cap for Scotland, in a 1931 draw against Northern Ireland. He will always be remembered as a talented and promising young man, who was sadly to join the list of men who died whilst young and still on the books at Celtic.



    In his memory, a CSC was started in 1947 and has continued to this day. His memory lives on with them and the Celtic support.





    Playing Career



    112 games between 1928-33, 55 goals.



    -from the excellent Celtic Wiki

  8. Sipsini



    There’s a sprite wee 65 year auld been giving me the eye the last couple of weeks, I think I will give here it back today, what would I do with an eye?

  9. back in again…







    12:18 on 12 December, 2013




    Ghood for you fella.


    Mind n stay oan the blog and annoy


    everybody in ma place :)


    Only kiddin – CSC


    Off oot this time HH.

  10. Ouch, that was a sore one,eh.


    Many a sensible word has been said here but when dust is settled it comes down to a simple truth, money. How the hell can we expect to beat a team of Barca (except maybe sometime) but if we played the 100 times we’d only beat them once or twice – fact.We have done very well getting here consistently and the team should be applauded.


    The hard part of all this is the meeja will be feeding on this for weeks and that sickens me.


    Love you Celtic


    Hail Hail




  11. pabloh_AKA_NEIL LENNON on

    Not sure why Mulgrew wasn’t played at LB last night, seemed the obvious choice.



    It amazes me that on the big stage the majority of our players are unable to control or pass a ball. I know we were up against top opposition last night but surely the basics shouldn’t look so difficult?



    Still not seen anything from Boerrigter or Pukki, wondering if that’s 5m wasted.

  12. DeniaBhoy in awe of wee Oscar's Courage on

    The biggest problem with team selection last night was putting out a lightweight midfield with two wingers who contributed nothing over 90 mins (consolation goal notwithstanding). A solid 5-man midfield and a lone striker (Balde or Stokes) would have meant a lot less space for the Catalan maestros and a chance to break up play before the 18-yard box.

  13. The Honest Mistake loves being first on

    I’m glad the cl games are over now.


    I felt we went backwards with each passing game. The record defeat would have come in the next game.


    Not content with booking players for celebrating I see that refs have now decided to book our players for getting fouled in the box.

  14. tonydonnelly67



    12:21 on 12 December, 2013





    There’s a sprite wee 65 year auld been giving me the eye the last couple of weeks, I think I will give here it back today, what would I do with an eye?



    An eye for an eye and all that…you’ve knocked it off when you get the teeth in the same glass :)

  15. pabloh_AKA_NEIL LENNON



    “Still not seen anything from Boerrigter or Pukki, wondering if that’s 5m wasted.”



    In my opinion it is 5 million wasted. Derk has looked no better than other players in the same position playing in the SPFL. Pukki tries very hard but just hasn’t got what it takes, on all evidence we have seen thusfar.



  16. Strangely enough, with everyone regarding celtic’s recent transfer window as a failure, in a financial sense (barf) it is still a success.



    Even after signing Biton, Balde, Pukki, Boeriwhatshisname, it’s likely we will receive 10-12 million for Virgil, as long as he is sold before last year of contract, providing a small profit.



    Not great, not team building, but hey its something.



    I recall Ernie thingy saying that last night’s game was a dead rubber, meaningless- well, I think this proves that it was anything but, and in fact any game celtic are involved in is not meaningless. We are always 1 or 2 games away from crisis. What is most worrying about last night is that it reduces our credibility.



    Kev Jungle – can you change your name please away from throw a smoke bomb at the dug out? Don’t we think NL has had enough of this from non celtic fans?

  17. Steinreignedsupreme on

    It is totally unrealistic to expect Neil Lennon to have mastered management at the top level after less than four years in the job.



    Jock Stein, Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Guus Hiddink were all making mistakes over a decade into their careers in management.

  18. Steinreignedsupreme on

    e=mc2 12:36 on 12 December, 2013



    You have to forgive KevJungle. He buys Sevco’s biggest selling fanzine, the Daily Record.



    His opinions are shaped by what he reads.

  19. Phone call from my in his mid 90s father ——–



    No surprise/ outclassed by a much superior team. Disappointed that they chucked it after the second . Pleased that Barca dropped a gear after an hour..



    My own mood lifted by Romanian man [ delighted by Juve’s loss, bemused by Milan’s progress and sad that- great team to watch- Napoli are oot ] bringing me a surprise parcel of Cdrs ——-choons for the car / choons for washing dishes to -parcel included the 2 disc -Jamaican Chart Hits 1961. [great].



    Off oot ———- the delights of downtown Sciacca await , Mrs S of T driving , Jamaican choons twirling .



    Sunny day -15 degrees at 1.30pm -way down south

  20. I don’t want to linger on last night’s poor poor showing – it has been adequately covered by far better posters than myself!



    slightly off topic this one but does anyone know if there are any guidelines on Champions League stats as regards qualifiers vs. group stage vs. knockout rounds?



    Reason I ask is I’ve noticed a seemingly haphazard approach to the reporting of our record in the competition.


    For instance when our away record is inevitably brought up on nights like last night, SKY and MSM etc only seem to consider group stage games, overlooking away wins in qualifying rounds.



    Yet, when record defeats get brought up, suddenly Artmedia rears its head again, despite being a qualifying match?



    Is it just the usual MSM guff, using data to suit their own agenda or do UEFA have any say over this?



    Trivial I know, but something that has always puzzled and annoyed me in equal measure.

  21. Kev jungle


    After all the violence perpetrated against our manager. What twisted sense of logic made you think it alright to throw pyros at the dugout.


    Away and support Hearts you attention seeking wee troll

  22. 6 fekin 1



    heres my ratings from last night



    neil lennon 2/10



    tactically inept


    a strange selection of personel


    matthews pukki borrighter


    what were you thinking


    wrong formation also



    fraser forster 4/10


    must be hard when your team is “defending”


    inside your own 18 yard box


    but he seems to deflect his saves back into play


    a lot of the time


    lustig 5/10


    tried hard tackled ok tried to find a player when he got the ball


    only to find when he was looking for a pass


    his midfield haS DESERTED HIM


    matthews 4/10


    the four is for effort exposed for the whole match


    should have been subbed in the first half


    ledley should have played in his position


    virgil 5/10


    tried hard he was our only half decent player


    ambrose 0/10


    the worst centre half performance since


    i dont know ive ever witnessed




    brown 0/10




    was he playing?


    he gets paid too much


    would like to see him punted


    ledley 0/10


    was he playing either


    cover for left back only


    better scottish players


    he goes missing at this level


    all the time get him punted


    biton 2/10


    our best midfielder


    still gash i think he would be a decent squad player


    borrigter 2/10


    im afraid were stuck with him


    got glass legs an spfl player at best


    pukki 2/10


    no service from the midfield


    tried hard but like most of our players


    ineffective afraid were stuck with him too


    samaras 4/10


    came alive in the 88th minute


    he didnt have any options when he got the ball


    at any time during the game got crowded out


    no service made space for himself


    only to lose the ball


    does not track back enough


    commons 4/10


    played well when he came on


    should have started


    stokes 2/10


    why bring on a striker in the 82nd minute


    when 6-0 down


    didnt have enough time


    mulgrew 2/10


    didnt make a difference


    not the kind of player to impose


    himself when used as a sub


    a good player tho



    this is the worst ive seen celtic play in my lifetime


    was born in 73




    we should never lose like this ever



    this will be a stain on our club


    until we get or if we get


    to the group stages of this competition


    the board neil lennon and the players


    were to blame for this

  23. Funnily only missed watching two away games readily available on tv (both thankfully) Neuchatel Xmax and last night. Watch the highlights and brief twitter conversations.



    Some incredible results means that one club progresses with 6 points and another with 12 doesn’t…….there is a lotterry to the groups you get in the Champions League. I don’t expect us to win it in outr current set up………….recruiting issues and finance……..I expect us to be in the pot when the draw takes place.



    I hope we continue with the domestic form particarily at home starting this week…….the message being if we’re alledgedy so poor in Europe what does that say about the others?



    Turbulant couple of weeks appoaching for The Rangers International FC (not to be confused with the original team of that name based in Africa). Our European performance should not include any comment that we are missing them……….I’m not………their business plan is based on competition with us not the other way around (long may that continue)



    Roll on Saturday…



    Hail Hail

  24. Inevitably there needs to be a post Mortimer after any European campaign, successful or otherwise.



    I hope Directors , coaches, players and fans dissect ( flogging the metaphor here) the Ajax and Zmilan games more closely than last nights meaningless result and fixture.



    I doubt any of us have much to learn from a 6-1 humping. I think we have a lot to learn from defeats to teams who were no better than us.

  25. Estadio Nacional on

    DeniaBhoy in awe of wee Oscar’s Courage 12:26



    It was good to see a more adventurous midfield but the wrong game to try it in.



    I think the manager has been scared and scared of creative midfields since Shaun Maloney was played in the fiasco that was away to Inverness, got to hope this doesnt make him even more cautious.





  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. ...
  10. 20