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Vanity tactics

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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:

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Sean Fallon, Celtic’s Iron Man:

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  1. NatKnow - Supporting Wee Oscar on

    setting free the bears supports Resolution 12 & Oscar Knox

     

     

     

    12:09 on 12 December, 2013

     

     

     

    Nat Know

     

     

     

    “I have over-simplified my point…..etc..”

     

     

    No doubt to accommodate the brainwashed sheep (like myself) of whom this blog is rightly proud. ;-)

  2. steinreignedsupreme

     

     

    Berkovic £5.75m

     

    Larsson £650,000

     

     

    We are essentially making the same point money does not guarantee a successful signing. We bought flops from AC Milan, Barca and Real Madrid under Strachan and stellar signings from Scunthorpe, Beerschoot and a free from Forest. Lenny has got enough right I feel to be given the benefit of the doubt. You could line up a team of flop signings made by Alex Ferguson in the last 10 years a period in which he won 6 titles and 1 CL. management will never be an exact science.

  3. LiviBhoy - God bless wee Oscar on

    m6bhoy

     

     

    I think Neil Lennon will be more alarmed that the players didn’t seem to be up for the game before or during it.

     

    Harsh for the manager to take total blame. Most of the players let him down.

     

     

    LB

  4. Steinreignedsupreme on

    m6bhoy 14:23 on 12 December, 2013

     

     

    Because Lenny is a young manager learning his trade. He has already proved his worth domestically and he took the team to the last 16 in the Champions League last season.

     

     

    Neil Lennon is a successful Celtic manager. Look at the record of some of his predecessors if you are in any doubt about that.

     

     

    You appear to want shot of him because Celtic, as the Pot 4 team in the group finished fourth.

  5. darwinsbeautifulidea on

    Juarez sums up our manager £3m plays brilliantly for several games,never seen again Brown plays shite for years still club captain,never wanted the cheap option Lawwell was to quick to appoint lennon ffs was he not at he semi versus ross county when a team of celtic cast offs outplayed and out fought us

     

    time for a change both in the board room and in the dug out

  6. John Collins is the most deluded, miserable faced character in Scottish football. I would hold put very little hope that he could lift the spirit or motivation to be fitter in any dressing room.

     

    For God’s sake get a grip fholk!

  7. The Honest Mistake loves being first on

    M6bhoy.

     

    Last 16 in Europe last year

     

    League and cup.

     

    Top 32 team in Europe.

     

    Top of the league

     

    Still in a cup.

     

    Team scored 12 goals in past 2 league games.

     

     

    It’s a crazy question to ask.

  8. ml6bhoy

     

     

    “I know what NFL did last season but this is more than outweighed by the Euro disasters this season. You still haven’t explained why we should retain him.”

     

     

    It is not outweighed; it has not even lost weight. In fact it has kept the weight it gained last year.

     

     

    Last year’s effort weighed plus 4 (4 places better than predicted). This year’s effort weighs 0 (finished exactly where predicted). Within that equation is the reason why we should retain a successful manager.

  9. mighty tim supporting wee Oscar @ 14:27 on 12 December, 2013

     

     

    So the only reason for retaining NFL as manager is that we might not be able to attract someone better to the club? Is that it? FFS!!!

  10. Steinreignedsupreme on

    savo01 14:29 on 12 December, 2013

     

     

    Aye. Agreed. Every signing is a risk.

     

     

    The only consolation for us is Celtic’s outlay is smaller than many of the other clubs where guys who cost £25-£30m are sitting in the stand every week.

  11. If nothing else, last night’s game shows that signing the mighty Finbogason would not have made a scrap of difference. We badly need a couple of midfielders who are fast and fit and can control the ball with their first touch and pass it to a team-mate. Surely it’s possible to find them?

  12. LiviBhoy - God bless wee Oscar on

    CultsBhoy

     

     

    Alex Ferguson was miserable and deluded. That means nothing.

     

    Collins would bring something different. he has been a success in management. Winning a trophy with Hibs is relative success. He is a set piece expert. He is a consumate professional. I don’t care how miserable anyone is who does a good job for Celtic.

     

    If we can’t afford to spend big we must coach smarter!

     

     

    LB

  13. darwins bi

     

     

    “Juarez sums up our manager £3m plays brilliantly for several games,never seen again ”

     

     

    Think you have grossly over-estimated Efrain’s Celtic career to make your point appear to have substance. He went on loan to Spain and did not get into the team there. He was sold to a Mexican team that played him 6 times before sending him on loan to a lesser Mexican outfit. Two other managers reached the same conclusion as Neil.

  14. John Collins is one of the few Scottish players to have had a very good career abroad in a good league. That alone suggests to me that he would have something to offer as a coach.

  15. NatKnow - Supporting Wee Oscar on

    KevJungle – continuation of ur conversation(s) from last thread

     

     

     

    NatKnow – Supporting Wee Oscar

     

     

     

    11:32 on 12 December, 2013

     

     

     

    KevJungle – all pyros to be thrown @dug-out/directors-box

     

     

    11:24 on 12 December, 2013

     

     

    NatKnow – Supporting Wee Oscar

     

     

    11:19 on 12 December, 2013

     

    _____________________________

     

    To be specific – £5 million for Balde n Pukki or £650k for Russell ?

     

     

    Ah mean, it’s no my money that is being wasted – some of my family’s though

     

    that is their look-out – they have been warned often enough.

     

     

    That is actually interesting. Many on here were slating Celtic for not forking out whatever it was (£6M upwards?) for a single player (Finboggason?) in the last transfer window. What annoyes you is that we forked out too much money and should only have spent £650K on J.Russell? I’m sure Celtic would be delighted to spend so little. If they had, our position (in my opionion) would be no different. We’d still be ahead in the SPFL and out of the Champs League and the club would be getting accused of having no ambition – no?

     

     

     

     

    KevJungle – all pyros to be thrown @dug-out/directors-box

     

     

    11:27 on 12 December, 2013

     

     

    NatKnow – Supporting Wee Oscar

     

     

    11:19 on 12 December, 2013

     

    ________________________

     

     

    Do I want Celtic to win the CL this season ?

     

    I take it ye forgot the smiley there ?

     

    Or, have you been hen-pecked by the ‘boreds’

     

    chooky burdies ?

     

    HH

     

     

    There was no smiley because it was a genuine question – I have no idea what your expectations are but you are awfy angry all the time so just trying to understand where that’s coming from.

     

     

    I am hen-pecked – but I have a chooky-bird of my own that I keep for that purpose.

  16. The Honest Mistake loves being first @ 14:31 on 12 December, 2013

     

     

    Why is it crazy to ask why we should retain NFL as manager on the back of our two consecutive record Euro defeats? After all, that’s what we are all being told is the benchmark these days given the lack of competition domestically. Let’s be honest, we could operate as a workers collective, pick the team by random numbers and still win the league by a handsome margin.

  17. Listen Bhoys last nights result was terrible.but I think a lot of us seen this coming.a prime example ,when I went into the bookies yesterday afternoon,a celtic fan whom I know very well ,said to me well jimmy are u looking for us to get a real hammering. to night,i said I hope not, and then low and behold we did get hammerd,firstly I think the players knew that we had in all reality we had nothing to play for ,that happens we met barca on a night when everything went right for them. they are a class act , im not going to single out any player , but the truth is a few of them are not going to make it.even some that have been at the club for a while,time is up for them as well.and also a change in coaches and scouts wouldn’t go wrong either.

  18. mighty tim supporting wee Oscar on

    mighty tim supporting wee Oscar @ 14:27 on 12 December, 2013

     

     

    So the only reason for retaining NFL as manager is that we might not be able to attract someone better to the club? Is that it? FFS!!!

     

     

    Not what I am saying at all. You are the one shouting for NFL to go. I am pointing out the hurdles that he faces in doing his job. Other managers would not be keen to work under the same circumstances. I am more than happy with NFL as our manager and hope he remains so for years to come.

     

     

    KTF

     

     

    HH

  19. Travellerbhoy

     

     

    I read your post last night and your story defo puts football into perspective. My mum died 10 years ago and it was down to her drinking. I must admit I used to spend far too much time in the pub myself to the detriment of my family i’m ashamed to say but now go out only once a fortnight. (For some reason I thought I was missing something but looking back was missing hee-haw) I also gambled far too much sometimes leaving the family short i’m afraid to say and smoke 40 fags a day. I think the time I turned myself around was the birth of my grandson. I gave up the fags and gambling and only have a few drinks (enjoyable all the same) and focus more on my wife and kids who when looking back put up with a lot.

     

    Good luck in your battle Travellerbhoy.

  20. Steinreignedsupreme on

    m6bhoy 14:42 on 12 December, 2013

     

     

    What do you expect Celtic to be achieving under Neil Lennon?

  21. The Honest Mistake loves being first on

    M6bhoy.

     

    Perhaps qualifying for the last 32 two years in a row is a better benchmark?

     

    How can you square up your expectation of the favourite celtic winning the domestic title every year with the underdog celtic avoiding defeat against Europes top teams every year?

  22. A big hail hail to all the unhappy clappers coming out the woodwork today.

     

     

    Nobody liked last night’s match. We played rubbish, it could have been many more and some of the tactics were awful. But calling for the manager’s head? Really?

     

     

    I have to disagree with Paul67 – we may well be more mature when we start the CL qualifiers next season but which teams are going to offer a real test to us in Scotland?

  23. mighty tim supporting wee Oscar @14:45 on 12 December, 2013

     

     

    Not what I am saying at all. You are the one shouting for NFL to go. I am pointing out the hurdles that he faces in doing his job. Other managers would not be keen to work under the same circumstances. I am more than happy with NFL as our manager and hope he remains so for years to come.

     

    —————————————————————-

     

    I haven’t shouted for anyone to go. I simply asked why on the back of 2 consecutive record defeats in Europe, he should be retained?

  24. LiviBhoy - God bless wee Oscar on

    Rocket Man

     

     

    It’s pretty simple. Barcelona are miles ahead of us. We play them 100 times we will probably lose 90 games draw and few and win a couple.

     

    Same if we play most teams in Scotland. We just got roasted last night.

     

    The lack of application was a worry though.

     

     

    LB

  25. Hope we can pick up where we left off at Motherwell with our domestic form and begin the longer term rebuilding in January. Summer signings haven’t worked – other than VVD who is a real star in the making, so buy in January Celtic.

     

     

    Will there be any comments about the “political” banner on the pitch last night just a few weeks after Celtic were reported to UEFA for the Sands/ Wallace banner displayed by the Green Brigade?

     

     

    Re those last minute CQN Christmas shoppers. Last year our busiest week for the sales of the CQN Annual was the week before Christmas so we’re expecting the usual late rush. If you want to get the Annual in time for Christmas you have 7 postal days before it starts getting really risky! Oder below Paul’s blog.

     

     

    Anyone will any delivery enquiries please let me know – david@CQNMagazine.com

  26. Steinreignedsupreme Steinreignedsupreme @ 14:50 on

     

    12 December, 2013

     

     

    The Honest Mistake loves being first @14:52 on

     

    12 December, 2013

     

     

    Rocket Man @ 14:52 on 12 December, 2013

     

     

    Could sumdy just please answer my original question

     

     

    “Could someone please explain to me what they see in NFL that supports the notion he should continue as manager”?

  27. ernie lynch

     

    13:56

     

     

    Things have definitely improved since the days of Patrick Kluivert and Ronaldinho.

     

     

    I’m sure the players like to have a decent dinner from time to time and the odd glass of decent wine.

     

     

    Andrés Iniesta owns a vineyard back in La Mancha. He brought out a wine called Minuto 116, to mark the time on the clock when he scored the winner in the World Cup final. I haven’t tried it, but I believe it has sold very well.

     

     

    Obviously wee Andrés will be quite hands-off in his approach to managing the vineyard.

  28. As I posted a few weeks ago. I do not think anyone will have to sack NFL.

     

    He is savvy enough to know tat he will not be given the resources to improve his squad to enable to do much beyond simply qualifying for next year’s CL. And even that might be beyond the present squad.

     

     

    You can replace him with John Collins, Phil Collins or Joan Collins and without a change in boardroom strategy we will be having the same post mortem over another European humiliation.

  29. Steinreignedsupreme on

    m6bhoy 15:00 on 12 December, 2013

     

     

    I’ve already answered it. He’s a young manager learning his job and we should stick with him because he is a successful Celtic manager.

     

     

    You didn’t answer what you expect the club to achieve under Neil Lennon.

     

     

    Care to enlighten us?

  30. The Honest Mistake loves being first on

    M6bhoy.

     

    You keep repeating yourself and I’ll keep repeating myself.

     

     

    Last 16 in Europe last year

     

    League and cup.

     

    Top 32 team in Europe.

     

    Top of the league

     

    Still in a cup.

     

    Team scored 12 goals in past 2 league games.

     

     

    It’s a crazy question

  31. mighty tim supporting wee Oscar on

    m6bhoy

     

     

    Ok you are not shouting you are asking why he should be retained. Then all I am asking is if he is not retained then who should become the manager in your opinion and as I said would they be happy to work with the restrictions he has to work with.

     

    All I am looking is for people that want NFL shunted to name a replacement that would do a better job under the circumstances mate.

     

     

    KTF

     

     

    HH

  32. m6bhoy

     

    15:00 on

     

    12 December, 2013

     

    Steinreignedsupreme Steinreignedsupreme @ 14:50 on

     

    12 December, 2013

     

     

    The Honest Mistake loves being first @14:52 on

     

    12 December, 2013

     

     

    Rocket Man @ 14:52 on 12 December, 2013

     

     

    Could sumdy just please answer my original question

     

     

    “Could someone please explain to me what they see in NFL that supports the notion he should continue as manager”?

     

     

    For the simple reason that you cannot name anyone who can improve things and would be available at a price DD and PL could stomach.

  33. Livibhoy: how can we address that? (and I’m not disagreeing with you here)

     

     

    a) sack the manager

     

    b) sack the board

     

    c) etc etc…

     

     

    Or do something that might actually help us get better like get a real system of feeder and youth teams around the globe (and Scotland?) with better coaching than what we have in Scotland (I think this is what the club are attempting but most likely it’s just to increase the merchandising/brand value).

     

     

    And then taking the unprecedented step of actually playing some of these “homegrown youngsters”…in the first team…at the same time…from the start of games!

     

     

    Naw. It’ll never catch on…

  34. Neymar is valued at £44M, the only CL defense he scored against this season was a below par Celtic one.

  35. Celtic are too big a club to be breaking in a “rookie” manager, see Brady/Barnes/Maccari/Mowbry/NFL.

     

    NFL was a very good player for Celtic and would have made a great Ambassador for the club, he may go on to be a great manager and that is when we should be thinking about him.

     

    If we have any money to spend in January it should be for a manager who has proven himself in Europe. (if there is one available).

     

    We have the nucleus of a very good team in the making, we need an experienced manager/striker/creative midfielder to nurture them along.

     

    This is the first post I have made on here regarding the team and they are simply my thoughts, no one has to agree with me.

     

    Just for the record, I am 71 today and I will be the first to admit that the game today has past me by.

     

    Take me back to the ole 1-2-3-5 set up……..???

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