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:

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Sean Fallon, Celtic’s Iron Man:

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  1. Derks Left Boot on

    Just logged on, and not bothering to read back (not really in the mood!), so not sure if it’s been mentioned already, but I do think the players mindset was quite evident last night. Obviously this should not be the case, you’re playing at the Camp Nou for goodness sake, but still, the game was effectively meaningless for Celtic …. if there is such a thing.



    There was a noticeable lack of effort in chasing down players, pressurising, even tackling etc, all of which we have produced in recent CL performances. However, I believe this is where human nature comes into it, at least in part. A sense of “Here we go again. Why should I bother running about chasing them all over the park, I’ve done it all before”. You know? that type of thing must surely have been at the back of the mind. Were they also perhaps wanting to avoid unnecessary injuries for upcoming (now priority) league games? Dunno.



    No excuses though. They are professional footballers, and paid mightily handsomely for it, so 100% and nothing else should be the norm, no matter the opposition or occasion.



    Sad to say, Neil also got hs tactics and personnel all wrong. It’s easy to say in hindsight, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought this at the first sight of the teamsheet.



    However, in Neil I still trust.



    HAIL HAIL and KTF!




  2. Neil doesnt need to go but IMHO he should get in some specialised help.


    When we look at EPL games we see the figure-head manager flanked by sharp-eyed astute tactically aware coaches . You can see them telling the big name manager whats going wrong on the field . They spot the problems and they write lots of stuff in their notebooks. They are often the power behind the big name manager who is more of a motivator and the man who gets the glory or the sack..

  3. Hamiltontim is praying for Oscar on




    A couple of years ago at Tannadice (the game where we lost 2 goals in the last couple of minutes) I was in the front row in seat 1 of the West Stand (the one behind the goal).



    Tanner had come out of the studio and was standing just to the side of me when Utd scored the first of those two goals. I actually saw him clench his fist and smile broadly when it went in.



    I politely told him to have a lovely day!!

  4. Steinreignedsupreme on

    Jeromek67 16:05 on 12 December, 2013



    “Sadly I don’t think Neil Lennon does learn from his mistakes ….in fact he constantly repeats the same mistakes.”



    He will continue to make mistakes. Name me a manager that doesn’t?

  5. LiviBhoy - God bless wee Oscar on




    An eye in the stand so to speak?


    I saw John Robertson do similar in the Hibs v Hearts derby in the cup this season. Within 5 mins Hearts scored.


    It’s not a bad shout. If you stand still and don’t look at changing things at all levels you start to go backwards. I’m sure Celtic are addressing this. Houston is an interesting appointment. Maybe he will be involved in coaching as well as scouting. Anyone know?




  6. Good afternoon all



    Sorry if already posted.@SkyNewsBreak: Police Scotland says a tenth person has died following helicopter crash in Glasgow



    Weefra HH supporting Wee Oscar.

  7. setting free the bears supports Resolution 12 & Oscar Knox


    12:15 on


    12 December, 2013


    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?



    Did not matter?.Have you not listened to our MSM?.We have disgraced Scotland.Just what has this done to our credibility,they scream.Even Terry Butcher telling them to give it a rest.


    You know the Scotland that normally do great in European competitions?.That Scotland.The Scotland that worships Walter,with the worst record ever in Europe.Humiliated every year in Europe.


    Good god man.

  8. Weeman67 – Happy Birthday. Agree with your sentiments



    Neil Lennon is out of his depth at CL level. As a business entity, the club seem to be happy for him to continue to learn his trade by trial and error, at OUR expense. I posted last night that he needs help. John Collins is not the answer for me, we should be able to find someone with a CL pedigree, who understands the style of football, the level of fitness, and the application of tactics necessary to compete in the CL. There are surely some older guys out there who would relish the opportunity to consult to Celtic and provide a European football education to our manager.



    This is a win win for the Board. They are not going to spend any money on players in January, because we don’t need any more to win the league. So why not appease the fans by investing some money in the coaching department. It’s an investment that will pay dividends for years to come. We are in a perfect position domestically. Free to experiment to our hearts content in the league without fear of losing – we are wasting a window of opportunity that every other club in the world would die for.

  9. Steinreignedsupreme on

    Tanner used to get routinely humiliated by MON for his inane questions during press conferences at Celtic Park.



    He’s just a wee joby.

  10. I’d hazard a guess that Neil told the players the pressure was all off so just relax and go out there and enjoy yourself, certainly to me that was how they played. Barcelona must have thought ya dancer, christmas has come two weeks early.

  11. Bamboo…. Great Nomme de Blog.. by the way!



    Yes.. Pal.



    You Hit the Proverbial oan the Napper,wi those Remarks.



    Neil, is jist a Kid..a Raw Lauddie.. He is Intelligent as awe Get oot..







    He hiznae any .. MALAM!



    That’s Fitba’ Malam. Ah am Talking abboot..



    He needs. Some guied guidance in Acquiring A Dod of That..



    and the Best wey that Ah know..



    How he kin Achieve THAT.. is by..



    Some further Mentoring oan the Subject.. by a Crafty.. well.. Customer..



    Such as.. an Auld Fitba Manager. wan who wiz known fur his



    well… Fitba’ Malam.




  12. setting free the bears



    Is that the Bertie Vogts who was the last manager to get Scotland to the play-offs for a major tournament (with absolutely awful players at his disposal)?



    Bertie wasn’t a great manager, but it always bugs me the way the SMSM put him down while saying how great Sir Walter and Big Eck were as Scotland managers, two men who achieved nothing.

  13. mighty tim supporting wee Oscar on



    How you doing was it Commons that improved your looks at Tannadice.







  14. I want in my lifetime to be able to watch a Celtic side that has a realistic chance of winning the CL.



    To do that you have to be able to match the spending of the biggest spending clubs.



    That cannot be done from SPFL TV revenues.




    To achieve greatness again,we must play our football in a league that increases out revenues to all the other top clubs.



    The board are failing us miserably on this point.



    Staying in Scottish football is going to kill us.




  15. Nothing will change unless DD says so



    PL will not be moved out unless DD says so



    NFL will not be pushed out unless DD says so



    I don’t think any one is safe in their job unless DD says so



    The money ball business model will never allow any CFC coach to see how good his 22 year old team can become when they turn 25 because they keep being sold. Even if we grew our own from domestic supply it would be the same.



    Only apathy, empty seats and a drop in revenue streams will force the speed of change and whether it goes all the way to the top remains to be seen.



    Just an opinion you understand.

  16. Mncelt



    Hi ya ,Pal.



    Yes.. As usual.. ye Speak wi’ an Uncrooked Tongue..



    Neil ..IS oota his Depth..



    IN EUROPE… No, in the S.P.L… where Neil, diz a creditable Joab in the Managin’








    Even, Kojo.. ( Who Nevhah Hiz Played…the Beautiful Game,in his Nellie Duff)



    Could .. dae a Creditable Joab oaf Managin.. a Fitba Team…When it came tae playin


    agin a Bunch o’ Scottish Provincial.. Sluggers.



    Neil, Needs Help.. in Europe..



    No Question.



    It is Obvious as.. Awe Get OOT.. that He Diz!



    Well.. Tae Some of Us, anyway









    Nice chattin’ wi ye,pal.




  17. Paul sais exactly what I said last night.Bad tactics.Our line up should have been 4-1-4-1.Sorry for that first line.PC playing up.


    Lenny should be learning from past mistakes.He does not seem to be.This is my worry.


    We went all out against Juve last season.No thought of keeping the game alive.A 0-0 draw would have done us,an away goal,who knows.


    Against Milan this year,we were playing well,then went for it.Gubbed.


    Ajax.the same.If you keep making the same mistakes,what is the answer.


    We are stuck with a few duds now,who will take up valuable wages,and give very little return.So much for the much vaunted “Transfer policy”Only works if you replace quality,with quality.A lot of lessons to be learned ,management,and board level.

  18. too many to mention, so thanks to cqn in general, you’ve got me believing again with the analysis of last night- there was so much wrong but, it’s over………

  19. Lambert, Clarke, Moyes, there are a few good Scots coaches around.



    I don´t think it´s a nationality thing.



    I would see if we can get some money for Sammi and try to build a more free flowing style



    Five foot five midfielders, six foot forwards and six foot five defenders.



    The Celtic wizards

  20. 10th victim named. @BBCJamesCook: Police say Joe Cusker, 59 of Cambuslang died today in Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where he’d been receiving treatment since the crash. #clutha






    Weefra HH supporting Wee Oscar

  21. David Peter Deans on

    Some people will put blame on the board for not splasking the cash. Bangura, Borregter, Pukki, Balde. does that add up to around £8 million approx. I would suggest we have have gone for quantity over quality. Biton looks to be half decent when settled could be really good. Vandyke is quality. personally i would play either Mulgrew or Lustig alongside him with Ambose further forward in midfield. Would still like a leftback who can defend. Give Atajac a run up front.



    Just my opionion to go along with all the others.


    Hail Hail.

  22. Steinreignedsupreme on

    greendreamz 16:40 on 12 December, 2013



    “Maybe we could have a CL for debt free clubs???”



    Perhaps we could. Because as things stand we will never be able to compete with the bottomless-pit of resources Real Madrid have at their disposal.



    They purchased a player in the summer for over £80m. Money Real Madrid does not have. Everyone knows Madrid have been spending money they do not actually have for years, but they are allowed to do so.



    Celtic will never be able to compete with that, never mind the obscene amounts of money getting spent elsewhere by Champions League participants.



    Sadly, that is reality.

  23. &9 caps



    Sorry that was a lazy example. I agree that Bertie, though no a good coach, was never as bad as the MSM painted him.



    He had to work with a very poor generation of Scots where Barry Ferguson and Jackie Mac were the cream of his crop.



    My point was similar. We need and have good quality coaches (Johann is foreign BTW) and it would not matter if Swalex and Jose jointly managed an SPFL side with our budget.



    The Harvard quiz team will always beat the quiz team from Auchtermuchty University, even if the Harvard teacher took a year long sabbatical there to train them.

  24. David peter deans


    aye up, this isn’t a challenge but a query as I haven’t got the answer myself. to get quality in regularly, how much do we have to spend in eng scot ire. personally, I think it’s got to be 5-10 m at least but I don’t know if that will get quality. I base this on MAF who wasn’t a success and hoops who was. Would we need to go to 10-15 m to get game in game out quality performances who could influence spfhell games and cope in CL ?



    just don’t know myself but I wish I did ‘cos last night was upsetting

  25. If we were looking for a General Manager type, then Jupp Heynckes would be a great shout!



    A wealth of experience and got bagged at Bayern for winning the treble including the CL. Still only 68.



    He’d fit Kojo’s job description. No comments about Huns please.

  26. David Peter Deans






    Nice tae meet ye.



    Yes.. Celtic hiv Kissed a Hellava Loata Frogs… and .. Yes, Nowadays.



    Frogs, Coast a Loata Money..Much Mair than They Used tae!



    Perhaps …



    No,in the Individual Sense.. but..in the Collective Sense..



    They hiv Coast us.. Plenty.






    That is the Only wey . that Celtic, because of their Sma Purse, can


    go aboot the Business of



    Uncovering.. well…



    Noble .. Well… Princes.!



    And.. like ye hiv Pointed oot..



    Guys, like.,. Virgil..n.. Hopefully.. Biton..



    are examples of Such.



    Ah am afraid ,pal. that Celtic, wull Continue tae elect tae use the



    “Shot-Gun”… Scatter Gun…. Approach.. when it comes tae Bringing in New Faces..


    using as Small Amounts of Lolly, as we kin.. in each transaction.





    It is the Only way that Maks Sense .. because of the Sorry state of Oor Treasury.






    We have Managed tae Bring in.. Several Noble Princes.. by daein that.




  27. Steinreignedsupreme on

    TinyTim 16:38 on 12 December, 2013



    Celtic are unable to leave Scottish football at a whim. Rules are in place and it almost impossible as things stand to join any other league.



    I have no doubt at all that Celtic will quit Scottish football if an opportunity arises. It is difficult to understand why you are blaming the board on an issue they have no control over.

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