Warning signs observed, creative issue lies ahead


What warning signs there were, were observed. Last season Qarabag beat Salzburg (who then won at Celtic Park), drew home and away with Twente and Saint Etienne, drew at home with Inter, and beat Europa League finalists, Dnipro. Remotely disrespect their challenge, and you’d leave Baku empty handed.

I think we would be over-generous to either team to make too much of the chances on show. James Forrest had the goal at his mercy, before choosing to make a pass, which, if it got through the immediate defender, would have found a heavily marked Leigh Griffiths, but shots from distance don’t count.  This was a game without real chances.  It also provided some evidence that James Forrest’s confidence is not where it once was.

The defence scarcely put a foot out of place but the performance of Stefan Johansen and Scott Brown was pivotal to the outcome. Johansen disrupted Qarabeg high up the field, showing incredible energy levels in that heat. Scott Brown held a deeper position throughout and got himself in the way of Qarabag repeatedly.

We had nothing going forward. Gary Mackay-Steven was put on his bum a few times early on and looked to be suffering heat-exhaustion more than anyone else. Nadir Ciftci was isolated, again, but the hoped-for link play didn’t materialise. He needs a link player. That’s a problem for another day. Between now and then, you and I have a Champions League play-off draw to worry about.  Once we know our fate we can worry about being more creative.

It was an absolute treat again to see the Celtic FC Foundation logo, this time on the first choice jersey.  Magners could have put their bottled water brand there instead, but they get what this relationship with Celtic is all about.  The help they’ve given our Mary’s Meals, school kitchen appeal is further evidence of this.

Our competition where you can win a Celtic third choice (bumblebee) top, courtesy of Mangers, closes at 14:00 THIS AFTERNOON.  To enter, email celticquicknews@gmail.com with the name of the country Mary’s Meals have built four CQN school kitchens in the subject line of your message.

If you can cope with the excitement of also sending a £1 or £2 to the appeal while entering, you can do so here.  Thank you.

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    A good draw to morrow and a fine win on Sunday will do me nicely!




    Roll on the weekend…

  2. Watched the game on a struggling sausage so can’t comment to much on it but looked liked we strolled it in the second half, kept it simple and got the job done.



    Two games away from the CL, I would have bit yer hand off for that last week:))




  3. glendalystonsils on

    Fairly comfortable against a fairly impotent Qarabag side. The only downside (looking forward) is that we were just about as impotent.

  4. Blast,missed out on a wee trip to Cyprus again.Maybe Tel Aviv,if the flights are ok.Would take Skenderbeau in a minute though.


    Thought our tactics were spot on last night.Zig and Zag had duties to stop their full backs and wide midfielders doing too much damage.They did this well.Ran their socks of.Jo Hansen did the same further forward,Broony the same further back.Obviously that left Ciftci isolated up front,but he worked very hard at a thankless task.If this is the way we must play away from home for around an hour,so be it.When the subs were made,and they had tired a bit,we could have scored a couple.On another day they go in.Considering Craig had one save to make,it was a superb performance against a team with a more than decent recent history in Europe.


    Three league games now,to get up to full steam.Lustig,Boyata,Forrest,Commons,should come on a ton,fitness wise.


    A lot being said about Forrest trying a pass,when he should have shot.Swings and roundabouts.People are forgetting the magnificent run he had to get there.Who else in the team could anyone imagine doing it?.


    A lot to come from Forrest this season.Give the boy a break.Ronnie is.

  5. My friends in Celtic, Paul 67,



    Good summary, Qarabag have a decent track record.


    Sometimes I do not think certain posters appreciate the pressure Celtic are under for these Euro qualifiers. iMO we must be in the almost unique position of our most importent and pressure games coming right at the beginning of our season. Eg if West Ham go out at least they have a season long fight in one of the best leagues in the world.



    If our Euro campaigns Peters out we have our own domestic competitions : but is that enough ?


    For many if we go out the CL to the Europa league, then they are unable to attend on. Sunday. Our league crowds drop and makes our attractiness to potential signings that we bit less desirable.



    That is our position and that is partially why I was so impressed and delighted with our result.

  6. Last night, carrierbag were hoping the dual effect of stifling heat and a very dodgy pitch, would upset us…it didn’t work.


    The defence were solid, and the game went to plan.


    However, we will need to improve going forward….so, I reckon we might still see a few players yet, probably a loan striker(hopefully).


    I don’t think we are far away from being able to hold our own in the CL group stage,….one final piece of the jigsaw missing?


    A goalscorer.




  7. The Battered Bunnet on



    Are you trying to market Johansen?


    Can’t dispute the guy’s athleticism and stamina, his pressing of the opposition, but his use of the ball is tiresomely poor and shows no sign of improving one match to the next.


    Johansen’s malfunctioning distribution is our opponents’ most effective counter-attacking strategy.


    We generally get away with it in the SPL, but in Europe assured possession is first base, and Johansen isn’t making it.


    Your repeated extolling of the player despite considerable and continuing evidence to the contrary is vexing.





    PS I have a 1994 Fiat Bravo I could do with shifting if you can help. Great runner…

  8. The team will grow with each passing European game. The likes of Armstrong and GMS have much to learn at this level. They also lack a little belief that they belong there. Have watched Boyata a few times now, he is good physically but no so good at reading the game and switches off to runners in behind. Also needs a lot of work on his passing and coming out with the ball. A good signing though. Thought Lustig was superb last night, really hope we can keep him fit, he has the experience of an international player and it shows in games like last night. He is far superior defender than Matthews was, especially at Euro level.

  9. News reaches me that there will be a huge Orange Walk (culture walk) on 21st November in Livingston.


    I believe Sevco will be getting skelped by Livi FC that day as well at Almondvale.


    8 bands. 3 from England and 1 from N Ireland.


    Just a heads up to avoid Livingston that day.


    Now where is the address for the Livi MP….




  10. foghorn leghorn on

    Fairly comfortable against a fairly impotent Qarabag side. The only downside (looking forward) is that we were just about as impotent.





    well, so we arent impotent in the next round i suggest the club doctor dishes out some blue pills to our players and we can attack the opposition ‘stauners out’



    they will keek their breeks and we will be in the group stages

  11. Livibhoy



    Balotelli ? Not one of your better suggestions buddy.



    And 2m for 6months is something out board wouldn’t fancy. thankfully

  12. “Get a hold of my accountant, Andrew, very cunning. He’ll know what to do. I don’t want my death to spoil my living!”



    Arthur Daley.




    I suggest we go one better and petition UEFA for CELTIC players to be fitted with winged boots


    Its only fair :)





  14. proudbhoy



    I was making a suggestion based on the rumour around Hernandez.


    £2m would probably pay his wages for the season unless my maths is way off.


    We need to think out the box. The strategy in the past before entering the group stages of Europe hasn;t been great.


    Mario has something to prove. The boy is a top, top striker. I believe we may just have the people at the club who can help him.


    It’s probably pie in the sky and there is no doubt the boy is a risk a huge risk. His ages would cost the same as Derk’s transfer fee. Let that sink in and then think about publicity shirt sales etc and maybe just maybe he clicks. He is a world class sriker when on his game.


    Just a wee thought nothing more. The reaction has been interesting. Mostly no.






  15. Delaneys Dunky on

    It struck me in January that Stuart Armstrong and GMS were not as fit as the rest of the Celtic team. It looks the same with big Nadir now. Ronny and our coaches will get all three up to our high fitness levels soon.

  16. Don’t think a game at Firhill would have Balotelli bursting a gut the way RD & JC expect.



    I do realise that it is a hypothetical opinion, and opinions are always valued and welcomed.

  17. We seem to enjoy worrying about our team’s striking prowess, but it is often more difficult to defend against a team without an outstanding single point of attacking threat.



    Back in the day, if you stopped Henke you had done more than half the job. And these days it is much the same if you can suppress the likes of Messi or Ronaldo.



    With the number of Celtic goals contributed by midfielders and defenders, opponents don’t really know who to pick up, as the threat can come from anywhere. If they pick up those in the penalty area, the chances are that someone coming through from a deeper position will pose a threat. And then there is the added threat posed by the likes of VVD, Bitton and Commons from 20-30 yards out.



    We should also acknowledge what a fantastic defence (& ‘keeper) we have. Having broken the SPL defensive record, they carry on regardless. Our last 10 competitive fixtures have yielded the following results:



    Qarabag 0 Celtic 0


    Celtic 2 Ross County 0


    Celtic 1 Qarabag 0


    Stjarnan 1 Celtic 4


    Celtic 2 Stjarnan 0


    Celtic 5 Inverness CT 0


    St Johnstone 0 Celtic 0


    Aberdeen 0 Celtic 1


    Celtic 5 Dundee 0


    Dundee Utd 0 Celtic 3



    With just one goal conceded in ten games, I don’t think even our players appreciate how good their defensive play is.



    Perhaps we should therefore have a bit less of the backs-to-the-wall panic defending in away Euro games, and accept that the opposition is going to have to be very good, or get very lucky, to score against us!

  18. I wasn’t sure if we would make it last night after being at first game. I witnessed them passing the ball much better than us. Their defence was also excellent (as was ours last week) and I felt sure we would have to score away from home to go thru.



    I was also worried about Ronny’s tactics in knockout European games – the nightmare last year (without hindsight) of seeing an newly signed offensive wide player being deployed (Berget) in a vital away match with hardly time to remember all the names of his team mates, still haunts me with it’s naivety. Especially with another attacking wide player on the pitch as well (McGregor).



    Maribor away was better but we didn’t learn enough about them and the tactics/performance at home were poor and a massive let down.



    We learned from the experience of the Europa League last year, but the league games weren’t knockout, and none of the games, not even the Inter knockout games had the pressure attached to the tie we had to negotiate this week.



    I felt before last night’s game that we would find out a lot about Ronny’s tactics and the mental & physical strength of the players as well as their discipline and bravery on the ball.



    Ronny and the players came thru with flying colours – came of age actually – and given the quality of opposition that Qarabag have beaten over the last year or so, it speaks volumes for us.


    This was a very “lose-able” tie and we’ve come thru it in a very un-Celtic, disciplined way. We’ve not had many 0-0 draws away from home after a 1 goal victory at home in first leg over the years (when was the last time apart from Elfsborg?). Don’t let any of the many naysayers out there demean this.



    We are now guaranteed another 8 games in Europe and that will do me just fine.



    Well done Ronny & The Bhoys.

  19. Bitton and Lustig my top picks from yesterday.



    And what about the Aussies: 1st innings all out for 60 (sixty) … ?




  20. Greenpinata



    Yeah I agree. It’s hypothetical.


    Boletelli is so far out of favour at Liverpool that I forgot he was there.


    I think he will go back to Italy but if we could get him on loan and get him playing well he would be an incredible loan move.




  21. Balotelli?



    Can anyone post some stats that justify this guy’s reputation and his ability to command exorbitant remuneration for kicking a football around? He seems to flit from one huge club to another with consummate ease, in spite of achieving little of note at each step of his journey.

  22. oneofthe70percent on

    The best chance was when the big useless norwiegian missed a sitter late on in the game,afraid that were turning into dundee utd,and their piss,so why are we buying about 1/3 of their side

  23. The hand of God on

    I sincerely hope that Aberdeen win tonight and also make it through to the Europa league group stages.Could be a tough task that team looked pretty useful in the 1st leg.

  24. just watched the game again on BT …… much more civilized way at least for those around me who dont haver to listen to my rantings




    anyway….. my motm Scott Brown




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