We won the cup, so what now?


Neil Lennon will have learned enough on Sunday to give him pause for thought.  After wins over Lille and Kilmarnock, we shipped three goals, conceded additional good chances and confidence shattered all too easily the moment Hearts scored their first.

For me, the remainder of our season truncates into the next four games; four more cup finals, if you like.  The plan for these fixtures has to be right.

There is no longer a debate about our best defensive formation; moving Kristofer Ajer to right back gives the team a far better shape.  This means playing Christopher Jullien and Shane Duffy in central defence.  As you may have commented through expletives on Sunday, these two are not a partnership.  Not yet, anyway; they have three games to change that.

I vacillate on left back preferences.  Greg Taylor is currently the manager’s first choice, if so, play him in each of the four games ahead.  If Diego Laxalt gets the nod, give him the opportunity to settle into the position.

If the partnership between Jullien and Duffy needs work, the system the defence builds with their goalkeeper requires even more attention.  Neil Lennon opted for Conor Hazard against Hearts, whom he accepted had a degree of liability for two of the Hearts goals.  A more experienced keeper would have got his retaliation in first on Naismith and, as every experienced keeper in the business does, would have ‘bought the foul’ for the third goal.

It is time to put Vasilis Barkas in goal behind a settled defence.  He is 26-years-old, a Greek international goalkeeper with four seasons’ experience at a decent level, including Champions League football.  There is more to come from him than we have seen this season; playing behind a composed defence will establish this.

You, me and the manager saw two games with Ismaila Soro before the Cup Final, enough to demonstrate he is a player, not enough to convince you, me AND the manager he was right for the final.  As fans, we are guilty of recency bias: Soro played well recenly, Celtic played well, therefore Soro is the answer to our problems.

This can be true but it can also be false.  I fell into this trap earlier this season with Jeremie Frimpong.  He was our MVP in wins over Ross County, Livingston and Hibs, but opposing teams adapted, and he’s young, which means form can be variable.  St Johnstone had his number in Perth next time out and his gas has been at a peep ever since.

What we have seen of Soro is encouraging, especially the second 45 minutes against Lille, but we have not seen enough to bet the bank on him.

At 35, Scott Brown is a shadow of his former imperious best, which has consequences for Callum McGregor and how we defend, which is the reason there is a clamour to play Soro.  e HeIt is accepted that Scott cannot play two games a week for long periods.  Consult your textbook, and it will tell you players like this need to be used sparingly, which means Soro is likely to start tomorrow night and against Dundee United on 30 December.

Alternating Soro and Brown directly conflicts with my desire to see a settled team and partnerships establish throughout the side, but desire is a guideline and guidelines can be flexed in certain circumstances.

Playing Soro or Brown at Ibrox feels like a major call.  Thankfully, it is not my decision, because I can see jeopardy in both options.  If you think the answer is obvious, I suggest you have not considered the matter closely enough.  However, this is the kind of decision Neil Lennon is paid the big bucks to make and get right.

Successful teams have a settled defence, central mid and goalkeeper.  They vary their attacking players, often during games, so while it is important to get the four more attacking positions right, we do not need consistency of selection in those areas.  Neil can throw the dice there against Ross County, Hamilton and Dundee United.  We need to see more from on Odsonne Edouard, Mohamed Elyounoussi  and Ryan Christie, none are currently playing well enough to know their shirts will be on a hanger on 2 January.

We dodged a trauma on Sunday but the game was full of information about the team and how to proceed.  In this respect, Hearts did us a favour in not capitulating.  How we use this knowledge will determine the outcome of the title.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6

  1. Quiet on here,



    The medal Celts



    Bobby Lennox – 25


    Billy McNeill – 23


    Scott Brown – 22


    Jimmy Johnstone – 19


    James Forrest – 19


    Alec McNair – 18


    Bobby Murdoch – 18


    Jimmy McMenemy – 17


    James Young – 15


    Jim Craig – 15


    Mikael Lustig – 15


    Bertie Auld – 14


    Jim Brogan – 14


    Danny McGrain – 14


    Calum McGregor – 14


    Tom Rogic – 14


    Leigh Griffiths – 14


    Nir Bitton – 14


    Tommy Gemmell – 13


    Stevie Chalmers – 12


    Roy Aitken – 12


    Tommy Burns – 12


    Craig Gordon – 12


    Tommy Callaghan – 11


    Joe Dodds – 11


    Jimmy Quinn – 11


    Willie Wallace – 11


    Harry Hood – 11


    John Clark – 11


    John Hughes – 11


    Neil Lennon – 11


    Jozo Simunovic – 11


    Emilio Izaguirre – 10


    Andy McAtee – 10


    Davie Hamilton – 10


    Patsy Gallagher – 10


    Davie Adams – 10


    Jimmy Hay – 10


    Stan Petrov – 10


    Ronnie Simpson – 9


    Kenny Dalglish – 9


    Packie Bonner – 9


    Jackie McNamara – 9


    Kris Ajer – 9


    Jimmy McGrory – 8


    David Hay – 8


    Paul McStay – 8


    Henrik Larsson – 8


    Tom Boyd – 8


    Paul Lambert – 8


    Bobo Balde – 8


    Aiden McGeady – 8


    Alan Thompson – 8


    Chris Sutton – 8


    Kris Commons – 8


    Scott Sinclair – 8


    Dedryck Boyata – 8


    Kieran Tierney – 8


    Stuart Armstrong – 8


    Olivier Ntcham – 8


    Didier Agathe – 7


    Joos Valgaeren – 7


    Johan Mjallby – 7


    Charlie Mulgrew – 7


    Anthony Stokes – 7


    Georgios Samaras – 7


    Lukasz Zaluska – 7


    Stephen McManus – 7


    Odsonne Edouard – 7


    Fraser Forster – 7





  2. red imps os a red herring, they were not in UEFA organised football, they did win 5 of their trebles, about as relevant as winning the greenock taxis summer league

  3. we’re in transition – no one knows who to play where; not you, me, lennie, the team.



    for me – base the team around-chose one of the goalies, CJ/SD, soro, turnbull



    then, try and get others fit and clear what’s expected of them.



    I did notice that he put 2 on a plate for Eddy on Sunday.


    Laxalt has not had one assist since joining us.

  5. I was surprised to see the BBC print these stats in their preview of tomorrow`s game:



    “Did you know? Celtic’s last midweek (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) league defeat came at St Johnstone in May 2016, with 31 wins and six draws since.”



    Do they feel their work is over now in favour of THEIR team and the League has already gone? Or did they just want an excuse to use the word `defeat` in their article? :-))

  6. Team selection tomorrow could be interesting. I would hope Mikey Johnston gets substantial game time and I would like to see Barkas and Soro back in the starting line up.Bitton in for Duffy ( injured)?


    Cheerio for now.

  7. GERRY123 on 22ND DECEMBER 2020 8:01 PM


    AIPPLE 3:20









    Seems he ‘walked’ back over there.

  8. Rtb @7:32pm-you obviously think it’s everything to do with you.Otherwise you wouldn’t still be going on about it🤔

  9. VAR in the Premier league is a nightmare, on match of the day Linekar Jenas and Shearer all said that they want it done away with. If you now it is bad then think how it would work in Scotland with 3 SFA nominated ex refs in a room thinking of ways to deny Celtic a decision. Stuart Dougal, Dougie Macdonald and Kenny Clarke confirming Ryan Christies hair was in an offside position.



    You see how BBC Scotland loads the radio and TV with ex Huns and you would see how VAR would operate.

  10. Re Hot Smoked 22ND DECEMBER 2020 5:57 PM



    Trophies won in Scotland with Celtic



    Willie Maley 16 Leagues 14 Scottish cups



    Jock Stein 10 Leagues 8 Sc cups 6 league Cups



    Neil Lennon 5 Leagues 4 Scottish Cups 1 League Cup



    Billy McNeill 4 Leagues 3 Scottish cups 1 league cup



    Martin O’Neill 3 Leagues 3 Scottish cups 1 league cup



    Gordon Strachan 3 Leagues 1 Scottish Cup 2 League cups



    Brendan Rodgers 2 Leagues 2 Scottish cups 3 League cups



    Ronny Delia 2 Leagues I League cup



    Jimmy McGrory 1 League 2 Sc Cups 2 League Cups



    Davie Hay 1 League 1 Scottish Cup



    Wim Jansen 1 League and 1 League Cup



    Tommy Burns 1 Scottish Cup



    Kenny Dalglish 1 League Cup

  11. SCHUMMI on 22ND DECEMBER 2020 3:27 PM




    Hi there, Just read back and saw your post. Thanks for your kind words.


    We had a young lad here today- all his support has been suspended till after the New Year. He just wanted to spend an hour or so with the donkeys, playing with the sheep, feeding the hens etc. He’ll be back. That’s what makes it all worthwhile. Oh, and that wasn’t Big Jimmy, by the way….we’re still waiting for him to come down and see his namesake.


    Cheers for now.

  12. I would start Eddy, LG,and Johnston tomorrow, 1 up front is hopeless IMO, give teams something to worry about.

  13. Hello again all you young rebels.



    Rock Tree boy


    Thank you for the reply, hadn’t caught up with the blog after my return


    from a delirious rebel peninsula.


    Read back now, and just put it down to post match tension.


    Two good posters HT and GFTB.




    You asked ” what was the slur against our club ? by the cellar dweller




    He inferred that French Eddie was being disrespectful by the cheeky


    chip over the hertz goalie.


    Ergo… disrespectful player disrespectful club.


    Maybe not in everybody’s point of view but It was in mine, and it’s time


    that little turd was handed his erse by our hierarchy.


    H.H. Mick

  14. “BADA BING”



    I’d like to see Klimala get a regular game.



    He seems more mobile and is no pushover.



    Mibbe him and the Griff.

  15. I trust Bitton over Duffy any day ,I know he can make a couple of mistakes now and then ,but he is far better than Duffy,but in saying that the defence is a big priority in the January transfer window.

  16. TIMBHOY2


    That really sums the state of our team.


    That Bitton with a couple of mistakes, is better than Duffy

  17. Very disappointed in recent responses from the CST. It seems that bolstering their own position rather than addressing governance and corruption is seen as a positive. Not for me.

  18. Tonight in a spirit of Christmas goodwill to all men, I extend both a hand of compassion and a heartfelt warning of imminent danger to any lurkers of the blue persuasion.



    For those familiar with the streets of Glasgow you may occasionally travel from the North of the city, down Finnieston Street, over the Squinty Bridge and onwards to your destination. (For those not familiar, a handy map is included)



    BEWARE…..for as you approach the squinty bridge, you will probably notice a large advertising hoarding on your right…….do not be distracted in your admiration and end up going through a red light. causing a major pile up and even ending up sinking into the mud and shopping trolleys of the Clyde basin!



    Just pass the message on that having witnessed it, you and the occupants of your vehicle broke into a wee round of applause and pulled over safely to take a picture.



    In case you didn’t manage to get a snap, I got one earlier as I came down that road at about 9.30pm tonight.









    Hail Hail




  19. FRIESDORFER on 22ND DECEMBER 2020 10:21 PM


    Very disappointed in recent responses from the CST. It seems that bolstering their own position rather than addressing governance and corruption is seen as a positive. Not for me.






    Andy, I hope you’re well safe and well my friend.



    A lengthy zoom meeting took place tonight of The Celtic Trust committee members. Amongst many things discussed was Auldheid’s suggestion that the Trust take forward the original Resolution 12 proposal from 2012 and the new Resolution 11 version which was proposed at this year’s Celtic Plc AGM. The suggestion was that we backed this, not just in principal, but also with finances. It was agreed overwhelmingly that this would be a futile and pointless exercise.



    The determination, diligence and honesty of the original proposers is to be greatly admired. The very fact that at least one has stuck with this for such a lengthy period deserves great admiration. The reality is that going by the letter which they received from EUFA many years ago, a letter that was only sent out of courtesy, there is only one group, organisation etc who they are legally required to respond to and that is a member club. When this was received it was duly passed on to Celtic as a member club.



    Celtic have chosen to do nothing.



    We are now 8 years down the line and again, at the recent AGM, Celtic have told the support and shareholders that they will do nothing.



    We support Auldheid’s proposal and greatly admire his resilience, however we, as a committee, feel that if our efforts and finances were to be directed towards this, then it would be

  20. JIMMYNOTPAUL on 22ND DECEMBER 2020 6:45 PM





    Red Imps did do it, a big however coming up, though.



    Football in Gibraltar wasn’t recognised by FIFA, at that time.



    I never listen to Clyde, so I hope that it’s clarified that in FIFA’s eyes, Celtic are the first



    Hehe tou got to hand it to their wartime memory gene.🤣🤣



  21. I know nowt about nowt, especially fitba’…………..



    However, :)



    The CST like the other CSCs is packed with genuine Tims who want what is best for us and The Club – putting the onus on one supporters group in particular ( CST )is imo unfair…………….they don’t have clout, The Bhoycott threat is hardly radical. The Supporters should look for a future-focused individual or individuals who might galvanize the Support and introduce an appropriately motivating call-to-arms.



    Thus far no-one seems to offer anything substantial in this regard.



    We are at an end of a phenomenal era of success and domination – fresh blood and new thinking from Supporters groups now required.


    A ton of good works have been done , but we need something else now.




  22. Blooming phone!!!



    a pointless waste of money and resources.



    Quite simply, oh so sadly, the one person who can address this, Celtic, aren’t prepared to.

  23. I see a lot of people stating that our fitness and training have dropped off after Brendan left and that consequently we lose a lot of goals late in games. I haven’t seen anyone furnish any data to support this. Usually you can get data on the UEFA site about the amount players run during a game (don’t know if we have this for SPFL games) so it should be possible to show that we are not running as much if this speculation is true. I am looking for one of those who believe this or know this to furnish the information.



    On the grounds of an increased tendency to lose late goals, I do not seee the evidence. Leaving out the PSG friendly, in all competitive games from August up to the cup final, I have tracked the timing of goals scored and conceded



    Scored Conceded- (in brackets)



    0-10 min- 5 (3)



    11-20- 9. (2)



    21-30- 8 (6)



    31-45- 5 (6)



    45-55- 7 (3)



    56-65- 4 (3)



    66-75- 6 (4)



    75+- 17 (11)




    The time periods before half time and from 75 minutes on are longer than the other periods so should produce more goals, but we outscore the opposition in the final 15 plus minutes by 17 to 11, that is not the mark of a team losing fitness.



    In contrast, the pattern appears to show we usually blitz the opposition early but from 20 minutes on, we are pretty even with our oppositions and the opposition have outscored us in the 15 minutes before half time.



    Most of those 11 late goals scored against us merely confirmed the score, rather than changed it- e.g. Sparta scoring 4 late goals when they were 2:1 up already and AC adding a 4th when they were ahead. Hearts scored one late in AET to take us to pens but Aberdeen took a point off us at Pittodrie with an injury time penalty. St. Johnstone score a late one to go 1:0 up but we levelled even later.



    I am not comvinced by the fitness argument- please show your working.

  24. BANKIEBHOY1 on 22ND DECEMBER 2020 11:17 PM



    A really sensible post.



    We only have clout because unlike any other organisation who meet with Celtic, we ask questions of them and we bring to the table the issues that are raised to us by shareholders and supporters.



    Sadly, my personal opinion is that others are simply happy to say that they drank tea with Peter.

  25. SFTB



    I hope you’re well my friend.



    I was going to type a lengthy reply and then I thought that really it’s down to a simple yes or no question.



    Do you think our players are better coached now or under Rodgers?

  26. HT






    I Have one sensible post every 10 years, regular as clock-work!



    Keep The Faith.




  27. HT


    I am sure you are well aware that £20k was pledged separately to tackle the legalities if required, this is not from CST funds. If the CST is not to tackle thorny issues, then what is its purpose? Surely it should be to ensure a fair and just representation for supporters’ interests. Because Celtic are not prepared to address the issues, we just leave it there? My hope is (was?) that the CST would garner momentum by increasing membership thus leading to providing an enhanced voice in communication with the Club through numbers. Of course there are a range of issues needing to be dealt with, that is understood and acknowledged. But, governance and corruption are major issues, and should not be left fallow just because they are difficult.



  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6