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We won the cup, so what now?

217

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.

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  1. Melbourne Mick:

     

    We did win the Glasgow cup v Clyde 8 nil.On the same evening ‘they’ played Morton and drew 3 all.I remember the FTP slogan and what it stood for,but we made our own slogan Feared To Play.

  2. The priority for the covid-19 vaccination programme has just been announced by the Scottish government.

     

    The list, in order of priority, is as follows:

     

    1. SNP politicians. The masonic cabal. Church of Scotland ministers and elders.

     

    2. Anyone associated with the rangers football club.

     

    3. Care workers.

     

    4. The elderly in care homes and in the general population.

     

    5. Anyone suffering from pre-existing medical conditions.

     

    6. School teachers.

     

    7. The general population.

     

    8. The prison population, including career criminals.

     

    9. Council workers.

     

    10. Anyone associated with Celtic football club.

     

    11. Family pets, including horses.

     

    12. Domestic livestock.

     

    13. Lawyers, accountants and bankers.

  3. BIG JIMMY

     

    Remember that game well , was behind the goal . It was a screamer from Nicholas.

     

    I was at a party that night with my inlaws at the time. Guess who showed up. Huns centre half John McClelland, gave home some stick and my party piece was “you’ll never walk alone”.

     

    He was a really nice guy. Not unlike at all.

  4. BOURNESOUPRECIPE on 23RD DECEMBER 2020 9:51 AM

     

    “As if things couldn’t get any worse Chris Rea‘s motor has just failed its M.O.T“

     

     

    :))))) por cierto

  5. I’ve been going over some of the recent comments and see Auldheid still banging the same old drum. I’m pretty sure that most of us applaud his motives and his campaign around resolution 12. However, he appears to be showing signs of fatigue and now wants to pass the baton to someone else.

     

    For that to work for him, his chosen person or organisation must be happy to accept it, but are also perfectly entitled to say, thanks but no thanks. Seems to be that this is what has occurred, but Auldheid still demonstrating his inability to accept answers he doesn’t like, now decides to have a go at his chosen vehicle, the CT. The trust have obviously supported the resolution 12 campaign since day one and hoped that it could succeed in some meaningful way. That doesn’t mean that they should now become the lead protagonists, because Auldheid has decided that they should. The CT have taken up many campaigns over the years and will continue to do so but to devote finance, time and energy to a fight that has not progressed much in seven years, is possibly not a good use of their resources. I wish Auldheid and his supporters nothing but good luck but, please stop throwing mud at people, just because they decided not to accept the baton from you.

  6. What I find strange is that the likes of the CST have said nothing about the corruption within the SFA especially the refereeing dept, now being as thick as, I would have thought that when you are watching the corrupt referees week in week out making decisions that are against our club and invariably always in favour of our main rivals, you would think that this would be at the top of their agenda to try and push for a level playing field, but no, nothing, not a peep from them or any other body, as I said I find that very strange indeed.

     

    I have said for years and years, “Sort the referees, Sort the problem”

     

    Or is being confined to the back of the bus taken a “Firm hold that can’t be dis-lodged”

  7. HJ – Beautiful music, my late father loved that type of music.

     

     

    A thing of beauty.

     

     

    Hail Hail

     

     

    D :)

  8. Remember Champagne Charlie boy’s goal at the ne’erday game. A squad of us were sitting in the front stand, nursing massive hangovers and still half drunk, to the left of the goal, and could see the ball was going into the net from a long way out. Great memories, por cierto

  9. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Matt Stewart last night – brilliant image of the billboard at Squinty Bridge.

     

     

    Thank you.

     

     

    SFTB – enjoyed your goals conceded by segment analysis and post around general fitness concerns.

     

     

    I always think it’s silly to argue someone’s data when you have none of your own?

     

     

    So I won’t. 😊

     

     

    One observation though about fitness (and this is based purely on observation – not data).

     

     

    I don’t see Celtic players bursting into sprints very often?

     

     

    I have seen players get motoring to support breakaways or counters from deep – but these are infrequent, once or twice a game if we are lucky.

     

     

    The bits missing for me are …

     

     

    the short sharp direction changing bursts in final third to disorientate defences.

     

     

    false runs at back four to break the offside line (a tactic used by Barcelona for 15 years).

     

     

    Nothing particularly scientific about this approach.

     

     

    Basic intent – create some havoc among an otherwise settled defence we often play in front of (slowly).

     

     

    Hail hail

     

     

    Keep The Faith

  10. T.E.T.

     

     

    Or is being confined to the back of the bus taken an “Old Firm hold that can’t be dis-lodged”

     

    Fixed that for you …😜

  11. BACK TO BASICS – GLASS HALF FULL on 23RD DECEMBER 2020 11:29 AM

     

    ……………..

     

    I think we have witnessed many Celtic players ” Sprinting” to get into their cars or the team Bus in recent weeks ….sadly !

     

    Only having a wee laugh at our own expense Bhoys…LOL.

     

    HH to The QUAD SQUAD.

  12. The Exiled Tim,

     

     

    Agree on the Celtic Trust need to be much more vocal.

     

     

    On referees it is Celtics responsibility like Res12 and 5WA in my humble opinion—- the Trust can certainly play a role.

     

     

    The refereeing bias and fixing it is the Trojan horse to modernise the SFA and that would be welcome by all clubs bar the newest one.

     

     

    Only issue is Lawwells track record of aiding and abetting on the other big tickets—- so cannot see progress until he leaves.

  13. BACK TO BASICS,

     

    Just have a look at Leeds and Liverpool,regards fitness.Leeds can go from defence to the other teams box in seconds.And I mean around 4 or 5 of them.Liverpool the same.Its amazing the way Leeds attack.They can get caught out,but thats the level of opposition they play against.

  14. WINNING GEMMEL

     

     

    Thank you for that confirmation that the hun withdrew from

     

    a GCF.

     

    My CSC mate will be delighted to know he was correct, even if

     

    he was a wee bit out with his years.

     

    He doesn’t post or lurk on here but with me harking on about

     

    how knowledgable you lot are he asked me to question you all.

     

    As usual the best blog on the blogosphere.

     

    H.H. Mick

  15. POR CIERTO on 23RD DECEMBER 2020 11:29 AM…and BADA BING..

     

    I dont know IF Jim Stewart played again for the Huns..Ive no idea…but IF I remember correctly a few Hun fans were unhappy with him at that goal, because it appeared to go right thru his flapping hands and arms, high up in the middle of the goal…although there was a lot of power behind from Nicholas.

     

    HH.

  16. Bognor

     

    I knew somebody would :>}

     

    HH

     

    ……………………………………

     

    LC

     

    I have also said for years that the suits don’t want them fixed, imagine what it would be like if it was a level playing field, we would win virtually everything, there’s the problem in a nutshell, hence the silence.

     

    HH

  17. ST TAMS..

     

    I thought John McLelland was a decent player for them, and NOT one of their usual ” Cluggers”….maybe he was TOO nice a Guy for that mob ?

     

    i dont remember him committing many fouls against Celtic players…..like MANY others I could name.

     

    HH.

  18. FAO GENE…

     

    In case you dont have time to be on here Tomorrow…Best of Luck with your Hospital Procedure Tomorrow.

     

    Remember and stay VERY NEAR a Toilet Tonight and Tomorrow.

     

    HH.

  19. TEUCHTER ÁR LÁ on 23RD DECEMBER 2020 9:44 AM

     

    Bankiebhoy @ 11. 17

     

     

     

     

    Someone has hacked your account?

     

     

     

     

    Made sense though. 👍

     

     

    …………………………………………………….

     

     

    Chuckie!

     

     

    :)

     

     

    It makes even more sense now that the Popular Front Of Judea….and the Judean People’s Popular Front

     

    (Provisional Wing) are in divergence despite all that persistence…………

     

     

    Some radical, unifying thinking required – something to get us all on the one road….singing the one song.

     

     

    HH.

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