What Celtic need to do to win


James Forrest has been carrying an injury for 10 months, which has affected the player’s effectiveness, so, irrespective of the outcome of his neurologist visit last week, I’m working on the assumption Celtic will play Adam Matthews in front of Michael Lustig on the right.  This pair have speed, enormous energy, can cross and can defend. They have the making of a promising partnership.

Dirk Boerrigter has seen only 30 minutes football this season, and that was almost a month ago, but with the lack of options in the striker role, and the memory of just how effective he was during those 30 minutes, I expect we’ll see him from the start.  He would also lift the atmosphere a degree or two higher.

Emilio Izaguirre will, of course, play left back.  With Emilio bombing forward it is crucial we don’t leave the left flank exposed.  This is a regular habit of Celtic’s which is seldom exposed in domestic football but Spartak Moscow scored their only goal at Celtic Park last season by exploiting the acres behind Emilio.

With Anthony Stokes looking unlikely, it will probably be Georgios Samaras leading the line with Kris Commons in the free role.  Some of Georgios’ best performances away from home in Europe have been up front but it’s not his best position.  Kris Commons I have no worries about.  He knows exactly what is required tonight.  In particular, expect him to win free kicks near the box and perhaps a penalty.  I’ll make no comment on what to expect if we are awarded a spot kick.

Central midfield will have Scott Brown and Joe Ledley.  Watch for Joe making back post runs.  We can expect marking to be tight tonight, so a late run into the box could offer our best chance of a breakthrough.

I think we can be sure we’ll not see two novice (to Celtic) central defenders again.  Steven Mouyokolo, new at the club after three years of little football, was singled out for criticism in some places after last week’s defeat which was particularly unfair.  Defences work as a unit and the unit in Astana was dysfunctional.  Steven was no guiltier than half the team.

Efe Ambrose will play, probably with Virgil van Dijk, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see Charlie Mulgrew selected instead.

It will be close to 2am in Kazakhstan when the second half gets underway.  Shakhter Karagandy players will be suffering from the effects of jetlag.  Minds and bodies will be tired, leading to diminished concentration and rash decision making.  Celtic players should be on the lookout to play on, and exploit, this.

Play to their vulnerability.  Remove the lighting tubes from their changing room and have the heating on full blast. We’ve all been tired in a room that’s too warm, it’s not conducive for football preparation. This is an environmental advantage of playing at home. Use it.

Playing in front of a stimulating crowd might actually help Shakhter early on, but the adrenaline boost will fade, leaving tired limbs.  The value of fresh legs is enormously underappreciated in football.  Get subs on midway through the second half and work their defence off the ball.  If we aim to have our players tired after 60 minutes, we’ll know we are on the right track, as they will be suffering a lot more.

It is not important to get an early goal, even conceding one would not be the end of the story. This is going to be a long night, stick with it.

We cannot afford to get a man sent off but there can be nothing cordial about this game.  Shakhter’s manager, Victor Kumykov, sounded less sure of himself yesterday, perhaps filled with trepidation.  Don’t let him or his players settle, be professional but make sure he knows he has been disrespectful to his guests, and that he is now out of his depth.

They are a long way from home, make sure they know this. There will be opportunities for friendly chat after the final whistle.
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  1. From previous article….









    11:50 on 28 August, 2013




    Thanks for the offer sir.


    I canny go tonight cause I’m – skint and working tonight :(


    Been going back and furrit since Neil taen over but


    finding it financially out of reach the now.


    Maybe some other time would be nice.


    Oh, and btw, I’m a quiet reserved fella away from the keyboard.


    When I come onto the Celtic Cyberspace and allow myself to be


    effected by all the stuff that the ‘bhored’ are up to – or are not up to


    I become totally pissed-off when I see countless guid fholk innocently


    doing all that they can to support their team – then I see the ‘bhored’


    parking the good ship Celtic in the ‘lay-by’ till the huns come back


    I feel that my circumstances have ensured that I have – dodged a


    bullet – from the ‘bhored’. Sad, but true. imo


    Anyway – take care – Hail Hail – Off oot.

  2. Up like a bird on

    There will be plenty of play acting tonight and time wasting ,get the ball boys in the loop to get the ball on to the park as quick as possible at throw outs and by kicks

  3. innocent_bystander on

    I just don’t get the jamesie adoration – he just doesn’t cut it for me – he may be carrying an injury but like mcgeady before him just not the player he thinks he or the manager thinks he is – Forrest was abysmal against England also- so frustrating – anyway mon the hoops tonight on the euro tightrope roller coaster

  4. Kevj


    Okydoky sir….



    Team fur the night none of that paul67 team nonsense…..





    Lustig Efe Charlie



    Mathews Brown Ledley Izzy



    Commons Sami






    Subs Rogic Watt Boerigter Atijic Watt Van Dijk




  5. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS forza Oscar and Mackenzie on

    Fight for every ball.



    Play them hard and fair,no quarter.



    Give ’em hell,and give us a night to remember.



    We are Celtic.




  6. Good point on pitch length. It can make a difference.Either they fall back and defend too deep that brings on incessant pressure or they mark closer and if we hang back a tad that leaves spaces behind.Then there is the surface.Not sure if they play on artificial all the time but playing on grass will improve or game as we will know the bounce of the ball.It reminds of my playing days back 65 (19 not 18) when I first played on a big grass pitch in a London park after years of playing on black ash or red blaes in tight inappropriately named Glasgow Green.My first “pass” came in chest high and I chested it down and turned quickly expecting to be hoofed into the air.My nearest opponent was at least 6ft away!What a season I had as a tanner baw player.Sometimes I even gave my other team mates a touch of the ball if I got knackered.However its about attitude and if ours is better than theirs, no amount of mutton pies will deprive us of progression into the CL.

  7. Reports that Nir Biton has arrived in Scotland for medical and signing of a 3 year deal. £700k the price tag.

  8. TBJ Praying for Oscar Knox on

    Come on you bhoys in green .



    All we have to do tonight is score at least 3 more than the kazaks

  9. The Token Tim in support and praying for Wee Oscar on

    Score 3 more than them!









  10. Hi Bhoys,


    Can anyone suggest any bars in Stavanger, Norway where I might catch the game tonight?


    Stuck here for an extra day :( Nae happy.

  11. balde


    boerrigter commons


    samaras ledley brown matthews


    mulgrew van dijk lustig





    supply the big man up front and he will turn into an instant hero tonight.


    play a mobile back three that can pass the ball


    and play an energetic midfield…



    cmon the hoops

  12. BMCUW



    Aye, except the “fair” bit. We tried to play fair v Juve and got cheated and beaten. I want a 3 goal victory and will take it by any means possible, including punching, biting scratching, nippin’ and pullin’ hair :-)



    …not forgetting my ould fav….the Chinese burn.

  13. from Nir Biton’s wiki page :-)



    He signed for celtic on the 28th of August, in his first Press conference he said “the huns are effing zombies and we’re the champions”

  14. I have a dream..



    Or at least last night I had a dream..



    Although it was a bit fuzzy, and constantly interrupted by inexplicable cameo appearances by scantily clad ex girlfriends, the upshot was that the Celts progressed on an aggregate score of 6-3 despite falling behind to an early Shaktyor goal.



    Get yer money down folks!

  15. “Play to their vulnerability. Remove the lighting tubes from their changing room and have the heating on full blast”



    “Put the lights on. Where is the sheep. It is hot in here. No keep the door closed, do not let the sheep out.



    Cannot find my strip, boss”


    Shaktar dressing room.

  16. Paul,


    I don’t think we can assume that they won’t be fully prepared. While Celtic’s backroom staff do not seem always fully tuned into modern thinking, science and preparation, others tend to be a step ahead of us in this score.



    Tired legs? They won’t get tired watching the ball roll tediously from one CB to another, then out to our right back, who, deviod of options, will pump it to Sammy who will have 3 guys on him.



    No, they will only get tired if we keep winning the ball back in their half and recycle it quickly.



    If you here the commentators talking about us ‘dinking’ in crosses, we will be doomed. If you hear the word ‘ping’, then we have a chance.



    Someone beyond the far post at a corner would help.



    Preparation. A wee bit from us would help.



    Yours in optimism…..:)

  17. Mon the Hoops 200%. They should run run and run



    Off to bed for early wake up and look forward to Fridays Draw :))

  18. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS forza Oscar and Mackenzie on




    Shocking statement!



    Are you a hun?



    Ooooops-I take that back,yer far too intelligent for starters. I mean,nae spelling mistakes,polite and reasonable.



    Aye,I agree then-let’s get intae this mob!!!!!

  19. Paul



    So your side tonight is….





    Lustig …. Ambrose …. Mulgrew …Izzy


    Matthews … Brown … Ledley.. Derk


    …………………. Commons……


    ……………. Samaras ………



    Is that enough firepower? If Stokes is fit would you play him?




  20. time for change on

    Not long to go now.



    Going with Sister in Law tonight as darling daughter is treading the boards (actors!!!!!!!!)



    Quietly confident as always but we’ll need to be patient.



    Enjoy the game (Sydney Tim draw is tomorrow……) I think!



    Hail Hail

  21. Paul67



    Agree – Matthews and Lustig have the makings of a promising partnership, but Lustig/Commons already is an excellent partnership (8 games together and an outstanding record). Commons behind Samaras (4-4-1-1) may sound logical, but I didn’t go a bundle on their one and only outing there together – the 0-0 at Elfsborg. It wasn’t exactly scintillating stuff.



    Hope and pray Stokes is fit.

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