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What went right for Celtic?

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After a performance like that, the most important question is, what went right? The most important aspect of the game, was the clean sheet. Dorus de Vries was only called upon to make one save, on the 14th minute, but it was by far the best chance of the game and the keeper did exactly what was required.

The regularity with which the ball left Dorus’ feet and landed on Moussa Dembele’s chest will also have occurred to you. This was the best we have played out from the back all season.

As the game progressed I was getting anxious about how long is left on Kris Ajer’s contract. He’s still a teenager, but what a player! We waited 40 years for a young tier one defender to emerge and then two come along at the same time.

Brendan changed the format, went with a back three, dropped Sinclair, his top scorer and flooded the middle of the park, which allowed Celtic to control the game. Think how many times you saw Callum McGregor in possession and being huckled by one or more opponents, but having an option of a short and easy pass. Contrast this with the complete lack of options we had on the ball at Rugby Park, or even last weekend against Partick.

Olivier Ntcham had his best game for Celtic and was my Man of the Match. He is unrecognisable from the player who arrived from Manchester City in the summer.

Dropping Scott Sinclair from such an important game was a huge managerial decision. Scott was everyone’s Player of the Year last season and a big money deal for Celtic. So far, so ballsy, from Brendan Rodgers, but he opted to give the spare slot to Eboue Kouassi, who has left his teens since Zenit played their last league game, and who many had written off as recently as Christmas.

The flicker of whatever the scouts saw in the 10 or so career games Eboue played before Celtic parted with £3m for him came into full bloom last night. His tenacity, speed and composure on the ball was arresting.

James Forrest sits in pole position for this season’s Player of the Year. Few defenders can cope with his pace and Zenit’s were no different. Despite his positive influence last night, less of our play goes through him than I would like. Due to the peerless Tierney, we have a left-side bias.

Within two minutes it was clear Moussa was on better form than he has been in months (which gives us another issue to ponder). He did not get on the score sheet, but he was an effective out ball, brought others into the game, and played his part on the goal. His late replacement, Odsonne Edouard, looked every inch the €10m player PSG value him as.

And what about the goal. Charly Musonda’s slight frame has looked a tad fragile since arriving on loan last month, but last night was a lightbulb moment. We got to see what all the fuss is about with this young player.

The chance was created near the halfway line, when he drew three Zenit players towards him before igniting the move with a disguised slip to Ntcham. Seconds later, Charly was inside the box to collect a difficult bouncing ball from Dembele and hung it in the air for Callum McGregor. This run was a lung-buster.

Callum had to leap to catch the ball at the top of his chest. With no time to allow it to settle, he needed to position himself for a snapshot. McGregor took the plaudits for his goal, but this was a worthy accolade for a player who was involved throughout but struggled in recent months to find his early season form.

On another day, we would not have got the win we deserved. On another day, we would have lost a goal to Zenit’s only chance, but last night Celtic had all the answers. It was a fantastic performance from every player. We have a squad and a system which is capable and worthy of winning a second consecutive treble, and reaching deeper into the Europa League. And in case it slipped your mind, Gordon, Compper, Hendry, Boyata, Bitton, Ralston, Miller, Armstrong, Rogic, Sinclair, Roberts, Hayes and Griffiths were all missing last night.

We’ll talk about EBT McLeish another time. I’m not letting missing governance standards at the SFA darken my mood.

And Peter, get Kris tied up.

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614 Comments

  1. viewfaethewindae on

    Really proud of the young team and a mature European performance on Thursday evening, same again in St.Petersburg and we’ve a punchers chance. I thought we controlled the tempo of the game, protected the defense and goalkeeper with a magnificent central midfield trio. I wonder if this will be Brendan’s template moving forward? Hope so. Has McGregor found his perfect position? He certainly had a shout for Man of the match, so pleased for one developed within the ranks. Special mention to Eddie for his hold up play in the last 10 mins, really broke up play and wound the clock down, this bhoy’s a strong as an Ox. I’d play that same eleven at Ibrox in March.

     

    Tomorrow I can see a few changes with Hendry, Eddie and Scott getting a start, a couple of early goals will settle the nerves and allow the team to take a break and see the game out, let’s hope so. Late breakfast tomorrow in our favorite restaurant followed by a trip to paradise with young Miss VFTW, we live in great Celtic times.

     

    Finally isn’t it great to see fans arrive with single tickets for the European nights? This gives more fans a chance to see the hoops, while I welcome these guys can I politely request you get there 10 mins early just to find your place, I missed most of the first 5 mins with people in and out, up and down trying to find their seats.

  2. i'vehadtochangemyname on

    it’s not making a whole load of sense archdeaconsbench – blue velvet though -totally fell in love with whatshername

  3. For those of us concerned how we will perform without our inspirational leader tomorrow we will get a chance to see. Ntcham’s the mhan to take up Broonies mantle.

  4. Gerryfaethebrig on

    G64 8.07pm

     

     

    For me Broony is irreplaceable just now, but hopefully Ncham & Eboue could maybe take his place for now and maybe one will grow into our Capataino’s position in time :-)

  5. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    BIGPACKY

     

     

    Roundabouts are the easiest things in the world to negotiate,yet some people display their lack of nous and knowledge on a regular basis.

     

     

    I know you’re a pro,rattle up some miles-I do about 70k still,and had years with a lot more when I was on the lorries. I stick to the left-hand lane at roundabouts unless I’m turning more than 180,and then my indicator is on early.

     

     

    Too many idiots with no road knowledge,who don’t know what their mirrors are for,and people wi lane discipline get the blame?

     

     

    Couple of weeks back-you’ll like this!-I was on the M4 as usual. Middle lane-where I was-packed and slow. Outside lane packed and slow. Inside lane,pretty empty,surprisingly. And,aw,I’m getting steam outa my ears!

     

     

    Checked my mirrors and some eejit decides to bomb up the slow lane in a BMW Z4.

     

     

    Well,P,that’s just not on. There’s rules.

     

     

    So I put my indicator on to move into the left-hand lane from the middle.

     

     

    Quite impressive brakes on those beemers,I can tell you.

     

     

    Btw-I only indicated. Didn’t attempt to change lane. Not wi a twat doing a ton in the inside lane.

  6. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    WHATISTHESTARS 614

     

     

    Marvellous!

     

     

    I struggle to find a prezzy for my kid sis-5 March-as frankly I don’t have any imagination. Think it’s sorted this year.

     

     

    Btw,your trip to Lisbon? Have a word with ONEMALLOY. Pretty sure the divine Miss S is up for it,and fancies dragging him along!

  7. Gordon64

     

     

    As Scott Brown has a free day tomorrow, I have organised a private dinner for him.

     

     

    The other guests are Graham Hogg,, Craig Levein and Michael Stewart.

  8. NAVANBHOY

     

     

    Terrible news about your friend Mick.

     

     

    Prayers said for his recovery and for his family.

  9. prestonpans bhoys on

    Looking forward to a game tomorrow, been a bad year for missing games on the ST and the HTS has been a freebie to guys I know for most of those games. Last week cost me 50 notes and wasn’t at any of them :0(

  10. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Thomthetim

     

     

    Just catching up, the Derry Hoot is a no go for me unless my wife and daughter can attend, but your Letterkenny post caught my attention I am the youngest of 5 and the only one who hasn’t yet crossed the water it’s on my “things to do before you can’t” still got family in Milford ? My older brothers and cousins keep in contact far more than me but in April 2015 a few relations were over here for my wedding and in their words “it’s ususlly a funeral we are over for”

  11. It seemed the penny dropped with Brendan and used the common sense approach on Thursday.

     

     

    Compact midfield which helps retain possession and also is much more of a block to the opposition.

     

     

    Long kicks to Dembele who could hold it up rather than passing it round the back 4.

     

     

    I studied Real Madrid PSG and PSG didn’t look like they were on a different planet as footballers like they did against us.

     

     

    Part of it is sheer athleticism – better players are generally better athletes but had Brendan used Thursday’s set up, I don’t think we would have been quite so embarrassed against PSG.

     

     

    Still would have got zero points though :-)

  12. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    GERRYFAETHEBRIG

     

     

    Beginning to think that Derry is a no-go,full stop. Not enough accommodation.

     

     

    And,aye,I really want to be there,but bring a tent and a sleeping bag?

     

     

    I know a few of the lads would like to go there,but I think it’s looking like Belfast. Catch a train to Derry and see as much of it as you can.

     

     

    Btw,last time I was in Belfast,I looked out the window and saw the street sign-Sandy Row.

     

     

    Jee-zoh…

  13. BMCUWP….

     

     

    Like most folk I’m not an expert on the Highway Code….like most folk I probably should be….but….

     

     

    If the two outer lanes are congested surely the inside lane traffic can be faster than the two outer and so ‘undertaking’ is both inevitable and legal???

     

     

    Just interested….

     

     

    HH

  14. BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS if there was anybody on this blog i knew it would be yourself bobby you know the score with these idiots iam glad ive retired bobby going up the m6 on a friday night trying to get to runcorn jct 20 m56 from birmingham 6 hours minimum people on here will say rubbish well ive done it like you bobby.hh.

  15. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    THIRDS63

     

     

    Overtaking on the LHS is illegal,except when lanes are clearly divided,such as at junctions.

     

     

    It’s also dangerous.

  16. EL DIEGO BHOY

     

     

    Met Jim for the first time at St John Doyle’s toast in the Beer Cafe in Glasgow.

     

     

    Apart from the golf this was my first meet up with “strangers off the internet” and I met many new and lovely people who were CQNers.

     

     

    I sat with ELDIEGOBHOY who had a long blether with my good lady and and me and a friendship was struck.

     

     

    We swapped a few phone calls, met up at a HOOT, then came his devastating announcement that he had cancer.

     

     

    At a subsequent HOOT I was very early to the BV, about 1:30.

     

     

    Jim was there.

     

     

    We had a about 15 minutes to ourselves before the ghuys started to arrive.

     

     

    I asked how he was and he spoke to me in a very matter of fact way about his illness.

     

     

    I was staggered by his calmness, but not his bravery, in the face of what he said was a very poor prognosis.

     

     

    When Jim passed my wife and I shed a tear for a truly lovely ghuy and his beautiful girls.

     

     

    I am glad I met him and so so sad he has gone from us.

     

     

    Without CQN my life would be different.

     

     

    My grateful thanks go to all on here, without exception and to PAUL67 for providing this platform.

     

     

    And my thanks to CELTIC, more than just a club.

  17. itscalledthemalvinas on

    Just tuned into BBC Alba.

     

    Dumbarton playing in Wales against TNS.

     

    TNS resplendent in green and white.

     

    Just saying like.

  18. BMC…..

     

     

    So if the two outer are congested and moving very slowly anyone travelling in the inside must slow to that speed even if there is a clear road ahead? I realise this is unlikely but…..

     

     

    Not challenging….just hadn’t thought about it before!

     

     

    HH

  19. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    BIGPACKY

     

     

    I mind the early 90s,one of my olleagues asked me for directions.

     

     

    I’d long been fascinated that English people were honestly ignorant of anything outside their comfort zone.

     

     

    Haw,Mick,where’s that?

     

     

    Anyway,young fella,Stevie,he’s got a huge and expensive delivery to make. Fail,get massive penalties. This is hugely important.

     

     

    (The company was always against the clock,to be fair)

     

     

    Mick,where’s Northwhich?

     

     

    I told him it was just past Middlewich. Shook my head.

     

    Like I said. Nae idea of geography.

  20. Bobby: Derry might still be a goer. Check out Buncrana in Donegal as an alternative accommodation base. Lots of Derry people go to social events there.

  21. THIRDS63 how you doing pal let me explain i was in the right lane of the roundabout to go straight ahead the lady next to me was also in the lane to go straight ahead but when the lights changed she turned right in front of me.hh.

  22. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    PHILBHOY

     

     

    Aye,a diamond.

     

     

    You know,I feel for those who lost Jim. But I think I feel more for those who never met him.

  23. Hello again all you young rebels.

     

     

    NAVANBHOY/CLOGHER CELT/CELTIC ROLLER COASTER.

     

     

    Just catching up on the blog, the princess told me i was a gibbering

     

    wreck and sent me to bed last night before you posted.

     

    It’s our big day today so that will give me a chance to discuss Mick’s

     

    bad accident with Paddymac and the committee, i’ve no doubt

     

    Paddy will be ahead of the game with this after discussions with the

     

    other CSC’s about the huddle down under.

     

    Our club gives to many charities here on the rebel peninsula and we

     

    always look after our own so i will keep you posted (WHEN ) i get home.

     

    H.H Mick

  24. CRC: best wishes to Caitlin. Hope it works out for her.

     

     

    Navanbhoy: terrible news about Mick. My eldest son spent five and a half years in Oz and worrying about things that might go wrong so far away was constant. Thankfully, he returned safely a little over a year ago and things are going well for him. Will check out the links posted earlier and will see what I can do.

  25. Broonie will get a rest and whilst it is a minor concern, it is important that others learn to assume the responsibility. Where there is a void others will step in, is generally the rule. We should have more than enough to cope.

  26. Bobby: I know. And fair play to you for putting in the effort. Just sent you a text to a number ending in 90?

  27. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Philbhoy 8.59pm

     

     

    That’s my CQN :-)

     

     

    I saw your post to Navanbhoy, good stuff, Michael and his family, in laws & outlaws are very good friends of my family, it’s a small world but Cqn is pretty far reaching

     

     

    Hail Hail

  28. PeteTheBeat on 17th February 2018 8:46 pm

     

     

    Thats a good comment.

     

     

    PSG were excellent at playing out from the back – the Best I’ve ever seen…. they would also launch it forward to Cavani, really mixing it up.

     

     

    Dembers was awesome and Oddsone really ran with that baton to make sure Celtic won.

     

     

    I expect PSG to go through despite being so far behind.

     

     

    The Celtic performance was really good. DDV Respect.

     

     

    Break down the average age of the team?

     

     

    It has to be @ Ajax levels.

     

     

    BRILLIANT CELTIC