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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. Big Packy….

     

     

    Understood that.

     

     

    It was something in BMCUPs reply that got me thinking!

     

     

    HH

  2. BMCUWP

     

     

    Good post!

     

     

    Apart from the HOOTS I seldom go to a pub on my own.

     

     

    Go out for a meal with my family now and again, usually Edinburgh, which I thoroughly enjoy.

     

     

    Got a couple of wee nights coming up soon but no bouncers will be required.

     

     

    At least a hope no!

  3. BATEEN BHOY on 17TH FEBRUARY 2018 9:22 PM

     

     

    Hope the guy wearing the butchers apron gets a doing :))

     

     

    Joking honest.

  4. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Philbhoy 9.17pm

     

     

    Good man, it is hard enough that happening but when all the family are so far away I know that’s the hardest part…. 2 weeks ago his big sister was at my nieces party telling me how much she misses him…. anyway, at this point things are getting better

     

     

    Hail Hail

  5. I lost interest in boxing after the Gerald Mclellan fight where he got smashed to pieces, the excellent Nigel got helped back into the ring.

     

     

    I’m intrigued by this match up, especially as Eubank snr said to hit body shots in a fight a while a go.

     

     

    Respect to old Eubank.

     

     

    Barbaric Sport. I am tempted to watch it.

     

     

    I loved the monocled Eubank driving an artic without its load.

     

     

    Brendan takes the Load off the Young Ones very well.

  6. gerryfaethebrig, the original sadiesbhoy, barney 67, and the cast of thousands being from glenboig i envy you ghuys, cos nobody has heard of glenboig but believe me, a big tim village, but coatbridge was our town the, fountain cafe, the baths the regal and odeon cinemas, big yogis bar jim brogans bar okay the time capsule, but that was way before my time im so proud i went to st augustines rc secondary school and if gerryfaethebrig tells you im an orange so and so only jokin gerry love you man hh.

  7. David17

     

    Just saw the last round of that one, but it looked like a good fight.

     

    Don’t know any of the fighters on the undercard……Eddie Hearn has a lot to answer for – along with Sky, obviously

  8. Bateen Bhoy on 17th February 2018 9:44 pm

     

     

    Petec,

     

     

    Boxing is like a pillow fight compared to UFC – now that’s brutal !

     

     

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

     

     

    I know.

     

     

    Thanks for the link – I’m watching it.

     

     

    Big Eubank is a showman. I’ve never even seen his Son box.

     

     

    I’d say Eubank Junior will win easily. I have no knowledge about anything boxing.

  9. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Big Packy 9.42pm

     

     

    My “disagreement” with your good self was about St Augustine’s School, within minutes of me being “incorrect” Costbridge Paper Bhoy (in Australia) textd me to say I was posting rubbish :-) before my time :-)

     

     

    Big Packy it’s saturday my “messages” fae Christie’s was 4 onion pies, 4 soft rolls, 2 jam doughnuts and a pineapple tart…. when you are off chocolate & crisps for Lent you fair appreciate the local bakery :-)

  10. Groves is a proper super middleweight, and might be a heavier puncher. Eubank really ‘bulked up’ for this match, so if it goes the distance, he may suffer. Intriguing fight and contrast in styles, as it always is when there’s a Eubank in the ring ;-)

  11. prestonpans bhoys on

    Big Packy,

     

     

    No way to be cheeky but can you add some full stops to your sentences. Bit hard to read the flow :0)

  12. big packy on 17th February 2018 9:57 pm

     

     

    PETEC how you doin pal, used to reading you on the nightshift, keep it lit as kev j would say.hh.

     

     

    …………………………….

     

     

     

    The Great KevJ disnae say Keep it lit. Greenocks finest dae that. Genisis.

     

     

    Respect.

  13. GERRYFAETHEBRIG ,what disagreement it was a misunderstanding,your my mate and always will be christies bakery .com.lol.

  14. Petec

     

     

    Hope Aidan enjoyed Thursday night, sometimes the young team are too used to us winning domestically but after PSG & co maybe a Zenit win makes them realise we can still win in Europe

  15. GERRYFAETHEBRIG have you ever heard of our lady and st st joseph’s boys guild team ,i was centre forward, and a certain mr francis burns was left half, put that in your pipe and smoke it.lol.

  16. Aidan Loved it.

     

     

    Very sad news that his Coach’s Dad passed away.

     

     

    Greg is Massive and Wonderful for the EK 2nd team.

     

     

    I Love that Big Man to bits.

     

     

     

    He is a proper fitba dude. A gers fan as well.

  17. Big Packy

     

     

    Remember the best thing about Glenboig is the road back to paradise ie Costbridge :-)

     

     

    Trust me as a young Bhoy who had to walk that road back to civilalisation every Sunday morning …..you couldn’t have liked it either you are further away than me :-)

  18. Eubanks with a bad cut on his right eye after clash of heads,will do well to stay in fight. Groves doing great work with his jab

  19. Big Packy 10.33pm

     

     

    Spot on :-)

     

     

    We live in great Celtic times, only disagreements on here should be fitba based :-)

  20. I’VEHADTOCHANGEMYNAME on 17TH FEBRUARY 2018 6:12 PM

     

    anybody got the slightest what’s going on in Mulholland Drive?

     

     

    LOL….I gave a loan of dvd to an ole workmate,bastard called me a weirdo when handing it back

     

     

    charming :O)