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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. What is the Stars on

    VP

     

    almost…but picture this.

     

    a rainy night in Glasgow ,2 people waiting for the last taxi outta town,one bears a remarkable resemblance to Roy Orbison and the other the Spanish singer lady from Mulholland Drive…

     

    Which fare do you take !!!

  2. david17 on 17th February 2018 6:59 pm

     

     

    ‘Split Board at the SFA’

     

     

    We know what side PL is on, he’s spoken out in support of 4 of the 8 members. What was behind Peter’s decision to speak out in public is what is interesting?

     

     

    The main Board consists of eight members: the Scottish FA Office Bearers (Alan McRae, President; the Chief Executive; and Rod Petrie, Vice President), plus Ian Maxwell (SPFL), Michael Mulraney (SPFL), Thomas McKeown (Scottish Amateur FA) and independent non-executive directors, Ana Stewart and Gary Hughes.

     

    ==========================================================

     

    In 2011 Rod Petrie Chaired the Licensing Committee on 3 occasions.

     

     

    Andrew Dickson, now a Rangers Director, sat on the same committee on 3 occasions.

     

     

    Given what was revealed in court regarding the true status of the wee tax liability at 31st March 2011 and the public utterances of Alistair Johnson on 1st April 2011 in the Daily Record (that seems to have been removed from Google search but which I have seen or references to it as in)

     

     

    DR quoting Rangers Chairman Alistair Johnston that contradicted/ raised questions about the status of the liability as potential as was reported in the Interim Accounts signed by him. The problem he (Johnson) said ” was a cash flow issue , someone has to pay and we don’t have it in our budget”

     

     

    which suggests there was no dispute.

     

     

    Does Petrie not have due diligence questions to answer given that the licence was not granted until 19th April and SFA had plenty of time to clarify the position with either Johnson himself or HMRC under the agreement all clubs enter under UEFA FFP Article 43 (h) to allow SFA to enquire of HMRC?

     

     

    Does Dickson not have questions to answer on his role? Did he excuse himself altogether when discussing RFC’s application on the basis of vested interest but morally should he have done so?

     

     

    Hopefully the SFA Compliance Officer will be looking at the minutes of the LC Committee meetings pf 2011 even if only to identify failings in their rules that allowed a lie to go unchallenged.

     

     

    Petrie’s defence regarding not asking questions would be interesting to hear for it would appear he has oversight of club licensing has quite a bit of power the way it is constituted with clubs participating in it.

     

     

    If that licence was improperly granted does Petrie not bear much of the responsibility?

  3. AULDHEID on 17TH FEBRUARY 2018 11:14 PM

     

     

    Any idea who the CO will report to? I assume it’s the SFA Board. Is it possible he has already reported and the SFA Board are stalling?

     

     

    It’s odd that it’s taking so long but i find it encouraging, it gives the impression he is digging. If nothing was untoward it wouldn’t take this long, at least in theory, it is the SFA after all.

  4. DAVID17 on 17TH FEBRUARY 2018 5:13 PM

     

     

    TONTINE TIM on 17TH FEBRUARY 2018 4:58 PM

     

     

    He’s not wanted at Ibokes.

     

     

    *imbibes at the moment but they’re a very gullible and contrary mob, just a couple of weeks back windyarse and tavs were breests now they’re worth 10 million each. BTW they were only offered new contracts so that mob can sift them for more money in August, longer the contract more the player is worth.

     

     

    Big couple of games coming up for mcsleekit, both at home tae, us and kilmasoninc, I’m nae fan of the latter as is made obvious on here but should they dump the sheep oot of the cup, his teas oot (© Frankie Miller in Just a Boys’ Game), could be gone by the Ides of March.

  5. VP, Aidans Grandmother was there @ Hampden last time he was there.

     

     

    She is awesome. I should tell her that, her Daughter is Good.

     

     

    You Doooood, ye are like that Bird that flies high in the sky, not a Drone, no no, a Magnificent Condor.

  6. Celtic Squad v St Johnstone

     

    12 Games 4 Shut Outs Craig Gordon

     

    23 Games 0 Goals Scott Brown

     

    16 Games 2 Goals James Forrest

     

    15 Games 1 Goals Nir Bitton

     

    11 Games 4 Goals Leigh Griffiths

     

    11 Games 0 Goals Mikael Lustig

     

    09 Games 3 Goals Callum McGregor

     

    09 Games 1 Goals Stuart Armstrong

     

    08 Games 0 Goals Kieran Tierney

     

    07 Games 1 Goals Tom Rogic

     

    06 Games 3 Goals Dedryck Boyata

     

    06 Games 3 Goals Scott Sinclair

     

    04 Games 4 Goals Moussa Dembele

     

    04 Games 2 Goals Patrick Roberts

     

    04 Games 0 Goals Scott Allan

     

    04 Games 0 Goals Jozo Simunovic

     

    03 Games 1 Goals Ryan Christie

     

    03 Games 0 Goals Anthony Ralston

     

    03 Games 0 Goals Erik Sviatchenko

     

    02 Games 2 Goals Nadir Ciftci

     

    02 Games 1 Goals Olivier Ntcham

     

    02 Games 0 Goals Jonny Hayes

     

    01 Games 0 Goals Cristian Gamboa

     

    01 Games 0 Goals Michael Johnston .

  7. The Almighty is Loving the Hoops TB/G

     

     

    If the Breakaway happens, so many will be wanting it.

     

     

    NO from me.

     

     

     

    Fight for others.

     

     

    Block coverage, let the Sads go themselves.

     

     

    Pedro Lobby the others. Block CL access.

     

     

    Sick of this pish.

     

     

    Juve got a BENT referee when Celtic were on it.

     

     

    Set plays.

     

     

    Great World

  8. Problems getting hotels in Derry?

     

     

    Seems to be a shortage of hotel space in Ireland generally. Quite a few new hotels being built in Belfast at the minute.

     

     

    Doesn’t help you folks but there you go.

     

     

    Zzz top are on now. Southern rock? Hmmm. Blues rock maybe. I don’t know. Couple of hairy barstewards is all I know.