What went right for Celtic?


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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  1. Gerryfaethebrig on




    Turn iPhone sideways then it’s ok or P67 should get an alert at 7th page and new article produced automatically



    Navanbhoy hope you see plenty of goals and enjoy the game today



    Hail Hail

  2. Gerryfaethebrig on

    De Vries



    Gamboa Hendry Ajer & KT



    Sinclair Calmac Eboue Ncham Forrest









    Keep Lustig & Jozo for Thursday and bring Rogic on for last 30mins giving our player of the season (joint with our captain) Jamesy F a wee rest

  3. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Ditch Gamboa as playing 12 is against the rules….



    Even though the rules sometimes are applied differently to some !

  4. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Or is paying players “off the books” any different than just having another player on the park ???



    Cheating is still Cheating




  5. Gerryfaethebrig on




    Good night n god bless



    Enjoy watching the champions all who are attending later today !





    Good to see you back,bud-even though you still talk pish(!)

  7. 50 shades of green on

    Morning Tims.



    Its match day.








    Roundabouts is it, you want to try driving a taxi in East Kilbride, we have everything from we bits of white paint on the road to 3 lanes with traffic lights on them. People change lanes at will, tourists are easy to spot (usually change lanes half way round). Its a nuthoose at peak times.



    Polomintcity its called mind you its more like potholecity just now.




    Rant over.




    Mon the hoops

  8. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan on

    Good Morning.



    Off to Celtic Park Today where hopefully i will get the chance to annoy Malorbhoy throughout the game!!



    Shameless repost below!!





    Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan on 16th February 2018 8:20 pm



    Good Evening One and All.



    I have not been on here since Christmas Time due to pressure of work which has had me fighting the corrupt in the big city of London



    Alas, I couldn’t get to the game last night but watched on TV and bhoy were Celtic good, Had Moussa been two matches fitter he would have had two tap ins and wee McGregor was great as was young Kris.



    And In Eboue Kousse we have a player in the making.



    Tierney is a superstar.



    Broony is just Broony!!



    Anyway I come to these pages with BIG NEWS!



    I have secured the Kerrydale Suite for the evening of Friday 25th May 2018 for the purposes of recreating


    the ONE NIGHT IN LISBON DINNER some of us enjoyed last year in the Portuguese Capital.



    This will be an evening to celebrate the fans of Celtic Football Club who travlled across the sea by all manner of means 51 years ago now, and who changed European Football Forever just as much as their heroes did on the turf of the Estradio Nacional.



    The evening will have some presentations, musical entertainment of various kinds, some video entertainment and messages and most of all a huge party atmosphere.



    And of course we will pay homage to the Lisbon Lions.



    If you enjoyed CQN 10 then you will enjoy this.



    As always, there will be a charity aspect to the evening with all proceeds going towards feeding the 80,000 children who will attend the 67 newly opeened Mary’s Meals Kitchen paid for by the Celtic Charity Foundation plus one or two small donations to some local charities close to the hearts of people from this blog.



    Thus the evening will be in keeping with the founding principles of the club — to feed and help those who live in abject poverty and for whom a basic meal is a luxury.



    This will be a sing song night, a smiley night involving more than the odd tear and a night to puff the chest out and say “I am Celtic to the core!”



    I stress, It is not an official club night and is not organised by or with the PLC however with their help I have asked that all available trophies are present in the room.



    This will hopefully take place one week after we have completed an historic double treble for the first time in history and, fingers crossed, who knows where the Europa League Trophy might lie by that time?



    Either way this is a celebration of Celtic in Europe then and Celtic in Europe NOW!



    Three course meal


    Welcome drinks


    All entertainment














    Friends and Family



    All in the one place.



    Tables of Ten – £65/Head



    Dress Code – Casual but smart but must be Green and White.



    Bring your friends, Bring your enemies, Bring your Family but most of all bring your Celtic soul, your smile and your voice.



    Oh and bring a camera!!



    If you want to come e-mail me at the usual address jjoe88@hotmail.co.uk



    I need the names of those attending for the table plan (The wonderful Freisdirfer will make up badges etc) and I need to know if anyone is vegetarian as I need to let the caterers know.



    Sorry for the radio silence but hopefully the crappy work stuff will be over by end of March.



    500 spaces in the Kerrydale but I reckon I can populate about 300 of those automatically so be there or be square.



    Hail Hail



    God Bless




  9. 50 shades of green on




    Mick ,Ajer,Hendry,wee KT



    Kouassie n Ollie



    Jamesy CalMac Sinky







    My guess for today.



    4231, but KT wide left going forward.




    Maybees aye Maybees naw.





  10. itscalledthemalvinas on

    Is Melbourne Mick around ?



    If you are Mick could you tell me where would be showing the game today ?


    My son is over for a wedding and although he only arrived this morning (slept on the plane) he says he would like to try and watch it. He is staying in the Brighton area.


    Obviously not too far away as he’s just arrived and hasn’t got his bearings yet to be wandering about a strange city at 2am.



    HH Malvinas

  11. Good morning, friends. Today, we again get to see The Champions play. A few changes from the other night, I suspect (is Broonie suspended?) but I won’t guess – Brendan will know better.

  12. Kanchelskis tells about very bad atmosphere inside Zenit Sankt Petersburg team. Conflicts between the players, groups, Mancini who is not controlling dressing room etc.

  13. Jobo,


    Broonie is definitely ‘aff oot’ today, in order to be able to play against the sheep and Sevco in a few weeks, according to the Hearts mouthpiece.



    On the road shortly :-)))

  14. CRC



    Brilliant news about Caitlyn :)


    Im sure she would skoosh those exams anyway, but what an incentive she now has to do so!




  15. The Unseen Fenian Hand strikes again…….


    So another match day, another game where our players will be assaulted with impunity, hopefully we can get through it unscathed.

  16. Morning all. Weather seems to have improved a tad since Thursday , thermals not now required . I expect Hendry to replace Simunovic today with Thursday and next Sunday in mind , Scott Sinclair and Tom Rogic will also get a gig at some point.


    I had a different fitba fix yesterday . Scottish Junior Cup , Auchinleck at home to Pollock . Pleasantly surprised at the quality on show , decent crowd , a good game , and most surprised at a competent referee who tried to keep the game flowing . The shame is if the referee doesn’t hold one of a certain amount of occupations then his referee career may never get to the highest level in Scotland . A knuckle shuffle might help him though !


    Just for clarity , Talbot won 4-1 , which pleased me as I’m friendly with a family of one of their players .


    Aff oot to walk the lab down the beach and visit the local bookies . HH

  17. TET



    A mate has maintained that there’s no way we will be allowed to get 10. He has said so for over a year now that every hun player in the other sides will be going out to break legs in order to stop it.


    Ive always had a wee laugh at him and said i doubt that would happen because they would just get themselves sent off and we would almost certainly beat whoever they played for once they were down to 10 men.


    Ive been shocked at the comments ive heard/read from pundits on the radio/tv/media advocating teams put the boot into us to see how we handle it and although its not a shock to see refs cheat us, it really does look like our players are ‘fair’ game nowadays and to the extent that i now believe my mate is actually bang on.

  18. TR


    That’s pretty much how I see things as well, some of the treatment players like KT gets is a disgrace, it also annoys me that the club don’t stand up for them.



  19. RT and GFTB,



    It’s the same on android, you have you turn your phone on it’s side to view page numbers over 9. This would be a problem if it wasn’t set to auto- rotate,



    I think this is a relatively new concept.




  20. ZBYSZEK on 18TH FEBRUARY 2018 9:01 AM


    Kanchelskis tells about very bad atmosphere inside Zenit Sankt Petersburg team. Conflicts between the players, groups, Mancini who is not controlling dressing room etc.





    That’s good news for us Mr. Z. Celtic are going to need every advantage we can get plus a whole lot of luck to knock Zenit out. I honestly think that Kanchelskis is a Celtic supporter. He always talks very positively about Celtic, the stadium and our fans in the Scottish newspapers. He actually said last year that the Celtic fans “always sang beautiful songs” which inspired him :-)) We weren’t trying to inspire him. He rarely talks about Rangers supporters.



    Thanks for the update and let’s hope the Zenit players are in conflict with each other on Thursday.

  21. Greenpinata 10.41am



    Once page selected horizontally can then go back to vertical to read, by the way that’s probably as technical as I will ever get :-)



    Hope we don’t miss our captain too much today, as the song goes “what will we do without Broony”

  22. embramike says ” Yer team’s deid…Beat it!” on

    98 goals scored in 45 competitive matches this season so far …


    Who will score no 100 today at CP ?


    Hope for a good turnout today to give the bhoys another memory for St Petersburg


    (PS Anybody know the official attendance v Zenit on Thursday?)



  23. It’s logical to think that the team would set the platform for the fans and the atmosphere would adapt from there.



    However football is not logical and the atmosphere on Thursday was evident before a ball was kicked. IMO It was the best atmosphere since the Man City game. And how the team responded.




  24. i'vehadtochangemyname on

    vp – gonna have to watch that one a couple of times – will put it in the ‘it was all a dream’ category for now.