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.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author




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




    I watched a few times still had to look up what it was all aboot :O)


    whatever you don’t try and get into ” Inland Empire” not got a fekn clue .hh

  2. Techie iPhone help?



    Minor problems of late when logging onto a blog with many pages (like today)


    When first page appears, I only see option of jumping forward to pages 2,3,4,5,6,7…(when holding iPhone in normal/portrait mode). The higher page numbers cannot be seen on screen.


    But when I switch to landscape mode, I then see the option of jumping to page 1…9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16..>



    Problem only started recently???



    Anyone else having same problem with iPhone?




  3. I suppose it may be more straightforward to leave the fone in the vertical position on the table / bar / or floor then proceed to hover sideways over it while doing a handstand.



    Just think how easy it would be to spot fellow CQN’ers and eliminate stupid acts like wearing a flowerin your lapel.



    Greats for hoots’ don’t mention it BMCUW.




  4. Good afternoon from a grey north staffs – had our 2 grandsons (4 and 6 year old) overnight and took them to church this morning resplendent in their Celtic hoodies. Of course the priest decided to start 5 minutes late and deliver a 25 minute sermon. The youngest was not happy – but we survived. Juice and biscuits afterwards help.



    Watching the Turin derby – a few meaty challenges – Rubentus just scored.



    Anyway same energy from the bhoys today will do fine.




  5. GENE on 18TH FEBRUARY 2018 12:09 PM



    tell him the story of priest giving sermon and guy gets up to walk out.the priest asks him where he is going and he says” for a haircut,”.the priest asks why he did not go before mass and the guy says he did not need one before mass.



    ps you been in ST MATHEWS BISHOPBRIGGS recently.

  6. Itscalledthemalvinas




    For your Bhoy…



    Welcome to Melbourne No.1 Celtic Supporters Club. We are based at the Celtic Club, 320 Queen Street (cnr LaTrobe Street), Melbourne.



    All Celtic minded family are invited to drop into our Meetings at the Celtic Club from 5.30pm on the 1st Friday of every month. The Club has a Happy Hour each Friday from 5.00pm to 7.00pm. And for September’s meeting Melbourne No1 CSC will discount your pint a further $2 to 5 Bucks…no bad eh! So come on in and enjoy a drink and some Celtic banter!!



    Enjoy browsing the site to find out more on our Celtic supporters club downunder. We extend a special welcome to any travelling supporters who would like to meet up with us at Melbourne No.1 CSC.







  7. Magnificent all round performance.. the players gave everything.fast flowing attacking football..it was a joy to watch topped off with a stunning goal.I think McGregor has been struggling lately but plays well in behind striker.thought it was his best game in a while


    Much more like it Celtic.


    Hail hail to the champions!

  8. Favourite uncle


    He did say after Mass that he recognised he had gone on a bit, but it was the first Sunday in Lent and he was still finished within the hour




    I used to go to St Brigid’s in Toryglen where the PP was Fr Sheary – now he could talk



    Never been to Bishopbriggs

  9. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Wits 1.12pm



    Keep posing the question but the answer remains – Nope !



    I see the new Sevco money lenders the Close Brothers are sponsoring a race on first day at Cheltenham a few horses with Rangers/Sevco links



    De Plotting Shed – Sleekit gardener


    Hells Kitchen – Gordon Ramsay “former” player :-)


    Mr Whittaker – refused to tupe over


    Movewiththetimes – their fans are stuck in 17th century


    Fixe Le Kap – mind the gap


    Peter (Lawwell) The Mayo Man


    No Comment – if only


    Born Survivor – Rangers didn’t survive


    Not Another Muddle – Sevcos accounts

  10. From BBC






    Celtic are unbeaten in their past six top-flight matches against St Johnstone and have scored in each of their previous 10 league meetings with Saints.



    St Johnstone have won just one of their past 12 visits to Celtic Park in the Scottish Premiership.


    Celtic remain unbeaten at Celtic Park in the Premiership since losing 2-1 to Motherwell in December 2015.



    Saints are without a win in their past six top-flight matches, the second time they have been on such a run this campaign.






    Very confident about today’s game , got a feeling Charly will play a big part today .


    Hopefully big Rogic gets some game time,quality operator that bhoy.



    Think the Zenit game could be a turning point for us.


    5-0 to the hoops.




  11. Hi ghuys



    Long shot but, does anyone have a phone number that takes you straight through to sky’s call centre without going through the automated crap?

  12. Team




    Gamboa Hendry Ajer Miller


    Kouassi McGregor (c)


    Musonda Rogic Sinclair





    Subs Bain, Simunovic, Tierney, Ralston, McInroy, Dembele, Forrest

  13. CELTIC (4-2-3-1) De Vries; Gamboa, Hendry, Ajer, Miller; Kouassi; Rogic, McGregor; Musonda, Edouard, Sinclair.


    Subs: Bain, Simunovic, Dembele, Forrest, McInroy, Tierney, Ralston

  14. Gerryfaethebrig on




    Am delighted with that team, obviously want to win but great to see some of the Bhoys getting a run out

  15. Must say I’m shocked at the line up. Most unBrendan like,


    I don’t know what to expect from this game now.


    Thought Ntcham would be a certain starter with Brooney out but not even on bench.


    Brendan prioritizing Zenit game.

  16. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Corkcelt 1.57pm



    Thursday is massive and Brendan is managing the squad, great Callum is leading the team today



    Well done Mr MacGregor nice wee reward for Thursday :-)

  17. At the start of this season, only Scott Sinclair and probably Tom Rogicwould have been Automatic picks for starting 11 !

  18. itscalledthemalvinas on




    Thanks for the info.


    I will send him out the address.


    He will probably have my ex brother in law with him. They have only been there one day and the first thing they mentioned was the price of the drink !


    HH Malvinas

  19. Risky line up but in context of rivals all taking points off each other I can see why it’s been taken.

  20. 3-1-6 formation ? Craig hasbeen won’t be happy. LookIng forward to seeing Charly in a front 6