What were Champions League lessons?


Photo: Vagelis Georgariou biglens.co.uk

We’ve often discussed that the difference between success and failure at Champions League level more often than comes down to which team makes mistakes.  In the group stages Celtic were 31st out of 32 teams for the amount of possession they had, and for the number of chances they created, but they were immaculately drilled and progressed while more creative teams failed.

Cluj had less possession and chances than Celtic but also know the route to effective football, finishing on 10 points and being denied qualification for the knock out stage on goal difference.

Against Juventus, home and away, things changed.  Defenders twice jumped for balls they couldn’t reach, instead of turning and standing their ground.  Twice players were dispossessed inside their own half instead of getting rid of the ball early.  These moments led to four of Juventus’ five goals and decided the tie.  By contrast, Celtic enjoyed the bulk of possession and chances, home and away, against the Italian champions.

What are the lessons have been learned in our Champions League games?

Xavi has learned not to try to control a clearance from Fraser Forster at chest height.  Spartak’s Insaurralde will know to keep his eye on the ball while clearing the ball when last man while Suchy will know not to clatter into strikers inside his own box.

No Celtic player made a single mistake inside his own half in either of the home games against Barcelona and Spartak and as a result, both games were won.

Our players’ normal mode of play, week-in-week-out, is the intercept passes, not cautiously move to a covering position.  They also hold onto the ball and take a moment before releasing, activities which don’t often lead to a goal being conceded within seconds, but Champions League football is stunningly different than the domestic variety.

The most important lesson from our Champions League campaign is that Celtic are one of the most effective teams in Europe.  We can create goals and defend successfully against the best on the Continent.  We will look back on this campaign as the one which put us back on the map, and we’ll look back on the Juventus games as an important stage in our development.

The strategy is working; same again please.

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  1. lionsroar67 same applies. UEFA are bullies as are the SFA.



    We only have to insist that the EU applies its own laws, and tear up this “special”, and never ending adjustment period which UEFA enjoys.


    Mr Bosman had a go.




    FFM your contribution to this debate is content free and ad hominem. Since you recognised yourself that I don’t do the personal stuff, you’ll understand why I shan’t reply to your wee smutterings.


    If you knew anything you’d know my name is not from a Romance language and that I’d broken the cardinal rule of mixing Greek and Latin.

  2. Estadio Nacional on

    Lessons learned?



    We did brilliantly with what we had but got lucky with the very limited managerial resources available. A few creative thoughts would have enhanced our reputation instead of the usual patronising ‘but the fans were great’ to go along with terrible defensive football.



    Proud of this teams campaign but thought the manager got lucky with his Steaua Bucharest tactics.





    Arnaud in The Imperial Cup at Sandown. 315



    I hope you are all planning on a wee donation from your winnings at the festival.



    Oscar’s piggy-bank will be overflowing,I hope!



    Been constant rain the last few days in Swindon,about 35 miles south of Cheltenham. No expert-as you all know!-but ground should be good to soft apparently.

  4. General miller 315 sand



    Off to ayr for the day with the mrs hopefully some winners and a good bevvy.


    All the best bhoys

  5. Che has nipped in ahead of me with my first selection so as an alternative I will try Rockawango in the Sandown 3.15.

  6. Morning all,going for Radio Nowhere in the 3.05 Chepstow.


    Good luck to all except Bada Bing cause the bugger is ahead of me.hh

  7. leftclicktic


    11:29 on


    9 March, 2013


    Fosters Road


    1:30 sandown


    Good luck all





    NON RUNNER,mhate.

  8. Maybe see u at Ayr che! My nap is Pine creek at sandown please, be lucky bhoys! Hopefully kris kross will turn over the odds on fav in the first at Ayr

  9. tommytwiststommyturns on

    I’ll go for the 3:15 at Sandown as well….Barizan.



    Good luck today and at the Festival next week!




  10. Lads,



    naps here today please…



    Happy punting !!!






    p.s. if anyone is interested in a CQN Cheltenham Naps comp – just for fun – then let me know…




  11. CQN Saturday Naps Competition – Week 31 results & standings



    Week 31 –


    tommytwiststommytunrs (Quentin Collonges @15/2)


    Som mes que un club (Red Ramesses @7/2)



    +£21.00 Rockon Neil Lennon (11)


    +£17.91 Bada Bing (6)


    +£17.35 green T (11)


    +£11.00 voguepunter (4)


    +£ 2.50 What is the Stars (5)


    +£ 1.38 BULL67 (7)


    -£ 0.50 Che (3)


    -£ 1.50 Magnificentseven (6)


    -£ 5.22 Valentine’s Day (5)


    -£ 5.88 Sixteen roads to Golgotha (4)


    -£10.75 Glen (4)


    -£11.50 fleagle1888 (3)


    -£12.50 MHARK67 (4)


    -£13.50 Cathal (3)


    -£13.50 tommytwisttommyturns (3)


    -£16.00 Som mes que un club (3)


    -£18.38 leftclicktic (3)


    -£19.50 bobbymurdoch’s winklepickers (3)


    -£21.80 TheBarcaMole (2)


    -£22.97 hunza rugli (2)


    -£26.00 gerry_bhoy (1)


    -£31.00 gourockbhoy


    -£31.00 Raymac



    *No selections (wk31) – gourockbhoy, hunza rugli, Raymac, TheBarcaMole



    Cheers, fleagle1888

  12. You Know Yourself


    15:25 Ayr


    As I picked a non runner earlier


    Good luck all