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. From TSFM site.



    Apologies for posting his mundane rantings, but have a look at the end of the first paragraph.



    Maybe we have not heard the last of the LNS findings……




    Green on Talksport came across well-rehersed as hard-nosed son of Yorkshire.



    * LNS investigation a waste of time. Opposed it because not right. As wrong as seeing three thugs beat up old lady in street. Indication ST at DU wants to move on but indications other clubs don’t



    * Loadsamoney in t’bank. Half-yearly result better than expected in spite of paying players who walked out



    * Scottish football doesn’t want Rangers. Against European law to deny club access to England



    * McGregor & co = desperados motivated but self-interest. Court case on-going



    * Would have sold to Walter for a small profit, but that came to nothing



    * Sectarian chanting occurred at one match, by a small minority. Life bans for those caught. Self policing needed



    * Had a go at Tom English and ND



    * No idea what league he will be in next year or the name of the league




  2. Thought that the Celtic Park score in no way reflected the overall play that night. But it put us in an impossible position. Also think that Juventus are top class and a superior side. When they moved forward they didn’t even have to look up to find their man. But if they’d gone behind in Glasgow after 3 minutes rather than ahead it might have been very different.

  3. greendreamz. This Celtic side might be on the outer edges of the universe that John Clark and the Lions occupied , but its miles ahead of the disastrous european campaigns we suffered from the mid seventies until Seville . There were one or two exceptions but two that really hurt were games against Real Socieadad and Werder Bremen , the Germans sang auf weidersein (sp) to us , still bugs me

  4. South Of Tunis on

    Barrach Obampot @ 13 34 .



    Sion were adjudged to have fielded 6 ineligible players..



    Lord Nimmo Smith was not given the task of ruling on whether Oldco had fielded ineligible players . .



    In the wonderful world of football administration deliberate non disclosure is one thing and the deliberate [ and knowing ] fielding of ineligible players is another.

  5. cliftonville celt from belfast on

    Just blew the whistle on aul Campbell on the FIFA site – very easy to do just click the drop down and select ‘other’ as your relationship to FIFA.



    Highly recommended way to make yourself feel a little better I would encourage everyone to have a go – it gives you a referance number and everything 8-)

  6. cliftonville celt from belfast on




    No it was the 3 day bus journey back to Belfast that hurt the most !!!!!!

  7. Steinreignedsupreme : from last article



    I believe and believed at the time, we have seen the best of Izzy, that is why I would have sold him, some of the others I believe can get better so would keep them Of course its about making the right decision, which is difficult .

  8. The Narrowbhoat Tim on





    14:29 on 7 March, 2013



    The first paragraph was a dig at Celtic without him naming us, what a coward

  9. Steinreignedsupreme on

    wycombebhoy 14:49 on 7 March, 2013



    The first match against Juventus was his best performance in a Celtic shirt. He was outstanding.



    That gives me hope Izzy may have more to offer us.




  10. Lazydynamite. I had erased that one from my memory . Big defeats in europe were still fairly unusual then and of course we would expect to beat a Swiss side despite knowing nothing about them

  11. TerryONeill @14:13



    I’m thinking more along the line of us actually.



    I’ve passed the link onto the CSA and Celtic Trust and await their reply.



    I think a collaborative effort with the internet bampots is called for.



    South Of Tunis



    Couldn’t it be argued then that Sion didn’t knowingly field any ineligible players, so their results should have stood?




  12. lazldynamite @14.41



    Agree, that was the worst result I have ever known. Despite “thems” beating us by the same score previously, that result really hurt.



    Had the joy of picking up a few Oldco supporters, (in my taxi) the night we beat Ajax in Amsterdam, ( they were at home playing somebody, I cant remember!), and they were absolutely gutted at that result, to a man, they couldn’t believe it. That was one of our best results for a good few years in Europe.




  13. thetimrieper on

    Afternoon bhoys and ghirls.



    I see some posters blaming level of spl opposition for the cause


    of our exit from last 16 of CL, could it not also be said that same


    opposition was the reason for us qualifying from the group stages.



    At this time we are looking for supporters of all clubs to stand together


    and blaming them for our results wont go down well.



    Great post from starry plough about his French friend , love does


    indeed blossom.



    Hail Hail

  14. The Narrowbhoat Tim on

    For members of the Cheltenham Quick News it looks like it will be quite frosty down here in the Shires next week (lows minus 5 in the morning). Talksh**e is having a Cheltenham Festival preview at 8pm tonight with special guests AP McCoy, Racing Post’s Bruce Millington & Rupert Bell.

  15. Lazydynamite



    5-1 to Neuchatel – now there was a bad night. My own least favourite was Partizan – minute away from being the best game I was ever at. And we collapsed on the field after it.





  16. So chuckles is afforded another opportunity on talk sport by keys n Grau to present his fantastic story of Sevco world ! Happy to claim and poke derision at Celtic and proclaim victory in The LNS debacle as well as the tax avoidance case !!! Still no debt 20 million in bank Celtic are quiet since his victory and we are the biggest club in the world !!! Bumpers spoiling for a fight obviously something’s going down and he’s lookin for somebody to blame and fleece the zombies and the zombie media once more ! Day after the Uk press bugging up Celtic and the fans no coincidence eh ! FUD !

  17. TerryONeill Neil ah love yae on

    barrach obampot @14.13



    Thanks the more people aware the better.



    Would have posted on the Scottish Football Monitor site but have forgotten ma log in details.

  18. Che, if you’re lurking, got a massive £7 back from my investment last night. Stuck it all on a Europa League 6-timer.





    Viktiria Plzen




    Benfica, and draws @ Basel and Levante. 109/1




  19. South Of Tunis on

    Barrach Obampot .



    Using UEFA [and CAS ] logic- no .



    UEFA told Sion they couldn’t sign any players within a specified time period. Sion did ——- Sion then fielded players defined as ineligible by UEFA. and were punished for it.



    Sion stuck 2 fingers up to UEFA .and paid the price. Oldco and the relevant Scottishauthorities played hokey cokey with administrative practice.and were found guilty of administrative hokey cokey. .



    Vado fuori.

  20. Philbhoy - It's just the beginning! on

    The first foriegn team I saw at Celtic Park was Sparta Rotterdam in the early sixties. We beat them 5-1, again, I think.



    Canny remember if it was a friendly or a competition.



    Is this Tuesday?

  21. weet weet weet on




    agree,neuchatel was a sickener.






    never saw that,a belter




  22. thetimrieper on




    * Scottish football doesn’t want Rangers. Against European law to deny club access to England



    Is charles de ghoul planning to take the F.A. to the european court. A fine example


    of how to win friends and influence people. Thinking Neils interview with sky was


    a propaganda coup.

  23. Gordon Strachan does not pick any Sevco players for Scotland



    Bet FF will be full of bile this afternoon, however FF does that all the time anyway

  24. South Of Tunis



    Thanks for that. Didn’t the Swiss FA back Sion though?






    I think a comprehensive complaint from one of the fans associations would be better than less so ones from individuals.







  25. South Of Tunis on

    Philbhoy .



    It was a friendly. Part of a week of Dutch things in Glasgow . Remember my father and I scoffing typical Dutch food from stalls in George Square . .

  26. Philbhoy - It's just the beginning! on

    South of Tunis.



    Was it around 1961 and did we win 5-1?

  27. South Of Tunis on

    Philbhoy .



    My addled ole bonce thinks we humped them [ not sure of the score ].



    In 1961 —– I was in Primary 7 heading for Secondary .



    I place the Dutch thing earlier —- therefore 1960 .?



    We should Google [ if we can remember how to ]

  28. saltires en sevilla on




    Yes – progress is learning when to hold and when to give



    I liked the play out the back to middle instead if usual fare – punt up to a big guy…



    But we delay making a pass farther forward -and want touch when a pass or shot is on !!

  29. South Of Tunis on

    Philbhoy .



    Oopla –



    I left Primary school in 62 —— therefore 61 or 60

  30. Margaret McGill on

    Well done Celtic. Well done Lenny.


    Lessons learned:



    If you dont score the best you can do is win 0-0 :)


    Juventus are a crack team.


    If Celtic are to progress in Europe they need to improve the squad.


    Improving the squad to that level is almost impossible based on domestic finances.


    Improving the squad to that level is almost impossible based on domestic competition.


    When a nugget that Lenny comes along it will be difficult for him to hold on to players and difficult for Celtic to hold on to him.


    We need to remind ourselves that Celtic come out of a cheating cesspit both in football and other Scottish institutions that are against them. Not as bad as it used to be as some say?No as bad as it always was? I say worse. Sevco?



    To get to the last 16 is an achievement. Who cares what the animals say.



    One other thing I am convinced of. The rest of Europe has an anti British bias.


    This is another obstacle that Celtic will need to overcome in the long term for European success.


    Some of the refereeing decisions I saw against Celtic and Man Utd confirm this for me.


    It might be Latin racism or the fact that in latin football cheating is the norm.


    Saw it last night also in the Tigres V Seattle Conacaf game. Costa Rican ref a joke.




    I still dont trust the bored I think they are only in it for the money and cant wait for the new firm.


    They dont have the same vision as “most” Celtic supporters.

  31. leftclicktic on

    Still laughing‏@corsica1968Protected account



    @DanielOConnel18 @walsh2509 @bartinmcgrain EU Commission v 6 Dutch teams on state aid





    View conversation Reply

  32. South Of Tunis on

    Philbhoy .



    Celtic Wiki says 14 /5/61



    5-1 .



    weet weet weet .



    I don’t remember eating daffodils or tulips but sadly have to accept that doesn’t necessarily mean I didn’t.

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