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Where did it all go wrong?

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Out of the Champions League qualifiers at the hands of a team with a smaller budget than ours, for the second season in succession. Where did it all go wrong? Two shortcomings stand out: team planning and tactical strategy.

I’ll take the latter first. We had 60% possession last night, a remarkable figure for an away European game which was lost. We dominated possession, didn’t score a goal and conceded twice (for the fourth time in five games).

Let me take you back a few years to a Dominik Diamond TV interview with Martin O’Neill, then Leicester City manager, in 1999. O’Neill laid plain his tactical philosophy, “My teams have big guys who know how to defend, they have players who can throw dangerous balls into the box, and players who can get on the end of those balls and put them in the net”.

A year later, when Martin came to Celtic, it was like going to school as we watched the observance of these very rudimentary rules transform our club. His defenders could defend, he had wide players who could throw dangerous balls into the box, and strikers who knew where the goal was. Martin’s teams never dominated possession against a European peer, never mind a team who beat them so comfortably.

It doesn’t need to be explained that there was no team in the world who could score three times from corner kicks against the Celtic team of a decade or so back. Today, team planning has insufficiently focussed on a few fundamentals of the game: know how to defend, know how to translate possession into chances, and have a handful of players in the team who know where the goal is. This is the fittest, fastest, Celtic team I have ever seen, but we looked like busy fools last night.

Ronny Deila’s post-match comments about the team being scared was an instant reaction to the defeat, but it’s worth digging into what prompted this perception. There were actually many occasions when Celtic players showed for a pass, the Uefa possession and completed pass stats conform this, but what we never did was boss the middle of the park.

In yesterday’s blog I asked Celtic to own the park as I have had a worry about this aspect for a while. This is different from covering a lot of ground (we do that), or being able to make a pass (we do that too). We have Scott Brown (runner) and Nir Bitton (passer) in central midfield. I like both but we need extra bite in this area. Celtic’s most effective period over the last decade was when we had Wanyama and Brown central-mid. The role Wanyama fulfilled has been sacrificed for the player in the hole behind the lone striker.

Players of Wanyama’s calibre are not common, and we shouldn’t go 4-3-3 if all we have is a Kayal to fill the additional central midfield space, but Brown and Bitton are not enough in central midfield in Europe. It’s also clear that selection for the four advanced positions (the 3-1) has been so fluid since the start of the season we’re clearly not cohesive in that area of the field either.

For me, if it’s Brown and Bitton, and I think it should be, we need another Brown-Wanyama influencer. Think back to our last Champions League group to consider the prospect of playing a European game without Scott Brown. At the very least we need cover for him, but in Europe we need two in his position. Go 4-3-3.

So much for tactical strategy, what about team planning? For the third August since parting company with Gary Hooper we are hawking around for a striker. Gary’s not a panacea, so I’ll ignore him as a prospect for now, but while Leigh Griffiths has performed beyond the call of duty, we are, again, out of the Champions League without having any idea who our primary striker will be this season.

We are in a loop of mistakes, and frankly, the most likely next action is that we respond by recruiting an identikit of the many strikers who have passed through Parkhead gates in recent years. We know enough about this problem to be aware that it’s our primary challenge, yet we have been unable to overcome it.

In my State of the Club blog at the start of the season I cautioned that we’d swapped Gordon Strachan’s soft spot for recruiting from Hibs, for a desire to see stars at Dundee United. Ciftci, Mackay-Stevens and Armstrong have been our primary recruits for advanced positions in 2015. Only one won a place in the starting line-up last night, leaving us relying on players who struggled to get in the team a year (or longer) ago.

Ronny Deila may well be able to polish Dundee United players into top performers at Celtic, but we didn’t recruit the finished article. We should have known this, and should have been aware that our August cup finals would have made calls on bit-part players from recent seasons.

We will find the occasional Champions League player in Scotland, but you can’t raid a mid-table SPFL team and expect to leap to the very top table in the game. This team planning strategy always looked vulnerable and it’s proven to be.

On the money side, you know my views. Over any business period you pay what comes in, no more and no less. We’re losing to team who spend less than us, not more, and on this occasion a team who picked up a player we discarded.

On just as important matters………

Aberdour

The golfers among you have three days to buy a raffle ticket – for £1 only – to win a round of golf at the fantastic Aberdour Golf Course for four people! Check it out here on ebay.  Money raised (by Taggsybhoy) will go to the Foundation.  This important work, always needs to be done, win, lose or draw.

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  1. Captain Beefheart on

    Mr Pastry keep posting.

     

     

    Tony D some good points. I am critical about Celtic on this forum but outwith it, I promote our club.

     

     

    Auldheid we haven’t seen Cifci because of his suspension. Why sign him? Utterly bizarre and unfair to the guy.

  2. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    CAPTAIN BEEFHEART. You may well be right but does that excite you ? With the money we spend on transfers and wages we in my opinion should be doing that as a matter of course.What I want to see and im sure many other Celtic supporters is us being at least competitive in Europe it is asking to much for us to win a European trophy but surely we should not be getting knocked out of Europe by the small clubs . H.H

  3. Where do I start from last nights shambles

     

     

    First of all – tie should have been won at Parkhead. Naivety cost us with that last minute goal – 3-1 is a completely different tie

     

     

    But that performance last night was truly truly pathetic. No heart no soul. Gutless. Defending at the corners – I reckon I could set my uni team up better – in fact I can set my uni team up better. Totally inexcusable

     

     

    I have faith in Ronny but a repeat in a year and he’s away no doubt

     

     

    I can’t fathom how a team of Malmos poor standard have comfortably knocked us out over 180 minutes, just no clue

     

     

    Reading James Forrest’s OFOG article he makes a good point about a lack of experienced players – that needs to change. We don’t have any of good quality bar Brown and Commons and Gordon (maybe Lustig when he’s fit). Malmo had Rosenberg last night. How are teams with a fraction of our budget knocking us out of Europe’s premier competition? Inexcusable. I’m not even saying spend £5m on an experienced striker though that would be nice and totally within our budget. No how our Maribor Legia Warsaw and Malmo producing better sides than us with a team that costs a total of £2-3m?!? How?

     

     

    People who say this hasn’t affected our season are wrong. Our biggest game of the season and we went out with a whimper, with players who we know can be good enough.

     

     

    Hugely frustrating, and something needs to change. Quickly. Otherwise here we’ll be in a years time having got knocked out by some other European minnows

     

     

    Europa League never has and never will be our level as a club and I refuse to accept it should be. I’ll go to the games as I always do but crowds of £25-30k on a Thursday night hardly has the same buzz as a CL night

     

     

    Btw what was wrong with Hoops last night? Ever Euro away disaster always playing in dodgy kits felt really nervous when found out we were playing in that fluorescent disaster

     

     

    HH

  4. Paul67

     

     

    Where did it all go wrong?

     

     

    When you decided to write on Blogger.com and hundreds followed ☺️

     

     

    When Martin O’Neil said ‘we will have to get used to life in the slow lane?

     

     

    When Dermot Desmond said Gordon Strachan was a great manager for the team, and a great manager for ‘the balance sheet’?

     

     

    Team planning and tactical strategy are completely intertwined, you get the players you like, but they also need to fit a strategy, and Ronny Deila has signed and resigned nine players since we were last eliminated against Maribor

     

     

    So the buck stops at his door, as soon as he gets to his desk in Lennoxtown, and to change course now would be Laurel and Hardyesque.

     

     

    This season the tie was effectively lost when Malmo scored with the first corner at CP, in injury time, before Griffiths scored his second Malmo were content at 2-1, and the tie worked perfectly to plan, a narrow loss would be easily overturned when you consider ‘they don’t lose goals at home in Europe’, (as many have posted) and they were ultra confident a corner, or two would see off Celtic, and so it proved.

     

     

    No point in looking at how the tactical strategy failed, it was already too late for that when the dogs in the street around Celtic Park could tell you what the line up was likely to be, and that Bitton and Brown would make up ‘a midfield ‘

     

     

    Bitton and Brown again on Saturday against St Johnstone, and in SPL games, it’ll come under pressure even with ‘naïve Scottish players’ Ronny’s first choice midfield struggle week in and week out in SP hell. Malmo, took us as a turkey shoot., because of the way we are set out . Whether foolishly discarding your only suitable left back, and more senior right back for such a game was a major factor, we’ll never know, but they remain the only talking points, on selection before he announced his team.

     

     

    Tactical strategy hasn’t changed since supporters and bloggers first questioned ‘ Ronny’s ‘too narrow midfield’ in his very first few games, and won’t change, because even if we had a Wanyama Ronny would only go and play him in the mysterious Johansen role, which continues to baffle the support, if not the opposition.

     

     

    Team planning and tactical strategy is good enough to win the SPL, and good enough for the balance sheet, Ronny has delivered his benchmarks.

     

     

    In other news Darnell Fisher is ineligible for Saturday.

     

     

    p.s. I agree with other posters and in the first few days of the new Blog I questioned, the SMSM copying and pasting of ‘stories’ into CQN Magazine

     

     

    p.p.s I agree with other posters that ‘Live Updates’ should be restricted to live updates only, as the agenda pushers tend use the forum to seize the moment

  5. Sick about last nights performance, sick about disallowed goal that could have changed things dramatically and sick about the reaction on here from the greatest supporters in the world. We have guys pointing out that Malmo team & overheads cost a lot less then ours but are still criticising PL for lack of investment. I didn’t read much criticism on here when Armstrong, GMS & Ciftci were signed but now they are part of a flawed signing policy. The vast majority of posts on here were identifying Izzy & Efe as bombscares and called for Mulgrew to replace Izzy,

     

    Of course it is natural to be upset and disappointed and yes we played badly and the players & Ronny let us down. However we are not pish as many of our own called us last night. We lost a hugely important game, our first competitive loss of the season but we didn’t become a bad team overnight.

     

    Personally I can’t wait for next match, we will come back from this and I look forward to the Group Stages of the Europa.

  6. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    to change course now would be Laurel and Hardyesque.

     

     

    -that’s another fine mess Zheng Zhi has got us into.

     

     

    DBBIA/SonsoftheDesertCSC

  7. Go tell the Spartim on

    Corkcelt you may find that there indeed was much criticism when we signed Ciftci, Armstrong and GMS have looked decent in patches prior to signing, Ciftci well the only thing of note i can think of was his boot of Broonie’s head and his bite in the Dundee derby. We do spend money, not much of it and its always about bargain basement signings (in terms of half decent sized clubs – which we are now)

  8. Mr Pastry well it’s a chance that PL & the board took in appointing RD in the first place.

     

    Personally, I would have liked to have seen wee Henki given a crack of the whip & his

     

    stature would certainly put bums on seats but would he come considering the boards

     

    past financial backing of any Manager puts said proposal/wish into I doubt it feel.

     

    Also, the board want a yes man @ the helm which is a pain in the you know where

     

    region our club is moving in the pre jock stein era when the likes of Bob Kelly & Co

     

    use to pick the team before jock arrived on the scene always with sound bits coming

     

    out like we need to downsize & concentrate on our youth/development level is an

     

    indication of just exactly where is our club heading because @ present it looks static

     

    & backwards instead of moving forward to face the challenges which lays ahead

     

    especially in trying to achieve CL Group stages material its all sad reading but true

     

    For example look how many strip changes they are over the course of each new

     

    Season? Too many in my opinion who’s doing the marketing over @ CP along with

     

    the bad scouting set-up as mentioned by previous post’s on here its like one can

     

    lead a horse to water but one can’t force said animal to drink it. If the club does

     

    not show any improvement over this coming Season from last then it just goes to

     

    show that our club has not just become static but it’s heading backwards instead

     

    of forward in other words it seriously time for change from top to bottom it’s as

     

    simple as that after all RD & Co have been there over one Season now there is no

     

    Plan B in his way of thinking when he is under pressure & things start to go pear

     

    shape instead of round & also his decision making which is already coming into

     

    question @ this early point of the Season with how he handles key fixtures &

     

    his approach with the task’s which lays ahead & his dealing with the media where

     

    he is meant to be quoted as saying this & that before a ball is kicked there is another

     

    old true cliche which states “action speaks louder than words” so it would be

     

    wise to let the talking be done on the field of play & handle the media with no

     

    comment as regards to trick questions in other words don’t be quote as saying

     

    this & that only to hand over cannon fodder to others to use if things don’t go to

     

    plan. I like RD & the things he was saying when he first came to our club but he

     

    has got to realize he is now @ a big club where expectations are set high their

     

    is really no room for failure & leaving oneself open to being easy criticized for

     

    every serious flaw lets all just see how this Season unfolds & next Season’s

     

    CL Group Stages Qualifiers & if past serious flaws have not been learnt then as

     

    other post’s have stated it’s now three strikes unfortunately with no success

     

    & it should be cheerio but would the present board take such course of action

     

    remains doubtful especially when their minds sets are based on well he doing

     

    well domestically & European football CL/EL Group Stages is a bonus that’s

     

    what it all boils down too two words “Aspiration’s” of certain individuals &

     

    “Contention” our club certainly is a sleeping giant as far as Europe is concerned

     

    but it needs the right people & visionary’s who will take a chance & moved the

     

    club forward not certain individuals like count the money, bank the money &

     

    line the pockets with money approach sad but true when one looks @ the

     

    overall true big picture of where our club stands @ present in the year of our

     

    Lord 2015 hail – hail all.

  9. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    CORKCELT. You can be annoyed as you like about the criticism of last night from many posters on CQN but I think the whole point was not that we got beaten but the manner we got beaten.We were like lambs to the slaughter and that is after the management team had said we were confident and up for the game. Then the team showed exactly the opposite .H.H.

  10. the glorious balance sheet on

    Mr Pastry 3.57pm

     

     

    I suspect that if Celtic ever got access to the EPL riches we would just buy even more scepovic/bangura/diddies from the Israeli league type signings

     

     

    If our scouts/ recruitment people can’t be trusted in the 2 million pound market, I can only guess at the spectacular flops they could conjure up with 10 or 20 times that amount of money to play with

  11. theglasgowcelticway

     

    We nearly did a few years ago when John Reid did his no more thing, he also mentioned “The Dossier” that has yet to see the light of day.

     

    I often wonder why the rumblings and then the silence.

     

    HH

  12. twentyfirstofmaynineteenseventynine on

    Mr Pastry

     

     

    Believe me, I’m not one of your detractors , I think this forum needs views like yours if only to open up a debate. Personally I have let my love of Celtic overwhelm more important things in life, hence two divorce’s. Unfortunately my son has his fathers gene’s and I fear the worst. Or the best. I’ve been lucky enough to have good jobs through the years but have spent most of it following the Hoops, I guess I’ve just not grown up, it’s a habit

     

     

    HH

  13. Sill furious.

     

     

    Zonal Marking needs to stop – losing 3 goals from corners is criminal.

     

     

    The lack of investment is criminal.

     

     

    Matthews replaced by Janko , Denayer buy Boyata and Guidetti by Ciftci are all downgrades.

     

     

    Felt sorry for James Forrest – made runs with nobody there to accept a pass or a cross.

     

    Gordon kept us in it. That apart disaster.

     

     

    Stefan – what has happened? Should not have started but was kept on for 90 mins while Ronny rejigged the team constantly in a vain attempt to find any position that Stefan could play. He ended up at centre half.

     

     

    Have been a Ronny fan but last night was as bad as it gets. Losing to a Man U or Liverpool with big investment is one thing losing to a team who spend 10% of our team value on their squad is unacceptable.

     

     

    Not sure where we go from here – the next 6 days will be vital but I can’t see anyone coming in and I am worried that with Boyata , Mulgrew and Efe as our Centre Backs we could be in a hell of a fight for the league.

     

     

    Seville67

  14. Last year I had a heart attack at the Maribor game. This year it was just a sad heart at the end of the Malmo game. But it was as difficult to accept. What made matters worse is that I am temporally south of the border and it was excruciating to watch the game last night in the company of two Englishmen. There for all to see was a team bereft of ideas. Slow to respond, lacking in judgement as to when to pass the ball, poor in defence and lacking a play maker to bring the front men into the play.

     

     

    Of course, I could have told my companions last evening that for two years now we have been lacking a play maker, good solid defenders, a strong midfield and a striker who would show consistence in all of our games.

     

     

    Who is to blame for this situation? In my opinion for what it is worth, the Board has not been forthcoming with the necessary money to purchase quality players, the manager and coaching staff have made some bad errors of judgement, and many of the players have gone about the task of rebuilding a team in a very poor manner.

     

    As always, I will continue to support my team, but the expense of STs and other items is becoming so costly that I wonder how long we can keep pouring money into the club without some success at a higher level than the SPL. Sadly most of us feel unable to change things. As long as DD sits in Dublin when he is not off to some golf tournament around the world or watching Man Utd that is, holding on to his major share holding then things will be done his way. The rest of us with shares or contributing to Celtic in other ways will continue to have no say in where this club is going.

     

     

    I have been to three European Finals in my days as a Celtic supporter. At my age and given the state of team building at present, I cannot see me ever returning to a Final with my team.

  15. I’m feeling pretty pessimistic about the season now. I guess a lot of us are.

     

    What’s the collective noun for a group of pessimists? I think it should be a “despondency”…

     

     

    A despondency of pessimists.

  16. Captain Beefheart on

    Joe it would excite me if it were combined with investment and European progress. Otherwise no.

  17. I am currently attending a training course in the West of Scotland. A number of my fellow trainees are Celtic supporters most being ST holders. Anywho conversation at break and lunch time today was, obviously, dominated by last nights debacle. consensus regarding following contentious issues .

     

     

    Worst European performance most can recall, no spirit little fight.

     

    RD out of his depth in Europe but should be given 1 more chance in the EL to prove he can improve tactically. Most hope he can.

     

    Craig G. Next in line for the PLC ‘for sale’ sign. Only genuine quality player in the team.

     

    Bitton ‘found out’ flatters to deceive in the SPFL where he isn’t tested.

     

    Our Skipper hid last night when the team needed him most. Poor from Scot.

     

    VvD – thanks and goodbye.

     

    Boyata – vast improvement required, already doubts as to his ability.

     

    LG, works hard will score loads in SPFL but well out of his comfort and ability zone in Europe,

     

    Cifti – WTF (that is me being polite)

     

    Jamesy F, best of a poor lot last night

     

    Board need to start investing some ‘proper’ money in the team.

     

    Time to start buying a few proven older players with little sell on value.

     

    Most will probably not bother with EL games

  18. Hi Celts,

     

    still sore after last night. leftclick cheers for making me smile and inspiring my day,you can always rely on a Celt to do that.Ta Sean :-)

     

     

    Burnley78 2.14am never a truer word.

     

     

    Tricoloured ribbon,my thoughts are with you and your family.Get well soon.awful pic in the Belfast Telegraph.

     

     

    hail hail Celts.

  19. Aberdeen dropped fewer points to other teams than we did.

     

    They dropped most of their points to us.

     

    With a little help from the mibs, and we lose to them a couple of times, serious times ahead.

     

    HH

  20. Paul hits the nail on the head by identifying where our team is weak.

     

    The old mantra was that most games are won and lost in midfield – and in midfield RDs system lacks the necessary type of player to play it successfully against better teams than we face on a weekly basis!

     

    In too many games that mean something we see the same thing happening – we get a lead but cannot hold onto it. Even in the SCSF where we suffered from a terrible refereeing decision – we had a lead going in to the second half but then lost a goal from our corner against a team much worse than Malmo!

     

    We currently do not have a real holding player on the books let alone in the team.

     

    Even Barca and Arsene Wenger’s AFC use one – Chelsea use two or at times three!

     

    Playing against teams on a par or better than you are requires a plan to deal with them.

     

    We are not Barca – so why does our manager think that we can get away with something that they don’t even try?

     

    The answer is simple- Ronnie might be a lovely guy and a good coach but he is not now nor might ever be a good manager.

     

    Good managers create teams that are greater than the sum of their parts- a bit like Malmo.

     

    They spend a lot less than us and have managed to assemble and integrate new players in to their team while qualifying for the CL two years in a row!

     

    Their manager knows how to assemble a team not a collection of individuals.

     

    He saw our strengths and tried to negate them – he saw our weaknesses and successfully exploited them!

     

    We lost a poor goal to a corner last week yet learned nothing nor did nothing and lost another two in exactly the same way last night!

     

    The choice of manager is the board’s biggest call. Our last two have been the cheap and inexperienced options. Neither should have been given the job – CFC needs someone with experience that really knows how to recruit players that will add to the way he wants to play.

     

    Our recruitment is frankly a mess – we seem to veer from low grade Europeans to stalking DUFC.

     

    This suggests very strongly to me that RD is not the main man but someone else is.

     

    RD was never meant to be our manager – he was lined up as first team coach. Without a shadow of a doubt he has some good ideas on fitness, training, lifestyle etc.

     

    However when things go wrong he seem almost transfixed on the sidelines. Just one example from last night – when the second goal went in -he should have had our forward replacement already warmed up to go on right away as we now had to score two goals in the last half hour. It was over 10 minutes before he made the change! That’s what I mean about him not being someone who knows how to manage a game situation that’s going wrong!

     

    He has had the luxury of being CFC manager at a time when there is no serious domestic rival – so it is inevitable that he will be judged on our European performances. He was given what he asked for in terms of preseason preparation. He got his first choice CB replacement for JD in early.

     

    He has no excuses in my eyes. I don’t think we can hang around for another two or three years to see if he develops the necessary managerial skills to succeed. Fortunately for him the board will be extremely reluctant to take action – so we will drift on. We will probably start to win lots of games in Scotland – mainly because the opposition is so poor. We might even win a couple of games in the EL depending upon the draw we get. However unless our recruitment policy changes then this time next year we will be in the exact same position – out thought and out fought by another second or third rate European outfit managed by someone who know what they’re doing!

     

     

    HH

  21. JFH, I’m a Celtic Supporter too and I am as gutted as anyone else re thise manner of our defeat and display. However I believe there is an acceptable way to express yourself and I believe the mark was overstepped and I will be as annoyed as I like. Everything looked rosy in the garden up to half time in first leg, there were very few on here sounding alarm bells. Second half and particularly last minute goal was a bit chastening however very few expected us to perform so badly last night.

     

    The reality in sport is that these things happen to almost every Club at different times, it does raise huge question marks but it is what it is, one awful performance. We can and we will recover from this and there is still plenty to play for this season.

  22. Apologies for the long post –

     

     

    Accusations, namecalling and bitter recrimantions – no not the Labour Party after the whitewash in Scotland, just CQN after a poor Celtic performance.

     

     

    Fact and Fiction

     

     

    Attracting top players to Celtic is almost impossible and has been for at least 20 years. We refused to pay the illegal, under the table EBTs that brought in the mercenaries at deidco, and it was as much the fiscal reality as board parsimony that failed to draw in players like Kanchelskis, De Boer and Laudrup.

     

     

    Those players that we have brought in and then sold on only came to Celtic with an assurance in writing that when the appropriate fee was offered at the right club in the EPL then they would be allowed to leave. How else are you going to attract younger players with potential to a big fish in a small and rapidly draining pond?

     

     

    The five years of the MON era is cast up as a time when we bought players like a big time club. In fact, three of the big players came with baggage and no one in the EPL was seriously interested in them at our wages: Sutton was and still is regarded in England as a one trick pony whose flush was busted when he failed a Chelsea: Hartson had drink and gambling issues as he himself has since admitted, and Thompson had other issues altogether. Lennon was as much an emotional recruit as he was a childhood fan. MON was lucky that his predecessors had left him Henrik and Lubo.

     

     

    We have never been able to afford top players from England or from Europe – ever. Any allegedly “top” player that came/comes to Celtic will inevitably be of a pig in a poke variety, sometimes you get a Henrik but most times you get a DuWei or a Scheidt.

     

     

    Faced with that truism, recruiting top managers to Celtic is equally impossible. Thus, managers come to Celtic for the same reasons as players do: they have an emotional tie with the club like, MON, NFL or they are past their best like Dr Jo and Wim or are novice managers trying to create a name for themselves like Ronny. WGS was the exception but then he had exceptional reasons for taking the job.

     

     

    As a board of a PLC, directors have a legal responsibility to the shareholders, which, despite many of us (me included) owning shares in Celtic, actually means the large shareholders. As the board consider all of the above and look at the dwindling tv and advertising revenue, (to paraphrase a comment about the former owner of a former SPL club) the only game in town is to match ambition with potential both in terms of manager and players; crucially though, only by staying within a sustainable budget. This means that the selling on of young players at a profit becomes a planned income source to offset reduced or stalled earnings in other areas.

     

     

    The random events that inflame us are things like the poor performance rather than the defeat last night, the Living Wage circus at the club, the “bonus/part of my contracted salary” issue with our CEO are all valid in their own way. However, to conflate all of them with accusations of board malfeasance, maladministration or simple incompetence after last night is not helpful.

     

     

    To win last night we needed the players to perform to a high level and they didn’t. The same team that defended with discipline in Baku failed to produce a competent performance, ironically against a team playing in a very British way. The same vulnerability to a very direct style has seen us concede goals in the SPFL, so last night shouldn’t really have come as such a shock. The players and the management team need to get on with our recovery on Saturday at home to St Johnstone.

     

     

    For those of us who lived through the Stein era, things will always seem very reduced. He was the right man at the right time in a pre-lottery money world of football. We were lucky to have him and all those who played under him in that magical era; he really is immortal because of what he achieved. His legacy does mean that his successors and WE struggle to comprehend why we seem to have fallen so far. The truth is that we are where we are meant to be, and that in Jock’s time we simply rose to such breathtaking and spectacular heights.

     

     

    Can you imagine how we would feel if we won the Champions League in two years time? Back then it seemed an even more ludicrous suggestion. Celtic won the Scottish Cup in 1965, which was our first trophy of any kind in SEVEN years – he 1957-58 League Cup. We had been also-rans and cannon fodder and seemed incapable of even winning our own league title never mind the European Cup. The Celtic team on the morning of Saturday April 24, 1965 would have laughed their socks off if you had told them that they were going to win the European Cup on May 25, 1967.

     

     

    If we had not won a Scottish trophy since 2008 and I told you we would lift the Champions League in May 2017 then you would rightly laugh at me and walk away.

     

     

    That joke though is precisely what surely made the miraculous and monumental achievement of Jock Stein and the Lisbon Lions so astonishing. What a time!

     

     

    The club and we always compare where we are with where we’ve been, but the reality for me is that that era was a perfect alignment of stars that brought a mix of young and older players together under an inspirational manager who had a clear plan and a relatively level European playing field.

     

     

    Those stars will not likely realign in my lifetime but we have been lower than we are today and risen to truly unbelievable heights, so who knows.

     

     

    TRC Hope your day is good and getting better. Saw your hospital bed pic earlier. Get well.

     

    No One Walks Alone

     

     

    HH

  23. Captain Beefheart on

    Exiled,

     

     

    Forget it. We have won the league. Lose it?

     

     

    More chance of you becoming a transsexual, Royalist, Tory, Unionist, alien.

     

     

    Ain’t gonna happen. Aberdeen are crap.

  24. Hugh Bonkle fae Dallas on

    I honestly don’t think that man for man Malmo were better than us. Who would you take from the Malmo squad and put in ours. Their left back was a bombscare and the goalkeeper was likewise. Their back four was scarier than ours and in midfield they were industrious but nothing special. So what does that say about us? Their forward line was led by a 32 year old.

     

     

    Over 2 legs we conceded 4 goals to them, 3 from corners. So if our players are man for man better than theirs what is the problem, the system? The tactics? Or the manager?

     

     

    The manager had greater resources than the opposition manager and came up short.

     

     

    Can anyone honestly say we are a better team than last year? We’ve already lost 2 points to the worst team in the league in what was another shambolic defensive display.

     

     

    I don’t think we have improved, is this year’s defence better than last? Denayer or Boyata?

  25. theglasgowcelticway on

    We always challenge the SFA after a big decision has gone against us and the we’re vilified in the press.How quickly the tables were turned on “big bullying Celtic” after we asked for an explanation, that’s all, for that ridiculous non decision in last seasons semi.How quiet were the media when the ICT lawyer managed to get their player off his charge by proving at least one of the officials had seen incident and subsequently lied? I don’t believe Celtic really want to push this as they’re embarrassed by the response.

     

     

    We are at a pivotal point here.Ronnie’s tactics and signings are now under scrutiny, cannot believe we signed Ciftici,couldn’t understand why all the fuss about him over the last years.Too many big players just didn’t turn up last night, that’s a worry.

  26. If we believe that our raison d’etre is qualification for the Champions League and nothing else, the our season could be over by August every year.

     

     

    This will lead to disaffection and, as we will see in the coming months, a diminution in the support at CP and, possibly a weakening of the ‘Celtic-minded’ next generation.

     

     

    A new season should be a new beginning, where you look forward to the next six months, with all its ups and downs – for failure to be pronounced in the first four weeks of the campaign, two years in a row, and now signed players, who you are depending on, going in to the season branded as “scared and frightened” is indeed very very worrying.

     

     

    1} Will Ronny be able to bond again with the players?

     

     

    2} What will the players think of Ronny?

     

     

    3) What effect will all of this have on the team’s performance?

     

     

    With hindsight, the statements of John Collins and now Ronny, may be seen as at least unwise and, who knows, may lead to their parting of the ways with Celtic.

     

     

    I am not hounding them out of the door, however questions must be asked about their ‘management technique’

     

     

    Both statements from Ronny and Johnny will be reprised in the media, in the coming months, with monotonous regularity.

     

     

    For what it’s worth, my bet is that there will be a change in management – if I was the man at the top, I would bring in a new regime now – leaving it till later down the line could lead to animosity setting in, and, horrors of horrors, the title being surrendered.

     

     

    A doomsday scenario, I know, but all things must be considered – imho…

  27. theglasgowcelticway

     

     

    Might be onto something there. When a decision goes aginst us home or abroad to we stand up fight it and overcome on the field or do we chuck it?

     

    Not sure of the stats on that one but the heads went down when the goals was disallowed last night.

     

    Get us 3 experienced players and we will have a EL run. We have a lack of leaders on the pitch and in the squad. Sutton ranted and rasved a bit last night and I would hope someone in our backroom staff was doing similar in the dressing room.

     

    We need guts and baws. When it comes to the crunch we lack both in knock out competitions. It’s not about sexy football it’s about getting a result and taking chances. I am done with the 1 up front. It is costing us way too often. If you play one striker and he has an off game it leaves you with nothing. I gave Ronny the benefit of the doubt but Johanssen scores 1 from 10 when through on a goalie 1 on 1 and our midfielders are off the boil. Poor Griff got no service or support because the Swedes were smart. They isolated Forrest and Griffiths, cut off their supply and then bullied them.

     

    Our coach was outsmarted he could have put Mulgrew in midfield at half time and brought Izzy on for Armstrong. That would have given us 3 sitting and possibly let Brown and Johanssen kick on and support the 2 isolated men but didn;t. Unfortunately it was a night when everything that could go wrong did.

     

    There is no substitute for experience and we are short of it.

     

     

    The window is open. We have the cash to get the right men in. We have plenty youth and potential. Get men to lead them to the next level.

     

     

    LB

  28. Hugh Bonkle fae Dallas on

    BSR, I think that is my point….people talk of improvement but we replaced Denayer with Boyata and expect to qualify for the CL. It doesn’t add up for me. We failed last year and replace a key player with one of lesser quality. And we are surprised we failed again last night?

  29. i'vehadtochangemyname on

    Where does this put ronny ? – win the treble, you better get us into the CL next year or you’re out ? Unless there’s a complete disaster he’ll win the league – something that would guarantee a job on any other league !

  30. a light insanity on

    See after all the soul searching, navel gazing and bum scratching – could it be that our team (players and management) had an off night?

     

    I don’t think this constant reflection is getting anywhere.

     

     

    St Johnstone on Saturday – looking forward to it.

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