Where we are and the way forward


Celtic are well behind the position they should be at this stage of the football cycle which started in the summer of 2014.  This week’s two defeats are a symptom of that.  A year ago, then-new signings Armstrong and Mackay-Stevens contributed to two highly credible performances against Inter Milan, which indicated we were on a positive trajectory, but pretty much every available indication since has pointed south.

Aberdeen were poor in the first half last night, but shortly before their opening goal om 31 minutes I noted that they were defending comfortably, despite our dominance.  We had not made a chance which tested them.  We often need a lot of possession before the goals flow.

There is a flip side to that ratio.  We often lose a lot of goals compared to the possession we allow opponents.  All teams take a direct approach to attacking Celtic – get it forward and shoot. Better still, win a corner.  Football games are about two things: scoring goals and not conceding goals.  Some work is being done on the former but I’m concerned our shape does not accommodate the achievement of the latter.

We’ve kept 4 clean sheets (Kilmarnock, St Johnstone, Partick, Stranraer ) in the 18 games since beating Dundee United 5-0 in October.  Only Thistle (1-0), Dundee (6-0) and Dundee United (5-0) have lost at Celtic Park without scoring since…………… Ross County on 1 August.

Records will show that yet again we lost a crucial goal at a corner kick.  What will be lost in time is the sheer panic caused by the Aberdeen corners which didn’t result in a goal.  I’ve never seen a team defend set pieces so poorly over such an extended period.

There could be many reasons why we’re not in the Champions League knock out stages right now, but I’m sure the reasons we’re not comfortably ahead in the league is that defensively, our shape and organisation is not good enough.  We concede too much space in dangerous areas.  This is why we’re not miles ahead of a team with vastly weaker resources.

On the way forward:

It’s of the upmost importance we win the league.  As it stands, we will achieve this.  Colin Kazim-Richards, despite being of journeyman-pro stock, gave us a dimension we’ve not had in 18 months.  He, Kris Commons, Ryan Christie, Patrick Roberts and Erik Sviatchenko will all have a positive impact on the remainder of the season.

Ronny has got a lot wrong, but he was right about one thing after the game last night, “The players need the fans’ support”.  Those who suggest that anytime is a good time for recriminations probably don’t have a good grasp on the complexities of any given situation.  There will be plenty of time for recrimination in June, right now, we need to keep our eye on the prize.

Win the league, then we’ll talk.

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  1. The manager including the management team has to go.



    By the way I have been an avid supporter of Ronny since the beginning.



    Last season we could all see the chaos at the beginning, then the improvement, then the refinement, then the fruits of all the labour until the wheels fell off during the last few games.



    This season not one department within the management team is doing its job.



    Our previously lauded goalkeeping coach who had worked wonders with everyone he has coached – we have an increasingly calamity of a goalkeeper all season.



    Our defensive coach has taken a complete dereliction of his duties in how the team were set up defending set pieces both zonally and then man for man.



    The fitness department has to get a mention because for spells during last season our fitness levels were clearly excellent, we all talked about the improvements made in each and every player.


    There has been no improvement this season in any player at the same time the players are not moving as much, not closing down as much but still look a lot more tired and fatigued.



    The manager and his assistant are overseeing a team devoid of the high intensity game they preach of, no movement off the ball, no direction and seemingly no shape.



    They keep playing players who are out of form and who are known for being bomb scares.



    When Lennon felt he had 45 minutes to save his job at Rugby Park, he delivered a team talk that inspired his team to come back from being 3 goals down.



    Last night, the players started the 2nd half exactly as they finished the 1st – clearly not wound up, driven, eager, passionate or anything else I expected to see, if the players still backed the manager.



    Another reason for him leaving is that when the replacement yes man walks through the door and we see the same level of garbage players being bought, best players sold, no clear or obvious signing strategy, more projects and 3 kits a year still being released then my hope is peoples attentions will begin to move closer to the root cause of the problem.



    Which extends to our board and absentee landlord.

  2. On last nights performance that is the easiest bullied Celtic team i’ve watched for a number of yrs.

  3. Anyone else notice the TWO men Aberdeen had blocking Gordon at the corner(s). Taking wee Griffs tactic a stage further. This obviously resulted in 2 Celtic players “marking” their 2, so yet more bodies in Craig’s way. Very effective, and other than leaving 3 or 4 up front, thereby making them leave the same or more men back, I can’t see how you can change this. Or is there an argument to be made that it’s simply obstruction on the goalkeeper as he can’t move without being blocked?

  4. Nothing that has happened this season has helped make us better prepared for a shot at Champions League football.



    Of course, if Lawwell & Delia carry on the way they’re going that’s not something we’ll need to worry about.



    The mistake was made in 2014 and everything since has compounded it.



    Over-promoted dud!



    We’ll all seen in our working life and Celtic are suffering from it now.



    A disgrace!



    Pleas to get behind the team are desperate. Most people with Season Books already do, so,blindly, even though they know that they’re being short changed. The missing fans won’t come back because they can see on TV that what is being served up is dross!



    Lawwell & Deila caused this and it won’t change any time soon.

  5. All things in perspective and ratio. We have a bigger budget, we have bigger infrastructure, we have better training facilities and we have a bigger fan base than any SPFL team.



    But Aberdeen sold out and filled their ground last night. Would we have sold out and filled Parkhead.


    We talk about other teams wanting it more, but it seems that this could also apply to supporters.



    Hail, Hail

  6. BURGAS HOOPS @ 12:48 PM,



    Before a ball was kicked in earnest this season most on here were screaming for a CHALLENGE to us.



    Now you’ve got it you’re crying like babies.






    Guess we were hoping those sides were going to get better, not t’uther way round.



    Mind you I for one ‘am enjoying the challenge.



    Scottish football needs a strong Aberdeen:)



    Hail Hail

  7. oneofthe70percent on

    where did anyone hear about a press conference,the conference re fixtures is on a friday,

  8. The Johnatron on 4th February 2016 12:56 pm



    we’ve benefitted from it in the past so complaint now sounds a bit like sour grapes but i agree, obstruction of the keeper, as well as the wrestling that goes on in the penalty box is becoming more prevalent, and the lawmakers need to have a good look at it. like the handball law there’s too much ambiguity

  9. Our inability to defend set pieces is just a symptom of one of the major flaws in our system.


    We are a reactionary team.


    Players pass then stand only moving if the ball comes into their vicinity.


    A team with almost zero off the ball movement.


    On numerous occasions last night when we went forward the pass was to the wrong side of our player.


    We seem to have no concept of attacking space.


    We simply wait for the ball and then react.


    The etims picture of a bunch of our players marking each other sums up our inability to implement a proper playing system.


    It’s hard to fathom what system we play apart lots of side to side passing.


    Ronny talks a progressive modern game but the evidence suggests he lacks the capability to implement it.

  10. The Battered Bunnet on

    David Low’s a finance man, a business man, not a football man, but he’s seen and done a fair amount in the Game over the years.



    His verdict on Ronny?



    “I would have dumped Ronnie in the window; he just hasn’t got it. It’s plain to see. He’s done. A matter of timing.”



    “His Euro record is a killer, worse than any Celtic manager. The one dimensional & predictable tactics etc. He’s done”



    “On a fixed budget the manager is key & we picked the wrong ‘un. These things happen.”

  11. Burgas Bhoy



    True. It’s a bit strange. The same attitude exists in the SMSM.



    “We need a challenge in the league”



    “There’s a challenge in the league, the Celtic manager must be sacked”



    Personally, I would rather that there was no challenge and Celtic were horsing the league, but strangely I don’t want the manager sacked. People are odd.

  12. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Is there or isnt there a meeting at Parkhead at one oclock ? or is somebody kidding us on ? H.H.

  13. It makes no financial sense to allow a coach to choose his own players, none whatsoever, it’s much cheaper to get shot of a coach and his staff than a whean of players the next coach doesn’t want.


    Celtic PLC are all about the money, they would not and do not go down the path of allowing a coach to pick his own players, they do allow him to choose the kind of player he wants, but the scouts scout them, the coach picks from what is scouted, Pedro signs them up on the best deal he can.


    If they did, there would be no need for the scouting dept.


    Celtic are attempting to join the modern football world and leave the old school managing behind.


    As Mullet pointed out earlier, Paul’s blog from way back alluded to this strategy, it’s one of the reasons Lenny left, and that is from his mouth.


    I personally think it’s the right strategy if it was implimented properly, but alas, they way we do it it’s seriously flawed.


    We are digging up too much fools gold in the hope of unearthing the diamond.


    Others think the coach scouts and decides who we sign, again, I ask them for proof.

  14. It is in our hands to demonstrate how much this league means to us. Since it seems we are in a genuine title race, attendance and percentage seats filled may be used to determine whose fans really want it the most.



    Action and effort speak louder than words and TV.



    Hail, Hail

  15. Walter says ” At my team you are never more than 2 defeats away from a crisis!” Don’t be like Walter.

  16. ....PFayr supports WeeOscar on

    the consensus is that the MSM are anti CFC



    why on earth would anyone think that they are mounting an unreasonable campaign to get Deila the sack



    they should be promoting his qualities in the hope that he stays on …



    or maybe the out of his depth manager deserves to be relieved of his post

  17. Davidopoulos



    Personally, I would rather that there was no challenge and Celtic were horsing the league.



    Same here David, but whinging like spoiled brats wont alter anything.



    1st team squad really need to have a good look at themselves for the remaining games imho




  18. Well TBB, got to concur with Mr Low.



    BTW Keep the posts coming they’re excellent and we all know that Paul needs a foil every now and again:)



    Hail Hail

  19. Burgas Hoops



    Wouldn’t disagree, although I also think the manager needs to start learning from mistakes.



    What is the Norwegian equivalent of the idiom “horses for courses”?

  20. OK, lets take a step back and look at what’s happened over the course of the past few days. 2 poor results. Granted 1 of which was very poor. I’m trying to look on the positive side here!


    Cup upsets happen from time to time. The game turned on it’s head in 1 split second with Efe’s “collision” on the RC forward. I will say collision, as you can clearly see he made no real attempt to play the man, or indeed the ball, but merely ran without changing his stride. Up to this point, we were cruising. Already 1 up, could/should have been 2 or even 3 by that point. We were playing well. In that 1 instant the whole complexion and dynamic of the game changed. Playing against 10 men for the best part of 75-80 mins would be hard going for the best of teams, against a very well organised, and stubborn Ross County team.


    Last night? We are playing our toughest league fixture all season, both on paper, and on the pitch. Those who wanted a competitive league? It’s here and it’s real. Or should we insist we win EVERY game we play? Yes we can hope to, but we should not display the arrogance and superiority that emanates from the WATP brigade, and expect to win every single game, home and away.


    The Ladbrokes/Level 5 PR machine is clearly in motion to disturb and divide us (and it seems to be working).


    Let’s focus on the task in hand. Back the team AND the Manager. Get stuck in Celtic and bring that League trophy back to CP and keep the dreams of 10-I-A-R alive. This is the biggest single focus for many just now and precisely why the press are engaging in the headline making non-stories, to break our winning run at all costs.


    Hail hail!



  21. We need a Director of Football to oversee the whole of the football operation. Not a CEO playing at being DoF with a Scout. IMO we are trying to do the right thing but are doing it badly with the wrong people.


    Offer the DoF job to Strachan or McClair.

  22. CultsBhoy can not relate to Celtic Board ambitions on or off the park on




    Say folk took your and filled Celtic Park. Say it had no impact whatsoever on Board ? ( To be honest if they don’t appreciate the luck they’ve got in our support I pity them)



    What would be your next move?



    I suspect a better way to get a message across would be no support- you take Mrs Gavinsbhoy and Gavinbhoy Junior on a mini break.



    I think an empty Celtic Park would register .. I also think that is more likely direction of attendance if recent times are used as a measure.



    Lawwell must now becoming to a realisation he needs to leave not for the good of Celtic but to give him time to enjoy his £millions…



    Hopefully his replacement will be a listening CEO.

  23. That pitch killed our passing game last night. Aberdeen played long balls. They are well organised but have limited ability. I expect us to win the league. Craig Thomson achieved a 6 point swing against us when he failed to show a red card early in our first game at Aberdeen this season (against Efe he applied the rules).

  24. I have not commented for a Long time. First thing, I like Deila as a person, I like his footballing philosophy. However we are playing absolutely garbage, terrible and we have no bottle.



    If he can’t provide then we genuinely need assess the poorest team we have in s Long time.



    Our strikers tackle on the Aberdeen player, incidental as it might have looked was not in our ethos.



    I have no idea what we do but we are not a good side at this moment.



    Peter Lawell – comment now

  25. 79CAPS, the pitch is not an acceptable excuse, its always been that way in scotland, between the weather/lack of available investment/ wanting it to suit the bigger better teams less, it should be well known and prepared for

  26. The Johnatron



    Spot on. The people who are moaning continually need to support the team, i.e. give vocal encouragement. Or they could see how many they could get to demonstrate outside Celtic Park. Not many, I think. Anyone who calls for a boycott is not a supporter in my opinion.

  27. If we persist with Ronny and blow the league.


    The champions league carrot to tempt prospective managers and/or player goes with it

  28. THE JOHNATRON on 4TH FEBRUARY 2016 1:19 PM



    Last night? We are playing our toughest league fixture all season, both on paper, and on the pitch. Those who wanted a competitive league? It’s here and it’s real. Or should we insist we win EVERY game we play? Yes we can hope to, but we should not display the arrogance and superiority that emanates from the WATP brigade, and expect to win every single game, home and away.






    Sorry mate but that’s what being a modern Celtic supporter is about



    Win every cup. Win every game.



    If not? Sack the manager! Sack the players! Sack the board! Sack the tea lady!



    We’ll still win the double and have a good chance in the Euro qualifiers. C’est la vie.

  29. Mullet and co.


    2 good posts.


    Paul 67.


    The planning for next year’s champions league started last Autumn. It’s not going well. This team is powderpuff. When faced with diversity. Whether that be dodgy decisions, poor pitches or ,more worrying, physical well organised football teams.


    The focus is on the management team.


    The evidence shows little sign of positive change. Our manager doesn’t do change.


    Predictably predictable.


    Do you honestly see improvements ?

  30. Chasing the league and not having respectable attendances to support the team can only mean :-



    Not enough of our fans really care enough to make the effort.


    Our participating fan base is not as large as we would like to think it is.


    It is too expensive.



    Come June we can we can reassess everything. Until then the barometer of who really wants it most won’t lie.



    Hail, Hail.

  31. Aberdeen will have taken heart with last nights result and it may well be that McInnes will stick with these tactic when he faces us again as we seem to have not learned from defending set-pieces and marking.



    It does seem odd that will all the possession and shots ratio we have in matches, we are unable to do the simple basics of defending and goalkeeping.



    Even when we were winning matches by 4-5 goals, we all know that it takes one mistake by the defence and goalkeeper and it could have been a very different result.



    I am not sure if changing the management personnel at this crucial stage is going to make a difference in winning the League but if we lose the League then RD has to go; if we scrape by and still win the League, maybe simply replacing JC and JK (and the goalkeeping coach) will make a difference.

  32. Belfastbhoyo



    Yes, but how should the team have prepared for that pitch? I don’t think you can change your playing style so easily. And for the first half hour the team played in the way most of us want to see – attacking football with good passing. And what would be the reaction if we played like Aberdeen in OUR home games.

  33. The consensus is that this Celtic team flops at the big games.



    Well, now every game from until the end of the season is a big game – a must-win game.



    Plenty of occasions available to win some big games.



    As silly as it sounds, the game against EK is massive. Some people saying it’s a no win situation for Ronny as if we win convincingly then the response will be “well, so we should”, but for me it is the first step to getting a team responding in the correct manner to pressure and adversity.




    Press conference at CelticPark at 1 pm??





    How did the press conference go?

  35. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on

    So the message from Paul67 is, do nothing and hope for the best, but keep paying through the nose hmmm

  36. We need a proper defence coach tootsweet. Liked Kennedy as a player and feel heart-sorry for what happened to his career but the defence isn’t working and he ain’t fixing it.



    And I agree with a previous poster, Ambrose can defend and I feel that at least in the context of the SPFL, he’s a better bet than Lustig right now.

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