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. ....PFayr supports WeeOscar on

    how will vocal support from the fans effect the managers tactical ineptitude



    how will it cause heartless, gutless wonders to grow a set



    sorry don’t get it



    of course the fans should and will support the team …how much difference it will make is questionable

  2. 79, i’m saying it just appears in a long line of things that after 18 months the manager has failed to prepare for


    We have an abundance of players in certain positions but nothing of note in DM and defenders lurch from one crisis to another consistently whether its injuries or gaffes….. I’m not saying i’m expecting GMS or SA to bully bigger players off the ball, but we cant expect 5’6″ players to try and play tippy tappy football thats useful – and before you mention the first 30 mins last night was there a meaningful shot – on those pitches and expect consistent useful results

  3. ....PFayr supports WeeOscar on

    Angel Gabriel



    Deila continually suggests that we are improving …I don`t know anyone who agrees with his assertion

  4. Why wait till June?


    Even if we win the league I have seen nothing to suggest Ronny will get us through the qualifiers for the CL. In fact I doubt he could get us into the EL. If I’m thinking like that then it’s time for him to go. Nice guy but not doing it. Get somebody in now. Get the league won and has had time to see what he’s got and needs to make a go at the qualifiers. Don’t see any sense in keeping him to then get rid at end of season. Every important game we have lost or fail to deliver.



  5. Sorry Paul… talking in June is pointless. Six weeks away from a Euro qualifier?



    Isn’t there a better point on the “football cycle” you could identify to discuss how rank we’ve become?

  6. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on

    No moaning on a blog


    How much difference will that make


    Pretending everything is rosary now that will make all the difference


    Why would anyone want to exchange differing views on a blog and discuss them ?


    oh wait, only a moron would have a problem with that, innit

  7. I’ve read a lot about our defence today and we certainly have our problems, but a word about Johnny Hayes. His crossing is excellent, whether at corners or open play. He hits the ball with pace and into dangerous areas giving his teammates something to attack. He’s just a cracking wee player. Players sometimes running past defenders to the near post does, of course, help!

  8. Cosy Corner Bhoy on

    Firstly,I am typing this on an I-pad which I left on the train yesterday and was handed in by the conductor ! Good old Jude and Anthony saved the day! About last night’s game…. Gutted. The pitch was screaming for the ‘don’t play tippy-tappy ‘ and we put out a team of lightweights. All the possession in the game is of no use if the first attack and the first corner for the other team means two down. As I said after last game.. Where are the battlers win , lose or draw?MISSING,!!! Impressed with the 2 new men tho’ CKR will need to watch his temper. Gutted,as I said, but still supporting the Celtic! How about 2 up front against EK Ronnie???

  9. We are in the Valley of Despair, in the environs of Pity City, but I believe we have the chance to make the Climb to Productivity as we seek the New Equilibrium.



    Don’t tell me my degree was a waste of time filled with corporate jargon…

  10. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Oscar Knox, MacKenzie Furniss and anyone else who fights Neuroblastoma on

    Good Afternoon.



    The game of football is won or lost with the ball at your feet — and in the heads of those who take to the field of play.



    Fill an otherwise good player with confidence and he – or she – becomes a great player on the day. Fill them with a lack of confidence and they sink into the depths of mediocrity and at times they try to hide when things are going wrong.



    The above sentence could have come straight from the much vaunted management seminar provided by Ronny Deila before he joined Celtic.



    However today the situation is that this current Celtic team, with perhaps a few exceptions, are a team which lack confidence, self belief and knowledge when things are not going their way – and that includes the management team.



    Against Ross County, the decision was made to sacrifice Calum McGregor as soon as Efe Ambrose had been sent off and Ross County went on to equalise from the penalty spot.



    There is plenty of evidence to suggest that from that moment onwards the Celtic players on the park believed they were beaten — and even more to suggest that the Ross County players knew that they had won.



    On a big open park at Hampden, Nir Biton and Johansen were left cruelly exposed in the middle of the park against a team which had lined up five in midfield. It doesn’t take an Oxford Don to recognise that five against two are not favourable odds. Yet we persisted with Armstrong and McKay Stevens playing wide and Griffiths through the middle on his own.



    The fact that all three barely saw the ball was no great surprise.



    As Paul says, at corners and set plays we are disorganised and panic stricken in defence – and it makes no difference who the opposition is in such situations — something that should give East Kilbride some comfort if they have a decent kick taker and some players with muscle and height.



    In the forward line we are very often shot shy from the edge of the box, preferring instead to walk the ball through packed defences rather than strike at the target when seeing the goal.



    However, most importantly of all — we have no one whatsoever present on the park — who can take a game by the scruff of the neck when we have gone behind and make a real difference. No one to inspire team mates around them, and no one to put a doubt, or better still, the fear of God into the minds of the opposition.



    In recent weeks, Ross County, Aberdeen, Motherwell and others have not feared Celtic, their players or their management team and their tactics.



    Management, is all about achieving the best possible results with the tools and assets you have at your disposal.



    Even if we win this league — and by the way that is by no means a given in my book despite a three point advantage and an overwhelming goal difference — such an achievement does not amount to a job well done.



    It amounts to an achievement, and perhaps the hitting of a target, but it does not amount to managerial success. Lest anyone think that I am preaching the mantra that we should be entitled to win everything – well I am not.



    However, I am saying that the rest of the club — players, fans, directors et al — should be feeling far more confident and buoyant regarding their club in the current circumstances of Scottish Football than they are.



    A Strong Aberdeen, Hearts, Inverness, Hibs, Dundee Utd, Motherwell or whoever is to be welcomed on the playing fields of Scottish Football – especially at a full Celtic Park.



    However, a fickle, lacklustre, backfiring, delapidated, naive, clueless and uncertain Celtic team is a cause for not only concern but criticism of the most genuine kind.



    The sum parts of our squad should be much greater than the cumulative result being offered at present, and running amok when far poorer teams simply lie down and die does not hide the fact that when it comes to “must win” ball games then with this team the smart money is on the other guy.



    Curing that position is within the remit and power of Celtic Football club alone.



    Don’t blame the referees, the opposition or the press. Instead take a good long hard look in the mirror and always remember that Jock Stein said that in this neck of the woods his team had to be good enough to beat the opposition and the referee. With such a mindset, when it came to more neutral referees in Europe then the green and white hoops were rightly feared by others.



    Right now, Ronny Deila and his players are walking in the shadows of what might be described as a real Celtic team. Such a team is but a distant memory and a blast from the past.



    If we are to see their like again in the near future then radical change is needed – and tinkering with the manager is not, and never will be, the sole solution.



    For the avoidance of doubt, I have never believed that Ronny has the correct backroom staff and I have serious concerns about what John Collins brings to the table – and that is despite knowing some ex players who have been very impressed by him at speaking engagements in the past.



    We are top of the league in spite of ourselves – not because of ourselves and the report card should very definitely read “could do much better”.



    There is no point in promising to do better next term and running down the clock on the current year with the same attitude, tactics and failings.



    Anyone who says different is kidding themselves …. but no one else.

  11. PHILBHOY on 4TH FEBRUARY 2016 1:56 PM



    Louigi Macari might be interested in the Gig.





    More chance of Mario than Luigi

  12. Fan-a-tic at 1.10pm,



    I agree with your comments. I coach rugby and we talk about passing FOR the player, not TO the player. That maintains forward momentum.



    My lad’s football coach has started using similar language, passing ‘for feet’ and not ‘to feet’. The kids already appreciate the difference it makes to the dynamism and movement of the team.



    The number of times Celtic pass behind a player is…very frustrating.

  13. Good to see a SingTim back on CQN.



    Welcome back Singapore Tim. Hope all’s good.



    Hail Hail

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

    Nat know


    So far not as well as I’d hope – Deila and Lawwell still in a job :-)

  15. TheOriginalSadiesBhoy on

    CHAIRBHOY on 4TH FEBRUARY 2016 11:19 AM


    WEEMINGER @ 10:10 AM,







    Well I admire your optimism but a couple takes on reality…







    As Paul67 stated on his piece yesterday, Aberdeen went through a very bad period where they lost four games in five weeks, there was internal strife, that has allowed us to stay on top of the league.







    They have a squad of very good Footballers being professionally Managed. See the way Niall McGuinn a good winger made way for Considine a solid defender.







    Almost seems old school to us now but very effective, Aberdeen have had their wobbles, we are having ours. Aberdeen smell blood and will chase us all the way.







    Did you notice the Aberdeen Player’s celebration after the match, unlike RC’s on Sunday who celebrated like they’d won the Cup, the Aberdeen Players, looked delighted to have won but there was something of a steely determination – no over the top platitudes, more a sort of well done, but we push on from here.







    Hail Hail






    You’ve got me convinced! I’m away down to the shop to buy my Super Dons scarf …………. er……… or maybe not.



    Let’s hear it for the Champions!



    I would have said Keep The Faith but that would have just been a joke after some of the things said on here last night. Derek McInnes may be happy with last night’s result but today when he looks at the SPFL table and sees who is top, the points margin and the goals deficit, he’ll wish he was Ronny Deila.



    Hail! Hail! The Celts are here!

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

    We’re Barnes, Macari andMowbray really so bad….?



    Just wondering..

  17. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on

    Could you imagine going to your boss and telling him you failed at your job because the customer did not cheer inanely at your incompetence ?

  18. We shouldn’t be here,RD said judge him in Europe,he should have been chased after the embarrassing EL campaign. One of the most famous players in our history called RD ‘a fantasist ‘, a month after he was in the door,he was spot on

  19. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    Fair play to the blog today.



    A lot of comment on the state of play and virtually all of it constructive….on both sides of the argument.



    I was always a supporter of RD, well, certainly his football philosophy.



    What I didn’t know was whether he could deliver it or not.



    Sadly, I have come to the conclusion, I think, that he can’t.



    For whatever reason, e.g., who chooses the signings, it is not working.



    I posted after Sunday’s game on the Tale of the Tape, with reference to the height and strength of our team.



    It showed against Malmo, Molde and RC. It also was evident last night, too.



    Compare the build and powerand pace of Jonny Hayes, to any of our midfielders and forwards, for example.



    One could reasonably expect that with having two former centre halfs and an International class midfielder as coaches, we should have some idea how those positions should be played.



    For me, these are fatal failings.



    Added to that is the apparent lack of a winning mentality.



    I have previously voiced the wish for Jim Mc.Guinness to get onto the training pitch and into the players heads.



    Most of us on here won’t know much about his credentials. but anyone with a recent interest in Gaelic football will know all about him.



    He became manager of the Donegal County team when they were the butt of GAA jokes, owing to their partying reputation.



    In one year he won the Ulster Championship, the hardest provincial title to win and in two years, to All Ireland winners.



    He did this by calling his players together and demanded from them complete committal to the cause. To a man, they signed up to his regime and followed it to the letter.



    The is a coach, tactician and a qualified Sports Psychologist and he is at Celtic park.


    His book, Until Victory Always, spells out what it takes to be a real winner.






    Every Donegal player and every GAA player, plays for the jersey. Does every soccer player?



    For the avoidance of doubt, I don’t know when would be the right time to change, but change we must.



    TET has the right idea, I think.

  20. The Battered Bunnet.



    I wish David Low was on our board.



    He understands the need for Celtic to be in the EPL .


    If we don’t achieve this we will never become a formerly great club.



    He found a way to oust the old bold when we were told that it was impossible.



    I wanted DEILA out after the Legia Warsaw humiliation.




    He just doesn’t have it.



    Peter Lawell and Dermot Desmond are proving similar disappointments.


    There is a distinct lack of good leadership.




  21. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on

    Imagine how much work your company would get if your manager told the client that they are rubbish if they don’t clap and cheer your poor performances on as if you were a world beater ffs


    Confidence my arse, aye players will get a boost the trick is they are there to entertain it’s their job so if they are failing pimp them it happens in every other job




    Nat know



    So far not as well as I’d hope – Deila and Lawwell still in a job :-)




    Was there one then? Or are you pulling my leg, you wag?!

  23. Paul



    Playing players at the heart of the defence who are just off form (Lustig) or simply not good enough (Ambrose) is where the problems lie.



    Also we have a massive squad and yet poor performances are rewarded with an automatic start next game.



    If Ronny is to have a chance of survival he has to drop Lustig and Johansen for a spell, advise Efe to find a new club and make it clear to GMS , Armstong and McGregor that there Celtic futures are on the line.

  24. What is the Stars on

    Ronny has a plan


    The problem is only intelligent people can understand it


    Well intelligent people and true believers


    Well intelligent people,true believers and certain other members of a secret Norwegian society.



    Me being an extremely stupid person actually believe that there is no plan…..




    If my aul’ maw couldn’t convince me to give up on the tic, don’t think Derek McInnes will:)



    Anyway, we are favourites and we should win it but no more complacency.



    The Champions League needs a strong Hibs.



    Hail Hail

  26. What is the Stars on

    Oh My God



    the most depressing post on CQN ever





    If Ronny is to have a chance of survival he has to drop -!!!! Oh no,run for your lives

  27. What is the Stars on




    I wanted DEILA out after the Legia Warsaw humiliation. –



    I cant understand how it took you that long….

  28. I posted this at the end of the last blog, apologies if seen already



    I didn’t see the game last night, was diasppointed when saw the result. Then I saw team selected I wasn’t surprised. Ronny has to change his set up. He must play with a 4 man midfield.




    Biton and Johanson have been rightly hailed on here and else where as very good players, they may not be at the top of their game at the moment. That might just because we are too lightweight in midfield, if we go behind we are fighting fires in midfield – always a man short.



    I would preserve with Johanson, Biton, Bown and only one from our many flair players and God forbid 2 strikers. If Ronny can’t see that our midfield is a problem he should be gone.



    Regarding players not playing for him, chase them. Ronny must know he can trust and only play those he can trust.



    I don’t know whether all the players bought were Ronnie’schoices or the coaches (JC and Jk) were given to him. That’s fine if he is head coach not if manager. If he is not picking the players we should be told who is – Ronny let us know.



    Something has to change, Neither JC or JK will replace Ronnie next season if he is gone. If they were not his choices they should be gone now and let him do the job without interference.



    He has been unlucky with injuries to Lustig, Boyata, Simunovic and Mulgrew and has not been able to get a settled defence, this will also effect the players’ performances.



    My main problem him however is that he will only play one system therefore teams know how we will play and can easily prepare for it. This is bit like John Barnes and we all know how that ended.



    Winning is important to me, however I want to see us playing good football, defending effectively, keeping the ball and creating and making chances, if we are doing that and a team is better than us, heh ho that’s life.

  29. TinyTim



    What would be a realistic approach from a Celtic board to secure us entry into the EPL?



    How would we convince the clubs down South to give up a place for one of their own to accommodate us in their league seeing as they are all making so much money at the moment?



    Serious questions TT as I have no idea how we would even begin to sell celtic to the EPL:((




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