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Where we are and the way forward

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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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734 Comments

  1. EL I refer you to your question to Florida Bhoy @ 3:27 “btw is Florida named after Mount Florida?” A quick look on Google tells me it was named by the explorer Ponce de Leon in Easter 1513 named after an Easter Feast. As for Googling what people/posters have in mind regarding hypothetical future situations obviously you would’nt cannot Google that. Ern I hope I’m not as dumb as you seem to think I am but there again I don’t think you are as clever as you seem to think you are. I don’t enjoy having these type of jousts with fellow Celts so let’s just get back to being civil to one another. H H Hebcelt

  2. HEBCELT on 4TH FEBRUARY 2016 5:10 PM

     

     

    Have you not got things you could be doing with black puddings rather than bothering about such triviality?

     

     

    Seriously.

  3. I’m afraid waiting until June (to sack Ronnie, after his expiry date is activated from 12 months ago) means the new management, have at best 6 weeks to get in new players and have them gelling before the qualifiers and that’s even if the new folk are there at the beginning of June.

     

     

    Sad to say Tory greed at the top has caused this shambles. What do you expect from Tories? I expect nothing more or less. Once a Tory…

  4. Say we now go on an unbeaten run until the end of the season and win the double, and then we somehow make it through the 3 qualifying rounds for the CL and end up in the promised land of the group stages, but then finish bottom of that group with 3 points, would we be back at “sack Ronny”?

  5. i'vehadtochangemyname on

    I think that’s paulspeak for it’s tight, we might lose it, if commons comes back we might win some games, we’re that bad that richards improves us , we’ve no sam allardyce in scotland and the strategy has fu&&ed itself up the whatchamadigger

  6. Thom

     

    There is a massive gulf between what they are doing and what Ronny is doing, about four divisions at least imo.

     

    RD is also getting spend they don’t have.

     

    HH

  7. BOURNESOUPRECIPE on 4TH FEBRUARY 2016 5:15 PM

     

    Not a stitch now worn during the making of this post

     

     

    ####

     

     

    Please God just log off now, we don’t need to know what happens next.

  8. P67 why wait to June current model not fit for purpose others on here advocate giving RD more time!! I think it’s abundantly clear he is out of his depth. In every Dept we have went backwards if ppl can’t see that then they should remove their green tinted glasses. Facts are facts. I’ve followed Celtic for over 50 yrs and never advocated for a manager to be relieved of their post even Barnes Mowbray and Brady but enough is enough.

  9. Looking Back

     

     

    MON… Very successful domesically until M’well at the end of his last season. Great nights in Europe but experienced most success in the Europa rather than CL. Given more cash than any Celtic manager in the club’s history. Used it well.

     

     

    GS. Successful domestically. Produced one pf the most exciting league finishes ever. Needed only two wins at the end of is last season to clinch the title. Drew both. Very astute in Europe. Went further than MON. Fewr resources than MON. Style of p;ay often turgid.

     

     

    Tony M .. Better to say nothing at all

     

     

    NL. More successful than I thought he’d be. Could have been even mopre successful. Did well in Europe ultimately. Fewer resourcesthan MON and GS. Must have been distracted by bombs, bullets, assaults, a negllgent criminal justice system and the hyena pack’s ‘journalism’.

     

     

    RD. Great start. Breath of fresh air and all that. Likeable and articulate. And, yes, we do play very well every now and again and the temptation then is to think: ‘That’s it. They’ve gelled.’ But it’s a mirage. Every 3 or 4 games inferior teams waltz through from half way to our penalty area without let or hindrance. Any team with a plan gives us a nervous breakdown at corners. I like Ronny – but the truth is that the team collapses at the first sign of adversity.

  10. HH you having a laugh succeed at what are you honestly in the belief he is the man your sadly deluded my friend

  11. So the solution to our problem is to wait until the end of the season – in other words do nothing and hope that the team limps over the finishing line, in a race which should be won by about now!

     

    Since the CL is where the board say they want to be, then that has to be the standard to judge against.

     

    Even if we should win the league(I know, I know -it’s virtually impossible not to win it but now who knows), then does anyone really think that with one or two more lightweight attacking midfielders signed up, we will qualify for the CL?

     

    Ronny should have been shown the door after the capitulation in Molde.

     

    He has shown no sign of being capable of even identifying where he is going wrong!

     

    3 transfer windows and not one proper defensive mid linked with us let alone signed, tell you that Ronny really thinks that he can get away with playing 5 attacking mids and one striker!

     

    Bitton and Brown are never defensive mids.

     

    We don’t even have 4 box to box midfielders, which would allow us to play 4-4-2. Instead were we try that formation we would play at least 2 of the four as wingers who don’t work back like Forrest or GMS!

     

    Waiting until the end of the season means that we will not appoint anyone until we have started back in training, which means the new guy will have virtually no time with the squad before the most important games of the season – that’s poor, poor management. Especially when you know now that Ronny will not be here next season!

     

    The board needs to man up and take responsibility.

     

    Sack Ronny and get the best possible replacement we can afford, no more experiments.

     

    Get the guy in now, so that he can run the rule over the squad and identify who stays and who goes!

     

    None of this will happen because the board defer too much to PL

     

     

    HH

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

    dim sam on 4th February 2016 2:55 pm

     

     

    You are spot on with your observation that in a potentially two horse race for the title (if it could be called that) we started out 6 points in front and were essentially winning by two games with an extra point thrown in by way of goal difference.

     

     

    With all due respect to Ronny, we have seen it before ( especially in Europe ) where we have a lead – even a slender one – and we undo ourselves by charging up the pitch like the like brigade on an away ground when there was no need to.

     

     

    We never seem to adopt the tactic “Make yourself difficult to beat and see if you can sneak a goal”.

     

     

    We never seem to be good at “playing without the ball” and blocking of space and players.

     

     

    Sure Johnny Hayes hit a rasper last night – but in all truth had I been quicker, jumped in my car and driven two hundred miles, and hobbled into Pittodrie with my torn ligaments, there is an even chance that I might have still reached the ball before a Celtic player.

     

     

    There was no defensive midfielder to stand in front of Hayes and just make a nuisance of himself let alone challenge for the ball!

     

     

    To find that time and time again is not bad luck, happenstance or the rub of the green it is plain bad coaching!

     

     

    Re TBB’s idea of a European league – I much prefer that to the idea of joining the EPL which is just not going to happen now or ever.

     

     

    The European Superleague is already being discussed, planned, organised and prepared.

     

     

    The cross Atlantic challenge between the superleague clubs and the MLS is already being discussed and the TV rights negotiations are under way.

     

     

    This will be a league organised outwith UEFA and the FA and it will be all about money and status – cue Guardiola jumping to City and attracting big players for huge money – just to get a foothold in that league.

     

     

    We are with the also rans and unless the likes of us, Ajax, Benfica, Porto, Feyenoord, PSV, Anderlecht and others get their act together then to be honest we will not recognise ourselves in ten years time at all and there will be no need for a TV gantry at Celtic park or any other ground in Scotland.

     

     

    Sorry to be so negative but the commercial writing is on the wall.

  13. Paul67…

     

     

    I raised questions about what the next article would hold on the last thread. Mainly I suspected a disappointment. I haven’t been let down. Once again I ask – what has happened to the ‘Not lazy journalism’? I hope you’ll take this as a sign of the high standard you set and the hope that you wouldn’t be dragged into the ‘news management and politics’ morass. I can just about take the pro-labour trolling (despite your oft repeated ‘leave your politics at the door’), but when you flee the coup and abandon the high quality nature of the blog you set up to, in essence, short change Celtic in favour of people at the club? It warrants comment.

     

     

    The article is a nothing article. A cop out. I’ll highlight a few issues.

     

     

    On the way forward:

     

     

    It’s of the upmost importance we win the league. As it stands, we will achieve this.

     

     

    Do you have a crystal ball? Will the next article contain next weeks lottery numbers? (maybe pass them on to Peter Lawwell to get us a transfer budget?). This particularly is one the laziest and shoddiest things I’ve ever witnessed you write. “As it stands we will achieve this”. You have ZERO basis for positing this. We may or may not win the league, but to fail to even take into account that we’ve now been beaten twice this season by our nearest challengers? To fail to acknowledge the serious position we’re in? To then compound that by making such an absolute statement is dishonest. Worth of 80’s era Pravda/Celtic News. Who are you trying to convince?

     

     

    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.

     

     

    Again – Crystal ball? Kazim-Richards has played 45 minutes. Ryan Christie about 43 minutes less. Patrick Roberts zero game time and Erik Sviatchenko is the veteran of two insipid capitulations. To laud them as guaranteed to improve things? It’s fantasy. Absolute and utter fantasyland stuff. You have NO basis for that statement. Again, it’s dishonest. And a cop out. You could have written the same thing about Edson Braafeid, About Cartlon Cole. About Rafael Shiedt. And it would have the same worth. It’s lazy, presumptuous and unworthy of being part of the output of CQN.

     

     

    Given the players signed up till now, there’s good cause to be concerned about each and every signing. To then place the future wellbeing of Celtic in their hands? And do so making an absolute statement? How many players that Ronny has signed would you say have made a positive impact on the team? So why the optimistic approach? Why not the realist one of wondering why, in the second half of the season our fortunes seem to reply on the success of several emergency signings? You’re on record as saying that the Jan transfer window isn’t a good one for signing players generally. But then insist we’re ‘on plan’? Which is it? Jan transfer window not good or was it part of the plan to fail to such an extend we’re signing a number of players hoping to stagger over the finishing line?

     

     

    Consistency, please. On plan or off plan? Jan transfer window good or bad? Or has Ronny and Peter’s genius shifted the tectonic plates of the transfer windows leading to this one being the prime? Maybe in June you can post an article looking forward to the ‘vital’ January transfer window?

     

     

    Ronny has got a lot wrong,

     

     

    Yes. Yes he has. Alongside his buddies Peter, Dermont and “Lord” Livingstone. In fact, they’ve got far, far more wrong than right. We can start at ‘football operation’ recruitment (management and playing staff), living wage, brand value cacheof the club and lots lots more. And I’ve not even began with the justification of Tories on the board. You’ll excoriate the SNP but justify Tories being part of our club.

     

     

    In 18 months we’ve gone from doing well in Europe and being a pot 3 team attractive to ambitious managers to apparently being slightly less desirable than Norwegian clubs. That’s some achievement.

     

     

    but he was right about one thing after the game last night, “The players need the fans’ support”.

     

     

    If you’re going to resort to stupid cliche, why not start the article with something like “The game is all about scoring more than the opposition”, or “Hey guys, it’s just 11 versus 11”. Derek Johnstone would be cringing! In fact, no, he wouldn’t. He’d probably completely agree.

     

     

    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.

     

     

    To paraphrase – “Shut up! Pay your money and clap politely. Let the clever people do their stuff”. Disable stuff Paul. Have you already prepared your August article blaming failure on Europe on the fact the new guy has ‘only been in since June’? This season has been awful. It’s more than worth giving up on the Scottish cup to get someone in good and early and let them assess the wreckage of the team. Let someone see just what needs done. If our preferred options are not available then a short term appointment will do – someone that understands how to dig in. Who can find common ground with guys like Commons. Guys who know how to win games and score goals. Someone who knows that Efe, for example, will be far better utilised in the main stand.

     

     

    In some ways Paul you’ve created a monster. Ultimately, the quality of CQN now lies in the extremely high quality of the contributors to the blog. You deserve great credit for that. I’d like if the articles could return to some sort of form too. Again, i’ll make no excuse for expecting higher quality from you. I don’t even expect (or care) to agree on stuff, but it would be nice to have some actual commentary on where we are, not empty platitudes and cliches.

     

     

    /p

     

     

    Win the league, then we’ll talk.

     

     

    – See more at: http://www.celticquicknews.co.uk/where-we-are-and-the-way-forward/#sthash.tTIJJ9IT.dpuf

  14. I didn’t see the game last night (live in Canada and was working at the time), but the evidence from Sunday’s LC semi against Ross County is that we’re not winning the physical battles all across the pitch. With the notable exception of such as Brown (when he came on) Griffiths and young Tierney, not enough players are willing to close down opponents, go in for a 50:50 challenge with the intent of winning the ball first. Our defenders are pensive and of course our defending of set pieces is shambolic. At the top end Griffiths is the only player I’ve seen with the clinical edge to his game, whereas the others tend to pass the buck and are too shot shy. The common denominator? Coaching. Aberdeen have improved season on season, Ross County are much improved on last season, Hearts are improving all the time. Celtic on the other hand have allowed their standards to drop quite considerably, even from last season all be it they had Van Diijk and Denayer at the back. Right full back used to be the solid full back position with Lustig, Matthews, Fisher all vying for the starting jersey, whereas the other side only had Izzie. With the emergence of Tierney and the departures of both Matthews and Fisher (on loan) all of a sudden we’re left with one in-poor-form right full back and another, Janko, who seems to have disappeared off the radar. Besides we’ve never come close to replacing the imposing presence of Wanyama in defensive midfield. The best form of attack is defense it’s been said in the past. We certainly have major restoration work ahead. I hope and pray we win the Title. HH.

  15. Ern don’t sell yourself short I’m sure there is somebody somewhere who does’nt consider you trivial

  16. If Ronny persists with his usual one up front, with too many tippy tappy players meant to be supporting him, it tells me he’s not a clever manager after all and he won’t be our manager come August.

  17. Moyes was a decent and long-serving Everton manager identified and supported by Ferguson to take on the MU job. Quite an endorsement. With all of Man Utd’s wealth and stature, Ferguson believed Moyes was the best manager to take over from him. Events this season would suggest that the job is much more difficult than most people perceived from the outside. If Man Utd were an easy fix I think Guardiola would have gone there before going to City – a much more prestigious club than City ever will be in the eyes of most football fans.

     

    Moyes is available for work. You can’t say that about many good managers. So no compensation to pay to existing employer. He is not going to get a top 4-6 gig in the EPL by sitting in a TV studio, he may never get one now. However if he can get us playing well at home and get some results in Europe then he gets us and himself back on the radar of the football world. He has some affinity with us, has a good understanding of the Scottish game and, despite his mid-career dip, more than enough presence to make him a good choice. He also has enough steel about him to get our under-performing squad back on track. There is no way Ferguson recommended as his successor a man who could not control and motivate prima donna footballers.

  18. well, that’s paul’s article given the red pen treatment by the self-appointed arbiter of just about everything

  19. FLORIDA BHOY// You must cut Ernie some slack. How would you feel if your cash flow from politics, was cut by those effin poor people? Who would have thought, a kicked- out- on- his/her -arse(s) MP(s) would be giving salacious information to the Fourth Estate, so they can get List MSPs removed, and they can bring gravitas to the Scottish Parliament as they were Westminster MPs. They make Mo Johnston a paragon of virtue. Watch the drip, drip start on Social Media, then the Fourth Estate reports this information was on social media thus avoiding, the charge of undermining incumbent Labour List MPs. Popcorn at the ready.

     

    PS. How is Buy to Let Murphy getting on? No way would he undermine a fellow socialist to take their position. No way.Really.

  20. Stairheedrammy on

    Anyone know why police Scotland waded in to our support with batons flying at the end of last nights game?

  21. P8DDY – well said. The blog lead article has been little more than PR speak for several seasons. I would think the blog’s success led to a bit of cozying up towards Paul. Plenty of inside info in return for a sympathetic slant.

     

    I’ve been on the blog since year one. Rarely post now but still enjoy dipping in for the continuing quality of the debate that often materialises. Plenty of people on here a lot smarter than me. Don’t see many of them supporting the status quo.