Wings, engine room, set plays, getting over the line


Daizen Maeda has not started a game since scoring in the first minute at Ibrox five weeks ago.  His return to action for the last 20 minutes against Hearts last week is surely not enough to see him through 90 minutes tomorrow.

Ahead of that Ibrox game I suggested Callum McGregor’s natural fitness would be enough to make him a starter.  This confidence was misplaced, even Callum needs time to reach peak fitness, the same is true of Daizen.  How to use the player is Brendan Rodgers’ first big decision.

James Forrest’s autumn bloom has been enough to see Celtic into the Scottish Cup Final and maintain a three-point lead at the top of the table.  He played almost all of last week’s win over Hearts, the first time this has happened since November, and he got over an hour at Dundee a week earlier.  Neither James nor Daizen are in a great place to start, though.

My feeling is we will get a combined 90 minutes out of these two, it would be too much of a risk to start two players who are short of full match practice.  Daizen correctly gets the plaudits for spooking Record Loser James Tavernier, but James tormented the defender for years before Daizen, so whoever starts will fill the role well.

Nicolas Kuhn will start on the right.  Brendan likes to freshen up both wings; Luis Palma is only trusted on the left and James is better on the right than Daizen.  That being the case, we can expect Daizen to start on the left, replaced by James around at 65 minutes.  Nicolas will be hooked 10 minutes later, James will move right to allow Luis to fill in on the left.

The engine room is what most worries Newco.  They were schooled by Callum McGregor earlier in the season and are keen to smother his play.  How effective this is will depend on movement around Callum.  In particular, Liam Scales.

Newco allow Liam time on the ball (unlike Cameron).  He needs to make those short 20 yard runs into space, with and without the ball, which will give Celtic options when progressing play.

We seem to have missed Reo Hatate all season, from his bizarre absence at the start of the campaign, to his two lengthy injuries since.  A week ago, he was back at his dynamic best.  If Reo brings the same energy tomorrow, it will be a long afternoon for the visitors.

Newco are the away team and I expect they will use this status as permission to play counterattacking football, which they did successfully in Lisbon against Benfica.  Contain McGregor, press from halfway and break quickly down the wings.  It will be a lung-busting afternoon for all four Celtic defenders, but they are each pacy.

Set-piece plays will be important to Newco.  Inside the box, we can expect theatrics (again), but they will be keen to pick up a freekick pretty much anywhere in the Celtic half, which would give them an opportunity to load the box.  Great play in general can be undone by set plays.  This is Newco’s best bet, expect to see them wait for contact from behind and drop like a sack of spuds.

Only two of Newco’s likely starting 11 have won at Celtic Park before, once with and once without fans.  Those two, Tavernier and Barisic, are expected to be abetted in defence by Soutar and Davies.

No one has confidence in this defence, and we should expect them to do little more with the ball than get rid of it as soon as they receive.  Poor Barisic will still be suffering Abadaicitis every time he hears the Celtic Park crowd roar.  Kuhnicitis is a similar condition and the only known cure is to leave Glasgow.

Two of their number: Cantwell and Silva, strike me as poorly disciplined players who are provoked into lashing out when faced with a talent deficit.  We need to let them play their game and not be distracted from our own.  Both are likely to be carded.

There are lots of reasons to be encouraged ahead of this game.  Celtic are a team who know how to get a league race over the line, we are at home and have no need to be anxious for the win.  Crowd sentiment is notoriously fickle everywhere and Newco will hope to get nerves jangling in the opening 20 minutes.  Our support last week was a real inspiration, same again from all, please

Enjoy your day.

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  1. bigrailroadblues on

    Good afternoon all from the Brazen. A few beers to calm my nerves before tomorrow.

  2. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    I think he’ll start Daizen and JF and hope to have the game won in 60 minutes.

  3. Put up or shut up.





    Virtue signalling and Narcissism




    A recent study has shown that Narcissists are more prone to virtue signalling than any other demographic. This is because their insatiable need to be liked and admired without exerting the effort into being virtuous. Without the sacrifices required.




    Narcissists whole characters revolve around falsifying virtue. And maintaining a façade that’s more kind and empathetic than they really are.



    Virtue signalling allows many narcissists to lead relatively normal lives. And blend in with neuro-typicals. Which is how they manage to maintain relationships, despite their poor treatment of others.

  4. Morning all – Kuhn looked spooked at Ibrox, but not as much as Yang.



    I hope the home crowd will make more relaxed and productive.

  5. This uber confidence un nerves me. By all means be quietly confident but anything can happen in this game. Silva will be diving and throwing himself down when the ball comes near him. R2ngers players will be very physical and the refs cant be trusted to administer the rules without prejudice.


    I do think we will win but if we do we have to be at our best and exploit the weaknesses in the R2ngers team. They are not great and we are capable of being poor at times as well. Brendan is not usually as buoyant before a game as he has been this week. Perhaps he has a cunning plan?


    Come on Celts if we win tomorrow they will probably go into glorious meltdown.

  6. Morning all – Kuhn looked spooked at Ibrox, but not as much as Yang.







    I hope the home crowd will make more relaxed and productive.





    Not Yang. Dear no. Nowhere good enough to pull on the hoops.

  7. Prestonpans bhoys on




    “Both are likely to be carded.”



    That’s a bold statement to say the least!

  8. Typically in this fixture Huns have gone long to Fatty Alfredo and Lazy Roofe who both collapsed but invariably the refs played on.



    Dessers likes a fight for the ball doesn’t hit the deck but is just too slow to be effective… Huns will just hope to catch our midfield up the park and hit on the break wide.



    Last home game against the Huns they put the lazy Cantwell on Callum and that didn’t work out , suspect Huns will play all their big guys and again someone to man mark Calum , fairly easy to beat that by Calum coming wide and short leaving space for Reo and Matt to receive a quicker ball.



    Huns haven’t played us for years without Goldson and whichever 2 CHs they field , I’m expecting the wee fella to exploit the space.



    Straightforward 3-0 win




  9. glendalystonsils on

    I’ve noticed a growing trend both in the EPL and in Europe for referees to ignore minimal contact falls in order to let the game flow . Even some slightly heftier challenges are dismissed in recognition of the fact that football is a contact sport . No doubt refs are also aware of the damage to the game caused by the gamesmanship of players falling over and that the best way to discourage it is to ignore it .



    Except in Scotland . Except in games involving R2ngers. Our refs are bucking the trend , perhaps they don’t get the same directives from the national association that other refs get?

  10. Bhoyjoebelfast on

    Banner(s) for CELTIC PARK







  11. Melvin Udall on

    TOM MCLAUGHLIN on 10TH MAY 2024 12:58 PM





    How about . . .







    Excellent Tom.


    And, now you’ve started it, it could also read (in tribute to the song, but very relevant to Sevco)



    NOW YOU’VE COME OF AGE (12 years)







  12. TOM MCLAUGHLIN on 10TH MAY 2024 12:58 PM





    An excellent shout!



    I was worried that a dodgy DJ might subject us to some Nickelback and we’d end up with “Are we having fun yet?” or the better but still equally ear worm like quality of The Beach Boys “Fun Fun Fun”.




  13. BADA


    Agree, Forest, Kyogo and Daizen, at least to start. when we are a few goals up, then rest Daizen, bring on Khun and move Jamsie to the left





  14. 🎶Well they got in Parks’s Coach


    And they cruised through to Celtic Park now


    Seems they forgot all about the beatings


    They’d got from Brendan now



    And with the Tannoy blasting


    You’ll never walk alone- not so fast now


    Celts will have fun fun fun🎶


    As Kyogo takes the league title away


    (Fun fun fun as Kyogo takes the Title away)

  15. I have told this story before, but dont read it if you are easily bored or just want the blog to concentrate on your own particular subjects.






    One of the pleasure of going back to Celtic park after the Hampden season, was sitting next to new people and becoming a mini supporters club at the games.



    We had 3 seats in 144, I knew some jungle people around me and a few from Dumbarton but there were plenty of “new faces” in the seats.



    Pat and Mary were easily in their 70s, they took a grandson to the games, I got friendly with them.



    Pat had been a supporter his whole life, and had only missed games when he was in the army.


    He had promised Mary to take her once the weans were grown up, and if ever seats were available.


    Over the next 2 seasons we watched the bhoy growing, celtic daft like his granda, and the two of them uber supporters Mary often telling them to sit doon, be quiet, for goodness sake.



    Then that fateful day, none of them at the game.



    A chat around , someone form their bus said, Mary had suddenly taken unwell.



    Next home game, Pat was there, no Mary, and no grandwean.



    I asked how she was, he looked forlorn and said she has passed away.




    I siad ” and the bhoy couldnt face the game without his granny ?”



    no he says, sure he is away to the funeral.

  16. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    Assert your superiority Celtic, get it done!



    Fans – stay with the team whatever happens. Including when Collum and VAR inevitably ‘happens’.




    Brilliant. Sitting in a zoom meeting doing the same and I got as far as line 2 – very similar except they got in their coach and they cruised along the London Road now :)






    To echo the words of Simon from Biffy “God bless Brian Wilson”.




  18. Weebobbycollins on

    How often have you thought/said, ‘Glasgow derbies are always important but this one is REALLY REALLY important?’


    Nerves slightly beginning to show…I’m still confident but…tingle, tingle, twitch, twitch…


    this time tomorrow, 15 minutes into the second half…will we be 3-0 ahead?


    Please, please, please…St Patrick, St Mirren, St Johnstone…gies a wee hand guys. You know it makes sense!

  19. Songs need to be simple.



    Back to the 80s and combined few themes.



    Fun bhoy 3.



    It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it



    James Forrest gets us result



    Huns can try hard don’t mean a thing



    Celtic win again let that flag swing



    Repeat ad infinium



    “In light of recent posts regarding tickets it should be noted that there are going to be ticket checks at tomorrow’s game.”



    Can I ask where you heard this from?



    Tomorrow may be my son’s first (and possibly last if the huns are being allowed back in) visit to CP for a derby game. One of us will be going into CP with an adult ticket in the name of “Miss …… …..”.


    Whilst he has the locks of a young Jorge Cadete I think even the stewards might notice he is a Bhoy not a Ghirl – should I be worried?? Or is this more about the cost of the ticket – e.g. discounted etc?




  21. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    El Capitano………

  22. I don’t think the turnstile lights can identify gender or religious persuasion yet. Probably not allowed. I think they show green for a full price ticket and yellow for a concession- that’s all I’ve seen and, if I’m right, that’s all the stewards can go on.



    I am disappointed that no one has ever challenged me on my right to an over 65 ticket

  23. Weebobbycollins on

    Btw…I meant to post this earlier.


    Saint Stivs…I also find your repeated posts about empty seats a bit tedious, however, I absolutely recognise your right to do so. It’s not too difficult to scroll past them. I thought the post directed to you about mental health issues to be uncalled for and way over the top. I hope the poster has a rethink and proffers an apology.



    “I don’t think the turnstile lights can identify gender… that’s all the stewards can go on.”



    Braw, so not a random spot check against ID, just checking no-one reselling concession tickets to adults.


    Good to know.




  25. glendalystonsils on




    Good to see you back .



    Good to see Jamesie back in the reckoning too !

  26. Well bhoys this time the morra hopefully we will all be singin we’re on the one road singing along

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