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. CLUNKS on 10TH MAY 2024 10:14




    Stivs, jealousy is a terrible thing….







    Try not to be clunks. It will just eat you up and you will be awake all night posting negativity on the internet.

  2. AN TEARMANN on 10TH MAY 2024 10:15 PM


    St Stivs







    Theres a thread you may like from 1925












    I seen something similar another time. Celtic played west ham in London around 1924/25 season and got hosted on a tour of parliament which included several of those type of pictures.




    Hosted by someone called wrigglesworth or ramsbottom or something like that.

  3. St.Stivs



    Thats the thread,scroll down on it,Visit to Parliament and West Ham,wonder if they went to any of the good Br.Walfrids project in Whitechapel?


    Great looking at them old pics,Jamie was wanting to know those in top pic but developed thread.



    Hail Hail

  4. Ah got you. I don’t have X or twitter. I know who the players are will get to it Sunday.

  5. well 2 hours from now we will be engaged in a battle or gubbin that mob, so I know this may upset gold coast tom but IMHO if we do NOT prevail the morra there should be a stewards enquiry.

  6. Thats it St.Stivs 👍 headin to kip now,early start meetin a plane



    Tontine we are coming onto a bit of form at the right time and hopefully Brendan will have the bhoys tuned,focussed and ready to


    go to work.💚



    Hail Hail & night

  7. And there it is



    “Rangers without HALF a team for must-win Celtic Park trip as 7 absentees revealed”



    So disrespectul…..

  8. Just watched Brendan & Callum’s press conferences .. we are lucky to have these type of people in charge of our team / dreams



    Hope the team plays as well as they both did



    even if we don’t win today, still 100% behind Brendan & the bhoys …



    I think we will win … but I always think we will win even against Souness & co and the later Ebt FC



    Would take a draw in a minute .. but am sure our players will fancy 3pts … just defeat the Huns on the park and don’t give Maclean on var any opportunity to influence the outcome …



    Enjoy … or try and enjoy your day fellow Celts 🍀

  9. Good morning from a still dark Garngad but to be a scorcher I believe.



    Just win our personal battles on the park later and let our skill and pace take over.



    Right back to bed for a couple of hours shut eye.



    D. :)

  10. bigrailroadblues on

    Good morning all from Govanhill. Gerrintaethum Celtic!!!!


    Por Cierto



  11. POR CIERTO on 11TH MAY 2024 6:42 AM


    Another Granddaughter, our 4th, born at 2.30 am this morning, joining our 2 Grandsons, Hail! Hail! Frankie!





    MAGIC Mate.



    Congratulations and Celebrations….I feel a Cliff Richard song coming on !



    HH Mate.

  12. bigrailroadblues on

    A brisk walk into old Glasgow Town, heading for Alfredos or McKinnons. Oh me poor old nerves. 😳

  13. Ten minutes before departure time to the Dear Green Place.


    The logical me sees a simple victory; the emotional me worries !



    Come on the logical me !!

  14. BBBC `But there is an old cliche about form and big derby days.`



    They are right. There is an old cliche but I don`t believe there is not an old fact.


    I think the superior team at the time USUALLY wins these games.


    Right, oft I jolly well go.


    Hail ! Hail

  15. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    Many congratulations Por Cierto.



    I hope your day gets even better👍

  16. Congratulations Por Cierto and there will be a Celtic victory to welcome the wee one.



    D. :)

  17. What a start to today , great news POR CIERTO .



    Hope the good news keeps coming .



    I’ll miss the game today 😪 played golf at the Ashludie course then the championship course in Monifieth yesterday , this morning were playing Piperdam then home were I hope I’ll be celebrating a win and quaffing a few Bacardis .



    Mon the Hoops



  18. Oh dear god ,been up since 5am I’ve attended many Derby’s but this is the most anxious I have ever been . Please god , just finish it today Celtic .HH

  19. POR CIERTO on 11TH MAY 2024 6:42 AM



    Congratulations pal . Hope the celts give you more reason to celebrate .

  20. Por cierto




    Congratulations on the birth of your granddaughter!




  21. Congratulations Por Cierto,welcome Frankie


    God willing the day gets even more successful


    All the best


    Hail Hail

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