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. Off to see Celtic


    A shift to do Celts,we work for what we get


    Take nothing forgranted


    For us and each other


    Go to work Celtic



    Hail Hail

  2. onenightinlisbon on

    JINKYREDSTAR on 11TH MAY 2024 10:22 AM


    I hate being over confident and I’ll lay odds that their injury stories are fabricated.



    Was thinking the same myself yesterday when I watched Clement’s press conference.



    If Sima is out they will really miss him.

  3. Melvin Udall on



    Fine day for a bit of hunskelping.




    And for our head hun skelper Kyogo to claim his rightful place! 😃👍🍀🇮🇪🏆⚽️⚽️

  4. Melvin Udall on

    There’s feel good pish and feel good pish, but that this one is still doing the rounds tells you how desperate they are for cash and the media are to appease their horrible hordes…



    From the BBC Gossip page:


    Rangers are in line for a significant transfer windfall after former loanee Malik Tillman completed a permanent move to PSV Eindhoven from Bayern Munich. (Glasgow Times)



    Those idiots lap this nonsense up too. Gullibillies!

  5. leftclicktic on

    Bada Bing 8:32 (page 5)


    Thank you for posting that. Powerful stuff and well done to Wolverhampton wanderers.

  6. Melvin Udall on

    5-1 to the good guys today. Reckon their heads will drop when we go 3-0 up by half time, but think they’ll get a goal.



    Kyogo 2, Forrest, Hatate & Idah



    Let’s wrap this title up today bhoys!




  7. Remember


    We have the better players


    We have the better team spirit


    We have the better manager


    We have the much, much, much better support


    We are Celtic


    Just dae it , Celtic ( copyright BIG JIMMY).

  8. bournesouprecipe on

    I think Brendan will start with,


































  9. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Alistair Johnston could be a major player today,getting forward well last few games

  10. Melvin Udall on

    BOURNESOUPRECIPE on 11TH MAY 2024 10:53 AM




    👍 That team gets my vote. 😃⚽️🍀🇮🇪🍾🏆

  11. We have picked up our game just at the right time


    Got our fitness levels right too, credit to all the backroom staff,


    And the players and coaches too.


    Think about this…..we are going for three in a row


    This is what they and their media cheerleaders fear most


    A Celtic Victory

  12. CELTIC: Hart, Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Scales, Taylor, McGregor, O’Riley, Hatate, Maeda, Kyogo, Forrest.


    Subs: Bain, Palma, Idah, Kuhn, Nawrocki, Iwata, Bernardo, Ralston, Welsh

  13. Good morning to all from the Good n the bad.



    Another league in the onion bag.



    D :)

  14. Good morning again bhoys from a sunny Garngad



    Off to watch the Grandson (Riley) who goes to every celtic game play today.



    The wee man joined me his dad and a pub full of Tim’s last night before getting fed up and he went home.



    I was thinking he has been going to games at CP since he was 3 now 12, the young eh.






    D. :)

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