Without defensive organisation, other progress is futile


Jablonec are two games into their domestic season: a 1-0 home win on the opening day against Banik and a 3-0 away defeat to Mlada Boleslavon Saturday.  Banik finished 8th last season, Mlada, 11th.  Unlike Celtic, tonight’s game is their first European qualifier of the season, so we are one competitive game ahead of them.

They have a 6,100 capacity stadium in a town that’s entire population could fit inside Celtic Park with 15,000 spare seats – by any measure, the equivalent of Hamilton Accies, although Accies will doubtlessly report a higher income for last season.

So far, so encouraging.  On the debit column, they finished the season five points behind Sparta, whom they were level with three games from the end.  That’s the same Sparta that spanked us 4-1 home and away last year.

Like any number of teams we meet in qualification, including Midtjylland, they are weaker than us in most of the key metrics, but if we turn up unprepared, as we did last week, we will lose.

While this is the classic, no win, situation, there are things beyond the result that you and I will be looking out for.  Liel Abada’s goal return so far has been impressive, even if officials incorrectly denied him at Tynecastle on Saturday.  I want to see more of his timed runs into the box.

Carl Starfelt must be desperate to get his boots on.  He had a nightmare debut, unlike Shane Duffy, who scored in wins in his first two Celtic games.  Debuts are not great indicators of persistent form, Carl can provide evidence today.

Kyogo Furuhashi’s late cameo on Saturday was too little time to allow the player to settle into the game.  I expect there will be communication challenges, but he should be as fit as anyone in the squad, so should be ready.

More than anything, I want to see Joe Hart organise a Celtic defence.  Without a massive improvement in this aspect of our play, progress elsewhere is futile.

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  1. Just caught up on the Spain v Japan semi, where Kou Itakura (our rumoured CB target) was playing.



    IMO seemed like a lanky, puny, big beanpole with suspect positioning. Good athletic energy tho.



    Maya Yoshida his CB partner looked way more a player; and he was nothing amazing.



    In fact, Ko seemed a bit like a Japanese Nir Bitton without the cool tats and nice pass outs from the back.



    Jabs 0 Tics 2

  2. Paul, I disagree Starfelt had a nightmare debut, he made a mistake for the first goal yes. In other news the Olympiacos boss raging at Bobby Madhuns performance the other night 😲

  3. Regardless of games in prep, we are not yet a “team” so I still fear any outfit who have been playing together for a while can expose our frailties……….



    That being said………C’mon the Hoops.



    Just a punter’s opinion from watching.


    We can trust our extensive sports science and scouting teams to do a way more thorough appraisal.



  5. Cardboard,



    Not really a mistake.Guy beat him with a bit of a lucky break.Apart from that,I thought he did fine,just been thrown in after one day.Another player beating you should never be classed as,”A mistake,bad defending”.That’s their job.

  6. I thought Starfelt played well, had a good few interceptions and was unlucky with the Hearts goal as it hit several players and then Bitton knocked it across the goal. I thought ( I know, I know early days!) he looks solid and an organiser. It’s not his fault he is playing in a very weak defence, Id like him to play alongside Welsh as Bittion is NOT a central defender!




    Only joking mate.Deffo one of the taller Japanese players.Watched his last game.He was good against very good Spanish forwards.Maybe our Sports Science dept.can Tat him up a bit.G,rrrr.

  8. Mc Phail Bhoy,


    Sorry for the correction.Biton blocked the first shot on the line,and it broke to Mc Kay Steven.

  9. in ither news……………..



    Shortie always promotes the huns as BIG news, prime spot, puff piece on the sport landing page…………


    us, usually relegated to the lesser spots…………..regardless of story significance.



    That, dick, Wilson .Subtle.




  10. TURKS – just shows how fans can watch the same game and see two diff performances eh?


    I thought he was often out-jumped and got dragged out of position pretty easy. You saw him better; fair do.



    That said, I thought Paul Telfer and Lee Naylor were OK FBs, and have been talking up young Ralston before he became one of our season’s top goalscorers ;)

  11. By Celtic Football Club





    We are delighted to announce that we have received confirmation from the local Safety Advisory Group that following Tuesday’s Scottish Government announcement and positive reviews of recent matches and associated protocols, full capacity crowds will now be permitted at Celtic Park from Monday, August 9 onwards.



    It has been too long since we have heard the roar of a packed Paradise, and we cannot wait to welcome you home to Celtic Park!



    We have been working relentlessly behind the scenes to bring our supporters back, and we are thrilled to finally be able to make this announcement.



    Once again we would like to thank you for your assistance and co-operation in working within the established matchday protocols, something which has been crucial in delivering this attendance.



    Celtic Chief Executive Dom McKay said: “I would like to thank our fans for all the fantastic support they have given us in reaching these levels. I would especially like to thank our staff for their tireless efforts and hard work in getting us to this stage.



    “Our team have been a leading force in Scottish sport, writing and exercising protocols and procedures to allow us to return to train and play. Now, through their hard work and leadership, we are finally welcoming you, our fans, back where you belong. I must also thank the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council and the Safety Advisory Group for all their co-operation.”



    Sales information relating to FK Jablonec next Thursday, August 12 will follow shortly. Due to ongoing UEFA protocols for the month of August, we are unable to offer some seasonal seats for UEL games, but alternative seats will be offered to Season Ticket holders affected by these protocols.



    It gives us the greatest pleasure to finally say again – Welcome Home Celts!

  12. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    “More than anything, I want to see Joe Hart organise a Celtic defence. Without a massive improvement in this aspect of our play, progress elsewhere is futile.”




    The keeper can help out with the organising, communicating with the defenders, but ultimately they have to be able to do the basics themselves – concentration, positioning, decision making, anticipation, knowing their opponent. Starfelt may have these attributes, but I haven’t seen enough quality in any of the others.


    Welsh looks good at times, but he has to cut out the reckless Balde/Simunovic style challenges, giving away fouls and ending up wrong side of ball.


    Need quick improvement or more recruitment.

  13. Garngad to Croy on

    Whats the chances of next week’s Europa game being on the Season Ticket ( or is it raffle ticket) ?

  14. staffelt had his bawsfelt a few times on his debut but the issue was that he was playing left side and he appears to be right side dominant.

  15. Starfelt “nightmare”..harsh. Unconvincing, definitely.



    What worried me more is why he was played as a LCB when he clearly hasn’t got a left foot

  16. Would be good PR for PLC to let the Jablonec game be on the ST, but hey ho, por cierto.

  17. looking forward to Sundays game and seeing a few old faces at the home of football.


    firstly tho the game game tonight,wont see due to work.i hope we win




  18. If we can’t get over the Jablonec hurdle then we really are in bother. Just give a calamity-free performance today and allow the big crowd next week to assist with the rest. To fall into the Europa Conference/Petrofac/Luton Van/Texaco/Johnstone’s Paints Cup would be a tad humiliating.



    A play-off against AZ Alkmaar, with a couple more quality additions to the squad, and a full stadium, would get the juices flowing again.

  19. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Please note the Home Cup Ticket Scheme is not currently in operation for this match, meaning all Season Ticket Holders wishing to attend the match must purchase their ticket online or at the Ticket Office.

  20. So let me get this right;



    Celtic supporters pony up for ST’s ( despite last season ) thousands of them will have been unable to get into 4 home games by the time we play a potentially decided second leg tie, we’ve the first capacity crowd for 18 moths and we’ve to buy a ticket?



    Shirley not CSC

  21. Starfelt didn’t have a nightmare – ffs.



    Whats that patter all aboot?



    Games live from 16:30 on BBC Scotland.



    Come on you Bhoys in Green.

  22. That is an absolute disgrace if we have to buy a ticket for the Jablonec match. I’ve not had a ticket in the ballot for any game so far. Raging doesn’t come close 😤

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