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Worst in 58 years but we must reframe the pain

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Since Dinamo Kiev inflected Celtic’s first home defeat in European competition, on what was our first European game after winning the European Cup four months earlier, last night’s shocker to Sparta Prague was our 36th and worst home reversal in Europe.

Three years ago PSG scored five, but, unlike Sparta, they did not hit the woodwork on two other occasions, and they are PSG.  Last season Cluj also scored four, winning by a single goal, but by any measure, across 58 years of home European ties, that is without shadow of a doubt, the low point.  We are now the team fans all over Europe point to and laugh, all the money, yet Cluj, Copenhagen, Ferenvcaros, Sparta.

What has gone wrong?

It is not the formation.  Without changing to three at the back, I don’t think we would have won the league last season.  This season, we tried four, then three, then four, then both defensive lines at different times of games, but the formation is not the problem.  It is possible to defend, control games and create chances with either line-up.  And as we have seen, a change in formation does not make a slow or clumsy defender fast and assured.  If only it were as simple as Scott Brown’s advancing years, or injuries and absentees; they are red herrings, this malaise is more serious.

Post-match, Callum McGregor and Neil Lennon spoke well.  The player admitted to humiliation, the manager walked that fine line of showing contained anger, but he was clear: a lack of application from the players was to blame.  What a thought to ponder.

I am fond of many in our squad; they have delivered success beyond my wildest imagination.  I am fond of the manager too, for the same reason – results are all, and his filled the well some time ago.  If I thought sacking the manager would safely resolve matters, I would tell you so.

It is Neil’s responsibility to put the players on the field in the correct frame of mind to compete at their best every time.  He is failing in this, his criticism last night is self-directed, but sacking him right now would be a Gambler’s Play.  It might work, it might result in carnage, anyone convinced they know how it would play out, underestimates the complexity of the question.

What I know for sure is that we stand at an historic precipice and no one is coping.  We need to reframe the challenge ahead, if we do not, the season will play out as you now fear.  Together, we have a great opportunity to record magnificent achievements, a fourth consecutive treble, 10 and all the glory that comes with it, but all you see are demands weighing everyone down.

This responsibility lies on Neil Lennon and the players because they are winners.  They have the Scottish Government hammering them while punching for Newco, they have 10,000 critics weighing-in online (which they read and are not helped by).  These are the wages of success, lesser mortals have six critics, let this fuel their engine.

After the game, Chris Sutton insisted Europe was still important to Celtic.  Chris, you don’t live in the towns of Lanarkshire.  Europe has gone this season; we need to reframe this too.  Our three remaining Europa weeks are an opportunity to develop the squad and rest weary legs, while Newco will have at least five competitive Europa games.  We must now think of this as an advantage; make the most of it.

We know how to win leagues and trophies.  We were on our knees at New Year but while others “bottled it” and we got on with the business of winning.  There are no white, saltire or union flags here, only green league title flags.  To the manager, coaches and players, what a privilege this challenge is.
Scott Brown goal celebrationRelive some of the better days that took us here in Celtic: Treble Treble, by Alex Gordon, a 100 page full colour booklet on how the Invincible, Double and Treble Trebles were won.  Our stock is available here for £5 each (retail £9.95).

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  1. Funny story.

     

    Jake Tapper, a CNN political commentator, was interviewing Trump. Whatever Trump had said Tapper stated “with respect sir, that is an infantile argument.” Trump replied “i didn’t start it”

  2. There was a poster a year or two ago saying his brother (i think) had a couple of kids who were cracking players ,the oldest was at Celtic but the youngest ( who was the best) would not be going and the reason COACHING.

     

     

    I’ve been saying for years there is something wrong with our coaching at youth level. we seem to get taking apart by lesser Euro teams it’s frightening.

     

     

    Aberdeen first half we were very good but last half hour we were all over the place.

     

     

    A new coach is not going to make our midfield into tacklers or defenders he would have to bring in his own players.

     

     

    We need a clean out top to bottom.

  3. Not Timmy, Logging off and popping a cap now. Need to get a new batch on tonight, down to about 60 bottles

     

     

    Enjoy the gin when it is poured, Squire

  4. boondock saint on

    Squire Danaher, my auld man’s favorite movie and mine!!!

     

    Someone texted me the other day and said (this is over in Yankeeland) It is so hard to be a man Utd Fan. I didn’t reply right away, but after our game last night, I texted him back and said you have it easyz. You just jumped on the bandwagon. We studpidly let it affect our everyday lives:))))

  5. So we are going to continue as normal and hope they implode.

     

     

    We have a Board of directors simply unable to live outside of the old firm shadow.

     

     

    All 3 coaches must go and wholesale changes in the boardroom should follow.

     

     

    It’s over. The first step toward moving forward is to acknowledge that.

  6. FAVOURITE UNCLE on

    TIMHORTON on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 3:52 PM

     

    There was a poster a year or two ago saying his brother (i think) had a couple of kids who were cracking players ,the oldest was at Celtic but the youngest ( who was the best) would not be going and the reason COACHING.

     

     

    I have a relative whos son is at CELTIC. Every parent of his son’s team say the coach is crap. He is PL’S brothers pal.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NUFF SAID.

  7. Quote from Anderson Cooper, American TV presenter, “ Trump is bleating like an obese orange turtle, on it’s back in the sun, knowing it’s time is up.”

     

     

    Well, if we don’t do something quickly, our time is also up. 8 years ago, Sevco were in the 4th tier of Scottish football. Today, they sit unbeaten at the top of the SPL and their Europa League group. They carelessly threw away a 3-1 lead at Benfica, a venue where we have never achieved a draw.

     

    Conceivably, they could win their group with 16 points, while we finish bottom with 1.

     

     

    Since the beginning of the season, watching every minute of every game, I have been concerned by the air of triumphalism by some on here, their hubris, complacency, and the incessant flaunting of HWGTIAR. Pride comes before a fall, and previous success never guarantees future performance.

     

    Collectively, we have ignored Sevco approaching in the rear view mirror, and dismissed the fact that they have completely dominated us in the past 3 games. They have now overtaken us, and unless we do something radical very soon, they will be out of sight. The author of this blog exhorts us to take comfort from the fact that they will be in the last 32 and we will not. How far have we fallen?

     

     

    We probably have quite a bit further to fall. We face Motherwell, Hibs, Milan and Sparta, all away, and Lille at home in 5 of our next 6 games. Anyone on here expect us to beat Lille at home, after they took 7 off Sparta and Milan away?

     

     

    SFTB gave a pretty good analysis of where our main weaknesses lie. My own take is that our central defenders are too slow, and the midfield is grossly inadequate to screen them, because their legs have gone (Brown), they are spent and can’t tackle (McGregor), they are too slow (Rogic) or they cannot be arsed (Ntcham). Our substitutes are frequently made too late, and take a ridiculous amount of time to get ready. Most significantly, we have no coherent shape without the ball, a veritable shambles.

     

     

    It is always useful to know thine enemy, and I watched Sevco earlier yesterday, against a team that had spent almost £100M in the transfer market on Otamendi, Vertonghen et al. They withstood a first minute own goal, then dominated most of the game ( aided by a dismissal of the aforementioned Otamendi). What was obvious was that despite the obvious limitations of players like Jack and the recent birthday boy, and the lack of pace of Davis, they move up and down the field as a unit, with 2 defensive midfielders shielding the defence, and McGregor having the confidence to play balls short to Tavernier or Barisic, and from there they use 1-2 passing movements to zigzag their way forward, where Kent and Morelos are adept at holding the ball up. When they lose the ball, they hunt for it in packs, and look fit and full of running. In other words, they have an identifiable structure. Last night, and not for the first time, we looked an abject shambles against a largely reserve Sparta team with a couple of 17 year olds.

     

     

    Here is what is a clear and present danger – Sevco win the league and face 2 qualifying rounds for the CL Group Stages. They will gamble and find the money from somewhere to strengthen the team and reach their £30M windfall ( it is instructive to note they have won 20, drawn 6, and lost none of their EL qualifiers in the last 3 years ).

     

     

    In the meantime, we will lose Laxalt, Elyounoussi and Duffy, and very probably Ajer, Eddy, Ntcham, Christie and Brown. Development of an efficacious vaccine will not prevent crowds from plummeting, and we may have to close the top tier. O.K. This is the doomsday scenario, but if we don’t act soon, this is what we could be looking at. My own view is that the 10 is gone, based on Neil’s total inability to tactically respond to the our last 3 or 4 games versus the zombie club. I would love to eat humble pie at the end of the season, but his day, like Ronnie’s, and like Mowbray’s, is done.

  8. 67 European Cup Winners on

    GREENPINATA on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 1:26 PM

     

    Westcraigs

     

     

    BR had great ambition for Celtic – i’m a fan – but I will say Congerton was a mistake

     

    With Congerton shopping in the wrong market PL started restricting things

     

    The Moussa issue came from BR not getting a replacement so had to go back on his word to Moussa – who took it badly

     

     

    BR wanted to be here for 10 but in the end working under PL became too much for BR

     

     

    BR is a top manager but PL could not bring himself to support him

     

     

    Any manager who gets contacted by Celtic will do what any of us would do

     

    Call BR – BR would say great club great fans but the CEO is controlling and hard to work with

     

     

    BR is a Rat was peddled by this site influenced by PL via Paul67

     

     

    BTW Congleton seems to be buying OK at Leicester

     

     

    Hey Ho we are where we are

     

    But Br was a diamond we let go

     

     

    67ECE

  9. Rock Tree Bhoy on

    It wasn’t all that long ago the majority on here – and I was one of them – were saying that the Europa League is irrelevant – this season its all about the 10,

     

     

    maybe the players are thinking the same thing no?

     

     

    if we win on Sunday I think we will stick with Neil at least until Christmas, but if we drop more points I think thats it, he will be replaced during the international break,

     

     

    if it looks like a duck etc, I think Neil is beginning to look very much like a duck.

     

     

    re Paul 67

     

     

    why do so many on here blame Paul for this mess? Very strange – he’s just a supporter the same as the rest of us – only difference being he runs this blog.

  10. boondock saint on

    I don’t really agree when people say our players are not any good, because they are.

     

    I mean how do we know if Soro or Polish Paddy are any good when we haven’t really seen them much, and I don’t mean 20 or 30 minutes here or there. We signed a good un in Turnbull from Motherwell, and he is another that hasn’t been given much a of a chance. We can’t afford to keep spending 2-3 million on players and not give them a decent chance to play. Having played a wee bit of football a long time ago, it is frustrating when players can continually underperform but still be on the teamsheet each week. People talk about getting paid thousands a week can comfort you if your not playing, but these young players are ambitious, competitive, and at least need the chance to show if they can hack it.

     

    Look back over the last 10 years or so and how much money we have spent on young players who never made the break through. The Rangers signed Kamara for 50,000, and he has turned into not a bad center mid for them, but it did take a wee bit of time. I want all players that we sign to do well but at least to be given a decent run out.

  11. Fox News is instructing its anchors not to call Joe Biden the “President-elect” when the network calls the race, according to two memos obtained by CNN.

  12. sorry, neil is peters puppet he will wait till sunday and see what happens, if we hammer motherwell, neil will get a reprieve, unfortunately, till he hopes the furore dies down, very very sad,KTF

  13. 67 European Cup Winners on

    DENIABHOY on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 3:13 PM

     

     

    DeniaBhoy I trust your judgement

     

    Unfortunately your nomination will have a strong will, a strategy and a personality that will not be bullied

     

    So no good to Peter I’m afraid

     

     

    You need to look for yes men

     

     

    I hope you appreciate the sarcasm

     

     

    I would have your man tomorrow

     

     

    Hail Hail

     

     

    67ECW

  14. Fox News Presenters are all Republicans,and they are not frightened to show it ,what I find distasteful is how many Americans are jump dykers

  15. Big Packy 1

     

     

    I don’t think Neil Lennon is anybody’s puppet. That is an insult to a man who has given so much, indeed suffered so much for Celtic.

     

     

    Change may happen, but we should always be respectful to Neil Lennon the person.

     

     

    Cheers and HH.

  16. I remember as a 14 year old in 1967, watching us beat dukla prague, who were a very good team 3-1 at parkhead, with my uncle packy who i take my blog name off and my father, both would be turning in their graves now if they watched that last night,

  17. squire danaher on

    INIQUITOUSIV on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 4:21 PM

     

     

    A very good post my friend.

     

     

    I agree that we have underestimated the enemy and allowed ourselves to be kidded on.

     

     

    Fundamentally the model is burst.

     

     

    DD has signed off the daily management of the club to PL.

     

     

    PL is what euphemistically could be called a micro manager. Some would instead call him a control freak.

     

     

    BR couldn’t or wouldn’t put up with eg being given a left winger which neither he or NL considered worthy of a regular game.

     

     

    For all he means to the support, NL was hardly in a position to refuse the offer post-BR and this was lauded as a positive eg him stepping up to the breach in the hour of need.

     

     

    Based on the evidence against opposition better than SPL fodder since the start of 2019-20, NL is unfortunately no longer up to the job.

     

     

    So the issue is this.

     

     

    No manager significantly better than NL will work under the current model.

     

     

    We are essentially treading water until such time as DD either

     

    1) pulls rank and makes another high profile appointment as manager/head coach or

     

    2) decides that PL has outlived his usefulness.

  18. 67 European Cup Winners on

    SQUIRE DANAHER on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 5:11 PM

     

    Same page i said same 4.39

     

     

    67ECW

  19. Last night’s affair resembled a coursing meet rather than a football game with the hungry hounds chasing the startled rabbits. The Sparta youths were of course the hounds chasing the startled Celtic rabbits from one end of Celtic Park to the other. We all remember how the team was ambushed by Cluj who told us that their aging squad had little chance of causing an upset.

     

    Last night it was the Czechs who we believed were missing half the team and had not kicked a ball in a month, yet their very youthful inexperienced squad looked super fit and were in Celtic’s faces from the first whistle

     

     

    Shane Duffy is an easy target for criticsm but he was not the only one who seemed shellshocked in the face of Sparta’s youthful onslought. There are folks without Scotland that are of the opinion Duffy is actually playing in a poor team, they are wrong of course.

     

     

    Looking at the game one wondered if Celtic’s coaching staff done their homework on the Czechs. Julis was able to dance around Celtic defenders helping himself to a hatrick and the other lad karlsson tormented our defence.

     

     

    Calmac and Broony appear to be suffering burnout so Neil needs to look at his midfield. It is not beyond possibility that Celtic could beat Sparta next week judging by the good away form of the team this past while. QWe live in hope.

  20. onenightinlisbon on

    I think it’s clear that our present manager has little power and that is the main reason he was chosen to replace the rat. Usual case scenario – bring in a manager who wants to run the club his way – strike him off the list. will always be the case until Lawwell and Desmond are gone.

  21. onenightinlisbon on

    INIQUITOUSIV on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 4:21 PM

     

     

    Absolutely spot on. You are not a sleekit hun are you? LOL

  22. WESTCRAIGS on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 3:50 PM

     

    Funny story.

     

     

     

     

    Jake Tapper, a CNN political commentator, was interviewing Trump. Whatever Trump had said Tapper stated “with respect sir, that is an infantile argument.” Trump replied “i didn’t start it”

     

    …………

     

     

    Very good mate, I laughed out loud when I read that.

     

    Trump is just like towards the end of the 1000 year Reich, as from his Bunker, Adolph was STILL telling his generals to move ” This army here”…and this army there”, when neither armies existed anymore.

     

    Complete loss of the Plot…likewise Trump.

     

    I detest Trump and I really want him to suffer as much as possible, the Humilation of being a Loser…and a very bad loser at that.

     

     

    He also like Hitler in that when he doesnt get his own way…when hes heading for a big fall, he wants America ( Hitlers case it was Germany obviously ) to fall with him….also very Hun Like, when things dont go their way…they wanted to bring down Scottish Fitba in 2012 and beyond.

     

     

    I am hoping and praying for a Biden Victory and to watch Trump squirm.

     

    HH.

  23. We’re in a corner: there’s only so be thing we can do- imagine the mullet’s still on the side line and get the murder well bassas.

  24. Rock Tree Bhoy on

    It could be worse, we could run up a huge pile of debt, then shaft the lot of them by liquidating, then come back as The Celtic and pretend nothing happened.

  25. onenightinlisbon on

    INIQUITOUSIV on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 5:39 PM

     

    ONENIGHTINLISBON

     

    I can string two words together, so the answer is no.😊

     

     

    I know. Just that a few who were questioning Lennon’s ability over the last few weeks were branded with that title…..

  26. INIQUITOUSIV on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 4:21 PM

     

     

    Your scenario assumes Beale stays at Ibrox.

     

     

    He’s the key to their success, not Slippy.

  27. Inquitisousiv………..you’re not the only one who has been impressed by Sevco and their climb to prominence. I’ve watched some of their games in Europe out of sheer curiosity to see what we are up against. they should have actually hammered Benfica last night.

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