Would players have been fit if it was a cup final?


Ange Postecoglou is always truthful, so when he said he did not rest anyone last night and that those absent were injured or otherwise unavailable, he is correct.  It is the context that is a concern.  Footballers always have an ailment.  If not a class-one injury like a hamstring, there will be bruises, abrasions, strains and fatigue.  When a player tells you he is 100% fit, he is almost always departing from the truth.

Would Kyogo Furuhashi and Joe Hart (whose absence was not material) have been fit enough for a place on the bench last night, had the context been a cup final?  That is a different question to whether or not they were ‘fit’.  Ange has a small and depleted squad.  He gambled against Real Betis, lost Kyogo but did not drop a point or the cup until the Japanese was back playing.  He gambled again by starting Tom Rogic on the bench against Ross County, which paid off very late in the game.

Starting Kyogo in the cup final was another gamble; once more, it worked.  I suspect Kyogo would have played had St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin not ‘played’ Celtic by magnificently underselling their preparedness.  Spend too long at the table and you eventually lose, that’s the Punters’ Rule.

I doubt I was the only one worried when I saw the team sheet and lack of forward options on the bench.  Win the points first, then rest players with niggles, is always the wisest plan.  When a manager holds players back, he sends a signal – ‘this one will not take too much effort’.

Players are not machines.  After a big game, there is a natural lull.  Managers know they need to work to get them motivated for the next battle, especially if the next battle looks more like a skirmish.  All the signals were wrong going into the game.

A 6-point lead at the hallway stage of the season is as much as any fan could ask for.  We were that miraculous Anthony Ralston goal last week away from the gap being 8 points.  The immediate consequence is that Boxing Day’s visit to Perth takes on a heavier importance.

We’ll talk about the SPFL vote and its ramifications later.


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  1. EL @ 11.00



    There is a lot of it about — Alcan branded tin foil hats are much in demand.



    Some of the play by some senior players in some games would suggest that there is a not so hidden agenda in play. To repeat — some of our play from senior / quality players has been brutal.



    Corners — a standing joke.


    Free kicks — JJ’s last night was the closest in months.


    Crosses hit like shots to no-one / Shots hit like crosses straight to the GK.


    Attack the box — certain lack of engagement with that concept.



    Something badly wrong with our attempts at the basics.



    Who won last night in Paisley — the bookies per chance?


    Who won when the TFOD2.1 shipped the first goal in 5 straight matches?


    It would have been an interesting betting combination — lose the first goal but win the match?



    The squad is still in transition / it has not settled down to a new coach / new captain.



    I think AP tried to lay down a marker last night — the team cannot just rely on KF to provide the spark. Failed big time but the point has to be made — we need effort from everybody not just the forward line.



    Anybody getting £3.5mill plus for LA was at the top of their game.


    Either that or they are one of PL’s pet agents getting one for the road.


    Then you have the CS enigma — worth £4mill plus to whom?



    And to think that according to the Thorntonhall gossip line — DMcK got punted for agreeing the JMcC transfer.



    Double standards anyone?



    AP is light years ahead of NL — and for that we should be grateful.


    However at times his demeanour comes across as too RD like — one man against the machine.



    Jan is now the acid test.


    Need a huge recruitment drive for the squad.


    Need an even bigger recruitment drive for the backroom staff.

  2. From previous article @ HOT SMOKED on 23RD DECEMBER 2021 11:56 AM



    We have a depleted squad, but it’s hardly surprising we are in this position.



    Ajeti has not kicked a ball in 2 years.



    JF missed all of last season, so it was unwise to expect him to be reliable this season.



    In the 2 seasons preceding last, Giakoumakis only managed 10 and 12 appearances a piece – he is currently on 8 in all competitions for us.



    Huddle Breakdown looked into it and I believe Jota had hardly ever played three 90 mins games in a row in his career (the last time was a couple years ago in the Portuguese 2nd division) – and even then, it was over 3 separate weekends, not 3 games in a single week.



    Kyogo already had 20+ games under his belt when he arrived in the summer.



    Given the number of games and paucity of quality and options in our squad, it was inevitable we would end up with lots of injuries given the burden placed on first team players.



    We were just ill prepared (again) and find ourselves in this position due to our lack of preparedness.





    JIMTIM on 23RD DECEMBER 2021 11:08 AM


    ERNIE LYNCH on 23RD DECEMBER 2021 11:00 AM


    Is it possible the Board have told the manager that the league is not necessarily a priority this season .




    Would not surprise me one little bit Ernie . This transfer window will tell us all we need to know .





    Well I for one would be astounded! The Board (the employers) tell their new Manager (employee) that his most important job (being Scottish champions) he doesn’t need to worry about it. I know there is no love lost for the Board, myself included but even if they are 100% OldFirmers they are happy to foregone 10s of millions of pounds? Nonsense, are they not all bean counters anyway?!

  4. Hi Paul



    “Ange has a small and depleted squad.”



    Anything to add as to why we are in this position with £20m+ in the bank?

  5. TURKEYBHOY on 23RD DECEMBER 2021 12:05 PM


    An Dun,







    Yes,both posts totally in agreement with.In the changing of tactics,sometimes desperate measures called for.





    It has been a festering sore point for donkeys,why we are so bad at set pieces.The amount of corners we get,and do nothing with is unbelievable.Turnbull has taken so many with no improvement,getting worse,it’s jaw dropping.Our defending them,same in reverse.We all know that this is not a new thing.Been doing it for decades.I believe it’s a sign of bad professionalism from some players.We know about Naka,spending 2 hours extra after every training session,taking free kicks.If I was a player,I would be ashamed at my efforts to cross a ball under no pressure,and find it difficult.

  6. Mitchy



    Incorrect thinking,(again)



    And to think that according to the Thorntonhall gossip line — DMcK got punted for agreeing the JMcC transfer







  7. ROLLING_STONE on 23RD DECEMBER 2021 12:12 PM


    Hi Paul







    “Ange has a small and depleted squad.”







    Anything to add as to why we are in this position with £20m+ in the bank?




    Ange has a small squad because of injuries.You not been watching.Its the decimation of the Strikers that’s causing the problem.

  8. Pingback: Would players have been fit if it was a cup final? | Celtic FC News Now

  9. 2 days running and I agree with a Paul67 article.



    We underestimated St Mirren and JJ was our only forward option on bench and he is a RB.



    We had 2 games until break and Ange had to demand the players put their bodies on the line —- and then sub those in need when the game was won. I had a bad feeling when I seen the changes incl Hart as it sent a message to St Mirren.



    Last night typified Mickey Johnstone’s Celtic career , started well , struggled to play any decent final ball before disappearing in ever decreasing circles. Would give him until season to learn to deliver a final ball to a Celtic player ( otherwise he needs to leave the club).



    St Johnstone is a must win and is now a bigger game than the cup final —- Hart and the others must play now.



    As AN DUN said earlier, the manager doesn’t make any tactical changes . It’s like for like all the time.



    As for set pieces. The opposition are quite happy to concede corners and free kicks against us, as we as so poor at them.



    There is something far wrong with coaching. But we’ve known that for a couple of years

  11. ST TAMS,








    PROSPECTS, SHAW,EROGUHIDE,wasn’t good enough.Anges 1st window.Ridiculous comment after the season we had previous.

  12. Lets see if Saint Mirren set up the same way against the huns.



    Lets see who is back and fit to play.



    A draw, a fecking draw, at an away ground, with many players missing, and oh how they gnash and wail.

  13. I suspect Kyogo would have played had St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin not ‘played’ Celtic by magnificently underselling their preparedness.






    If this was the case then our gaffer needs to dry behind his ears.

  14. The Battered Bunnet on




    One of our splendid CQNers runs a sanctuary for donkeys. Can anyone remind me who it is?

  15. More than a couple of years.If it was not for Jullien scoring a few in the last couple of years,when has it been good.Woeful under every manager we have had.European nights were always a misery for conceded goals from crosses.SPFL teams with their 1st attempt,scoring.


    Our failure to convert set pieces has to be up there with the worst.We are even woeful at throw ins.Not a new thing.

  16. I don’t think Kyogo was ever going to play,last night,or Sunday.Said himself ,he played through the pain in the final.Would have been kept in cotton wool for the 2nd.

  17. prestonpans bhoys on

    SAINT STIVS on 23RD DECEMBER 2021 12:29 PM


    I am heading up to the Celtic shop now, can I bring anyone anything back



    That’s the spirit 😂👏

  18. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Said after the Livingston game that if we couldn’t break down that type of defence that other teams would copy it.


    Need to be pulling the defenders out of position and breaking the structure. These teams will take crosses all day long.


    Squad needs improving but the one we have should be good enough to win these games.

  19. That game last night was more important than the league cup final.



    I don’t think the manager or the players saw it that way.

  20. Agree Sionnaigh,



    Also for all the corners and free kicks there were no training ground routines used like the Rogic one that took the points at Celtic Park recently.



    Even the balls in there were no rehearsed plays like Liverpool ( Klondike still doing it now copied by Beale ) ; some remind me of the McDermott/Dalglish/Case manouvre against Aberdeen in a European tie. We played like a Lennon team last nite.

  21. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    That squad won’t win us the league. The collapse in quality from the first 11 is stark. Long odds now even if we invest in January.



    MJ should be sold. He will never ‘come goid’.










    One of our splendid CQNers runs a sanctuary for donkeys. Can anyone remind me who it is?







    It’s of concern that you ask that just before the transfer window opens.

  23. Just four days after doggedly winning our first trophy in a year and – tho it’s not the end of the world – many have no trouble seeing it from here. Says a lot about characteristics of our support IMO.


    Makes me wonder if many have lost any ability to take the rough with the smooth; to be a bit, well, stoic.


    What does it say when fans carp and criticise even the slightest failure to live up to expectations or entitlements?


    Probably harder to be a faithful fan of a St Mirren, a Livi or a Dundee Utd whose seasons – entire histories even – are full of doings, defeats and draws, with nary any silverwares, top half of the league finishes or Euro nights in seasons they support financially – and endure painfully – hail rain or shine.


    Can’t wait for the break after the 26th; prob good to get a rest from blogland too.


    Have a great festive season, fellow CQNers.

  24. @ TURKEYBHOY on 23RD DECEMBER 2021 12:18 PM



    “Ange has a small squad because of injuries.You not been watching.Its the decimation of the Strikers that’s causing the problem.”



    The point I’m making is that a lot of this was foreseeable and we are in this position because of our lack of preparedness – just like so many other seasons.



    We went into this season with only 3 players able to play as an 8 or 10 in midfield (Rogic, Turnbull and McGregor) and Ange prefers McGregor at 6. Bitton, McCarthy, Soro and Shaw are all 6s. Woefully unprepared there given the high intensity football Ange requires.



    On the wing, we went with JF (who missed the season prior to injury), Jota (new 22 year old from Portugal), MJ (inconsistent footballing and fitness record) and Abada (new 19 year old from Israel).



    Do you think we had anywhere near the quality or depth in midfield or on the wings?



    Up front we have been unlucky, but GG is looking like another Bangura and his record, save for last season, very much suggested as much. The fact we signed the top goal scorer in Holland last season on the last day of the season for £2m should have raised a few eyebrows.



    We are here because we do not prioritise the football team at our club.

  25. ” Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results”



    The two games against Livingstone(×2) & last night – prime examples of the above.



    All coaches in high-profile positions want to be admired for their knowledge of the game and their ‘modern’ approach. There appears to be a snobbishness in having to ‘get down & dirty’ when things are not working and a result is required – the best we ever see is a goalie going up for a corner ‘at the death’.



    During December we needed, first & foremost, results, not slinky performances(The Acid Test).It was apparent at half-time that we were being neutered by our opponents system – therefore we needed a change in ours. Instead of trying to play through them, a more direct approach could have been tried. Playing high into the low-block would have given us second-ball chances. I know this is not pretty, but it couldn’t have been anymore futile.



    Last night we survived a couple of scares in a game where we had 83% possession – something similar happened in the two matches against Livingstone….except they scored one.



    All the nice talk about Ange and how sometimes we play excellent stuff and score good goals is fine – but the other side of the equation is how bad we can be at times and how easily we are are dragged down to the level of our less talented & less exalted opponents.



    We have had a few single goal wins recently – last night our luck ran out….are we really that surprised?

  26. Paul 67,



    Absolutely spot on with your thought process.



    Another point prior to your upcoming articles : I totally agree with your political content. Our football is as much decided by political decisions as much as footballing decisions.


    Anyone who watched the game last night will have seen the blatent political slogans on the clubs advertising boards.


    How can you keep politics out of football when it is in our faces.?


    It would be absurd and neglectful to ignore the politics affecting our club.




  27. From the massive high of Sunday, to huge disappointment last night. If someone told me 5 months ago, we would have won the League Cup and 6 behind in the League, i would have bitten your hand off.Last 15 minutes last night, i would have put Scales up front ,and changed it as a last throw of the dice,a bit of height,and decent scoring record for a defender. I think we might have to win every game now,as nobody is taking points from Sevco.

  28. After the last couple of months, and given the circumstances I think Ange can be forgiven for what is a small error in judgement



    6 points seems a lot going into the break, but things could look very different after the derby and the end of the transfer window



    I still think we’ll win the league

  29. TBB,



    Gene is correct, if I also remember correctly it’s Scaniel.



    I think it’s Farmersfield rest home for elderly donkeys.

  30. Watched the game while isolating for PCR test results, in our hotel in Glasgow.



    It didn’t lack entertainment but our threadbare squad was easy to see.



    With a better rub of the green, we’d have had the goal we needed.



    I don’t know many fans who wouldn’t have taken a 6 point deficit at year end, with potential to strengthen significantly in Q1 next year.



    Rest the good guys and get them back, blood the incoming guys slowly and carefully, win the league.



    Oh, and nice to be back to pissing rain, cold weather and wind – seriously; my kids LOVE the contrast!

  31. I think the PLC will be content to lose the league by a single digit margin. That will be seen as an improvement on 20/21 and they will say we got a bit of silverware into the bargain. The finance director, Chris McKay, will already have crunched the number for the full season, including the anticipated ins and outs in January. The spreadsheet is king down Kerrydale way.



    What reason do we have to believe that the DD leopard will change its spots ?

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