Zenit go 4-2-2-1-1 for friendlies before Celtic


One week tomorrow we are in Europa League action at home to Zenit St Petersburg , the Russians first competitive game since going into winter shutdown on 11 December.

Zenit have played five friendlies in the last three weeks, conformably beating Danish, Czech and Chinese opposition, all of who were also on a winter break, before drawing 0-0 with Slovan Bratislava on Sunday. The Slovaks are two weeks away from returning to competitive action.

Zenit manager, Roberto Mancini, did very little squad rotation during his five warm-up games, clearly with an eye on getting his starting 11 ready to face Celtic. He also stuck to a narrow 4-2-2-1-1 system in each game.

Zenit use this formation semi-regularly, but its repetition in each of the friendly games suggest Mancini sees winning control of the middle of the park against Celtic as a priority. This will present Celtic with problems and opportunities. We are unlikely to control as much of the ball as you would expect at home in Europe, but our strength in the wings presents Brendan Rodgers with a clear strategy.

I don’t believe in reading too much into the results of friendly games, but I hope Celtic scouts took in the Slovan game. Zenit scored 15 goals in their three proceeding games, so how Slovan stopped their attack will be of interest.

Mancini and his players are now back in Russia having left their summer training bases. They play our old pals Maribor in St Petersburg on Saturday in their final preparation before the game in Glasgow. Brendan will be occupied with thoughts of two hugely important cup games in the coming week, but if he gets through the Partick Thistle test on Saturday, he may be glad of the competitive experience. This is a time Game Face, not friendlies.

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    I sometimes wonder whether managers just think of ten,and try to see how many ways they can get the numbers to add up.












    With apologies to anyone I missed.



    Thanks for the Lisbon info,fellas. My sisters lurk avidly,and they’ll definitely be grateful for your assistance.



    It’s better than mine. I knew where the pubs were!!!

  3. “Whats that Skippy…..?…….” the Morelos story is BS……?”…………” but they knocked back £8 mil Skippy….”



    Even Graeme Numpty will know he’s getting worked by Traynor, and defacto King, for concocting this absolute pi$#.If they got offered £800k for anyone, he would be out of there before he could get Joey Barton’s initials aff his training tap.What the clowns have done, is chase away any interest in a player they got for about 300k, i’m not buying the £1m BS allegedly paid for him either.

  4. Hello again all you young rebels.



    Safe journey home to BIGYINMILAN hope you enjoyed our


    Melbourne sunshine and the wee swally we had, 38 degs.


    today so don’t know how you will cope back home in the


    snow and ice.


    Remember our big Celtic days are the third sunday every


    month so when you are back fit your visit round it, really


    enjoyed our getthegither so make it soon.


    H.H Mick





    I read about your plans for 17 March.



    Pretty darn stunning stuff,mate!



    Mine are a bevvy session in MaldonEssex wi my bestie and his lad. Drinking Guinness and supporting Ireland against England in the Six Nations.



    Then get comfortable wi a nice wee malt afterwards.



    Nowhere near as good as yours,granted. But by ‘eck,I’m looking forward to it!



    PS-somewhere,I have a replica England t-shirt commemorating their Grand Slam in 2011. I might wear that for the day.



    Because,they didn’t win it. Nor the Triple Crown,nor the championship. Ireland beat them on the last day.



    Cost me £3 on e-bay from some poor sod cutting his losses!!!

  6. TWISTS N TURNS @ 9 30 .



    A very predictable correction -twitchy Algorithms responding to overheating / Trumpeconomics ( very inflationary ) and Brexit .. There will be many more .

  7. Which new club did Walter wish well? after hIs bid for what was left in the toilet bowl got washed away



    How much did the SFA at that time receive form Sir David of Futuredeath when Walter resumed at the old club in compensation?



    Who invented walterenomics ? Where you opt not to pay a tax bill that eventually kills your club



    What did you mean by bitter?



    Would you take part in a review of your part in the self harm and destruction of rfc 1873-2012?



    Regan you went as 21st century company law is at your door,:-) no deflection onto one of your many subcommittees






  8. Dessybhoy


    Interesting question.Why have we seen nothing about either of those two injuries? Have we just missed any reports or have there not been any? Strange.



    On another matter. I just watched the disallowed Thistle effort against Sevco. Maybe it was offside; maybe it was not. Problem I have in Scotland is in believing that the Linesman made a genuine mistake ( if it was a mistake).


    Shame, really.


    I really enjoy going to see Celtic but I am finding it more and more difficult to continue supporting my team in this country. How I would love it if we could play elsewhere.








    I think Murty is putting up with the situation because it is building him a profile he otherwise would not have. Youth team coach wi Rangers was no great entry on a CV,but reasonable success steadying the ship as caretaker last season,and an extended stint this season,it must bolster his reputation.



    Once again,I reckon the huns have shot themselves in the foot. An English Div 1 or 2 team will snap him up in the summer,or at the first round of sackings next season.



    Where does that leave them when the send him the latest SOS?

  10. BMCUW- What the Morelos crap has shown, is the control Jabba has over the SMSM, the blackmail list is getting bigger….

  11. BMCUW



    The new owners of our pub / club know they are on a winner with


    the Celtic bhoys and ghirls using their place so they try to keep us




    The whole town will be green on the 17 th and i just love it when i


    walk down the main street and see that huge tricolour hanging


    on the facade of the building.


    If and when you get over here please don’t bring that Engerlund


    strip it’s like a red rag to a bull to the Aussies never mind the tims.




    H.H Mick





    Someone posted last night-apologies to the poster!-that Charlie Sale in The Daily Mail had shot down the SMSM reasons for Regan getting fired.



    There were parts of the article to disagree with,but aye,Res 12 done for him. He picked the wrong side,and he’s toast.



    He’s still a youngish fella,I hope he saved a lot of his huge wages from the SFA. He’s gonna need those savings,I reckon.





    It’s like a red rag to a bull to the English anaw-they know I’m ripping the pish,and there’s eff all they can do about it!!!

  14. South Of Tunis on




    Cricket — ?



    Yes — a very typical English collapse .



    An” interesting ” TV umpiring decision in Australia’s favour

  15. South Of Tunis on

    Chelsea fans ? .



    Marked a humping by Watford with a choon about Martin Chivers who played for Spurs the best part of 40 years ago .

  16. Paul 67.



    I don’t read too much into friendly games either. But I guess we would not be foolish enough to ignore them completely.



    The Zenit games are Huge, and the outcome may have lasting implications.


    Our learnings and our progress include the ability to cope with adversity. That is why we cannot use injuries as any excuse.



    I am still quietly confident.




  17. Lets face it, Zenit must think it’ll be a stroll in the park. the group games did not show us in a good light. Our 1st choice keeper is out as is our major goalscoreing threat. DeVrise let 7 in against Barca, Boyata probably wont make it. I hope over confidence kills them.

  18. M6BHOY on 7TH FEBRUARY 2018 7:33 AM



    The bottom line is Sky (and now also BT Sport) generate a fair chunk of income from their Scottish subscribers yet the amount paid to Scottish football is peanuts by comparison. Unfortunately, we are stuck with the SPFL deal till 2020.



    An organised and effective boycott of Sky and BT Sport by Scottish subscribers would have a significant impact on their revenue streams and market shares. This would create the right environment for a better financial deal for Scottish football



    *Hmm interesting comment but it’s not all about the subscription money, it’s worthwhile comparing this with a similar situation over here.



    My other favourite sport is football, the North American version. Up in Canada we have the Canadian Football League (CFL) which some regard as a better game than the NFL version and that’s based on their only having 3 downs as opposed to the Americans 4 which makes for a faster turn around and more chance of the ball in the air as opposed to the running game, more excitement.



    It is also a league where colour, creed and physique are not a problem. It’s not that long ago there were no black coaches or quarterbacks, or diminutive quarterbacks in the NFL.



    Warren Moon the first black quarterback when he played for Houston Oilers before going on to start for 3 other NFL sides spent 6 years in the CFL and 5’ 10” Doug Flutie the architect of the “Hail Mary” pass when with Boston College was 7 years in the CFL before Buffalo drafted him, he played for 2 other clubs after that.



    The NFL, similar to the Premier League, has more hype and plays to a much larger audience. Where some parts of the country has huge CFL fans it’s generally where there is no competition from the National Hockey League.



    The NFL is a big draw in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province accounting for nearly 40 percent of the country’s population, and recently Buffalo Bills played some of their games to sell out crowds in Toronto’s Rogers Centre until the CFL board of governors vetoed that. Even the local CFL Toronto Argonauts failed to do that and relocated, now ground sharing with Toronto FC.



    Where the comparison with Scotland is that Canada, the world’s second-largest country by total area has a population of only 35 million while the US has 325 million, Scotland has 5.4 million while England 55.2 million, almost the same difference percentage wise. As such the CFL is no competition to the NFL and their games are only shown exclusively on Canadian based channels.



    Canadians like the Scots, who founded their country, are a proud race and don’t have a huge love for their southern neighbours, similar to us and the outlanders, however in saying that the bars and clubs in the Greater Toronto Area were packed to the gunnels on Sunday night and the RIDE campaign was out in full force.



    Also, lots of NFL paraphernalia is worn by Canadians, personally I once had a Dallas Cowboys jacket, and still have a Carolina Panthers windbreaker and a Pittsburgh Steelers Tee, it’s all about the marketing.



    There is not enough advertising revenue to justify the outlay for the tv companies, so no use complaining, Scotland like Canada is a tadpole in a shark infested pond, like it or lump it.

  19. GREENPINATA on 7TH FEBRUARY 2018 1:15 PM


    Paul 67.



    I don’t read too much into friendly games either. But I guess we would not be foolish enough to ignore them completely.


    The Zenit games are Huge, and the outcome may have lasting implications.




    In what way are they huge? The manager’s ambition was still to be in Europe after Christmas. That’s been achieved and not beating Zenit will not define our season whereas winning back-to-back trebles would. I would argue that Saturday’s match is much more important than next Thursday’s.



    I don’t buy the desperate need for co-efficiency points. We are no more than cannon fodder when it comes to the CL groups. Yes, we get the CL money but it’s not like we absolutely need it to dominate the scene in Scotland. Anyway, we will sell Dembele and A.N other(s) which will compensate for the loss of CL revenue.



    “Having a party in the CL” has a bit of a hollow ring to it these days. Wouldn’t miss it for nano-second.

  20. M6BHOY


    So you only want to see us in games that we win? You dont think competing against better sides will make US better?

  21. m6bhoy on 7th February 2018 1:43 pm



    Zenit games are huge in terms of getting co-efficient points in order to be seeded in final qualifying round to get into CL next season




    Moravcik67‏ @Moravcik67_ · 17h17 hours ago


    Wee update on next season’s CL qualifying. On current standings the playoff seeds would be PSV, PAOK, Ludogorets & Salzburg. Celtic would be the 1st unseeded team.


    Early days, need to win the league first, etc, etc, But next seasons qualifying could be far tougher than usual.

  22. TONTINE TIM on 7TH FEBRUARY 2018 1:35 PM



    *Hmm interesting comment but it’s not all about the subscription money, it’s worthwhile comparing this with a similar situation over here.




    Can’t comment on the North American scene but both Sky and BT Sport are very sensitive to what they refer to as their churn rate and monitor it very closely. If they detect a higher than expected level of cancelled subscriptions and/or non-renewals, their marketing/sales people go into overdrive to offer deals for new customers or heavy discounts to existing customers who inform them that they are not renewing. That’s why an effective discount in Scotland would worry them.



    They’d also be worried about the possibility it could be copied south of the border by fans outside the big six in the EPL who are fed up of their clubs not getting a fair share of the Sky/BT Sports pie. Other than an organised boycott, I can’t think of another way of fighting back.





    Pretty sure the much-missed THEBOYJINKY became rather enamoured of THE GREEN BAY PACKERS when he lived there for a while.



    It was never a game I could get into,though I tried to in the early 80s. But maybe that was because it gave us an excuse to stay up till about 4 in the morning to watch it!!!!

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