The Planning Department


It’s been a difficult week for us on the pitch,and one which I think will continue on Thursday evening in Romania. Not that I’m being negative about the last week,nor about our final group match in The Europa League,but we have to be honest about the last two matches. Quite simply,we did not play well. There is a good reason for that,and it is the injury to Odsonne Edouard.

Throughout my fiftytwo years as a Celtic supporter,we have almost always been blessed with an embarrassment of riches up front,starting with Bobby Lennox,Stevie Chalmers,Joe McBride and Willie Wallace and continuing with the likes of Dixie Deans,Lou Macari,Harry Hood and Kenny Dalglish. George McCluskey and Charlie Nicholas came and went to be replaced with Brian McClair,Alan McInally and Mo Johnstone. And so it continued through to the days of Gary Hooper,Anthony Stokes and Sami.

But it may be that the departure of those three was the last time we will see proper front line partnerships at Celtic Park. Leigh Griffiths is undoubtedly a goal scoring machine when he is fit,on form,and full of confidence and enthusiasm. Forty goals only four years ago testifies to that fact-and remember,he is still only 28yo. He should be in his prime,and his best may yet be in front of him,but while we all want Leigh back at his best-for his own sake as well as for the good of the club-there have been too many false dawns recently to be confident. For him to lose out to a diminutive winger-who in fairness,had played well when recently given his chance-does not bode well.

And why did Neil decide to play that diminutive winger as his lone striker? Because,in the absence of Eddy,his choices were severely limited. All those strike partnerships over the years,The Three Amigos,the Henke,Sutton,Hartson battering ram,you name it,and we are reduced to,well,you saw it for yourself on Sunday.

Yes,our midfielders can step up to the plate with the goals we need,but that cannot always be relied upon. Particularly not when they are actually involved in a midfield battle,as was the case on Sunday,or simply not firing,as was the case the previous Wednesday. We also seem to have hit something of a lean spell in this regard with our youngsters,although many of our current crop are held in high regard.

We seem also to have fallen victim to bad luck with injuries,but the fact remains that injuries and suspensions are nothing new in football. There should have been alternatives to fall back on in the almost inevitable eventuality of Eddy succumbing to injury. In much the same way that Eddy himself was the alternative for when Moussa Dembele fell prey to more regular injury problems,we should certainly have had that Plan B just waiting,primed,for his chance.

When a club finds itself with a deficiency in a certain position,it generally faces four options. It can look to the development squad,it can search around the transfer markets,it can adapt from within,or it can do nothing. Kieran Tierney got his chance due to an injury to Emilio,Kris Ajer discovered that he was a centre-half when Jozo got injured. And in fairness,we HAVE tried to buy options to cover or complement Eddy. Vakoun Bayo was signed on the strength of 18 goals in 23 games in Slovakia and Maryan Shved joined us based on 15 goals in 26 games in Ukraine. The latter may be termed a winger,but the stats say differently. He knows where the goal is. Sadly he doesn’t know where the first-yeam squad meet up before matches,and that seems unlikely to change soon. If Neil doesn’t rate him and won’t play him,we should attempt to recoup some of his fee and save on his wages ASAP. Move him on and find someone who DOES fit the bill in the opinion of our manager. Bayo,I like what little I have seen of him. A real handful for defences and a different option to the style offered by Eddy.

But they,and other possible alternatives,haven’t been given the opportunities by Neil,even when fit. I’m loathe to criticise him,but he should have been planning for how to deal with the almost inevitable injuries to Eddy. Either by resting him entirely or by subbing him early,giving the others a chance to get used to the playing patterns of their new team mates. If we can’t deal with an injury to Eddy,even for such a short period,how will we cope without him when he leaves? Given that he has not yet signed a contract extension and that the shelf life in The Hoops of a highly rated player is only around two years,I sugggest that Neil starts planning for the future by viewing events over the last couple of weeks. We don’t have a ready made replacement for Eddy,the way that he was groomed to be ready for when Moussa Dembele departed. It may well be that there actually is one already employed by us but I don’t want to wait until next summer to see if that is the case. Neil should be using the next five months to gradually blend any available options into the squad and then into the team. Only then can we avoid turning the drama of Eddy’s absence into a crisis.


Above article by BMCUWP. Get your thoughts posted as Article of the Day by mailing them to Mahe.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Twists n turns
December 10, 2019 6:47 am

Hope no one minds me reposting this. Second and last time I’ll do so. Honest !

Evening all
I’m shamelessly looking to help my daughter raise a few ££ to help Marie Curie. I’ve never asked for donations in the past but I’m making an exception as I was blown away by the assistance Marie Curie gave us during my mother in laws last few days.
If anyone can manage a £5 that’d be plenty and it would go to a very worthy cause.

Thanks for listening.

December 10, 2019 10:23 am

Twisty, agree Marie Curie is a great cause. In my mother’s last wee while a Marie Curie nurse stayed a few nights which gave the family a much needed rest.

December 10, 2019 10:55 am

Bobby agree with everything you say. I reckon everybody in planet Celtic knows we need at least one new forward in January. Peter Lawwell might see the problem too! But as a bean counter he will be looking at the wages of Eddy, Griffiths, Bayo and Shved and thinking our forwards’ wage budget is maxed out. This will be a time to see what kind of relationship Lenny has with the CEO. But I suspect a lot will depend on moving the unused forwards on to pastures new.

Or if he looks at the bigger picture of the overall wage budget he might be satisfied by getting SS wages off the payrol even for a modest or free transfer fee.

December 10, 2019 11:29 am

Is the site broke?

December 10, 2019 11:32 am


Don’t think so!

Hope you are good!

Twists n turns
December 10, 2019 11:33 am

Seems so.

Where’s the edit facility gone?

December 10, 2019 11:33 am

Twists n turns
December 10, 2019 11:34 am

Edit facility appearing on my last post but not on the one I made this morning?

December 10, 2019 11:34 am

Philbhoy, Twisty, At Last. Welcome 🙂

December 10, 2019 11:37 am

Philbhoy, did you see the clip on CQN about French Eddy featuring Paul67? It’s very good.

Twists n turns
December 10, 2019 11:38 am

No edit facility on some posts but it’s there on others.


December 10, 2019 11:38 am

Twisty, my edit facility is working OK. Only for my own posts obviously.

December 10, 2019 11:40 am


The edit facility has long seemed a law unto itself. Does what it feels like.

Twists n turns
December 10, 2019 11:43 am

Sent ya mail… have a quick read bud and do the honours please ??

The Exiled Tim
December 10, 2019 2:23 pm

Where is everyone ?

December 10, 2019 2:30 pm

That’s twice Neil Lennon got away with his selection and tactics,Take for example Lewis Morgan playing up front muscled out by Sevco defenders not the bhoys fault,Eddy not fully fit,Griffiths not even on the bench,James Forrest like Broonie ,Christie,McGregor,not at the races,Game is crying out for someone like Rogic,also Sheved at least give him 20 minutes,but nothing doing he like Griffiths no we’re near the first team squad,Lennon is relying on French Eddy ,Forrest,Christie,to score goals which didn’t happen on Sunday,so tactically luck is on his side,for let’s be honest Sevco we’re all over us,and Lenny didn’t have a clue how to fix it,but he better start using these players that the club paid a bit off money for and at least give them some game time,and off they are not up to it put them up for transfer ASAP,because mark my words when we go into a game that we need to win,if he hasn’t any game changers in the team,we’ll I dread to think what will happen,sorry for the rant,but like players if they get criticised then it’s just right that the manager comes into that Category.

December 10, 2019 2:36 pm

Many thanks for today article Bobby.
It wasn’t coming from this brain.
And you’re right of course,, we do need a proper plan b.
I like Mikey but he needs to cement a position and have a run in the team.
I’ve never see Boom Boom Bayo play but as far as I’m concerned we cant rely on him.
Unlikely to see Griff again looks like.
Aye, a striker or two in January would be nice as let’s face it Eddy us probably gone in the summer.
We need them in January so fit and settled for August.
Summer signings would be too late for Europe and risk the title 10.
Let’s see if Pedro finds biscuit tin.
He absolutely should.
Lenny should come out and say he filly expects at least one to let us know he understands also and puts the onus and pressure on Peter.
Thanks again.
Hail Hail

December 10, 2019 2:38 pm

Monti and our mates at Etims talking about the game. Great chat tbh with some great points raised.

big packy
December 10, 2019 3:07 pm

AFTERNOON ALL, just came in to find a nice letter from the rt hon boris Johnson ,dear james no more gridlock, no more delays, its time to get stuff done,,,we need your help james,, wasn’t that a nice touch calling me by my sunday name, so it looks like ill be changing my allegiance to boris, aye that wull be right, my father would come back and break my legs.?

December 10, 2019 3:19 pm


Never voted for anyone but Labour in my life. Won’t be starting now

big packy
December 10, 2019 3:35 pm

BOBBY, that was a joke, ive always voted labour always will?

December 10, 2019 3:45 pm

Merry Christmas one and all.

big packy
December 10, 2019 3:47 pm

MAHE, merry Christmas to you?

December 10, 2019 3:50 pm
Bada Bing
December 10, 2019 3:55 pm

Lenny saying Griff and Bayo will be involved this Thursday

December 10, 2019 4:42 pm


Sorry I missed your post earlier, chores to do!

I did see Paul in that clip. He sure gets around!

The Exiled Tim
December 10, 2019 4:50 pm

Am a tad baffled and indeed perplexed that Lenny left the Griff out for tactical reasons, he was fit yet he played Morgan instead, I am totally in the dark as to how in any sphere or context Lenny finds Morgan a better bet than The Griff, also Bayo would have been fit if he is to be involved on Thursday, aye Lenny, you got away with one so you did.

Twists n turns
December 10, 2019 4:52 pm

My wife posted that book out today. At last! Apologies for the delay.

December 10, 2019 4:57 pm

Hey Twists.
No need to apologise, look forward to receiving it.
Thank you, for your kindness.
As a wee aside, we saw a brambling at the weekend, a lovely surprise, so 106 for the year.
It sounds good, but the experts do 200+ plus, easy.

December 10, 2019 4:59 pm

TET, I heard a couple of wee bits of gossip about Griff recently which if true might explain things. Nothing explosive.

December 10, 2019 5:02 pm

Anything to do with the manager and then dressing room lockers? ?

December 10, 2019 5:04 pm

Philbhoy, Chores to do? Typical lead up to Christmas! Attendances at matches can suffer, Christmas shopping etc. The weather. Newcastle took fright at their last game, only 43k attended. Now offering free seats for the remaining half season to fill the stadium up. Big bad Mike Ashley! 🙂

December 10, 2019 5:07 pm

JNP, no, do you remember how early the starting 11 on Sunday became known? For example Bada Bing announced it about 11am. It was even earlier elsewhere.

Bada Bing
December 10, 2019 5:11 pm

Cluj team rumour. Same source that gave correct Final team…


Bauer Bitton Ajer Taylor

Ntcham Robertson

Shved Rogic Johnston


December 10, 2019 5:12 pm

Bada Bing, if only that was true!

December 10, 2019 6:38 pm

Fairhill Bhoy, Any golfing today? Ha Ha. 🙂 That rain at 2.30pm was the heaviest I can ever remember.

December 10, 2019 6:46 pm

Packy, If you could only send one, which Celtic player would you send a Christmas Card to? (Me? James Forrest)

December 10, 2019 6:55 pm

Coaches are often wrong in initial selection.
But the really good ones who read the game well often make tactical and personnel changes to their advantage.
3 substitutes is quite a luxury and make turning a poor performance around easier.
So far have yet to see Neil make tactical changes as a reaction to how we are playing.
Most times our substitutions are to late and usually like for like.
Our central midfield area still concedes to much possession and space to opponents but the same system and personnel are picked and often finish the game no matter how poorly they perform.
I like that we are more direct under Neil but still feel we win due to great individual moments.
Hope we have a good video review system to study and learn from to reduce our chances of repeating the performance of Sunday.

The Exiled Tim
December 10, 2019 6:58 pm

I have no idea about any rumours about Griff, but we should always play our best players if they are fit, and that goes for Scott Sinclair as well, as soon as he refused to go to Preston that was it for him, a shocking and childish way to deal with a pro footballer.
The boy is 100% fit and raring to go.
Dugs to feed

big packy
December 10, 2019 6:58 pm

HI JIM, probably big fraser after sunday?

big packy
December 10, 2019 7:04 pm

TET, what do you feed the dugs on, if you don’t mind me asking?

December 10, 2019 7:06 pm

Succulent lamb?

December 10, 2019 7:08 pm

Roast shoulder of lamb, mmmhhh my favourite joint.

big packy
December 10, 2019 7:08 pm

MAHE, the best fed dugs in spain?

December 10, 2019 7:14 pm

Watching RBSalzburg vLiverpool and it’s fairly open.
RB have a new coach and sold 5 regulars in the off season for a lot of money.
Yet they still manage to be a very good side.
Keita the ex Salzburg player has just put Liverpool ahead.
Both he and Mane where bought young and cheap, developed and sold for a large profit
I have often posted about the RB system where they rotate players and coaches throughout all of their teams and make a healthy profit on transfer activity.
Is this the blueprint that many clubs will adopt across Europe.
Personally i do not think multiple ownership should be allowed but UEFA seem powerless to stop it.
Salah just scores from difficult angle to make it 2-0.

big packy
December 10, 2019 7:15 pm

JIM, I love lamb as well, but the mrs has gone all vegetarian, in fact ill be eating the,turkey on my own at Christmas if you want to come along, but beware of the dogs,they love turkey?

December 10, 2019 7:19 pm

James Forrest is a typical winger. Sometimes plays sensational and wins us games. Other times quiet. People get disappointed when he is not playing ten out of ten. But he’s always there potentially. And so not aloof. Yet shows great passion for the game and the team and the fans. Love him to bits as Packy would say.

big packy
December 10, 2019 7:21 pm

JIM, james forrest also gets a Christmas card?

December 10, 2019 7:26 pm

Packy, that’s my snooker hero on TV now Judd Trump. Scottish Open across the road from Celtic Park. Wish I could go out for a pint with him tonight.

big packy
December 10, 2019 7:28 pm

JIM, yes great player, are you watching it.