How important are tactics to the modern coach?

In recent discussions on here, Neil Lennon has attracted some adverse criticism for trying to express a view that the importance of tactics is often over-emphasised by the fans and how he delegates some aspects of tactical and team shape implementation to his deputy coaches. He was even described as a football dinosaur for this view.


So I thought I would look to another successful coach to see if his attitudes towards tactics in coaching was more reverential than Neil’s. I picked on Jurgen Klopp but I am quite willing to have a look at what others are saying about the topic, in any future follow up.


So, I just watched the Football Focus mini-documentary on Klopp’s journey as a coach. Right at the start, Klopp said something like “You cannot win matches without some tactics……(he points at his head indicating the word “knowledge” but he does not speak it)……..but far more important is emotion”

In a separate article I read Pepijn Linders, his assistant, stating “Jurgen creates a family. We always say: 30 per cent tactic, 70 per cent teambuilding,”

German football writer, Ali Hesse, says “What Klopp likes is when things get out of control, because at that point it is all about emotion, about passion, and at that point it comes down to how much you want it. This is when Klopp’s teams are at their best. Klopp creates the situation in the game where it is no longer about tactics, but about getting stuck in and making tackles,”

He has received criticism from some for overworking his players, causing injuries but Andy Massey. head of Medical Services at Liverpool, said ““Jurgen’s philosophy is very much that we’ve got to run further, run faster, run quicker than every other team because if we can do that then the skill will take over.
So we’ve got to put the players in a position where they can do that. When Jurgen first came into the club, we tried to put that in there, but the boys weren’t up to that physical level yet to meet the demands.
At one stage, we had 13 hamstring injuries but now, with the benefit of two pre-seasons, we’re seeing the boys work so much harder and they look like they’re more protected.”


I can’t help but wonder How sentences like these would be parsed and interpreted had they come from Neil Lennon, our coach/ football dinosaur?


Klopp himself has a view on that.
When talking about going back on his word and buying Alisson for big money after denouncing the Man U Pogba transfer fee as obscene, he said:-

“That’s the problem these days. Whatever bulls**t you say, nobody will forget it. On the other side, it is still kind of true. I couldn’t imagine the world would change like that from two-and-a-half years ago.

“One hundred million was a crazy amount of money. Since then the world has changed completely and we have signed the most-expensive goalkeeper and all that stuff.

“We don’t care what the world around us is thinking, like Man United didn’t care about what I said. It’s only an opinion in that moment.

“Did I change my opinion? Yes. That’s true. But it’s better to change your opinion than never have one.

“Whatever people say about that and bring it up again and again, I have had worse days in my life and worse things. I am fine with that. We have the players we wanted. I am fine with that.”


The above is by SFTB. As usual guest contributions are welcome at

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July 28, 2020 5:49 am

Excellent Lead SFtBs,

Of course our greatest ever manager was an incredible motivator, his teams were fully committed and incredibly fit. Yet Jock was no slouch when it came to tactics. To say he was well ahead of his time is of course a huge understatement. Fact is Jock’s understanding of the game was phenomanol.

So how much does formation and tactics play, how much does fitness play and how much does desire to win… that ability to strain every sinew play!?

Quite a few years back a friend of mine took me to an artist friend of her’s workshop. It was quite an experience, he had large pieces of thick sheet-metal. Various sizes, imagine an average size canvas to a very, very large canvas.

His pieces were striking, he would use various techniques to “score”, “pattern” and “gouge” the steel (power saws, angle grinders etc) then would use luminous metallic paints and lacquers to give it a lustrous 3-D effect, depending on where you looked and the colour/angle of the lighting the effect could be very different… very avant-garde… but is it art??

It was when we went to another part of his workshop, where he did more traditional painting that even a philistine like me could see he was a hugely talented artist… you see, to pay his living expenses and fund his luminous, metallic passion he took commissions to paint people’s pets and quite excellent paintings they were… he hated doing them but could get 1,000 for a painting so, you gotta eat.

What is your point caller??

Well it’s this…

… to take things to another level, to produce outstanding results, first you must know your craft… formations, tactics, player technique, player conditioning, player coaching… all the basics have to be there, once you’ve mastered that, only then can you take it to the next level.

My thoughts are Celtic’s coaching staff have that sufficiently as far as the domestic game is concerned, so their more skilful and fitter players can get a result more than nine times out of ten, incredible.

Yet in Europe we are found out. If you are relying on teamwork, passion, emotion, that’s fine as long as the solid foundations are there and as long the teamwork, passion and emotion are there… without that solid foundation the consistency disappears.

In Europe last season we seen it work away in Rome to Lazio, yet seen it fail at home to Cluj and Copenhagen, teams that are better than our domestic competition but on paper not better than us, yet it was them that got the tactics right, it was them showing true passion and emotion.

The likes of Stein and Klopp can win games and trophies on motivation, determination and passion because the basics are a given, they were/are master craftsmen.

Hail Hail

July 28, 2020 7:18 am

SFTB -Chairbhoy

Good read.

I’d strongly agree that tactics + motivation are a necessity. I’d strongly disagree on the 30% / 70% split .

I think Stein- Guardiola- Ferguson – Shankly were much more than just 30% tactics.

Interesting article from Pep

Noel Skytrot
July 28, 2020 8:16 am

I recently watched the excellent – The Last Dance on Netflix which was about the highly successful Chicago Bulls franchise from the 90’s, there wasn’t much talk about tactics, it was more about what was driving the team and the sheer will of those players, coupled with their skill sets, responses to setbacks and coaching tactics which brought them success. In my opinion you need a mix of them all whatever sport you play.

Cosy Corner Bhoy
July 28, 2020 9:07 am

A well constructed article which will doubtless bring out supporters of both sides of the debate!!
As a supporter from the days of Sir Robert’s team selections till the present Neil’s tactics( or lack of ) I fall into the better players beat better tactics in the long game. I mean Sir Robert playing Sean as centre forward in a cup final would only work as a one-off surely.
The Souness tactics of the Hurlocks for the boot f**k out of everything above the grass,plus himself boot and skill about 50/50 and the Laudrups etc for the skill were successful as were the Cardigan’s teams of EBT stuffed players and his ‘nae idea of tactics’ era.
We appear to be a plan A type team under Neil…. we’ve got the better players so we’ll win.. and Plan B is non-existant, unless you call McGregor at left back a tactic,- called by me as ‘For fuxake what’s he doing playing McGregor there for’ tactic.
So for me since he APPEARS to be of the no idea of tactics school he sticks to what he knows.
And it works in the SPFL and this season that’s all that matters.

July 28, 2020 9:13 am

The 4 matches v them this season will be critical.
Do you think Neil will outsmart SG in those 4 games? If he does , I believe we get the 10.

If he doesn’t- we don’t.


July 28, 2020 9:45 am


A bit of food for thought in that article,bud. From experience,I would say that there’s only one thing worse than a team that is overcoached,and that’s one that runs about like a bunch of headless chickens due to not being given any direction at all.

Obviously the answer is in getting the balance right,similar to a manager knowing when to administer a kick up the arse or an arm around the shoulder.

Or the dreaded hairdryer!

But an important aspect of tactical awareness seems to be being ignored here. And that is in the ability to make changes to a game while it is in progress. Not necessarily by substitutions,btw,more in shifting the personnel around a bit because the opposition aren’t playing in quite the way expected. This is where Neil,IMO,has been found wanting,I’m afraid. There have been a good few occasions when we are watching a game,seeing our midfield being swamped or our defenders getting outmuscled,whatever,and wondered why we can see it but NL can’t.

The answer is,I’m afraid,worse than that. That he CAN see it,but either doesn’t know how to react to it,or doesn’t think he has the players to do it. I mean,there’s enough people on the bench watching the same game as us,they can’t all be missing the obvious.

So there’s the worry. That he doesn’t think the players have the ability-or the intelligence-to alter their game plan.

July 28, 2020 9:47 am


I’ll reply to your mail later,mate. A few points to ponder!

July 28, 2020 9:50 am

I am very confident that Neil will outsmart Slippy Gee this season. He is a far better manager, with far better players at his disposal. Barisic is their only player who would get into our team. Katic too, possibly. I also don’t think the league will come down to head to heads with the huns. I can see us being 3 points ahead of them, come this Sunday night, for example. I think tactics are important, but not as important as having better players with a winning mentality. Celtic are a team of winners, the huns a team of losers. Here we go 10 in a row!

July 28, 2020 10:27 am

Twisty @ 9:13 am,

I believe you are right, things are getting interesting domestically.

Rangers are showing that tactics and teamwork can make average players into a formidable team.

After the ghuys on here were discussing Mike Beale, I sought some info on him, he has an impressive track record. Of course, unlike Celtic, Rangers do better in Europe than they do domestically, he reasoned this…

“I think in Scotland we play football in a way that is very unique to Scotland

“Not many other places play football like that. I think long balls lead to a lot of unpredictability in football and in the game you take the press off the first pass. And if the first pass goes into your 18-yard box as it does in Scotland then it’s difficult.

“I think the games are refereed in a certain way and I think the games (in Europe) are played less physically and more technically.

Of course the average Celtic supporter feels that it’s the lack of strength and depth in the Rangers squad relative to ours that has made the difference.

Yet, even if that’s so, they have strengthened their squad in the last few summer windows, we have weakened ours.

If Rangers can find a way to consistently beat teams in Scotland, keep advancing in Europe then it’s down to the “old firm” games to see initially who wins the TEN, then who picks up the other trophies, then who is going to be the club for the early twenty, twenties…

We can already sense squeaky bum time in the Celtic hierarchy.

Hail Hail

Billy Bhoy
July 28, 2020 11:42 am


That’s a very good – and topical article.

I was firmly in the “Not sure if Neil is the man to take Celtic forward” camp. Cluj and Copenhagen were to me clear evidence that he wasnt.

However, I’ve since been slowly turning around and yesterday was perhaps a pivotal moment. Seeing a group of lesser used players who collectively couldn’t be remotely described as “a team” play in such a coordinated manner gave me real food for thought. Someone at Celtic Park is clearly very good at organizing a team and it is reassuring to see the strength in depth of the squad. If it’s Lenny -great. If it’s John Kennedy – even better. Never mind The Ten, the Twenty is assured! 🙂

Seriously, to me, looking at that yesterday The Ten should be pretty straight forward. Sevco barely have that quality in their first pick eleven.

A thing of beauty
July 28, 2020 12:02 pm

As usual you construct your point well. Klopp is a very successful coach with top players technically and tactically with Dortmund and Liverpool. He clearly recognises there is a place for tactics and their importance to the game. I doubt he would think that putting the midfield in front of the defenders constitutes the 30% tactics part though.
We all remember when Neil arrived that he said their was stuff in Brendans office he didn’t recognise. I believe previously you have alluded that may have been nothing to do with football tactics or sports science but I believe it was. The reason he did not recognise these things is because Neil has never went anywhere ( outside his trusts confidantes and the mandatory coaching courses) to learn. I believe that if you want to operate at the top level you must strive to improve yourself and learn every day. If you don’t you are cheating yourself. I believe that about players as well but that’s another argument.
Tommy Burns went all over the great European clubs to learn about the game and probably recognised he took the Celtic job too soon. Had he got it after he had been to Ajax, Madrid etc he would have had far more success.
Mourinho learned the game from Robson and van gaal before taking Porto to the European cup. He did that with tactics because they sure as heck did not have the best players in Europe.
Bielsa, who has had recent success with Leeds coached all over South America learning his trade before going to Spain the into international management. Again, learning, learning, learning.
When Neil said that he didn’t recognise the stuff Brendan was using it said to me he had not been learning when he was out the game. That worries me. I want people in charge at my club who are striving to be the best they can. The fact that we are winning in Scotland is masking a lot of deficiencies in the team make up. Tactics should help with that. He was given a lesson by Gerrard in the LCF and a lot of fans openly questioned the tactics when he picked the same team to play them at Celtic park at the end of the year. Result. Beaten. Now he went away and honed the formation in Dubai and we were flying but now in preseason we see the old failings again. Too big a gap in the middle of the park and 5 passes from the opposition taking them from their own box to ours. He can see that and because we play poorer teams in the Spl seems disinclined to address it. The thing is though it gets us found out every time in Europe. Cluj and Copenhagen did for us this year with tactics, not with better players. If we had a modicum of shape coached into us I believe we’d have got to the last 16 of the europa. I am discounting cluj because I don’t think even neil knows why he played mcgregor at left back.
Long winded I know but I get frustrated when I see fans thinking because we have better players we will win. That’s plan A but there also has to be plan B and there are times, especially against the ibrox mob that tactics will have a part to play. It’s just crazy to say otherwise.

July 28, 2020 12:35 pm

A thing of beauty @ 12:02 pm,

Excellent post… totally agree.

When Tommy took over as Manager of Celtic there was a coach that many thought was a shoe-in for his backroom staff.

He’d been round the block and knew Scottish Football and knew how to motivate a Celtic team.

The thing is though; Tommy delicately explained to his one time mentor, the game had moved on, the players were different.

Few could imprint the Glasgow Celtic way, few could apply the boot up the @r$e with such precision and power, few could switch on the hairdryer with such intensity and ferocity, yet few could put the arm round the shoulder and listen, support and advise as this wise old head could.

Yet there was no place in TB’s backroom set-up for this highly experienced, highly respected coach, you see 25 years ago Tommy realised the game had moved on and so must Celtic.

Hail Hail

por cierto
July 28, 2020 12:36 pm

Successful tactics are more to do with stopping a better team than yours playing. If you have the better players as we do in SPFL then it’s all about the motivation and making sure they’re up for it and not just taking the other team for granted. Sevco know we have the better players so tactically, this is Beale not Gerrard, the set up to stop us playing at CP but at Ibrox they leave themselves exposed to our better players as they thought they could do better than us with the intimidating atmosphere. Be interesting to see they way they play against us at Ibrox this year. Por ceirto.

Bada Bing
July 28, 2020 12:42 pm

Celtic seeded for all the qualifiers

July 28, 2020 1:08 pm

Do you honestly think that Celtic under Neil Lennon, do not employ tactics in any matches we play? Or, do you realise we do employ tactics, but you dislike our tactical approach under Neil?
We had failures against both Cluj and Copenhagen, but I put that down to very bad errors by our players in both those losses. Beating Lazio, home and away, were tactical masterclasses by our management team and error free performances by our players.
Regarding the Ibrox mob, there have been no occasions, when they have tactically outclassed Celtic, under Gerrard. They got the better of us for under an hour in the LCF, which I put down to injuries and lack of fitness on the day, however, we won the cup. The game in December at home, we had the better possession stats and played better. They raised their game that day, and again, 2 defensive errors cost us, and they got lucky. I really feel you have it in for Neil Lennon, and I honestly don’t understand why?
Would you rather we had Slippy Gee as manager of Celtic?

July 28, 2020 1:24 pm

I hate that US expression ‘take the knee’, the correct term is genuflecting. It will be nice to see the Sevco players genuflecting at Pittodrie on Saturday. ??

July 28, 2020 1:33 pm


Funny you should say that-the article from last week about the filth being posted at the Rangers players by their own fans for “taking the knee” and the resultant Rangers statement ,I was going to title The Genuflection Deflection!

big packy
July 28, 2020 2:11 pm

AFTERNOON ALL and JIM , GARRY you are correct for once in your life? ? its called genuflecting, used to do it every sunday at mass, and holidays of obligation? another true story?

July 28, 2020 2:13 pm

Afternoon all and Packy. Question. When do you genuflect with both knees?

big packy
July 28, 2020 2:16 pm

HI JIM, you dont

July 28, 2020 2:20 pm

Your memory is going the same way as mine Packy but i remember this one.

big packy
July 28, 2020 2:22 pm

JIM, is it a trick question??

July 28, 2020 2:25 pm

when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, like in the Monstrance rather than reserved in the Tabernacle, you should go down on both knees.

big packy
July 28, 2020 2:27 pm

JIM, forgot about that, trust you?

big packy
July 28, 2020 2:37 pm

JIM what have you been doing today apart from hoovering?

July 28, 2020 2:43 pm

used to do a quality genuflection when i was an Altar Boy. The grannies at Benediction thought i’d make a great priest; best thurible control this side of the Pacos ?

on tactics – of course you need tactics, especially if there is a clear threat or weakness in the opposition. I do agree though that the players on the pitch need to spot issues and be able to address them and not stick rigidly to the coaches rules (e.g. stay out wide at all times)

most obvious Neil Lennon tactical games were vs Barca in 2012. The away game was played as a ‘cc’ of Chelsea vs Barca earlier that year and but for the late sub to bring on Kayal (too late to fit in to game and was a bit of ball chaser) we would have got a point

the 3-5-2 this year was a strategic rather than tactical change

Neil as a ‘dinosaur’ would be when he would throw van Dijk up as striker or put on Paddy McCourt to save games. He makes subs a lot earlier than last time around which shows he has matured

Given all that support i just gave; i saw a ‘memory’ on facebook the other day from the Cluj qualifier last summer. I ripped Neil apart that night! In my defence, he did make a mess of it and blamed the players (plus i was pished on Cypriot beer)

Hail Hail

July 28, 2020 2:48 pm

Packy, gave the kitchen a thorough Spring clean. The service engineer is coming tomorrow to give the gas boiler it’s annual maintenance. Don’t want him talking about me! Also went through all my paperwork and got rid of all the old stuff.

Coneybhoy, know what you mean! 🙂 When I see the altar servers nowadays, whispering to each other, giggling, fidgeting, wee waves to pals (mostly girls today) I think, you wouldn’t have dared to do that when I was a boy. the priests would have went ballistic LOL.

big packy
July 28, 2020 2:52 pm

on the subject of neil luv him to bits, hunskelper par excellence, now comes the caviat, as has been said on here, we have the better players so its up to neil to motivate them and push ahead for the ten, cant see us going anywhere in europe unfortunately, but if we get the ten,i dont think that will be equalled in our lifetime.?

A thing of beauty
July 28, 2020 2:53 pm

I do not “have it in for Neil Lennon.” I am of the opinion that the lack of importance he places on tactics and shape is costing us in Europe and cost us against the ibrox mob last season. If we had a shape for when we don’t have the ball we would not have lost to Copenhagen. We would have fell into our shape, composed ourselves and went on to win the game. We didn’t and they took the prize with very few players that would make our first 11. In our preseason games we had no shape without the ball. We should not be in a situation where other teams only need to make five quick passes from their box to a shot at our goal. But it happened time and time again. It would happen frequently in the SPL if they are teams did not muck up pass three time and again.
I did not see the LCF but the consensus from the msm and the blogs was that they should have won. I did see highlights and Morelos missed a few snips. What was concerning was that even though we got out of jail, Neil was happy enough to go with the same formation again. We spent the last 30 minutes huffing and puffing while they sat in, in their shape and we never once looked like scoring. This is against a team remember that 12 months prior we were battering 4 and 5. How did they stop that? Tactics and shape. Not better players.
If you are happy that we have the best coach we could have and that every day we are improving then I don’t believe you are being honest. We are not improving. We are going backwards and as they come forwards it is becoming too tight for my liking. We need to utilise everything in our power and tactics should be part of our armour. The modern European player expects to be coached, not managed. He doesn’t need managed. He knows how to look after himself, knows to take each game seriously and wants to improve everyday. If you think Neil Lennon is going to improve Eddie and Ntcham with his man management I think you’ll be disappointed. They come to work to learn and improve not to be motivated and full of fire in their belly. It’s not how foreign players, generally speaking operate. If we want to continue to attract players of their quality we needed to have a coach who can teach them. We knew from how he spoke when he arrived that wasn’t going to be Neil but we had a chance to get someone in when Duff left. I hope Gavin Strachan can be that man. If you look how BR and his staff improved the players we had, surely there is nothing wrong in wanting the same. That’s not having it in for the manager, that’s just asking the manager to do his job and if he can’t, find someone who can to help him.

big packy
July 28, 2020 2:58 pm

JIM@2-48 too true? the skip company came today for their money ffs 500 quid for an 8 ton skip, after a long argument i paid up in threepenny bits, boy i nearly died laughing watching him put the money in his van with a forklift truck?

Mike in Toronto
July 28, 2020 3:20 pm

Reading the comments, and coneybhoys, in particular, A thought occurred …..

shouldnt there be an agreement on language…. what is the difference between tactics, strategy and formation?

This article defines tactics as: an action or strategy carefully planned to achieve a specific end. In a football context, tactics can been described as how a team manages space, time and individual actions to win a game. So the definition of tactics includes the strategy at team-level that a manager devises to win the next match, but there is also an individual level to tactics.,actions%20to%20win%20a%20game.

this is an interesting article on how to teach tactics incrementally, starting with the person, and then expanding to the team…

Mike in Toronto
July 28, 2020 3:31 pm

more random thoughts…

human nature being what it is, psychologically, it is 100 times harder to win the 10th in a row than the first… it is a delicate balance to maintain a winning team that maintains the confidence that comes from winning, yet still changing it enough that players stay hungry and dont get complacent…

looking at the preseason games, SG is getting more out of his players than NFL is …

NFL seems content to go out and ‘let his best players do their thing’, which has worked in Scotland because the gulf in qualify was so large… and most coaches are of the same mind …

it hasnt’ worked as well in Europe where the gulf in class is not so great, and, even where we face weaker players, they are coached to be better units…

SG has improved his squad each season… and he is probably improving each season as a coach (newer coaches have more to learn, so can improve at a faster rate than coaches who have been doing it for 10 years) …, the coaching advantage we have had is probably narrowing …..we still look like better players, but they look like a more cohesive team that has a system …

big packy
July 28, 2020 3:50 pm

MIKE, while you are on off topic im afraid ,but we were talking about sausages on here the other day, well i have to admit joan and myself got a breakfast at a little cafe in niagara falls, the sausages were scrumptious only small compared to ours but lovely taste,?BTW, the best mince pie or scotch pie as some people say i ve ever tasted outside of my homeland,was in a little bakery in niagara on the river, small town you will know it, delicious, another true story?

July 28, 2020 3:54 pm


Must read your links later, sounds interesting.

I just made the strategy/tactics comment based on how i work e.g. tactics delivery the strategy and you waterfall KPIs based on that. I football i see the vision as winning the game, strategy is the player selection and formation, tactics is targeting a player, upping/dropping tempo etc – hope is didn’t sound patronising


The World Patronising Awards have just been announced

In condescending order……

July 28, 2020 3:58 pm

Is NL tactically aware? I am in the camp that believes this is not one of his strengths. The Cluj and Copenhagen results show this. Versus Cluj at home, he had several chances throughout the game to close the game down and win the tie but he failed to do that…instead he let the game continue on its see-saw path. Great for the neutral but not smart for Celtic. Versus Copenhagen, all he had to do was stop the other team scoring by playing tight. Instead we were caught on the break which was their known strength and style of play.
As already stated, he gets away with his lack of tactics in the SPL because we have a) superior players, b) a deep player pool. Most teams set up to defend and frustrate us so our approach is the same in most games. When we come against Sevco, it is different and NL’s performance against them is mixed at best(League Cup final and the home game!).
Take the bounce game vs Hibs……he played, initially 4231 with several players playing out of position…McInroy, Robertson(second half), Henderson. Add to that that Elhamed is better at FB than CB. In the first half, what happened as he sat and watched, taking no action? Neither of the FB’s could get forward consistently as they were pinned back by the wing backs of Hibs. So, both Dembele and Henderson were starved of the ball…each had to backtrack to pick the ball up in their own half. Once they got the ball they rarely had an opportunity to pay the ball forward. So, each, particularly Henderson , was forced to bring the ball in, horizontally across the two lines of a Hibs defence. In most cases this resulted in the ball being turned over with the chance of a break away.
The second half was different after he finally made a significant change to the team shape…he played two strikers. However, before that he brought on Connell, took off McInroy and switched Robertson to LB. The first change did not alter the shape of the team, but it did make a difference in that Connell knew how to pass into space rather to feet. His hooks over the Hibs defence were a highlight of the game! With Griff on, suddenly there was another option for a forward pass. He enhanced that option by moving all across the front line to take passes. LG’s cameo makes you want to fall in love with him all over again.
OK, you say, too harsh, because NL only had three subs on the bench, and one of these was a keeper. True, but why did he only have three subs? Where were Rogic, Bolingoli and other youth players?
In terms of the game, it was good entertainment. On the basis of this ONE game, I am sad to say that Ralston will not make it at our club. He has still to realise that he is part of a defensive unit, not just a RB. His positioning on the Hibs goal played Doig onside. He can cross the ball better than most FB’s, but it is time for him to move on. Robertson was lost at sea for much of the first half and I doubt he will be competitive enough to land a midfield role at our club. McInroy played some great passes and performed well in a new position. He might make it but why buy Soro then? Henderson is a very gifted player but more so in central midfield, not the wing. He needs lots of games to develop…so he needs a season loan. Soro needs also to play regularly but at the club. Will he get the chance? He should do! The keeper, Hazard played well when called into action….good concentration throughout the game. Dembele is well hyped and will get chances to play…..some very good moments and same bad. The jury is out on him. Connell was outstanding……good vision, good, quick ball control, good strength, and confident. I look forward to seeing more of him.
Clearly, I am enjoying my first Celtic fix of the season but I’ll close out now!


Mike in Toronto
July 28, 2020 4:07 pm


Your comments didn’t come across as patronising. And I didn’t mean to imply that, so sorry if it came across that way.

But, I think your definition of ‘tactics’ , for example, is different than the definition in the article… all I was saying that we should try to agree on what we mean by each term …. although, I recognize that, in some cases, it isn’t always possible …

big packy
July 28, 2020 4:25 pm

JIM, are you still about, obviously mike in toronto is not talking to me? do you fancy another true story, or shall i bow out gracefully?

Mike in Toronto
July 28, 2020 4:42 pm


Not ignoring you… but, remember, it is still the middle of the day for me, and I’m at the office.

If you wish to guarantee an immediate and sensible response (or at least, immediate), you will have to send a rather large retainer to my office!

As I say, Im a the office, so Seamus is probably on the computer at home. So, if he isnt writing back, then you must have posted something to upset him! (I suspect that it was mentioning that you had good sausages, and didn’t share them with him!)


big packy
July 28, 2020 4:49 pm

MIKE, no problem buddy, forgot about the time difference, luv to you and seamus ?

Mike in Toronto
July 28, 2020 4:55 pm


Is that your polite way of saying that I”m not getting a big retainer?


July 28, 2020 5:25 pm

I’ve been out all day but got back to read the replies and most are much better than the article, which is mostly a collection of disparate quotes.

I particularly enjoyed ATOB’s gentle and funny put down about what constitutes 30% (an arbitrary estimate anyway) in tactics- Brilliant!

In fairness to myself I was responding to a post from fan-a-tic which was using what I considered extreme language in saying we had no semblance of shape or tactics, none at all.

While the discussion has been more enlightening than the article, most have shied away from the 2 other questions in the article.

Firstly, why do we over-parse and over-examine everything our manager says when he is speaking on the hoof?

And, secondly, Klopp’s question about his B***shit being taken as gospel.

For me , that is of as much importance as the mythical best ratio between tactics and motivation/emotion.

We tend to post that the winning team is the one that has got its tactics right, therefore we deduce that Sevco’s manager was better than ours when they manage to beat us or even draw with us. But we fail to add the counterpoint that the same superior Stevie Gee cannot get his team to win a trophy (Veola counts as much as Petrofac counts) or sustain a challenge across a season. I think it is an indictment of him as a manager that he only gets his team up for Celtic matches and Europe. It is a reflection, perhaps, of his inner Joey Barton, in that he thinks this stuff is beneath him.

July 28, 2020 5:32 pm


You are too hard on yourself. You wrote a good article that stimulated debate. Usually you get a response to what you post which is an important determinant of the quality of an article. Whereas, my stuff just sits there and grins back at me! Still, smetimes it is the journey that matters and not the destination.


big packy
July 28, 2020 5:35 pm

MIKE@ 4-55 yes ?

July 28, 2020 5:43 pm

From Celtic F.C. Twitter.
Season tickets sold out.
We are delighted to announce that we have hit record numbers for our Season Ticket sales!

Thank you to every single supporter who has bought a #CelticFC ST – we can’t wait for the season to kick off and we hope to have you back in Paradise as soon as we can

July 28, 2020 6:08 pm

Many many thanks for todays excellent food for thought, which was always going to spark debate.
As far as what any manager says, I don’t think I really care that much tbh. Its all about what his team does. I mean if hes a foreigner speaking through a translator then its not about what he says to the public at all, but if his team are playing well and flying you are happy despite the direct words.
Words are simply words, we see them day in day out, and just because someone who gets paid a lot more than me said them doesnt mean they carry weight.
I believe that what Klopp was trying to say.

As Celtic fans we have often received mixed messages, and I wonder is that deliberate or just a way of life. For instance we hear of a meeting in London where DD blew it and told Brendan to act like the professional manager we pay well for, and Peter to support him stop effing around.
Yet this doesn’t seem to have happened, which makes one wonder what exactly happened, and how we spread (dis)information.
We now hear that after failing to get his three targets to take to the next level, all within budget and verbally agreed, he calls Peter to say you are out of the transfer loop.
The next day he wakes up to a news report saying Shved has been signed, a clear power play, and his frustration was evident in the comment we have a million wingers and dont need another one.
Its perhaps notable that the player in question never got a sniff really, possibly just a low cost statement that the board runs this club.
Friday see’s us look at this part of the conversation in more detail.

I disagree with your assertion that Stevie Gee cannot get his team up for smaller games.
Last Christmas we were neck and neck, infact some would say they were in the driving seat considering if they kept up their points per game tally they would be champions, and had a system to beat their rivals. At halfway there was zero evidence to backup your claim.
I repeat where they went wrong was rookie mistakes over the break, which affected the onfield performance, which one must expect will be learnt from.

We did the opposite, and came up with a new system, which I do hand credit to Lenny for. That along with Adam Matthew at left back to handle a cutting inside Messi, are roughly the sum of the tactical breakthroughs that I can lay at Lennys feet. I can lay far more tactical failures than successes at the gaffers door believe me.

Truth is if he could seriously motivate, and had tactics, he would probably be in the EPL right now and not with us. There’s an argument to say that Neil is the best we can get under this setup, as no serious manager would put up with such boardroom interference.
I would put it to you that if we find ourselves in a scrap then either Neil isnt as good as you think or Stevie Gee is better than you think. I mean two years experience and a lesser squad shouldnt be challenging the Champions with a good manager and better squad surely?
Which one is it ? 😉

Hail Hail

July 28, 2020 6:17 pm

Oooorrrleeeee, Oooorrrleeeee, Oooorrrleeeee

What ‘the Lurgan Klopp’ with his Irish lilt, is saying every week at the start, and all through
Sellick’s every foray into enemy territory, is actually Glaswegian, Byres Rd, Tennent’s Bar for

Early, Early, Early

A great tactic of these days, annoys me and EuroChamps67, but works a treat every week seemingly, so
far anyway, what with world class dentistry, and polished ego’s wee downsized porky Celtic managers spend
their money elsewhere, get down and get down and dirty useing Ambrose and Tony (fcuking) Watt to beat Barca,
and then man manage Leigh Griffiths to racing snake proportions, in a week.

One man and his blackboard played pure beautiful inventive etc, another man does Tora, Tora, Tora towards his
inevitable destiny and the TEN.

Virtual Regards

Sentinel Celts all over Rutherglen, Burnside, Cambuslang and the known world.

July 28, 2020 6:18 pm

Given the theme of today’s blog, here’s a piece I hope at least one or two find of interest.

big packy
July 28, 2020 6:42 pm

so it was 1971 i was 18 had a very boozy night in yogis bar in coatbridge, did not get home till 2 in the morning, missed all the day masses, so went to the 6- 0 clock night mass, coming out of our lady and st josephs you either went round the main road past the village or went over inchneauk, which was a path through the woods that brought you into the housing estate, not many people used it at night, but i just wanted to get home,suddenly in the distance i seen flashing lights and sounds, i was thinking of travis walton and the alien abduction, i was feckin scared, then as i got closer to our estate, the big flashing light and the bell was right in front of me, i thought this is it im going to be abducted, then i saw di nardos ice cream van in front of me, and you know what i had put my last few bob into the collection plate, so could not buy a pokey hat??,another true story.

July 28, 2020 6:45 pm

Packy, you will go straight to Heaven! LOL 🙂