Final flaws non fatal but foreboding

After the victory, celebrate.
After that analyze, and ideally learn.
And there are many many lessons to be learned from that historic final.

 

Once again, and before the criticisms begin, I offer wholehearted congratulations to the entire footballing department on their world record achievement.
A dozen straight is one hell of a trophy haul, well done everyone.

 

But for the record I never wish to witness another performance like that again.
Jekyll and Hyde would have been proud of that performance.

 

The much vaunted changes happened, meaning even before a ball had been kicked Lenny had upped the pressure on himself, a victory fully necessary to vindicate the selections. An impressive victory necessary to show the manager knows best.
He didn’t get it.

 

He was 45 minute’s away from it though.
After a good first half where we showed plenty enough drive and commitment, going in ahead at the break and looking comfortable, the same again was needed.
Another half similar to the first would have left the support gobsmacked witnessing the old guards renaissance, and with zero criticisms at all to level.
But no.

 

The first 15 mins of the second half was always going to be mighty important. A fool could have known Robbie would fire up his troops for the big push, would attempt to implement new tactics with the aim of gaining a foothold in the game, had nothing to lose by switching it up.
Lenny needed to anticipate this, and react first by preparing the troops for the sure to come renewed vigour.
Full concentration from the whistle, keep it tight for the next 15 to frustrate them, no silly fouls and cut out crosses as if your very life depended upon it should be the cry.

 

It took three minutes for the breach, a terrible time to concede as now there’s a rejuvenated team with an entire half at their disposal.
And a header at that with four six and a half footers contained within the back five. Tells me our positioning was poor.

 

Now we are in a real fight, have lost the ascendancy, and need cajoled.
Its time to be on your feet on that touchline balling instructions, first and foremost to your Captain who doubles as your screening midfielder and secondly to your target man that his movement and ball retention are crucial during this period.
They will pressure and as soon as we transition he needs to show bigtime.
Nope.

 

His opposite number reacted to his teams growing belief by injecting a pacey forward at a midfielders expense, ballsy, but it almost immediately paid off with the equaliser coming within ten minutes.
We responded by withdrawing an attacking midfielder on form only to replace him with another attacking midfielder.

 

The player who in my humble opinion was by far the poorest on the pitch lasted until extra time to be replaced.
If I don’t see Odsonne in the strip again I would be happy.
He clearly wanted to go in the summer, very bloody nice of him seeing that the team who made him are going for a once in a lifetime prize. But it didn’t happen.
So like most professionals out there you ply your trade to the best of your ability anyway and try to enjoy life, being thankful to be a millionaire so young when many are hurting.
And you especially repay the faith shown by the manager in you with his selection as you know you haven’t been putting in a full shift, but here is the ideal opportunity to repair the rift, let the feet do the talking, and show the world you’re a good footballer worth investing in.
Aye right.
He got the highlight reel penalty, and I recall one big dribble, but what we seen is typical Eddy this year.
The minimum, and if it’s on a plate sure but work hard? Non mon amie.
Yet he lasts to extra time.

 

On the bench we either had Mr ‘He totally hates the Hearts’ Griffiths who has a black mark to remove regarding his lack of readiness for this season. This game was made for him, and it showed.
We also had Mr Paddy ‘Bustagut’ Klimala.
My theory is he isn’t suited to the regular SPL home games as teams tend to sit back which nullifies him being an on the shoulder striker. But a Cup Final on that big wide pitch against an attack minded adversary is his type of game. And what better way to say I’m worthy of playing more than doing well and/or scoring in a historic high pressure game?
Meanwhile Ajeti the big money striker who we actually own and in theory should be leading our line wasn’t on the bench, may be injured maybe not, and come Christmas has hardly been seen, great endorsement of our transfer strategy.
The midfielder considered supporting striker, Moi, had a quiet to poor game to boot.
Upfront, it never happened with Eddy on the park, once again.
I don’t believe it will with him ever again, he has lost his motivation and I would cut our loses next month. The eejit has cost himself a fortune with his stroppiness, for no top team would touch him I believe, whereas once that was his trajectory.

 

So while we were essentially a man down up top leaving us with no striker of substance, their third striker was the games standout tactical masterstroke.
Instructed to stand on the byline just in the sweet spot between defence and midfield, too far to draw the right back forward and too deep to gain the midfields full attention, he simply collected wide and ran at pace towards our new right-back.
Kris isn’t slow but that exposed him majorly.

 

Neil did react to this by bringing on Frimpong to match pace and assist on the right flank, but by then the damage was done. Ginelly has showed the SPL how to exploit Kris now so I expect others to attempt it. The coaching staff had best start looking for an answer, and winter camp would be the ideal time to work on it.

 

Speaking of coaching Stevie Woods has a lot of work to do. The lad between the sticks is very raw, there were too many rash decisions to be comfortable, although the script was written for him to have the hero month, written by myself in fact.
The facts are he is probably too raw to stick with, but, he is carrying all that momentum and now more self belief.
I think we lose with Barkas between sticks, or Bain, but the third option is far from perfect. He either ups his game which is possible with intensive training one on ones etc, or his dream start ends in tatters back on the bench in a no the or so. Tough spot for the kid who might allow that to get to him, and tough in general for you, me and the sieve in particular who now don’t know who the keeper will be any given game.
If we are sticking with Hazard, then stating it publically might be wise as it lets everyone know where they stand.
Ironically winning a final has given us a bigger keeper selection headache and no clear direction in that department, only Celtic eh.

 

So in sealing the victory there’s enough for the op-TIM-ist and with the disjointed display the others got plenty ammo.
Its more or less a case of ‘as you were’ but we actually were two saves away from seeing a mob outside the Park demanding Lennys head, that’s how fine the margins are these days.

 

In a season full of subpar performances, a Cup Final is not the time to turn out one of your worst halves yet, despite the salvage job at the end.
To lose a two goal lead in a final with very much the superior players at your disposal is at best concerning, but given our season unsurprising.
To see a tactical switch work wonders against us will surprise no one who has watched this team try to qualify for Europe the last few years.
And to rely on individual players producing a couple moments of magic to bail you is very much Neils style this time around.

 

The Cup Final, although ultimately a success, revealed our managers numerous flaws to the world, if you care to look.

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Garry

Mahe
Good read mate. I think Barkas should play tomorrow. I think Conor Hazard or Ross Doohan will be our future number 1. Both are tall lads who are technically very good, but lack physicality and experience for the SPFL where refs allow the opposition to rough up and foul Celtic goalkeepers.
I still see our glaring problems in defence. We do not have a centre half who can effectively deal with crosses into our box, and we do not have a full back who can prevent crosses being fired into our box. A bad combination for us to have, that Neil needs to fix, probably by buying and selling in January. I personally would not mind if we sold Jullien, Taylor and Frimpong in January, and replaced with defenders who can defend.
Huge four games coming up for both us and the huns. Four games in which we could be in a position to be level, if we win our games in hand.
I am certainly looking forward to this next fortnight, and fancy our chances.
Here We Go to 10 in a Row. 💪✊🍀💚

Garry

Heard this Tim was celebrating on Sunday night.
He can’t wait to go to another game in Paradise.
Coolio 👌🍀💚

https://g.co/kgs/GZLjmW

Garry

Mahe
Could you not use your Californian influence to get Californian Tims, Snoop Dawg and Coolio to buy DD’s shares?
Would love the ride with those two calling the shots. 😊

Garry
GER57

Hi Mahe, good lead off article. Thanks.
I agree that Conor is raw, but he should be better protected. Big Fraz stayed on his line at crosses, but even he would have had trouble with Naismith being allowed to obstruct him. I’d persevere with Conor just now.
We’re desperate for a centre back pairing that can defend crosses. What’s with the panic stations?
This is the worst defence in all my time watching Celtic. And I saw Frank Munro’s debut.
How do we properly use Kris Ajmer? Big lad, not a natural defender, poor in the air, pacy, good on the ball but liable to too many poor passes. A good coach would find a role for such a good footballer.
We created quite a few chances v Hearts, including a couple in the 2nd half when our defence was having kittens. One of them goes in, different game.
On days when Beaton or any other MIB is allowing thuggery, we need two enforcers in midfield. Back in the day, big Jock seemed to sacrifice flair for muscle v the Huns. Jim Brogan, David Hay brought in to reinforce Bobby and Bertie. Soro looks the part for me, but we need another.
Upfront, it does look like Eddie has chucked it. Was he promised a move? If it’s the player playing sillybuggers, then he’s damaged his own prospects too. We don’t really know how good Klimala and Ajeti are. Can either play with Griff? How fit is Griff?
We now have a tough schedule ahead. Is our squad deep enough? How deep is the Sevco squad? They seem to have been lucky with injuries and Covid. I see them maybe drop points to Hibs and one or two of the relegation threatened teams. Doesn’t leave any room for further slip ups by Celtic. I can’t see us going on a winning run.

fan-a-tic

The problem when a coach has favorites he relies on is there’s no real incentive for others to step up and go above and beyond when his trusted fail to produce.
The steadfast refusal to look at all players equally also means that players are often not played to their strengths.
If as Lawwell said Neil,Kennedy and Strachan all do something different which may explain the lack of cohesion is it any real surprise we have yet to look like a team this season?
Are the players getting mixed messages?
Neil’s refusal to accept responsibility is obvious.
The boards refusal to make necessary change to at least have an attempt at the ten is the most puzzling question and certainly gives credence to some Old Firm theories on their business model.

Big Audio Dynamite

I thought Sunday would have been Soro’s first real medal in football, but apparently he won the Israeli state cup(?) A tournament I’d never heard of.

Anyway, he looked genuinely over the moon at the end of the match. He seems to have a great attitude. Broony looked fecked at the end, so I’d imagine we’ll be seeing plenty of him in the coming matches.

I noticed a wee moment after the Cup Final had ended, all the players were mobbed together celebrating when I saw Leigh Griffiths walk away from it on his own towards the goal. I thought to myself, has he managed to get hold of a Celtic scarf to wrap around the goal post? but no, he went to a disconsolate Craig Gordon to put an arm around his ex team mate. Bravo Leigh.
A lot of Celts followed suit. All things considered it was the right thing to do. Be magnanimous in victory.
Naismith excepted! 🙂

Big Audio Dynamite

For a whole host of reasons, maybe the strangest cup final there has ever been.

https://youtu.be/86daz1Y6LSw

“I thought Sunday would have been Soro’s first real medal in football, but apparently he won the Israeli state cup(?) A tournament I’d never heard of.
Anyway, he looked genuinely over the moon at the end of the match. He seems to have a great attitude. Broony looked fecked at the end, so I’d imagine we’ll be seeing plenty of him in the coming matches.” (B.A.D. @ 8.58am)
———————————————————————–
B.A.D I seriously laughed out loud at that. Who will we be seeing plenty of in the coming matches. Soro or Broony? 🙂

Oops sorry B.A.D. I’ve corrected my mistake in the source! 🙂

A thing of beauty

Good article mahe,
There is no question there are serious issues with the shape and the defending of set pieces, both of which are contributing to a consistent leaking of goals. That’s up to Neil Lennon to fix. It’s why he is manager. If he can’t do it then he should let someone come in who can. It’s getting stupid now. Imagine conceding three goals and still winning the cup. That is how lucky we were.
A way to my mind to improve the defence and it has been mentioned by others also is to play Julienne on the left side of the two centre halves. He is better than Ajer and Duffy on his left foot and I am at a loss as to why he hasn’t been tried there. If you look at hearts first goal, Duffy looks behind him and sees Boyce but does not attempt to step back to cover him. To my mind that can only be due to him thinking his left sided centre half would pick him up, forgetting HE’S THE LEFT SIDED CENTRE HALF. Now I know he’s a professional and should know better but the guy has spent his career playing right sided centre half and that is how he thinks. Take a look a at him and julienne at their chuckle brothers moment. What is Duffy doing over there? He should be no where near there but he is being consistently drawn over. If Neil will not play julienne on the left or julienne is refusing then there is only one solution. Resurrect MCB. That’s right, Duffy needs to wear Mo Camara’s Bandage.
I am convinced that this player was so bad and so positionally unaware that Gordon Strachan made him wear a bandage on his left arm so he knew to keep that arm to the correct side of the touch line. I think this ploy could be resurrected to assist Shane. Every time he looks down and sees the bandage on his left arm he knows he needs to keep to that side of the park. See, sometimes the modern game doesn’t have to be all about stats and performance. A smelly old bandage can do just as good a job. Let’s face it, it can’t do a worse job than Lennon, Kennedy and Strachan when it comes to sorting our defence.

Rebus67

Mahe,

Spot on with your article.

Celtic have become a dodgem car…lurching from one bump to the next, each time changing direction.

It is unbelievable but true. The one good thing in all of this shambles, is that I am not spending one penny to support it.

Rebus

Big Audio Dynamite
Angel Gabriel

Amongst many worries, here’s another defensive puzzle.
El Hammed played when we last won at Ibrox. He was also on the winning team in Lazio . He looked comfortable with Israel yet with us this season, he looked devoid of any confidence.
I’d like to see him at right back.
Preferably with Soro protecting the back line .
Our whole team resembles the key stone cops when we lose the ball or when defending a set piece .
Defending starts at the front.
We had a free week leading up to the cup final . We looked as if we’d been playing dominoes at Lennoxtown rather than doing defensive drills .
Like every problem, the first step is recognition. The second step is practice and working together to stop it recurring.
A bit of communication also helps .

We’ve became addicted to losing cheap goals since August .

What happens at Lennoxtown ?

Friesdorfer

ATOB
Class: MCB… 🤣🤣
And I have to agree, have said it for ages, that Ajer should play on the RHS also applies to Duffy. It’s no rocket salad!
HJ

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

ATHINGOFBEAUTY

If ever I saw an expression that’s crying out to be used as a moniker,it’s MO CAMARA’S BANDAGE! Superb…

BTW,I totally agree that,in the absence of a specialist in the role,we should put Jullien on the left of the two/three central defenders. He’s the only one who can actually kick with that foot.

Hello, you called?

CaltonTongues

Afternoon All,

I see an English Ref – Mark Halsey? – saying Naismith should have got a red card on Sunday, Really? Too little too late again. If we are ever going to benefit (stop laughing) from these incidents then the players need coached/taught/kickedinthebaws to LEARN GAME MANAGEMENT. Scott is probably the worse at it – remember Aberdeen. Now, on Sunday, if Scott had done a ‘Porto Player’, Naismith would have been sent off but no, act the hard man, never felt a thing. When you see the replay he does feel it.

If the stamp was the other way, Naismith would have rolled into the Huns End screaming.

HH

McCaff

Afternoon all, here is the full first team squad. I challenge everyone on here to put together a team which answers all the questions posed over the last couple of months. Bear in mind you must take into account every situation that the coaching staff have had to work with eg short and longterm injuries, COVID related suspensions, player fitness, player suitability…
Julien, Elhammed, Bitton, Rogic, Johnston, Elyounoussi, Forrest, Griffiths, Ajeti and Edouard have all been out for lengthy spells at some point. That’s 10 of 28 players since the start of the season. Introduce new players into the equation – Barkas, Duffy, Laxalt, Turnbull, Ajeti, Klimala and it can further complicate things. Then bring COVID into the equation where we were suspended for 2 games due to Bolingoli’s stupidity. And Christie’s 2 game Covid suspension for an apparent indiscretion on Scotland duty! Then consider if the coaching staff are suitable to work with each other and who appointed them, and also consider the purchase of the players and their suitability to fit into whatever, if any, systemt he coaches would like to play!
For what it’s worth I think Lennon, Kennedy and Strachan have had a tough gig this year, and not just because they can’t sort out The Chuckle Brothers!! And as I’ve said time and again on here I can see the shortcomings of the squad and the coaching staff but tell me who could have made a better job in the circumstances?
GOALIES; BARKAS BAIN HAZARD
DEFENDERS; JULIEN TAYLOR DUFFY FRIMPONG AJER ELHAMMED RALSTON WELSH LAXALT
MIDFIELDERS; BITTON BROWN SORO TURNBULL CHRISTIE ROGIC JOHNSTON NTCHAM ELYOUNOUSSI CONNELL MCGREGOR FORREST HENDERSON
FORWARDS; GRIFFITHS AJETI KLIMALA EDOUARD

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

McCAFF

I take your point,that a lot of our problems this season stem from the players themselves. They are underperforming,of that there is no doubt. A lot of them-most,in fact-are regulars for their international team. Few of them would be so based purely on their displays between August and December.

However,I think that our main failing is in defence-both in how the defence cope and in how the defence are shielded. So I would say that anyone who can relentlessly drill our players in how to cope comfortably when the other team have the ball would have performed better than our coaches this season.

As an example,George Graham at Arsenal relentlessly drilled his backline,both with and without the rest of the team. They worked as a unit,and did so for years. Pretty it was not,but it was effective.

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

MO CAMARA’S BADINAGE

Howdy,mucker. I suppose I asked for that one!

Rebus67

McCaff,

Brendan Rodgers for one. There are many others that deserve a chance. NL is NOT going to move this team forward to performance levels that should be achieved. The evidence is there and continues to pile up.

He has a deep squad to overcome the issues you mention plus he has promising youngsters to supplement that. Now that he has virtually a full squad, he still does not know his strongest team, nor does he have a set system to play. His actions are all over the place. He is being kept in post for some reason because his performance does not merit it. We nearly threw the cup away in the second half and in extra time. Do not be blinded by the serendipity of our victory. However, I have espoused enough negativity for today and to continue in that vein will only spoil my mood…….so I am off to wrap and think pleasant thoughts.

Seasons greetings to you and yours. May you stay safe at this difficult time.

Rebus

Mahe

Welcome Mo Camara’s Bandage 😉
Hope you start this weekend.

Mahe

Rebus, I didn’t really want to go the negative route today but an analysis is demanded, it’s my job.
Its my last contribution before Christmas.
I also believe in not one penny more, many years now.
Enjoy your holidays.

Hail Hail

Mike in Toronto

Forget Rangers’ as Celtic’s greatest rival …. seems it is Lincoln Red Imps…

https://twitter.com/LincolnRedImps/status/1341335512330756097

Mike in Toronto

McCaff

I have heard that Celtic have made enquiries about the head coach of Jamshedpur of the Indian Super League, and whether he would be willing to take over if/when NFL departs ….

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

MAHE

Sent you tomorrow’s seasonal article. I’ll do the review on Thursday too.

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

MIKEINTORONTO

Gibraltar wasn’t UEFA/FIFA recognised at the time.

Mahe

MIT,
Just googled it. Your a bad man! Fair play to Owen, it sure is a different view than what he grew up with.
I would love to visit India.

Bobby, received gratefully cheers.

Mahe

Garry, I would be sticking with Hazard myself.
I understand a goalies mistakes are magnified but if we brought through a 22 player and he made a couple mistakes would we want him dropped or be saying he is young and that’s what happens?
I think it’s the latter.
That’s four games in a row now for him I believe, all wins. Can’t ask for much more, and tbh the second goal should have been a foul against him for being barged.
I’m thinking the next four games would tell us all we need to know about him.
But like I mentioned, all keepers going in nervous thinking bad game and I’m out won’t help anyone. I believe a public backing would help whoever is selected. But one should be selected and stuck with.
Enjoy the holidays

Hail Hail

Mike in Toronto

Mahe

the blog just isnt the same without a good ‘Owen Coyle’s auntie’ post every now and then…

🙂

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

MIKEINTORONTO

VOGUEPUNTER had that Owen Coyle’s auntie in the back of the cab once. Or was that Dave Spart?

Mike in Toronto

BMCUWP

You might want to reword that post, or hope that VP’s wife doesn’t read the blog..

🙂

Magua

Mahe

Great article, once again. No matter how difficult a watch Sunday’s match was, it was no where near as bad as the two Huns* games, last December. Can anyone spot the LCD in all three games?

Some very well thought out comments today. Can’t really add anything there.

ATOB

Wow. Excellent analysis.

Fan-a-tic

Can’t agree that Lennon, Kennedy and Strachan are doing things differently. They are always on the same page of…total ineptness.

Mind you, when you look at who their
boss is, can this be any real surprise?

Hail Hail.

Mahe

Many thanks for the compliments Magua.
Enjoy the holidays.
Hail Hail

Magua

It has been suggested that Celtic will spend big in January, in order to save the 10. 2 thoughts.

Where would be the bloody point in doing so, unless we have a manager in situ, that knows how best to use the tools at his disposal?

Secondly, any new signings, particularly forwards, would only be warming the bench. The most expensive subs bench in history.

Someone could give me 10 million quid to invest in stocks and shares. But, here’s the thing…I would lose every penny in short order, because I would not have a damn clue what I was doing. Do you see where I’m heading with this?

Hail hail.

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

MAGUA

If you won £10m,you would have the brains to hire someone who knew what they were doing,and to invest it wisely for you.

Mike in Toronto

Bobby Madden handed the January 2 OF game.

big packy

MAGUA, have you heard the 1967 dukla prague story,,if not why not😎😎

big packy

if any player does not want to play for celtic they can GTF .

Margaret McGill

Pretty good summary Mahe. In other words the 15 year philosophy

1. Nice turnover
2. EPL fodder
3. Europe if yer lucky
4. Whit are the huns daein?

that has brought us a quadruple treble and enough time to prepare for 10iar with a weakened Rangers has come home to roost. After watching the last few Celtic games including the cup final I think its fair to say that Celtic are fucking pish. However, the gravy train for the board sees no sign of abating. Celtic supporters are about to get what they fucking deserve. As for the CST? you’re dreaming.

bada bing1

Boaby Madhun for Ibrox game 😮

big packy

you know what if i didnt know any better, i could swear the board were giving the castle greyskull mob a hand to stop us winning the ten, they would not do that, WOULD THEY.H.H.

bada bing1

No punishment for Naibalance, joke

Packy our Board have been giving that mob a hand since their birth in 2012.

Magua

Mahe

Have a Happy and Holy Christmas. Here’s hoping 2021 will be better for the world than the dreadful year of 2020.

Big Packy

Indeed, I have NOT heard the Dukla Prague story/fairytale. Do tell. Every ‘Tic player should be asked one simple question: “Do you want to play for Celtic?”. Anyone that answers NO, can Indeed GTF.

BMCUW

I probably did not make myself clear…I was talking about someone GIVING me 10 million smackeroonis…fat Chance!

Hail Hail

oops

big packy

Mo Camara’s Bandage, welcome to the blog great minds think alike👍

big packy

MAGUA, will tell the story shortly, get your popcorn ready😎 😎

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