The middle of the park

He’s tried, and going by the Bodo result and performance, he’s failed. Actually it’s more than just the Bodo game, we’ve been more cold than hot for a sequence of games now.
The defence is mostly settled, the forward trio usually sees minimal change, Big Joe in nets is a given, it just can’t be denied the middle of the park is a weak spot for better sides and that area still needs work.


We started the season with a deep lying Calmac, Tam playing a more forward role, and young Master Turnbull somewhere in between. That trio was soon dumped, broke up for a fresh start.


Nir Bitton was drafted in, another red card soon saw him drafted out. James McCarthy has clearly been deemed not of sufficient quality despite his domestic and EPL experience. Soro and Henderson we’re never given a chance, presumably judged at training and found wanting.


Then the Japanese double act arrived, alongside the talented Matt O’Reilly. Three new players all given the nod by our Greek Australian, the midfield numbers were significantly bolstered.


But yet, issues remain. Hatate impressed initially, but faded. Guchi is yet to make a number of consecutive starts, Matt finds himself without settled partners with which to form an understanding.
And of course our Captain got his face smashed in, though he will brave the discomfort in order to lead out his team.


As a result of all the above, we still dont have a first choice three in the middle of the park.
As a result of all the above we are blowing more cold than hot, and just lost the midfield battle to a lesser European name full of competent journeymen.


Now, it’s not all bad news. We have two and a half good things going for us in the midfield department.
One, Ange has shown character and strength in ringing the aforementioned changes. It’s just so very refreshing to have the leader on the page as the support,,we all got sick of seeing the same players with massive flaws picked week after week under previous managers.
Don’t cut the mustard, and it’s quickly the bench at best, just ask Bitton and McCarthy.
Two, our current lot can best every team in the nation. We proved that and despite this slump of sorts are in the driving seat for this year’s title. Whether we should be aiming for more than ‘just’ to become Champions has been debated many a time before, but this is the reality of Peters footballing policies and Dermots hands off ownership. Still, we do have what it takes to lift the league trophy come May.
The half,,we do have some options. Both Soro and young Henderson are in demand, Soro almost made the move to New York and a playing Henderson is much better than a squad filler in that he can mature as a player and be accessed by Ange whilst out on loan. Nir would get a transfer handy enough plus we’ve already got our worth out of him, and McCarthy was free and can leave on a free with just the years wages down the drain but some knowledge in the bank. Who knows if he cost Dom his job, I’m confident in stating he won’t cost Ange his, he’s not getting the chance to.


Of course in the middle of this muddle lies our Captain. He’s impressed me with his maturity, but the player remains an enigma. He’s a great footballer in my book, but hasn’t mastered any specific role to date and time is not on his side on that front. We’ve witnessed the deep lying Calmac, when played with Nir or James he steps forward into the middle more, but yet hadn’t found his niche. Hatate likes to step forward as does O’Reilly, that would leave our skipper once again as the holding midfielder, the very role Ange previously looked to take him away from.


Having witnessed his predecessor named weekly because he had the armband, the last thing I would wish for is a repeat. But yet there might be a strong case for a Calmac free midfield, there’s better for any role he may be asked to play, ie Guchi deep with Hatate and Matt helping out plus providing more of an attacking threat.
When James and Nir are inevitably replaced by an Ange choice, there’s more reason to experiment.
This might be Calmacs dream, captaining his beloved Celtic to glory, but he still needs to make himself undroppable.
Dundee at home plus a European dead rubber offer an interesting opportunity to view a new look middle of the park.
Should that area then begin to click and look menacing, the questions surrounding Callum will only increase. I certainly dont get the impression sentimentality shall suddenly enter Ange’s brain.


It shall be interesting to watch Ange fix the middle of the park, his biggest job yet.


By Mahe
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Thanks to all for the kind words yesterday. Forgive me if I don’t name check everyone but I’d be sure to miss someone out unintentionally, so I’ll just say a ‘blanket’ tyvm to all.

ATOB. Regarding my mum and her bird obsession, I mentioned yesterday that she’d unfortunately been admitted to hospital. I went to visit her. She was asleep when I arrived but woke up as I sat by the bed.

I said to her “ Hi mum – how are you, I’ve brought you a few things in”

“ Oh that’s great thanks. ( at this point I’d guess you’d expect her next comments to be something along the lines of asking how my brothers, wife or grandkids are) but no:

“ How’s Sunny?

Sunny is her budgie, and I kid you not, the best talking bird you’d here anywhere in the UK. The thing never shuts up. When the nurses or doctors visit they are astonished at the range of vocabulary the bird has.

“ oh he’s fine mum.”

Chatted to her about her condition and how things might need to be managed when she got home. House cleaning rotas, medication routines, diet etc.

“ J – when you go home will you go into the house and make sure the heating is on.”

It’s on mum. Everything is fine.

“ it’s just Sonny’s feet get cold if the heatings off”

That’s a small snippet of the conversation but honestly, the entire conversation over a couple hours revolved not around her own considerable challenges but on the welfare of the budgie.

I’d to leave the tv on for the bird during the day and drop in at 8pm to turn it off, put the heating on and cover the cage.

Price of utility supplies these days are making it a very expensive pet!

Mahe, I think all the evidence suggests we have a very good manager to cope with the demands of the SPL, and I not only refer to the playing side but to the media, who I think have already realised that if they try to goad him down a route he does not like they’ll get short shrift or potentially a black eye. I think he’s already got them toning down their line of questioning.
Europe? Different challenge and one I’m not convinced we are any more ready for than previous seasons given the defensive frailties that still exist.
Ange has already stated he won’t ever set out to get a draw because he doesn’t know how to. Admirable sentiment if you think you can win by out scoring the opposition in every game, but Thursday proved that’s not going to happen. I’m not advocating he goes ultra defensive but for sure, even if we continue to adopt an all out attacking style in every match, we need better defenders and a better defensive / midfield strategy to nullify counter attacking sides. Taylor and Starfelt , Rogic, Bitton are just 4 who will never do in my opinion. There are others.


The midfield conundrum.
In the mediocrity of Scotland we can generally get away with perming any three from the 8/9 we have available.
Against even modest Euro opponents we are totally exposed.
Calmac is not good enough to play a holding role at this level. He can’t tackle and offers zero protection to our weak left cb and fullback.

Guchi was brought in to perform this role. Let’s see him.
Question is where does our captain then play assuming Ange will not change his 4-3-3 approach?
Probably in the position Reo currently occupies with Matt on the right.
Gives us strong options off the bench with
Reo, Tom, DT( when fit) and in emergencies Nir, James and perhaps Soro.

Looking ahead to the Summer upgrades are required at left centre back and left full back.
If we don’t sign CCV perhaps Starfelt will make the right side cb position his own, he deserves that chance, and we get a natural left footed defender in.



Good to have you around again! But saddened to hear of the health concerns of your Mum and your Uncle Jack. Please pass on to them my best wishes.



Will do – and ty.

This season as I said earlier is going to be tight domestically. We know it’s a two horse race and we know it’s still a 50/50 call , or as close to 50-50 as damn it.

My own hope is that even if we come up short in the title race, that for the first time in a long time we get our recruitments in early enough to let Angie prepare fully for the challenge in Europe.
There’s a fair amount of players who simply won’t reach the levels needed for Europe, and it is European progress that is going to be key to the club progressing further and the manager remaining happy and focussed.

Then again, we have been here for so long and never seemed to learn any lessons in preparing for Europe that there can be no confidence that it’ll happen.

Perhaps in our favour this time is that Ange is unlikely to just sit back and accept a ponderous board impacting negatively on his ambitions. HE might just have the strength of character to make the board back him to the fullest extent possible.

Should that not happen, I’d suggest we will be managerless again in the summer.

Only my opinion of course.


Just a wee reminder that Superbru predictions are due in by 3pm today

Craig 76

Craig76 9.47am
A good read TY.


Friesdorfer 👍

St tams

In the mane Mahe a good article.
But I don’t feel that James Mccarthy has been given the chance that Bitton has and I think he could be the answer at defensive mid.
As far as Ange goes. I called him delusional, ( which was maybe a bit harsh) after he made the 3 forward substitutions against Leverkausen.
I don’t see him changing anytime soon. As Wednesday nights lineup confirms.
So I can’t see us making much progress in Europe the near future .
Especially with players like Starfelt, Taylor and Rogic .


Ange’s problem is that now Bodo have shown the blueprint to nullify his system.
Will the limited coaches in Scotland be able to replicate and stifle our progress?
If so does Ange have the solution?
We have some very good players but as Thursday showed our team structure can be exploited by good opponents.
Our spacing is an issue as is a lack of game intelligence and management.
Also our coaching staff seem unable or unwilling to alter tactics within games when the tide turns against us.
Maybe Thursday was a wake up call for supporters, players and coaches?
Interesting based on past performance that Taylor has been roundly criticized but Juranovic wasn’t.
Both had poor games though Taylors culpability at 2nd goal was amateurish.
We struggled with their full backs mainly because we always gave them option of passing down flank or knocking ball inside.They played easy triangles because the midfielders never covered inside man.
Starfelt being blamed for first goal as he made a decent attempt to block two different guys was ridiculous when the gaping hole left by Rogic’s laziness and McGregor being absent from area he is supposed to protect and not for first time.
Those gaping spaces should never be left by a professional team playing in a cohesive structure.
How many times did Bodo’s centre backs stroll into a vastly open central area with ease?
All caused by distance between forwards and defense being too large.
Are our defenders and midfielders retreating to early or our forwards not moving in same direction as rest of team?


Hi all.
Twisty messaged me to let me know about the kind posts.
Thank you, they were very humbling and when I showed them to my wife, she suggested that you were all mixing me up with someone else. 😲.
I hope you are all as well as can be, in what has been a difficult two years for all.
I know some of you have had a really difficult time, recently, and I hope the future will be better for everyone.
Football, I’m delighted with the job Ange is doing, we lost 3 of our first 6 games, it was almost unimaginable that we would be top of the league in Feb, i feel that it will be a league that goes to the wire,
No doubt there will be ups and downs, let’s hope it’s an up,when the league finishes.
Thank you so much for bringing up birds.
I have spent a fortune ( for me) the past 2 years, feeding them and partially rewilding my, not so big garden, build it and they will come and they have.
Through trial and error, ive worked out what attracts them.
Sunflower hearts, wild seed, niger seeds, nuts, meal worms, grapes, blueberries, melon and fat balls. Thankfully ( with the exception of the fruit) I can bulk buy through Amazon.
Two weekends ago, a Female Sparrowhawk came in and took out a feral pigeon, it then sat for 38 minutes,in the garden, eating it and yes I was sad enough to time it. I managed to get it on video, too.
The next day, a woodpecker came in, as did several Brambling and 2 Lesser Redpoll, all were new species for the garden, except Woodpecker but it hadn’t been in for a year or so. The lesser redpoll have been in every day since and have grown to 4.
I have to admit, I was thrilled.
When I go out in the early morning, the Siskin and Goldfinch are waiting on me, they chatter like crazy when I approach the feeders. It’s such a joyous start to the day.
My wife has named the garden, JNP’s diner.
Mahe and BMCUW and others, a huge well done, in keeping the blog going, especially after last season.
It can’t have been easy coming up with new leaders and trying to keep some positivity going.
Love to all. 💚💚💚


Afternoon all, been absent for a few days but have been lurking. Great to see Twisty and JNP on, too.
Like a lot on here I miss both guys’ early morning contribution – always worthwhile and conversation-stimulating!
Twisty…keep looking after her wee Maw. She sounds like she’ll soldier on forever!
JNP…where the feck is yer hoose? At the top of Ben Nevis!! 🤣🤣🤣


Oh! And Twisty, keep Sunny away from JNP’s Diner!! 😱😁

Colour Blind Bhoy

Good afternoon everyone, a few random but hopefully topical thoughts as I wait to board my flight home.

A result, and performance, like Wednesday’s will always throw up a range of emotions and opinions and there’s been some really excellent views shared on here in the last few days.

On Ange, I remain convinced we are very lucky to have him. Given the shambles he inherited last summer and the turnover of players, I feel he has done a great job.

Does he have some flaws in how he sets his team up?

100% yes he does and on the evidence to date we are travelling more in hope than expectation that he will change his philosophy. At times it’s important to prioritise pragmatism over idealism, I really hope he is not too stubborn to realise that.

Wednesday was a frustrating result because even as armchair fans with little or no football management experience, we can all point to a few options in the starting eleven that would have given us a better chance of winning.

That becomes part of the learning experience and we must all wait and see how Ange learns and reacts.

Surprise results are part of football, us beating Barcelona bring a great example and Clyde beating us (Roy Keane and all) being a not so great one. Ange has already got a couple of good results on his CV since he took over last summer but the contra to that is he also has at least an equal number of not so great ones.

So where does this leave us?

Domestically we have won the League Cup, are top of the league with a nice goal difference advantage and are in the quarter final of the Scottish Cup. In Europe, we have fallen out of 2 competitions and are long odds to progress to the last 16 of the Conference League?

Is that good enough and how does Ange compare to our most recent managers?

It’s definitely good enough for me, my expectations were low at the start of the season and lower still by the time we drew with Dundee Utd at home at the September Weekend.

Versus other managers, Ange is way more experienced and commands his squad of players much better than Ronny did. He is miles ahead of how I viewed Neil in terms of being hands on and getting the best out of players. He has way more genuine charisma than Brendan but hasn’t demonstrated he can change tactics mid game the way Brendan could. Think the Red Card Red Card 3-2 game at Ibrox, would Ange have made the changes Brendan playing the latter part of the game with our 2 French forwards contriving to keep the Sevco defenders pinned back and Eddy grabbing the decisive 3rd goal? I do feel Ange handles the media and has earned the respect of the fans better than all 3 of our most recent previous managers.

So I’m conclusion, as I said above, I remain convinced we are lucky to have Ange. We will experience some bumps along the way but domestically I think we will enjoy a successful season.

He will need to demonstrate a willingness to be pragmatic when required and a ruthless streak in shedding the squad of some players who won’t help us reach the next level. For me that means none of our out on loan players returning and circa 8 of the players who have featured this season being phased out. Specifically, I’d be happy to see Starfelt, Soro, McCarthy. Taylor, Ajeti, Forrest, Bain and Barkas all featuring less and ultimately being moved on.

Time to board plane, have a great day everyone and let’s get behind Ange and the Bhoys tomorrow.


Morning troops,
Twists best wishes for your mum, and Sunny.
JNP your visit means a lot, thanks. Your garden is clearly your slice of heaven, them birds are lucky.

3 day weekend as it’s Presidents day on Monday. Ironically I think Russia shall strike then. Neighbor assures me no one wants a toxic nuked planet so WW3 isn’t about to happen.

Europe is a footballing step too far, at the moment, but we aren’t even a year into Ange’s reign. If he made us Champs and a continental force in that short space of time he would be superhuman. There’s positive signs though.

TGM, I rarely disagree with you but I don’t see this side as the ultimate moneyball. The manager is selecting his own players and the leagues he is targeting are cheaper than the usual ones. I’m not seeing anyone brought in for their sell on potential ala Eddy. I’m seeing players that provide value that are bought for the here and now.
I don’t think this manager would go down the moneyball route, to me that ended with Peter.
Still, it’s all about opinions.

Have a great weekend everyone. In the 20s today but snow forecast on Tuesday. The daffodils have flowered, extremely early. The snow shall kill them just days or weeks after opening. I hand fed an injured stag earlier in the week which was interesting, and just watched the ISS fly overhead while out having a coffee in the backyard. Could see the platforms/arms, we see it regularly.

Hail Hail


I also believe we are lucky have Ange. On and off the field. He has an eye for a player. Hope he doesn’t burn out but then again seems to be loving the job.
The finished article, usually it takes six transfer windows to mold the entire squad, shall be very interesting.

Hail Hail


JNP Good to see you on the blog mate. Keep on Birding HH 🐦


Great to see and read JNP and Twisty. They always bring a bit of life into the blog, distinct from Celtic and football.

On budgies, Immodestly I can claim to being an expert on them. I was the youngest judge in Scotland of show budgies. By the way, budgerigar is a corruption of an aboriginal word that means good food….so I believe. As you know they originate in Australia.

I hate to bring up colour but what colour is Sunny? If he is light green, he is from the dominant form, the original wild budgie. Pair a light green with a blue and all the kids will be green but split for blue. Pair one of them with a blue and some of their kids will be blue, some green…..a real multicultural mix!

I had over 200 of them in an aviary out the back. I bred and showed them. Incidentally, if Sunny had a wee pal, he would not be so talkative. They really only talk if humans are their companions. I bet he loves millet spray?

Mixing a small amount of wheat germ oil into Sunny’s seed will help to keep him or her healthy…..small amount only. Never put it in his/her water.

Great to hear bird stories. The last pets I had were cockatiels and Fisher’s Love birds. Joey, the cockatiel lived to 25. The last Love bird was 15 when he passed. He is buried out at the side of the house with a stone marker. By the way, his wife used to abuse him terribly. He was relieved when she died trying to pass an egg. She also abused their young and had to be separated from them.

Yes, I know I have shocked you but there is life beyond Celtic.



Rebus Every day is a school day on SC HH 🐦



Also a pleasure to see your return,and I hope it isn’t merely a fleeting visit.

Hopefully you remain in good health and that your rewinding continues to be a success.


No 1 on this day 40 yrs ago 😎


last chance for Superbru



I went ballistic on these pages about AP withdrawing our forward line against Leverkusen! That was a mistake,for sure-as was our midfield line up on Thursday.

But I think that mistake only became apparent because we lost the initiative so early in the match. We couldn’t recover that,and some of our players had their worst night of the season. What was avoidable though was playing both Rogic and O’Riley,who like to occupy similar territory. That also left Jota completely isolated on the left,as well as overcrowding our right,where Juranovic,Abada,Rogic and O’Riley were swarming to no effect.

AP though does,I think,learn from his mistakes. Everyone is entitled to make those mistakes,but only fools make the same ones repeatedly.

And he is no-one’s fool.

bada bing1

Naismith to St Mirren….


Some random thoughts on Celtic now that I have vented on budgies. I include myself in this critique. We are over reacting to a bad result. Just like cuffing Sevco did not make us a good team, being schooled by Bodo does not make us a bad team. So, deep breaths everyone. The team’s trajectory is very good. Occasional bumps are inevitable.

Ange is not perfect but is very good. In fact, he is the right man at the right time. Celtic and Ange are good for one another at this moment.

Now to specifics, firstly the critique of Calmac is over the top. Calmac is Ange’s captain and he will remain in the team. For example he could play in the front three replacing Abada. He could replace Rogic(please!).

Hatate could replace Rogic leaving room for Calmac. He is good at a recycling role. Pick the ball up from defence move it forward to a creative player.

The most surprising flaw that I notice is that we have two fit strikers, Maeda and GG, neither of whom can make a chance for themselves. However, both, especially Maeda, are good at running on to a pass that is slid between defenders. Maeda is deadly in that situation. Here is the shock, we rarely play that pass. Here is the bigger shock, we have players who can play that pass…..Hatate, Guchi, O’Riley, and Rogic. Initially Hatate did this but not now. Why? The answer has to be in the coaching. It would be a tragedy if we coach these players out of this gift it has to be fear of losing the ball.

Finally, on Bodo and being Glimted, jota and Abada were neutered by being boxed by Bodo players…3 for Jota, 2 for Abada. Why did we not have a player just outside the Bodo boxes to receive a pass from Jota or Abada? That would take a bunch of players out of the game. Both Jota and Abada can make these passes without moving the ball backwards. We can certainly do this against SPL teams if they try the boxing strategy, and Sevco will try.

Nope, I am not going to let myself be carried away by false expectations, but I do think we are moving in the right direction. Finally, finally, I agree Ange needs at least one assistant to help with in game management. That was Gerrard’s key to success.



Bodo’s big boys bullied our wee bhoys 😜

I have said for years you could drive a few double decker buses in the spaces we leave.European teams couple of passes from defense and they are close to our 18 yard box.
It’s bloody freezing here and just had more snow last night about -25c with wind chill.

We get pushed about to easily we need a bit of grit in the midfield.
Best wishes for down the road.


We need more intelligent players in central area.
Makalele and Kante were/are not the biggest or toughest midfielders but they both read the game brilliantly.
We still have not learned how to play without possession.

big packy

AFTERNOON ALL and JIM, look the better team won on thursday lets learn and move on, JNP good to see you posting, do you still pass barbegs crescent in croy, my grannys house was number 16, ach happy memories👍

big packy

JIM im down in basildon at the moment bringing sol kitts wallet back, MALDEN dont kid yourself maldon is very posh, imagine a ghuy from ardrossan living there, pull the other leg its got bells on😎 no sol lives in a three storey caravan on the festival park,come to think of it he might have moved to malden, either that or he doesnt want me in to his caravan, have been here 2 hours now and no answer on his doorbell. another true story,😎😎


Another book for you to keep an eye out for this year

Celtic In The Second World War (@celticww2) Tweeted: Another preview from the forthcoming book – Celtic In The Second World War

Glasgow Derby Re-enacted On Bicycles At Theatre

Please RT if you enjoy it



Respectfully disagree re Calmac.
He has no peers in Scottish football but against Euro opponents, playing in that holding role , he is exposed by even modest Euro teams. He can’t tackle and offers zero protection to our weak left side of defence.

Also, I don’t understand your point about him replacing Abada?
How does that work? The JJ , Mo’R, Abada axis should not be disrupted.

If Guchi gets his chance as a holding mid there is only one position available in midfield and that is where either Reo or Tam play.
Both would be on the bench if Calmac plays.
So Reo would not replace Tam in the team.


B.P. 4.36.
Yes, I still pass it and Barbegs Cres hasn’t changed much, if at all.
However, once you get to the train station, you wouldnt know it, all the farm land gone and new builds in their place.
The golf course has just sold more land to developers, so even more houses on the way.

Thanks for sharing about the budgies, I really enjoyed that, fascinating stuff.
That made me laugh about Sunny, the budgie.


Big Packy
Did you pack a brick when you went to Barbados 😀

Davie McLaughlin (@McLaughlin_1888) Tweeted: My wife’s friend is currently over in ‘The Island Inn Hotel’, Bridgetown, Barbados, celebrating her 50th birthday.
She’s just sent us this.

Magic! 😀

big packy

CRAIG76 yes😎


Really good to see you your name again on the blog you were missed 👍
The same for you aswell Twisty 👍
We just need Fairhill bhoy back for the hat trick 😀⛳

big packy

JNP, cheers pal keep posting👍


Do any of you folks do Wordle?
I really enjoy it, my wife, myself and my 11 year old do it, at the same time, most days, to see who gets it first, adds a wee bit of extra pressure, against the clock.
I’m delighted to say, I’m currently in 3rd place out of 3. 😂😂😂

big packy

remember my uncle packy taking me to parkhead in 1968, think it was a scottish cup tie against dunfermline ,we were champions of europe, unfortunately tommy callaghan didnt see it that way, he ran the show dunfermline beat us 2-0 and if im not mistaken our own mags mcgill was at the game ,another true story,👍


Is Wordle the same as the game show Lingo on STV in the afternoon 🤔


I had never heard of Lingo, I rarely, almost never, watch T.V. so I wiki’d it.asking are they similar/the same.
Here’s what I came up with.
Is ‘wordle’ a rip-off of ‘Lingo’?
The popular online word game “Wordle” has fans puzzled. People are calling out the game for allegedly ripping off the TV game show “Lingo.” Wordle, a daily puzzle where players have six chances to guess a five-letter word, is so popular the New York Times recently bought Wordle for a seven-figure sum from creator Josh Wardle.
Looks like Josh has became a millionaire, by ripping off Lingo.

Sol Kitts

Big Packy @ 446
When I moved into Maldon the neighbours moved out. Never worked out why that happened, until they told me they’d met BMCUWP on a visit. Mind you, I get a telegram from Wetherspoon’s Rose & Crown in Maldon every year thanking me for the increased Guinness sales whenever he is here.🥃🥃🍺


I had seen Wordle get mentioned a lot on twitter and thought it sounded like Lingo.
I’ve just had my 1st go at it and I think I took way longer than I should of to get a 5 letter word 😅


If you Google, archive wordle, it will give you all 243, previous Wordles, in chronological order.

big packy

SOL had an idea thats what happened👍😎 is jim down there with you, just been to his house and yes it was closed😎


Really looking forward to tomorrow. Our chance to get the show back on the road. While we have achieved a lead in the league,there have been few really good performances in the five weeks since we returned from the break-even if it is heartening to see our new signings settling in so well.

As has been said before,we are in a much better place than we were a year ago when Lennon left,or the summer when AP arrived,or even four months ago when we still only had ten points from seven matches. Maybe we now have the opposite from all of those years of expectation management!

Me,I’ll take a breath,remember our achievements in such a short time-and hope for more. The players have it in them,and we have a manager who can get it out of them.

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