Stuck in the middle with ̶y̶o̶u̶ who?

Gazing into my crystal ball and looking ahead, the middle of the park still causes me the most angst.
We are still unsettled there, still tinkering, with the campaign’s finish line in sight.

 

The current crop will deliver the title by my reckoning, but it also means we approach next season in search of our preferred midfield trio, whilst (by my reckoning) having to forgo the most unforgiving group stages in world football.

 

One concern is the available funds with a central defender, left back, right winger, and another striker all necessary. Some could rightfully point out the need for another left winger unless we sign boy wonder, perhaps the need for an extra central defender as Julien can’t be relied upon, and maybe an upgrade on Scott Bain for our number two keeper.

 

Considering there’s a decent number of midfielders already at the club, and many other problem areas, my instincts tell me there won’t be much churn in that particular department. In the main we shall roll with what we’ve got, once again.

 

James McCarthy isn’t fancied yet he’s signed long term, another three years. He wanted to come home, came to the biggest who could afford decent wages, and shall be very hard to shift.
A free transfer won’t appeal much, doesn’t want to go back down south as evidenced by his desire to come home, his history and demands dictate that no other club can afford him.
Peter didn’t do payoffs, it remains to be seen whether Michael feels the same way, but Peter’s reasoning that it sets a precedent in the dressing room holds true.
I envisage him staying, unfancied or not.
There’s one unknown quantity.

 

Ideoguchi is another. It would be crazy to introduce him at this key stage of the season, logic dictates his first team career proper begins next season in earnest.
It’s good he should be well settled into the club and new life, but some minutes in the legs would have been nice.
Could we have pulled a Meatloaf with our January Japan raid, two outta three ain’t bad?
He’s unknown quantity number two.

 

Nir isn’t an unknown quantity, but yet not a first choice midfield player either. One big problem is dropping him into an important game as our main defensive midfielder, without putting prior minutes into his legs. Coming in cold more often than not doesn’t suit him as a player nor the team, switching shape and personnel in the middle for a one off is not ideal, your regular shape and performers should carry enough to win the game without emergency tinkering.
Nir is not integral to this team, can improve the team sometimes, but is not a great defensive midfielder overall and therefore shouldn’t become an integral part of the team.
Backup only until he goes, that’s three players who have not proven themselves Celtic class and/or worthy of a place in Anges team yet they shall bulk out our numbers.

 

Of those who regularly receive the nod, three were given an extended run together and then broken up at the first opportunity to introduce fresh talent.
Calmac, DT, Rogic had their big shot.
DT got injured, and Tam isn’t an every game player in my book, I would use him sparingly. The fact he just got marked and kicked out of a big game almost shows he’s a horse’s for courses type player, to me anyway.
That particular trio also didn’t get the best of Calmac by forcing him to become the deep lying player.
So we can’t, or rather shouldn’t, make Tam a nailed on starter.
That’s four we can’t call must starts in the middle.

 

Which leaves four.
Calmac,
Hatate,
O’Reilly,
DT.
Calmac starts which leaves three for the two accompanying spots in the middle.

 

The obvious problem is none of the three are classic defensive midfielders, so Calmac gets pushed back, again. Not his forte, clearly enough to deliver silverware domestically yet not solid enough for stern tests, and there are very stern tests to come.

 

This is Anges dilemma, and its his biggest in my book. Cashing in on any of the unfancied looks unlikely, nor very profitable. The summer should see Ajeti and Soro finally departing, yet with eight already present, is a ninth midfielder a pipe dream? And what about a tenth for some real strength in depth?

 

Something’s gotta give, but sitting here I just don’t know what exactly.
Ange either hasn’t got a defensive midfielder in his gameplan, or one deemed of sufficient quality. I wouldn’t put it past him to sign one, singular, and give that chap a starting berth, but that comes with pitfalls.
If Player X becomes a team lynchpin, we run the risk of becoming a lesser team in his absence, injury or not, needing two interchangeable players to stick to our system.
Player X would also be brand new, and straight into the Champions League, gulp.
Plus the whistlers just itch to book our ‘snarlers’.
Then again, I wouldn’t put it past him to keep playing the usual 4 backed up by the other 4.

 

Who knows what’s in the man’s head, but I’m not complaining. Is our midfield strong enough for the Champions League is troubling more than Celtic supporters out there.
It’s also very worth pointing out, some would love to have that ‘problem’.
Ange’s biggest problem.

By Mahe
sentinelcelts@gmail.com

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SeS

Mahe

The only mid player capable in CL is Callum and definitely not at CDM

None of the rest have temperament or work-rate – also they struggle to pass the ball under pressure, although fully recognise they are skilful players

At a level…

Now I’ve gone and broken a mid- season rule, not to criticise players

SeS

Some great chat last nite and good to see Jayhawk and 4GreenFields … good spot on Choccy McLair!!

Wonder if one of those fields is near Strathbungo 😉

Apologies if missed anyone ..just scrolling back

HH

Leggy

Morning all,

I think we definitely need a solid, Broony type, in midfield that wouldn’t shirk tackles.
Not saying he is the answer but Lewis Ferguson from Aberdeen could be said player who I think would benefit from coming to Celtic.

Any thoughts ???

Ps
Wordle
Played 100
Win streak 100

Do I get a telegram from Lizzy ???? 😜😜😜

Enjoy your day everyone and mon the Steelmen 👍

SeS

Leggy – Good morning buddy – Happy St George’s Day … and Saint Edmund 😇

Agree Ferguson would bring us something we don’t have ATM – probably a stand out in SPL

is he good enough at CL ?

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

COLOURBLINDBHOY

I’m gonna cheat here a wee bit,if you don’t mind. It’s your question and your rules,but having had all night to think about the answers-when you’re driving for nearly two hours at a time between drops,it gives you plenty of time for contemplation!-I think I probably overthought it! Couldn’t pick one without the other. And that was after I whittled them down!!!

To the extent that some of the players mentioned don’t make it into my all-time lifetime eleven,which contains players I’ve not mentioned in my response to your question as I attempt to make one to THESTARABOVETHECREST. Maybe I’m just a contrary bastert. I’ve always said that ten Celtic fans in a pub can give you eleven different opinions.

I can do that on my own! So…

60s. Jimmy Johnstone,Bobby Murdoch

70s. George Connelly,Danny McGrain (VERY honourable mention to Pat Stanton)

80s. Paul McStay,Brian McClair.

90s. Jorge Cadete,Paul Elliott

00s.Henrik,Lubo

10s. Joe Ledley,Paddy McCourt.

20s. Too early to judge,but I have high hopes!

Thanks for piquing the interest with that question,though I’m sure everyone could have picked about fifty players from most decades! I intend to adapt it into an article or two over the summer,maybe along the lines of people’s thoughts on certain players the first time they saw them.

(First time I saw Kenny Dalglish,I was about 7yo. Red in the face after five minutes,clearly not fit! He scored six that night! First time we saw Henrik? You get the drift)

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

STARABOVETHECREST

As with COLOURBLINDBHOY,a terrific question. My thanks for that. I went to my first game,just turned four,in October 67. It maybe took me a year or two to appreciate what I was watching,and some fans favourites were never mine. I’m still the same. As in the above reply,I could have given a hundred different answers. My Dad could probably give a thousand,having seen his first game in 1943!

……………..Forster

McGrain Connelly McNeill Tierney

Murdoch Hay Burns

Johnstone Cadete Larsson.

And I’ll burn in hell for some of the superstars of their era,and heroes to this day,that I’ve left out!

Leggy

Bobby,

Your best 11 and no Dalglish or Maestro ?????

I know it’s hard but surely those 2 are stick ons !!!

Ps
I’ll get mine posted when I’ve changed my mind 100’s of times 😜😜

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

LEGGY

I needed the balance of left and right. Paul was a tremendous player,burst through at 18yo and let the world know it. Bobby Murdoch is the only player who can come close to how much I rated George Connelly,and for me,Bobby was right up there with the greats of,say 66-72,like Beckenbauer,Cruyff,Best and various Brazilians and Spaniards.

Bobby was peerless. Paul was peerless too. Different eras,of course.

I can tell you how good a player Bobby Murdoch was by the description of him by Jock. When Bobby plays,Celtic play. He was a good judge.

I can tell you how goood a player Paul McStay was too. Because when SOLKITTS and I took a 10yo ATHINGOFBEAUTY to her first game-we planked her behind the exit to the toilets,No 8,so that she had a great view!-all she was interested in was superstar Charlie.

All she talked about on the way home was a very young Paul McStay. She has been football daft since she was a kid,and a bloody terrific player. Probably born thirty years too early,as she would be making a fortune nowadays that the women’s game has taken off. When we eventually meet up,I’ll tell you a few-but it would be unfair to post them here.

I think most of us here saw Paul at his best,but for those of us who saw Bobby at his best,the best wasn’t at Man Utd.

SFTB

Around a dozen punters still to get their predictions in for Superbru- 12 noon kick off today for the dead club.

Sol Kitts

Happy birthday to my lovely Mrs Kitts. Medals for putting up with me were delivered this morning. 😂😂😎

bada bing1

Beaton a cert for next week now,a Championship game last night, will mean no game today.

St tams

Just catching up from yesterday, some great selections on favourite players.
Mine are
6o,s Jinky
70,s Mcgrain
80,s Mcstay
90,s lubo
00,s Henrik
10,s Broony

Bawheid

Tommy Gemmell ???

St tams

Best 11
Boruc
Mcgrain Connelly Reiper Tierney
Murdoch, Mcstay Lubo
Johnstone Larsson Di Canio

GER57

My favourite all time Celtic team, from players I have seen.
Boruc, McGrain, McNeill Elliott, Gemmell, Murdoch, Hay, Auld, Johnstone, Dalglish, Larsson.
Or,
Simpson, Craig, Van Dyke, Connelly, Tierney, McStay, Wanyama, Burns, Moravcik, Lennox, Hughes.
Both teams in a 433 formation.
Neither would get bullied, yet there is a lot of skill on show, with plenty of goals throughout.
No Tully, Evans, McDonald, McGrory, Quinn, Thompson or McNair, any or all of whom could probably lay claims to be included. My dad raved about Tully and McDonald. He also said Sean Fallon was the hardest he ever saw.
We have been blessed to see some of the greatest players of their times in the Hoops, despite many fans maintaining that successive boards of directors have been woeful. Furthermore, we have ALWAYS had issues with referees. There’s an idea; Who do we think is the worst referee any of us have seen?

Frodshambhoy

For me Wee Jinky and Henrik are the only 2 absolute stick ons for both lists.
My head hurts trying to pick any others from such a rich and deep pool of talent. We are sooooo lucky to have enjoyed so many terrific players and terrific human beings playing for the famous Glasgow Celtic.

Frodshambhoy

Oops just saw Di Canio on a team list.
Great player, not sure about his other qualities 😁

Leggy

Hard one but here goes,

Boruc
McGrain
Connelly
Van Dyke
Tierney
McStay
Hay
Lubo
Johnstone
Dalglish
Larsson

HH 🍀🍀🍀

GER57

I think, Mahe, you’ve been a trifle harsh on some players, esp Nir Bitton, who, IMO, is the best passer of the ball in Scotland. He should definitely be kept, even if only to come on when we need to see a game out. His best position is as a libero in front of the central defence. McCarthy wasn’t fit when he joined and I’d like to see him after a full pre season. Ideoguchi hasn’t shown anything yet, but Ange knows him well. My hunch is that there is a player there and hopefully he’ll show us next season. Hatate has played, at a high level, for 20 months without a break. No wonder he’s exhausted. Our midfield has been battered by the SPFL hammer throwers. I’d love to see a David Hay/Wanyama type in the squad.
On the wings, Abada will be that bit older and hopefully a better decision maker. Jota has been off it recently, but he is a match winner. All wingers blow hot and cold. Even Jinky and Yogi.
We seem to have written Jullien off. If he’s not suitable, I’m sure Ange will move him on.
I reckon we need six central defenders in the squad. Welsh is a good young player and, even although he has made some costly mistakes, I’d keep him. So, if Jullien leaves, we need another three central defenders.
We need cover at full back, both sides. End of.
Up front, we are quite formidable, and, again with a full pre season and without Euro qualifiers, we should be well covered.
You never mentioned any of the development squad. I hear we have a cracking goalie who will hopefully mature and be able to take over from Joe Hart. If he stays, Karamoko may be ready to step up; and young Moffat looks a bright prospect.
We don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes, but I’m sure Ange will be fully aware of what’s needed.
I’m also hopeful that PLs penny wise, pound foolish attitude towards recruitment went out the door with him. I’m sure Ange wouldn’t put up with it.
Overall then, I’m more optimistic about our prospects. A major bonus, compared to previous seasons is that we don’t have those feckin qualifiers.
In Ange we trust.

SeS

34 years ago today Celts won the league against Dundee at Dear Old Paradise.

A disappointing crowd of only 21,000 turned up … ☺️

SeS

Happy Birthday Mrs Sol Kitts 🎉

GER57

I’ll answer my own referee question.
R Davidson from Airdrie.
A bitter Hun bassa whose performance in the 1970 Cup Final was outrageous.

SeS

Ger57

He gets my vote closely followed by Slyme …

bada bing1

Alexander leaves all the hammer throwers on the bench

SFTB

crc, Knoxy, Drew 1967 and both McCaffs still to predict on Superbru

jimthetim53

Happy Birthday to Mrs. Sol Kitts. No doubt Big Packy will be down at some point today with a pressie. My guess is it will be a Teddy Bear. He’s got a soft spot for Teddy Bears. 🙂

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

HAPPY HOOOOOOPY BIRTHDAY to

MRS KITTS!!!!

She has made my best mate of forty years the happiest and luckiest guy on the planet for 38 years now. She even puts up with me when I nip over for a weekend! And drives us to the pub. My women always drove me to drink,but sometimes MRS KITTS would pick us up too!

She’s not changed in all the years I’ve known her,and that includes making me laugh. Some guys get all the luck.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AqrxgEln_Dw

big packy

happy birthday mrs solkitts teddy on its way🤩 sorry ghuys the best celtic team, was the one that destroyed the cattenacio style of play,,and led the way for a more attacking style of football, thank you mr stein and the lisbon lions, what do you think jim ,you like me seen the lions in the flesh👍

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

Worst referee IMO was McCurry. Even a hardened wee hun of my acquaintance would go ballistic about his bias,especially in that game where he booked nine of us before bothering to ask for an autograph from Hutton. I remember Davidson,though,sending Jinky off in a Scottish Cup tie against Aberdeen,about 1971. Seems Jimmy planted one on Dorrest,their left back.

He’d have needed step ladders for that.

JIMBO67 said his performance in the 1970 cup final had to be seen to be believed. Good enough for me…

bada bing1

Balogun red card, out next week’s game

jimthetim53

Packy, you know me, I agree with everything you say! 🙂

Frodshambhoy

Bobby, talking about needing step ladders.
I remember flying back to Glasgow from London years ago.
Fergie’s Aberdeen team were flying back from a European tie and were in the lounge for a wee while.
Spotted Jim Leighton and thought he was a big guy. Then Doug Rougvie came across and made Leighton look like one of the Seven Dwarfs. He was massive.

big packy

JIM and so you should🤩🤩

SFTB

Well equalise against 10 men Huns team

Big Audio Dynamite

Bada, that for sure??

jimthetim53

Who’d have believed it! The huns drawing against Mudderwell, down to 10 men and their goal was an o/g. Karma! 🙂

jimthetim53

Hauf time 1-1

jimthetim53

Wonder what the referee has got in store for the 2nd half?

McCaff

C’mon the ‘Well! TRFC not looking too bright since Balogun red.
Happy Bidet to Mrs Kitts, have a great day!

jimthetim53

Scorer for Motherwell? Tierney !!! LOL 🙂

big packy

JIM dont worry plenty of time for a penalty 🤩

Prestonpans bhoys

Nick Walsh must have been confused , he normally sends off players against Old Firm FC. He still has 45 minutes though😕

SFTB

Huns score 2:1

SFTB

Perfectly good tackle but ref gives a pen to Huns

jimthetim53

Typical.

bada bing1

Walsh another Uncle Tom, shameful

bada bing1

BAD- Straight red,misses next game

Frodshambhoy

1-3 They ain’t going away.
I asked last week. Are they better than we think they are.
Still in our hands though

Mahe

Good stuff, as always.

Leggy

Good shout. Ferguson would do a job for us, though we write off Nir Biton at our peril. The type of player we need as a DM, is not a Scott Brown or a NFL type of player. A player who has all the qualities that Paul Lambert had, would thrive under this manager. The ability to win balls by being strong in the tackle. The ability to find team-mates under pressure, and generally read the game well. The ability to score important goals now and again. That was Lambert’s game. A player like Lambert-or Murdo-for that matter, would be just the ticket.

Auldheid

Thanks for taking the time to reply to my post yesterday. You make a few excellent observations.

Worst referee that I have ever seen? Hell’s bells, that’s nearly as difficulty as naming our all time best Celtic X1. There were so many of them, so in the same spirit of posts yesterday, I suggest we name one referee per decade. We must have seen these referees at actual games. Here goes. In fact, hold on. As BMCUW suggested with players, I’m going to name the two worst referees, by decade, in games that I have actually seen:

70s Bobby Davidson/Iain Foote.

80s Andrew Waddell/Jim McCluskey.

90s Phew. A real hard one this. There are so many worthy candidates that I could go for, but I’ll plump for:
Hugh Dallas/Ian Freeland.

00s not sure if I ever saw Mike McCurry live, so I’ll go for Hugh Dallas/Stuart Dougal.

There we have it. The bold Hugh Dallas is the deserved winner in both the 90s and 00s. categories. The man is a star. It is good to see young Master Dallas, following in his father’s footsteps.

Hail Hail.

Mike in Toronto

Public service announcement

Gregory Porter and Lady Blackbird in Glasgow on May 16

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aovHCegOS7I

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