Second half expectations
I’m still finding it hard to wrap my head around this winter world cup and the subsequent knock on effects on the SPL.
Just when we would usually be wrapping the first half of the season up, we are actually returning to duty after a much earlier than usual break.
I say break, but as we know some were involved in very high stakes International football and didn’t rest a lot. The bulk of the squad got some sunshine, always good for the soul, and an experience of that fantastic Australia based Celtic support, again good for the soul.
But I’m sure there was plenty of training ground work with the bulk of the squad, and that’s always a good thing.
Ill assume I’m correct in surmising Ange would have appreciated some quality time with his charges to hone team shape and tactics while Harry assists attackers find the target more consistently, his primary task.
What should we expect upon resumption?
For starters snow and very cold temperatures. Today (Saturday) shall see Aberdeen stay slightly over freezing, after two days of snow. I wouldn’t be surprised if game is canceled due to the elements if truth be told.
We shall encounter the proverbial potato patch of a pitch over the next few months, of that I’m sure, ergo some ‘sorry ref I slipped’ challenges, which the MIB shall happily overlook.
I think we would all agree in harsh conditions adverse to silky football the three points are the most important thing, but injuries are also very important.
Which brings me to the return of the Mac, our Captain. The very last thing he needs is another injury, that’s my fear, but he will be thrust right back into the middle of the park and after months out might find the urge to go full throttle irresistible.
I’m not asking for him to be eased back in from the bench, he’s one of our better players no doubt and we should start our better players, but maybe just maybe sub him occasionally if the points are in the bag. Especially at the beginning of his reintroduction.
I have a niggling feeling he might get targeted at Ibrox, their new manager will be well aware of and surely play to the refs allegiances ahem, and crocking him would probably bring applause over there. Then again ‘knowing’ Calmac he will probably fancy a goal in that stadium to silence the crowd and lay down a marker that he’s fully back and ready to go.
Realistically we don’t need him and will win this league with or without him, but he’s missed out on some fun and I expect him to personally lead the charge in retaining our title.
However he needs the correct system to lead the charge, he shouldn’t if he’s tasked with playing as the deep lying midfielder. I noted Bobby’s article during the week praising Aaron Mooy, and thought to myself if everyone noticed he was excellent at the World Cup then Ange noticed also. At the risk of repeating myself our goals scored ratio improved with him starting. I think he’s a quality player, deserving of being given an automatic start until proven otherwise. He just strongly stated his case, and as such I would be gutted if we return to the Calmac, Hatate, O’Riley trio in the middle. Playing Mooy deep could unleash a roaring to go McGregor which is a win-win where I’m sitting. Do I expect this to happen? Due to his showings for Australia recently it would be foolish not to start Mooy so yes.
The second half of the season holding a substantial lead is the perfect time to tinker.
My expectation is more goals scored in this second half and not only due to the above midfield switch. For starters the handbrake should be released, nine point lead in the bag and should we triumph at Ibrox meaning double digits, there’s no reason not to ‘Unleash The Kraken’ so to speak.
Then take into account the individual players involved themselves, their personal situation.
Hacksabanovic walked in the door late on and started playing, this is his first break and sustained training session with his new management team. That chap is a real quality player with his prime years ahead of him. We suit him via exposure and he suits us via goals and assists, at the moment. Will he want to use the club as a springboard? Almost certainly, and the best way to advertise yourself is performing in the shop window.
On that front he’s up against a somewhat resurgent Maeda, so Sead really needs to produce in order to stay in the team and advertise his wares. Win win scenario.
On the other flank Jota shall wish to become part of a revamped Portugal side for the Euros in 18 months time primarily by performing extremely well in both the SPL plus next season’s Champions League campaign, win win, will be pushed by Abada (who has enough raw ingredients to tempt clubs from a bigger league but must show more consistency to earn a move, who will be pushed by James Forrest who seems to have embraced that high impact cameo role well, so well Liel must do something when given the chance.
Win-win? I’d say so, it screams ‘Goals’ to me.
I see goals up top as well. For starters if G-Mak is still here after the window shuts then I think it’s fair to say he will be moving in the summer. Hasn’t signed a long term contract, agent unhappy there’s been no significant pay rise offered, he shall be leaving, of that there is little doubt. If he is still here for the second half looking for a move to a bigger league then he needs to score, score, and score in order to convince buyers.
Now if he does move we shall have a brand new striker on our hands, and Ange says he will upgrade upon departures, which tells me we ain’t signing Henri Camara mark two here.
Someone fresh will walk in that door, and given our upgrade promise plus our Champions League exposure I think it’s fair to say new Bhoy will want to be out on that park from the beginning. Actions speak louder than words and strikers speak best when they score.
However,,,our Japanese talisman is not for giving up his star striker spot. If it were anyone else I would be up in arms about G-Mak not starting every game but I can fully appreciate what exactly Furuhashi brings to the team and therefore understand his selection whenever it occurs.
But he’s the man under pressure, he must produce the goods more often than his competitors, which might just be a new striker. An upgrade on G-Mak.
Throw in a lost place in the World Cup squad, desires for next seasons European campaign, the sunny break, and lots of practice with Harry over the last month and I’m thinking goals, lots of them.
Competition and no handbrake should bring out the best in Kyogo.
Up top should be a battle for goals per starting slot with two quality strikers going head to head for the privilege of beginning proceedings, I’m thinking that’s a win win.
The team should be aiming to score more as there’s obviously going to be transition at the back. That needn’t be a negative though, we have a decent selection no matter what, plus it’s best to ease new players in before the European campaigns begin.
Big Joe has six months to convince Ange he is worthy of becoming our number one again next year, hopefully sort of a win win scenario. Meanwhile new right back and left centre back fight in the background to get immediately introduced. I suspect one shall get immediately injected into the team (Johnson) while the other is slowly introduced which makes sense.
Last year we really kicked into gear post Christmas and went on to become unstoppable. I fully expect the same again.
Due to there only being all-weather meetings still scheduled for today,the Naps will extend over all meeting in the UK and Ireland on both Saturday and Sunday.
Similar to last weekend,sadly,but this time with a little more warning!
Any unreplaced non-runners will be replaced by the favourite in the last race on Sunday
Link to TWISTY Naps competition.
Watch out for abandoned meetings!
Chalmersbhoy World Cup Predictor
Good morning, friends.
*PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2022-23*
*COMPETITION RESTARTING TODAY – NAE MAIR SLEEPS!!!*
You’ll be glad, I’m sure, to know that this is my final reminder for this seasons Player Of The Year competition which restarts in just under 3 hours time.
I’m sure that the vast majority of readers know how it all works but for anyone new to the site the idea couldn’t be simpler –
1. A competition like no other, a competition open to all. Just join in whenever you can. No need to register, sign up or pay fees as it’s just a bit of fun. No need to vote after EVERY game – just the games you see (hopefully starting with today’s game against Aberdeen)
2. All you need to do is decide which 3 players performed best and then email those names to me at SENCELPOTY@GMAIL.COM .
3. No reasoning required and no need to put the players in 1-2-3 order.
4. I’ll add up the votes and issue the results for that game, usually between 10.00pm and 10.30pm on the evening following the game.
5. For each game, the Man Of The Match (as voted by you, readers!) wins 5 points. Next best gets 4, next gets 3 etc. These points accumulate on a game by game basis to eventually determine our Player Of The Year.
Simples? I hope so!
Here’s a reminder of how the table stood going into the World Cup break having played 24 competitive games (and having used 24 different players!) –
52 points – Hatate
34 points – Jota and Taylor
32 points – Carter-Vickers
28 points – O’Riley
22 points – Jenz
19 points – McGregor
16 points – Kyogo
15 points – Haksabanovic and Mooy
14 points – Abada
13 points – Giakoumakis
12 points – Juranovic
9 points – Bernabei and Welsh
6 points – Ralston and Starfelt
5 points – Forrest and Turnbull
4 points – Hart
3 points – Maeda
0 points – Abildgaard, McCarthy and Siegrist
I look forward to those first emails flowing in from around 2.30 this afternoon…
Link to help JOBO compile the list of VAR decisions. Please post the additional ones as they happen here.
For a change we are spoilt for choice in positions moreover we have replacements we can rely on.
My team for today.
Ralston, CCV, Jenz,Taylor
Haksabanovic, Kyogo, Jota
Obviously, Ange will pick a different team
Doesn’t look good for the naps this weekend 🥲On a lighter note I won’t fall further behind 25 naps in a row ⬇️ 🛑 😂
Saturday, December 17
Ascot – CANCELLED (FROZEN)
Chelmsford (AW) – CANCELLED (FROZEN)
Fairyhouse – CANCELLED (FROZEN), RESCHEDULED FOR WEDNESDAY
Haydock – CANCELLED (FROZEN)
Lingfield (AW) – CANCELLED (FROZEN)
Newcastle – CANCELLED (FROZEN)
Sunday, December 18
Fakenham – CANCELLED (FROZEN)
Navan – INSPECTION 3PM SATURDAY
Weather: Forecast is for a gradual rise in temperatures through the weekend
First race: 12.00
Weather: Forecast remaining cold and dry before turning milder and unsettled on Saturday afternoon
Going: Frozen at present
First race: 12.44
Weather: Remaining cold through Saturday with a light frost on Saturday night. Warming up on Sunday with a risk of snow, sleet and rain during the morning. Sunday’s temperature rising to 7C.
First race: 12.39
This was gonna be my time 🐎 🤷🏻♂️😂
All-weather racing postponed due to bad weather? 🤔
16 Roads 😂
ALL – Weather except really, really bad weather 🤷🏻♂️
Wolverhampton still has no plans for inspection tomorrow. Mind you,neither does Thurles-and the going there is officially “frozen”!
I noticed that last night about the going being
‘ Frozen’ . At least I didn’t spend much time choosing losers 🤷🏻♂️
Here’s hoping for Wolverhampton 🙏🏻
Although the jockeys and trainers will decide 😱
P.S I recently asked my sister what I could get my niece for Christmas?
She told me she was still into all things ‘ Frozen’ ..
So I’ve got her some Oven Chips and a bag of peas 😱😂
Bobby – there WAS a VAR issue in the Livingston game after all; just in case you want to amend your lead article? …
OCTOBER 30TH 2022 – LIVINGSTON 0 CELTIC 3
With Celtic leading 2 nil, Jota crossed from the left with Livingston’s Andrew Shinnie handling the ball. Missed by Willie Collum in real time but asked to look again by the Var and penalty awarded. Giakoumakis missed the spot kick.
SUMMARY – CELTIC BENEFIT FROM VAR AND WERE THEN AWARDED A PENALTY WHICH WE DULY MISSED!
To the BBC- The Champions are playing today.
Nothing on their website till 11:33.
COYBIG 🇳🇬 🇳🇬🇳🇬
CELTIC: Hart, Ralston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor, McGregor, Hatate, O’Riley, Jota, Kyogo, Maeda.
Subs: Siegrist, Jenz, Giakoumakis, Abada, Mooy, Turnbull, Bernabei, Forrest, Lawal
Lovely view of Parks of Hamilton coach on Sky as Celtic arrive at Pittodrie. 😡😡😡
Still looking for Superbru predictions from Billy Bhoy13, Conanh25, Gutenberg, Wee McCaff, McCaff,Raplochbus, Pro Cieerto, Melvin Udall and BRTH
Celtic’s Sead Haksabanovic in transfer row which will go to CAS
Is this why he’s not included today.
Thanks for that observation re Haksabanovic ,
November Player Of The Month
Any sausages for my roll , anyone?
Apparently, Haksabanovic got a knock in training
I know it doesn’t count on VAR Watch,but the ref giving a free for that dive-RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM-is an example of what we are up against.
BBC concur about that dive 😱
Obviously would have been happy though 😡
Keep updates coming please. No sausage 🥲
Pity the sheep didn’t play like this at the bigotdome, they may have got a point
Scottish football at its best.
Aberdeen on a long winning run at home yet pack at least 9 men behind the ball 30 yards from their goal.
The sheep following the St Mirren blue print
The sheep following the St Mirren blue print
Exactly but it’s horrible to watch game after game.
Looks as if they all arrived back from their holidays yesterday.
I would argue that var is having an impact on tactics. The usual park the bus is now uber park the bus because all it takes is one attack and a shot into our box, being on target is irrelevant and any innocuous event ending up as a penalty.
Dominating every aspect of this game,yet not creating anything at all? Not impressed much so far.
Yes,Aberdeen are backs to the wall,but we expect similar nearly every time anyway.
I expect a shot across the bows from Ange,and much improved second half. Though not from the officials.
HT stats possession 80%
Shots sheep 1, 0 on target. Celts 15:4
Bear in mind the sheep are on good home form and are third😵😱
Liel on for Daizen
McGregor stalls momentum in these kind of games.
He always takes at least 3 touches and allows opponents time to set defensively.
Maeda never once showed pace to get beyond opponent so Abada the right call.
Stop all the square passing across the park and be more direct and quicker.
Fan – correct
We are too slow and take too many touches in and around the packed box.
Agreed need to stop this crab like passing…..
Pit of pace and quicker thinking from Abada
8 red shirts and keeper in the box there
Wow what a miss
Watch a miss, ok get G-Mak on….
Get GG on
unlucky Abada nice move from MOR
Need 2 or 3 changes , ASAP
For those without a sausage the introduction of Abada has resulted in more pace to the game, Ralston still on holiday though……
Abada MoM and not played 20 minutes yet
Abada making a difference.
Get the bloody subs on😈😈
Do know what we do in training.
But certainly doesn’t look as if we practice shooting
Why’s he taking so long to change it
Normally makes changes at 60 minutes