Watching the Defectives?

Watching the Defectives?

As some hecklers  readers / friends know, I normally try and do a match review and give some Player ratings after Celtic games.

Sadly I was distracted during periods of the BMG game so I thought it unfair to give any review bar a “Well done bhoys” and also felt any ratings would be lacking in validity ( You mean, you haven’t had that excuse for ratings before? – Etims readers)

However, it did get me wondering about how others outside our wee community saw the game.

So I went and checked various Ratings showing online..but not at Celtic sites…I bravely looked into darker areas.

As a rule, we are not ones to just blatantly copy folks copy and post it up our site as content, but on this occasion, the Compare and Contrast element does make for some quite interesting reading, especially compared to the actual game I was doing my best to watch and cross checks between the called media experts out there. You can decide on any ‘agendas’ by yourself.

For additional background ( and interesting indicators to how Celtic played the actual game),  here are some stats from to consider before you read the critiques..



Now onto our esteemed reviewers out there…

The Evening Times & Herald & UK Bulletin


GORDON (6): No chance with the opening goal after been left chronically exposed by his napping defenders. One poor kick out just after the interval but a couple of decent stops in the second period.

IZAGUIRRE (5:) Torrid time trying to contain the pace of Hazard. Could and should have done better to block the cross that led to Lars Stindl’s opening goal. Booked just after Dembele’s penalty for a tussle with Herrmann.

SVIATCHENKO (6): Will feel that he could have done much better at Stindl’s opening goal after losing the runner. Kept on his toes throughout the night as Borussia created the best of the chances in the game.

LUSTIG (6): Drafted in at centre-half after injuries to Kolo Toure and Jozo Simunovic. Not at his most comfortable and a few sloppy moments as he conceded possession.

GAMBOA (6): The right-back has struggled to make an impact since his arrival at the club but had a decent enough evening. Tried to get forward when possible and linked up with Forrest.

SINCLAIR (7): The winger’s direct running and pace have been pivotal to Celtic domestically and almost snatched an opener for the Parkhead side with a clever chip that came off the inside of the post. Did a fair shift in getting back too.

ARMSTRONG (6): Started his first Champions League game but looked out of his depth at times. Gave Celtic an option going forward but gave the ball away frequently and cheaply in the middle of the park.

BROWN (7): Uncharacteristically lost possession in the second period, an error that almost led to Borussia’s second goal. Played with his usual endeavour and energy and grew in influence as the game wore on.

ROGIC (6): Unlucky in the opening period to find himself bearing towards goal only for the move to be halted because of a soft foul from Dembele. Another who could have done a little more defensively.

FORREST (6): Tried to make an impression with his pace but genuine incursions were few and far between. Was replaced with Patrick Roberts on the hour mark.

DEMBELE (6): Should have went for goal as the game headed towards the break instead of pushing the ball out to James Forrest. Decision making could have been better but massive courage to win and then convert penalty.

ROBERTS (5): On for Forrest and tried to inject a bit if pace and creativity into proceedings. Provided the pass which led to Celtic’s penalty.

MCGREGOR (5): On in the latter stages of the game and will be haunted by the chance he had to win it. Found himself one-on-one through on goal but contrived to send his shot wide of the target.

HENDERSON (4): On for the final five minutes. Had one shot that he steered wide of the target as Celtic finished the game strongly.



GK – Craig Gordon – 7
Could do nothing about the goal. Not only did Lars Stindl fire it at close range, it also took a slight deflection off Mikael Lustig. With shots he did have a chance against, Gordon did rather well, including a front post denial of Christoph Kramer with Celtic trailing 1-0. And, after his recent error against Ross County, he did a much better of job of judging when, and when not, to come off his line.

RB – Cristian Gamboa – 6
Looked a little nervous on the football at times, often getting rid of it as quickly as possible instead of taking a second to survey his surroundings. That said, he got forward well, including a low cross in for Moussa Dembele which almost led to a Stuart Armstrong scoring chance. His defensive positioning was an improvement on recent showings.

DC – Erik Sviatchenko – 6
Caught in two minds for the Gladbach goal as he didn’t know whether to follow the run of Thorgan Hazard or not, and ended up doing neither. His distribution was a little aimless and he was guilty on a few occasions of punting the ball hopefully into the opposing half. Considering how Brendan Rodgers likes his teams to set up, Jozo Simunovic and Kolo Toure may be the first choice centre-half pairing once both are fully up to speed.

DC – Mikael Lustig – 7
Defensively the Swede was excellent. No-one was sure what to expect coming into the game as the natural right-back filled in alongside Sviatchenko, but he made several crucial blocks and tackles around the final third. He loses points for his distribution, which was wayward at times.

DL – Emilio Izaguirre – 7
A really solid defensive display from the Honduran playing his first Champions League contest of the season. And while he didn’t provide the same attacking impetus as Kieran Tierney down the left, he still contributed well to the attack, often staying composed in possession.

DM – Scott Brown – 8
Playing as the deepest of Celtic’s midfield three, Brown was the exceptional player in the engine room as the visitors surprised many onlookers by having the majority of possession. He did a great job of closing down and interrupting Gladbach’s passing game. With the ball at his feet, he kept things simple and avoided the slack five-yard passes he’s often guilty of.

MC – Stuart Armstrong – 6
Off the ball he was terrific, getting into the faces of opponents, breaking up play and making penetrating runs from deep. Unfortunately, his touch and passing were often off, meaning he conceded possession too easily on multiple occasions. Still, for someone who was looked upon as nothing more than a reserve player a couple of months ago, it was another step in the right direction as he looks to become a mainstay of the Celtic starting XI.

MC – Tom Rogic – 7
The Australian was neutered in an attacking sense by his positioning in the team. Instead of playing as the creative No.10, Rogic was stationed deeper in the midfield behind Armstrong and tasked with helping Celtic win the possession battle. His technique and composure on the ball allowed him to do so, even if he was crowded out on the occasions he looked to break forward.

RW – James Forrest – 5
Struggled to make any sort of impact on proceedings, something which became further apparent when Patrick Roberts came off the bench and did more in 30 minutes than Forrest had managed in 60. In fairness, if Celtic’s gameplan was to hit on the counter rather than trying to boss possession, he may have had greater success. Deservedly the first Celtic player to be hooked.

FC – Moussa Dembele – 8
Celtic were able to establish possession because, on the occasions they were forced to shell it long, Dembele helped make the ball stick down the other end of the park, instead of merely allowing Gladbach to build another attack. Similar to the Betfred Cup win over Rangers, the Frenchman got stronger as the game went on, including an intelligent run in behind which helped him win the penalty. Despite missing against Barcelona in a similar situation on matchday one, this time he kept his cool. Celtic’s man of the match.

LW – Scott Sinclair – 8
His ability to take the ball in deep areas and drive up the park was another reason Celtic were able to give as good as they got against their much fancied hosts. The winger constantly makes threatening runs into central areas and yesterday was no exception. So unlucky to see his (almost) perfectly clipped shot from the edge of the area come back off the post at 0-0.

Patrick Roberts – 8 –
Celtic were much more incisive when he came off the bench, as he played his part in the build-up to the penalty and threaded through great ball for Callum McGregor late on.

Callum McGregor – 6 –
His energy from the centre and similarity to Armstrong, in terms of making vertical runs from deep, helped Celtic keep going until the end. However, there’s no getting away from it, his miss was a shocker.

Liam Henderson – 6 –
Like McGregor, he brought an energy Celtic needed at the time, but he too lacked composure in the final third.


THE DAILY RECORD ( huch spit)

Craig Gordon: Raced from his line midway through the first half to make great save at feet of Tobias Strobl after he beat the offside trap. Left exposed at goal but good save to deny Lars Stindl a second. 7.

Cristian Gamboa: Former West Brom full back hasn’t looked convincing on his rare outings and careless in possession at times early on but improved a game went on. Subbed. 6.

Mikael Lustig: Swede moved into central defensive position and conceded early foul that led to pressure and failed to get challenge in as Lars Stindl was fired the Germans ahead. 7.

Erik Sviatchenko: Poor defending from the Dane at Gladbach opening goal when he played Thorgan Hazard onside. Stopper looked a bit oFf the pace. 7.

Emilio Izaguirre: Honduran had his work cut out against star man Thorgan Hazard and full back was caught out with ball in behind down his blank for cross that led to Gladbach opener. Booked. 7.

Scott Brown: Skipper backheeled the ball into Patrick Roberts path for pass through to Moussa Dembele to win penalty after good fortune at the other end he failed to collect Craig Gordon clearance but Fabian Johnson shot wide. 6.

Stuart Armstrong: Kept his place ahead of Nir Bitton and shot over from a good position late in the first half. Good energy and desire but distribution let him down. 5.

James Forrest: Helped create chance for Scott Sinclair off the post and set up Stuart Armstrong for shot over the crossbar but a frustrating night on the whole and subbed after an hour. 5.

Tom Rogic: Aussie produced the brilliant strike against Aberdeen but couldn’t get himself into the game here and he predictably substituted with just over 20 minutes left. 6.
Scott Sinclair: Agonisingly close to giving Celtic a dream lead when he curled a stunning effort off the inside of the post. His pace is always a threat on the counter. 7.

Moussa Dembele: Frenchman won spot kick that saw Julian Korb sent off with 16 minutes left and stepped up to stroke the penalty past Yann Sommer and give Celtic a lifeline. 8.


Patrick Roberts: Introduced on the hour and played Moussa Dembele through to win penalty. 6.

Callum McGregor: On with just over 20 minutes to go and glorious chance to win it late on. 3.

Liam Henderson: Given last seven minutes. 3.





Craig Gordon 7

Didn’t do anything wrong, made a couple of saves and had no chance for the goal.

Cristian Gamboa 7

Played very well after the first 10 minutes when he was giving the ball away. Once he settled down, he was up and down the right wing and did quite well.

Mikael Lustig 7

Solid at the back. Any problems he had were more from midfielders giving the ball away in bad areas.

Erik Sviatchenko 7

Similar to Lustig, although maybe for the Stindl goal he could have closed down the ball a bit better, but he still gets a seven.

Emilio Izaguirre 8

Played very well defensively, stuck to his task and did everything asked of him. Stayed in position and didn’t bomb forward.

Scott Brown 7

Was on his own in the middle of the park for a lot of the time. It was a difficult night for him up against Stindl but he led the team quite well.
Stuart Armstrong 7

He made some mistakes but he went looking for the ball. He ran 7.2km – more than any other Celtic player. It’s not his natural position – almost a holding midfielder role – but he’ll learn from the match.

James Forrest 6

Didn’t affect the game enough from a positive point of view. He worked away but a little bit more is expected from him and it wasn’t a surprise when he was taken off.

Tom Rogic 6

Like Forrest, he could’ve affected the game a little bit more positively. He’s having a wonderful season but in Germany he didn’t quite get himself into positions in which spectators are accustomed to seeing him in.

Scott Sinclair 7

He hit the post with a fantastic effort and had a couple of other chances despite being up against a very good full-back. He worked away tirelessly all night and always looked a threat.

Moussa Dembele 7

His composure and also his part in winning the penalty were terrific. To go up and stick away a penalty in the Champions League was not easy after missing one in Barcelona.

Patrick Roberts 7 (replaced Forrest)

He was involved in the big moments: he put the pass through for Dembele’s goal and for Callum McGregor’s late chance. To come on and make an impact is all you can ask of a substitute.

Callum McGregor 6 (replaced Rogic)

He had that big chance – he could have been the hero. He should have scored or picked the pass to Sinclair. Probably didn’t have long enough to make a huge contribution but he’ll be disappointed with the miss.

Liam Henderson 6 (replaced Gamboa)

Came on late in the game. Looked nice and lively and had one shot that he curled just wide.




goal-defence  goal-mid-strikersgoal-subs


NB – And no, it wasn’t my cut and pasting, actually did forget Patrick Roberts was playing!