Well that was a game that will live long in the memory.

NOT!

Definitely one to file under “nearly Xmas eh” as we ground out a 2 nil victory against a Hibs side that were energetic and pleasant enough through the midfield but thankfully had nothing up top.

The warning signs for a curious if not overly unpleasant afternoon were clear when the line-up was released:

  • Ajer, Jullien AND Bitton all starting?
  • Brown, Calmac and Ntcham ALL starting?
  • No Ryan Christie?
  • No SuperMo or SuperMikey?
  • No one on left hand side bar Bolingoli?

A combination of lack of fit resources, tactics and possibly experimenting saw Celtic line up 3-5-2 with the three big guys at the back, Frimpong and Bolingoli playing as high up the park wingbacks and Calmac, Broony and Ntcham in the middle whilst James Forrest had license to roam running around about Eddy who was through the middle.

It would take approximately 1 second after kick off before Hibs were firing high balls into the big space between Frimpong and Bitton that every supporter and their dog had identified as an issue.

Whilst Hibs huffed and puffed, they couldn’t really trouble Fraser Forster. Celtic on the other hand, were passing the ball out the park when expected men weren’t in their usual places, or running into each other or going nowhere in Ntcham and Forrests case.

Out wide Bolingoli was looking bewildered whilst the only ray of sunshine was Frimpong who bombed forward and looked like the only guy wanting to win with any eagerness. In the middle Calmac was helping retain possession well but it was all across and back and 2 and 3 touches without any urgency or clever movement.

Celtic would eventually find the net through Frimpong and Eddy linking up for the youngster to calmly slot the ball home under the keeper.

The crowd cheered and Lenny who was clearly getting frustrated, finally smiled on the touchline.

The second half was very much the same. We scored another through Eddy from a James Forrest cut back but there was no real flow to our game.

After a week post the Cup Final where most of the players didn’t travel to Cluj, we looked rusty rather than the expected refreshed.

Hibs tried to push up the park but the only save of note that Forster made was a great block from a Jullien diversion.

Hibs played some pretty passes though so hopefully they will find their shooting boots against our main rivals.

As for our strikers, Eddie would go off after just under 70 mins and Griffiths arrived for the last 20. Leigh had one nice turn and shot but in truth he was running the channels more than leading up front so we lost any main focal point. Griffiths would also just nick the ball away from the head of Rogic who was looking good for scoring in one of Celtic rare neat passages of link up play.

Everything good for Celtic was down the right with Frimpong. Everything poor was down the left with Bolingoli. The guy looked lost and even when he had time on the ball, he would stumble, pause or just balls-up. By the end of the game, Broony was shouting at him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is benched for Tynecastle on Wednesday.

John Beaton eventually blew for time and everyone agreed “a wins a win” and trundled home from the cold crisp air of Celtic Park.

This busy December schedule is fair kicking in but we still have 4 games to go. They just need to get to the Winter break without a loss.

Big Kris Ajer for one looked sore, stiff and uncomfortable after a few challenges and maybe its all taking its toll on our players.

Hopefully Lenny will have a few more options available to him over the next week or so as his side were running on fumes and just running into each other yesterday.

 

 

Ratings

Forster – 6 – 1 save to make from Jullien. Held onto the ball too long for the impatient crowd when chance of counter attacks available.

Bitton – 6 – Decent enough game and helped cover for the advancing Frimpong

Ajer – 6 – Tried to bring the ball forward with a few good runs.

Jullien -6 – Got stuck in but no threat at set pieces for a change.

Bolingoli – 4 – Hopeless. Hopefully more rusty than crusty.

Frimpong – 8 – The Buzzbomb that dragged us over the line. That Star video though!!

Brown – 6 – Busy in middle against a lively Hibs midfield

Calmac -6 – Had a good first half but faded in second

Ntcham -6 – Can go from sublime to ridiculous in space of 2 passes, 1 exquisite, the other out the park to nobody.

Forrest – 5 – Hardly in it bar cut back to Eddy for goal. License to play anywhere but ended up nowhere. Missing a solid relationship with a right back it seems.

Eddy – 7 – Scored 1 and assisted 1 but most of the day was running into a man in Purple.

 

Subs

Rogic – 4 – Came on for last 10 and made a few wee passes but nothing significant

Griffiths – 5 – Came on and ran about but team formation did him no favours

 

Manager

Lenny said ‘ “The only criticism is that we missed easy chances – we were far more comprehensive than 2-0.” but it was all huff and no puff from where I was sitting. He has major question marks over the left hand side to address and his side are looking leggy and missing a vital spark of inspiration.  When youre relying on the 19 years old boy for creativity then maybe an overall review is worthwhile with Hearts, Aberdeen, St Mirren and then The Rangers to follow before the year is out.

 

Fans

The highlight for many was the singing of “If you hate the fucking Tories clap your hands!” which got claps all around the stadium. Im not sure if Rod was at this game mind you!

 

 

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Puggy67

Personally after Hot Legs and Do Ya Think I’m sexy I told Rod to fuck off in 1978. Many chances squandered and 5-0 not unrealistic. We need to keep battering in the goals to counterbalance the honest mistakes.

Monti

Can we get the important bit out the way first, it’s my birthday today (48), a birthday i share with the late, great Tommy Burns.
I hope up in heaven you have a great day TB!
A man always in my heart!
God bless you Tam!

Monti

Desi,
Just glad to get the win yesterday, i was a wee bit worried about yesterday, however the manager & team keep pushing us on.
Well done to the players again, year after year these guys are giving us a lot to cheer about, long may that continue.

Celtic TV need to do an interview with Danny McGrain, getting Danny to say ” oh my days “.
Frimpong should spend a lot of time talking to Danny,he will learn a lot about hos position.

Danny McGrain eh? What a player he was!

Monti

To Tommy Burns There he stood with his flame red hair, hoops of Green & white his ware, His burning passion for Celtic so clear, played with grace & creativity, he made us smile, the Celtic family. Tommy was the epitome of a Celt, brave, skillful & strong, a pride in his club accutely felt. This man of faith & family was taken from us, when God said he needed a wand for his club, Big Jock & Cesar look after our bhoys, They remain in our hearts, with love & pure joy. We’ll remember our players & managers in… Read more »

Happy Bidet young man.

Monti

Cheers Cha, don’t feel young these days tho….:)

Monti Happy birthday ould hand

Monti

Cheers Weered!

Doc

Have a happy birthday.

Monti

Thanks Doc!

SteveNaive

All what you said Desi but the continued failure to score great chances is worrying. Should have been four and more yesterday.
Happy birthday Monti, have a good one.

Monti

Cheers m8

charlie

copenhagens a great draw but dont tell wee sammy wilson aboot yon big bridge or heel steal it afore we get ther ha ha so ee will

Gerry

Very fair assessment Desi, our play was pedestrian for the most part. Frimpong deserves all the credit that comes his way.
Bad day at the office for Boli and Forrest; the latter has earned a bad game, the former needs replaced.

Devoy45

Here is the ideal 3-5-2 ish(3-5-1-1)
Forster
Ajer/Jullien/Bitton
Frimpong/Brown/Ntcham/McGregor/Hayes
Christie
Edouard
Forrest needs a rest.

Iancelt67

Agree here run of the mill Celtic game against anyone else but rangers. This is a 2 horse race be prepared for formalities from now on in. Copenhagen a great draw. If we can’t beat them then we’re pish. We’re dropping a bit as far as standards are concerned but the domestic league is a hindrance more than a challenge. Tight race till the end. I think it’s going ok every good team is allowed a drop in standard. I’m concerned about the ostracising of rogic I’m expecting a transfer request. He’s too good to be ignored. My opinion rebus… Read more »

“This busy December schedule is fair kicking in but we still have 4 games to go. They just need to get to the Winter break without a loss.”

Mm, not sure simply being unbeaten is enough with der Hun appearing to easily beat all other teams, a 100% record is required.

December is once again a punishing month but it should be ever thus ie we want to be in Euro Group and winning the Right Said Fred Cup to add to all the league game.

Hopefully we can find a happy medium between tired 1st teamers and rusty backups!

Puggy67

Good news on Biton. Versatile experienced player. Injury has put paid to extended runs in the team here’s hoping that’s behind him and we see his best years in the Hoops.

Happy Birthday Monti hope you are having a great day.
HH

Monti

Jimmybee,
Cheers m8

Boli is not Celtic class he is terrible. He has to be dropped especially from the European squad. He just hasn’t got it.
With the games coming up quick and fast squads have to be utilised.
I will be sorry to see Gordon leave if he chooses to so he is far superior to Bain and has been brilliant for us.
Bitton hasn’t had as much game time as he has deserved and never let us down.
Losing those 2 in January could be a big blow to the squad.

Bitton has signed a contracgt extension until 2023.

Bain also signed a long extension recently, so I doubt he’ll be going anywhere.

When he first usurped Gordon he looked superior ie similar saving ability but far better distribution.

His star faded before Forster replaced him but I’m sure he can be an adequate backup.

Hood to know cha about Bitton.
Bain not convinced about him tbh.

John

BBC Sport are running a competition for ” moment of the decade”.
Entries include Rooney,Suarez Aguerro etc. Steven G is option No 6 for “that” slip. Could we take time to vote for him and cement his place in history ? Real history, not the fabricated kind you get from Govan.

You mad about ETims or just plain mad? Why not buy the t-shirt at http://etims.spreadshirt.co.uk/