Celtic Diary Sunday August 25

Celtic got some much needed practice at pulling back a two goal deficit yesterday.  Inverness took a two goal lead before a patched up Celtic side got a goal in each half, through Mulgrew and Matthews,  to level the scores.

Its worth noting that both goals came after neat passing along the ground instead of the traditional sidieways pass to the full back . In fact , when Thomas Rogic tried a couple of shots from outside the box in the first half , you had the feeling Lennon was going to call for a time out so he could ask what was going on.

In the past , Lennon was accused of micro management when he was putting a team together, players had to stick to a system, and there was no diversification. That seems to have been the case this season, except for a couple of instances yesterday. Indeed, there were evn a couple of forward passes that seemed to surprise the recipient, and the key is to keep varying the style, and that way Celtic will become less predictable.

The two goals lost were avoidable at best, and sloppy at worst. Another new defensive pairing showed that Lennon and Mjallby are unsure of who to play there, and as a whole the defence are unsure what to do at set pieces, hence the return to standing around waiting to see what will happen, or zonal marking as it is called in the coaching manuals. In one coaching manual, its in chapter 4, entitled “zonal marking; a waste of time.”

Fraser Forster continued to play as though someone had tied his shoelaces together, while Ambrose and van Dijk gave us the rare opportunity to see the Nigerian try to compensate for someone elses mistakes.

Emilio Izzaguerre couldn’t get his crosses right, but still kept trying, when it would maybe have been kinder to just give him a rest ready for Wednesday, while Adam Matthews was simply outstanding on theb right. In fact, Scott Brown was given the man of the match at the ground, and he should do the decent thing and give it to the Flying Welshman.

After all, if Lustig continues to prefer the right back slot, then Matthews could be shunted into right midfield ahead of Brown, where he could be absolutely devastating.

However , for now, Matthews at right back, and Lustig in the centre, the Swede replaced van Dijk ( and stabilised the defence ) in another bizarre Lennon switch yesterday, but at least it prevented the Dutchman from doing any further damage. Bizarre in that we were still trailing at this point, and it also meant a re shuffle-or at least it seemed like a re-shuffle sort of happened.

With Izzaguerre at left back, that defence should be cool and competent enough to keep the Khazaks at bay. Especially if they have one or two tricks up their sleeves.

As for the rest, Brown and Ledley did okay yesterday, Kayal did play, so I’m told, but went off fairly early. The man of the midfield was Aussie Thomas Rogic, who looked as though he will add something different to the side. Forward passing, shots, tackles etc.

Incidentally, a friend of mine is just back from down under, and when he speaks, he puts the emphasis on the last word in every sentence, like the girl he met over there. Doctor says its a sexually transmitted inflection.

Anyhoo, the big fellow Balde can certainly win and shield a ball, but it does tend to bounce off him a bit. He’ll get better, while others may disagree, but Tony Watt seemed to let himself down again, while Charlie Mulgrew didn’t want to do anything that the boss hadn’t told him.

Bahrudin Atajic made a cameo appearance, and also looked promising, while  James Forrest had his  best afternoon of the season, and gave himself a chance to get back to full fitness.

One positive from the game, the sustained pressure at the end of the first half was more like the Celtic we know they can be. Ninety minutes of that on Wednesday and the tactically astute Karagandy boss won’t know what hit him.

As for my day out, the Gallowgate hasn’t changed much since my last visit-which surprisingly was the Valencia game all those years ago- and I think at least one of us got exactly the same beer he did that night.

The Sarry Heid was the first port, with the rebel parade passing by so  I stood outside the bar , taking photos of my thumb with my phone. On then to the Emerald, the Phoenix, Bar 67 and the Hoops bar, all fairly quiet, except for occasional singing, and all displaying notices banning sectarian chanting.

A campaign is needed to put the fun back into bigotry, otherwise these pubs will close.

Three of us went to the game, one of us saw it. After a pint of fresh orange-ordered by mistake as my colleague was struggling to talk by then, the vitamin C , alien to my system,  began its work and I felt a wee bit off.

Walking from the Hoops bar to the ground, the other two were unable to pass Kerrys Bar without calling in, and I didn’t see them again until after the game. to be fair to them, they had been walking for eight minutes and probably needed a rest.

Sitting in 412 meant that about twenty feet below me was the Green Brigade and the drum, but it was hardly noticeable above my screaming. Still, remeber that game when the drummer inspired the team to an historic victory ?

No ? Nor fecking me.

Ditch the drum. Keep the banners and the singing. It wouldn’t be so bad, but he only knows one beat. Which matches none of the songs and sounds like the noise your upstairs neighbours make when they are moving the furniture around.

But, it was still a good day out, and I even got home for about nine thirty, largely because my passengers mercifully fell asleep, like little babies. And moaned when they awoke, also like little babies.

“You don’t even know the score, do you ? ” I asked one.

“You sound like my dad, ” he replied ” When I was younger,  used to come down on a Sunday, he’d be reading the paper,  ,and he would ask me if it was a good game. I used to say, “whats it say in the Sunday Post ? ” ”


Meanwhile, it appears that a deal has been struck to bring Teemu Pukki to Celtic, £3m being the price, and that will help someone else at Schalke take his place on the bench.

Still can’t get excited over buying a second stringer from another side, and hate this lets hope for the best attitude it seems to highlight ith the management.

As the saying goes, you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince, and the idea is to sign players to do a job for Celtic, not the bank.

Lennon says he wants a couple more in by the end of the week, which will no doubt boost the confidence of those who line up to face Karagandy on Wednesday.


John Thompson was the legend in the question yesterday, today its someone a bit more recent.




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7 years ago

virgil van dyke ,he was rotten in mary poppins hope he shapes up better as footballer

Main stand mainstay
7 years ago

Virgil van Dijk.

Disagree about Rogic; started decent enough and then faded out of it completely. Thought Mulgrew looked far more comfortable at Centre half, probably because he is a defender and a decent enough one at that.
It’s a poor situation to find ourselves needing Tony Stokes to be fit as our no.1 crunch euro tie striker. I like Stokes but he hasn’t produced in Europe/ been trusted to start.

Anyone for another Russian (Kazakh) Roulette shootout?

The Narrowbhoat Tim
7 years ago

The newest member of the sieve Virgil van Dijk.

Andy Bhoy
7 years ago

Schalke have been very poor this season so far, Pukki only got some game time in the CL qualifier and Finnbogason scored another 2 on Friday night against Ajax. Looks to me that the club have no ambition whatsoever.

7 years ago

Absolutely no ambition signing second rate players, if he’s not good enough for Shalke then he’s good enough for Celtic, it also means that he cannot play in Europe for Celtic.

Andy Docherty
7 years ago
Reply to  jonjo

he can play – as long as it is only a qualifying match he took part in, he’s eligible for Celtic
I’ve never seen Pukki playing, so no idea how good he is. But then I’ve never seen Finboggason either (and doubt many Celtic fans have, yet he seems to be rated as the best striker in Europe by every other Celtic fan.
Lennon / Park / Lawell haven’t let us down so far, so I reckon the deserve a bit of slack – Lennon’s been quoted as saying it was always Pukki and not Finboggason that he was after.

Frank McGaaaaarvey
7 years ago
Reply to  Andy Docherty

Can’t agree with your assertion that Lennon / Park / Lawell have never let us down Andy – for a start do the names Bangura, Murphy or Juarez not give you nightmare flashbacks?

Andy Docherty
7 years ago

Juarez was a player, something happened after he came to CP – I know we got a few players who had serious gambling debts / habits, which was why we got them, Possibly his habit was the thing that caused his implosion.
Bnagura I reckon could be a half decent player – he showed some of what he has at CP.
Murphy I’ll give you – can’t think of anything positive about that signing.
Think about all the players that Lennon / Park have signed – Forster, Matthews, Lustig, Van Dyck, Izzy, Ledley, Watt, Balde, Ambrose, Rogic, Mulgrew & Kayal,all played yesterday – we’ve also sold Ki, Wanyama, Hooper & Wilson for a profit = seems like quite a success story to me.

Frank McGaaaaarvey
7 years ago
Reply to  Andy Docherty

You’re spot on, the majority of the signings have been a success (although rarely a huge success) or it is too early yo judge certain signings, but you surely have to admit that we are in a situation right now that could have been avoided. We could be going into a massively vital fixture with only one recognised striker in Balde who is completely unproven and ‘one for the future’. I would categorically state Celtic fans have been let down big time this summer and whether that is down to Lennon, Lawell or Park is neither here nor there. We are in a situation that could have been avoided and I think there was a severe understimation of Shakhter by all involved.

Of course should we progress on Wednesday we will be wondering what all the fuss was about. If not……

Brad Parker
7 years ago

Pukki looks to be a talented player from limited times I have seen him. But I agree Finnobogasson looks the real deal. In my opinion he looks a lot better than hooper was, even if we have to pay 5 mil I reckon it’s worth it, he scores goals for fun. With a goal machine up front we would be a different team. Also I disagree with article re Tony Watt. I thought he had a decent game yest, he kept trying and rarely made a mistake. He needs to play through the middle though

Iljas Baker
7 years ago

Gotta agree with those who say the club has no ambition. I’m not saying money is not important but you can’t have a club that meets the fans’ ambitions if you’re not willing to, on occasion, buy a good player without having to sell him on for a profit later. Sometimes you have to buy because he’ll do a job now but not later – just like MON’s team, although maybe not so many of this type of player. At least give us hope and the other players a higher standard to emulate.

Saturday didn’t bode well for the Shakhter replay – lost two goals and neither striker scored! A penalty shootout is probably the best we can expect.

Andy Bhoy
7 years ago

In response to Andy Docherty, some people do pay attention to and watch players from other leagues, particularly the markets where our club find themselves shopping. As for not being let down,I’m sorry, but Celtic should not be spackling a team together to face a crowd of nobodies in what is the biggest game of the season.

Andy Docherty
7 years ago
Reply to  Andy Bhoy

I watch other football as well, but Finboggason & Pukki were not world beaters a few weeks ago – their reputations have been enhanced solely due to our lack of a decent striker.
I would be happy to see either sign up, but just can’t understand the clamour over them (the same goes for James Forrest, I’ve yet to see what makes him so special)

7 years ago

Why don’t we sign Pukki & Finnbogasson??? £10m for both proven goal scorers..”BARGAIN”

Charlie Saiz
7 years ago
Reply to  boyceybhoy

Simple Boycey..
Buscuit Tin Mentality.

7 years ago


Very enjoyable diary today with much of the old humour in full flow to cheer us up. Or maybe you are actually trying to anaesthetise us in preparation for Wednesday night’s traumas.

I will keep my comment short as the comments section these days is looking more and more like an encyclopaedia of opinions. I think many new faces have appeared or lurking readers lured into the open. Great to see your popularity grow. It is long overdue. Unless, of course, they simply find that photo of me you posted at the end, very appealing.


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