Celtic Diary Thursday September 19
After coping magnificently well with Milan for eighty minutes, a cruel deflection and a dodgy free kick saw Celtic crash 2-0 to the Rossoneri in last nights Champions League opener.
It could have, and should have been, much, much better.
Too many passes fell short, too many wrong decisions in the final third, and above all, a surprising failure to make anything, even a shot or header on target , from nine corners.
When Kris Commons fed Scott Brown, it was just slightly behind him, allowing de Jong to make the saving tackle, when Adam Matthews continually chose to go around the left back, who was quick, but not as quick as Matthews, he ran out of space, but, bafflingly, he never cut inside once.
Samaras choosing to shoot rather than pass to Commons…I could go on forever, and probably will, but that was certainly three points lost last night.
Both sides were fairly timid throughout the game, no-one wanted to lose rather than wanting to win, and it showed every time Efe Ambrose ( and a few others ) ran straight at the Italians, who retreated en masse allowing him to gain ground, but preventing any real damage.
Milan certainly set out not to lose, Celtic would have been happy with a point, and thats how it seemed to be going until Izzaguerre stuck out a foot to turn a wayward shot behind Forster, who does seem to struggle with low shots.
If you look at that goal again, take note of Mario Balotelli, writhing in agony at the other side of the area. He was determined to get himself an advantage, and when he annoyed Scott Brown enough, the Celt took the bait and conceded a needless free kick. Forster saved tremendously, but the defence were slow to react, and Milan were two up.
Nine corners, one shot on target. Thats why we got beat.
If there is one consolation, Barcelona hammered Ajax 4-0, and it showed that they will probably dominate the group. The two wealthy clubs look like they will qualify, while the feeder clubs will battle for a Europa place.
Scott Brown, speaking after the game, thought Celtic were the better team;
“We played really well and created a lot of chances,” he said. “Overall I felt we were probably the better team.
“They got the lucky break and we were always going to try and push forward (and that allowed them to get the second).
“Was I surprised by how much possession we had? Not in the slightest. We knew we were going to get possession. We know we are a good team. We gave just as good as we got.”
Milan defender Phillipe Mexes saw it differently;
“I don’t think we suffered that much to be honest. We controlled the game well and finally managed to score in the final minutes,”
“I don’t think Celtic had so many opportunities – they had a couple of shots on goal but they really didn’t trouble us. We controlled the game and finally scored when we had the chance. ”
Celtic boss Neil Lennon summed it up best, with the last line in this quote;
“It heightens the disappointment, that we played so well against Milan. The performance was of a high standard.
“We didn’t hang on, there wasn’t wave after wave of Milan attacks, we took the game to Milan.
“I thought we were the better team, playing the better football.
“I can’t fault any of the individuals, but it is a little bit sore at the minute.”
And he did encapsulate how we all felt with this;
“I am bitterly disappointed because for long periods of the game we were the better team, to come away from the San Siro, [disappointed] not to have picked up a point or three points, is a mark of how well we have developed and how well we played tonight.
“We have Barcelona next and they are a different animal. But we are here to qualify and nothing changes my view after that performance. The scoreline flattered Milan, I don’t think there was two goals between the teams. We dominated from 20 minutes on in the first half, until 10 minutes from the end of second. Apart from the Muntari chance, my goalkeeper had nothing to do the second half, we restricted them to long-range shots and we played really good football. There were no failures.”
No-one let us down, but there wasn’t that wee bit extra needed at this level. It just didn’t happen, or perhaps more accurately, no-one made it happen.
But , although we feel massively disappointed today, take heart from this, from the “Bleacher report “, which is how others see us…
” Celtic managed to outshine the home side. Just as they did with a run to the knockout rounds last year, Celtic have the ability to make it out of this group despite the early setback. ”
Actually, that doesn’t make me feel any better. No, not at all.
That picture does, though. It seems the support were making friends in Milan, and everyone had a good time.
This from “Sport Witness ”
Of course, there’s alcohol involved but the fans appear to be causing no trouble and the local media is more impressed by them than terrified. National newspaper La Repubblica mistakenly calls the club Irish as they seem to have been influenced by the number of flags on display in the city’s main square outside the cathedral.
Ach, thats something I suppose. No, changed my mind, makes me feel even worse because I didn’t go and at least get a good trip out of it.
Tell you what, I’m going to be wonderful company today.
So far this week, Celtic got beat, I’ve had to quit smoking , change my Scottish cholestorol based diet, ( you know the one, where you clean the frying pan with two slices of bread ) and have now done three months off the drink.
A report from Oxford University says that one in ten deaths are caused by eating red meat. So, therefore the other nine are caused by eating fruit and vegetables.
No wonder I’m miserable. I’m going to order some tickets to see comedian ( aye, right, ) Michael McIntyre. Then, when they arrive, I can cheer myself up by throwing them in the bin.
A reply from Pensionerbhoy gave a fully correct description of how the four pictures in yesterdays diary led to Shunsuke Nakamura, and we’d like to ask whoever has his computer to give it back now.
Just kidding , of course.
They can keep it.
An excellent answer, though, joking apart. I really didn’t think anyone knew what a Shun knife was.
Today, dwell upon these images…
Thats quite a difficult one. Because I’m in a bad mood.