El cormaco looks ahead to tonights game, and wonders if a major change in tactics will see Celtic triumph…Wattenaccio or Brendanballs ?By Record ReporterThe greatest tactician in Scottish football ever, his Lordship Sir Walter Lord Smith brought a mighty 6 wins in 35 group games in the Champions league to the glorious Glasgow Rangers, deploying a tactic revered around Europe.Misunderstood at first, in time all of Europe knew and admired “Wattienaccio” The tactic was honed in derby games against Tommy Burns Celtic teams, where Rangers would select a line up with no intent on attacking, often deploying multiple defenders in midfield or nominal forward roles. Once on the pitch the players showed how well Sir Walter for it is He had drilled themwith strict orders to hold on for dear life by defending with as many as the entire team behind the ball from as early as kick off before getting one opportunity to counter attack and scoring.So impressed by this tactical masterstroke was he that none other than Lionel Messi called it “anti football” following a frustrating night for the Argentinestarlet against the mighty Gers. Translated from Catalan this means “we arrra Peepul”. High praise indeed from the little man who David Murray could totally have brought to Ibrox if he didn’t think Mark Hateley again was miles betterThe tactical masterplan befuddled opponents all the way to UEFA cup final where Rangers tactics were again employed to a tee but unluckily failed to take the trophy home against a team who tried to play football. Nonetheless the club made lots of friends along the way with its “never say attack” attitude and open and inclusive culture amongst its supporters. Sir Walter – blessed is he- also set the blueprint for every Scottish team playing in Europe since, one Brendan Rodgers is ignoring at his perilRodgers has just over seen Celtic’s worst ever European result, a 7-0 doing by also rans Barcelona. Despite lining up with Wattienaccio –esque 5 man defence, they were behind in less than a minute and it deteriorated from there.Surely now Rodgers will have to see the errors of his ways and get totally on board with the only style of play which can hope to bring success to Scottish teams. He must surely be studying the Rangers performances under His glorious Sir Walter to see how to get through a game praying for a 0-0 with absolutely zero positive intent. If he doesn’t then further humiliation awaits for a Celtic still hurting from Rangers achievement of 9 league titles in a row, a time which all Scottish fans agree was the true golden period for our game.Okay enough tabloid writing, I should challenge myself a little, and instead Ill ask: how do we approach these European games?We won 6-1 at the weekend, but would have been as well prepared for Man City if we’d stayed at home.
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Do we play the Celtic way and see how we get on or adapt a bit of Wattienaccio and see how we get on?
In the Camp Nou I’d say it was a bit of a mix, with 5 at the back but Sinclair Dembele and Roberts looking to counter attack. It looked to be working for the first 20 seconds too, until they ripped us open like a fat man getting at his fish supper, and also for a time when it was 1-0 and we actually played a bit of football, had the penalty etc
The second half was death by a thousand passes though as we went to pieces, and frankly I would have taken a bit of Wattienaccio at that point. Against Man City at home there is the responsibility to the support to try to go out and win the game, something which didn’t burden his Walterness but there is also the memory of our most recent great night when we Wattienaccio’d the sh*t out of Barca and scored twice.
I don’t think there is too much point in us going full Wattie though – our defenders individually are still prone to mistakes, Efe still trains with them after all, and as a unit we are far from solid, unable to even stop low flying *rangers from scoring, so for better or worse (and its gonna be worse) we should go and attack when we can.
I don’t want Rogic to be this generations Lubo – not trusted in Europe until its too late at which point he shows he should have been trusted from the start, so give him a game. He is too slow to ever be top top player but he is capable of magic moments. Sinclair will want to show some at City he deserved better than how he was treated in Manchester – though he did meet Rosie Webster while there so you know, it could have been worse for the lad. Dembele is powerful enough to give any centre half a game and when he tires Griffiths is super keen to show what he can do at this level.
One worry (well one of many) is Tierney. He’s a great prospect but was well out of his depth in Barcelona. I’d be tempted to bring in Izzy if only to protect Tierney for now.
City are flying right now. Not literally, its only Monday and you can do Manchester to Glasgow in under 4 hours in the car, but they are a fearsome prospect.
I saw them at the Etihad take apart West Ham in a 45 minutes of pure high energy football but then in the second half they were hanging on by the end against a West Ham team who have pretty much given up on the season already , so there is some small hope there. De Bruyne is injured so that’s a bonus but we all know Celtic well enough by now to know the guy who takes his place is gonna score a hat trick but I want to see us go down fighting. By which I mean trying to play football
It’s horribly naïve, we should do a Wattienaccio and at about 4-0 I ll be furious that we didn’t but we are Celtic and it’s what we should aim to do, even when hopelessly outclassed.
I saw the second half of Aberdeen – *Rangers game yesterday and its clear we can use this season to get players used to the Champions league knowing they will have a chance to qualify again next year; two poor teams, neither of whom will run us anywhere close over the season. So as much as its painful to admit, the whole Champions league campaign this season is pretty much a freebie, and hopefully we can make some small steps towards being competitive next season.