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Celtic Diary Tuesday August 22: Same Sad Story

After a stunningly inept performance at Rugby Park on Sunday, Celtic crashed out of the League cup at the first hurdle.


It wasn’t very good, was it ?



Two previous matches had seen below par performances from the hoops, but the results had gone our way.


This time it was not to be, and to work out why, we must look at what went wrong with a cool and clear head.



The obvious problem could have been the pitch, an artificial surface that can be called controversial, but last season Celtic won convincingly on both occasions and so it’s fairly safe to say it shouldn’t have been a problem yesterday.


Maybe the problem is a little closer to home, and maybe it’s one of own making.



There’s a few things, come to think of it.



Not least the current injury crisis, which has seen Celtic without a number of regulars which, of course, means that continuity is broken, like when your club goes into liquidation.


That is a big problem, especially as key players such as Alastair johnston and Cameron Carter Vickers were a massive part of the team in the latter half of the season, which added to the sale of Carl Starfelt, means three out of the four regular back line are missing.


Which showed just a minute into the game on Sunday with a misplaced pass back that gave Kilmarnock their first corner.



Apart from that, though, the two new centre halfs looked promising, and they can;t be blamed for the defeat.


The rest of the players looked as though they didn’t know what they were supposed to be doing,



Calum MacGregor, so long a capable leader, didn’t look sure either, and it looks like the changes to the playing system brought in by the new manager haven’t been fully taken on board, for one reason or another, by the players.



In essence, we’ve changed a system that was probably as much fun to play in as it was to watch.


Why would someone fix something that isn’t broken ?


Add to that the more open style of Rodgers off the pitch, being much less aloof than Postecoglou, and it’s little wonder the players are confused.



Which, in turn, may also explain the sudden drop in form of the captain, who was previously in charge of the dressing room pre match.


And it was working.



Now he has had his wings clipped a wee bit, and may be afraid to stamp his authority and personality on the team.



I’m also curious about some of the stories we hear from behind the scenes, and it’s not verifiable enough to repeat them, but suffice to say there does seem to be a little bit of tension.


The change in personnel in the Sports Science department, which seemed amicable enough, may or may not be linked to the rise in soft tissue injuries.


Without looking too much into that , however, we need to look at what changes to the training methods have been so severe that they have caused the list to lengthen the way it has.



Maybe we’ve just tried to change to much too quickly.



When we really didn’t have to,



Mind you, some things never change.



There were a couple of honest mistakes during the game which . it can be said, had an effect on the outcome,



The goal could have been given as offside, but in truth I prefer the benefit of the doubt to be given to the forward, so I’m not going to moan about it too much.


But it would have been nice for an explanation of the decision when it had been subjected to a VAR review.


The rules change on a week to week basis, or at least it feels that way sometimes, so , as they did in the Women’s World cup, get the official to explain it as soon as it’s decided.



The elbow on Greg Taylor was a sending off offence. There is no debate about that.



Or shouldn’t be.



The trip on Haksabanovic was a penalty.  There is no debate about that,




Still, the referees made someone, and themselves happy….







Celtic, I believe, are paying for VAR.



There is an easy answer to this problem, and that’s to refuse to pay for it.


If the board could stop sulking that Desmond overruled their choice for manager and get on with working with the one we’ve got, they would see that the VAR system needs to be dealt with as a priority.



It’s already cost us a Cup, it already has seen players assaulted with no punishment,  and if they get away with that…..



Fingers out, Celtic, we’ve got problems.







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1 month ago

Brilliant article. Something wrong at Lennoxtown with our sports science department when all these players are getting hamstring and calf injuries . Are they doing the correct supervised warm ups or are they being left to their own devices to get their pre match stretches done.
As for the performances on the pitch . Enough said . Rotten.

1 month ago

Its certainly time our board requested clarity with VAR as there is no doubt this is another tool they have are managing to beat Celtic with, something needs to be said no doubt be seen as sour grapes but the media certainly give plenty press to the likes of McInnes and of course none of the decisions seem to be affecting the Newco funnily enough

1 month ago

Couldn’t agree more. Rodgers should not have returned. He has changed an overwhelmingly successful system to satisfy his giant ego. It’s always been ‘all about Brendan.’
The players have no idea what they are doing. His attitude to Hatate is appalling. He has a messiah complex about developing players but whose game has he actually improved? Maeda was hustled out of it on Sunday. The passing was woeful. Holm and O’Riley were poor. Kyogo got no service. Taylor got battered. McGregor could not get a tune out of any of them. Clearly they are not enjoying the changes to the system. It was totally reactive on Sunday, always on the back foot. Why play a system, if you could call it that, that brought pressure on two new defenders who had barely been introduced to one another. Abada had one of his off days. Kilmarnock were bullying players they couldn’t get near for two seasons. They were organised. Our midfield collapsed.
Rodgers now has an injury list similar to that Ange had in his first season and similar to the one his trainers caused at Celtic previously. Now he is deflecting blame by saying we’ve failed in the transfer market. Ange was wrong to leave like he did, just as Rodgers was, but the money was their goal. Btw, we beat them 5-0 and 4-1 on that pitch, so it’s no use using that as an excuse. It’s whatever the ‘system’ is that is causing the problems, added to the loss of players through injury. Starfelt could have moved in January until the back line got sorted properly. The biggest shock for me was Calum McGregor. He looked like a drowning man out there. Maybe Rodgers should spend less time on the personal touch and more time studying Ange’s methods. Kennedy and Strachan are still there to assist him, or are they in the huff as well?

1 month ago

The word dire comes to mind with that performance, again being bullied seems to work. As for Kyogo he is being played out of position by the Brenda. The refereeing by Muir and his mates was farcical, if a Killie Pie man went down, free kick, if a Celtic player was flattened, nothing. The Taylor elbow was a shocker as Armstrong meant it, but Muir did not ‘see it.’ As for the penalty decision, Robertson on VAR is another snotter. If they had salvaged something from this, it would have given Brenda the excuses. Postecoglou would not have been as subservient, worrying times indeed

The Cha
1 month ago
Reply to  Cartvale88

“Brenda”, very mature.

Postecoglu accepted everything he was given, including backroom staff, and never complained about anything.

Reinventing history, as a form of copium, should be left to the Huns.

1 month ago

On the subject of liquidation, 2 of my sevco supporting pals were talking at the weekend when one of them mentioned having the 1st goalscorer bet come up against livi last week. The other then shared his good luck story that the liquidators had sent him £70 as payment for the £1k debenture he took out with the old dead klub.
After years of fairy tales involving relegation and a journey I didn’t miss the chance and asked if he was sure that the cheque came from the liquidators and not the relegators. Cue stoney silence ,but we’re still talking.
Brendan needs to get to work fast on the pitch and on the transfer front or a season to forget followed by an expensive pay off is looming.

1 month ago

Wrong team selection, wrong tactics,If the pitch was so awful, and it was, why try and play out from the back every team in the league and europe have sussed out this frailty in Celtic play.The refereeing decisions honestly think its time for a law suit to be launched against some officials it is so blatent.We played with two central defenders whilst Killie had only one man up and we were so lethargic in our sideways/backwards passing so much negativity. Continuing this into Europe is a recipe for disaster. Certain staff need to have a good look at themselves in the mirror for that performance was sub standard and unacceptable.

1 month ago

Yeah pretty much summed up with that pic, innocent or not a ref giggling at ft is in bad taste. So much for not charging too much when he came in. Has the ego landed and the old guard don’t like it? With so many injuries was it wise to change how we play? Hmmmm


1 month ago

McGregor has been poor (by his own high standards) for weeks now. He lost possession of the ball on numerous occasions v Aberdeen and looks as if he’s lost a bit of edge/sharpness/fitness?? We were shocking though and it needs sorted pronto or the Huns will be level on points after the Ibrox game. The Killie pitch IS a big problem and as for the penalty, Ryan Kent won at least half a dozen pens by hitting his leg/ankle off a defender and I’m sure if Haksa was wearing a blue jersey it would have been given.

1 month ago

McGregor has been below par for a couple of weeks, maybe all of those games are finally catching up with him. He’s picked up a couple of yellow cards since the start of the season because he hasn’t had the legs to get to the ball before the opponent. And the style we have adopted is very ponderous, a little like Brandan’s last season. We need to be playing through the lines to Kyogo and the wide men, not having Kyogo dropping 10 yards looking for the ball.

Taylor and Ralston aren’t playing well they are providing very little going forward. So instead we play in front of the opponents back four. Abada isn’t the same player without Jota, he doesn’t get the service to ghost in at the back post. Yang looks a much better option that Maeda at the moment. He can hopefully provide the balls to the back post that Abada is so good at getting on.

And having said all that, Killie should have been down to 10 men and the penalty we didn’t get would have been given to Rangers no shadow of a doubt. But once again we will sit on our hands. Alan Muir is definitely one for the watching, always thought that. He’s picked up the mantel of Jim McCluskey et al. What Sunday proved is that even with VAR they aren’t afraid to deny Celtic clear cut decisions in their favour.

Woof Charlie
1 month ago

When do you ever see a long high ball bounce backwards? To quote a Canadian “you canny defy the laws of physics Captain!” Killi and Livi have an advantage but we should be able to overcome it as we train on the stuff. There should be an email from the club asking for answers to the red card and pen.

The Cha
1 month ago
Reply to  Woof Charlie

Haven’t watched it back, as too scunnered, but I was reading that Steve Conroy, the ex-ref (allegedly 1 of us) said it wasn’t a penalty as Haksa had initiated contact.

Irrespective, cynicism that would have been given for another team, is well founded.

Woof Charlie
1 month ago
Reply to  The Cha

It’s just a stone waller and if one of our CBs had done the same thing I’d be shouting eegit! The pundits often say look at the offending players reaction and his body language was I’ve just given away a penalty.

1 month ago

The level of performance of the team drops quite remarkably when Hatate is not in the side. There is no one in the squad that links the play like he does, Mooy done a similar job ,albeit, less effectively. Which then means less pressure on the opposition defence and more on ours.
Nothing new on Celtic teams being fair game for the boot boys , which makes it even more absurd that more often than not it’s a Celtic player in to the book first (which due my remarkable foresight I remarked to my bhoy before kick off that I would be so .) I should really think on putting a double bet on -Celtic first booking /penalty to the rangers , every week .sure to stoat more often than not !!!

Hoop hoop hooray
1 month ago

Here’s a thing.
Daniel Armstrong didn’t even get booked for deliberate elbow on tsylor which technically means he could still face retrospective action. But that wont happen as you can imagine the outcry…….
11 v 10 when they scored rather than 10 v 11 at that point. In england don robertson on var would be suspended. Not up here.

1 month ago

As well as the player being suspended for the next game after a retrospective red card, the time of the offence should be noted and when the teams next play each other the offending players team should play with 10 from that point in the match. Might help curb some of these sneaky elbows and the the team being offended against getting some sort of benefit that they were denied when the original offense took place.

The Cha
1 month ago

“Why would someone fix something that isn’t broken ?”

Nah, it doesn’t work like that.

If we wanted a continuity candidate then we should have promoted Kennedy.

In truth that would have been a pale imitation and the same as having a reserve replace a first teamer.

Rodgers was always going to do it his way and, if we didn’t want that, we shouldn’t have re-appointed him.

Droopy McCool
1 month ago
Reply to  The Cha

Exactly, so Brendan, you’ve got the job. Ange has left an instruction manual for you on his, erm I mean your desk. Any questions?
If only Big Jock had left his manual kicking around somewhere.

1 month ago

One of those days. An early defeat with a new manager some changes to players and systems and some very dubious refereeing. What’s new at the start of a Celtic season!

1 month ago

You started well Ralph restating my
point of several weeks ago about CCV and Johnston pronounced fit and then breaking down. That was under the previous sports science regime and happened over the last two years. Then you fell away with penalties, elbows and refs and other managers. I thought we had outgrown that, it’s for those who have never played the game. We are where Ange was after his first 3 games, the Aberdeen result flattered us. But with all our strength the squad did not deliver. One or two can’t cope yet with the changes, hopefully their form will improve. The injuries are unlucky and we need a couple of signings ready to step in now.

1 month ago

It appears we’ve returned to the pattern of parting ways with our top players, all the while being encouraged to accept it as a lucrative strategy (for them that is). We have to disregard the essence of football and take it up the chocky from the likes of the Ayrshire hun.

Lawell is back

1 month ago

Welcome back Brendan, good bye Brendan. Though to be fair, as soon as PL rejoined the board, Ange started to wear ties and jackets and soon took off and is happy back in polo shirts, Jota was sold to balance the books and we are slowly headed back to Lenny’s last days. Awful. HH!

Thru and thru
1 month ago
Reply to  BornCelt!

Postecoglou was working his ticket the minute he walked through the door. Get a result next week and even a draw at Ibrox, injured players back and a couple of big signings in (the money’s there) and we’ll be just fine.

1 month ago
Reply to  Thru and thru

Would not be a Celt if I wanted anything else, just gets so frustrating. Good points and a huge centre back to compliment CV and take over when he is out would help immensely. HH!

1 month ago
Reply to  BornCelt!

I think the pint being made is that even though we need a new keeper, left back, a brute of a defensive midfielder and a new big battering ram of a centre forward that Lawwell’ Moneyball policy won’t allow us to buy any of them.

And this is obvious by Rodgers’ interview in The Daily Mail today where he basically is putting out the message that our expectations must be managed to the point not to expected ANY big money signings for any key roles.

Oh, and Reo Hatate has seen enough to know this bus is going nowhere fast and has refused to sign a new contract, meaning he’ll likely be gone in the next week, and no wonder given the way Rodgers has treated him since he’s arrived.

I can’t see BR making it by Christmas.

1 month ago
Reply to  Gringo

Apologies for the spelling errors, writing and travelling do r mix.

I tried editing it half a dozen times but the Big Edit wheel isn’t working and won’t let me save my changes, insisting that I’m ‘Posting comments too quickly’ and that I must ‘Slow down’ every time I press Save.

Thru and thru
1 month ago
Reply to  BornCelt!

BornCelt- I know, it’s very frustrating. Was just trying to raise the spirits mate. To hell with the league cup anyway. Trebles are so last year. HH

1 month ago

According to pundit John James Sunday’s pitch was reduced in width by 5 yards on both sides to restrict our play. I thought that was illegal. Any comments?

1 month ago
Reply to  Jocsoc

It’s only illegal when it’s not Celtic.

1 month ago

It is incredible to me that from positions of strength ( CL groups ) & Title winners, that this board find new levels of ineptitude.
This model of buying low sell high has been good but we seem to be obsessed by it now, so much so that we are not bringing in experienced players to augment the young developing talent brought in.
When Brendan came in I thought he would get three, four or heaven forbid, five signings that would take us to a new level? Where are they?

The injuries have came all at once and increased the frustration & tension levels.

It’s easy to start attacking the board which I will do because they are not building a side to allow this great club to stand any chance in the CL, that kids is utterly criminal.
This Man City link has to be binned, we need to start scouting in Europe & buy ready to go players who have top level experience, they cost more but we have never been financially better off than we are now.

Brendan looks unhappy to me, he looks frustrated and in my opinion, he has been lied to, if we lose him again because of boardroom inaction and ambition, hell mend them.

I’m away to my garage to sharpen my pitchfork.



1 month ago

Has someone lost the spoon to open the money tins? Our tins do not rattle anymore because they are stuffed with Pound/Euro notes.
The Lawwell repellent to promising transfers has returned.

1 month ago

I could feel the malevolent presence of Lawwell stalk the corridors and halls from the week he returned as Chairman and slowly slowly could see it grow as it slowly but surely reasserted control over the entire football operation forcing the big Aussie to reassess his options as he could see where it was leading.

But even I’m shocked at how quickly we’re back here with the 4 or 5 million quid ‘projects’ and one or two around the 4-5 million, just to throw us the illusion that ‘the Baird are really trying’.

As someone else said earlier, we’re being running as a For Profit, the world’s first For Profit football club …

It’s a total kick in the teeth to the support and the absolute destruction of everything big Ange had put in place as he set about building what could and should have been a legacy but turned quickly into a short term stepping stone gig once he’d realised his ambition was not going to be backed by the money grubbing rats in the boardroom.

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