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Celtic Diary Wednesday August 21

I haven’t changed my mind. Shakter Karagandy are still a bloody awful team. They just happened to come up against another bloody awful team and deal with it better.

Shakter made up for any technical disabilities with enthusiasm and organisation, while Celtic just passed the ball sidieways in midfield and waited for something to happen.

It did. Shakter took it off them and ran up the park and scored twice.

Actually, not so much took it off them, but had it given to them.

Celtic looked tired, nervous and uncertain of how to deal with the sort of problem faced in nearly every Premier League game ever played-that of a team sitting in and hoping to take advantage on the break. There were chances, but with no predatory striker on call, the hoops failed to make them count-a recurring theme-and Lennon must either rely on the ones he has, or do something to get someone else in.

Anthony Stokes, Amido Balde and Tony Watt all sat out the game, with Balde only making an appearance with eight minutes to go. Stokes has still to sign a contract, and a real fear is that if Lennon doesn’t start to show some faith in him, he’ ll join the exodus south that has apparently crippled a promising young side.

Q: Where did it all go wrong ?

A: On the pitch.

Forster looked uncomfortable in goal, perhaps because of the new central defensive partnership in front of him. It must have looked okay in training, or surely Lennon would never have risked it.

Ambrose must have been too tired to start, and Matthews was left benched due to his hamstring, meaning that Lustig could not play in the middle. Charlie Mulgrew was supposed to be the extra defender, but seemed prone to wandering wide, and this left Brown and Ledley overwhelmed when the Khazaks did break.

Izzaguerre and Commons tried , but were often crowded out, praise is due , though, they kept trying, but received little help with movement or running from Samaras, Forrest or the midfielders.

We made an arse of it, but there is a game next week in Glasgow where it can be put right. The Khazaks will play exactly the same way. Celtic cannot afford to.

But we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Unless we fall off half way over, which is likely based on last nights efforts.

After the game, although few of us could bear to watch, Shakter milked the occasion, celebrating as if they had won the tournament, instead of just giving themselves a decent chance of  qualifying.

Which really got to Lennon, who wasn’t in the best of moods;

“I don’t know (if they think it is over),” he raged,

“They are definitely in the ascendancy and there is that euphoria straight after the final whistle.

“But they have to come to Glasgow and they will have to defend well because we will come at them from the off.

“They didn’t (surprise me). We knew exactly how they would play. ( Don’t suppose it had occured to you to do something about it ? )

“We knew they would be physical and a threat from set pieces.

“But if you look at the game in the cold light of day, we had six or seven clear-cut chances to either take the lead, equalise or get back in the tie so it gives us plenty of encouragement for the second game in Glasgow ”

“They will have to defend” ? They kind of showed they can do that.

“six or seven clear cut chances ” ? They don’t actually count unless you score them.

He continued;

“It is a big task but the tie is far from over,”

“We have plenty in us to turn it around. The players will be very motivated.

“There will be a few players who will be disappointed with their performances tonight but we are still well in this tie although we have a lot to do.”

Worryingly, he seems to think the atmosphere at Celtic Park will play a big part in rescuing the tie. It might, but its unlikely anybody in the crowd will score a goal, and thats the problem.

Celtic are predictable, and easy to play against. The players are capable enough, but a different system is required, and a wee but more guile in possession.

Joe Ledley was a little angry as well, when asked why he thought Celtic would finish the job in Glasgow, he replied;

“We should have scored six goals easy, that’s why.

“To be fair to them, their keeper was on fire but we dominated possession and had more chances but lost sloppy goals.

“It is definitely frustrating, we dominated them away from home and two sloppy goals killed the game.

“Away from home you need to keep the door shut and it just wasn’t good enough today but we believe we can score against them.”

Told you we should have mentioned what they did to the sheep to him before the game.

Mikael Lustig summed it up best;

‘Of course, it is a very bad result,’ said Swede.

‘We wanted to come here and get the right result, but we did not do things the way we wanted.

‘I would say we were the better team and created most of the chances in the game, but we were simply not good enough in our own box and not good enough in theirs.

‘Both of their goals came from set-pieces and that was so disappointing.

‘We knew before the game that using the long throw was a tactic of theirs and something they use to bring the bigger players up from the back. To be honest, we didn’t handle that well enough.

‘We knew exactly how they were going to do it.

‘It happens for us sometimes when we are facing a team and we are bigger than them, you feel that something special can happen in the opponents box.

‘Shakhter did it well for their own side, but were are very disappointed with how we dealt with it.’

Bad start: Celtic players trudge back up the park after conceding early in the first half

That picture reminds me of one back in the nineties when the defence turned their back on Gordon Marshall, after he had flung another one in the net. I couldn’t find the picture, but thats probably just as well.

Reading into all that, the players pride has been hurt, perhaps they did underestimate Shakter, and at least they won’t do that again, alright, they shouldn’t do that again, but there is a hell of a lot of work to be done, and the side can start by having a practice run against Inverness on Saturday.

Forster, Matthews, Lustig, Ambrose, Izzaguerre, Brown, Ledley, Forrest, , Commons, Samaras, Stokes.

That line up has people who can defend, people who can tackle, and people who can pass, and people who can score.

And above all, people who know each other and trust each other.

Tommy Gemmell was the answer to yesterdays puzzle. Today, its a player we could maybe have done with last night..




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bartly cole
9 years ago

The Holy Goalie. Art Hur Bore Itch, although after last night’s debacle a photo of the Celtic midfield and Lennon may be more apt than the wee orange b*****d.

Big Dunno
9 years ago

Whilst NL’s tactics were inept last night (as were some of his players)a certain amount of criticism must be levelled at the Board and Lawwell. If we had spent some of the £20million we have taken in by selling three players (not to mention the Champions League money from last season) on a decent, proven striker we would have walked away with a 2 or 3 goal lead last night. Put simply the squad we have been left with is not good enough for Europe and something has to be done at board level.

Charlie Saiz
9 years ago
Reply to  Big Dunno

This^ and Fuckin shambolic.
The End.

9 years ago

FFS LOL This gets more and more cryptic every day! BTW Whether something is “Art” or not is in the proverbial eye/mind of the beholder. You could have done a Garfunkel pic. The only one I got 1st off was Hur. Grrr.

Honest Hoops
9 years ago

We did have the chances, they rode their luck, 3 goals and more should be straight forward at Celtic Park.
Did anyone else notice how shocking the officials were last night?
tug a shirt…instant foul….
Hit your opposing player with a four by two… on!!!

9 years ago
Reply to  Honest Hoops

The officials were competent, our players not.

Charlie Saiz
9 years ago
Reply to  kingsnake

The ref competantly managed to get in the way of no less than 6 of our build ups as he seemed to be to tally unable to get out of the direct flight of the ball.
Just an observation not an excuse as we were rank rotten or Wank Wotten as Wossy would say.

Charlie Saiz
9 years ago
Reply to  Charlie Saiz


9 years ago

No excuses acceptable. Pish poor performance against a pish poor side. I’m really embarrassed. We should already have booked our place in the CL group stages. My shamrock-shaped heart says 4-0 at Celtic Park, but my pointy heid says 2-1

9 years ago

It’s time to clear out the dead wood ie izzy, yolko, mulgrew, wee jamesey and lazy boy sammy the side needs creativity and pace up front. Those two commentators last night were anti Celtic every time they opened their mouth it was like they had lime juice and salt at the ready to rub into the wounds.

9 years ago
Reply to  Una

Well said on the ITV4 brigade…piss poor. get a Players rep and a commentator from England in….dont get anyone who actually knows celtic…all the “This is Embarrasing” and “Shaktar deserve this so much” shit patter really annoyed, almost as much as lennys gung-ho tactics..Mulgrew..a squad player…enough of the filler please!

Kieran Gallagher
9 years ago

There is a real possibilty that Parkhead will not be sold out once this season…if our European Nites moves to a thursday, then that’ll be a lot os saturday games moving to a sunday…to hell with that

9 years ago

Here’s a thought why not sell all the squad we have then play the under 20s at celtic park we could then have the celtic bank balance up on the screens so the fans can see how much we have going in.
Kerching £6 going in that’s another pie sold, then it’s a big oooo £2 in its just a packet of crisps, 3 min injury time the crowd can be on the edge of there seats how much is going in from the new bar the new cafe and the restaurants.
Back home the wife will ask you the score don’t know you can say but that’s another 30 grand in the bank today but the pie sales are down can see the half time draw getting cut to make up the difference.
Forrest what is it with this guy gets a game never gets subbed, last night showed that Lennon has his favourites Forrest , mulgrew who has to get a game so as we can change about 4 positions to fit him in centre half is his position and nothing else,you could see after 10 min that sammy was going to have one of his cant be bothered games.

Charlie Saiz
9 years ago
Reply to  Buckie

I agree Mulgrew at CB would have made more sense and Samaras should be out on the left side RUNNING AT DEFENDERS he is next to useless with his back to goal.
Lennon must take responsibility for that shambles he after all decided to go with 2 CB’s who had never played together at any level other than a half hour pre season cameo in Germany.

Unbelievable tactics really.

Old Father Tim
9 years ago

The most worrying things about last night were that Neil Lennon thought it was a good idea to play two strangers in the middle of defence and that Celtic didn’t need a striker.

In times past I would be confident that we could score enough goals at home to deal with a team of journeymen – not now, there was been a gradual reduction in quality all over the pitch, but particularly at the back. And if we let them score ……………….

Have a good week:

Happy_go lucky OFT

9 years ago

Last nights performance was a glaring example of failing to improve the squad from s position of strength. We all knew Hooper was leaving why was a replacement not sought out and brought in before he left? We`ve sold the spine of the team and failed to replace them. As for the team selection shoe horning Charlie Mulgrew in is becoming tiresome. Play him at centre half if you cant leave him out. Sami was like the sami of old half arsed and out of sorts. A big improvement is needed if we hope to grace the champions league again this year.

9 years ago


9 years ago
Reply to  keighley bhoys


I was saying this about Forrest a year ago. I watched him in the reserves and could never get my head round how he was favoured ahead of so many other more talented youngsters. Not for me,never was, never will be. Mind you, another player who needs looked at is Kris Commons. Just watch him. I agree he can do the odd brillant thing but on the whole he spend 90% of games losing the ball or giving it away. And he can be as uninvolved as Big Sammy when he has a mind to and that is becoming much to “common” for my liking. Just watch next time. Yet he is raved about and those arses on ITV4 slabbered on about him being the most productive. What production, crap? Oh, I forgot, a speculative shot that could have hit the roof stanchion as easily as the top corner. You know, I could be lured into being angry 🙂


Frank McGaaaaarvey
9 years ago

Pish pish pish against a pish pish pish side. There will be hell to pay if we don’t somehow turn this around and get into the CL. Aside from Commons and maybe Izzy, an utter abject performance from one and all, manager included.

I can pretty much guarantee you that, if we won’t turn up again next week and Shakhter get through, then we will have had the privilege of being knocked out of the qualifying by the worst team ever to grace the competition and who will not win one solitary point in the group. What would that say about us?

I still think we can get through but it will be a jittery night. I sincerely hope our anarchic pre-season plan(!) of selling our 3 best players from last season without adequate replacements or without time for them to bed in (see Mouyokolo and Virgil last night) doesn’t come back to bite a huge Jaws-sized chunk out of our arses. I don’t even want to begin contemplating that ugly scenario.

9 years ago


I had to belt to the lavy after just the first sentence 🙂

Can I genuinely ask you why Commons? I simply do not see it. But then I am on my last legs and the eyes are going fast. Maybe big Forster can tell me. After all he spent all night standing watching, especially at long throw ins and corners – nout ta da wi’ me, pet!!


Frank McGaaaaarvey
9 years ago
Reply to  Pensionerbhoy

Spot on about big Fraser PB. The 1st time I have seen 3 posts in a set of goals ever.

Frank McGaaaaarvey
9 years ago

With regards to Commons I simply said he was the only player who got anything approaching pass marks for me last night. He looked like the only one capable of reading the game and crafting a chance. I’m not claiming he had a great game or anything but if he was surrounded by others who had the same footballing brain (but with a better turn of pace!) then we would be conquering all.

I’ll not mention p#sh or sh*te again in case u are compelled to disappear with your People’s Friend to the loo again.

I just hope this time next week we are wondering what all the fuss was about.

Sean Cahill
9 years ago

Well everboy’s said it before me but last night was a disater and Lennie has to take most the blame for a poor selection and poor tactics. Most of the players should take a share of the blame too as they we p**h poor. Izzy got some good crosses in and Commons was our only other decent player in my opinion. Forrest was woefull and needs a kick up the erse…ie dropped until he actually does what he’s paid for in a game. Why Stokes wasn’t on from the start or at least replace Forrest at HT is a mystery. Forster was a bag of nerves and who could blame him with that defence in front of him. Why we played TWO new central defenders I’ll never know. We should have played Ambrose and one other.
And we have no leader on the park….Broonie was particularly absent in his role. We have no one who can put his foot on the ball and decide how we’re going to build an attack.
Lennie thinks that the atmosphere at CP will save us…doesn’t he know that Lawwell has just shot himself in the foot by disbanding our 12th man.
He and the Board took a massive gamble in the arrogant decision that we were just good enough to beat Shakter and for the sake of an investment of a little, he has lost a lot. Poor decsion making Lawwell and you need to take a long hard look at yourself.

Charlie Saiz
9 years ago

4-3-3 for me next week…


9 years ago
Reply to  Charlie Saiz


And not forgetting yourself, mate! I hope that wasn’t next
week’s score prediction 🙂


9 years ago

Joe – their keeper was fucking shite! Andews-esque!
I had o take a ½ days holiday for that, what a fucking waste

9 years ago

I thought it was generally recognised by all concerned that Samaras is no number nine. And can anyone tell me who’s been a more effective centre half in the past three years than Charlie Mulgrew. I think it’s that simple. Sammy wasn’t in a position to run at their defence and Chico looked like he was playing right mid.
I don’t buy the spend argument. We have more than enough to turn this poor Dundee Utd over. Is Lennon turning into MON?

9 years ago


I wasn’t even going to bother but that would be cowardice and disrespectful to your insightful piece. I have to say you have summed up most of last nights horror pretty well but I prefer to steal Charlie’s summation (hope he appreciates that) “we were rank rotten” – and some.

I found the overall attitude absolutely insulting. Fans deserve some respect and the way to show that is effort no matter how hard and no matter the result. Dreaming of a luxury return plane journey is no excuse.

I admit I am too p**ssed (wish I was) off to say any more. Charlie has just knelt down to pray :). If the holy goalie had been there, it would have been the only cross Forster would have seen all night.


Charlie Saiz
9 years ago

Their Keeper made Forster look like Dino Zoff last night and considering the way Forster played that takes some doing.
I should think the orders next week will be shoot on sight of goals (except Kayal and Izzy just pass it and let somebody else belt it).

tam the tim
9 years ago

Boerrigter must come into the team next week if fit. He is quick and looks like he can control the ball properly when running. Forrest needs to get his head up when on the ball because he just runs out of space, into the opposition or worse still out of play. I know football has changed since I played but there is still nothing more effective than wingers going at defenders. It stretches the defence leaving more space for the other forwards/midfielders. Next week we will have to cut out the stroking the ball about at the back. It’s too predictable, allows the opposition time to get back and, if we give the ball away then it’s goodbye.

9 years ago

Lennon has to take the blame for a shocking analysis of what was going to work. 2 defenders who’d never played before? No striker?? How many times do we have to play Samaras as a striker to know that he’s not a striker…play him on the left, thats his position, everyone knows that!! Lennon is turning into Martin O’Neill with his unwillingness to make changes when its clearly not working….
Oh and dont bank on the atmosphere being great next week either, now that the board have have seen to the Green Brigade….we’ll have to rely on all the Prawn Sandwich Brigade instead!! Wonderful!!

9 years ago

Am I the only sane one, who’s going to score the goals? Anthony Stokes? he couldn’t score in a brothel in europe, he’ll do it against the crap teams here, I wouldn’t let that fud watch Celtic. Chickens coming home to roost it’ll either be 0-0 or 1-0 to them, we are a complete shambles full of a team, full of over paid prima donnas, that are the best in a mickey mouse league set up, nothing else. Maybe just as well we’re not in the Champions League, we’ll get well thumped, and the team wouldn’t see a penny of that money it will just go on paying bonuses to the shareholders.

Charlie Saiz
9 years ago
Reply to  jonjo

Jonjo that side are hardly European class are they?
It’s an all out attack job a Celtic Park and Stokes is the main striker time he got the chance in Europe otherwise he will be offski down the road with Hooper and co.
If he cannot score against that keeper he needs punting anyway.

9 years ago

Lawwell must take some blame, but Lennon must take 90% of it.when is he gonni grow a set of baws and take Lawwell tae task and insist oan £15m tae buy much needed talent or this squad will stumble on for years..another thing, whits wi this Zonal marking??? Get it tae f..k. causes nowt but uncertainty at the back. C’mon Neil, get a grip..

John Murray
9 years ago

There were shades of the Artmedia fiasco in that impotent display last night: the defence containing two new players who have barely trained together let alone play; a milky attitude by most of our players which was shown up by a much more committed opponent; glaring goal-scoring opportunities missed by over-rated ‘stars’ of the team.

You saw these games, so you know what I’m saying, right?

Ahead of the return leg, the big difference for me between next weeks match and the Artmedia return is that back then we still had a player or two who could score a goal. I’m not so confident we will turn this 2-0 around. We’ve been lacking up front all season, missing glaring goalscoring opportunities in most games. Defenders and midfielders now need to weigh-in with goals where they didn’t need to before; thats really not good enough for this level.

We need pace up front and a poacher – why is Leigh Griffiths not on our radar?

And another thing. Why did we allow our best centre-half to leave us before the conclusion of the qualifiers? We didn’t have to let him go so soon. The transfer window was still going to be open for at least another 4 weeks anyway. Why bend to Forest’s needs when our own are more pressing and important?

On a lighter note, I had to laugh at seeing Strachan and Sutton sitting side by side in the ITV studio. Sutton claimed in his book that Strachan reneged on a contract extension when he took over in 2005; its fair to say he doesn’t think very well of him!

Dan the man
9 years ago

When are we going to see the wide players going to the goal line and ciutting the ball back? None of Celtic’s wide players got to the goal line on Tuesday.
They continually throw balls in from the corner of the box into areas dominated by 6’0′ defenders. We need to mix it up Izzy Samaras and Forrest please note. Assumes of course that their team mates make the correct runs looking for the ball. Did not see much of this on Tuesday. AAAGH !!!!! CELTIC.

Iljas Baker
9 years ago

Truth: the players are average in Europe. They only looked better than Shakter because Shakter were willing to concede possession. They did this because they knew:
(1) Celtic probably wouldn’t take their chances
(2) Shakter would get them on the counterattack or with set pieces.
Both came to pass, twice!

Forster should be dropped.
Samaras played out left or dropped.
We desperately need some new team (not squad) players.

Can’t see Celtic doing enough next week. If we lose a goal (likely), then we need four! Where are they coming from?

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