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Celtic Diary Wednesday November 27

Celtics dismal European campaign came to an all too predictable end last night with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Milan. Coupled with Ajax recording a 2-1 win over Barcelona, it means that the hoops are adrift at the bottom of the group, with just one win and two goals.

Before we start the recriminations, heres a couple of facts about last night;

1) Kaka’s goal was his first in the Champions League for AC Milan since November 2007 against Shakhtar, owing to a spell with Real Madrid in between.

2) Celtic full-back Emilio Izaguirre created six goalscoring opportunities. Milan themselves made eight.

3) Charlie Mulgrew’s 93 per cent pass accuracy was higher than any Milan player in the starting XI.

4) Milan’s Riccardo Montolivo won seven tackles – more than the entire Celtic midfield (5)

5) Celtic winger Derk Boerrigter put seven crosses into the box, but not a single one found a teammate.

Celtics campaign didn’t finish last night. It finished when Scott Brown kicked out at Neymar. Thats the truth of the matter.

It left the side woefully short in midfield, regardless of however much you rate-or don’t rate -the man. Theres no doubt Celtic are a better side with him than without him, and his own lack of discipline cost Celtic dear. That, though, is no excuse for starting last nights game with just two in midfield. The above fact about Montolivo winning more tackles than the Celtic midfield is not surprising. Celtic didn’t have a midfield.

Its surprising that Charlie Mulgrew had the most successful pass completion rate, but not surprising that Derk Boerigter failed to find a colleague with a cross. There was usually no-one to find.

Poor Izzy. He tried his wee heart out, and along with Mikael Lustig and the other two defenders they cannot really be blamed for last night on effort, though you would have thought they would have tried a bit harder on the goals.

Fraser Forster still won’t come out for crosses, which means he’s been told to stay on his line, which is just plain stupid. He’s six foot seven with about another four foot in reach. no-one should be able to out jump him.

One of the things to remember at this level is that the other team will study the way you play, and adapt accordingly. Thats what Milan did last night. They knew that Forster doesn’t come off his line, they knew that Samaras and Commons would run down blind alleys, and they knew that we didn’t have a striker worth worrying about.

Our style of sidieways passing instead of trying a shot from distance meant they could simply wait until a poor pass meant they could nick the ball away. Which they did.

There was a glimmer of hope early on when a nervous Milan keeper fumbled a couple of crosses, which should have signalled an all out siege on him with high balls, low balls and anything else we could muster, but instead it was side to side and back again….

It would be pointless to aim  the finger of blame at anyone ( bar Brown ) in particular. Lennon could have altered the style, or even played with three or four in the middle. Two wingers-especially one just back from injury and the other on an indecency charge ( no, theres no point in doing the joke about Forrest being exposed )-was not going to work against a side that is adept at counter attacking. Actually, its three wingers if you count Samaras, and a guy in a free role in Commons.

Joe Ledley didn’t start, and Anthony Stokes was left out as well. Two battlers who would at least have put up a fight.

Whats more irritating about the whole thing is neither Milan, Ajax or Barcelona were actually that good. none of them will set the heather on fire in this years tournament. Its just that they were better than us.

Anyway, Neil Lennon made his excuses;

“Look, realistically getting into the Champions League was fantastic for us.”

Really ? Getting past an Irish side, a Swedish side and an unknown from just outside China was fantastic ? Especially when you see that Elfsborg and Karagandy are themselves having a nightmare in the Europa League.

” When the draw was made we knew how difficult it was going to be. We competed, we competed again tonight but that quality at the top end of the pitch has caught up with us this season.”

Well, he bought these players-including £5m on two strikers that he didn’t think were good enough to start-and another  one he just gave a new contract to  he didn’t seem to think was up to it either.

” Some of the players have covered themselves in glory and been fantastic through the campaign but it’s been mainly the defensive end of the pitch we’re talking about here. ”

The defenders are fine. The way they are organised needs looking at though, especially from set pieces.

“We have enjoyed the European experience but hopefully this campaign is one the players will learn from. We will do everything we can to come back this year and compete in it again. That’s the target now.”

Any chance we could try to be prepared for it this time ?

” We do have some money and we want to spend it, preferably in the January window. But it’s not as if we didn’t try to spend it in the summer. ”

Its just that those chairmen we made offers to for their players kept laughing at us.

“We had three or four targets in mind but they fell through for various reasons ”

Er, yes. Those chairmen kept laughing at you.


So, what next ? The aura of doom and gloom around the club today needs to be lifted quickly, which won’t be easy. Lennon needs to decide which players he’s keeping, ( The defence, Ledley and Commons ) and move the rest on. They have had their day.

Actually, its going to be difficult to keep those players unless the club matches their ambition. But thats something to keep us fretting over Christmas.

Scott MacDonald was the man in the picture yesterday, he was the man who scored in the win over Milan at Celtic Park last time round, before a gang of vigilantes stormed on to the pitch and beat keeper Dida to within an inch of his life.

Or something like that.

One thing from last night-what on earth were some of the support doing applauding at the end ?

The more we put up with the shite on the field, the shite from the board and the shite about being a wonderful support, the more we will be treated to shite like last night.

It was a very , very long day and night yesterday. And Celtic made it even longer.

Heres another picture, can anyone guess where this is heading ? ?



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9 years ago

Ralph, they were applauding the referee for blowing time up…dismal even from a seat in Brisbane – wish we had a spark of creativity in midfield. I want Aidan back….

As for the photo, it’s either a meteorite or a big sheep’s leg with a pound coin stuck in its hoof/paw/foot…that’s what it looks like on this mince machine anyway. The outcome can’t be good whatever one it is..

9 years ago

Rant ahead…you have been warned…

Milan had Robinho came on for Kaka…we had Rogic come on for Forrest..someone on Twitter replied “Oh great, so we got gubbed by has-beens”. Some has-beens.

The Reality is we arent good enough. We constantly get our hopes up rather than admit the truth. We have no strength ( at all!) in depth and are a work in progress which was set right back with recent sales and subsequent buys of a much lower standard.

In Mobray terminology, its take it on chin time and lets look at addressing our major issues. Samaras up front should never be Plan A, Zonal Marking where 6 players stand 6 feet away from 1 striker will never work, development of talent should be a bonus, not the key philosophy, if the club are skint, tell us so we can understand and gauage expectations accordingly.

The Park scouting system has sailed this season. Overall, it might just all be green tinted glasses given Wanyamas selling on fee. Hooper is missed so very very much. Will Lenny still be there after Xmas…I fear Fulham may make a bid and its clear a plateau was reache dlast season and we’re on the slide…can we recover, will the money be doesnt look good for now does it?

The lack of true quality is very worrysome. No playmaker, no 20 goal striker let alone 30, 40 or 50 goal striker. We are SPL winning quality, take that as you wish, expecting much more may be beyond us for quite a while.

If Peter Lawwell is reading, he might want to propose a friendly against Sevco post New Year, will help pay that bonus!

9 years ago
Reply to  Desimond

You’re spot on about the scouting of players.

The successful philosophy of buying first team players from lesser leagues with an upside for relatively low prices (Ambrose,Izzaguirre, Kayal, Wanyama, Ledley, Commons, Matthews etc etc) seems to have been replaced by purchasing guys at some expense who can’t get into the first teams of clubs at a similar level to Celtic (Boerrigter, Pukki) and who will not result in any sell on profit.

Seems odd to me. Maybe the World Cup in the summer will offer opportunities to view a few players from less well known nations (ref Izzaguirre 2010) but surely Celtic’s scouting system must be more advanced that looking at players only at big tournaments or getting guys in just because they’re at a club you’ve heard of?

9 years ago

The first change has to be the manager yet again his team selection and tactics were atrocious,all the stats you mention the most telling was that possession was just about 50/50 ,we were too open and were hit on the counter again and again,a 12 year old
would have known that,to leave out Ledley in favor of Kayal who has hardly kicked a ball since elbows mcculloch done him was just plain daft,wonder what joe thinks of that were negotiating a new contract with him and being dropped for a big match makes it more likely he will say enough is enough

9 years ago
Reply to  deadhead67

I agree. Lennon has had way more than the benefit of the doubt for too long. Last nights selection was an embarassment.

9 years ago

Excellent summary of the game, like you I was surprised that stokes didn’t start and I know this will be controversial but I would have started with Pukki as well. (duck!)

I disagree about keeping Joe Ledley I would let him go. What we need to do now is get decent game time for Rogic, Boerrigter, Balde and Pukki. We also need to see if some of the young team can step up. We can then make decisions on who to keep.

9 years ago

The players we have simply arent capable of out-foxing Milan, Barca and Ajaz. Simples. Spend some money or get used to it.

As you’ve noted Ralph, no forwards. Gary Hooper would not neccesarily have scored four or five in this group…but with his pace he’d have posed that threat to the opposition that we do not have now. Made them think a bit. And allowed his teammates to prosper a bit more as a result.

We need investment. And not more 150k strikers.

9 years ago

Sooner we get a better technical manager instead of a man who happened to be in the right place at the right time the better he is dining out on the barca result, and taking us to the last 16 is nothing unique Strachan done it twice and came within a refereeing decision of taking us to the last 8 in the San Siro the league performances are dire it says a lot that our two most exciting and enjoyable players to watch this season are centre halves and why he keeps talking up James Forrest is beyond me he is the most over talked and over rated player since Stevie Fulton

9 years ago

Last night was a joke, its time the dead wood was removed I have said it before, just not good enough. When i look back at all the missed chances it makes me sick that’s what happens lawell when you penny pinch!!! Is this end for Lennon only time will tell, as for that meteor I don’t give a fuck!!!!!!

Charlie Saiz
9 years ago

Oh the joy’s of being “Debt Free” eh Bhoys?
The Chickens of the summer transfer dealings have finally come home to roost and guess who it is that actually suffers?
A The Investor
B The Manager
C The Players
D The Supporter

Well A has not suffered one Iota today he has a wee windfall heading his way in dividends after a magnificent Summer in the Transfer Window following an unprecendented Financial Year of Windfalls thanks to the glorious efforts in the Champions League last Season.
£22m reaching the last 16 and £21m after selling the 3 best players in the side…yes we spent £10m (so they say)on 1 good player and 5 ..erm who knows?
His Bank Ballance will be fine he’s happy as yet another £16m windfall hit’s the Corperate Account and the suits divvy up the percentage..Nice work if you can get it eh?
B?Well he will be suffering because like you and I he is emotionally tied but unlike you and I he is in a position to do something about BUY THE RIGHT F***IN PLAYERS IN JANUARY and not what A and his cronies want to buy.
C?Well I am more than positive they will be hurting but unlike you or I the massive wages they will draw this week will certainly absorb the blow to their ego..Brown especially as he let A,B,C and D down more than most.
D…You and me the ones who invest the most take the least and absorb the full brunt both at home in the street or on line we are the ones who suffer the most.

Hands f***ing down.

There are many factors involved in a dissappointing Campaign in Europe,Browns stupidity…Forsters inability….Managements poor choice in personnel..The Boards infatuation with Zero Debt….poor individual performances or mictakes..these are all relevant of course but the main one for me is the real lack of quality on show at Celtic Park these day’s.
I looked at the bench last night and thought Jesus is that it?

Jesus replied ..I am afraid so my bhoy.

Get it sorted Lawwell no excuses in Jan get the Investment needed into this side before even qualifying next Season becomes a bridge to far for this side.

9 years ago
Reply to  Charlie Saiz

MICTAKES? A Freudian slip if ever there was one, this board really are taking the Mick.

Charlie Saiz
9 years ago
Reply to  jas

Lol I agree jas the wool is being pulled over a great many peoples eyes here and this “we are debt free” mantra being peddled by Lawwell and Co is the clever way they are doing it.

Celtic Football Club does not need to operate with Zero Debt epsecially now we when we find ourselves in a position of strength we have never found ourselves in before..
Guaranteed every Year to have the CHANCE to qualify for a ticket on Europes gravy train raking in a minimum of £15m a year and all the Kudos that goes with it?

One could be forgiven for thinking a Club that finds itself in that predicament would venture to speculate and throw a little caution to the wind and INVEST in some proven QUALITY.
Instead..Peddle the mantra and spend as little as you can whilst the Pigs feed from the Trough.
Time the massed ranks woke up before they blow this opportunity.
It may never come around again.

Big nutz
9 years ago

Give fucking rogic a proper crack, lenny! How many times…?!

Charlie Saiz
9 years ago
Reply to  Big nutz

He’s nowhere near ready for Champions League level Nutz.
Neither is Balde and therein lies the problem we have no strength in depth now at Celtic.

We need to get busy in January and a Genuine No10 and Finisher
are a must.

9 years ago
Reply to  Charlie Saiz

Realistically we arent gonna get squat in the January window. What would they come for? SPL?

Plan not for next summer. When I say plan….prepare to spend some real money.

Best we can hope for in January is to get rid of the Greek Imposter. “He’s hot and cold” is the cry. Is he fooook. He’s fooking freezing. Wont even run at times. Fair enough…Moscow was great. he looked a decent threat last season in Europe. He hasnt this time. Away with him.

9 years ago

I turned to the bhoy next to me last night and called Forster a “cupcake”, because he is. I’m totally lost how a giant could be soft and easy to push around. When he did come out for one ball — one! — I had to take note, as it is the only time I can honestly recall him doing so. Ever. In all games. If I was a 6’7″ keeper, strikers would be shitting themselves in fear anytime they mistakenly wandered in my vicinity.

Also, we need to play facing forward, putting the defese on their back foot, rather than play with our backs to the attacking goal, allowing the defense to get behind the ball and play forward. Playing backwards completely negates whatever advantage in quality we have our our opponents, especially in the league.

Finally, RIP to Paul McConville. Shocker …

9 years ago

Well its all pritty much been covered, personally i think the time has come for Celtic and Lennon to part company, everything has become stagnated, team selection, tactics, learning from your mistakes, new recruits, all these things are just not happening anymore, and to touch on team selection, FUR FUCK SAKE stop playing Samaras as a striker, stop shoehorning Mulgrew intae every team, stop playing wide men that cant cross a fekin ball and start playing the players you just spent a few million ££s on. Apparently theres more chance of getting a “FLASH” of James Forrests knob than a ” FLASH” of his football ability.. Time for change.. hail hail, KTF

9 years ago

I think Lenny will be off come the summer..theres no way the board are going to sanction spending 5m+ on a proven striker,especially if he is the wrong side of it or not,its where we are at now,The board know the league is a given for the next few years,and just getting to CL group stages is their aim,when it should be progression.i agree about WGS,he was more switched on for Euro games,artmedia excepted.teams feared coming to paradise then.not any more sadly.

iljas Baker
9 years ago

I got up at 02.30 Bangkok time to watch this drivel. I probably won’t bother for the Barcelona game – it’s meaningless but mostly because these games are not enjoyable. Even when I watch the SPL games there’s not much to enjoy – the goals are largely unimpressive these days. People on this etims set up seem to be reading the situation well – lack of quality in depth sums it up. Samaras can’t be relied on and why does Forster stay stuck on his line at high balls? There’s a whole discussion to had on zonal marking but when the opposition scores as easily as they did bottom line is someone’s not marking their zone properly! Zonal marking doesn’t leave some zones unmarked! But the crucial point to understand is that zones don’t score, it’s players that score!

Buy in January, what a joke! Let’s have a marquee signing to make us all feel better….Celtic’s equivalent to bread and circuses!

9 years ago
Reply to  iljas Baker

I am in Bangkok too, mercifully I couldn’t get logged in to watch, so went back to bed at 1-0. I,ll look out for you at Hanrahan,s

9 years ago

I think Lennon should play the under 18s against Barcelona (if they werent already playing earlier that day). I dont think they could do any worse than the first team.

9 years ago

Be careful what you wish for bhoys. In lenny we have a manager who is a genuine fan of the club and understands us, not some tanned charlatan with links to agents bringing in dross so he can line his pockets at our expense. So what I m saying is, I dont blame Lenny. entirely
I think he picked the wrong side / shape. Derk, Forrest, Commons, Sammi – four primalrily attacking players who are prone to the odd “off night”, and two holding the midfield against a team who are set up to soak it up and counter? But.. what were the alternatives? Balde? He’s 22 now, if he aint got it by now he aint getting it. Rogic? What has he done since he’s been here? He hasnt delivered as an SPL player never mind anything else. I would have had Joe in and Pukki too (whoosh, duck).
Kayal hasnt been the same player since elbows, and was woeful last night, playing Sammi up top is a waste of the talent he has and ocassionally demonstrated.
But this is fiddling while rome burns stuff, the squad isnt as good as it needs to be, we maybe got lucky last year, players trying that extra bit to show they deserved to be here, this year believeing they deserved to be here and so not putting in the same effort. Small details but at this level they count.
So, absolutely gutted, but I persoanlly dont believe changing the manager is the issue, hes a good one, back him with investment on a no.10 who is more mobile than my settee, ruling out Commons, a strong “wanyama” type midfielder or two, a striker, a left back, and ditch some like Kayal, Stokes, Sammi (yep, done with him now) Ledley – he did nowt when he came on, Balde, and use the freed up wages to go again.

9 years ago
Reply to  elcormaco

To be fair, Rogic I think has had one, maybe two starts in the SPL. As foe Lenny being a true Celt, really? Well why does he defend a captain who has cost the the club dearly this season. A true Tim would have had the cojones to drop him and take the armband full stop, not go into print to defend him. A true Celt would never admit , to missing the dark side either. Time for Lenny to go, should have gone, and if he was a True Tim , would have gone after ICT defeat.

9 years ago

Don’t panic!!!!!!!!!!

We have not had a better couple of centre backs for generations, Lustig, Izzie, Mathews and Fisher are all quality full backs.
Rojic should be given a run in the side, from what we are told he could be the midfielder we are missing.

If we could just get the guy who can stick the ball in the net with his arse, knee, head, anything it makes such a difference.

I’ll use my last ‘if’…….If we had scored ONE goal at anytime before they got their 3rd, we could have rattled them, even though we are short of a poacher.

It’s such fine margins at this level, we had 4-5 REALLY decent chances and failed to take one of them, canny get away with that in the CL.

9 years ago

get behind the team ya bunchawankas,there’s still a lot to play for this season, the scottish cup, the premiere league championship, the JERSEY, I would be very happy to do the same rounds next year in the champions league cos am a sellickman thro’ and thro’,oh I and feksevco,scabbie bassas

Frank McGaaarvey
9 years ago

What have sevco got to do with anything? And u would be happy to watch the same thing again next season? The board love folk like you.

john littledick
9 years ago

Yes, Frank, Stalin had a name for them, ‘useful idiots’.

Big Dunno
9 years ago

I think we all need to take stock of reality here. We have finished bottom of a group that everyone (including most Tims) thought we would finish bottom off.

We over-achieved last season and to a certain extent are paying for the by the raising of expectations. But……

You cannot seriously expect to sell a combative midfield player for £12m and effectively replace him with a left back and think everything is going to be alright against teams of the calibre of those in our CL group.

I disagree that Lennon should go. It is clear that he has asked the board (Lawell) for support and hasn’t been given it. One of the guys sitting beside me at Parkhead last night said that only Ronaldo has scored more goals this season than Finnbogasson. Now I dont know if that is true or not, but if it is then its damning. We should have not signed two strikers at a (reported)combined cost of £5.5 million, but one player at that amount or more. We need to stop thinking that qualification for the CL is acceptable. We must have money, so spend it.

Speculate to accumulate, otherwise we will simply stagnate.

john littledick
9 years ago
Reply to  Big Dunno

If he’s not getting support from the board over signings he should threaten to go, or go. WGS switched off after the board refused to sanction the signing of Steven Fletcher.

9 years ago

agree defence is the strongest defense we have had at Celtic in many a year, midfield how we need a Macstay and a striker. It is time to give a couple of young players a decent spell in the team and see what they can do.Also Puki and Balde.
I spoke after the match to some pa;ls who had watched it on TV and they were all saying we played well but with no cutting edge that was not the way I saw it. I felt no player believed we could win or that we would score hence no one hitting the ball well when shooting.
The only way for us to progress is to bring on our own players who have to be better prepared for top quality football and played or what is the point of having youth team and U19s and U21’s.
If you are old enough to remember there have been lots of worse results which at times had me thinking where do we go from here.This is a step back but hopefully we can take 2 forward next season.
Also get Brown to grow up a wee bit.

9 years ago

Frank Magaarvey, I wouldn;t be happy watching that again next year but I will be watching it I love going to the games. last year we rode our luck, this year we missed good chances in every game just before the opposition scored their first goal.At the start of this group I said anything between zero and 10points more likely closer to zero.

Frank McGaaaaarvey
9 years ago
Reply to  saj

I know u will be there through the good times and the bad my man just like myself but that doesn’t mean we have to meekly sit and accept the status quo when there is a general malaise about the place from top to bottom which must be fixed before the good work of last season is gone completely and we are back at a level where we cannot even compete with the likes of Utrecht.

Satyagraha Bhoy
9 years ago

Keep the faith. Let things be…

Mr Samaras, there’s car waiting for you, thank you for your love, it s been an experience.

With love,

Celtic x

The Dubliner
9 years ago

Expectations were high after last year, but in 5 games so far we have scored in only 1 game.No real fire power and any mistakes at the back rarely go unpunished at this level of football, look at the Juve game at CP last season.
Scott Brown cost us against Barca, should have got something in the San Siro and we were just dire in Amsterdam. Missed a few chances last night and AC took theirs.

9 years ago

Totally agree with you Saj, we need a mcstay and a striker. We play football down the wings constantly without a proper target man capable of getting on the end of things. What’s the point of hitting high balls to commons when hes marked by a 6 foot 2 centre half?

I don’t agree about a lot of the stuff on Lennon though, he’s worked miracles on the budget the board has given him. I blame them for the penny pinching. I couldn’t be arsed working out what his average player has cost, I bet it would be peanuts. We can’t keep unearthing diamonds for every position. Top strikers usually cost top dollar. We must have spent a combined large amount on punts rather than one big signing: Bangura, Murphy, Blade plus those 2 blokes from last season.

Lennons bhoys have performed way better than O’Neills star studded team ever did away from home in Europe or Strachans team although that was on a shoe string as well.

We have an England goal keeper bought for £2m, the best defence I can remember and 3 good midfielders – commons, brown & ledley. So its not all doom and gloom.

hail hail

9 years ago

can’t believe the negativity on here. Did fans honestly expect us to get through to the last 16 again?
Every CL game this season we could have done better, but we were missing the bit of class / luck that you need. A wee bit of luck here and there and we would have been sitting with a lot more points.
Barca – what if Brown had not been sent off, Mulgrew had scored that header?
Milan away – what if we had taken one of the chances early in the game, Izzy hadn’t stuck his foot out and deflected that wayward shot?
Ajax away – what if we had turned up,rolled our sleeves up and worked our asses of and not believed the hype that because we had beaten Ajax at home they were there for the beating – why did we allow ourselves to believe this ? Where was the evidence that this was the case.
Milan at home – what if Kayal, Mulgrew or Van Dyk score any of those chances, which were probably better than any that Milan had created?
Luck / a bit of class – we got it last season, it deserted us this season.
I had a discussion with my 17 year old and his pals after one of the CL games – how many Celtic players would get into anyone of the other teams in our group? Be lucky if 1, maybe 2 at best, would get a game with any of the other teams.
This is where we are.
We’re once again a work in progress.
Last season’s performances raised expectations too high – this season’s performance was the opposite – could have done better, however, we are where we are – not good enough.

9 years ago

I think it is about time we got a grip. Neil Lennon is doing a good job, cast your minds back to what he took over from Mowbray. He has built a new team from then and had the spine of that team taken from him, neither he nor the club could have stopped Wanyama, Hooper or Wilson leaving. The replacements have not had the time to settle in yet, but that will come. Scott Brown let himself , his team ,Manager and the supporters down against Barca, if not for that things may well have been different. The only game we were let down was Ajax away all other games we have played reasonably well given the opposition we up against.Now is the time Lennon has to get these guys settled in. Then he can assess who needs to leave and who he should bring in. All is not as bad as may seem. Next season with a bit of luck(which we did not have this season)we will give a good account of ourselves, assuming we qualify. That is another thing that everyone seems to forget, in these times, all the odds are stacked heavily against the smaller teams between EUAFA and Sky they are making it almost impossible for us to compete. The blame lies more with these guys than with our own management. Hail hail ,keep the faith

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