Brendan decided to change the team around on Saturday leaving out Jozo Simunovic, and putting Scott Sinclair, Paddy Roberts and Leigh Griffiths on the bench. All three eventually came on.
The loss of two main players in the middle of the park, Scott Brown and Stuart Armstrong, meant a wee shuffle in there too. This game the gaffer the opportunity of starting Eduard upfront with Moussa just in behind him.
Both players need time on the park, and although Moussa still looks a bit rusty from the form he showed last season, he did enough to assist man of the moment Callum McGregor for the first goal. Eduard on the other hand missed a good chance to make it two for the Hoops, but again needs the minutes on the park.
The Bhoys need our support, it’s difficult coming into a winning team and trying to impress, sometimes players try too hard and things look worse for them. Fellow countryman Olivier Ntcham seems to be a good example these past couple of games.
Although he had a poor opening 30 minutes in Brussels, he did chip in with a fantastic pass for Kieran to set up Leigh for the first goal and won the ball in the middle of the park for Scott Sinclair to score our third. It would have been easy for the manager to take him off but chose to stick by him, and it paid dividends,
At the weekend he was caught napping a few times, maybe not having his captain beside him didn’t help. Who knows? But the Bhoy despite his price tag, is still only 21 years-old. He’s still settling in. Let’s show the same faith in him that both Brendan and Zidane have.
I’m sure they know a bit more about the player than we do…
You may recall the hullabaloo last season when Celtic were wrongly awarded a penalty at McDairmid Park in the 5-2 win against St Johnstone.
Saints manager Tommy Wright was inconsolable on TV after the game, even though the Hoops won be three clear goals, and with the support of the SMSM demanded an explanation from referee Craig Thomson.
He bizarrely got his explanation on the Monday, in a phone call from the whistler. Although the content of the call was never disclosed, Wright got what he wanted. The ref to apologise and take the shine off Celtic scoring five goals on his patch. (Including the goal of the season)
The same Tommy Wright never said a word when the Bhoys were denied a clear penalty in the previous encounter there, the day Brendan Rodgers’ men won 4-2 and Leigh Griffiths wrongly received a yellow card for diving!
Which leads me on nicely to yesterday’s refereeing performance.
Now before I go any further I didn’t think the Bhoys played particularly well, maybe the changes and the midweek European exertions took a bit of a toll on the players? But credit must go to Lenny and his Hibs team, they did play well, enjoyed the big pitch and were worthy of their point.
Back to the consistently inconsistent Willie Collum. Scotland’s top whistler is a joke figure, not quite in the Pedro mold but not far off. He sees things others don’t and doesn’t see things everyone else does!
His booking of James Forrest for diving, when he was clipped, then failing to book him for diving minutes later, is just one example of another woeful performance from Collum.
However, the one that really irks me is the decision to allow Scott Sinclair to play on after being tugged back by Efe in the closing minutes for a stonewall penalty, then not giving the spot kick when there was no advantage.
That in itself is bad enough, but midway through the second half he DID the exact opposite when a Hibs player was fouled, played advantage, the player lost the ball and Collum pulled the ball back to award the visitors a free-kick!
It’s that inconsistency that makes players, managers and fans mad!
Brendan did state after the game it was a clear penalty but didn’t break down and make too much of a fuss. And the SMSM just brushed it off, as the penalty would have been FOR Celtic, so I doubt if he’ll be getting a phone call from Willie Collum apologising for robbing us of two points…
With the news yesterday that planning permission has been granted for the new hotel, museum, cafe, superstore and ticketing office complex at Celtic Park, CEO Peter Lawwell took the opportunity to remind everyone that Celtic bring more to Glasgow than just football.
The timing of the city councils announcement was absolutely perfect, as the club and support revel in the wonderful Champions League result the Bhoys achieved in Belgium the night before.
Celtic under Brendan Rodgers, are a real force on the park, and Lawwell reminded us that things off the park are equally rosy, with an almost boasting statement, “I would say if you look at the balance sheet we’re probably in the strongest position we’ve ever been.”
Just as Brendan did the night before about the lack of credit given to Celtic, Peter also had his dig at the lack of recognition the club receives for it’s contribution to the community and the city.
“We probably don’t get the recognition or the praise, if you like, for the economic impact that we have on Glasgow and the west of Scotland. And, indeed, the cultural and social impact, as well.
“There are a lot of positives around Celtic and a lot of positives around football that we don’t naturally seem to be recognised for.”
There’s no doubting who that was aimed at, and i’m sure the vast majority of the Celtic support would agree wholeheartedly.
Well said Pedro…
Celtic travelled to Brussels last night to take on current Belgian champions RSC Anderlecht in the Champions League.
The Belgians have a good European pedigree, reaching the quarter-finals of the Europa League last season before losing 3-2 on aggregate to eventual winners Manchester United. They’ve certainly been round the block, so to suggest they are a poor team is merely sour grapes.
In typical Scottish media fashion, ‘senior sports reporter’ Chris McLaughlin from the BBC described the same team as ‘pretty awful’…instead of praising Celtic for possibly making them look awful?
He’s already told us that the first 30 minutes was the worst he’d seen Celtic play under ‘Rodgers’.
Failing to grasp that Celtic had at that stage 70% possession, in an away tie in the Champions League!
His narrative from the off was how to make anything Scottish champions Celtic achieve look paltry by describing our opponents as poorly as possible. At no time did he say anything positive about the game, without bringing in a negative regarding Anderlecht.
This is the guy who we tax payer keep in job, a job he’s supposed to do impartially. His job is to promote Scottish football. He does neither. Instead he hides behind cowardice and cronyism.
He’s the one who told us there’s no appetite for Scottish football to seek justice for the corruption and cheating between the SFA and the old Rangers. He’s a yes man. A wimp, and a disgrace.
I hope he has the balls to describe the first 30 minutes again to Brendan at the presser for Saturday. But he won’t because the gaffer would bring him and his bitter cronies down a peg or two.
It took two pundits from south of the border to praise Celtic and give us proper credit for our best result in years, Gary Lineker and Stan Collymore. They’re football men who know the game. Not bitter and twisted hacks who sell their soul to the highest bidder…
Prior to tonight’s game, former Rangers (IL) manager and EBT recipient Alex McLeish thought he’d turn his back on Scottish football and give Celtic’s Belgian opponents RSC Anderlecht a few pointers on how to beat the Hoops.
Having managed for a short time in the Benelux country, seemed enough to qualify the self important Eck to offer advice to the Brussels side, in their bid to defeat the Invincibles.
His words of wisdom, according the the tabloid rag The Sun, was to pinpoint local Bhoy, Dedryck Boyata, as the weak link in the Celtic team. McLeish himself was a decent central defender, so you’d think he just might know what he’s talking about.
However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Along with his defensive partner Jozo Simunovic, Boyata was immense at the centre of a Celtic defence that came away from the Belgian capital with a clean sheet and three goals to the good.
Every player deserves credit for their performance, in what was the Hoops first away win in the Champions League in five years.That in itself is a massive achievement for the club, a club that’s flown the flag in Europe for Scotland these last five years without any help from other Scottish clubs. We’ve done it alone.
Leigh Griffiths tapped in the first, Paddy Roberts slammed home the second, with the help of a deflection, and Scott Sinclair calmly slotted the ball high into the Anderlecht net in time added on for the third.
But for me, the fit, fearless and fantastic Dedryck Boyata was the man this momentous victory was built on. Considering it was only his second full ninety minutes this season, he was superb.
And to think someone thought he was the weak link…..
There’s no doubting the importance of tonight’s Champions League match day two tie in Belgium against RSC Anderlecht, any kind of result barring a defeat will be seen as a positive one.
The Hoops have never gone into a European tie in better form, courtesy of the unbeaten domestic run of 57 games without reverse.
Sure we’ve had a couple of hiccups in the Champions League since the run began, but when you consider the quality of opposition those defeats came from, Barcelona, PSG, Borussia Monchengladbach, then it’s fair to say we’re learning along the way.
And it’s that domestic form that gives the Bhoys confidence to get something out of the game in Brussels.
With Brendan’s favoured central pairing of Jozo Simunovic and Dedryck Boyata coming through Saturday’s stroll in the park unscathed, and hit man Moussa Dembele getting more minutes, the manager is better placed now to field the side he wants than at any time this season.
So much so, it’s difficult to guess just who’ll start the game.
I’m sure that’s kind of selection headache Brendan won’t mind, considering all the fuss just a few weeks ago about having to play Nir Bitton as a makeshift central defender against FC Astana in the play-offs.
Whatever the team, the gaffer will have them fired up to bring at least a point back to Glasgow.
Good luck Bhoys!
In last season’s Champions League group of death, many Celtic fans, including myself got a bit carried away with our draw against Manchester City and more or less dismissed the threat of Borussia Monchengladbach.
We’d lost heavily in our first match in Barcelona, heavier than expected, then gained a fantastic draw at home to multi-million pound spending Manchester City at Celtic Park.
That left the door open to a head-to-head with the Bundesliga side, and the possibility of securing the coveted third place and European football after Christmas.
A 0-2 defeat in the first game put paid to our early optimism, although a credible 1-1 draw in Germany with a real chance of a win but for Callum McGregors late miss, meant we’d have to win against either Barcelona or Manchester City in our final two games.
Barcelona took no prisoners and left Glasgow with all three points, City on the other hand failed to beat the Bhoys for the second time, as the Hoops left Manchester with another share of the points.
Ultimately, we didn’t progress as the three points we gained wasn’t to be enough.
Tomorrow night, we go to Belgium to play old foes RSC Anderlecht in what has already been perceived as the must win game of the group. Of course we want to win, but the idea that going to Brussels to win a Champions League tie is going to be easy is nonsense, regardless of their league position.
I know we’re a year further on and our side is far more settled and comfortable playing away in Europe. But we mustn’t think Anderlecht will be easy. Far from it. Every Champions League match is difficult.
Let’s not underestimate the Belgians, it could be our undoing….
After one of the derby humpings of last season I picked up a hire from a local well known Sevco pub. As the name on the job was under the pub itself, I didn’t know who the passenger was.
He looked a bit despondent to say the least, so I guessed he was an unhappy bluenose, that and the location I got him from.
Little was I to know then, not only was an miserable fan but an ex-player of the new Ibrox outfit.
Now before I go any further, the lad was very pleasant, givien the circumstances, and as the journey progressed, opened up on his views about McCoist and the shambles at the Tribute Act. That was entertaining to say the least. But he saved the best for last.
Obviously as the drink began to talk, the conversation was very amicable, he opened up more and basically said the reason Sevco can’t get anywhere near Celtic on the park is Scott Brown. He raved about how influential he is, how he dominates games and how he’s the one player or type of player the new club sadly lack.
As he waxed lyrically about Broonie he kind of caught himself, as though he shouldn’t be talking about a Celtic player that way. Remember, not only was he a former player, but a supporter of both clubs to play out of Ibrox.
Having spent four years there, he has had to watch in awe as Celtic go from strength to strength. Like many who’ve tried Fraser Aird can’t do anything about it.
Except rave about our Captain Fantastic….
There used to be a time when Celtic travelled across Glasgow to play at Ibrox with an element of trepidation. Derby games were always bound to have an edge to them.
Prior to the death of Rangers, the games were close run encounters with more than their fair share of controversy, usually about something that affected the result.
Not these days though.
When Brendan Rodgers send Broonie & Co out on the the Govan pitch he knows his skipper and the Bhoys are going out there to boss the game. We’ll have the best chances, have most of possession and probably win with a goal or two to spare.
It’s a fact the Tribute Act can’t get anywhere near us on and off the pitch.
So they resort to deflection tactics to try and mask the massive gulf between the clubs. And the chief deflector is the circus freak that masquerades as Sevco manager…Pedro Caixinha.
His pre-match rantings are something else. He talks in riddles and gives no real indication of what his point is. I know English isn’t his first language but when it comes saying what the Bears want to hear, he’s right on cue. Courtesy of some media training by the devious Jim Traynor.
Pedro chose half-time to go a step further in his attempt to endear himself to the home hordes by having a go at man of the match, Celtic captain Scott Brown. It was playground stuff. Broonie, as he should, took no nonsense from the ranting Portuguese.
The Hoops man stood face to face and made it clear to everyone inside Ibrox, this Celtic team WON’T be intimidated by anyone.
Celtic are a class above any of our nearest rival, old clubs and new. And a slavering upstart like Caixinha isn’t going to knock us off course.
Despite what the SMSM tried to tell us, we dominated the game. Had 18 attempts on goal to their 6. 11 corners to their 1 and more importantly, 2 goals to their 0.
Tom Rogic, who was almost anonymous during his time on the park, slammed in the first and cheeky Leigh Griffiths, who made his 100th league appearance in the Hoops notched his 67th goal for the Bhoys.
Our domestic dominance now takes us on to 57 games without defeat. A truly remarkable feat considering we play so many European games too.
And while we travel to Belgium to take on RSC Anderlecht in the Champions League, I would like to think someone from the circus comes calling to the South Side of Glasgow to take one of their clowns back….
If you happen to see a newsflash about a circus missing some clowns, then point the Police in the direction of Dens Park Dundee first, then on to Ibrox in Glasgow.
On their first stop they’ll find big top performers Neil ‘EBT’ McCann, current manager of Dundee, and if he’s still hanging around via BT Sport, the original laughing clown himself Ally McCoist.
The last stop at Ibrox is self explanatory but we’ll cover that particular ‘entertainer’ later.
To justify their clown status we’ll start with the post match assumption of the Dee manager after Celtic thumped his side 4-0 in the BetFred Cup quarter-final on Wednesday night. McCann, without an ounce of irony stated ‘the match was never a 4-0 game’ adding the Hoops scored two goals after the 85th minute.
The relevance of the two late goals to add to an already comfortable 2-0 lead is of no consequence, but the tax cheat did fail to recognise his team, the home side in this fixture failed to register ONE SINGLE SHOT during the 90 minutes. Compare that to the Bhoys’ EIGHTEEN attempts on goal, and anyone with half a brain, something obviously missing from McCann, would see it was at least a 4-0 game.
Not to be outdone, clown number two, Ally McCoist, the first manager of Sevco and BT Sport pundit for the night, must have decided he’d take the heat off McCann by declaring Brendan won’t pick his Celtic side for tomorrow’s derby match until he knows about any Sevco injuries!
Yip, the manager of a side that’s now gone 56 domestic games undefeated, is going to wait until he find out if Pedro will play Bruno Alves or Declan John. Well, given his spectacular success as a manager, it would only be fair to listen to the laughing clown, just out of respect. (snigger)
Which moves us nicely on to the current incumbent of the manager seat at Ibrox, the bold Pedro.
Fresh from his side’s extra-time win over ninth placed Partick Thistle, the dog barking, caravan pulling gaffer threw another of his euphemisms for us to savour. This time liking the players to the ‘batteries of the rabbits from the adverts’, with obvious reference to the Duracell bunnies.
He then followed up his slavering at yesterday’s press conference with some nonsense about Brendan playing four at the back shows the same respect we gave PSG, but if he goes with three he doesn’t. Or something like that.
It goes without saying, who ever taught Pedro Caixinha to speak English is due him a refund. His command of the language is the stuff of cartoons. But credit to him in one respect, he knows how to do what Jim Traynor tells him..
So maybe he’s not as daft as he acts….