What will Celtic have learned from past failures at the Euro? – Monday kick-off
CELTIC enter the Champions League group stage for the first time in five years this week with a test of their European credentials on the line.
For all the relative success Rangers have had in continental competition, Celtic’s attempts to move past the group stages have been embarrassing by comparison – a scenario that runs directly counter to their near total dominance of Scottish competitions in this era. .
This domestic bliss was led by two men with very similar approaches to how the game should be played in Brendan Rodgers and Ange Postecoglou. Rodgers has stuck to his principles in European competition, often to the frustration of Celtic fans. In their two Champions League campaigns, Celtic were beaten hard by Paris St-Germain home and away, shipped seven to Camp Nou and had little response for Bayern Munich. at the Olympic Stadium.
Taken in isolation, these results can be compared to the strength of the star-studded sides they faced, but those who watched them will remember Celtic setting up in the most naive way, like lambs being slaughtered against ruthless adversaries.
Similar criticism was leveled at Postecoglou last season in the Europa League when Celtic lost heavily to Bayer Leverkusen and lost a two-goal lead against Real Betis and questions remain as to how they will cope. .
The feeling is that Celtic are better equipped this time around. For his part, Postecoglou has repeatedly stated that he will not compromise on his principles.
“We have to bring our own identity. People are pretty clear about what kind of team we are. What a great opportunity to play our football. If we don’t get it that’s fine,” the Australian said the day after Saturday’s dominating victory over Rangers. “But let’s go for it rather than relying on someone because they’re a good team. Our fans want us to bring the game to Real Madrid and see where it takes us. Let’s take a break anyway.
All very commendable, but make no mistake, Real Madrid, RB Leipzig and Shakhtar Donetsk will be licking their lips if there isn’t a pragmatic plan B for this season’s continental campaign.
More misery for McKenna with errors piling up
It was a far from smooth introduction to the English Premier League for Scottish centre-half Scott McKenna. The former Aberdeen defender was at fault for two of the goals as Nottingham Forest surrendered a two-goal lead at home to lose 3-2 to fellow new boys Bournemouth on Saturday.
The 25-year-old tried to deflect Dominic Solanke’s shot on goal with his head, but only managed to deflect it past his keeper Dean Henderson – who appeared to have covered the shot anyway.
Then he offered possession to Solanke in the dying minutes of the match and the Bournemouth striker had the simple task of rolling the ball to Jaidon Anthony, who duly dismissed the winner.
These slip-ups follow similar struggles McKenna has faced since the start of the season; he was lucky enough to stay on the pitch for a deliberate handball against West Ham and blocked Henderson’s line of sight for Tottenham’s opener – and lost Harry Kane at the far post for Spurs’ second – in the 2-0 defeat last weekend at the City Ground.
With five other centre-halves waiting in the wings after Forest’s lavish spending this summer, the Scot will be looking over his shoulder after his latest misstep at the weekend.
It’s time to show tactical fouls to the red card
There comes a time in football when suddenly certain laws of the game are no longer appropriate. I am thinking more particularly here of what has been called “the tactical foul”, supposedly because it is not a question of trying to injure an opponent but simply of disrupting his momentum.
Of course, nuance plays a role here. Take Conor Goldson’s Saturday trip over Daizen Maeda as the Celtic striker galloped clear in the latter stages of Saturday’s demolition of Rangers; the rules say it wasn’t a clear goalscoring opportunity, but I’d say the interpretation isn’t borne out by the way goals are often scored today.
Celtic thrive on transitions, their tactics are designed to create exactly those scenarios where they overload their opponent – and, yes, almost inevitably score from those positions. This is the way of the modern game. Liverpool’s whole attacking system is built around transitions and the coaches who try to stop them know full well that taking down someone on the halfway line is a risk worth taking because a counter-attack overloaded is as much of a threat as one-on-one against the keeper. .
Every week now, there are several cases of defenders who cynically put a stop to dangerous attacks because they know the worst that will happen is that they receive a yellow card.
It is time for the rule to be redrawn.
LIV is the claw that keeps on giving
There was another drumbeat last week for the new LIV Golf Series defectors as it arrived in Boston. An accompanying, stomach-turning launch video showed players and various happy-handers drinking champagne and munching hors d’oeuvres to promote the glamor of a competition that leaves a little more pain in the ass. comfortable whenever there is an announcement.
Last month, of course, LIV rocked Bedminster, New Jersey for the third event of the season. In the nearby town of Basking Ridge, families who lost 17 loved ones in the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001 have raised an outcry.
Terry Strada, president of 9/11 Families United, lost her husband Tom that day. She told ABC News last week what it meant to her to see Saudi involvement in a LIV golf tournament on the doorstep of Basking Ridge.
“We know that 15 of the 19 of them [9/11 hijackers] were Saudi nationals, but now we know there was this anti-American pro-jihadi program that was set up in the Saudi embassy, and it was missing the consulate in California, and it was full of extremists” , said Strada. “They did nothing to undo the worst terrorist attack to ever take place on American soil. They invest a lot of money in our economy for the same reasons, they just try to buy respect. And you can’t buy respect. You have to learn it.”
Cause for alarm in Edinburgh
My late father used to claim he was one of a group of Glentoran supporters who invaded the pitch in a game against Belfast Celtic in the 1960s, the latter team leading 3-0 at the ‘era. The match was later abandoned but the result stood.
This possibly apocryphal story came to me after reading about the events at DAM Health Stadium on Friday night when Edinburgh were spared an embarrassing pre-season defeat at the hands of part-time London Scottish due to a spectator who accidentally triggered a fire alarm.
Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair, left, sought to cover up the cracks by saying his side had a line-out 10 yards from the Scottish try line when a stoppage was called and his side was in a position to win with six minutes. remaining – an assessment that didn’t really hold up to scrutiny as Edinburgh trailed by eight points at the time.
The time in seconds it took Liel Abada to score Celtic’s first goal at Parkhead on Saturday from when Jota threw in Matt O’Riley and the midfielder crossed for the Israeli ends