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Loser Thinking And A Gap Celtic Are Never Going To Be Able To Bridge.

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There is a difference between being able to face reality and thinking like a loser, and if some mistake one for the other it’s because there’s often a fine line between the two.

If you’re a boxer who’s given literally everything against an obviously superior opponent and you know that the tank is empty and all you’re doing is risking getting hurt, then sitting down on the stool at the bell and telling your trainer you’ve had it is accepting reality.

If you’re two rounds into the bout and have taken your first punch and no longer want to continue, you’re doing the right thing by hanging up your gloves and never fighting again, because you don’t have the mentality for the ring.

As Warren Zevon put it, “the name of the game is be hit and hit back.”

When Ange stood in front of the press last night he said all the right things. And you know, there is an obvious and pleasing difference between how we played tonight and how we played at Celtic Park against the same team.

Still, over two games they’ve scored seven times against us. Which itself is not a disaster; PSG did that in one game under Rodgers and he had a better and more settled Celtic team than this to work with.

There is certainly no shame in last night’s display.

But there are certainly hard times and disillusionment awaiting Ange and our fans for anyone who thinks we’re getting to the level of our opponents. That is simply not going to happen.

January is not going to solve this if we make the best signings we possibly can and the summer won’t solve it and the next ten windows won’t either.

We are never, not even with the smartest transfer policy in the game, going to be able to go toe-to-toe in attacking football terms with teams as good as Leverkusen, Betis and the other top sides from the top European leagues without the risk of major reversals.

That is not loser thinking, that is an acknowledgment of reality.

There are games where doing so will get you beaten narrowly, like tonight, and others where you will stun Europe by getting something out of the match. In every other instance you’ll depart with your tail between your legs having suffered a major embarrassment.

Whilst we play in Scotland we are going to have to live with these teams having footballers who are several classes above our own. That’s a fact. No number of smart signings will change it. They have longer reach and more money to spend, and more attractive leagues to sell the best players on. We play in a league sponsored by a company that sells used cars, being taken to court by one that sells used cars and hires out buses. That’s where we’re from.

For all that, I refuse to pretend that last night is just one of those things. I refuse to accept that defeat is inevitable, that all that matters is that you give it the good old college try, that it’s not the winning but the taking part that counts.

If you listen only to a certain brand of Celtic supporter, the kind that never has a bad word to say about Celtic but spews endless poison at their fellow fans because they don’t believe “faithful through and through” means pretending every result is a good result because we still wake up in the morning supporters of “the best club in the world”, then last night we should have applauded the effort without asking why we didn’t get more from the game.

And that’s the difference between dealing in reality and loser thinking, because with the right game plan and organisation, with the right mix of quality in the right places, teams like ours are capable of going to places like Germany and bringing home a result. To applaud that last night on the basis that we were outgunned is to ignore that the injuries that done us were of the “shooting ourselves in the foot” variety. In short, we outgunned ourselves.

It is loser thinking to talk about losing to the Spaniards and the Germans as if those things were a foregone conclusion. Ange’s attacking game is brilliant, brilliant enough that we were 2-0 up in Spain. We were 2-1 up last night.

It exceeded all my biggest expectations of the game to be in the lead.

Yet with 10 minutes to go we had that in our hands.

So there is a certain genius to the game he wants to play … but oh man, there is a naivety to it too.

We were not beaten by their superior quality last night … but by ourselves.

We would have done better with a couple of better footballers to bring off the bench, and that’s true. But talk of “reaching their level” is for the birds, no matter how many improvements on the current squad we have available to the manager.

To win games like last night requires more than the ability to score goals. There is a time for being aggressive and a time for being cautious. A time, in a sense, for simply being smart.

Basic game-management calls for acknowledging that we’re a weaker team and acting accordingly. Going toe-to-toe, for a whole game, with a fine margin, when all we need is a point, against a footballing juggernaut with ten times our resources and vastly better players at their disposal is lunacy and it is not loser thinking to say so.

Loser thinking is when you say that what matters is having a go whether we get something or not.

Smart strategy and good tactics have left all comers in the dust.

A really good technical boxer will beat a brute force opponent as long as he doesn’t try trading punches.

Instead he ducks and weaves and feints and jabs and keeps his distance and keeps on circling and tries not to get hit.

All the while he waits and waits and waits … and then he delivers the perfect blow in the perfect spot.

If you don’t think you can do that, why would you even get in the ring?

On the flipside, if you go in there swinging and hoping to knock out some eight-foot monster, you won’t be in it for long.

And that’s the lesson Ange needs to take from last night.

Forget “reaching their level.”

Let’s just be a little bit better at how we handle things at our own.

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19 comments

  • CHRIS says:

    Summed up perfectly.

  • Kyogos Dream Team says:

    The DROSS we brought on last ngt was EXACTLY that..DROSS!..Ajeti is NEVER A FITBAW PLAYER, McCarthy has 2 Wooden Legs & Johnstone just hasny got it!! We cost ourselves the game & should have been able tae hold out fur at LEAST a draw!!

  • Fun time frankie says:

    Totally agree with KDT whoever sanctioned Adjeti,s transfer is an A/Hole Mc Carthy is only there because he’s Irish and the F#CKIN moustache wanted him and we’ve been hearing for years now that Johnston is the next big player I’m sorry but the bhoy just hasn’t got it and I’m not so sure Turnbull has either.

  • Peter Cassidy says:

    We will never be able to compete against the top teams in europe who can buy a player for the same value of our complete 11 players how can you expect to play on a fair playing field.things are not going to change just like for many teams in europe the super rich teams will only get richer very depressing .

    • Peter Cassidy says:

      Regarding last match ange needs to take the blame on the 3 subs Mccarthy is a spent force has been for several years ajeti poor player johnston injury prone not that good we need a clear out come Jan on players above and more and ange needs to tighten up more in defence just not good enough at present I wish he would learn by his mistakes in europe we need that income but its his first season but still disappointing.

  • Magublican says:

    If Ajax were to listen to you they would be sitting right where Celtic are at.

    • James Forrest says:

      Another one who DIDN’T READ THE PIECE PROPERLY.

    • Peter Cassidy says:

      Ajax sold players a couple of years ago for around £200 million and have again built a very good side thru investment and a very good manager and board with vision.fans on here think we are still a European force i wish they would get real big in spl minnows in europe all down to our $hit old of date board who are happy for us to play along with the bigots.

  • Charles says:

    Ange is only 3 months into his tenure at Celtic. He has already made a huge impact on the team. Things happen during a game that the manager has no control over. Bitton getting injured, Turnbull missing the chance at the end etc. McGregor having no influence on the game whatsoever. Ajeti is not a footballer he should be running himself into the ground to try and put their defenders under pressure to stop the ball going to the Celtic defence. After 2 or 3 transfer windows let’s see where we are then and judge the manager then.

  • Theinsideman1 says:

    Unbelievable. Total loser mentality. Dermot Desmond& peter Lawwell put you back on there xmas card list aye. Sure listen lets just not turn up for the games. Theres no point. Cant believe what I’m ready here total sickener. You know what you should go try telling that to the likes of Ajax. A bit of ambition& investment is whats needed. What you have done here is gave the unambitious a massive pat on the back. Under-welling to say the least from you.!!!

    • James Forrest says:

      Did you actually READ the article you frigging idiot?

      I suggest you try it again.

      • Theinsideman1 says:

        Lovely. Abusing your readers who don’t agree with your looser comments.you have totally change your tune from last nights article. But sure that has become the norm.

  • Peter McShane says:

    James,
    I agree completely with your comments in this article. When we play games against weaker opposition in Scotland they understand we have superior football players and play a defensive game in the hope of maybe nicking 1 point, Livingstone is a prime example. Europe is a different kettle of fish and we can’t match the better teams by all out attacking football. I thought Anje would have understood this after the Real Betis match but no he brings on 3 attackers with 10 minutes to go with us leading 2-1 and we end up losing the game and the chance of a fantastic final match against Real Betis

  • JT says:

    Ange can only go with the best players ready for the time. IMO we were (last night) three subs away from getting the result. That Ange has to use players who are nowhere near the standard of the ones they replaced is where the club have left us. We have tried the containment game away from home and still get skelped more often than not, so playing in a fashion that takes our game onto them hopefully gets us the right results as the better players come in. To try and defend that lead last night would have brought the same if not worse result. And who could have came onto to make that work.

  • Peter Cassidy says:

    Ajax over the last 4 years sold players for around £300 million spent about £100 million on replacements most of the players sold cost nothing as they came thru the youth policy or excellent scouting system and they have a great manager and a proper board giving the coaching staff full backing thats how they are successfully at present.celtic what have we done sold good players reinvested in mostly in duds scouting system rubbish coaching youth poor no d.o.f more interested in keeping shareholders happy dividends etc a out of date board one man running the club from the golf course d mckay got out ASAP because he saw it was a$hit show this is one of the biggest problems celtic have now and it won’t change will not matter who we get to manage us celtic are stuck with Desmond and liwell he still in the back ground both happy to share the blue pound how depressing.

  • jrm63 says:

    I fear the last two sentences of your article are correct. And that means a changing approach to playing away from home and not a complete substitution of the forward line. One of the issues is the place of defensive midfield players at Parkhead. We try to accommodate them at centre back and then find that they are not aggressive enough in the air. We do not them for 90% of the games we play in Scotland. So how do we keep them match ready playing against the standard of opponent of last night. Soro and McCarthy are extremely limited but they have almost zero game time as well. It is a difficult situation

  • John S says:

    The more the manager has the players he needs and with ongoing experience in Europe the further the team will develop. Celtic will not match the top financial league sides in the foreseeable future. Though, that was also the case in 1967. St. Johnstone didn’t do too badly last year either.

    • Peter Cassidy says:

      John it will be a very long time before we have any chance to compete against the top teams in europe unless we can get a real billionaire buying celtic or investing in us the rich clubs spend more per year buying players worth more than celtic as a club hundreds of millions unless your ajax who sell all their top players for millions and still now compete good management and vision from their board.

  • Damian says:

    We were certainly beaten by superior opponents, IMO. They were just better. The stats from the game were pretty similar to the game at Celtic Park. At Celtic Park we were unlucky not to score a couple of goals – their keeper made six good saves; on Thursday he didn’t make any. 3-2 and having been 2-1 up indicates a better performance level than 4-0, obviously, but a 3-2 defeat at home would have been a pretty good reflection of the two teams’ performances that night too.

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