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An Illusion Shattering Night At Celtic Park To Cover An Utter Disgrace.

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Well that was appalling.

That was the shattering of a lot of illusions and the bursting of a lot of bubbles.

That was “end of fantasy and back to reality” stuff for a lot of players in that team and the final slap down of the arrogance to think we can simply coast past theoretically weaker opposition instead of having to knuckle down and fight.

This team has been coasting since the first half against Motherwell.

It’s as if they got that result and beat Sevco and thought “the season is all laid out in front of us.”

What a shock to the system that was. What an eye-opener. What a crash back to Earth.

Could we have won this tournament?

Yes, of course. At our best. At our very best. But not like that. Not without giving it all and leaving everything on the field, in every game.

All talk of a Quadruple was nonsense and more; it was dangerous nonsense. I always thought we would have to cut our cloth and prioritise. That decision has been taken out of our hands.

In a way it’s a blessed relief.

The longer we went in this tournament the more we’d have been expected to go all the way and the more energy we would have expended to do it. I wrote about how this was the haunted forest the other day … I was never convinced that we should have been trying to get through there in the first place.

We have other priorities.

But what last night has shown us is that we cannot take our eyes off the ball on any front.

That side, for all their talent is no better than a half decent team in the English Championship and we should be putting them away with regularity. I don’t care what this team did to Mourinho’s side; I am embarrassed for us.

But being pissed off with an abysmal performance and a diabolical result doesn’t change my long held belief that this is a tournament we shouldn’t be in, shouldn’t give a toss about and should not be giving more than token attention.

I am not happy about that defeat – the result is a disgrace and it is a shocking way to lose our unbeaten run – but I cannot honestly say I gave too much of a damn about being out of this tournament.

To my view it was nothing but a sideshow and an unwelcome one.

Europe’s third tier tournament?

I’ve scorned it from the first.

The prospect of having to fit ten extra games into this schedule didn’t fill me with anticipation but with a sick kind of dread.

A lot of players in this team have been breezing about the pitch the last couple of games. The wakeup call was coming and I’m only glad it didn’t come in a competition that in terms of our progress might have had real and actual costs.

Ange will not be in the least bit happy; indeed, watching it, it was impossible for any of us to give pass marks to that team or anyone in it. That display was not acceptable in any way, shape or form but if it is the result that slaps – not snaps but slaps – this team out of its occasional lethargy then I will not just accept it but embrace it as a necessary evil.

We are probably out of this tournament.

I say that, but knowing this team they will score twice early over there and make a match of it.

I don’t like seeing us go out of any tournament but I sincerely hope we don’t opt to die in the ditch for this.

In the great sweep of things not one of us would have taken a result last night over one at the weekend and I would prefer we put the domestic game first and treated the second leg like a write-off.

We honestly have bigger things in front of us and if I can take one comfort from that disgrace it is that this team simply must known now what it can and cannot allow the opposition to do.

We absolutely need to shape up.

I am just glad we learned that here rather than in the tournaments that honestly matter to us this season.

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30 comments

  • Droopy McCool says:

    Yeah thank feck we’ve been pumped out of a European competition. No thought about the impact this could have on the players for the rest of the season. The league’s the priority, yes, and for obvious reasons. Embarrassing to see so many Tims effectively saying we should chuck this. And if you think that’s the way Ange is you’ve really not been paying attention.

  • Allaboutceltic says:

    You can’t half talk some pish at times. You give it all that you don’t care and hope we get out of it, but then you get all caring and call it a disgrace??? That was a long way from being a disgrace. That’s sing when you’re winning patter and feel we have a God given right to win every game we compete. Absolutely delusional and stuff we’ve come to expect from the racist south of the river. Regardless what you think, they’re a decent team who have won their domestic league for the past 2 years now. They have also come through the group stages unbeaten. They’re not the mugs you proclaim them to be. Nor are we the #1 club in the world. So just because we get beat, it doesn’t mean we’re a disgrace and our opponents are mediocre. It’s only half time in the draw with the conclusion to come next week, so try and get behind the team instead of throwing them to the wolves at the first sign of us not playing to our best. No team plays to 100% of their capability in every game. With friends like you…

  • Sean says:

    Horror show of a performance, if that team were really that good they wouldn’t have been in this tournament either. Our biggest enemies, have a terrific result, in fact outstanding result, and we go and do that. Why are we so bad in Europe, why are the mob from ibrox out performing us in European competitions. An embarrassment of a result. And it will give them momentum, make no mistake about that. Thank god it’s Dundee we playing on Sunday.

    • Damian says:

      Under Gerrard it was easier to understand. Their compact, mid-central block optimised them to perform against superior or equivalent opponents, while occasionally looking comparatively sluggish against lesser opponents but winning nevertheless / letting those games take care of themselves. It’s the main reason why we couldn’t get near them on the pitch for 18 months. They feared their strategy towards Europa standard opponents and did it really well.

      The risk with GVB (which I think (or at least thought) we saw evidence of at Celtic Park a couple of weeks ago) was that his variation on Gerrard’s system was more positionally expansive and so brought in more risk against better teams (though perhaps made them more likely to spank even Hearts 5-0 as opposed to 1-0). But, that was probably a miscalculation from me. Last night’s game in Germany was perhaps the most impressive single game performance and result from a Scottish club in Europe that I’m aware of (the game itself; not necessarily in a wider context).

      A lot of it can come down to ‘playing football the Celtic way’. To the extent that this actually means anything in particular, it means fast, attacking football. It’s the type of football that will destroy a lesser opponent, but is less likely to be successful against superior or equivalent opponents. The more successful mid-level European sides tend to have a style and system which is, or at least can be, pragmatic and comfortable without the ball.

      But, for all that, Celtic just performed badly against a team from a town where every resident could be sat inside Celtic Park at the same time.

    • Damian says:

      *geared not feared

      • Andy says:

        I thought Starlet played well and he was my big worry before the game.
        I think you should have calmed down a bit before writing this article. Poor result but not like its liquidation or anything.

  • Bigchunkylardass says:

    Mate, two things, its only half time in the tie…

    And we worry about winning Scotland 3 tier trophy, so wheres the logic there, is Scottish fitba a higher level than European…..

    HH

    • Roonsa says:

      The chances of us going over there and winning 3-0, 4-1, 5-2 etc which is what we’d need to do is virtually nil. The writing is definitely on the wall for that one.

      • Roonsa says:

        Oh – I’ve just realised that away goals don’t count. Who knows then? Soz for the confusion Big Chunkers – you are right, after all.

    • Brian says:

      I think we are a good team, for me it’s about certain positions on the park we are weak, and before the stop picking on players brigade come on to tell me to get behind them, that is crap. If we have poor players then we need to strengthen said position. My two are starfelt and taylor. Taylor’s passing is bloody awful, he has gone ok since coming to us but we need someone better starfelt panics to much, we s as Lao have no height in this team balls into the box are just a waste of time, even though we scored one last night, in general we are crap hence the reason we try to walk the ball in. When we do have long range shots we do score more often. Anyway! We are still building but the league is the holy grail this season on purely financial grounds. HH

  • Roonsa says:

    I don’t think that mob’s season has even started yet so it really puts last night’s result into perspective. Especially with the huns result last night which was, admittedly, excellent. That will push more pressure on them rather than us though because I refuse to look at the MSM today – I can only imagine the hysteria. More big Europe matches for them will only serve to help our cause in terms of keeping up the charge to win the League.

    I didn’t ever think this Celtic team as going to win that Conference tournament. I really don’t think we’re anywhere near as good as some like to think and we have much further to go than those people would think. I think we’re good enough to win the League and that’s all that matters to me. I couldn’t give a ha’penny jizz about the Scottish Cup – just win the League, Celtic. That’s all that matters, win the fecking League.

  • henry says:

    Not fair to say it was a disgrace – they are an excellent side. We could do with their centre backs. The difference between them and AZ is they took their chances. It did prove though that we cant go into Europe next season with Taylor and Carter-Vickers and his non- forward passes.

    To be honest, I dont think the squad is good enough to compete in Europe after Christmas and challenge for the title. I actually hope the barbarians from Greyskull progress. It helps the coefficient and the schedule will be too demanding on their players. Think 2003 when we would have won the league but for the efforts to get to Seville.

    • Roonsa says:

      I just want to correct you on something here mate. It bugs me when Celtic fans refer to Ibrox as Castle Greyskull. Castle Greyskull is where He-Man lived and he was the good guy. Skeletor was the bad guy and his hideout was called Snake Mountain.

    • Jake Hansen says:

      CCV is absolutely our best defender. There really isn’t a debate on this.

      The coefficient doesn’t matter if we can’t beat the teams we lose to in qualifying…

  • Quinny says:

    We’ve seen it all before , football is all about winning your own personal battle and good players playing . Ange picked the wrong Team , the midfield was lightweight . Rogic can’t cut it when the opposition is above average and he needs to dig in , he can’t create and defend at the same time , it’s time Ralston was given a run in Centre Midfield , he’s powerful , is mobile , he can dig and he can score goals … just what we’re looking for. IIn the Defence , Taylor and Starsfeld are powderpuff and the weakness in our side , both are weak in the tackle and their choice making is poor , they can’t Defend which is what a Defender is supposed to do .

    Up front the wide men ate Lazy , the system needs them to hit the by-line regularly , ours don’t they keep coming inside filling the space where our Midfielders or Fullbacks should be using .
    It’s no disgrace losing to a better side , but the Norwegians aren’t , we can beat them if we do the Basics properly and take our chances .

    • Damian says:

      Ralston in midfield? What? Why not Hatate or Bitton or McCarthy or another actual midfield player? Like, what?

  • Smokey says:

    Who among our players James do you think we’re
    “ breezing about the pitch in last few games “
    Rogic? Abada ? Have to think on that one.
    That Bodo deserved to win last night they were fitter
    ( a week in Spain training ) and had better tactics sorry to say …….

  • Les Milne says:

    You are absolutely right only McGregor, and Carter Vickers came anywhere near getting pass marks, our so called Portuguese magician was sadly exposed as was a number of others. We need a plan ‘B’ in most matches to enable us to complete for the entire match. I too am glad the disaster happened in this competition but we have been fooling ourselves if we think our manager has all the answers.

  • Pan says:

    Pretty much agree with the whole article.
    It is a shame, but there we are!
    We need to learn to take full advantage of any and every situation and be absolutely ruthless. We can be “nice” and ruthless at the same time.
    I was, however, disappointed with the reaction of the fans leaving the stadium half empty with around 12 to 15 minutes to go. We have total control over our emotions and if we support the team it should be 100%.

  • jrm63 says:

    Hard to assess how good that team are – there is the Lazio result but they lost home an way to Legia Warsaw. I wonder how they accomplished that. To be honest nothing emerged last night that has not been apparent all season. The left side of defence is a weakness and they went for it from the first minute. Taylor really is a joke, the only midget that could be described as statuesque. We do not know how to defend from the middle of the park. We watch the ball not runners. We had one decent cross all night. Abada cannot cross a ball. Why? Rogic should not have been selected last night. McGregor is completely overwhelmed in the centre of the park in Scotland and last night was worse. Last night was about the failure of both McCarthy and Soro to establish themselves as central midfield players with McGregor in front of them in the role Rodgers played him in

  • Pan says:

    Only one thing to add. This was certainly not a disgrace!
    We were beaten by a very well organised side as has been said in comments above.
    My frustration is with the fans last night, who sing well when winning and leave the stadium when things are not going right.

  • John S says:

    4-3-3 v 10-10-10.

  • Charles says:

    Utter disgrace. I think some people should calm down a bit.

  • Jim says:

    James, if you can find a ‘half decent team in the English Championship’ that play like Bodo Glimt, name them. Glimt are a right good side, it’s no surprise they’ve given good European sides a pumping.

    We should buy one of their centre halves, their left back, and Solbakken, I think his name was.

    We should switch Juranovic to the left for the return game. Solbakken was too much for Taylor. Ralston can come in at right back. I see someone mentioning Ralston for the holding midfield slot. Ange seems determined to ignore McCarthy and Soro, and that leaves us with Bitton. If he plays Bitton against that lot it will be brutal. We need an injection of pace and power and bite in the tackle, all of which Ralston can supply.

    Although Maeda took his goal well, I think Abada is more of a threat through the middle. Try Maeda out left. Jota looked slightly better when he moved to the right. He got absolutely nowhere on the left.

  • John says:

    There seems to be a lot of people out there who think they would be a better manager than Ange. lets be honest, we were beaten by a better, more streetwise, well organised side last night. Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and realise we are not at the stage of winning any European tournament.I’m not one for dismissing this tournament but we all know what the big prize is this season. HH

  • Martin H. says:

    Only one team was up for it, if that was them rusty, thank christ we never got them in full throw.

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