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Ange Gambles On An Unlikely Celtic Team Which Doesn’t Look Built For An Early Goal.

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Ange Postecoglou is gambling.

Today he’s fielded a Celtic team which for all it is a strong side doesn’t look as if it’s built to score early, which as we all know is a necessary thing if this game isn’t to turn into a grind. He has left Giakoumakis on the bench.

He has gone with Bitton and McGregor in midfield along with Rogic. He has Forrest wide right.

The bench is strong, but by the time it comes into play you could be staring down the clock at 20 minutes left and a 0-0 score-line. I thought we’d see the full firepower brought to bear for kick-off.

For sure, I expected Giakoumakis to start … I am a little puzzled about what the plan is. If he wants players who have featured on this surface before then yes, I understand it, but these guys don’t exactly have a great record themselves.

Look, a lot will depend on how we start.

If we throw everything at Livingston in the early stages we might get that swift breakthrough and then this will seem like tactical genius. Indeed, it may well be tactical genius but of the sort we just can’t see yet.

There is merit in playing Bitton and Rogic. Of course there is. Hatate and O’Riley haven’t been up to their best in recent weeks. I am less convinced about Forrest, because he just looks as if he doesn’t fit into this playing style.

The real fear is going with Maeda up front instead of our big Greek. That may pay some dividends but I reckon it has cost us the physical edge I thought would be crucial today.

So a tough one. And it will be up to the manager to explain his thinking if it does not work.

A lot of oddities in that side, including Ralston at right back instead of Juranovic. It does look as if he wants guys with experience on this dire surface … but it’s a risk and no mistake.

See you on the other side of it, hopefully with three points.

Starting XI – Hart, Ralston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor, Bitton, McGregor, Rogic, Forrest, Jota, Maeda.

Substitutes – Bain, Giakoumakis, Abada, McCarthy, Ideguchi, O’Riley, Hatate, Welsh, Juranovic.

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  • Roonsa says:

    Can’t say I am hopeful. Celtic are too easy to defend against if the opposition is happy to sit deep, hit on the break and settle for a draw. I can’t see the reasoning for playing Maeda. He hasn’t shown us anything yet. I am not saying he’s a dud, he deserves time. But for today I would have thought Giakoumakis was a shoe in for striker. The only reason Ange has done that is because Giakoumakis is not fully fit.

    I’ll be honest. I have the fear.

  • Charles says:

    5 players – Kyogo Ralston Maeda Hatate and Jota have all scored inside 10 minutes this season. Of these Kyogo is injured and Hatate benched. The other three start. Strange comments about not having team for early goal possibility when the guys are fielded. You may of course be proven right .

    • Roonsa says:

      Yes. Yaaaaaassss! I told you we’d stroll it. I absolutely 100% called it.

      Actually. I hate dicks like me. If you aren’t confident before a match, keep it to yourself.

      So glad I have been outted!

      Next weekend is something I am not too bothered about. The League is 100% the priority in my opinion.

  • Darren James Kerr says:

    I so hope I’m wrong but Bitton and Forrest no GG and no Julien on bench maybe because of the shit surface, doesn’t fill me with confidence. This squad is still only half built.

  • Lubo's Boots says:

    On paper you would say its a team designed to stretch the opposition and then use all 5 sybs 2nd half, bring on the big guy with 20 mins left. But we all know you can’t stretch a team who are camoed in their box! I feel it’s a no win scenario for Ange. Hopefully we find a way.

  • SSMPM says:

    Whoever decides that Cal should take penalties is an idiot. Ange? FFs how many times.

  • Andy says:

    Thats why you write stories and not manage football teams. In Ange we trust.

  • BhilltheTim says:

    Don’t be re-naming yourself ‘Nostradamus’ any time soon, James!

  • SSMPM says:

    Andy you’ve got nerves of steel (or belief). I had real concerns about the team selection however pat on the back to Ange and the players for today’s performance. I was worried about Maeda starting as striker but gotta eat my words. The team had the early match energy, intensity and up and at ’em attitude we needed and wanted to see after some lacklustre games but apart from the pen we could have had a couple more and been even more comfortable. I won’t take back my comment about Cal not taking penalties but he did put in a top captain’s performance. So impressive today, Ange – great risk management and with 8 games to go, Ross County next, my nerves are a jangling. HH

    • Andy says:

      We were due a performance in that shit hole. My concern was Starfelt, and one fresh air swipe apart, he proved me wrong again.
      The difference with this game was we went into it with a pretty decent bench. Gio, Ababa, O’reilly and Hatate came on as subs and although we were cruising each one is more than capable of changing a game. On we go.

  • Andrew says:

    I am looking forward to your next article, headline to be ‘Doubting Thomas’
    Have a bit more faith!

  • Pan says:

    Well, you were premature with this post eh!
    An early goal and a good win.
    So much for your prediction!
    As Andrew said “Have more faith”.

  • Lordmac says:

    Would have had. Sorro on the first half ideal game for. Him any. Game were teams camp in also side footing shots tend to score less penalties we have eight days to find our 3 best takers not the type you have to peep through the cracks of you’re fingers to see if it has gone in good win we go forth

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