Are Celtic’s Front Men A Little Nervous On The Big Stage Of The Champions League?

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When you consider the number of goals we’ve scored in domestic football this season, and you compare that to the number we’ve scored in Europe (one, and it was given as an OG) you might be forgiven for thinking, if you were a neutral, that we just aren’t getting the chances that we would usually be getting when we play here at home.

And of course, you would be dead wrong.

Because of course, we’re creating plenty of chances. We’re just not being clinical enough in putting those chances into the back of the net. Which isn’t exactly worrying, because if weren’t getting them then it would be a bigger concern.

But it is interesting, and it poses a question.

Are our forwards guilty, maybe, of a little bit of stage fright? Are they guilty, maybe, of not taking that extra half a second when chances present themselves? That could be it, that little psychological pressure of not wanting to make a mistake which gives a defender an extra half second to nip in and make a saving tackle.

That’s a perfectly normal thing. And it can only be solved by playing games at this level and players being able to do what comes naturally. The more of these matches the players are involved in, the more relaxed they’ll be.

This was obvious last season as we neared the latter stages of the league campaign; people started to get nervous, and misplaced passes and silly mistakes became the norm. Once we got the points which made it official, we were able to comfortably roll over Motherwell on the final day, and here at home things have gone that way since.

That will happen here too. Once some of these guys start finding the net the goals will flow, especially our strikers, because these guys are definitely confidence players and once they realise that they do belong on this stage and stop over-thinking it – Jota was a prime example last night – they will settle, and suddenly the goals will come.

And when that happens … boy oh boy we’ll take some stopping.

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  • Paul Mac says:

    Yeah I think that maybe they are maybe trying too hard … Jota last night on the dribble seemed to want to hold on a little too long … which is probably not what he would have done in the league, Abada last week face to face with Courtois probably looked up and then thought ” I am going to score against Real Madrid” and snatched his shot , something at least 8 times in 10 he would have buried. Giakoumakis last night had a perfect chance in to win and again snatched and put it wide … etc etc … We are a work in progress and what is satisfying is that we are creating these chances .. now we just have to start to finish them !!

  • Johnny Green says:

    I think that better defenders and goalkeepers are probably something to do with it, they are better at blocking and thwarting our attempts at scoring, You also do need a bit of luck occasionally and we have been very unlucky at times. It will eventually come.

  • Geoff says:

    Think this also applies to O’Riley.

  • Iljas Baker says:

    You’re right James but think the better quality of defender plays a part and perhaps also over-eagerness to score in the CL. More games at this level will help and psychological coaching to overcome these obstacles. As far as Matt O’Reilly goes I’ve always felt he needs more goals in his game, he’s not prolific at SPFL level either. Frankly he needs to work on his shooting technique. Perhaps extra shooting practice for all of them.

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