The Past Is Not A Guide To This Celtic Team’s Future. We Are Where We Are.

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Let me be blunt; I couldn’t give a monkeys for Celtic’s “unwanted records” which are all in the media this morning.

Nine Champions League home defeats in a row?

So what?

What relevance does it have in relation to what we watched last night?

Brendan The Great is responsible for the bulk of those, so why is it being hung around the neck of Ange and this team?

If we beat Shakhtar we end that record at a stroke.

Ange’s own record will be two defeats and a win.

It doesn’t help us this season, but it assures that we don’t hear nonsense about “ten home defeats in a row” next year. Since the media never gives Ange credit for Lisbon, it has no damned right to hold him responsible for other things that happened years before he arrived.

The historical record is not his to avenge or defend.

It exists separate to him, and apart from him. It would exist if he was here or not.

The weight of it is not his to carry, and it’s bad enough that the media is making him carry it.

We should not do the same.

We wanted to be able to judge this team based on its Champions League endeavours. Let’s not kid ourselves on, this campaign has been an unmitigated disaster in terms of results. But those who are sneering at it, and us, are continuing to ignore evidence and tailoring what’s in front of them to suit the picture that they want to paint.

I’ve never seen a Celtic side in this competition create so many chances, and although some of the hacks are desperately trying to find a way to justify their contention that we’ve also conceded a lot of goals and therefore the system is wrong, I would take issue with their overly simplistic view. I do feel a little sympathy for them; these aren’t the smartest kids in the class.

If they were they would be working for London titles, not at places like The Record.

But their lack of a basic understanding of football doesn’t get them off the hook.

Much of what some of them are writing today is flagrant nonsense, as is some of what’s filling up the forums and social media. Hysterical over-reactions to events they can’t properly analyse.

Three times in four games we lost after we’d spurned enough chances to be out of sight.

In Germany we were the victims of a bad decision from our captain and an even worse one from our goalkeeper.

But we were still in the game until the 77th minute.

Last night, at home, as with the game against Madrid, we squandered plenty of chances at 0-0 and with 20 minutes to go you felt the frustration and gnawing apprehension. The players would have felt it too.

The hammer blows were struck in the latter stages of the game.

Had we scored and gone in front before they fell, we’d have taken points and the thing I want to think about today is that we created enough chances to have done exactly that.

I believe we were well capable of beating RB Leipzig.

I don’t believe they are an elite team, and I reckon had we taken the lead we’d have won home and away against them.

They had vulnerabilities we exploited easily.

But they kept a cool head when we didn’t, and when the manager talks about experience that’s what he’s referring to.

This has been a painful experience, but if you look beyond the pain – and ignore the efforts being made to turn the whole thing into an epic humiliation – you see mitigation for the results in the performances.

Not for one minute am I buying into the Ibrox claptrap that defeat makes you stronger. It doesn’t. It encourages you to get stronger … and that’s not the same thing.

One doesn’t automatically follow the other. I’ll talk about that later.

Those demanding that we rip it up and start again are, as I said yesterday, sometimes a little spoiled by domestic success and forget that we play football in the SPL: there are players in that RB team who will leave for larger fees than Ange’s entire transfer budget, and yet had we scored first I do believe we’d have beaten them last night and maybe even in Germany.

I’ll publish more of the Dark Days articles today.

To find the solution to a problem you first have to identify what the problem actually is.

We can either conclude that we’re doing everything wrong or that it’s just a handful of things that aren’t falling our way. I do not believe we’re doing everything wrong. I do not believe that the table is an accurate reflection of what we’re finding out.

And I don’t for one second even consider that our “historical results” ought to be debated and discussed as if they are the fault of this manager and his team. They aren’t.

This team should be judged solely on what it does or does not do.

Right now, we’re not where we want to be.

Getting there requires sober reflection, not knee-jerk reactions.

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  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Aye the DR especially love their derogatory Celtic stats. Mustve been really excitin for them at their laptops this mornin.The game, disappointed, gutted, aye, obviously we’ve still a lot of work tae dae before we can compete at this level. Don’t think we should be too harsh on them tho, there’s still a lot of positives tae be taken from our games imo compared wi recent seasons. Hopefully we can continue tae build and give it another shot next season. Never mind these slabberin haufwits.

  • PAUL MCCANN says:

    talking to a friend this morning and he pointed that it took fergies man utd 6 seasons and a few hidings before he got it right we need to give ange enough time to get it right

  • Bjm says:

    Not to disappointed, a lot of positives we competed in a positive manner.
    We didn’t set up for damage limitation from the first minute to the last .

  • Geoff says:

    Not comparing Ange with any past managers or teams but we are conceding the same type of goals this season as last and failing time after time to convert chances after some great play.
    My biggest observation and I don’t think I’m alone is the apparent drop in energy levels after 60-70 mins combined with the 3-4 subs at the same time which I feel can have a negative impact on any momentum the team might have.

  • Jack says:

    Celtic has played quite well for most of the minutes of the champions league games. If we had scored from the many chances created and not had some bad breaks with injury and avoidable mistakes made, the table would look a lot different. In summary, we need to get more clinical and our luck needs to change a wee bit (we don’t have the incredible luck of the devil in Europe like Sevco have had). I’m not too worried about any of this because big Ange will sort this out for sure.

    • Iljas Baker says:

      Jack says, “… big Ange will sort this out for sure.”

      I’m not so confident partly because of his absolute belief that he has got things right and partly because it’s not only in his hands.

      He’s new at European level but does not seem to be saying anything that indicates he’s learning – too exposed last year and too exposed this year, his teams get lots of injuries because of high intensity of training and playing and yet they only last 60 or 65 minutes and need replaced, invariably with players who aren’t as good. He keeps repeating we need to take our chances but the opposition also have plenty of chances. If we score first they upping their game is just as likely a scenario as they falling apart and they certainly could score a couple after 60 minutes and the subs have come on. Getting in better players needs the support of the board and I’m not sure how much they’re willing to spend. I honestly believe big Ange needs to moderate his system in Europe to focus more on defending with a stronger midfield and back four.

  • Don Cowie says:

    We did miss chances yes, but I still think Leipzig moved the ball about far better than we did and were much stronger and fitter. Too many of our players are off it just now, there seems to be a lack of belief that we need to get back. No complaints though, we are where we are and Ange will improve the squad going forward

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Leipzig were very clever from the start, keepin the ball tae take any fire out of us for the first 10-15 mins and tae their credit, did a right good job of it. Ye can only admire that. We still managed tae get ourselves right in it tho and shouldve scored. Ah still totally believe we’re movin in the right direction, albeit a bit stalled at the minute. Hopefully our players and manager can use the experience positively and move on from it.

  • Pcelt says:

    We have learnt nothing from the last two seasons in Europe,these tactics don’t work with these players in Europe every game we are knackered after 60mins and look totally vulnerable,we can get away with this in the spl but not in Europe against fit,strong and more technical teams. We need to realise this is a fact.

  • Iljas Baker says:

    But that was a knee jerk reaction James. What do you see when you soberly reflect? Cut out the unwarranted speculation in our favour. Imagine this: We take a chance and they up their game and create more of their own chances and score. We tire after 60 minutes and they dominate and score more. We need comprehensive improvements: Better players, better substitutes, greater fitness, and a moderating of our system to give a bit better focus on a more dominant midfield and reliable back four. There is no single problem and no single solution.

  • John says:

    Think back 1 season and where we stood, now some complaining about c/league results, get a grip. Yes could be better in scoring positions, but players giving everything on pitch, hard to take defeats but positives in how matches have been played, all in all unlucky over matches played. I for one have been happy (not with results) but with the positive attitude towards winning matches not just turning up to hope for a result.

  • SSMPM says:

    We made plenty of chances over the piece. We didn’t take them. We could only manage to compete for 60/70 minutes per game at this level. Conversely, when we opened the door, we were punished, that put us out of the reach of achieving a successful campaign.
    I love our style of play, that’s a positive, however we’ve got to last 90+ minutes and develop and fine tune our technical deficiencies to achieve the desired outcomes. We are a work in progress but we’re going to have to accept it can’t be with this squad as it is and that we have to purchase a few more players of that ability to move further forward.
    Its good enough to beat the rankers to the title this year, probably, given we’ll have little in the way of European distractions.

  • Derek Mcwhinnie says:

    This time last season we sat 3rd in the league 8 points behind sevco then champions league was a pipe dream.
    Progress has been made and we will continue to get better

  • Henriksgoldenboot says:

    James, without me being hysterical or over reacting as you put it. Let me help you identify what the problem actually is. Quality. We don’t have enough of it. End of. Yes we have emerging talent like O’Riley and Abada but they aren’t there yet. I thought Jenz played his best game for us last night and CCV was again our next captain in the making.

    But that was where the quality ended. For all of our huff and puff of the previous games I have always thought that the other teams were playing within themselves. Hatate has shown his limitations at this level losing the ball too frequently. Maeda is a worker and a trier but doesn’t have the composure. Taylor who is playing at his very upper limits at this level is found out when the quality opposition step up a gear. I could go on. But as a final example on my point about quality. Kyogo had two exact same chances as Havertz. Who put their chance away?

    I happen to agree with you though. Leipzig aren’t even a great team in this competition. But where does that put us though, if they are undoubtedly better than us? What it boils down to and this is the crux of the matter and this is the answer to the question of finding a solution. We need to get out of Scottish football. The goldfish bowl is stunting us and always has at this level with regards to the modern football era. We need quality coursing through the whole team. We will never attract that playing in our backwater. And no matter how many “attempts “ we get at honing our experience at this level it won’t change without the quality changing.

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