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Celtic youths

Bahrudin Atajic goal not enough to earn youths three points

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Bahrudin Atajic Celtic newsCallum McGregor and Bahrudin Atajic twice put Celtic in front against Aberdeen today but the visitors battled back to take a deserved point from this afternoon’s match at the Barrowfield.

Despite having the incentive on knowing that a win would take them to the top of the league none of the Celtic players did themselves justice with Neil Lennon looking on from the sidelines.

With all sorts of false allegations going on the Celtic boss would have been looking for a pleasing distraction from recent events but other than some flashes from Filip Twardzik there wasn’t much to get enthusiastic about from the home players.

The biting wind across the pitch didn’t make for pleasant playing conditions but from early on it was clear that Aberdeen were capable of causing problems.

Less than a month ago Celtic had won 3-0 at Aberdeen but that scoreline never looked likely to be repeated.

Half of the Celtic side had followed Saturday’s 5-0 win over St Mirren with a 45 minute appearance against Finn Harps the next day but having set themselves high standards the players will be more disappointed than anyone by today’s performance.

Stevie Frail’s side were along familiar lines with Callum Bagshaw restored to central midfield but it was the other Callum, McGregor, who put Celtic ahead in the sixth minute with a great sweeping shot across the Dons keeper from 20 yards out after the ball had been worked to the midfielder down the left.

Despite that early boost chances were at a premium throughout the first half with McGregor missing a decent chance in the 37th minute when he miskicked after James Keatings had cut in from the right.

Seven minutes into the second half Aberdeen equalised when Low sent a well placed free kick round the Celtic wall into the net.

Atajic replaced Jordan Lowdon shortly afterwards and it was the substitute that restored Celtic’s lead in the 66th minute.

Kieran Brennan’s cross into the box was headed to Filip Twardzik, the Aberdeen keeper did well to block Twardzik’s shot but Atajic anticipated the rebound and drilled the ball into the net.

With 12 minutes left to play Aberdeen equalised when Gibson found space in the six yard box to notch a deserved equaliser.

Celtic pushed for a winner in the closing stages but were only able to put in a couple of hopeful crosses from the left which found no takers.

The draw leaves Celtic two points behind Rangers having played the same number of games.

On Friday Aberdeen travel to face Rangers at Murray Park with Celtic playing Kilmarnock at the Kilwinning Sports Centre the following day.

CELTIC: Thomson; O’Donnell, Toshney, Hughes, Brennan; Irvine, McGregor, Bagshaw, Lowdon, F Twardzik; Keatings,

3>SUBS: Feely, Atajic (Lowdon 56), Jones, P Twardzik (Irvine 58), Gormley (Keatings 83), Ordish, Watt3>

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7 comments
  • Tony Cassidy says:

    Hi Joe – great to see you today. Great report.

    You’re right about the wind. But it was the same for both sides, as they say. I felt that Celtic could have passed the ball on the ground a lot more. They did so only around 50-60% of the time.

    Lewis Toshney was in a left back and found it tricky as he is predominantly right-footed. Big man could have tried to drive forward a little more, I feel. Possibly lacked a little confidence in that regard, as he is indeed capable.

    2ndhalf, Celtic should maybe have played as much as possible down the left wing where there was plenty of space and the wind was not so much of a problem as, from there, it was blowing the ball back into play. The 2nd Celtic goal came from the left.

    Aberdeen’s best players were centre-half No5 Joe (?) and No11 free-kick goalscorer Low. If Celtic could have passed it around No5 and marked tightly No11, they maybe have opened more space for attacks.

    Callum Bagshaw is a good player. He side-stepped 3 or 4 players from the restart after the first Aberdeen goal driving straight thro the middle of the field. His final pass was ok but could have been just a little better to allow a more clean strike at goal for his team-mate who did indeed strike it, but sadly just wide. Point to note here tho is that an attacking midfielder makes a huge difference. If Bagshaw has this in his locker, he should be encouraged to do it more often. Think you said he had just recently returned from injury. I feel he could work a little more on his fitness to give him the added edge and also, he does seem on occasion to go to ground in tackles in the centre of the park. Somewhat needlessly in my view – keep on his feet if possible, I’d say. Better players will just side-step and hence leave you in their wake.

    Filip Twardzik played well in the 2nd half but I didn’t see him too much in the first – there were too many high balls then for him.

    Finally, and importantly I feel, the players were shouting a lot. I think this is ok but sometimes not necessary. The coaching staff did not shout much at all – they should, and more, much more. The players on the other hand, if they do shout, should encourage one another. Today they were heckling each other from the very start. Not a good sign. But better still, that they should simply KNOW how to play, instead of shouting shouting shouting all the time – it seems to be a sort of UK thing this. I did not see it so much on the more technical European stage. What use it does when there are 60,000 screaming fans and shouting is unheard, I am not sure. As I say, they should know to pass and move.

    Overall, Celtic did ok and great to see Neil Lennon there focussing on his job rather than on all his recent external and unwanted hassles. He looked well. I suppose he and Stevie will be a bit fed-up at the result. But maybe a draw was a fair result. Dons may disagree as they had a big shout for a pen near the end. Ref seemed confident in his decision.

    Really enjoyed the experience once again. Great to see good young players having a go. I wish them well in their careers. Come on the Hoops ! Still in there for the title.

  • Wb says:

    Tony, your hair must have been in your eyes, Toshney played left CENTRE BACK! which is where he played all season in a 4-3-3 formation, Celtic 3, played left back and made plenty runs/crosses but no takers today, Quiet day for Keatings, and too many high balls pumped from ch’s to striker giving away 5 inches to Aberdeen ch’s, midfield was where it was ‘lost’ more strength needed, GK also needs to give the ball to f/backs to start moves, too many high kicks with snow on them, giving Keats little chance, for reasons already stated.

  • Joe McHugh says:

    Great to get some thoughts on the match.

    Toshney played left of Matty Hughes but Kieran Brennan was at left back and probably one of the main attacking outlets.

    There’s a balance between shouting and it’s not something that I particularly notice at youth matches, because you get so close to the players you hear everything.

    The wind was a factor but all of the players are used to that and know how to cope, a wind across the park is unusual since it’s usually from one end to the other.

    There’s a difficult balancing act in developing players. They have to develop within a team but also at Celtic they have to show a special touch that suggests they have something that can make an impact in the first team in the same way as James Forrest has over the last twelve months.

    Winning matches is the best way to show that you are developing into a potential Celtic first team player but something extra and special is needed to become a first team player- someone contributing to a title winning side and competing in the Champions League.

    That is a big big ask but that is the purpose of the whole youth structure.

    Hopefully most of the players will make a good career for themselves, hopefully some of them will do that with Celtic

  • Tony Cassidy says:

    Wb thanks for clearing that up. I knew there seemed something going on that I did not understand. Sorry about that.

    No chance of hair being in my eyes as I don’t have much remaining ! As for Lewis Toshney, most times I saw him, he seemed alone in the left of defence.

    Maybe that’s cos Keiran Brennan was pushing on all the time. Big man certainly had a fair bit of the ball and only in the last 15 mins or so did he pass it in to the feet of the strikers.

    Good big player but as i said, maybe lacked a little confidence in driving forward using his left foot on the left side. Question marks over the defending of the Aberdeen 2nd goal, the one from the corner.

    Don’t know who was involved as it was way down the other end of the field.

    Would be good if the club allowed fans to view Barrowfield games as per Lennoxtown where fans are all along one side and club staff are on the opposite side.

  • wb says:

    Tony
    For what I saw, keeper called for the ball at the corner, but Aberdeen player nicked it before him, back 5 lose very little fron open play, but seem a bit more vurnerable from set pieces.

    Both full backs tend to play as wing backs, shouldn’t be a problem as long as there’s cover, left back also switched with F.Twarzik, who was wide left,throughout the game,both are comfortable in each position, so maybe also a reason why it looked as if 3, was ‘pushing on’.

    After all I think the bhoys were pushing for a winning goal.

    Agree with the viewing, never seen the ‘tape and cones’ so far up the line.

  • Tony Cassidy says:

    hi again lads
    i wrote to Celtic re the Barrowfield viewing arrangements and received a quick response from Chris McCart and Gregor Kyle as per below…

    Tony – thanks for getting in touch, I’ve attached an email from Chris McCart, our head of youth, below. Hope this helps Tony, thanks for getting in touch, take care and speak soon,
    Gregor

    Hi Gregor,
    Thanks for this point of view and we can totally appreciate Tony’s opinion. Due to the location and trees at one side there is not sufficient space for technical area for both teams. We would prefer to play at lennoxtown but due to First team commitments that we have to work around this means that occasionally we play at Barrowfield. Please pass on our apologies for Tony’s inconvenience of restricted viewing and thank him very much for his support and understanding.
    Kind regards
    Chris

  • AC says:

    Bahrudin Atajic is best

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