Lessons Can Always Be Learned

“There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.”

Malcom X


It’s the modern way. Across all professional sports, after a defeat you will hear the coach or players talking about “taking the positives” out of the loss. Often as a spectator it can be hard to comprehend what positives can be taken from a hefty defeat and you wonder if the words are merely to prevent the reality of inadequacies sinking in. Despite the apparent inanity of such statements I am one of those who believes that positive messages can be taken from the worst results – even if it’s only to offer transparency on the changes required to prevent a future failure.


Last night was brutal to watch. We were completely outclassed and outplayed, however those players with a desire to learn and improve can take information from that game which, if they take the lesson on board, will ensure that they get better and such a result is never repeated.


Kieran Tierney at times looked lost and bereft of ideas on how to handle the challenge. He is however only young, both as a person and as a professional footballer. He seems keen to develop and hopefully will have learned more in that 90 minutes than in a season of SPFL football. Likewise Moussa Dembelé will have learned that an angled two-step penalty run approach from his left telegraphs that the ball is going to the keeper’s right. Bitton will hopefully learn that if he wants to follow his mates Johansen and Van Dyke to the bounty of English football, he would be better watching videos of his midfield partner Scott Brown and the energy and running he displayed than to watch his opponents run past him to score goal after goal.


The management team will have learned about their players, their tactics and themselves. Switching to a back 5 worked in the last 20 minutes in Israel to stem the tide of attack and for many seemed the appropriate solution last night…but it patently wasn’t, at least not with our personnel. The management will have learned what doesn’t work and the limitations of the current players. Already Rodgers is planning for the January and next summer transfer windows and I am sure a game against the very best will have helped him focus on the areas that require greatest strengthening.


On the BT Sport commentary Chris Sutton commented that Celtic were giving Barca too much respect, and they were. It was as if our team thought it would be bad manners to interfere with the play of the world’s greatest exponents. Whilst I am not advocating we become Hearts or Rangers and leave the boot in when losing, a few robust challenges in appropriate situations would not have gone amiss. Apart from the free kick from which they scored, how many fouls did we give away?


Losing like that is hard to take. Yes it was Barca but they are not superhuman. Their ability has come from hard work and with hard work and intelligence everyone at Celtic Park can improve upon that result.