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Celtic tactics reflections

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Right, having spent more time with it, it's started to click, a few things that I feel I have learnt.

I don't quite understand the role of Defend, Support, Attack and Auto; but fair enough if you take things at face value the descriptions when you hold the mouse do help. In games that I was trying to win I had set up

ST (A)


MC (D) MC (S)


DL (S) DC (D) DC (D) DR ®


Admittedly this formation had - in the Champions League - seen me get results, partnered with counter attacking, although as suggested I had only scored 6 goals in 6 games. I ended up W4 - D0 L2, F6 A7; pretty negative stuff. However it was completely failing to do anything against the weaker teams. And I don't want an 'easy' game but it seems strange that you need to do the most tinkering to beat weak teams, and the least tinkering to play against top opposition.

So I thought I had better take a deep breath and at least try to work out what was going on.

(1) Personnel

Well, at the start of the season I had tried to flog all my second stringers, unfortunately the board didn't give me any money from the sales. Scott Brown, arguably my best player and central midfielder (good tackling and excellent engine/work rate) had immediately got injured. I'd got some loans in and some free transfers but the squad was hardly stellar.

Park Chu-Young (Arsenal loan)

Boerrigter Forrest

Mulgrew Dos Santos (Barca loan)

Borja (free transfer - is excellent in fifa)

Butter (£4m Man Utd) Ambrose Van Dijk Lustig


The two wingers have done excellent all season, happy with those although no great long term cover. In the centre was probably an issue. Mulgrew is basically a defender, not a midfielder. I'd gambled on Dos Santos and Borja being so much better than the rest of the league that they would be able to play creatively. This wasn't really happening. Arguably I shouldn't have let Kris Commons and Joe Ledley both leave, for little money. I only had one attacking central midfielder at the club, but he can only play in the AMC position...

I finally got to the transfer window - I do like the scouting option to only look at players above a certain current or potential ability. I'd got hold of Pauleta, who found me some brazilians, although some problems with work permits stopped that. Anyway, CL qualification gave me some money to play with, the Board approved both wage and transfer increases, and so off to the shops I popped.

In the end, young scotsmen seemed appealing, despite being tempted for some Seria A or old internationals for massive salaries like Cerci or Anelka. Jordan Rhodes looked like an exciting young striker to see the season out; and then I liked the look of James McArthur from Wigan. Both came on £4m deals, I did wonder if that was a bit cheap for Rhodes. Fran Merida, an AMC also came in on a free, then I hoovered up some SPL cheap talent, Ross County were threatening in 2nd place so I bought their best DC to sit on my bench.

Scott Brown returned from injury and I now have players better suited to the roles, and more long term options. Funnily enough I don't have any Scotsmen in the national team - assuming this will change as my three superscotsmen settle in. Mulgrew can focus on being DC and DL cover.

(2) Player roles and instructions

Looking at the tactics I'd got Borja as some sort of regista, I can't remember exactly which but looking at the instructions it seemed to say "don't tackle much, wander around". I actually want that player to support defensively and so I changed him to a more conservative role. I also noticed in the analysis that in one game he'd had 5 shots, missing them. Told that position to shoot less as a result.

Then - going back to the formation at the top of the post - looking at this only the ST and AMR have (A) on them. Looking at the description, strictly speaking maybe that means only those two bother to get in the box? I thought about who I wanted doing what - in a game I expect to win - and changed it to:

ST (A)


MC (S) MC (A)


DL (A) DC (D) DC (D) DR ®


So, this hopefully gets on MC into the box, and tells Buttner to go and overlap (Boeriggter is only supporting so hopefully that doesn't clash). The DMC provides some cover.

This does seem to have worked. Buttner got a goal and an assist since the change; and I won games more comfortably, with some clean sheets. I still concede in the first few minutes in a few games, which is concerning, but all in all the league is starting to look like an easy task (as it should be).

(3) Strategy

I hadn't really looked "control", but reading the description it seems to work. "Control" looks like a sensible option for those games where you expect to win, but don't want to be reckless. I think as few shouts and instructions as possible is preferable, but with those wingers telling them to go wide, and cross from the byline, seems sensible.

I don't really get the mentality (fluid, rigid) etc; and I'm concerned about how things work together. If I'm in the lead I have experimented with:

- Less tempo

- Retain possession

- Waste time

Etc but I'm generally keeping it simple.

Anyway, my thinking is that the A/S/D auto roles make quite a big difference... I don't know what auto does so much - if that means it changes during the position on the pitch, surely auto would be best standard option. I don't have anyone on auto.

I'm struggling to find a tactical attacking/all out option. Generally when I change things if anything we have less chances, I know the AI is shutting up shop at this time but still. I find a bollocking at half time makes a more obvious difference.

We got Manchester Utd in the 2nd round - tough, but they are 7th in the league with Moyes just sacked... possibility of a win here, although my squad is looking very thin, with the new additions not yet registered.

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