Long Ball! ‘We have permission to go longer if it’s on,’ admits Celtic keeper

CELTIC keeper Scott Bain looked back on the hugely disappointing night in the Europa League against Valencia on Thursday night and although frustrated at losing 2-0 on his Europeam debut he refused to throw in the towel just yet ahead of the return match this Thursday at the Mestalla.

“Valencia had great quality,” the goalie admitted in his media briefing. “You see the ball that was played in for the second goal. It was a hard one to take as I felt we could have taken something out if it, but we still go into the second leg confident.

“We’ve seen them now and I don’t think there is anything to fear. We just need to take care of the ball more and make our passing a lot slicker in the final third to create chances. You see them. They play in the Spanish league which is very technical and everyone is very comfortable on the ball.

“They were good on it, but we have quality here and can hurt them in the next leg. If we can go over there and get the first goal, the tie is not over. If we did get it, we’d have every chance to go on and win the tie. All is not lost yet.

“We know what we are facing now and we know that it’s a tough task we face, but we’re capable of doing it.”

Bain clearly felt the pain of losing his first two goals of the year on Thursday, especially as this was his debut in European football.

“It’s obviously not great when you don’t get the result, but it was an experience which will help me in the future. I will be able to grow from it and I hope to learn from it.

“The pace of the game, for example. It is a lot quicker, so when I get the ball, it’s about getting it out quickly and making the right decisions when I get the ball. We can be slightly better in terms of getting into positions and wanting the ball a bit more.

“We always try and play, but my learning is also about situations when if we can’t get into position quickly enough, to go a bit longer on it. That’s something I’ll take from the game on Thursday night.”

Celtic’s tactics of trying to play the ball out from the back was seized upon by the talented Spanish side and it ended up costing the Scottish champions dearly. Many supporters have called for a change in tactics for these European games and Chris Sutton has said in his newspaper column this morning that Brendan Rodgers should look at changing his tactics for European games.

Bain though reckons he has the green light already to play the ball long if he thinks it’s appropriate.

“Does it means sacrificing principles? No. We always have permission to go slightly longer on it if it’s on, but I thought we played out from the back well and we just got a bit sloppy at the end of the first-half,” the 27 year old said.

“There are other things to learn from as well, like the atmosphere and how to handle the occasion. We were just a little sloppy in the first-half with our passing.

“Valencia are a really good side, they are well organised and they waited for us to make mistakes. They pounced when we did. We actually kept the ball really well in the first 20 minutes and moved it well, but on that stage, you get punished.

“As I said, they were waiting for a mistake and they are really good side who play their formation really well. It’s something we will learn from for the next game.”

Before heading to the airport for the flight to Spain, Celtic have to face the tricky task of playing Kilmarnock on their plastic pitch tomorrow afternoon. And having lost there on our last two trips down the M77, nothing can be taken for granted. Bain reckons that Celtic will be ready.

“We have shown before that we always bounce back from hard moments and games in Europe. We’ve shown it all this season and through all of the time that the manager has been at the club.

“It’s a good opportunity for us at Rugby Park to do that.

“Kilmarnock are a good side and they make it difficult for you down there. They sit in and they are well-organised, so it’ll be down to us to break them down and get the goals.

But we’ll go there looking to bounce back as quickly as possible. We’ve been playing really well in the league of late and we have to look to try and continue that.”

Also on The Celtic Star…

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Brendan to make ‘a few changes just to re-energise the team’ – Ajer, Weah and Edouard to start?

Celtic on This Day, Madden’s ‘Honest Mistake’ not enough for Jackie McNamara

‘I Took A Trip to Parkhead, To That Dear Old Paradise,’ David Potter

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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