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Off The Record- Keith Jackson breaks Golden Rule

Keith Jackson broke one of the Golden Rules of journalism by directly discussing an Off the Record briefing given to newspaper reporters by Brendan Rodgers.

After his usual media duties on Tuesday to discuss the match with Dundee the Celtic boss took reporters aside, wheeled out a large screen telly and explained, Off the Record, that his side was playing the same system as deployed by Ange Postecoglou last season.

Why Rodgers felt the need to explain tactics to newspaper reporters is open to debate- the fact that it became public knowledge is all down to a piece by Jackson in Friday’s Daily Record.

In the rolling news environment of today ‘Off The Record’ is a quaint old tradition where a message would be put across, an explanation with no trail back to the source.

A manager might explain a transfer issue, a change in his team or tactics to put reporters in the picture without the thoughts appearing in quotes.

2 minutes 50 seconds

Listen it wasn’t a masterclass, I’ve been here since July and all that I’ve heard about has been the change in style, the change in system, the change in lots of things.

I just felt that it was maybe just worth pointing out that absolutely nothing has changed in terms of system, in terms of style and what has been asked.

Obviously you need evidence in terms to show that, so it was just a case of an off the record football chat with some of the guys that turned up.

I said to them a few weeks back that I would do it because they on a number of occasions have brought up the style…

I’ve heard players positions have changed and none of that has happened, it was just to demonstrate and show some evidence of that.

The chat took place on Tuesday afternoon outwith the usual media duties, clearly it has been an issue bothering Rodgers but his intention of a little explanation and enlightenment has backfired thanks to Jackson.

The discussion was mentioned during Thursday’s Record Celtic podcast, while the others present have kept the details to themselves Jackson spilled the beans this morning to Daily Record readers:

First he had to deal with the whole sexism sideshow. The awkward aftermath of a post-match interview gone wrong at Fir Park.

But, as soon as he had got that toe curler out of the way on Tuesday afternoon, Brendan Rodgers rolled out a huge 78in touch screen TV and ran through a tactical tutorial for the benefit of a small band of written press.

For half an hour or so, Rodgers replayed clips of various Celtic goals scored over the past two seasons. Four under Ange Postecoglou. Another four from this season, all scored on his watch. And the similarities, it must be said, were really quite striking.

Inverted full-backs creating space for wingers to get down the side, crossing the ball for three runners – one attacking the front post, one at the back and one in the middle. The point the manager was attempting to ram home was that, despite the common consensus, Celtic’s attacking strategy has not changed all that much since Postecoglou took his Angeball with him to Tottenham. If it has changed at all.

With 30 years experience in reporting it is surprising that Jackson has waited three publishing days to reveal this detail.

Like the others present the purpose of the meeting was to explain why little has changed in the style and tactics that Celtic are using compared to last season.

That is clearly a massive contradiction for those that have been watching Celtic in action with the goal return of Kyogo Furuhashi the most obvious red flag.

A year ago the Japanese striker had just scored a double to clinch the League Cup, was past the 20 goal mark and on his way towards 34 for the season with five notched in the four critical Glasgow Derbies that decided the honours.

This season Celtic and Kyogo have had to do without Jota, Aaron Mooy, Liel Abada and Reo Hatate which has had a massive impact of his supply chain.

Matt O’Riley has stepped up, providing two assists in the Glasgow Derbies but Daizen Maeda has barely been recognisable with chunks of the season missed through injury and international commitments.

Four wingers have been signed since Rodgers returned last June, the Abada situation couldn’t have been anticipated while James Forrest and Mikey Johnston have featured before seemingly disappearing from sight.

For most of this season half of last season’s regulars have been missing with their replacements found wanting. Luis Palma found goals and assists for a short spell but his style of play, always cutting in onto his right foot has meant that there has been very few balls cut back from the by-line for Kyogo to convert.

Yang Hyun-jun has show promise in the last two matches but there isn’t much of a body of work to present on his behalf.

It is interesting that Jackson appears to have broken rank with an off the record briefing, of more relevance is the determination of Rodgers to push the idea that virtually nothing has changed.

The half time roar against Dundee clearly demonstrated that the supporters were thrilled to see Celtic on the front foot and attacking again after months of horse-shoe football bordering on boredom.

With his confidence broken, being forced to explain himself on Sky Sports, it is highly unlikely that Rodgers will be calling together the trusted newspaper writers for another Off The Record briefing.

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