2001, 2016 and now this, watch for Rijeka


Technically, this remains our biggest game of the season, our Summer Cup Final. The match against Aberdeen at Hampden in May will live long in the memory, but qualification for Champions League football will have a more profound effect on Celtic than any other game this year or season.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t feel like that. For the third time in our history, we approach a play-off second leg relaxed, cautiously expecting to increase our aggregate advantage.

The only two occasions we didn’t anticipate a second leg of this round, with anything other than what could be described as a nervous disposition, was last year, when we brought a 5-2 lead to Israel, and our second-ever play-off round, in 2001, after we took a 1-3 win home from Amsterdam.

Ajax opened our eyes in 2001. They were a far better team than their inept performance at home suggested. The 0-1 victory at Celtic Park was the least they deserved. Hapoel Be’re Sheva came within a goal of knocking us out 12 months ago. Craig Gordon’s penalty save was of enormous importance.

Analysis of our 5-0 win over Astana six days ago is difficult. Brendan Rodgers was a tad prickly when a Kazakh journalist asked if the gap between the sides was less than the score-line suggests. The remarkable stat: five goals, but three attempts on target, suggests it is. Despite creating two good chances early on, Celtic struggled to impose themselves before the opening goal on 32 minutes.

Astana are better than any other Scottish club. They pressed high with confidence, however, Celtic were good enough to pass through them. In addition, we exploited the weakest goalkeeper we’ve seen in some years.

This afternoon, playing on their own artificial surface, with body clocks adjusted to the norm, they should be able to put on the kind of performance we saw from them last year. We will make the next round with ease, but I’m sure chat like this will be limited to blogs, and kept well away from the dressing room.

After we are comfortably into the group stage, keep an eye on Rijeka’s game against Olympiakos, which kicks off at 19:45. The tiny Croatian club stopped Dinamo Zagreb’s run of 11-in-a-row to take their first title last season. If they eliminate Olympiakos, Celtic would move up to Pot 3 in the group stage.

I watched the first leg. Rijeka were excellent in a hostile environment, succumbing to a 2-1 defeat in the 93rd minute, when they were down to 10 men. They eliminated Salzburg to reach this stage, so they know how to compete against better-resourced opponents.

Celtic sponsor, Intelligent Car Leasing, have offered four full hospitality tickets for Saturday’s game against St Johnstone. You and three friends could benefit from a stunning pre-match meal in the Walfrid, halftime refreshments, as well as a complimentary bar before and after the game.

You will also watch the game from the Directors’ Box. In collaboration with this raffle, we are raising money for Mary’s Meals. Over 3,000 children in Malawi and Liberia eat each school day in a kitchen supported by Celtic Quick News readers. You can donate a minimum of £5 here.

To win, email your MyDonate confirmation to me, celticquicknews@gmail.com with the answer to this question IN THE SUBJECT LINE:

How many Champions League qualifying games have Celtic previously played in the Astana Arena?

Other emails with the correct answer will also be considered. Competition closes at 14:00 Thursday afternoon. You need to be able to collect your tickets in Glasgow on Friday. Please ensure you leave reliable contact information on your email.  Good luck!

I was in the Walfrid on Wednesday for the first time since the day we lost to 10- man Motherwell in April 2008 – I’m sure you remember it. I’m very sure you remember the fight-back which followed. The Walfrid was a fantastic experience, you’ll love it. This is worth entering; you, three pals, Celtic.  Fill your boots!



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  1. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    ‘Mon the The Hoops and ‘Mon The Rijeka !!!!






  2. Astana 2-2 Celtic ( agg 2-7)



    Astana score early then get a bit carried away as they go bombing forward and get caught on the counter.


    They lose heart. Hoops go 2-1 up and safe in the knowledge they’re through, concede a late equaliser.



    Fans of Celtic rush to book flights to Barcelona……….

  3. Wonder if he ever presented a trophy to Fergie?



    “So, who was that who presented the trophy, Alex?”

  4. 50 shades of green on

    Right here goes folks, my prediction for our starting 11 v Astana..



    So far this season I’m naught for 8.






    Craigie G



    Mick Ajer Jozo n wee KT.



    Broonie n Ollie.



    Cal mac, Streach n Sinky.






    1 v 2 for a nice wee away win, with the Griff n Sinky scoring.







    Hope we get Rijeka from pot 4 ;-)

  5. DAVIDOPOULOS on 22ND AUGUST 2017 11:34 AM



    Has anyone pointed out that Rivaldo Coetzee is 5 ft 10…and a half….????






    Taller than KT then who has been playing there with aplomb…



    Denayer and Roberts would represent the transfer window from heaven for me, but whether Denayer would want to come back to Scotland is debatable. I haven’t seen the Inter Milan rumour, but he has been strongly linked with wanting a move to Galatasaray. I’d suspect City would be looking for at least £10m for him ( Iheanacho £25m), so I don’t see it, but then I thought Roberts was a pipe dream so who knows.



    Can’t say I’m worried about tonight but come kick off I’m sure there will still be a little bit of nerves…hoping for a stress free afternoon, keep an eye on the scores this evening for the chance of pot 3, then look forward to the draw on Thursday. Real Madrid and Dortmund are the two teams I’ve been hoping we draw for years but both at the same time could get messy(as opposed to getting Messi). Given pot 2 looks stronger in depth than pot 1, one of the 4 weaker top seeds plus Dortmund would be my ideal draw, what a trip that would be, but I’ll just be happy to be there so bring them on whoever they are.

  6. I think Astana unbeaten at home in 2 years, will be a tough game, we need to keep possession better than we did in the first half an hour last week.

  7. Turkeybhoy said:



    ” Some actually worried about going through.”



    I can understand your surprise, TB but after a lifetime of being told we are inferior to The Peepil , some find it difficult to feel confident. I would think there are still some who are worried that we might not win the League.


    Have the soaring temperatures calmed down a bit where you are? I was out cycling this morning in a balmy 15degrees.








    To anyone who might be interested.


    I would recommend looking at Google images of Astana. Quite a remarkable looking place

  8. there’s only one callum macgregor



    you wont know what he’s dain’there



    but there’ll be choppy seas



    when he scores in three’s



    sailin’ in a CALMAC wonderland





  9. HOT SMOKED on 22ND AUGUST 2017 12:28 PM


    Turkeybhoy said:,




    LOL,yes its cooled right down to 36 degrees at my pool.Believe me,that does feel a lot cooler than the 40s we have had.SOT will confirm.


    Really cant believe some are worrying.Ridiculous.Brendan will be looking for a result.They all help with the co_efficient.



    I am sure Biton will play alongside Jozo.Plenty of time for Ajer to gain experience before CL games.BR has said as much.

  10. South Of Tunis on

    .Fitba transfer guff on the tele in the wee beach bar –



    Mbappe to PSG for 180 million euros



    Belotti to Monaco for 100 million euros .



    Celtic rejected an offer of 2.8 million euros from Fiorentina for Erik Sviatchenko . Player is going to Copenhagen .

  11. South Of Tunis on

    TURKEYBHOY .@12 47



    “SOT will confirm ” .



    Indeed -I do .@ 2 weeks of mid 40s stuff and then it dropped to 35 . That 35 felt cool.

  12. !!BADA BING!! on 22ND AUGUST 2017 12:27 PM


    I think Astana unbeaten at home in 2 years, will be a tough game, we need to keep possession better than we did in the first half an hour last week.



    Yep Bada,they came flying out the traps,tried to unsettle us by pressing everything high up the park.Failed miserably,never had anything you could call a chance,and ran out of steam as we passed them off the park.


    I think it will be the same tonight.IF,we play and pass as we can.


    There is always an”If”but not a chance in hell of any danger.

  13. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    We shouldn’t be over-complacent about this tie. Things can turn around quickly in football.


    It’s only last month that another Scottish club had their worst ever result in Europe only a week after their best ever…..

  14. Larsson and McStay on

    Paul ,



    From memory I think I was still a bit nervous before that Ajax 2nd leg , probably because it was to be our first time qualifying for group stage.



    You’ve missed , perhaps the most relaxed 2nd leg final qualifier out though….August 2003 , we won 4-0 away to MTK Budapest , before winning a pretty bland , relaxed , boring even , 2nd leg 1-0 at home.



    We then got Bayern, Lyon and Anderlecht in the group

  15. TB and SoT.


    Strange, isn`t it? Your 35 and 36 felt cool whereas my 15 felt quite snug .




  16. Larsson and McStay on

    In hindsight , maybe you missed the MTK Budapest games as still recovering from Seville 3 months earlier….

  17. SOUTH OF TUNIS on 22ND AUGUST 2017 1:00 PM


    TURKEYBHOY .@12 47




    “SOT will confirm ” .




    Indeed -I do .@ 2 weeks of mid 40s stuff and then it dropped to 35 . That 35 felt cool.




    Yep,how ridiculous does it sound to say that,but completely true,and if you get a nice breeze.Paradise.




    We dont care what the Khazackstanians say :)




    We don’t KNOW what the Khazackstanians say……Shirley…?




  19. theBHOYfromU.N.C.L.E on

    Just be in the CL draw on Thursday………..bottom line.



    Nervous only in the context of what this means to further progress the Club as a whole ,and from a selfish point of view a few special CL nights to look forward to.



    kickingeveryball csc

  20. Ah Celtic way in Europe!



    Last week was looking for at least a 3 goal cushion to take into away tie. Over the moon at 5-0..that us through!



    This week even 5-0 up the years of watching us in European away ties kicks in brings on the old nerves. Last year a ‘won’ tie turned into a but of a bumpy ride.



    However we are a better team than this time last year and look better able to cope with teams coming at us if we get our passing game going. Hopefully they go gung-ho and leave space for TS and LG get the goal that puts this tie to bed.



    In reality probably more worried in maintaining our unbeaten record.

  21. South Of Tunis on




    The delights of habituation .



    One morning last week — 2am — woken up by the dogs -freaking out re a pair of porcupines in the garden . . Having had the experience of paying the Vet’s bills re a dog that was stupid enough to have a barney with a porcupine – I got up and headed out to chase the porcupines . I felt cold . I put a tee shirt on . it was 28.

  22. Good luck to the Tic this afternoon, I’m sure BR will do the necessary to get us through, should we get to the group stages our best hope is coming out early in the draw if we want to avoid Barcelona, in the past the groups we could have been put it have been limited due to being drawn out late.



    I see the former owner of BHS[IL] is being pursued for various issues regarding his ownership,I often wonder why we still have someone up here swaning about with a knighthood whose entitlement to this knighthood despite him using an illegal tax scheme has never been raised spoken about or challenged. Very strange

  23. The biggest concern today is injury. I wouldn’t be surprised that their plan B is to turn towards a more physical approach and leave the boot in.



    They will try and press hard looking to get the crowd behind them with an early goal.


    If that fails then extra shin pads could be the order of the day.



    Hail Hail

  24. Its that time again…..






    …………………Celtic !





    Just dae it.


    God Bless The Bhoys




  25. Danish Football News‏




    Danish Football News Retweeted Anders Ebbesen



    Erik Sviatchenko has landed in Copenhagen Airport. FC Copenhagen looming? #celtic

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