AEK complacency ahead of Celtic


AEK Athens have played only four friendly fixtures since losing the Greek Cup Final on 12 May.  They failed to score in three of those games, beating Galatasaray 3-2 at home in the more recent game.  The fixtures have been spread out: with 6 days, 8 days and 10 days between them.  There will be a gap of 8 days between the Galatasaray game and their visit to Celtic Park tomorrow, so there has been no intensity to their efforts.

AEK needed to prepare an entire squad, not just a starting 11, during these games.  This is not appropriate preparation for one of the most important ties of the season.  It feels like an inexplicable oversight, I would be livid if this was Celtic’s preparation for this tie.  Such complacency deserves to be punished.

By contrast, Celtic have played five competitive games and five friendlies since our 12 May Cup Final.  The fitness strategy contrast between our squad and AEK’s is stark.  As a consequence, we have to make tomorrow’s game a multi-ball, unrelenting, occasion.

Even if the game is tight at 80 minutes, how we finish the match could have a significant bearing on who progresses.  This is when you would expect AEK’s lack of fitness to be most telling.  Players lose concentration and coordination when tired.  This is when we should look to push the tie over the edge.

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  1. The Battered Bunnet on

    It’s pretty normal for us all to get a little angsty at this time of year as our impatience for new signings butts up against the fear of disappointment. To be fair to the club, while the the Willo window still stalks our consciouness, it was almost 9 years ago, and since then business has been pretty good.



    You could scroll back to every August on the blog and read the same stuff, the only thing that changes is the names. I remember the widespread disappointment when, with a sieve as leaky as ever, we ended up with a big lump from Groningen and some bit-part kid from Man City’s youth academy.



    There is though a new dynamic in the summer transfer window, being that the (wealthy) English clubs have until the end of this week to complete their business, while we have a further three weeks thereafter. Any player with an ambition to play in the EPL, and that’s the standard we’re looking for, won’t sign for us until the English window closes out on his hope for another season. At that point, he’s open to offers elsewhere, including Celtic.



    It impacts on McGinn too. Hibs won’t sell him to us until the English window is closed, at which point Celtic’s is the only bid on the table.



    Irrespective of offers elsewhere, McGinn can elect to decline them. In effect, Hibs have a harder job selling Aston Villa to McGinn than they do selling McGinn to Aston Villa (or any other interested party).



    It would be a pity to lose Boyata at the very point where he looks like he’s finally becoming a player, but if some club had offered £9M for him last season we’d all have needed a prompt change of underpants, and thereafter suggested the scout at the buying club be referred for psychiatric support.



    Compper is a mystery I doubt we’ll live to see solved, while Hendry is a foal with a lot of growing up to do. In that light, we need at least one quality centre half, two if Boyata goes, and I doubt that has been lost by Brendan and his team.



    Personally, I think we’re screaming out for a dead ball expert, someone who would add 8 goals and 16 assists in a season. Problem is he needs to be as good in open play as whoever he replaces, whether winger or midfielder.



    But nothing will happen this week, and we’ll go up against AEK home and away with the players already here. Once that’s out of the way, expect Celtic to make their moves.



    We can all fall out when we see the new Daniel Majstorovic, Rami Gershon and Amido Balde.

  2. If TBB can repost, so can I !




    I am not sure why ( the workings of the mind on a subliminal level are hard to understand) but I am quite confident of going through against AEK. I would be even more confident if Moussa was available but Eddie is looking good enough to inflict damage.Likewise, Mcgregor, Forrest,Ntcham and Rogic are all looking good. Perhaps most important of all, Broonie looked more like his old self on Saturday.






  3. Personally I am not fussed if we sign John McGinn, squad player for me not a starter, we’ve got plenty of them. If he signs he’ll get my full support, if he goes to Aston Villa or elsewhere que sera sera.

  4. It should be a good time to catch AEK with the new manager coming in and Chygrynskiy (CB) and their captain Mantalos (AMF) out injured and their top scorer from last season Araujo’s away and their best defender Vranjes moving to Anderlecht. I am aware they have signed a few but they will need to bed in.

  5. I agree TBB about a dead ball expert being badly needed as our free kicks and corners are poor and will be even worse with Armstrong away and Griff rarely starting. Admittedly delivery of corners was slightly better than usual against Livvy but that isn’t saying much.

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

    Just home for a half hour to be with Wee BGFC when he was opening his Nat 5 results….



    A – English


    A – Maths


    A – Chemistry


    A – Physics


    A – Music


    A – Music Technology


    A – Geography



    …seven straight A’s – great recovery after a bumpy start to the year – what a guy :-)))



    Right – off back to work.






  7. If Brendan is not happy and is allegedly going to leave, then, this cannot be about McGinn as we still have the chance to get him. If we don’t get him then Brendan has a case.



    If we sell Boyata then maybe this is what he is unhappy about. But, all clubs try and offload players in their final year to avoid them leaving with no fee. Surely he cant expect anything else.



    Brendan also knew what the Board policy was before he signed up



    His dispute with the Board must be about more than that above. We don’t know what the Business has been doing on the transfer front. It must be something else

  8. weebobbycollins on

    Aipple…the other day whilst walking my dugs in the park I noticed a few clumps of thick grass that looked decidedly blue compared to the more emerald tone of the rest of the grass. My first thought was ‘Kentucky’…..so I went and had some fried chicken….vegan style… :-)

  9. I’ll be honest here, if McGinn doesn’t sign for Celtic then it’s just another nail in the coffin of a family who say one thing, but do another with regards to Celtic. They have and remain, only in it for the money.



    I’ve a long memory and Jack McGinn has a lot to be shameful about.

  10. One comment that needs more explanation is this focus on after the EPL window has shut?


    Where has this idea come from — seems bonkers to me — to leave it so late to spend money improving the squad until after possibly our most important game of the season?



    Really seems like stupidity on a stick.



    However the plan seems to have a lot of credibility with the people who matter.


    Seems like one cunning plan too far.

  11. Well done Wee BGFC…..and you get an A * for your occasional posts on here.





    BIGBHOY on 7TH AUGUST 2018 2:28 PM


    If Brendan is not happy and is allegedly going to leave, then, this cannot be about McGinn as we still have the chance to get him. If we don’t get him then Brendan has a case.



    SAYS WHO?????????????????????????????

  13. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ MADMITCH on 7TH AUGUST 2018 2:33 PM



    Not sure if such a plan exists. In the same way that the mantra was always “Celtic are waiting to qualify for the CL before signing players” even though there was nothing to support that premise.



    As we are seeing, it also cuts the other way (we may lose Boyata before the CL qualification process is finished).

  14. Spot on Paul, I have a bit reticent to say it before but if we had prepared the way AEK Athens had been I would be furious.



    – Lost their title-winning manager


    – Lost their top goalscorer


    – Lost their main playmaker


    – Lost their best defender


    – Lost an important midfielder


    – Captain injured


    – Played 5 friendlies in the space of a month




    In fact, I’d go as far to say that we would have seen broken crests on newspapers if this was us…



    But naw, let’s all whine about when/if a squad player gets signed.

  15. Madmitch



    I think you know what my point is.



    A centre back guddle or a internet CB guddle?



    Having ‘wasted’ £1M on Marvin Compper whether you like it or not, the plan wasn’t to spend X Millions on another experienced CB for the CL qualifiers. not at least until the English window closed, and we’re still involved in qualifiers of some kind.



    Personally I agree with the plan, and would buy CB’s when I knew by the end of the window who was remaining at Celtic, and that would determine how much we needed to spend? – pretty much common business sense .



    What a job we have on our hands to replace CB’s ‘good enough to play for Celtic’ if Dedryk Boyata is valued at £12M ( ‘ Liability’ ‘Bombscare’ ‘Waste of Space” )



    Think we’re in good shape for AEK and Dedryk might make the bench, maybe not, the question will be Hendry or Simunovic in the starting line up.



    TicketsOnGeneralSale CSC

  16. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Hope to God we sign 2 good CBs this window , on 5 year deals, might stop the perrenial CB debate every summer…..

  17. Gamboa Ajer Jozo KT.



    Brilliant results Wee BGFC – Celtic genius.



    Celtic for the victory.



    KTF. ?

  18. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on




    Would it not be sensible to sign a CB to assist us qualifying for the CL (in the same way we signed Edouard before the qualifiers)? We also sold Eric, so we did have capacity to bring in another defender.



    “What a job we have on our hands to replace CB’s ‘good enough to play for Celtic’ if Dedryk Boyata is valued at £12M ( ‘ Liability’ ‘Bombscare’ ‘Waste of Space” )”



    You are again conflating English prices with the rest of Europe. I provided a link showing the discrepancy in signings in England v Europe and also noted that an international CB was signed by Anderlecht for €3M.



    £12m is madness for Boyata and we should be biting their hand off for it (provided only that we invest some of the money in the team, otherwise pointless to sell).

  19. My problem isn’t so much with selling Boyata for £12M, which is an amazing piece of business for a guy in the last year of his contract, it’s that if he goes won’t spend the money on adequate replacements/improvements.



    If we do sell Boyata we’d end up signing someone like Scott McKenna from Aberdeen for £3M and pocket the change.

  20. BSR @ 2.43



    That is Grade A / Top of the range / best of the best Military intelligence.


    I cannot believe that someone would be so reactive regarding running any sort of business.



    To me it is just another litany of excuses to absolve the CFC exec level of any level of responsibility of the shambles they regularly reduce us to.



    We are moving from a position of strength to one of ridicule where we will all be watching tomorrow’s game from behind the proverbial couch.



    I can understand things not going to plan.



    What is unacceptable is not having a plan or having a plan that Baldrick thought was not up to the challenges ahead.



    Buying in the last week in August is just ration rental.

  21. Got to be honest here..Getting £9 million [possibly more] for a defender who has not been sensational and is in the final year of his contract seems like good business sense to me.Does Boyata make the difference for us in these big games?……I have always quite liked his defensive work but his howlers have been there for all to see.With the ball at his feet he has his flaws.


    Brendan appeared definitive in his press brief this morning however that he would find it very difficult to replace him and does not have any plans to do so.


    Boyata is very very likely to walk away at the end of this season for absolutely nothing if he does not get a move before thursday.


    If we dont make the champions league this year I would be happier to lose Boyata than the 4/5 of our much better players if funds were need to fill the gap.But of course that’s a hypothetical view as there is no way of knowing if we will or not before hand…….I see how difficult it must be for the money/ strategic men at a club like ours at this stage of the season.

  22. mike in toronto on




    2012 – CQN told us that a “a child on a donkey could conquer this castle”…



    2018 …A bunch of donkeys conquer a child’s castle …



    Evidently, zombies are dyslexic as well as obnoxious.

  23. Madmitch



    Imagine you are a football player with ambitions to play in the EPL (for the money and/or tv exposure), and a club like Celtic enquire about your availability. Your club tells you they will sell for the right price, but you refuse to commit in the hope that an EPL club steps forward with an offer.


    This is the scenario that Celtic are facing. We want quality, at an affordable price. We cannot afford to go after EPL sides top 25 squad players. Plus these players are often unlikely to leave the EPL and come to Scotland. Once the EPL transfer window closes, and clubs have decided on their 25 man squads, those players outwith the 25 are now looking at plan B – find a club outside the EPL (probably in a loan deal, as they may still harbour ambition to return to their EPL club and start over). Patrick Roberts is a good example – he clearly would prefer to play in the EPL, but has yet to receive a suitable offer. Now that their window is nearly closed, he is again linked with Celtic.


    It is hardly Celtics fault if these players wait til after the EPL window closes before they enter into talks with a side from Scotland.


    After 5pm Thursday, we are more likely to find the quality of player we want (at a price we can afford).


    That is the reality of it, imo.

  24. The Battered Bunnet on

    Celtic have rejected a bid from Fulham for defender Dedryck Boyata, manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed.



    The Belgium international, 27, will not feature in Wednesday’s Champions League third qualifying round first leg against AEK Athens.



    Boyata, who is in the final year of his contract, has not played for Celtic since returning from the World Cup and is not ready for a first-team return.



    “He is a player that we don’t want to lose,” said Rodgers.



    “Yes, we have had a few enquiries and there was a confirmed bid by Fulham for him. We know he is in the last year of his deal.



    “He has been a fantastic player for me in my time here, he had an excellent World Cup when he played.



    “He is clearly a player of value and, at this point in time for us, he is very important and the club rejected that.”



    Former Manchester City, Bolton and Twente player Boyata was signed by Rodgers’ predecessor Ronny Deila in 2015 and the Belgian has made more than a century of appearances for the Scottish side and won 10 senior international caps.



    He could be back in Rodgers’ team after the weekend Premiership trip to face Hearts, by which time promoted Fulham will have started their Premier League campaign at home to Crystal Palace.



    Meanwhile, Rodgers says his interest in Hibernian midfielder John McGinn is not over but admits things could be taken out of Celtic’s hands, with Aston Villa keen to sign the Scotland international.



    “Likesay, if we lose him, that’s it for me. I’ve had enough of this biscuit tin mentality and I’m offski. I’ve told Peter, sign the boy, but Peter won’t go over his valuation, won’t dip into the tokens for the driveway heater. It’s AEK tomorrow for me, then GTF on Thursday”.

  25. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    If Mc.Ginn wants to come to Celtic and we want him, then where is the problem?



    It used to be that a transfer fee was based on a multiple of the salary his club was paying him.


    That meant it reflected how valuable he was to the selling club and was also the reason why fees for Scottish based players were lower than from players based in England.


    Probably changed now.


    However, the decision lies exclusively with Mc.Ginn. Not Hibs, Not Celtic.



    How much of a Celtic man from a Celtic family will soon become apparent.

  26. SAN LUIS on 7TH AUGUST 2018 2:32 PM


    I’ll be honest here, if McGinn doesn’t sign for Celtic then it’s just another nail in the coffin of a family who say one thing, but do another with regards to Celtic. They have and remain, only in it for the money.



    I’ve a long memory and Jack McGinn has a lot to be shameful about




    My grandfather was a drunk wee snidey gobshite who put down me and my ‘not highland enough’ side of the family at every opportunity.



    I don’t think any young man should be held responsible for the sins of the (grand)father.



    HH jg

  27. WeeBGFC



    Chuffed for you. Relieved got your parents (when you have kids you’ll understand!!!!)




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