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. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    A few thoughts on transfer stuff:



    – it can’t become divisive. Our strength is our unity, particularly between Pedro & Brendan.


    – the club has a proven track record in its transfer strategy & should get the benefit of the doubt until the window closes.


    – that said, if Brendan’s not happy, I’m worried. Also, if we get to the end of the window weaker than we started he won’t be the only one. That division risk again.


    – got to disagree with Brendan on Dedryck. I would take the money for him and replace with a Denayer on loan or similar. Can’t see Pedro being willing to suck up a £9M plus loss for one season of DB.


    – I think Pedro will be vindicated on McGinn. I think he’ll end up at Parkhead and we’ll have the added pleasure of sticking it to the odious Petrie. If not, good luck to the bhoy at Villa.

  2. BSR @ 6.05



    I have issues with our corporate governance and our business strategy because those at the top are not very good.



    PL has a record of failure and penny pinching as long as your arm.


    He has been involved in the hiring of three cheap managers showing a significant lack of ambition that has both lost us a lot of money and kept the Original TFOD afloat for three more years than would have been the case if we had bought SF in 2008.5.



    Then there are the CL qualification she that we missed out on.


    Plus the money wasted on a number of agent friendly duffers who were so bad we had to pay them off.



    Recent progress has been down to BR.


    PL has been a not so innocent bystander.

  3. Nye Bevans' rebel soldier on

    I like McGinn,and will feel let down if we don’t land him.




  4. Strong words from Brendan and finally a manager who wants to build from a position of strength. In the 40 years I supported Celtic we have always been the nearly team (my aspirations are on the European stage). 2-3 decent signings from being a special team.



    Here we are again, with a brilliant manager and a level of professionalism NEVER seen at the club. Once again all we read about is 18, 19 , 20 yr old potentials. We need to sign stronger and experienced players – a right back and a center back. If we can spend $8m on a forward we need to do the same for a center back – the position is just as crucial.



    McGinn for me is a replacement for Armstrong, however in my opinion is a far far better ball player – Armstrong gave the ball away too cheaply and too often. Mcginn can match his drive and scoring ability and would be a better fit in the football culture at Celtic. Also provides much needed cover for brown and ntcham.



    Make it happen PL – this window is getting very frustrating.

  5. the glorious balance sheet on

    The January transfer window was the witching hour in which to cover the shortfalls that we then knew would befall our squad during this qualifying campaign.



    Armstrong – a telegraphed offski with the 12 month contract extension.



    Roberts – loan run down.



    Rogic, Lustig, gamboa and boyata at World Cup.



    That’s 6 we knew would definitely not feature throughout the entire European qualifying campaign.



    5 full internationalists and an England u21 international who between them probably have not far off 100 European appearances for Celtic.



    Which makes the January signings – comperr and 2 young players (hendry, Morgan) – with no European experience all the more strange.


    Frustration is the overriding feeling to the lack of ambition being shown.



    Similar to other transfer windows aplenty.



    Looks like Brendan is too.

  7. Glorious Balance Sheet



    I assumed Musounda was brought in with planning for post-Paddy in mind. He turned into a bit of a billy big ballix.



    Compper – we’ve just come to the point of self-flagellation on this. Looked right but is a complete mystery I hope we draw a line under.



    Rogic, Gamboa, Lustig and Boyata are all back at the business end of qualifying.



    Its all getting a bit hysterical now…

  8. STARRY PLOUGH on 7TH AUGUST 2018 5:44 PM


    I haven’t heard of the scouting of a German based player that opted to go to another Club.


    Keep the Faith!


    Hail Hail!

  9. So to-morrow night we have another episode in this long drawn out farce of champions league qualifiers where many of the teams who go straight into group stage are not even champions of their own country. I reckon many of these third and fourth placed teams in the big leagues would probably come a cropper if they had to negotiate this qualification marathon.



    I don’t know a lot about Greek football but I do know the economy in that country is in tatters and does that reflect on the standard of football in there?. Do clubs like AEK have the finances to spend big on players?


    I’m sure the Greeks know a lot about Celtic as the team is regularly on Sky sports etc. Who exactly are the stars on this AEK outfit? All will be revealed to-morrow in this never-ending qualifier saga.

  10. MULLET AND CO 2 on 7TH AUGUST 2018 5:57 PM


    Personally, the absence of Roberts and Armstrong has not made us weaker. Both had lengthy spells out injured and then struggled to start when they returned. My take on this is that BR saw those in possession as doing okay.


    Keep the Faith!


    Hail Hail!

  11. A team that is difficult to beat always has a strong spine. In Gordon Ajer and Edouard/Dembele we are almost there. Add Boyata or even Suminovic and we are.



    Sure you could get £9m for Boyata but at what cost? Weaken your spine and you weaken the team. How much wòuld we lose as a result? So it’s not £9m. It’s £9m less the prize money a strong spine brings in. Is that programmed into Football Manager?



    On McGinn it reminds me of 2009 when Hibs were holding out for a higher fee for Stephen Fletcher. I remember PL saying the words “Steven Fletcher” would be on his gravestone.



    As I recall Gordon Strachan thought we would win the league without Fletcher so he and PL were ok with not signing him.



    This time it’s different BR wants McGinn and I can see why. If the price is £2m above what PL values McGinn, as in the £4m range which is affordable, then BR’s judgement of the players footballing value should hold sway.

  12. the glorious balance sheet on




    Fair point on musonda, I had forgotten all about him. Think that signing highlights the lottery that signing other people’s’ “maybe tomorrow’s” on loan can be.



    Did an assist v zenit justify his wages over the period? In signing him on loan for 18 months we kicked the can down the road a wee bit. But not that far and the wind blew the can back in our faces.

  13. Lennybhoy



    Glad you posted that. Neither Roberts or Armstrong reached the levels of the invincible season.


    Injuries played their part but don’t let reality get in the way of perceptions or agendas.

  14. Armstrong was a soft egg with good hair who couldn’t get back in the team after injury, people were babbling on here about him being a future Celtic captain, never in a million years, never had the heart to be a Celtic player let alone out captain..


    As others have commented, we have all seen this movie before.



    Adds to the pressure against AEK and hopefully the next round too.

  16. Celtic have made it official that they want John McGinn



    Apparently he wants to play for Celtic



    When the English deadline closes we are the only game in town for Hibs



    Why wouldn’t he wait a few days – the ball is in his court, not Hibs, not AV



    If his agent is any way competent he explains to Hibs that his client goes to Celtic now for £2m or 12 months from now for nothing.



    Hibs are also losing out on Scott Allan or Mikey Johnston or Ryan Christie, all 3 who will go on loan somewhere but not Hibs

  17. What is the Stars on

    Starry Plough


    Phil Mac is a fantasist of the highest order. His site is fun to read but not to be taken seriously.



    Bit like CQN I suppose ??

  18. BGFC – Great news about WGFC – well done to that young man – well done to the proud parents!!




  19. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Charliemac- i think Championship clubs deadline may be different from EPL? Has been in recent years..

  20. Watched Brendan’s interview on STV. Came across as not to happy about the lack of signings, the replacements for Stuart Armstrong and Paddy Roberts in particular. He did say they were working on it but did not come across as to hopeful. Also we have knocked back Fulham’s bid for Boyata, so he is staying meantime. It has left me a bit deflated and worried that he is not in a happy place at the moment. Hope it get sorted soon.

  21. For those venting about not signing McGinn…….yet



    Would you pay him a higher wage than our existing Midfielders



    If yes ……pass along , because my view is you are crazy



    If No , then what if Villa are offering him that and he won’t take less.



    We’ve done deals for great players, and renewed contracts for great players. We didn’t get to this position of stability and dominance by paying way over the top wages



    If McGinn will take less than Calum or Rogic or Ntcham , then i’m sure the fee will get resolved . However if he’s digging in for crazy money , and whilst I suspect that’s the case i’m not 100% sure, then we should walk away



    He’s just not worth more than our top 4 existing midfileders. Or even as much as any of them



    This is in McGinn’s hands. If he takes less than better players already at Celtic then a deal will get done. If he demands to get paid more than better players , then we’d be crazy to sign him

  22. !!Bada Bing!! on

    If McGinn is onside with the Celtic bid, he might come up the road still a Hibs player, where does that leave Petrie? Some tactical games going on possibly…

  23. TIMALOY29 on 7TH AUGUST 2018 6:09 PM



    Also, i disagree that its a gamble not doing your transfer business before the window shuts. You get to the CL on the back of your regulars. It’s a big risk throwing somebody in the deep end see: Van Dijk in Khazakhstan



    *Is that the same WVD that we held ontae for the Malmo game when our other 12m centre half scored an og.




    What if the manager deems he is worth what he is asking for. Does Dermot Desmond agree with BR or PL only time will tell, por cierto

  25. What is the Stars on

    We are doomed I tells ye doomed


    Rodgers and Lawwell have arm wrestled over the £49 bigot buck and Lawwell has won. The money will be spent on heated driveways and not centre halves.


    Anyway Rodgers is running scared of the Stevie Gee express train and is looking for any excuse to take the West Brom job or wherever


    I think I will start supporting Halifax Town




    The three managers I recall were


    1.Tony Mowbray.



    How many predicted how bad that would turn out and don’t forget he arrived in the season of honest mistakes where all that mattered was Rangers qualified for the CL.



    2. Neil Lennon was the right man at the right time. A fighter when we needed fight so how was that a failing?



    3. Ronnie Daila (sp) was an opportunity to try a different approach with little risk of not winning titles. We won the titles but the experiment didnt work because quality of football was poor.



    In trophy terms only TM was a failure and we had no idea we were in a rigged competition.



    The decisions take reflected the circumstances at the time as did appointment of BR.



    Hindsight is a great baseball bat.




    The Fantasy and The Hysteria is what the ole Transfer Windae should be called:))



    I never get to excited or upset until I see Lennybhoy or Catman popping up on here..



    The only two proven winners in my opinion when it comes to transfer news.



    If people want to annually rehash their resentments against PL and the Board and everything Celtic do that’s fine too.



    I refer to wait till the results are before celebrating or complaining , I was never much of a gambling man:))



    Bring on the Greeks!

  28. Surely the quotes attributed to BR above are not really up for debate? He clearly states he has been interested in McGinn for months so whether we think JM is good enough or not doesn’t really matter does it? The manager wants him, no ifs or buts, he wants him. To get him we have to pay a bit more than the Board wants to. I am guessing BR thinks that the shortfall would have been worth paying to get his number one choice of a new player in the door. I say number one choice because as far as I can read, we have no definite bids in for any other players.


    His disappointment comes across clearly when he states we have not done the bare minimum in replacing the players we have lost.


    His words, not mine.


    Now the speculation part. He is pissed off that having told the board who he wants in, he now has to watch a game of poker between PL and RP over loose change.

  29. Por Cierto



    Then you have to give whopping pay rises to Brown, Ntcham, Calum and also to Rogic.



    Do you honestly think they or their agents would sit quietly by and watch McGinn get paid more than them.



    This is McGinn, a guy who’s played 19 minutes of competitive International football . We’re not signing the next Wanyama here , we know what he offers




    “I have issues with your corporate governance and record of penny pinching “






    “ He has been involved in the hiring of three cheap managers showing a significant lack of ambition that has both lost us a lot of money and kept the Original TFOD afloat for three more years than would have been the case if we had bought SF in 2008.5. “



    What CEO hasn’t employed the ‘the wrong’ manager?



    What CEO hasn’t made more money for their club than the fans (on the Internet ) would have liked?



    Not only that its Peter Lawwell’s fault that Rangers didn’t die





    ( read the last one back to yourself )



    It’s Peter Lawwell’s fault we haven’t qualified for the CL seven years out of seven, even when the general concencus is that we are at best a Europa cup club ( like mibbee Ajax? )



    Recent progress has been down to BR



    Who was appointed by?



    Don’t answer that question because you know, you’ll say Dermot Desmond?



    I think you don’t like Peter Lawwell but you should go and enjoy the CL while you still can, before he gets us all knocked out.




  31. !!Bada Bing!! on

    POR CIERTO on 7TH AUGUST 2018 7:18 PM









    What if the manager deems he is worth what he is asking for. Does Dermot Desmond agree with BR or PL only time will tell, por cierto



    Do you think Dermot knows when we are playing next, and who we are playing ? HH

  32. AH @ 7.05



    What to do about the uncertainty surrounding DB?


    This is when the grown ups start to earn their money.



    Good WC vs 12 months left on his contract vs EPL wages — discuss?



    Peak BR1.5 — BD and JS in the zone / KM in the air.


    That set up looked like the CB standard we would be happy with for the next 3 years.



    Unfortunately BR2.0 didn’t not run smoothly but BR2.5 moved onto either a back 3 or a partnership of DB and KA developing for the future.



    BR3.0 and he is not in the picture for tomorrow night.


    Consequently this season is a strong well as finished for him and his ability to get us into the CL.


    The situation should not be a surprise as even before the WC there was talk of him leaving and specifically him leaving to the EPL.



    How messy could this become?


    If any EPL team goes to £15mill could we say no?


    Could we turn down an EPL offer and expect excellence from DB next Tuesday?



    My thoughts are that if the figure hits £15mill then we sell.


    His engagement and the associated risks for next Tuesday are enough to sell him as is.



    Poor show that we have gotten ourselves into this situation.

  33. weebobbycollins on

    Any sightings of JMcG at Villa Park 48 hours before EL game?


    Naw? Surprise, surprise!…I’m getting tired of it all…


    can’t wait for tomorrow night when I will storm the Gazebo and steal all your cqn badges…

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