AIK, Malmo, Elfsborg, Dunfermline Backlash


AIK came through a tense final few moments in a 1-1 draw with Moldovans Sheriff in Stockholm last night to face Celtic in the Europa League playoff round, the first leg is in Glasgow on Thursday.

AIK were bottom seed in the Champions League first qualifying round, where they overcame Ararat-Armenia 4-3 on aggregate, but were bottom of the unseeded pack for the second round, which they lost 4-3 to Maribor.  Maribor were beaten home and away by Rosenborg in the last round.

Last season AIK eliminated Shamrock Rovers from the Europa League qualifiers before losing home and away to Danes, Nordsjaelland.

Neil Lennon twice faced Swedish opposition in Champions League qualifiers in his first term at Celtic.  Two comfortable 2-0 wins over Helsingborg in 2012 were followed by a more testing examination by Mo Bangura-inspired Elfsborg a year later, which resulted in a 1-0 aggregate win for Celtic.

Ronny Deila needed to overcome Malmo to reach the Champions League group stage in 2015 but despite racing into an early 2-0 lead, the first leg at Celtic Park was turned on its head when Malmo scored an added-time goal to make it 3-2. Jo Inge Berget, who Ronny had on loan months earlier, scored both Malmo goals. The Swedes won 2-0 a week later to knock Celtic out.

Although AIK are 19 games into their domestic league campaign, there should be a negligible gap in fitness by the time we face them on Thursday.  There can be no excuses.

You and I were there in the dark summer of 2010, when Utrecht and Braga were the last teams to deny Celtic group stage football, and a year later, when Sion came within a CAS ruling of doing the same.  It took Neil time to get it right, but a year later he earned 10 points in a tough Champions League group.

Before AIK, we have the small matter of a League Cup to defend against Dunfermline at Celtic Park tomorrow.  Celtic have won a record 27 consecutive domestic cup games.  Avoid defeat tomorrow and we set an unbeaten record.  Let’s hope Dunfermline feel a backlash.

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    Who would you rather have in your midfield at Ibrox,Calmac,Christie,Ntcham,Broony,or,




    Calmac worth more than their 4 together.

  2. I feel Neil Lennon has the right players to get a result at Ibrox. I just worry how NL will approach it.

  3. Ruggyman,



    Fair points, well made. I’ve just seen so many posts saying he is done, which I think we both agree he isn’t.



    I think we perform at a greater tempo and with more effect with CalMac, Christie etc in the middle as evidenced when he was out of the team. It’s why I’m suggesting we need to source/agree who will pick up his mantle and start to work on that now so we don’t continue to leave ourselves exposed. McGinn would have been ideal but that ship has sailed. Finding someone to fit that mould and provide a platform on which CalMac, Christie etc. can perform is key for me. Ntcham will be for the off I think come January and Rogic’s fitness continues to raise concerns. Still a lot of work needed in midfield in addition to those other positions called out in other posts.



    All of these points have been known for some time.



    Hail Hail

  4. For me this is simple, with the finances available there is no excuse for us not to be improving season on season, even if we lose a top player like Kieran, it is still a team game and we should be improving the team.



    We have not for 2 seasons in a row, the reason, complacency fueled by ego’s and personal objectives.

  5. Roll up, Roll up and purchase your seat for the Europa League. We won’t spend a penny and we won’t tackle resolution 12. We sit and roast the huns for being gullible ba**ards but my oh my we’re just as bad.#embarassing

  6. i'vehadtochangemymind on

    Oh boy, what was it about this one which won’t go away – normally by now, I’d be raring to go for tomorrow! Is it 9iar anxiety, the inching forward of newco from a shocking standard to 2nd in spfl, was it simple timing : early in the year and the stuffing’s knocked out of us; a weird boomerang whiplash from BR pi**ing off? Can’t put my finger on it ! Wish it was tomorrow.

  7. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see.



    Sensible points, well made. Reasonable questions being asked by you and many of us. It seems we are not allowed to question anything at all according to some others.



    Madness. As you point out some would accept us selling Mcgregor, Forrest and Edouard and look at the net profit as we sign (or probably not) ingerior replacements.



    The club doesnt plan well enough. Not even close.

  8. Go tell the Spartim on

    David 17



    Why should anyone stump up more cash to increase revenues when you have a shit load of money doing sfa in a bank account. One off goodwill gesture could have been a start and could’ve encouraged more to come along.



    Raising money to not spend it is absolutely ridiculous (obv that’s not aimed at you).



    We’ve been told that we hoard the money for a rainy day well it’s feckin pouring

  9. Big Swee



    Absolutely… Agree 100%



    Who succeeds him, and when he is succeeded should of been planned / worked out by now. In my opinion.



    The concern is, Neil Lennon still see’s Brown as paramount / 1st pick.


    And when results such as Cluj go against us, the scrutiny on Brown’s contribution, and continual inclusion will intensify.

  10. Open Mic session for loatsa strangers…………………….



    Next up we have…………..

  11. TURKEYBHOY on 16TH AUGUST 2019 1:51 PM


    Re ‘who would you rather have in your midfield…’


    I’d want the four guys with the attitude, the fight, determination and guile to make sure they leave with a win.


    That was, after all, pretty much what separated us out last year; names on a sheet mean little. Lack of it cost us on Tuesday past.


    No mistake, they’re not Barca – but they believe they have their shit together more than our club does.


    Judging from the catcalling, carping and criticism on this microsite, they may have and that needs to change.



  12. Keeper





    Elhamed/Ralston Biton/Julien/Jozo Ajer/Jozo Boli/Hayes




    Forrest Rogic/Brown McGregor Ntcham Christie



    Edouard / Griffiths



    Who is your team for the weekend?



    For me I’d go with




    Elhamed, Julien, Ajer Boli


    Forrest, McGregor, Christie, Ntcham


    Edouard, Griffiths



    Tae feck with Dunfermline…..a relatively meaningless game . I would much rather lose to Dunfermline and beat Cluj.




    Which side you’d rather lose to is not the point. Nor should it be. The point is, in fact, that defeat to either should not have entered and should not enter the equation.

  14. 67 European Cup Winners on

    Paul67 you have my respect for your dedication on CQN



    But there is an elephant in the room (PL)



    For God’s sake acknowledge it



    You have moved on today as if Tuesday never happened







  15. I love Lenny but Tuesday shocked me to the core. His team selection, his substitutions, his after match comments, at this moment I feel angry with him, I don’t like feeling like this but I can’t help it.


    The Board could & should have done more but they have spent circa 11 million. We have Boli, Julien, Connell, Shved and Elhamed in from last year but only one got any game time.


    If none of the above apart from Elhamed could even be a utilised substitute , we have to ask why.


    Have we bought a load of rubbish?, was Lenny sending a message to Pedro? Is there already problems between Lenny & the new arrivals.


    Reading between the lines, Lenny seemed to be saying he had a go at the players at half time and it razzed them up. OK up to a point but I think the days of Managers giving the hair dryer treatment is gone. As I think someone said earlier modern players need coaching more than managing.


    I still believe we have the best squad in the League but we have started to leak goals, in our first 5 Competitive games we conceded 2 goals, in our last 3 games we have conceded 7.


    The key problem is defense, Bain needs benching, Julien & Boli need to either deliver or be consigned to the Compper suite & replaced by ghuys we can rely on.


    Yep I would love another striker & a defensive midfielder but our priority must be getting our defense right.


    I think Lenny did untold damage in playing CalMac as left back but we have to move on from that now.


    3 or 4 good results will restore the feel good factor but by the same token another early disaster could scupper us completely.


    A huge week awaits, COYBIG

  16. Brown, Shved, Sinclair, Morgan, Hayes. Johnson and Jozo on the bench



    Rattle them hard from the off and then maybe give Shved and Johnson a run at them as legs tire.



    Not sure what situation is re. injuries at present but this would be decent IMHO

  17. ——————-Gordon—————————



    ——– Ajer Jullien Jozo——————-


    Elhamed Boli



    —— Christie Bitton Ntcham ——–



    ———-Edouard Griffiths————–




    Rest McGregor and Forrest


    Drop Brown

  18. Melbourne Mick on

    Hello again all you young rebels.



    The black cloud hanging over my head has dispersed now, the unbelievable


    naivety of our defending and lets be honest, i’ve seen more tactical nous


    at the Glesga Green is almost forgotten, so what is the way forward? have


    we any plan? do we play the same team for the next few games and let them


    gel? will anybody tell us mushrooms whats going on ?


    H.H Mick

  19. I think most are missing the point in regards to going to Ibrox. Most think we have better players but crucially we do not have a physical presence and only Brown for leadership, these are the requirements to get a result at Ibrox and we are sadly lacking. Players like Forrest, Johnson, Morgan, Ntcham, McGregor and Sinclair will be physically intimidated and not kick a ball there, we will lose because we have not addressed these obvious shortcomings. Rangers have improved and Gerrard has them motivated and organised, wish our fans would wake up to the reality. Shocking negligence on behalf of the board and Lennon not to address these blatant weaknesses.

  20. onenightinlisbon on

    Think we forget when we stopped oldco getting ten, they had the “better” players but we had the will and determination to achieve. Hope it doesn’t pan out the same way in reverse this year.

  21. Why is Neil Lennon in any doubt that we deserved to lose the game on Tuesday night? This is worrying for me.

  22. AuroraBorealis79 on

    Burnley78 is clearly so out of touch with reality that he actually thought that post needed reposting.



    Again, I will ask that the moderators do the right thing & remove that pish-stained piece from the blog. What bloody ignorant buffoonary

  23. Mike in Toronto on




    agree on getting the defence right … but think if we sort the middle of the park out, the defence will follow



    we have no defensive midfielder to provide effective cover defence…right now, Scott Brown is the closest we have to that … but his strength is harrassing players, but, his positioning is woeful .. when we have the ball, he sits too deep, and when we lose the ball, he is all over the pitch … which leaves a big hole in the middle, and other teams have so much space to attack/make late runs through the middle … our CB’s dont get a lot of support …



    and I know it is not a popular view on here, but he gets blown by so many times now (bad positioning or legs going?) … to be fair to the guy, he often covers back, and makes the tackles… but, against better teams, will be punished with greater frequency as time goes on …we saw that on Tuesday …



    if we get a proper holding midfielder (whiich may not be necessary for all SPL games, i get that… but someone like Wanayama can only improve the team), the team will have more balance … and will look better defending, and going forward ….

  24. Gordon



    Ajer – Jozo – Jullien



    Elhamed – Bolingoli



    Ntcham – McGregor – Shved



    Griff – Eddy



    5-0, Griff hat trick.



    Hail Hail

  25. TIMBHOY2 on 16TH AUGUST 2019 1:46 PM


    Originalsadiesbhoy,So according to you we don’t have any say on how Lennon and his coaches manage the players,Well you must be happy how he sets up the team,I don’t,he shouldn’t have been made the first team coach again,remember he walked out on us ,went to Bolton ,were he was a disaster,then he ends up at Hibs,but that’s another story,in my opinion I didn’t want him back at Celtic,and mark my words ,he threw a few players under the bus,which some of them will down tools,and personnelly I can’t blame them,so the sooner he and the rest of his coaches are sacked ,the better it will be for THE CLUB and THE FANS





    Eh??? Shurely shome mistake??? Mistaken identity perhaps?



    I didn’t want Lenny appointed. Read my reply to MacJay. I want a new manager appointed ASAP. My posts since Tuesday have been anything but complimentary towards the manager.

  26. James Forrest


    Spot on about the board.


    I see a few sevconian lurkers pretending to be tims on here who back Lawwell.


    Of course they will back him to the hilt as they know he is their best chance of sevco winning the




    Paul 67


    When you criticised the board on Wednesday my jaw nearly hit the floor.


    Then you reverted to type the next day.


    Circling the wagons is digging your head in the sand.

  27. Good post James Forrest



    It’s interesting that all bar one blog leader is against PL now ( cqn). Also interesting that about 80% of posts are anti Lawwell



    Only a matter of time



    Him of the heated driveway should be looking for a way out

  28. LAMBERT14 Paul67 criticises Lawwell back in 2014 after the Maribor shambles



    The wagons were circled and the “ in Ronny we trust” came out



    He is flogging a dead horse




  29. Mike in Toronto on




    I thought that it was established on CQN that you could spot the huns, because they were the ones criticizing the Board ….



    now, you say that it is the ones who are backing PL who are actually huns, but in disguise …..



    This is getting confusing ….



    some cars have breathalizyer things, and you have to blow in and be sober, or the engine wont start …



    and most computers now have some security system… finger print scan, etc….



    why doesn’t CQN have something like that so we can weed out the huns?






    ( I must say, the idea of some of the older/less technologically sophisticated posters blowing into their keyboard to try to log on does amuse me)



    Its when we go into games against a strong opponent with only 3 midfielders that we can come unstuck. When we go with 3 or sometimes 4 out and out offensive players …………it’s a bit of a gamble.

  31. DESSYBHOY on 16TH AUGUST 2019 2:39 PM


    Why is Neil Lennon in any doubt that we deserved to lose the game on Tuesday night? This is worrying for me.



    If that’s as close to an apology for his decisions on Tuesday, he’s totally deluded. There’s been something not right about him since he returned, no passion, fumbling about in the dugout, where’s the thunder?

  32. Melbourne Mick on




    Maybe as we are in the same age group 70’s ? we’ve seen the good ,bad, ugly


    maybe three times over, but that winnable game the other night has pushed


    us over the edge, and all self inflicted, and why ? why ? why? our best middy


    playing at full back? was Neil sending a message?


    So many question marks, am i getting paranoid?


    H.H Mick



    Too many on here taking their eye off the ball. The discontent about Tuesday night has less to do with the CL than the possibility of feckin-up 9IAR. We currently do not have a left back and are lightweight in midfield. Anybody currently watching sevco can see they have improved and have a beefed up midfield that I’m afraid will overrun ours at Ayebrokes. If anybody thinks that the huns won’t push us all the way then you haven’t been paying attention.



    NL does not do himself any favours by trying to pass the buck for Tuesday’s failings onto his players. He lost the dressing room at Easter Road because of this and by publicly slagging off Florian Kamberi, who I personally think is an @rse, but you keep these things in-house.



    There is a saying “piss poor preparation will result in piss poor performance.” So far our preparation has been sub-optimal, as usual, so no surprise at crashing out of the CL.



    Interesting to see one or two standing up for their close pal Peter Lawwell but I suppose when you are trying to sell gin you don’t rock the boat.



    Anyhoos we have a game to win on Saturday and as I will be in Glasgow on Thursday night, en route to Cologne for KölnCelt’s 50th, I’ll probably ignore my better judgement and buy a ticket for the EL qualifier.








    Absolutely agree. I’ve been banging on all week that the transfer window is still open and we need a couple of hard as nails players in to compete with their beefed up midfield at Ibrox.

  34. Rock Tree Bhoy on

    JAMES FORREST on 16TH AUGUST 2019 12:33 PM



    Well, that was worth waiting for wasn’t it



    Paul67 has “moved on.” He’s circling the wagons anyway.



    Genuine question James – Does Paul67 visit your blog page and ridicule your articles?

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