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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  1. Mike in Toronto on




    I realize that, after Tuesday, we are all emotional, and we have all said things that we probably wish we hadn’t said …some of the things I have read have been pretty low …



    but, when you attack our billings?! …. Is there no level to which you wont stoop?



    we are no longer friends.




  2. The Battered Bunnet on




    Mikey J is unlikely to play tomorrow – fatigue apparently.



    You might need to give Fairhillbhoy a call…

  3. inquitouiv



    Shareholders of the World Unite


    You have nothing to lose but your debentures/dentures*



    *delete as appropriate

  4. Mike in Toronto on

    Philbhoy … not the old one about bills and bums…



    Hath not a lawyer eyes? Hath not a lawyer hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a non-lawyer is? If you prick a lawyer, do we not bleed?



    It is usuallly at this point, just as I say ‘do we not bleed?”… that some cheeky bugger shouts out ‘I dont know, better stab him again, to be sure’.

  5. Mike in Toronto on




    That is the Celtic way …. say nothing about any problems…. and hope that if you ignore it long enough, eventually people will just move on.



    worked for them with respect to the 5WA, LNS, cheating, racist abuse of the fans …

  6. Mike in Toronto on

    Marspapa….see, that is why you are my favourite poster. (but dont tell the others).

  7. PhilBhoy





    Lenny talked about our marvellous second half. Brilliant attacking play. No reference to defence. Some of Cluj’s goals were weird. Even with Callum at left back he thought with N’tcham, Christie, Jamesie in midfield we still had enough creativity. (I wonder if Juve ever played Pirlo at left back or Barca, Iniesta). He twice said he doesn’t pay much attention to statistics but went on to say how we had over 20 attempts on goal. He didn’t address the question of our defence nor his lack of game management.



    Astonishing really.




    7 qualities that make a good lawyer….your post to me suggests you’re lacking in the



    “Judgement” quality :)))))



    6 out of 7 aint bad ….hope the wee fellas ( seamus) behaving himself.

  9. Greenwells Glory on

    Hi GHuys, Salve salve;-


    Just seen Lenny’s presser, not good he has just proved beyond doubt that he is not competent to do the job. A big well done to Peter the bonus eater.


    Ps I do hope our absentee landlord decides to off load his shares.



    ignotum per ignotius



  10. MIT



    I don’t think the fans are going to move on from this one. I think we should all adopt the approach next season that if Peter Lawell doesn’t take the CL qualifiers as seriously as we do, then we don’t attend any of them. We just merely wait until we drop into the Europa League and buy our tickets then. That might send a message that he’ll understand.

  11. i'vehadtochangemymind on

    Watching Lennie’s presseroony – he doesn’t understand the recent trends , does he ? Understandable, he hasn’t been here. I think his mind is in ”when he was last here”.

  12. Re.. Lennys presser.



    Their goals were freaky !! eh.



    Not only did he get it wrong playing Calmac where he did , but he could’ve told him to get tight on the winger.



    there was at least 20 yards space at times , once the winger had the ball under control we were in trouble .



    Also he never addressed the situation when we went 3-2 up with about 10-15 to play , a winger should have went off for an extra in midfield or put julien on, jozo to left back and calmac back into midfield to to control the game…anyhoo , he and the team need to show what they’re worth…they know what they get from our support .



    catchyeez later…..

  13. I hope Lennon watches that press conference again.



    I doubt he’ll squirm as much as I did watching it.




  14. Seemingly Johnny Hayes left at half time on Tuesday night, why has he been ditched?


    He was superb in the 2nd leg out in Valencia last season.


    Why are our leaders so feckin stupid.


    Why wasn’t our team as assertive, aggressive and on the front foot as Liverpool were in their 2nd leg against Barcelona last season?



  15. glendalystonsils on

    Dear oh dear . Lenny cannot have any idea of how the fans are feeling right now , otherwise he would not inflame an already dreadful situation by his presser remarks.


    By deflecting all responsibility , he is in effect saying that he would repeat the same mistakes in the qualifiers next season as he doesn’t consider them mistakes !



    That cannot be allowed to happen.

  16. Just watched Lenny’s presser. Don’t really see what the issue is, I thought he spoke reasonably well. I don’t necessarily agree or disagree with everything he said but i certainly wouldn’t take his words literally, Managers stand to generalise at these pressers anyway. He is not going to throw himself under the bus at a presser, that is just not going to happen.



    It seems now we are hanging on his every word, this is a different level of scrutiny and panty wetting from what I’ve seen in the past. Time for everyone to calm down. One thing Lenny was 100% correct with was when he said we have the makings of a very good team.

  17. onenightinlisbon on

    Lennon has show a complete lack of awareness, both on Tuesday evening with his team and poor tactics/substitutions but also today in his press conference. Shows where we are heading with this attitude.

  18. ” We are working very hard in the background to bring players in ”



    Neil Lennon



    Brendan Rodgers



    Ronny Deila



    Tony Mowbray



    Gordon Strachan



    Martin O’Neil



    yada yada yada CSC

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

    That background must be a busy place.



    We do seem to make an inordinate meal of player recruitment – have done for years. Hasn’t always worked – in fact, often hasn’t worked. New approach needed.

  20. Mike in Toronto on

    I tend to agree with D17*. Not thrilled about NFL’s presser, but, it is sort of what I expected.



    He knew what he was getting into when he took the job the first time. And if he didn’t then, he certainly knew the game when he took it this year. He knows it is a game, and he is just playing along because he gets paid to, and, realistically, no one else is going to pay him like that. so, like our Board, he will ride this train as long as he can.



    *except CINO’s… not bedwetters, please. Bedwetters is for the CQN Trump brigade, and you are certainly better than that.

  21. i'vehadtochangemymind on

    David 17



    He analyses it as a solely performance issue. We , the viewer, know there were other factors which contibuted to the outcome. Lenny, knows there were other factors which contributed to the outcome. he questionners know there were other issues which contributed to the outcome.

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