Astana, Hedge Funds, Longmuir to Newco


After full time on Saturday Celtic fly east to play Shakhter Karagandy in Kazakhstan, which is five hours ahead of UK time, but fortunately kick off on Tuesday is 9pm local time, 4pm in the UK, so the team will not have to adjust body clocks.  Such a long flight immediately after a game is not without risk, though.

Muscles need to stretch and move freely after exertion.  Players will need an exercise routine for the plane to mitigate the risk of the kind of strain injuries we see so often.  Get a schedule for them to walk up and down the plane every hour.

I expect Celtic will have a scout at the Astana Arena for Friday’s game between Astana and Shakhter Karagandy but it might not be too revealing.  The Shakhter coach and first team squad didn’t even attend the game prior to their last Champions League qualifier against Albanians, Korce.  They were locked away in preparation as the second team were deployed for the league game.

It’s back to the Astana Arena, with its plastic pitch and closable roof, which is 135 miles from Karagandy, for the visit of Celtic, who will be hoping the pitch is a better standard than the one they played on in Sweden last week.  Neil Lennon could perhaps put a call into his former team-mate, Aiden McGeady, who played on the surface for Ireland 11 months ago (Ireland won the World Cup qualifier after being a goal down with a minute of normal time left).

Longmuir to Rangers International

It was a clear five months ago we ran the story, Longmuir and the Newco job, saying “Speculation that Mr Longmuir is taking care of current business until he is ready to move to Newco is becoming hard to ignore”.  Back then CQN suggested that if Longmuir “loses his ability to be a dealmaker” there might not be much he could offer such a high-flying football team.

If the SPFL are surprised, they shouldn’t be. Anything other information Mr Doncaster wants I’ll be happy to help.

The March article linked above also speculates that Newco could go into administration this season, lose players and suffer a points penalty, resulting in relegation. Don’t know how I missed the target so badly with that one……

Charlotte Fakes revelations from last night will have been news to no one here, but they will embarrass more than a few elsewhere.  What the Scottish football authorities must now consider are actions, and guidance and advice to Scottish Football League clubs during the last year.

“Have we actually offered him a job”?  There’s one chief exec who is delivering £500k of comedy value per annum. Here’s a phrase which might come in helpful soon, “It’s too late, we’ve no money, you can’t deliver what we wanted and you’re useless”.

Has anyone suggested that being owned by a Hedge Fund is like a new signing?  Positions are being adopted for the bun fight ahead.  It will not be pretty.

Have you signed up for the 1254125 Great Scottish Run yet?  For serious runners there is a 10k or Half Marathon to choose from, but there are shorter distances, from 1 mile, for the less-athletic and for kids.  With the soul of our game being chased by so many unappealing influences this is a great way to anchor Celtic back where the story started.

Get involved, guidance tips here.

Anyone else who presents a Daily Record transfer story to me as fact is getting a right dirty look.

Plug for a show at the Fringe about a Leeds-based part of the Irish diaspora.
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  1. STUART DUFF last night warned Celtic they can’t let Shakhter Karagandy turn their Champions League tie into a WAR.


    The ex-Dundee United and Aberdeen ace has been in Kazakhstan playing with Kairat Almaty for 18 months.



    And he has faced Kazakh champs Karagandy twice in the last two months.



    The 31-year-old believes Neil Lennon’s men will go through over the two legs, but has warned them Karagandy will try to drag them into a battle.



    With powerhouse striker Sergei Khizhnichenko up front, they launch throw-ins from 40 yards, and even push their massive central defenders into the box.



    Celtic travel to Central Asia for the first leg, and Duff insists getting them back to Parkhead with the tie still alive will see the Hoops through to the group stages.



    He said: “Karagandy are a real physical side, they are no-nonsense at the back.



    “What Celtic need to do is avoid getting into a battle.



    “In midfield they have boys who can spread the ball about, but their main attack is launching the ball into the box.



    “They have guys who can throw the ball 40 yards and they have a big striker Sergei Khizhnichenko who they try to hit all the time.



    “Once they get into Celtic’s half and win a throw they will send the central defenders up front, both of them are about 6ft 5ins and they try to land it on their heads.



    “That is all they really play for so if Celtic can get the ball down and pass it then they will be fine.



    “But if they let them get into a rhythm of throwing the ball into the box then it won’t be good for them.



    “When we play against Karagandy we try to play football. I’m not saying they are not a good side, but you can get at them.



    “We have lost two and drawn one against them in the league, then beat them in the cup, since I came here.



    “I think Celtic will have a huge advantage at home as Parkhead is such a big park and they will be able to pass the ball well.



    “They could destroy Karagandy if they do that.



    “Celtic should go through, but it will depend on how they do across here in the first leg.



    “If they can get a draw or a win here then it should not be a problem because they should be far too good for them at Parkhead.



    “But the main thing is not to get involved in a battle with them.



    “If Celtic cope with the threat in the air, and throwing the ball into the box, then they should be fine.



    “It’s a banana skin, definitely, but Celtic should have too much class for them.”



    He also warned the Hoops not to be fooled by Khizhnichenko’s looks. The 22-year-old man mountain looks too chubby to be a major danger, but he is capable of shocking the Celtic defence.



    Duff added: “Khizhnichenko looks a bit overweight but don’t be fooled by that, he is really good. He’s intelligent, holds the ball up well and scores goals, so they will have to be wary of him.



    “And the centre halves really are bruisers so Celtic will have to stand up to them.”



    With temperatures sitting in the mid-30s at the moment, Duff knows the conditions could pose a problem for Hoops stars.



    With Karagandy’s stadium unsuitable for European football, the game is likely to be switched to the capital Astana.



    The national stadium is a stunning arena.



    But if the game is played there it means Celts face yet another match on astroturf.



    Duff said: “It will be tricky across here because the temperature is 32 degrees here at the moment so it’s going to be hot.



    “And the pitch might be a problem because they can’t play at their own ground. They will probably play at Astana, which is a great stadium, but it’s an Astroturf pitch.



    “Celtic coming here will be massive because Kazakhstan have not had a team in the Champions League so it will be a huge event.



    “The fans here are brilliant, they are really colourful, have loads of banners and bang drums throughout the 90 minutes, and there will be a big crowd there.



    “The atmosphere won’t be too hostile but it will be very noisy and Karagandy will bring around 10,000 fans.”



    Celtic face a marathon eight-hour journey. There’s no doubt it’s going to be costly for fans.



    The image many people have of Kazakhstan comes from the Hollywood world of Borat.



    But Duff joked there are many worse towns back home in Scotland.



    He said: “People have this image of it being like that Borat film, but it’s nothing like that at all.



    “In fact, there are lots of Scottish cities which have more in common with Borat!



    “Where I stay is really nice. It’s very cosmopolitan, with loads of good restaurants and coffee shops.



    “Loads of big companies are based here — so it’s nothing like the image people may have in their heads.



    “The flight takes over six hours from Amsterdam alone so that won’t be nice, “That won’t be ideal for Celtic, but they are used to travelling to these games and I’m sure it will be fine.”

  2. Tom,



    In current economic situation I think we as a club are doing not so bad. the board made the gesture of discounting season books this year as they knew people were finding it more difficult to cough up the dosh for SB’s. Unfortunately a harsh reality however I think the support deserve to be complimented even though CP is not full to the rafters as it was under MON “glory days”.



    I am sure the Corporate revenue is down also. The only way I can see them getting bums on seats consistently as 45-50k is to strengthen….



    We have ran empty in the qualifiers and have managed to manoeuvre the first two qualifiers but this mob from Kazakhstan may prove a level too far…..



    All I want is for us to strengthen the departments we have weakened in i.e. Midfield, defence and up-front. I don’t want any marquee signings and I am happy to work with the same policy and would like to think as I mentioned something is happening, but as the season has started I really hoped our summer rebuilding would have been complete.



    If we do it I will be over the moon…



    Hail Hail



  3. Hannah: Lennon must feel like it’s one way traffic out of Lennoxtown


    By ROGER HANNAH Published: 3 hrs ago





    NEIL LENNON has watched them beat a path out of Celtic Park this summer.


    Victor Wanyama to Southampton, Gary Hooper to Norwich City, Kelvin Wilson back to Nottingham Forest.



    He’s now trying desperately to keep Fraser Forster’s 6ft7in frame out of the grip of cash-rich Benfica.



    At times, the Hoops boss must have felt like it was one-way traffic out of the Lennoxtown dressing room.



    Strangely, one player not linked with a multi-million pound exit from the SPL champs has been Scott Brown.



    The title-winning captain is still the most expensive Scot ever signed by Celts at £4.4million.



    Brown’s value can only have grown after a string of trophy wins and colossal displays in Europe.



    Yet interest in bid has been surprisingly sparse during his six seasons in Paradise.



    Until now perhaps.



    How many Premier League bosses would sit and take note after Brown’s power-packed performance at Wembley last night.



    He excelled in his personal duel with opposing captain Steven Gerrard.



    He revelled in midfield contests against Jack Wilshere and Tom Cleverley.



    He threw himself into challenges against 98-cap England legend Frank Lampard.



    Brown showed no respect for rank or reputation. He went toe to toe with England’s best.



    The Scotland skipper showed why Gordon Strachan forked out a record fee for him when he was Hoops boss.



    He once again proved Strach was right to toss him the armband as he tries to steer Scotland back onto the straight and narrow.



    Brown doesn’t have the touch of Premier League superstars such as Santi Cazorla or Eden Hazard.



    He lacks the mystique and glamour of Shinji Kagawa, Fernandinho or Paulinho.



    But there’s an honesty, an integrity and an iron will in the Celts ace that would be attractive to any manager.



    If Barry Bannan, Graham Dorrans and James McArthur can hold their heads up in the Premier League, it would hold no fears for Brown.



    Lennon, who enjoyed such fine times in England’s top flight with Leicester City, will recognise that his skipper could be targeted.



    After losing Wanyama, Hooper and Wilson, he doesn’t need to sell. He certainly doesn’t want to.



    Benfica have been told to keep their hands off keeper Forster.



    Any potential bidders would get a similar message if they enquired about Brown.



    But the skipper’s dynamic display against Gerrard and Co in the 3-2 friendly defeat at Wembley will have brought him to the attention of many.



    Brown spoke on the eve of the Auld Enemy clash of staring from the window of the family home in Fife at the statue of the legendary Scotland star Jim Baxter.



    Slim Jim tormented England with both goals in a 2-1 win at Wembley in 1963. Four years later, he inspired another triumph over the then world champions.



    Brown’s display last night was wholly different from Baxter’s greatest days.



    He wasn’t the juggler. He just went for the jugular.



    Like any good skipper, he led by example. He got into English faces and made Scottish hearts pump.



    And he’ll have caught a few eyes, too.

  4. HOOPS fan Dave McMillan has shown Celtic the way next week — by scoring to knock Shakhter Karagandy out of Europe.


    The Irish striker’s Europa League away goal two seasons ago proved vital as St Pat’s lost 2-1 in Kazakhstan but won the return 2-0.



    McMillan, 24, now with Sligo Rovers, says Celtic should have no fears about facing the Kazakhs — as long as they prepare for a long-ball onslaught and take their own food.



    He said: “I don’t expect a team of Celtic’s quality to have any real trouble.



    “They’re a big, strong side and they use long balls and dead-ball situations a lot, but as long as they counteract that Celtic should have far too much for them.



    “I’d be amazed if they knocked out a team of Celtic’s quality.



    “When we played them, Shakter in the previous round had beaten a Slovenian team and St Pat’s got in touch with them for some info.



    “We knew what to expect in terms of the journey and what they were like.



    “When we travelled we stopped in London and someone from the club was despatched into the Kazakh Embassy to get the visas and documents we needed.



    “It seemed to take a while and we began to wonder if there had been some problem and we wouldn’t be able to travel.



    “But it seemed to just be a case of bureaucratic wheels turning slowly.



    “We flew to Astana, the capital, but the game in Karagandy was four hours away on a bus.



    “We stayed in Astana and only travelled on the day of the game. We didn’t train on the pitch, which is a bit unusual in Europe.



    “The pitch was a bit ropey but the stadium itself was fine. It had a running track and there were about 12,000 there.



    “But if Celtic are going to play them in Astana they won’t have that problem of a long journey.



    “It’s a place that’s more awkward than anything else.



    “A few months after we went, Ireland went and played them in a World Cup tie and needed two goals in stoppage time to win.



    “A few of the guys we played against were internationals so it wasn’t as if they were rookies.



    “The Shakhter team were big and strong, pretty well-organised. Their two goals came from a corner and a long throw-in and that was their main tactic.



    “But between the goals I’d scored with a header at the back post after their keeper saved a free-kick.



    “I’m sure Celtic, with their European experience will know what to expect.



    “It’s a long way away and the hotel was nothing special. The food was the usual stuff football teams have — stuff like chicken and spaghetti — but it didn’t taste like the chicken at home.



    “Again, Celtic will be able to deal with that, even if means they take their own chef or food.



    “By all accounts Shakhter were pretty fortunate to beat the Belarussian side BATE Borisov in the first round, then knocking out an Albanian team.



    “With all Celtic have achieved in getting to the last 16 last season they should be far too strong for them.”

  5. Neil Lennon & McCartney on

    “Anyone else who presents a Daily Record transfer story to me as fact is getting a right dirty look.”



    I love the E-tims take….



    “With Peter Lawwell allegedly out doing a bit of shopping in Iceland-before heading to Tescos- the Daily Record has decided its time to sell Fraser Forster. He’s been linked with Benfica, in what would be a an historic move for a Portuguese club, where they would buy someone they didn’t need for a price way beyond what they have ever paid.



    Portuguese clubs tend to buy low , usually from Brazil or Mozambique, and sell high. The very model that Celtic are attempting to copy. Craig Swan, from the Record, offers no quotes for his story, no sources, but does have a statement from Alfred Finnbogasson, who says ;



    “There are offers but the club haven’t told me they’ve been accepted.”



    More in depth reporting from the Record there.”




  6. Neil Lennon & McCartney said:


    Anyone else who presents a Daily Record transfer story to me as fact is getting a right dirty look.



    The really annoying thing is that not one representative of Celtic FC, whether it be Neil Lennon, Peter Lawwell or the Hoopy the Huddle Hound, have said anything to any of the media about our interest ot otherwise in Finnbogson. It is purely paper talk, based on what is reported abroad, or what comes from the player’s agent, or is just simply made up.



    Yet I have read on CQN in the last few days, claims that Celtic themselves – presumably the villain of the piece Mr Lawwell – have put out that particular story, so that “when the bid fails, they can say they did try”.



    So some people want the club to tell us what is happening in the transfer market. They refuse, but get blamed for doing so anyway, for nefarious reasons, and if the Daily Record tells us about targets, it’s all down to Lawwell feeding us bullshit.



    Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.



    FFM –



    Don’t even bother trying to make sense of the above. Your head will explode.




  7. Estadio Nacional on

    Was great to see Celtic players dominate Steven Gerrard for the second time in a week last night.



    Thought the 3-3 result was a fair result for a surprisingly good Scotland performance.

  8. Just in to say…



    Kenny Miller – who’d a thunk it ? :)


    The geeser wi the orange face who – wance he started hitting the net – was hunted


    oot the door and replaced wi – we greetin face. Hmmm



    Canny stand Scotland international team but – I wanted WGS and big


    Mark McGhee to get a guid wee mention on their CV’s.



    Margaret McGill’s roasting on here last night by all the tight-rippers


    nah – not for me. MM was right – the bored are corrupt. imo



    Why do we only sign players were there has to be a foreign agent involved ?



    The bored should be sacked for their treatment of the GB alone. imo



    As for Bankier….when I was a kid – ma granny always told me – “Kevin, see when your older – never trust a man wi ‘snake-eyes’.”



    God Bless ye Mary.



    Off oot – byeeeeeeeee.

  9. Good morning friends from a damp and drizzly EK.



    Decent performance by Scotland last night and thought our captain had a fine match. But a few more important games now fast approaching. Including EKFC’s Saturday clash at home to Selkirk.

  10. Neil Lennon & McCartney on

    Tom McLaughlin,



    I don’t take it so seriously. Celtic are right not to talk to the media until a deal is done. All the speculation on here, and elsewhere, is quite amusing…..and so very often completely wrong!




  11. Kev



    lots of very sensitive souls out there who take things very personally.






    I am not too keen on Theo Walcott as a player. Think he drifts in and out of games too often with odd flashes of brilliance and the occasional great goal. I think he’s way over rated. Just my opinion mind.






    The above statement will be read by some who think, yeah I agree, or, nah Twisty, he’s a great player. Now….change two words..





    I am not too keen on James Forrest as a player. Think he drifts in and out of games too often with odd flashes of brilliance and the occasional great goal. I think he’s way over rated. Just my opinion mind.





    Now, you would get a totally difference reaction. I am a Forrest basher, twist n turns yer a f*** eejit, too negative, blah blah.



    Point is, I wish people would opine on the point of the poster rather than get personal against the poster.



    BTW, I quite like Jamesy! Jist sayin’

  12. A Stor Mo Chroi on

    twists n turns



    Nah! Really?



    Well that just goes to prove what they say is true… you do learn something new on CQN every day of the week.



    Tell me, has he ever spoken to anybody about anything? Like does he know the meaning of corruption?



    No answer required.

  13. Looking back…Maggie has gone then? No Thatcher…she’s definitely gone…no oor Maggie?



    Can’t see any of her posts. resigned? Sine die? Whit happened? I was talking to her about 6pm, all seemed fine…whit happened??

  14. A Stor Mo Chroi



    Ah..your who is Bankier question was rhetorical?



    Apologies…I thought you were genuinely asking….had only scrolled back two posts and saw your question and jumped in :-))

  15. Morning Celts, just logging onto my works pc and thought……. I wonder how many other CQN’ers have logon passwords that are Celtic related?



    Ps I also have set of 12 digit numbers that are particular to the works laptop and another two sets of randomised 12 digit numbers before I even get near the Celtic password :¬)







  16. Estadio Nacional on

    Jobo Baldie 07:00



    I see Blantyre Celtic beat ‘East Kilbride’ last night 3-2, seems EK football has a long way to go ;)



    More details in their rather excellent website, including online super store http://www.blantyreceltic.co.uk/







    A stinking 42°C

  17. Twisty



    Our Maggie will be back I’m sure, just a wee fall out with folk, she went off on one and maybe (IMO) should at least return and apologise to the blog generally and a few CQN’ers in particular…… erm maybe she has gone right enough :¬)



    Joking, I’d think she’ll return in time.




  18. A Stor Mo Chroi on

    twists n turns:



    I’m GLAD you did, I thought I was more invisible than green bottle at Parkhead.

  19. A Stor Mo Chroi on

    Son to father:



    “Father why are you so sad on this bright August morn, when brave men are proud and glad of the stand they took against the wrongs?”

  20. A Stor Mo Chroi on

    Son to Father…



    “Dad, do you think Scotland will one day recognise deceit, corruption and brikin’ it as university courses?”

  21. Estadio Nacional on

    Happy Indian Independence Day.



    Indians in work going about happy and proud of their country, flags on cars etc.



    Pretty sure it hasnt worked out the way the Indian better together campaign warned against in 1947…

  22. How embarrassing is this article for journalists and its readers.



    New Rangers company has been ‘disaster from day one’


    Published on 15 August 2013




    Alison Campsie



    AN OVERSEAS investor in Rangers has claimed the new club has been a disaster “from day one” and called for the current board to be removed.



    The institutional investor, who owns around a 1% stake in Ibrox, said the exit of two chairman in quick succession and the appointment of a new stock-broker highlighted serious issues with the inner business workings of the club.



    With a stake of around 650,000 shares worth approximately £270,000, he said his concerns with the current set up were shared “very widely” among other big investors, with claims that the bid by billionaire Jim McColl to force change in the boardroom will be successful.



    Rangers said ongoing talks being led in London by chief executive Craig Mather, finance director Brian Stockbridge and consultant Charles Green to secure support for maintaining the status quo were positive.



    Meanwhile, the club has announced the board will decide on Tuesday whether Mr Green will remain at the club as a consultant.



    The meeting was called in light of Mr Green’s comments about manager Ally McCoist’s performance, with subsequent claims he is to support the court case of former director Imran Ahmed which will also be discussed by Ibrox directors next week.



    Fans groups have called for Mr Green to be sacked, with the strength of feeling among supporters to be considered by directors.



    The institutional investor, who did not want to be named, said: “It is pretty clear that corporate governance at the club is just awful.



    “Since the Initial Public Offering in December we have lost Malcolm Murray, a very well respected figure, and the most recent chairman. We have also had Charles Green step down as chief executive and reappointed as a consultant which went against the wishes of pretty much everyone.



    “I have never been involved with a company when somebody brings it onto the market and in six months you replace the stock-broker. You have to ask the question why.



    “When you lose two respected chairmen within six months and you change the stockbroker, there is clearly something very wrong.



    “We would certainly want the majority of the current board to go and replace it with a board which has the club’s best interests at heart.”



    Rangers has recently switched its stockbroker from highly regarded Cenkos to Daniel Stewart, which has existing links with Mr Green.



    The overseas financier has had past business dealings with former club chairman MrMurray, who is aligned to Mr McColl’s requisitioning of an EGM.



    The financier added: “It’s pretty unusual for investors to take this kind of action and getting investors to sign a letter is really tough. You don’t invest in a company and within 12 months expect these kind of issues. At Rangers, it’s been a disaster from pretty much day one.”



    Rangers remain positive that they can fend off a potentially embarrassing boardroom coup. A club spokesman said: “The meet-ings that executive directors are having in London this week have been positive and supportive.”



    Meanwhile, the Easdale family are looking to buy more shares in the club with brothers James and Alexander, plus his wife Gail, now having just over a 1% stake.



    Easdale family spokesman Jack Irvine said: “The brothers will add to their shareholding as opportunities present themselves and are considering all options.”



    Earlier this week, Isle of Man hedge fund Laxey, which has had past dealings with Mr Green, bought more than two million shares in the club.



    Related articles



    Civil war at Ibrox but end game not far off Football Tue 6 Aug 2013

  23. tomtheleedstim on

    Son to father “dad, I got the A-levels. I got into York!”




  24. tomtheleedstim




    07:52 on 15 August, 2013




    Son to father “dad, I got the A-levels. I got into York!”







    Great news Tom. Congrats to the bhoy