In the early years of our re-emergence as a ‘proper’ football team under Martin O’Neill, Celtic were patronised by the suggestion that they ‘don’t play friendlies’, largely as a result of Martin’s ability to win games against teams from south of the border.
That comment is seldom aired these days, as for many years, Celtic have stretched their muscles in friendlies without worrying too much about the score. Gordon Strachan’s teams would lose the meaningless games with regularity but would largely win the important qualifiers which followed. So much so I’d probably feel uncomfortable watching Celtic apply themselves too much when it didn’t matter.
We will get a good measure of how match fitness needs to improve ahead of Champions League qualifiers in two weeks when we face Ukrainian aide, Sevastopol, tonight. Ukrainian football is one of the most sought-after properties in the game at the moment; the Russians have been making amorous overtures to the entire league, as they hope to build a super-league by joining up with the Ukrainians. I’m sure Celtic officials will have an active interest in the subject ahead of the game.
No injuries, please, you can forget about the score.
Delighted to hear Roy Keane is coming up for the Celtic Charity #19 game for Stiliyan Petrov’s Foundation on 8 September. Stan played with some timeless Celtic heroes (Roy’s 13 games doesn’t give him enough material to qualify for this accolade) in his seven years at the club; my money is on the event selling out (ticket details at bottom of page) as they are confirmed one at a time……
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