Background on Shkendija and Kalju, Turnbull, another that got away


If Celtic overcome FK Sarajevo in the Champions League first qualification round they will face either Macedonians, FK Shkendija or Nomme Kalju, from Estonia.  Shkendija are first round seeds.

Last season Shkendija eliminated Welsh side The New Saints in a remarkable tie, winning the first leg 5-0 and losing the return 4-0.  They then eliminated Moldovans, Sheriff Tiraspol 1-0 on aggregate before Salzburg knocked them out 4-0 on aggregate (no shame there).  Our old pals Rosenborg then knocked them out at the Europa League play-off round, 5-1 on aggregate.

In 2018 Shkendija won cofomrtably against Moldovan opponents in the Europa first qualifying round, then beat HJK Helsinki in the second round and Luthianians Trakai in the third.  This setup a trip to the San Siro for the team from Tetovo (population 52,000), where they lost 6-0.

Nomme Kalju exited last season’s Europa League at the first round to Stjarnan, our pals from Iceland.

It is almost certain Shkendija will progress to the second round.  They are one of the better teams who float around the qualifiers without ever reaching a group stage, but Celtic should have enough in the tank to progress through both opening rounds.  Happy to take this draw.

It is clear Celtic wanted David Turnbull, but not at any price.  Wage structures have been broken for ‘the right player’ but everyone needs to have signed up to the view that the player in question is worthy of breaking the structure.  The player and his agent are entitled to shop around for the highest wage.

Still, it is another one that got away.  Stiffer challenges than Sarajevo, Shkendija and Kalju will arrive in August.

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  1. SID @ 3.38



    So you solely judge the strength of the squad on trophies won and immovable facts, you don’t consider that having a weaker squad (and I see your still sitting on the fence on that one in true SFTB style) may affect future results. Therefore you would consider the team of 2003 to be weaker than the current one?



    Nope- it is not judged “solely” (nice attempt at framing the argument, there) on trophies won but that has to be a major consideration. There’s a lot of love for the 3 Amigos, compared to that we have given online to Broonie, PC Lustig and wee Jamesie, but the latter group win hands down on the “Show me your medals!” Competition.



    I haven’t sat on any fence. I am, quite fairly, waiting to see what the squad looks like at the END of the wind, as opposed to joining in with the World inContinence Panic championships that we have at the start, middle and, often, the end of every transfer windae.



    And, I would be mad to say our current squad was stronger than the 2003 vintage. Bak in those days we could steal managers and players from Leicester, Chelsea, Borrusia Dortmund and Coventry (in Hartson’s case). Nowadays we lose players to Southampton and Swansea. We lose out on targets to Norwich, Wigan, Middlesborough etc; Those are the real constraints we operate under. PL may be the worst or best or just an average performer in this swamp but…. if he left, we would still have to operate under those conditions. It is not deliberate penny pinching and falling short; it is losing out to “lesser” clubs who can pay more.




    Ok we’ll use your immovable facts as a barometer for whether a squad is regressing or not.




    2017-2018 Treble, qualification for Champions League



    2018-2019 Treble, no qualification for Champions League




    Result: Immovable fact = regression.




    In 2017/18 we only had 3 rounds to negotiate in qualifying. We breezed our first tie at q2, narrowly beat Rosenborg in q3 (1:0 agg) and won 8:4 in a nervy tie with Astana, going on to win 1 and lose 5 of our CL group ties



    In 18/19, for the first time, we had 4 rounds of qualifying to negotiate, making it harder. We breezed the first round and beat Rosenborg more convincingly in q2 than we had the previous year before we had our q3 disaster against AEK with both Boyata and BR going a bit doolally in the run up. I dares, if we had won through against AEK we might still have slipped at the 4th hurdle. Instead we got a competitive post-Xmas run in the Europa instead. So we made more money in 17/18 but we were not clearly poorer in terms of playing.



    In any case, two years comparison is too small a sample. If this summer is colder than last year’s it will not signal a conclusive rebuttal of Climate Change.



    As far as long term trends are concerned, we are pretty much on the same page. I am always saying it will get harder and harder to be anything other than cannon fodder in the CL, if we even qualify or have a safe steady but, unthreatening run in the Europa now that bigger clubs are taking that competition seriously.



    We only differ in the belief that throwing a bit more money at it will change our stars significantly. After McGinn & Turnbull, I fully expect people will still take comfort in blaming the CEO or the new guy from WBA , if he comes.



    I’ll continue to blame the real culprits FIFA, UEFA, Sky and other cable channels, Football agents and corrupt managers.



    We need a Teddy Roosevelt to take a big Trust-Busting hammer to the Monopoly fixed market that football has become.

  2. DELANEYS DUNKY on 19TH JUNE 2019 6:42 PM


    Big Wavy


    Wouldn’t fancy any of Sevco’s big five signings anywhere near a Celtic shirt. Quality not mediocre quantity we need.




    Yep, there’s a reason they are quick off the mark with their mediocrity. I think Klopp was still gargling on the back of the bus when he agreed to Ojo going there.

  3. 1 hour to kick off. Mon the Lassies,


    Any sort of win tonight almost guarantees Scotland through as one of the best 3rd placed teams as it’d be a goal difference of minus 1 at worst. But the greater the winning margine, the more likely we’d be through.


    very unlucky in both games so far being on the wrong side of 2 dubious penalties and failing to being awarded a stonewaller against Japan. Play to our strenghts tonight – attack, attack, attack.

  4. Delaneys Dunky on



    You been watching the pony tail World Cup?


    Mon the Scots tonight! ??




    Our of interest, how much cash do you think we should keep in the bank?



    I don’t know, but the year end accounts for Ajax, who’s model you seem to be suggesting we follow show these amounts for the last 5 years (in euros)



    2014 2015 2016 2017 2018


    59.95M 80.14M 70.27M 87.83M 36.13M



    Where do you get the £50m cash figure from?

  6. Delaneys Dunky on

    Big Wavy


    Honestly know nothing about Ojo.


    Their other 4, no thanks. Hastie looks their best hope though.




    Seeing as you seem to be suggesting it as some sort of panacea for Celtic it would be interesting to know exactly what the Ajax business model is.

  8. Joboe Balde



    Agreed, totally restrictive tactics in the first 2 games, but understandable as the worst players are in defence(especially the keeper)



    Front foot and shoot on sight (most keepers are weak)




    Hmm. Let’s look at this Ajax team that reached this year’s semi-final.






    I was saying that he personally wasn’t up to that challenge. He’s been exposed as tactically limited.



    Ajax caught lightning in a bottle with that squad. Luke Leicester City 2 years ago.

  10. Good evening CQN



    DD- good to have you back?


    Hope you are well.


    I agree with your comments regarding that mobs signings.



    Drew1967- from previous thread, good to see you posting and not a bad point.






    D. :)

  11. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ CELTIC40ME on 19TH JUNE 2019 7:09 PM



    Where do the Ajax figures come from?



    The Celtic figures are from the accounts to June 2018. We note that we have net cash at the bank of £36.1m offset by bank borrowings. The accounts then provide that we have a combined borrowing facility of £12.1m as at 30 June 2018 (of which I think circa £6.25m is still outstanding).



    Added to the above, post balance sheet events include proceeds for disposals amount to £20.7m. We can then add the £9m received for BR to the list as well.



    Acquiring Arzani, Benkovic, Izzi and Mulumbu cost a combined £1.6m.



    So I think we have a decent amount in the bank.

  12. DD


    Two neighbours, one Arab, one Dee – don’t talk about football much these days! Sad that DU didn’t make it to the Premiership, as they should be in the top flight, imo of course.



  13. Delaneys Dunky on



    I would prefer both Dundee teams in the top league, as opposed to Hamilton and Sevco.

  14. Big wavy.


    If sevco’s signings improve sevco then they will be closer to us this season than last season.


    Have our signings (what signings?) Improved our team?


    Things have changed.

  15. Most of the players that have gone made little or no contribution to our season last year. The 3 we will miss are Boyata, Benkovic & Lustig. 3 defenders and that is the void we need to fill, Turnbull would have been a welcome signing but the midfield is not or should not be our priority. You build from the back, we had a great defensive record last year that is where we need to invest.

  16. Big wavy.



    If sevco’s signings improve sevco then they will be closer to us this season than last season.



    Have our signings (what signings?) Improved our team?



    Things have changed.






    That’s just an opinion mate.



    I see no sign of Kent yet and Ojo flopped at Le Havre. Improvement?


    Stewart of ex-Killie and Aberdeen an improvement? – Never troubled us before.


    Jones of ex-Killie an improvement? See Stewart.


    Edmundson, 3rd tier of England, an improvement on ex-England youth captain Worral?


    Steven Davis will be 35 at the end of this year, still younger than soon to be 37 year old Defoe.



    Only Celtic can screw up Celtic’s chances of winning the league next season. Our 1 open bid has cost more than the assembled mob above. I think we’ll strengthen. Not fast enopugy for some of us but we always lose the pre-season cup for the same reasons.



    Nobody was after that assorted mob of over the hills and never will bes above.

  17. Big wavy.


    If their signings??


    Maybe you better than the sevco coaching team.


    Maybe you know best.


    Maybe not.


    Things have changed.

  18. So far I don’t think Sevco have done anything to worry us. If they don’t get Kent back that will be a serious loss to them.


    WE are 3 good defenders down and if that hole is not properly plugged we could be in trouble but I for one am confident that it will.


    Another factor in our favour is that we have a raft of injured players back, Christie,Kouassi, Griffiths, Arzani, & bayo, also have a good few kids who could make a much bigger impression next year. Mikey Johnston, Ewan Henderson, Karamoko Dembele & Armstrong Oko-Flex to name a few, we have Lewis Morgan back from a successful loan & a complete new bhoy in Marian Shved.


    Not being complacent, we do need 3 or 4 quality acquisitions but there is no need for all the drama & hand wringing.

  19. Corkcelt. You are being complacent. As things stand we are weaker than last season.


    Are sevco stronger? Time will tell.


    Is Gerrard a better coach than neil Lennon? Time will tell.


    With the financial advantage we have over them we should be looking to win everything from now until doomsday.


    Anything less than a treble should be considered a failure.


    To infinity and beyond!

  20. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Phil Jagielka spotted in Glasgow today with Wiggy…




    If the perma offended work out there’s nothing in this,please come on and tell me…

  21. Westcraigs,


    had we signed any of the players Sevco had signed this place would be in meltdown.

  22. WestCraigs



    I laid them out one by one.



    3 of them we know well – players I’d be raging we went for. Average Joe’s and an over the hill ulsterman.



    Ojo may be an Ejaria or an overblown Ryan Kent. His recent record suggests nothing but mediocrity.



    I’m not sure a 600k ch from Rochdale should have us worried.



    The window has a long way to go. The above were from the bargain bucket and easy to scoop. Our target was in-demand and we have money to spend that should do the job.



    Don’t worry, be happy….




    Where do the Ajax figures come from?



    A 2 minute google:





    They might be wrong but I dont think so.





    I dont think you’ve grasped what cash at bank actually means.



    A more accurate guess would start with the interims we published in february of this year which showed a cash balance of £38.6m at 31 December 2018. Given that there is normally a negative cashflow in the second half of the season £50m sounds incredibly innacurate

  24. fieldofdrams on

    Friesdorfer at 7.55



    It’s a shocker that neither Dundee team is in the SPFL next season. Both grounds within walking distance of meh hoose. No happy, no Celtic games in Dundee and the way things are looking for both Dundee teams we’ll play Arbroath before we play in Dundee again.

  25. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ GORDYBHOY64 on 19TH JUNE 2019 9:06 PM



    We signed Hendry, Hayes, Mulumbu, Morgan, Benyu and brought Izzy back.



    Those players, although in the case of Izzy it was on account of age, are in the same bracket as the Sevco signings.

  26. The Hands,


    i did mean in this window,


    the names you mention were all roundly criticised on here.