Beaten and bruised but strategy is all that matters


Back in the 80s I had a soft spot for Porto.  Their 2-1 1987 European Cup final win over Bayern Munich, coming from behind in the last 15 minutes and scoring with a back-heel, against a vastly better resourced opponent, was something Celtic fans could relate to.

A decade later I followed Porto’s tribulations as they tried to recapture those heights in the Champions League with a new team.  They remained an engaging team but when it came to the big clubs there was always one who would wipe the floor with them.  Manchester United scored four without reply in the 1997 quarter finals.  The following season Real Madrid hit six over two games without conceding as Porto exited at the group stage.

It was a group stage exit the next season, before Bayern Munich took them in the 2000 quarter final.  Then what looked like a significant reversal as they failed to qualify for Europe’s top tournament, settling for Uefa Cup football instead in season 2000-01.  They eliminated Celtic from the group stage in 2001-02 but were taken home and away by Real Madrid in the last sixteen.

All this time they were fine-tuning player development and recruitment strategy; buying marginally better players and selling for ever-increasing money.   Real Madrid may have wiped the floor with them but Porto’s business model was fine-tuned by 2002.  Real won their last European trophy that season but the gap with Porto was closed in an instant.

Celtic are less than two years into their current strategy and we’re miles ahead of where we should be.  It will be extremely difficult to match this season’s on-field achievements next season, but the stage you exit the Champions League is only one yardstick available.  It took Porto years of slow and meandering progress to learn what it took to reach the highest level.  This is our task.

On Friday 1 March the Lisbon Lions will be at the Kerrydale Suite providing commentary and answering questions on their magnificent European Cup final win in 1967. This has never happened in 46 years since that game, to say it is a unique opportunity fails to tell the whole story.

The event is part of our 125 4 125 campaign – central to reinvigorating the charitable spirit which is part of the club we love. It will be a family occasions, tickets are available at £10 for adults and £5 for children. The night has been organised by several fans working in conjunction with the people at Celtic Charity, so please do your best to support this great occasion. Individual tickets or tables are available, details here.
[calameo code=000390171980e8545b80a lang=en page=10 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]

Click Here for Comments >

About Author

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. ...
  10. 20

  1. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    The Herald


    McDowall left a coaching job at Celtic to join Rangers but has never looked back and wondered what might have been. “I’ve won three titles here and a couple of Scottish Cups – why would I ever regret that?” he said. “It was a step up for me at the time and I’m at the best club in the world.”



    Thank god this fantasist left us.

  2. Eliran Atar of Maccabi Tel Aviv.



    25 years of age. Cost MTA £750k 2 years ago. Has 18 months left on his deal.



    51 goals in 84 games for the club.



    He will cost 3 times what MTA paid for him. He is a goalscorer.



    Go get him Pedro.

  3. On 15th/16th of March 100 cyclist will set off from 5 locations in the UK & Ireland for Belfast to raise funds that will go towards helping Wee Oscar Knox (check out the wee man himself – http://youtu.be/oVyxi7ypT4Y) fund the Immunotherapy treatment he so desperately requires. We will be leaving from:



    Celtic Park – 32 Cyclists


    Leeds – 7 Cyclists


    Duleek – 25 Cyclists


    Roscommon – 10 Cyclists


    Dublin – 26 Cyclist



    We will be supported by 16 support team members over the 2 days also.



    Our team is made up of CQN’ers, KDS’ers, friends and family members and non Celtic supporters.





    You can support our cyclists and support team by making a donation to this event by clicking here (remember to leave your blog name for us to thank you):



    Wee Oscar 4 Life Cycle’s To Belfast March 2013



    or by texting BELF88 to 70070 followed by amount (between £1 to £10) you wish to donate:





    To: 70070







    We would like to thank Burns Interior Design, Morrisons Facilities Services – FM Division, Gardiner & Theobald Surveyors, ProAir Conditioning, Firewater, DAMM Environmental, Access, AJ Print, Oracle, Project Pipework & Piling, Business Continuity Services and Sublime Designs for their sponsorship of the WeeOscar4Life cycle’s to Belfast. If your company would like to sponsor this event please drop an email to weeoscar4life@gmail.com



    Big Wee Oscar Thumbs up to following TIMternet bampots



















    The Token Tim




    Davy Bhoy






    Kaiser Soze












    Spirit Of Arthur Lee








    Farney Bhoy


    A Ceiler Gonof Rust


    Kerry CFC




    MJ X


    The Little Gentleman In The Black Velvet Waistcoat




    The Cat














    Paddy Turner


    Swansea Bhoy


    Papa John




    Stephen with a ‘ph’


    Dandie Dinmont






    Big George’s Fan Club























    for donations to WeeOscarLife Cycle’s to Belfast St Patricks weekend March 2013 and helping take total to £1568.09 of £2K target.






    WeeOscar4Life Team

  4. Lurking for years but really felt compelled to write this…..



    Since the game finished the other night I suddenly became very aware of just how important this blog is to me. I live in Cork in Ireland and most of my friends are your standard EPL type supporters with mainly a passing interest in Celtic. I and my father would be like the many on this site…completely obsessed, but in a healthy way ;) in all things Celtic. I have always felt fortunate that I dont have to put up with having the old rangers and all that comes with them on my doorstep but have at times felt deprived of being unable to celebrate with fellow fans when we have great victories. I talk to my father about the games but we can often end up arguing about aspects as we both hold strong and not always common views.



    In my pain after the defeat on tuesday I took to this site as I usually do gaining comfort from knowing that many others were hurting just like me, even though life seemed to be going on as normal for all around me and this gave me great comfort. I am still very proud of our performance and feel so lucky and grateful to my father for bringing me into the celtic family, a tradition I have also passed on to my son. I was so down after Juve but the reading of all the comments since on here has me just about back to normal again.



    For that I thank you all…even you Kevjungle :)

  5. Paul



    Rome wasn’t built in a day as they say, but to see Celtic play the way they did for 70 odd minutes on Tuesday was fantastic. Yes, we lost due to sloppy defending but we took the game to Juventus and for large parts of the game, were the better team.



    It may not have been the silky free flowing football we see from Barcelona, but it was high tempo attack attack attack. In our group games we scored 8 goals from 30 shots on target. Had a similar percentage been converted on Tuesday we’d have scored 3 goals.



    We will improve and get better and if we can replicate that type of football, we will win games in Europe more often than not.




  6. Paul ——



    Bayern 1 —–Porto 2 .



    A great game . A fabulous performance from the wonderful Paulo Futre . One of the great Number 10s.

  7. I urgently need 2 questions answered if any one can help….



    1) Why are bicycle helmets so uncomfortable and…


    2) Does anyone own one that actually FITS?

  8. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on




    12:53 on


    14 February, 2013



    Probably the shape of your head ..?……hehe

  9. As one who has studied the laws of the game, i totally understand that a penalty,cannot be awarded if the ball is not in play.



    However, did EVERY Juve player release the Celtic player he had a hold of as soon as the ball was kicked?



    Also, I would offer the following amendment to the laws:



    The ball shall be considered “in play” as soon as the referee has blown the whistle to indicate the start or restart of the game. This includes any time when the ball has gone out of play r the game has been stopped for any reason, e.g. injury, corners, free kicks , throw ins, goal kicks.

  10. 12:57 on


    14 February, 2013


    Snake Plissken



    I was in a bookshop yesterday in Basel and they had a book with Sepp’s ugly mug on the front with a title something like ” Sepp the KIngpin of Football” and there my friend you have it in a nutshell!!



    If Gary won’t sign then he should go because he doesn’t get what we’re doing and I agree hard to replace, my favourite striker since Henrik and I think he’ll get better.Swansea would be a good move for him an upcoming club without the baggage that the perrennial underachievers Spurs have!



    Big Vic in my opinion still has a ways to go to command a big club transfer and he would do well maybe to cement his reputation before a move to benchsplintersville elsewhere..



    The sadness of the modern game was exemplified by the craven performance of the referee on Tuesday night and that is straight down the line from Sepp, the clique is an Art form in Switzerland and the big clubs clique is fully supported by Sepp and his cronies in the business world.



    As I posted after the game sometimes you watch a 90 mins and think what’s the point, like the World Cup now and pretty much the Champions League as well- what’s the point??



    Celtic are going in the right direction that’s for sure and hopefully we can compete at the later stages of the CL in the future but we’ll have to fight tooth and nail for every inch of progress we gain…

  11. 67Heaven … I am Neil Lennon..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors


    12:57 on


    14 February, 2013





    12:53 on


    14 February, 2013



    Probably the shape of your head ..?……hehe




    You might actually be right there…

  12. Celtic have unfortunately come off 2nd best many times due to the outrageous cheating of their opponents.



    Tuesday night was one of the worst.


    Of course Racing Club and Atletico Madrid are well ingrained in the Celtic psyche of the very worst occasions in the long history of the club.


    Porto were also one of the worst I can recall in my lifetime.



    However, these events were the exception. The most blatant example of cheating took place within the boundaries of the city of Glasgow.


    The routine, systemmatic, day-to-day cheating employed by RFC and the SFA, now continued under the guise of Sevco is the worst cheating Celtic (& other clubs) have ever had to endure.

  13. Nuclear Bovril and a Half Munched Pie on

    Agree Paul, we have overachieved spectacularly in Europe this year. The path our strategy takes us down will have peaks, troughs, potholes, inclement weather, discourteous road users, traffic jams, cones (ok enough path related nonsense) but is taking us in the right direction.



    However the only soft spot I have for Porto is a swamp in deepest Guatemala.

  14. Paul, excellent article. We are very much on to something. We need the strength of our convictions to see it through. No more Ljunberg’s or Keane’s.



    The one vital component is this……



    Qualify for the group stages each year. If we do that 4 or 5 times in a row, we will get some real traction. And money.



    At this stage, last 16 appearances are a bonus. Get this strategy right, and they will be the norm.

  15. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    We need to organise something for LIQUIDATION DAY……. Once they, and their meeja, actually admit that it happened…..

  16. CQN,



    I’m a Mulgrew fan in a big way but don’t you think when Izzy plays he’s not the same player?



    I expected a huge performance from Charlie but maybe I was over ambitious.



    It’s not a dig just a thought and would like CQN feedback.



    Hail Hail




    P.S. Dougal is a xxxxxxxx

  17. Celtic are miles ahead of where they should be…..aye that might be the case just now, but Wanyama, Hooper and possibly Fraser are out the door. Slow and meandering progress is well and dandy if you have plenty of cash, and the lure of fellow Latin countries to supply a steady stream of tanner ba’ players. When Lenny, Big Solid and Park go, who is going to come in to do their job equally well. At celtic we don’t make progress, we constantly start again.

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. ...
  10. 20