Belgian football on the ropes


You and I know how fans of other Scottish clubs feel about their performances in Europe; at best, it is a source of national frustration. Everyone else is cleared out of Europe in the qualifiers by teams who themselves seldom reach the Europa League proper.

All of this matches the Scotland national team, who only this year started to look competitive. A malaise has crept in, everyone comes to expect failure and copes without undue distress (for the most part).

In this respect, we have nothing to lecture Belgian football on. The Belgian national team is one of their nation’s best ever, a decent outside shout for next year’s World Cup. But domestically, Belgian football has rapidly fallen apart.

Anderlecht, like Celtic, are their country’s last remaining competitor in European football. Brugge were bumped from the Champions League qualifiers by Basaksehir, then the Europa’s by AEK Athens. Oostende lost to Marseille, no particular surprise there, but Gent exited the Europa qualifiers to Altach, currently seventh in the Austrian table after nine games.

The pain of humiliation in European club football is being felt acutely right now in Belgium, while their most successful club, Anderlecht, acts as the flag bearer.

Anderlecht’s fall from grace has been steep. On the way to winning the domestic title, they produced one of the greatest wins in their European history last season, 1-6 away to German club FSV Mainz on the way to a 3-2 aggregate quarter-final defeat to eventual Europa League winners Manchester United.

Now they sit seventh in the table, nine points adrift from Brugge, having sold their top talent from last season, and sacked their manager this month. This is a dysfunctional team in a newly-dysfunctional league. They fear Celtic.

So far, so encouraging, but you and I have seen this movie before. Larsson, Sutton and Hartson had Anderlecht on the canvass in 2003. Dominating possession in Brussels with the home team down to 10 men, but we still contrived to lose the game to a team we would sweep aside with ease at Celtic Park.

There are reasons to be hopeful. Our previous two away games in the group stage, (Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach), produced highly credible draws, we looked like a team who knew how to survive in this environment, but you and I would be delighted with a draw tomorrow night.

Notwithstanding the fact that a draw would be a satisfactory result, this is a game we should look to win. Anderlecht’s deficiencies are many and evident. They cannot buy a performance right now. If Brendan and his players secure three points, they will take a huge step towards European maturity. Don’t bet against them.

Celtic FC Foundation, Great Scottish Run

A number of us will be treading the streets of Glasgow in Celtic FC Foundation regalia on Sunday with the Great Scottish Run. I am doing the 10k (either because I fancied the shorter distance, or because I forgot to register for the Half in time…. hopeless).

Being able to do things for the Foundation is a significant part of my Celtic relationship. It is appropriate to follow in the footsteps of those who 130 years ago decided to form a football club to help those in need.

What the Foundation does will never grab the headlines of what the football team does, but it is difficult to imagine a football result having as profound an impact on people’s lives as the work of the Foundation, when it feeds the hungry, or provides respect to the downtrodden.

If you are able to support the work, please do so at this MyDonate page.

Thank you.


The CQN Podcast: A Celtic State of Mind (EP14) Champions League Special

A Celtic State of Mind offers an insight into the culture of Celtic Football Club, the city of Glasgow, and fans of the reigning invincible Scottish champions.

Each episode includes interviews with ‘Celtic-minded’ figures from the world of sport, music, film, art, broadcasting, literature or politics.

Ahead of the crucial Champions League match against Anderlecht, ‘A Celtic State of Mind’ goes behind the Champions League curtain for Celtic’s opening match against PSG.

Kevin Graham provides pre and post-match discussion with members of his CSC, as well as in-match analysis in what will be a regular Celtic State of Mind feature.



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  1. you are almost tempting me to have a wee bet on an away win there Paul….but I won’t.



    Seriously, gambling on our game is destroying lives/families, a problem which needs to be addressed. I’ve watched/listened to young men betting HUNDREDS on football.



    Enough of the serious stuff, an away win should be within our capabilities.

  2. Paul re your article.


    I have no intention of betting against Celtic my friend ! LOL.


    On bet365 Celtic are 13/5 to win ( thats around 5/2…I think ?)


    I’m having some of that.



    I have a wee gut feeling that Calmac will start and score in Belgium ?






  3. I want a win.A win would give us a lot of credibility back.A win for us and PSG would put us on 3 points with Bayern,and they come to us next.Another chance for a glory night.We need to get this monkey off our backs,away win.Hopefully as easily as we got 11 Monkeys off our back on Saturday.


    I have witnessed too many away disappointments in the past at away games,been to so many,to be confident.I was at that Anderlecht game when an 18 year old Belgian CH,showed us all how great he was going to be.One of my lowest points in following Celtic.

  4. Hi Paul67,



    Yes, Anderlecht maybe in some disarray but are still a very good team. Sometimes Europe can be a timely distraction for Clubs in their situation.



    Cautious optimism is in order.



    After being humbled by PSG and being so dominate Domestically it will be interesting to see how we fare against our peer group.



    Anderlecht 1-2 Celtic



    Hail Hail



    The joy I felt on Saturday night was just as much as the game below.




    How`s about the bloody minded arrogance of people telling you what you should enjoy.



    Politburo dictats.




    Exactly.Hail Hail.Well said.



    Funeral for me in PRESTWICK next week .been asked to bring some old family photos.



















    SEVILLE.best banner ST MARYS BARRHEAD. plus guy from OZ with WOODEN KANGAROO.




    SEVILLE .THE BHOYS FROM BATHGATE. and some guy called ROY who pushed his way into lots of photos with all the kids.

  7. MacJ



    As long as they are clinging on, the joy of beating them will remain with me. Some people might not get the same pleasure, that’s up to them.

  8. I don’t think we can afford to go with LG, Sinclair and Paddy from the start.A wee bit tighter to start the game with 4-5-1 IMO.Our away record is poor, and not great CL experience in the ranks.Play ourselves into the game, then settle down into the game.

  9. If the huns died for good and all their fans started supporting one other club en masse,eg Hamilton,would we take as much satisfaction from beating them as we do Sevco?

  10. I think Keir Hardie called it poverty of ambition.



    It’s certainly alive and kicking with posters on here.



    They must get down on their knees and thank God every night for the Five Way Agreement.



    No wonder Celtic have kept their mouths shut.

  11. glendalystonsils on

    BABASONICOS71 on 26TH SEPTEMBER 2017 12:51 PM



    They would probably find a way of taking over some other club and calling themselves some variation of the ‘Rangers’ theme. Even if they didn’t though, their supporters would still demonstrate the same pathological hatred of Celtic, which would make beating them sweeter than beating any other club.




    But why bother reacting to them? It’s what they want.



    Why not ignore them as irrelevant (which is the reality of the situation)? Treat them with lofty disdain.



    Which do you think would hurt them more?

  13. Paul67



    We move up a league again on Wednesday and BR will be conscious of our last away defeat


    in Kazakstan.



    Anything less than defeat is a Celtic victory and therefore progress.



    Ntcham will his European élan will be a key player.

  14. the hooped crusader on

    My oldest Bhoy down in Leeds on a course any ideas of any Celtic friendly pubs in town?



  15. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    So, who will be the first to offer commiserations to my wife on the occasion of her 47 th wedding anniversary?

  16. Optimistic about tomorrow but we have made a habit of being the team that others down on their luck pick up against.



    This should be different with BR in charge but I’m always cautious in Europe. There are no easy games there.




    I’d be content (not happy, content) with a one nil defeat.



    Anything better, I’d be happy.



    I reckon Bayern might beat PSG.

  18. !!BADA BING!! @ 12:38 PM,



    Yes, pretty sure BR will go with Dembele if fit.



    It makes for a very different frontline – our first line of defense…



    Hail Hail

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