Cautious optimism with one weak spot


In days of yore Celtic would rattle nine goals past the Finnish champions on European Cup duty.  That was never going to be on the cards last night but there remains a clear gap in quality between the teams.  HJK Helsinki are no better than Hearts, but were clearly sharper.

The tie remains very much in the balance, a ‘Big Dan moment’, similar to what happened away to Sion last season, and the odds would stack heavily against Celtic progressing, and although HJK didn’t impress much, neither did Utrecht, who lost 2-0 at Celtic Park two years ago before wiping the floor with a disorganised Celtic a week later.

I have a few concerns.

Last season it worried me how dependent we had become on Charlie Mulgrew to create goals.  His delivery from the left back position, not to mention his runs to the back post, were significant in Celtic overcoming the early season deficit.

Today we are a few central defenders lighter, if not any worse off in that department, but without Charlie galloping down the wing we are immeasurably less potent.  Emilio is an able left back, but his performances are several degrees below his Player of the Year form and he is categorically not a goal creator.  A double jeopardy is that when Emilio is behind Georgios Samaras on the left, instead of the more defensively minded Joe Ledley, we seem to have a real weak point.

If we are to start with a lone striker and five in the middle next week we’ll need Charlie on the left.  This will stiffen up our weak spot and give HJK more to worry about.

The video moment for the players to study must surely be Georgios Samaras cross for the first Celtic goal.  In case you missed it, the cross evaded the first defender.  In this respect it was quite stunning and contrasted markedly to what was going on across on the right wing for most of the evening.

Early Player of the Year tip: Adam Matthews.  Usain Bolt must be relieved our man is not a sprinter almost as much as Victor Wanyama is relieved he’s a footballer.

Our three raffles end at 19:10 TONIGHT!  For the sum of only £1 you stand a chance of winning a painting of Henrik Larsson mid goal celebration, Scott Brown inventing the Broony or a print of our manager in his playing days.

It has never been easier or cheaper to contribute to the concept of what our club is all about, go buy a ticket.

Martin Chambers of the Ecuador Trust was in touch this morning.  He said, “If you are able to help, the money will be used to fund the Soup Kitchen that we run each day feeding 150 of the poorest children in the shanty town – kids who would otherwise go hungry.  Hope to hear from you soon” (he means you).

Feeding kids who would otherwise go hungry.  Where have you heard that idea before?

The four beneficiaries are; The Haven, Cancer Respite Centre, Blantyre, Oscar Knox Neuroblastoma Appeal, Martin Chambers Ecuador Trust and Aberdour Primary School Parents Association.

For £1 you can win:

A celebrating Henrik Larsson painting.
A painting of Scott Brown in classic pose.
A Neil Lennon print.

What are you waiting on, do it now, there are only a few hours left! And after you have clicked on ‘buy a ticket’, DON’T FORGET TO PAY, as some people have. Just like social taxes, paying for your raffle ticket is NOT optional!

Click Here for Comments >

About Author

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. ...
  10. 18

  1. jude2005 is Neil Lennon \o/ on

    Could someone tell me why there are 2 different totals on the Oscar site. One says just over £51000 the other says just over £58000? In case someone asks me when they buy a W B.

  2. bubblegum ,



    glad you enjoyed it last night . Always happy for the tix to go to a good home when i can’t make it – hope mini-Sanna was helpful and polite – otherwise he’s sleeping in the coal-shed again.




  3. I have one plea to Lenny as this season starts.



    Stop playing the chosen few and start playing the best team.



    Moving players out of position to allow the favourites to play is folly.



    Victor is our central midfiel rock – play him there.


    Scott Brown is far more effective on the right – so play him there.


    Rogne is our best central defender – so play him.



    We had a converted left back and a midfielder at the back who were getting in each others way and it cost us.



    Also Garry hooper needs to be given a weight target and should not be played over that weight. A CF who makes near post runs would have scored 5 last night. Even the goal that Gary scored needed an inch perfect pass past defenders by Sammy for it to happen.



    Overall the signs were hopeful , we should have enough to go through – but in each of Lenny’s first 2 seasons we have started poorly – this year we need to start properly. When Rogne played in our great run we did not concede, he was taken off against Killie and we lost a stupid goal. Play him.



    Our gameplan is too predictable – get it wide and cross it centre forwards who are hopeless in the air – is that not a mistake ?



    We are close to a very good team but need to be ruthless on players who are over weight or are not the best in their positions to take us forward.




  4. Once we raised the tiempo in the second half after HJK scored they struggled to live with us. It must be noted the equaliser was a result of direct, incisive football where the ball was kept moving forward at pace not allowing HJK to organise defensively. Too often we stop moves and start playing the ball backwards and sideways spurning opportunities by allowing teams to get bodies behind the ball and reorganise. When you are playing teams of lesser ability it important to do things at pace, not let them settle and let your superior skills and technique shine through.


    If we can go over to Helsinki with a positive mindset and take the game to them I have no doubts we will score and at least get the draw required to take us through. I wasn’t too impressed with them however our defensive frailties were again all too evident but we should have too much for them. If we cannot take a lead over there and get through we don’t deserve to be in the Champions League anyway.

  5. pedrocaravanachio67 on

    philvisreturns on 2 August, 2012 at 12:36 said:






    dirty deeds done dirt cheap!!

  6. Forster


    Matthews Rogne Lustig


    Forrest Brown Wanyama Ledley Mulgrew






    McCourt,Samaras and Kayal as subs who MUST be used.

  7. Izzy is a fantastic athlete and immensely strong. He can add an extra dimension when we’re attacking.



    However, I’ve always been concerned about his defensive attributes. In his first season the strength and athleticism got him out of a hole on many occasions. This didn’t disguise his extremely poor positioning numerous times (ICT away, anyone?).



    Last night again saw him caught out of position although this was compounded by a lack of support in the left hand side.



    I’m yet to be convinced that left back is his best position.

  8. Paul 67


    another week under our belt and we should see off Helsinki , however as you pointed out, sometimes in their own midden, these outfits can and do raise their game.



    I am hoping that last night , the defensive team selection was based on the need to play the ball out from the back , hence the centre half pairing. However, I have seldom witnessed all of our defenders consistently over-playing the ball, wanting too many touches and on many occassions turning into trouble.



    Normal football rules apply that if you are doing that at the start of the season then you are headed for trouble.



    I would hope that the defensive ghuys over-playing the ball was just ring rustiness, we must defend properly and that means playing our positions and moving the ball out quickly. On a special note , re Izzy , he seems to randomnly come forward which gives a potentially covering midfield player (Sammi or Joe) very little opportunity to fill-in….. a vital time for Izzy the next 2 months , he looks as though he has lost his mojo and can’t do anything right.



    Next week, I would play centre halves in the middle of defence , Thomas and Micheal , with Chas replacing Izzy at left back. Victor shuffles to midfield , Broony our right , and Sammi lone striker…….



    It seems to me that we were being too clever by half playing KC up / in the hole , as the rest of the team could not find him. so we should revert to either a straightforward 442 or 541.



    A real cause for concern / debate is our centre forwards inability to be nuisances to the opposition defence and to make runs and offer to take the ball in to feet and turn the defence or draw a foul. Admittedly , this is the hardest position on the park, however as Hoops can’t do this , the ball spends all its time going from side to side, we need a more direct threat through the middle, which I believe we should get next week with 541.



    team selection:




    Adam Micheal Thomas Chas


    Scott Victor Joseph Kris James





    Chas has instructions not to cross the half way line, with Victor covering when Adam breaks forward , Kris and James to provide support to George.



    2-0 to the good ghuys.

  9. JJ:



    I think its nexus 6 grass at paradise…ask Philvis, he’ll know all about it.



    Off to drink some kestrel and walk the devil dug.

  10. Eyes Wide Open on

    Seville67 on 2 August, 2012 at 12:54 said:



    Bang on the money.



    Wee Forrest is still young, lets acknowledge that fact with which peaks and troughs in form comes with the territory, instead of making him indispensible.



    We need a tactical coach full stop.



    Progress in our play (not including the personnel) has not improved in the past 12-18 months.



    We need someone to coach our players in how to be like what comes naturally to the likes of a Kris Commons – give players the freedom to move into space when they see fit and coach players in how to cover.

  11. Team for 2nd Leg




    Matthews Lustig Mulgrew Ledley




    Brown Kayal Commons Sammy Hooper



    Izzy was a weak link last night, most of their play came down that side. Think that line up would be more than capable of keeping things tight and stealing an away goal

  12. traditionalist88 on 2 August, 2012 at 12:41 said:



    Whereas Scott Brown has a passion, drive and will to win that Paddy can only dream of.



    In terms of winning I know who I’d keep. Entertainment wise it’s a different story.



    The manager can only pick the team based on what he sees and hears from training. Perhaps the route of Paddy’s non-selection lies there.



    No sign of any packing up activities at his house.

  13. bankiebhoy1 on 2 August, 2012 at 12:47 said:


    Paul 67,



    Trying to buy a ticket for the Henrik painting but it wont let me…………..keep getting an error message regarding postage………..



    Any advice?





    same here, I just added 0.01 on the “postage” box that appears under the message

  14. Afternoon, we could have should have won by more, loosing a poor goal will make it interesting next week.!!!



    For next week I would go solid with 5 across the midfield with Victor moved in to midfield along with Scott, Joe and Biryam with Kris playing of Sammi. Then play Thomas or Mikael at the back with Charlie, full backs the same.



    Gary and James can be used of the bench to replace Kris and Sammi , simples

  15. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Kano 1000 on

    Good Afternoon,



    Reading back…… I agree…. I agree with all of it… every last sentence.



    Whilst Celtic are a huge club… they are a small club….. they can’t afford to play top class wages, can’t attract the top flight players, can’t get the best advertising revenue, the best televison deals and the best sponsorship.



    In fact… they are just not the best at anything… and that spells FAILURE!!!



    And we shouldn’t put up with failure now should we?



    No– No way…. Jose!!!



    The entire model needs changed.



    So Let’s get rid of the PLC idea altogether. Completely undo wee Fergus’ plan to enfranchise the support at least in some way, and get the club into the hands of a sugardaddy who will plough in the Billions a la Obramovitch!



    DD will do he has the money.



    This plan worked for Celtic before when the club was run as a family fiefdom by the Kelly’s. the Whyte’s and the Grants etc.



    As you will know from history, there were many who thought that these families “stole” Celtic from the people when the original company became incorporated. Celtic effectively came into private ownership at that time, on the basis that being a limited company would “protect” the committee men who would be personally liable for any losses that arose… and that was true… that was.. and still is … the law with unincorporated football clubs.



    The only thing is that when Celtic incorporated it had a very healthy positive bank balance and so no one was in any danger whatsoever….. but hey…. scare a few non wealthy and possibly none too well educated folk into submission and walk of with the club being owned by just a few.



    So with that in mind… anyone want rid of the PLC… anyone want to step up and be personally responsible for any debts that arise…. now remember..we need big signings.. we need to spend big money— for which you will be responsible if it goes pear shaped and the results don’t go the right way.



    All investments can down as well as up– you have been warned– could be your house is on the line etc.. and yer pension!



    Anyone for personal responsibility?






    Well, let’s keep the company then and as I said earlier, let’s get some rich sugar to come and buy all the shares and have sole say on what is spent or not. Hopefully a good footballing man, or even a big Ltd Co with lots of mullah– preferably with a Celtic connection– but that is not essential as long as they splash the cash.



    Mind you, they could always get bored and walk away eventually, or go bust


    ( Sir David Murray anyone? ) or they could even just be like the Kelly’s etc. Sir Bob dies, relations with Stein deteriorate, a gradual decline and then hey ho we are looking for a Fergus again because we are bust.



    Don’t worry though, there will still be a Michael Kelly type sipping champagne in the car park and all that … despite any old crisis.



    No we want to splash the cash, to ensure Champions League football– we want the calibre of player that really makes a difference and guarantee’s Champions League football– Centre Halves and Centre Forawrds?– we want the likes of a Puyol, a Ronaldhino, Et’o, Deco, Saviola,Motta etc in their prime… Or an Owen or a Stevie Gerrard…. or the Kevin Kuranyi’s, and Alexander Hleb’s of this world…. except… eh…….



    We met all of these guys in the UEFA Cup or the Europa Cup because they… well didn’t cut it in the ol Champions League like…….



    Well anyay…splash the cash… who cares if you are dependent on some foreign mega millionaire type… and who really gives a shit if we don’t make the Champions league…. I mean come on be honest— I know no one likes to admit it but it is true!



    Seville was CRAP……….



    Yeah Rubbish… total bollocks…. as Graham Spiers said yesterday, it is a poor apology of a second ranked competition….. nobody really enjoyed going to Stuutgart or Vigo or Liverpool or Blackburn and when Henrik scored against that Boavista mob everyone thought ” Aw naw are we gonny hauv tae go tae anither game?,,, I wanted to go to Dunoon that week! This is Pish!”



    I think if we end up playig Europa league football at any time this year we should just boycott it altogether– play bowls or go watch Duntocher Hibs or someone instead cause it is rubbish!



    No splash the cash…… get someone in who will attempt to get punters in for Millions of pounds a year.. like Andy Andy Carroll or Peter Peter Crouch—– £150,000 a week each that’ll get us going for a couple of years,



    Put the season tickets up to £1,500 a season to sort of balance the books, and make one stand all corporate… that’s the style that mary sat on! That’s the very boy for us!



    Why not change the name of the club too—- Wallmart would give us a few quid… Pepsi United……. Distillers Rovers…… Garmpian Holdings Athletic City…….Microsoft Munchengladbach Caledonian Celtic Pension Fund Tigers……


    Cash For Gold Speculate to Accummulate Eurochannel Moneybags Argyle —we could even offer to put the word “The” in front of the name just to be different.



    Get rid of the youth system– it costs too much– sell off the charities division to Oxfam — borrow more money than Barca and Madrid put together— get Drogba back from the Chinese– we will double their £250,000 per week– that’s only £25 Million a year………



    Players like him won’t mind Ross County on a dark wet night in February… they only play for the money anyway— they are not interested in playing in Seville, or Mucinch, or Rome or any of these big European leagues and they won’t mind a trip or two to the tail o’ the bank when we draw Morton in the league cup.Don’t believe that is hard to attract players to Scottish Football they will come if you splash the cash….. even if their Mrs won’t and they will want a break from their kids anyway.



    No– change the model— change the business— ditch the board—— change everything…….. If we can get more money to play in Pink and yellow strips— ditch the Green and White too……



    Revolution at every stage………



    You know it makes sense!!!

  16. Paulsatim……….tried that, wont let me add anything in for postage just says local pick up in Aberdour



    pity, I wanted to contribute.



    thanks anyway.

  17. traditionalist88 on




    We all have the passion, drive and will to win, but we’re not all made the Celtic captain.



    You’re right about team selection being based on training etc- my point was, why give Paddy 4 minutes at all then?



    Either give him a proper chance or make your mind up once and for all and sell him.



    Unless of course it was a time wasting exercise…surely not?




  18. The bould b`hoys..... Tá ár lá anois..!!! on




    Sorry I didn’t get back to you yesterday to say Thanks. Had intended to reply en route to the game on the mobile but couldn’t get logged in.



    hail hail

  19. Jungle Jim on 2 August, 2012 at 13:03 said:



    Don’t worry he is just a little (Roy) Batty……it has always been so since his inception…..and he does dream of electric sheep…..



    One of the greatest movies of all time!!

  20. ROW Z - Let Celtic Flourish by the Cleansing of the 'den! on




    posting from a very hot Italia.



    Lone striker next week is Sammi with commons playing off him. Midfield is the key. Joe left Vic and Kayal mid and Broonie right. IMHO.



    Took in Napoli v Bordeaux last night.



    Napoli played defensive first half then offensive second. Both sides passed and moved fluently with very little across the field. Bordeaux should have been three up at half time but went in one down to an excellent counter and only shot from Napoli.



    Napoli could have won by four or five second half. In terms of pass and move forward quickly we are well behind both of these avrage sides.



    Very impressed with Napoli CB. Giving away a few inches he fought for and won most balls. I thought he must be a seasoned pro til he turned round and I realised he could be no more than nineteen.




  21. bankiebhoy1 on 2 August, 2012 at 13:15 said:



    wont let me add anything in for postage just says local pick up in Aberdour



    I added in 0.00 to postage and it let me complete purchase

  22. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on




    I can explain my earlier post better in song




    The SFA were afraid, they were petrified


    Kept thinkin’ our only reason for living has how gone and died


    So they spent so many nights thinking how to scrape along


    And we grew strong


    As we knew it all along



    You think your back from outer space


    You are a permanent embarrassment and a perpetual disgrace


    Now you will soon be under lock


    And they will throw away the key


    If you thought for just one second you’d be back as RFC



    Go on now, go walk out the door


    Just turn around now


    ‘Cause you’re a cheating filthy whore


    Weren’t you the one who tried to tell us we would die


    Did you think we’d crumble


    Did you think we’d lay down and die


    Oh what a lie, We will survive


    For as long as we know how to love, we know we’ll stay alive


    We’ve got all our lifes to live


    And we’ve got all our love to give


    And we’ll survive


    But you have died


    Hey, hey



    It took all the strength I had not to fall apart


    From laughing so hard at your attempts for a fresh start


    And you spent oh so many nights just feeling sorry for yourself


    Your used to crying, but we hold our heads up high



    And we see you, somebody new


    We´re not that chained up old firm club in financial cahoots with you


    And so you felt like dropping in and thought it a formality


    But now your savin’ all your lovin’ and hope to play in divsion 3



    Go on now, go walk out the door


    Just turn around now


    ‘Cause you’re history´s no more


    Weren’t you the one who tried to tell us we would die


    Did you think we’d crumble


    Did you think we’d lay down and die


    Oh what a lie, We will survive


    For as long as we know how to love, we know we’ll stay alive


    We’ve got all our lifes to live


    And we’ve got all our love to give


    And we’ll survive


    But you have died


    Hey, hey



    Go on now, go walk out the door


    Just turn around now


    ‘Cause you’re a cheating filthy whore


    Weren’t you the one who tried to tell us we would die


    Did you think we’d crumble


    Did you think we’d lay down and die


    Oh what a lie, We will survive


    For as long as we know how to love, we know we’ll stay alive


    We’ve got all our lifes to live


    And We’ve got all our love to give


    And We’ll survive


    But you have died


    Hey, hey




    Do you understand now ? ;-)



    HAil Hail

  23. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Kano 1000 on 2 August, 2012 at 13:14 said:



    Now you’re just being facetious :))



    Excellent post!



    Hail Hail

  24. traditionalist88 on 2 August, 2012 at 13:16 said



    I agree that 4 minutes is slightly pointless. Perhaps it’s was time extension rather than time wasting. Remember the ref’s supposed to add 30s for each sub, and we nearly scored after 8s at the start :)

  25. The Honest Mistake loves being first on

    Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Kano 1000 on 2 August, 2012 at 13:14:



    …and for goodness sake spend the Seville money!!!

  26. lennon's passion on

    Paul mentioned Izzy yesterday. Leaves to much space cost us the goal but wouldn’t drop him. He was in 8m to10 million quid mark before his injury. Needs a run in team to get cofidence back.


    Thought we blow hot and cold last night. One point in the second half we played a good move down the right. Cut inside quick one-two. Only for 2 Celtic players banging into each other in the box. Then half the crowd shouting for a penelty summed up the night really.


    Hope we finish the job next week we are the better team just need to MAN up and get the job done.

  27. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on



    “So Let’s get rid of the PLC idea altogether. Completely undo wee Fergus’ plan to enfranchise the support at least in some way, and get the club into the hands of a sugardaddy”



    that is exactly what happened the “sugardaddy” stopped further support enfranchisment and ate all the sugar, then told us theres no sugar left for us.

  28. traditionalist88 on

    The bould b`hoys..Tá ár lá anois, No bother at all chief:)



    Hamilton Tim, you’re probably right



    Weeminger, that could be an interesting ploy, sometimes the officials seem to pick a number out of thin air to add on and don’t appear to take account of the fact both teams make 2/3 subs!




  29. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on



    there is no good writting to the sfl, they are party to fraud.


    You need to be on tho Company House

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. ...
  10. 18