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!

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  1. “The away goal is a blow, but it is not terminal, and I do feel we can score over there – if we have the belief in ourselves.” NL



    That has been the problem in Europe away from home for years, no belief.

  2. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    KILMARNOCK chairman Michael Johnston expects the Scottish Premier League to retain the bulk of its broadcasting income this season with ESPN set to follow Sky Sports in confirming their renewed commitment.



    Sky Sports announced earlier this week they would continue showing SPL games for at least five more years despite concerns that the loss of Rangers would herald the end of broadcasting deals.



    Scottish Football League clubs were told in a presentation by the football authorities in June that the SPL broadcasting value could be as low as £3 million a year if the new Rangers were voted into the Irn-Bru Third 



    But those fears appear to have been largely allayed. Sky and ESPN had a year to run on their existing £13 million annual contract but were due to sign a £16 million deal this summer.



    The SPL had to pay the SFL for rights to Rangers games, which will also be shown on Sky, but the value of the existing deal looks to have been retained.



    Johnston, whose club announced a six-figure sponsorship deal with Strathaven-based engineering firm QTS yesterday, said: “The good news for Kilmarnock is made even better by the news that Sky are going to carry on their five-year deal and I 
believe ESPN are going to carry on with their planned sponsorship as well.



    “This should all be voted on at a meeting of SPL clubs tomorrow and Dundee whom were always my preference over Rangers will formally become SPL members.”



    Johnston estimates the loss of two Rangers games will cost his club £300,000 but he does not expect a major loss in SPL 



    “There have been no announcements by the SPL on figures and details and hopefully that will be clarified on Friday but it is my understanding there will not be any significant reduction in broadcasting contract revenues,” he said.

  3. the squad NFL is building has been 2 1/2 years in the making and it lacks a quality centreback and forward. i am sure he knows this just as you and i do. but knowing something and being able to do something about it are two very different things. i hope we will be able to see someone of quality come in to fill both areas over the coming weeks, if its a choice give me a centreback.



    we have emptied lots of players (chavi, wilson, cha, o’dea, loovens, hooivel, dan, mcginn, towell, juarez and radmusson) we still have thompson, k. wilson, murphy and bangura taking up good wages for little input. i would be happy to see them move on if only to reduce the wages further. we are in a position to move on a midfielder without reducing the overall quality of the team.



    it looks like ki will be sold this summer for £7 million and i think that is very good business. if we manage to get into the cl as well then we should see both a centre back and forward signing. if its the EL, then i would guess we would be looking at a centreback, if there is no european football then i suspect we will go with what we have.



    for what it is worth we pay very good money compared to most other teams in european competition so we should be able to compete to a degree, although i accept we are still way back with regards the bigger clubs from the bigger leagues



    charlie’s best position is centreback and i dont think he has the pace to play left back against a decent quality winger. we know izzy can and with some game time will be our best leftback by a country mile.

  4. traditionalist88 on

    Neil canamalar Lennon



    Was hoping the slow realisation would dawn on them that by referring to them as the same Rangers, complete with history, their actions could be counter productive from a The Rangers point of view, in that BDO and HMRC might have something to say.



    Maybe I should keep quiet then and let events take their natural course…something has to give:)



    Btw was it you that mentioned the corporates booing the Green Brigade last night, were the GB winding them up?!




  5. Paul67



    Neither fullback did much in the way of overlapping their wingers last night, which I suspect was a directive from the manager (two banks of four in an attempt to avoid the away goal).As if to underline the point, their goal came when Izzy was too far advanced to in position to stop the cross.



    Joe Ledley man of the match for me. Both he and Brown did a sterling job in midfield, particularly as they were outmanned. Can’t say I share your opinion of Matthews, even though I’m in the minority.. Thought he did very well defensively, but lost the ball a number of times when attacking.



    Finally, it looks like we may have the Kris Commons early 2011 vintage this season. Thought he was superb.

  6. Auld Neil Lennon heid on

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



    Yup. If I could sumarise you in one word it would be “tempo”. when we got that right it all clicked.

  7. philvisreturns on

    Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo – Do you think the scaremongers will apologise? (thumbsup)

  8. BRTH



    Im sure your followers will lap up your recent article



    But for me you belittle a sensible discussion down to nonsense Your assertion is that because some people on here want some limited investment into our club then your argument is that we should sign Ronaldo and Puyol and have a sugar daddy owner like Abramovic Ridiculous!!!



    I have never ever seen anyone on this site making these stupid claims Why you feel the need to take other peoples valid imho views and magnify them to the ridiculous level only you will know



    For your info i put a post on yesterday highlighting the fact that our club has not NET spent over NL’s tenure Not a claim but a Fact



    I dont want my club to spend £7/8m on any one player but i do expect them to improve annually and to let players leave who are no longer useful to our club( which partly has happened this summer) and for our club to replace them with players who can improve us ( this clearly hasnt happened )



    Briefly we have taken in over £2m this summer and lost wages from Juarez Loovens Dan O’Dea etc probably about 75/85k per week and yet have only paid out £1m balance for FF



    So please lets have a sensible discussion on our ambition and financially and stop this MSM sensationalism you used in your last article My view is as valid as anyone else and I truly believe with all merchandise and season ticket sales we should be able to pay £3m for a striker to get us into CL group


    And no i dont think we can get Ronaldo for that amount but certainly get better than Stokes or McCourt

  9. paddybhoy1888 on



    Brilliant post. as per usual, can you drop me an email patmcg1888@aol.com


    intrested in your post yesterday to Kilbowe Kelt. Unfortunately don’t do twitter.


    Sheep stealers from Donegal(Newton Mearns branch) Cheers from Paddybhoy

  10. celticrollercoaster supporting wee Oscar on

    Lennon n Mc….Mjallby on 2 August, 2012 at 12:25 said:


    How many weeks are left for the Oscar pennies drive?



    Campaign officially finishes on 10th September. However you can start and stop at anything you choice







  11. shimmies33 on 2 August, 2012 at 13:59 said:



    how much do you think our revenues will be down over the next three years with the huns not being in the spl?

  12. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    philvisreturns on 2 August, 2012 at 13:56 said:







  13. celticrollercoaster supporting wee Oscar on




    A few of us are out after the Aberdeen game on Saturday for a few beers. Might be a good time to discuss tactics and choose the right team for next week :-)



    If you are interested in joining us, drop me an email at









  14. Auld Neil Lennon heid on

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



    Did Sidney Tim trip you over the edge? :)

  15. philvisreturns on

    shimmies33 – Ah, the old net spend.



    That takes me back to the days of biscuit tins and debt nutters.



    Good times. (thumbsup)

  16. The Honest Mistake loves being first on

    shimmies33 on 2 August, 2012 at 13:59 said:



    But for me you belittle a sensible discussion down to nonsense



    ….or for me, sensibly dismiss a nonsense discussion.

  17. !!Bada Bing!! on

    traditionalist88-Agree,the subs were baffling last night,Commons had come to life a wee bit then subbed.After our 2 goals,the tempo dropped slightly,I would have put Kayal on for Brown and Paddy for JF.

  18. philvisreturns on 2 August, 2012 at 14:05 said:


    A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men. (thumbsup)




    I concur.

  19. philvisreturns on

    voguepunter – Let us high-five to cement our newfound understanding. (thumbsup)

  20. Manicstreetteacher……….if you are lurking.



    Contact me via Paul and I’ll sort you out for 5 tickets.



    I’ve tried the link here but it wont let me check out.




  21. Kilbowie Kelt on

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



    You are not usually a man who resorts to the sledgehammer.


    You are not bad at it though.


    It may be just the tool for some of our misguided & dissatisfied brethern.

  22. Celtic40me @ 14:00



    No doubt when we bring out the DVD’s of us trouncing Hearts next season that will make up for the shortfall in our revenue

  23. !!Bada Bing!! on

    shimmies-I agree, we should have told a few guys at the end of season to move on.Create a market for Ki,then re-invest sensibly in a CB and a striker.NL said a couple of weeks ago he wanted 3 or 4 players in,we are not supporting him IMO.Exit next week will be a disaster,and guys should be held accountable.

  24. We have had Happy Clappers vs Mine Shafters, the ole Steven Fletcher now we have Net Spend.



    CQNers rolling back the years today.



    All we need is a James McCarthy or a January 2010 and we have the full set!

  25. traditionalist88 – Re the SFL and newco ‘history’ from earlier.



    I’m unsure if newco have negotiated to keep the old football/sporting history or whether newco/SFL are simply winging it because they don’t know what else to do or print. Either way I’ve stated before that newco would be better served by leaving the history behind. There’s two interpretations at play here, the legal and sporting status of the newco, and they are effectively mutually exclusive.



    A clear legal and commercial distinction has been made between oldco and newco, which means that no one can pursue the newco for oldco’s liabilities in the civil courts. Legally they’re a different entity, therefore for all oldco’s legal transgressions (such as tax owed) they can’t be touched.



    In a sporting context they’ve sought to retain the brand and history of the oldco, citing that they are the same club. Assuming this is ratified by the SFA (and not challenged by the liquidators) this has the unfortunate implication that they can be held accountable for all sporting transgressions made by the oldco. Therefore they will be liable for the 10 yrs of fielding ineligible players and any sanctions or fines imposed as a result. Plus any sporting party who feels aggrieved or disadvantaged by such transgressions can pursue action in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.



    It’s worth bearing in mind that CAS is established mainly for the pursuit and resolution of sporting transgression and adheres to the FIFA/UEFA rulebook, rather than the law of the land. Fielding ineligible players did not break any laws, it broke sporting rules.

  26. Auld Neil Lennon heid on

    shimmies33 on 2 August, 2012 at 13:59 said:



    I think the problem is that a £3M striker will not get us into the CL and the kind of striker that will would simply not join us even if we were prepared to stretch..



    £3m buys potential, not ready made finishers, well that is my opinion based more on feeling than fact.



    There is no co relation table between spend and the quality it buys in terms of individual players.



    Player wage inflation means that whilst the pay side went up the quality purchased did not, beef mince cost double or more and steak mince went off the menu.



    It would be great of the Soccernomics guys could provide a table showing players in their wage ranges so that realistic expectations could be established but without that it is all about opinion on forums and luck when you are actually signing someone.

  27. greenjedi on 2 August, 2012 at 11:35 said:



    – Yes – but we have offloaded 9 bodies, of whom 6 plus were on our wage bill. i am only advocating 1 or 2 buys, with the option to offload Ki afterwards, in the event that CL qualification is not secured. (ie – limited speculation, with Ki’s sale as a ‘hedging’ against failure).



    The dip in Season ticket sales alluded to by others is down (at least in part) to an unwillingness to improve the squad. Fans don’t want to be taken for mugs anymore. I am not a season ticket holder (overseas), but have not renewed my CelticTV subs, and not bought any merchandise yet. As far as i can see – we are showing a total lack of ambition – given the potential revenues (direct and indirect) from exposure to the Champions League.



    Incidentally – we would not be ‘alone’ in avoiding the recession at all – BSkyB just agreed a 3 BILLION deal with the neighbouring EPL – which was termed a ‘decent commercial increase’ – people are hiding behind both the recession and the huns situation as reasons for us to downsize. The global football market continues to grow, and we should be getting more aggresively involved. The allegedly weaker SPL this season should allow us to throw even more resources at both a european campaign, and also other potentially lucrative overseas ventures at carefully chosen times.

  28. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    By Ewing Grahame11:59PM BST 31 Jul 2012122 Comments


    He believes that comments emanating from Ibrox have whipped up a frenzy of hatred among a minority of supporters that have placed him and other SFA employees in danger.


    On Sunday, prior to The Rangers’ first competitive match at Brechin, the club’s chief executive, Charles Green, claimed that “bigotry” was one of the reasons behind the decision to refuse his new club direct admission to the Scottish Premier League.


    During the game, he applauded (on two separate occasions) while visiting fans chanted: “If you hate Stewart Regan clap your hands,” a gesture perceived by many to be a cynical attempt to pander to supporters who have proved reluctant to buy the season tickets necessary to fund the £7,000 weekly salaries of new signings like Ian Black and Dean Shiels.


    Green, in meetings with supporters’ groups, routinely refers to the SFA as “the enemy”. Raith Rovers director Eric Drysdale also received threats after being part of the SFA’s independent judicial panel which found Rangers guilty of bringing the game into disrepute in April.


    The SFA have already written to Green asking him to explain his comments about bigotry while Regan claims that Celtic fans also view him with suspicion over what they perceive as his bending over backwards in an attempt to catapult Rangers newco into the First Division.



    “It’s never easy when the police get involved and your work life and personal life start to become interconnected,” said Regan. “I’ve had the same conversations with police about people outside, police cars driving past outside my flat and so on. At times, that does make you wonder whether it is going to impact on your family and your personal life.


    “But it’s never once made me think about walking from the job. I remain committed to the job and will continue to give 100 per cent to implementing the changes.


    “When you start to get threat messages on things like Twitter and start to get emails and letters through the post that are uncomfortable, let’s say, then you have to listen seriously to what the police are saying.


    ‘We have had visits from the counter-terrorism unit – we make no secret of that – and I’ve had personal discussions with the police from the perspective of my own safety.”


    Disciplinary action may be taken against Green regarding his recent outburst and manager Ally McCoist also faces sanctions following his comments about the original judicial panel’s decision to impose a transfer embargo on the club.


    Celtic manager Neil Lennon also stepped into the row. Breaking off from preparing his team for Wednesday night’s Champions League qualifier with HJK Helsinki at Parkhead, he hit back at Green, saying: “The club have said that it is not worthy of response, so… I was golfing, I only read about it [on Monday] and I found it quite funny. He has only been here five minutes and he is calling us all bigots already.”


    Meanwhile manager Ally McCoist hopes to find out within the next 24 hours whether Craig Beattie will join Rangers.


    The Ibrox club have tabled an offer for the former Hearts and Celtic forward, who has been training at Murray Park.


    The Rangers boss faces a race against time to assemble a squad before a 12-month transfer embargo comes into effect on Sept 1.


    And he hopes to add Beattie to his list of captures after recruiting Ian Black and Dean Shiels and re-signing Andy Little.


    The kick-off for Rangers’ opening Third Division fixture at Peterhead’s Balmoor Stadium on Aug 11 has been brought forward to 12.45 so that it can be broadcast live by Sky.


    “It’s one of 15 SFL games that they will be showing live – and all of them will involve The Rangers,” said David Longmuir, the Scottish League’s chief executive.


    “We’ll have more details in the next couple of days.”


    Sky Sports have reached agreement with the Scottish Premier League to continue their coverage of Scottish football for at least another five years.


    Coverage of the SPL begins with Celtic v Aberdeen this Saturday, with a kick-off time of 12.45pm.


    Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports said: “We’ve supported Scottish football since we started, over 20 years ago, and have always wanted to continue that commitment.


    “Our viewers will see the SPL for five more years and our schedule includes the opening league match for Celtic.


    “We will also follow Rangers as they plot their way back to Scottish football’s top flight.


    “Clubs now have certainty over their income and exposure across the UK and Ireland and we look forward to the new season.”

  29. Charlie Mulgrew is a good centre half, not a left back. He can get away with playing left back against lower standard SPL players but even a Helsinki, whose right winger looked their biggest threat, would cause him problems. Keep Charlie at centre half and stick an extra central midfieler (Kayal or Vic) in which will allow Joe Ledley to cover for Izzy when he goes missing.



    A starting line up along the lines of





    Matthews Lustig Mulgrew Izzaguirre


    Brown Wanyama Kayal Ledley Samaras





    should be enough to see us through, with Commons, Forrest & Stokes in reserve if required

  30. BRTH



    Are you Peter Lawwell in disguise, because if are not you are doing a pretty good impersonation. Here is the way I see it. If Celtic could persuade 50,000 supporters to give/pay the club £1000 every year it would generate £50 million, or in other words the same amount Peter Lawwell will bring in this financial year. Nobody who has ever ran a club, or a team, would pretend it is easy, it isn’t, but they wouldn’t expect a £multimillion bonus for doing it. Peter Lawwell has condemned Celtic supporters, for the next five years, to kickoff times in places like Inverness, Dingwall and Aberdeen that only, only, a Corporate Board would welcome. Look, if you want to be a cheerleader for that self same Board feel free, I prefer to cheer the team on, always have, always will.

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