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Cautious optimism with one weak spot

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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. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Kano 1000 on

    Luxicelt

     

     

    I am not sure there is a dip in season ticket sales at all– last night I was told that they had increased!!!

     

     

    Celtic Mac

     

     

    Lol– no I am not Peter Lawell in disguise… I look more like a cross between Eric Morecambe and Tommy Cooper!

     

     

    As for cheering the team on and kicking every ball etc– good on you.

     

     

    As an aside, how many people sit and have a convesration during the game– about golf, or moving house, or where to go at the weekend? I speak to no one while the game is going on– not even my son sat next to me– unless it is about a move or something and even that is rare– simply because i am engrossed.

     

     

    Am I alone in that?

     

     

    Anyway– Celtic Mac— no I am all for supporting the team– and the team is not restricted to the 11 on the park or even the playing staff– the team is everyone who works for the club.

     

     

    I repeat there are things of a corporate nature I don’t agree with and others that I do. I think Celtic as a whole miss a trick or two and I think there are things that they could do better— all I am saying is that the Mowbray experiment cost us money that continued after he left, that not all players work out ( as anyone knows ) that big earners like Juninho and Freddy sometimes don’t work out and others like Bellamy and Keane do ( to an extent ).

     

     

    MON put together a team that comprised of signings from way back and included people brought in but Barnes, Venglos, Jansen and even before,, and even then there are those who will argue that that team should have achieved more…. now that is not an unreasonable argument— but was it the board’s fault, the players fault, MON’s fault…. and at the time did we, the fans, see it that way and actually care?

     

     

    The bottom line is this– do Celtic have a coherent player plan stretching over the next 3-5-7 years? If so– is it working? If Not– why not? If it is– then why change it? If it is not- who do you change? The management? The Board? The Director or equivalent of football who came up with the plan and sold it to the board and the football management?

     

     

    Presmably if Neil thinks he is not being backed he will do what MON did at Villa and walk away?

     

     

    And if I had all the answers to all of that I would tell you what the winning lottery numbers would be for Friday… or maybe I would just keep that info to myself right enough!!

  2. Auld Neil Lennon heid on

    LuxCelt on 2 August, 2012 at 14:15 said:

     

     

    Funny I’m soon to become an overeas watcher and for that reason have not renewed my SB. However I have suggested to Celtic a way that I could put a bum on my seat using what I would have paid had I not been absent.

     

     

    My support for Celtic is not uncritical although I do try to inform myself before making a judgement and am aware there is much I do not know.

     

     

    Nor is unconditional as I could not have continued to support if Rangers had been given an SPL place (that for me personally would have been taking advantage of my love for Celtic to accept being cheated), but, taking the entity that is Celtic as a whole its ethos, the folk who support it, etc, I think it is one worth preserving in a world lacking such values.

     

     

    But it all depends on how we see Celtic and what we think we are supporting. and if it is only a footballing team whose play pleases us, we like any customer not happy with the product can of course go to where we are satisfied.

  3. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on

    Gordon J..,

     

    agreed, but everyong knows the buzz a new signing brings to players and support alike.

     

    Spending a bit of money shows the support their money is being used to improve the team, rather than improving corporate facilities.

  4. NEIL Lennon was glad to see competitive football return to Celtic Park on Wednesday night as his side took on HJK Helsinki in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League third round qualifying tie.

     

     

    And the manager was delighted with the backing his team received from first minute until last, with Paradise packed full of supporters.

     

     

    “It was a great atmosphere and I can’t thank the fans enough,” the manager said today. “They really got behind the team, even when we went a goal down, and they rallied the players who responded magnificently.

     

     

    “There was never any anxiety coming from the stands. Our fans stayed with the team and the team responded to that. And I’m hoping we can proceed in Europe for the supporters more than anybody else because they enjoy the European nights and it’s always great to have it here at the club.

     

     

    “We got off to a great start but just couldn’t put the ball in the net. We dominated large chunks of the game and to a goal down was a real blow but the players showed tremendous character. We played well. They did everything we asked of them.”

     

     

    And ahead of the second leg in Finland next Wednesday, Celtic play host to Aberdeen this Saturday lunchtime on the opening day of the new SPL season.

     

     

    The game has a 12.45pm kick-off, and ahead of the match, the league flag will be unfurled at Paradise by Celtic legend, Sean Fallon. Flag day at Paradise is always a great occasion, and it’s one that supporters won’t want to miss.

     

     

    “I hope it’s a full house,” said the manager. “It’s a celebration of what went on last season. We haven’t had it here for a while so it’s a great way to open the season, and hopefully the players can put on a good performance for all our fans.”

  5. SonsOfErin on 2 August, 2012 at 14:13 said:

     

     

    I think we could see some sort of surreal Daliesque scenario where the Orcs will claim they are a Newco when it comes to any financial liabilities incurred by the Oldco in order to evade any costly responsibilities to creditors.

     

    Then they will be Oldco when it comes to retaining the titles, cups and their all so “glorious” history.

     

    We are seeing this Alice and Wonderland storyline being dramatized right now and sponsored with the tacit consent of the MSM- yes we know it was inevitable despite it possessing the status of nothing more than a bizarre connivance desperately cooked up by the denying hordes. This is why FPLG is twirling his nipple hairs over the stripping of titles and reacting to it like a half crazed frontier man raging against the encroaching of the law.

     

    But we all know that in the real world you cannot have your cake and eat it. Despite what the Orcs believe nothing in life is free, everything comes at a price: the delinquents will have to accept accountability of the EBT/double contract transgression if they want to keep their tainted history.

     

    You cannot have the rose without the thorns.

  6. The Honest Mistake loves being first on

    Celtic Mac on 2 August, 2012 at 15:14 said:

     

     

    No, they are not mutually exclusive, the difference is I am not a cheerleader for the Board, never have been come to think of it.

     

    I have yet to see anyone on this blog that displays the kind of blind faith in the board that brought about the birth of sevco.

     

    The term board cheerleader is a fallacy. It exists only as an insult.

  7. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    We let go 2 1st team CB’s and Mark Wilson go. Decisions that were made a while back. The CB we wanted unfortunately injured himself yonks ago. Kelvin Wilson has shin splits. Thomas Rogne never made the 1st team last night. Charlie Mulgrew is not a CB nor is Wanyama nor is Lustig.

     

     

    Please debate how this is an acceptable situation for a prospective CL team.

     

     

    I look forward to hearing the eloquent and logical conclusions that diva demanding me cannot comprehend.

     

     

    HH

  8. Auld Neil Lennon heid on

    Celtic Mac on 2 August, 2012 at 15:14 said:

     

     

    I have never understood the notion of being unhappy about what other are earning, especially if I am in no position to change it.

     

     

    I wish there was a bit more clarity on what the bonuses are awarded for since that would tell us what the objectives are and if we agree with them, but being unhappy about what others are using their God given talents to earn is a recipe for a dish of discontentment I have no wish to taste.

  9. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Good to see the blog back discussing Celtic, whether you agree or disagree with points of view posted,without the personal abuse aspect,which creeps in now and again…….

     

    cuevoguepuntercsc.

  10. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on

    BRT&H..,

     

    quick question if you will, you appear to be very knowledgable in what I havve to ask.

     

     

    Do you have shares in Celtic Plc or Celtic FC Ltd

  11. ASonOfDan on 2 August, 2012 at 15:09 said:

     

    Just been sent a text that premiersports are showing last night’s game as free view today from 5:00.

     

     

     

    Cheers bud.

     

    Sky+ set.

  12. Son of Gabriel on

    please god tell me someone is watching the judo final on here. I cant get it cos I’m at work and Gemma Gibbons is in final of the womens Under 78Kg

  13. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Kano 1000 on

    Canamalar

     

     

    I think you know the answer to the question– I have shares in neither.

     

     

    My dad, god love him, has shares in the PLC having bought them when first offered by Fergus.

     

     

    Why do you ask?

  14. son of gabriel,

     

    dont think the final is for anothrt 20 mins or so,

     

    got the telly on ,will keep you informed

  15. Son of Gabriel on

    Nevermind, it starts at 4.

     

     

    Back to Celtic.

     

    I still say we should just have faith in Lenny and hope we can turn on the style at the weekend so we go into next week with more confidence.

  16. BRTH

     

     

    It is not so much a revolution we need, we had one back in 1887, but we do need a new paradigm, a new way of looking at things. No point pretending that we have negotiated a deal (in London if reports are to be believed) that benefits Celtic FC when in effect it penalises the support that we are both part of. If I spot a tall guy wearing a fez, and skewed glasses, on Saturday I’ll know it’s you!

  17. Son of Gabriel

     

     

    Gemma Gibbons was disqualified, after tripping on the edge of the floor mat as she entered and accidently stuck the nut on a judge.

     

     

    Sorry bud…

  18. BRTH,

     

     

    Excellent article. Too, too many folk don’t want to accept our situation. They blithely blame Peter Lawell (I presume because they read the DR or listen avidly to SSB) for all our woes. Imo, they are as bad as the supporters of yon deid team fae Govan. Naw, that’s rubbish but you know what I mean.

     

     

    Class players won’t come to Scotland, even if we could afford to pay them (which we can’t).

     

     

    The best we can hope for at the present is a level playing and that all the teams in the SPL, in particular, try and play football. Then maybe our players’ talents will thrive.

  19. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on

    BRT&H,

     

    gladly its not what you suspect :o)

     

     

    I am seriously interested in who owns the shares of Celtic FC Ltd. as the enfranchisement you mentioned does not appear to have happened, owning shares in Celtic Plc while a selected few own the shares to Celtic FC Ltd is not what most people thought they were buying into.

     

    Hopefully I’m wrong, but any idea who actually own the shares of Celtic FC Ltd

  20. •-:¦:-•** -:¦:- sparkleghirl :¦:-.•**• -:¦:-• on

    ParkheadcumsalfordwhoisNeilLennonand PaulMcBrideandTrishGodman on 2 August, 2012 at 15:37 said:

     

    Class players won’t come to Scotland, even if we could afford to pay them (which we can’t).

     

     

     

    But just as the generally dismal scottish climate means that we all really appreciate the nice days when they come, that general fact means that when we get a gem (a Henrik or a Lubo) we appreciate them much more.

  21. James Forrest insists Celtic will not look to simply defend their 2-1 lead against HJK Helsinki when they travel to Finland next week for the second-leg of their Champions League third qualifier.

     

     

    Hoops boss Neil Lennon was not disappointed with his side’s performance against the Finns at Parkhead last night but the goal conceded just after the break, before they stormed back with counters from Gary Hooper and Charlie Mulgrew, means their hopes of reaching the play-offs are in the balance.

     

     

    However, the Celtic winger, at the club’s Lennoxtown training ground to promote the club‘s Clydesdale Bank Premier League opener against Aberdeen at Parkhead on Saturday, believes attack will not just be the best form of defence in the return leg, but the only option for the attack-minded Scottish champions.

     

     

    “The type of players we have got, we will go out to attack and look to score some goals,” said Forrest.

     

     

    “I don’t think we can sit in, we will be attacking and look to nick a goal or two.

     

     

    “I think they will be different over there next week.

     

     

    “But last night was our first competitive game and with the way we played and the chances we created, we can take a lot of positives out of the game.

     

     

    “We thought we played well and we are just looking forward to next week now.

     

     

    “It was obviously disappointing to concede the goal but we can take a lot of credit for the way we came back from 1-0 down to win 2-1 so we are happy with that.”

     

     

    Forrest, 21, missed the tail end of last season with an ankle injury but is looking forward to see the SPL flag unfurled before the game against the Dons.

     

     

    He said: “I’m back to full fitness now and I played most of the games in pre-season so I am feeling good.

     

     

    “It was obviously a really good season for me and the team, although the last three months wasn’t the best for me.

     

     

    “But I am over that now and want to get on with the new season.

     

     

    “We will have the fans behind us on Saturday and hopefully get them the three points.

     

     

    “Aberdeen are a good team, they gave us a hard game every time we played them last season so it will be the same on Saturday.”

     

     

    With Old Firm rivals Rangers playing in the Irn-Bru Third Division this season, Celtic are overwhelming favourites to retain their SPL title.

     

     

    Forrest admits he would relish drawing the Ibrox club in one of the cups, saying “All the boys want to play in Old Firm games so if we did get them (in the cups) it would be good.”

     

     

    However, he dismissed the prospect of the championship turning into a procession for the champions.

     

     

    “You can’t think like that,” he said. “The league isn’t even started yet.

     

     

    “We are just really focusing on ourselves and we want to make sure we win the league again and get into the Champions League again, that is the most important thing.

     

     

    “I think there are four or five teams up there who will look to challenge us so I think it will be a competitive league.”

  22. Sorry but the hard earned money some of us invest in Celtic at the moment is like a having a Colour telly Licence and your only getting black and white pictures

  23. A consequence of the former team from Govan not being in the SPL is that we will not spend any money. There is no need. The priority is the SPL and we have more than enough talent to win that already. I don’t think 2-1 is enough to take to Finland. The club knew that we were short of a CH and have done nothing about it. Someone should have been signed and made ready for the qualifier last night. We are not good enough to keep Helsinki from scoring so we are going to need at least 1 goal. We were schooled to expect to beat these teams by significant margins and that should not have changed regardless of our budget. I know it’s still night and day compared to theirs.

     

     

    Who is responsible for coaching our players? With all due respect to Neil and Johann, they are not good enough coaches to make a difference. Have we used the funds saved when we fired AT to bring in new blood to the coaching set up? If the club don’t want to invest in players, at least make the ones we have better.

  24. I struggle to see how we’re going over the same ground here, and have the same arguments hashed out. I’ll put in my two cents, for what it’s worth.

     

     

    We have fixed costs, and we have variable costs. The same as any business. Fixed = stadium, policing, staff doing the pies and so on. Main variable cost = players’ wages. We can cut back or invest on players’ wages according to our income, but we can’t change the cost of the stadium. We know that the stadium is expensive to run, we know this because we have all read Paul’s articles taking about how Sevco will find it near impossible to fund a season at Ibrox on the income levels that they have (or rather, don’t have). 50,000 seats do not come cheap, so the larger stadium of Celtic park isn’t going to be much cheaper. Now, if we know that we can’t decrease the cost of that stadium, and we know that our income has fallen, or at the very least is extremely uncertain thus far (see Paul67’s and Peter Lawwell’s statements on season tickets for one such indicator, plus the decrease in commercial take up that will have gone along with the two home Rangers games), then can we not put two and two together and see that any money that does come in has to be able to fund the running costs of the stadium first, before we can spend money on players? (As an aside on this point, I am keen for us to move as far as possible to a low weekly salary but high win/appearance bonuses. This means we have less risk on us as a club if something doesn’t work out. The only problem is of course compensating the player for the extra risk that he takes on, means that a win/appearance bonus must be really quite high, and therefore would cost us more over the course of a contract if the player comes good.)

     

     

    Point two, Peter Lawwell’s bonus. It’s an old favourite on this site and is brought up over and over. Yesterday I read someone refer to it as EPL sized, and today I read about it being in “millions”. Do people know what size it really is? Do people know what an EPL size bonus is for comparison? I don’t doubt that some do, but I’m willing to bet an awful lot don’t, and are getting swept away by lazy journalism and calling it “pure billions by the way”. For the record, it’s not. For the record, the Annual Report states that the maximum award under the annual bonus scheme is 60% of base salary (capped at a maximum of £200,000 for Mr Lawwell – so in reality the most he can get at current salary levels is 40%. I know that’s a lot more than I personally get a bonus, and the vast majority of the population, but here’s what the FTSE SmallCap CEOs get: 100% of salary. AIM100 bosses? 100% of salary. I have no problem with people who are against his bonus or for it or anything in between, but for goodness sake, let us debate the facts, not the hearsay of the matter. We can debate about Celtic being smaller than the AIM 100 against the fact that Mr Lawwell’s role is a far higher profile than your average AIM100 CEO all day long, but please lets not talk about the millions he gets in bonuses, because it’s just not true.

  25. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Kano 1000 on

    Canamalar

     

     

    Ha ha– I didn’t suspect that you had any alterior motive– and am delighted to advise that not only do I not hold a share in Celtic PLC or Celtic FC Ltd— I don’t hold a share in any publicly quoted company at all— probably out of bloody mindedness, but mostly because I have never believed much in the share system and Mrs T put me off the idea of carpet baggers, sharetraders and general free loaders for life.

     

     

    I fully get, and indeed preach, the concept of Ltd Liability Companies but beyond that that is it.

     

     

    Good question though– just who owns what?

     

     

    Mmmmh– worth looking into.

  26. The Honest Mistake loves being first on

    mickbhoy1888 on 2 August, 2012 at 15:41 said:

     

    Sorry but the hard earned money some of us invest in Celtic at the moment is like a having a Colour telly Licence and your only getting black and white pictures

     

     

    A colour TV is wasted on people like you who only see in black and white.

  27. The Honest Mistake

     

     

    I know BRTH was using more than a little hyperbole to make his point, but from where I am sitting, (and used to be standing) he was still leading the cheers. And he is free to do so. I am sure he has been called worse, I know I have.

  28. The Honest Mistake @15:46

     

     

    Some times the black and white picture tells you a lot more rather than viewing everything through green tinted spectacles

  29. gordybhoy64 on 2 August, 2012 at 15:48 said:

     

    Golds for GB in shooting and canoeing

     

    ——————————————————

     

    Would be interesting if they shot holes in the canoes

  30. A five year Sky deal ties us into yet more failure- it really only benefits the other SPL clubs- a club with our worldwide support should be making more than a pathetic couple of million from a TV deal. Its actually an embarrassing insult to us as a club to be offered such a low amount of money. What will the technology be like in a few years time never mind five years from now? What will the possibilities be for clubs like ourselves- will we be in a position to independently empower ourselves in order to deliver our product on the pitch to paying customers via transformations in technology?

     

    Instead of clubs in Scotland collectively paying millions for players in fees and wages why don’t they organise the purchasing of media equipment such as cameras etc and start to develop their own autonomous company, separate from the mainstream outlets, to promote their product? The equipment can even be second hand or used and it may not be able to compete with Sky or ESPN initially but at least we would be making a start. Games could then be purchased via freeview and marketing similarly in North America and elsewhere- owning the means of production has to be the way forward for the SPL and its capacity to maximise TV revenues.

  31. Auld Neil Lennon heid on

    emsh on 2 August, 2012 at 15:45 said:

     

     

    Noo dont you start bringing facts into an argument, it jist spoils it. ;)

  32. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on

    BRT&H,

     

    my old man offers nothing but whithering looks at shareholders, as people who have bought into the great masonic rite.

  33. The Honest Mistake loves being first on

    Celtic Mac on 2 August, 2012 at 15:46:

     

    Never seen a board cheer on this blog yet, can anybody point me to an example?

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