Celtic eliminate two excellent teams from pot 4


Qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League is an astonishing achievement for a team seeded in pot 4.  You need only look around Europe to see how unforgiving this tournament is.  The champions of England and Europe are both out, while England’s reigning champions last year went out at the group stage (to Benfica).

Amid numerous predictions of a comfortable victory I suggested yesterday that last night’s Spartak game would be difficult.  What we now know is that Celtic eliminated two very good teams from this season’s Champions League.  Benfica took four points off us, by all accounts, were the better team in the Camp Nou and dominated Barcelona in the early part of their game in Lisbon.  They beat Spartak at home and pinned the Russian’s back into their own box for long periods of their game in Moscow.

This is the fourth time Benfica have faced Celtic and they have been eliminated on each occasion, always by the slenderest of margins.

Spartak finally got their act together last night under new boss Valery Karpin.  Reaction in Russia suggested this was their best game of the season, and that Emenike, who has seldom shown the appetite for the game, was playing for the attention of scouts.  They are a good team who enjoyed 60% possession away from home in Europe, although Celtic denied them genuine chances for most of the game.

Thanks for the great support for the CQN Annual. You can order online here!

Spartak and Benfica will both believe they could have done better in the group but we got further evidence of a few football facts from this campaign:

It is more important to prevent defensive mistakes than to create chances.

The margin of difference between a well-organised team at this level and the very best in the world is slim, especially if the above point is observed.

Possession is overrated as an indicator of progress.  Learn not to be stressed by it and to remain organised.

Discipline is an underrated indicator of progress.

I started Monday’s blog by saying, “Here is a prediction for you, Wednesday’s Champions League game at Celtic Park will not end with 22 players on the field”.  Spartak are a good team but they had a man sent off against Celtic in Moscow when in a winning position, then kicked everything that moved last night, culminating in a red card for an assault on Kris Commons.

Indiscipline is an expensive commodity.

Neil Lennon will now have time to review the several elements of this campaign which worked well and the few which didn’t.  Each tactical decision made was a risk but will have taught him things about his team.  We will be well prepared for the next round.

As for Georgios, what a performance.

Epilepsy Scotland have a Celtic ball with certificate of authenticity, signed by 12 Celtic players on the day of the Barcelona game which is available for auction by email.  The competition closes tomorrow (Thursday) at 20:00.  To win this fantastic piece of Celtic memorabilia email your bid to trusts@epilepsyscotland.org.uk.  The prize if for collection only, any postage required would need to be paid separately.  All funds raised will go towards Epilepsy Scotland.

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  1. Cumbernauld No 1 on

    Celtic have made nearly 30 million euros in guaranteed revenue from UEFA for their participation in the Champions League this season.



    Wonder if Charlie Green will still want to compare FINANCIAL RESULTS at the Year End – Think Not – STUPID HUNS.

  2. Paul67



    Hopefully Eminike was playing to impress our scouts!! I’m sure Efe could have a wee word with him.

  3. Would it be accurate to say that Celtic is the Champions League team featuring the most British players?



    I know ManU have a few.


    On another note,it would be interesting to know if KEVJUNGLE’s post re DU giving Charliebhoy ten days to pay upfront for tickets is true.



    Which they cannot do as they are skint.



    Hence his boycott.



    Would not surprise me in the least,so….



    LETS ALL LAUGH AT SEVCO!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I was quite relaxed at the game as I thought (like many others) Barca were one up. Found out with 20 mins to go the real situation, didny like that.

  6. From last article, No Philboy it was not a poor post, it was perfectly valid. A lad from the other side, who apparently a lot of the older CQN’ers know in real life, and who they vouch for as a real sound decent guy logged on to congratulate us on our win. Almost everyone on here welcomed him but one or two lads led by Izzy took exception to him posting and gave him a hard time.

  7. Paul67,



    yeah, your pre-match prediction was spot on. Impressive.


    Next round here we come.


    Anyone at all in the next round, as long as its Malaga!

  8. The Champions League group stage is a monumental contest played over six matches home and away, but after all that it is incredible how much is determined by the smallest of margins…



    Had Kris Commons’ penalty kick been 3 or 4 inches higher Celtic would be out of the Champions League now. But had Jordi Alba not scored that 94th minute goal in the Camp Nou, Celtic would have topped the group. (…although had that been the case I’m not sure Barca would have played their reserve team last night.)



    As it happens, Jordi Alba’s goal may have done us a bit of a favour!



    If we’d won the group our next opponents would be one of Real Madrid, AC Milan, Arsenal, Valencia, Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk or Galatasaray. And whilst the glamour of Real Madrid would have made for a great night at Celtic Park, we would expect they, and most of the others listed, to be too strong for Celtic.



    So, thanks to Jordi Alba we can look forward to facing one of Paris Saint Germain, Schalke, Malaga, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Bayern Munich or Manchester Utd.



    Of those I would only rate us as rank outsiders against Bayern Munich and Manchester Utd, with the remainder all beatable if we can play home and away with the same defensive focus as we did against Barcelona and we can convert at least one chance home and away. My preference would be for PSG or Malaga.





    Geezabrek-it’s the only Latin-sounding word I know!



    Coulds written SODIUM instead,but it would just look like one of my regular typos…..



    Bertie on SSN,fancies his chances against united.




  10. In the lead up to the match Kalstrom was on about how he was part of the Lyon Team that beat the huns 3-0 a few years back in Glasgow to put them out of the CL and how he was gonna do the same to Celtic. Looks like all he could achieve was put poor Commons out for a few weeks. Terrible challenge and it should not have been a second yellow but a straight red.



    That Spartak Team are another bunch of talented, but overpaid, posers Money is really ruining footballers.



    We don’t have that problem at Celtic of course, so bring on the next set of pretenders please :-)



  11. The Prince of Goalkeepers on




    I believe we will be at home for the first leg of the last 16 tie, and it is absolutely crucial that we keep a clean sheet; it would give us a great platform on which to build, regardless of who we are playing.

  12. Paul67 arrived home from Paradise and a fantastic night, to find the CQN annual waiting for me, well done on an excellent publication

  13. Paul67



    “An astonishing achievement” is absolutely spot on.



    Taking the quality of our squad and our financial position compared


    to others in the CL it really is astonishing.

  14. Pigalle



    Get the Germans though and you can be sure of getting a large allocation of Tickets as their grounds are all massive and they give away fans a big allocation. I’d love to see us play Schalke or Dortmund.



  15. From previous article….







    11:57 on 6 December, 2012



    I think the biggest impact of making the last 16 at least, will be the better quality of bosmans we can now approach to sign for us in the summer




    Hear, hear M8.


    Nobody, not even me would urge our leaders to burst the bank just for the sake of it


    ala – Thomas Graveason.


    But, I would urge our leaders to bring in a couple of players in an attempt to put some meat on the bones going forward ala – Ryan McGowanand his team mate Kovikavas and Dundee Utd’s Johnny Russell.


    Only saying


    Hail Hail

  16. In the CL, it seems that our players are playing at 100% capacity straining every sinew to cope with a pace and quality that one might think is beyond them. No wonder they are exhausted afterwards but you can’t ask for more.



    Lustig seems to be an exception in that he looks more comfortable than anybody else in the team. A super signing.

  17. Kayal33, forget Eminike. Match fixing past, poor reputation at Spartak. He is the opposite of a Celtic player.



    bunburybhoy, yes Georgios was not alone.



    Corkcelt, I missed the incident you referred to but can assure all readers Edward is a welcome and valued member of our community.



    CQN is open to all, we have no axe to grind with anyone.



    Tictaewin, thanks.



    The Prince of Goalkeepers, agree.



    lionroars67, excellent, thanks. Really pleased with the Annual.



    thetimrieper, progressing from pot 4 is a huge achievement.



    KevJungle, totally agree.

  18. Marti Sandino



    They is decent football teams and that would be a bit of a worry.



    Bayern …..scary…..



    Atmosphere and ticket allocation, yes, agreed.

  19. Bmcuw…i was just using the reference towards philvisreturns the other week to congratulate him on his remarkable podium record..;-)..



    Kayal33 provan sounded just like his old pal souness on ssn this am re penalty…im sure radio snide will be very complimentary of our achievements..not!!! HH.

  20. It’s just one of life’s coincidences and of no real import but it must pain the Benfica fans to see their team heaved out by a side wearing green and white hoops so reminiscent of the club 2 miles down the road from them.

  21. MickMacPaddyWhack on

    With the cash we have raked in via Champions League, why dont the board state right now that any tickets sold for the remainder of the SPL will be at £ 20 max, and that these monies will be put aside and the monies deducted from next years season ticket price.this could mean


    Better attended games, it is heartbreaking to see the half empty grounds.


    A lower priced season ticket might attract a few more people to buy one.


    Much as I ,and every other Celtic man have had a glorious time in the Champions League, our bread and butter domestic fare is in a very poor state

  22. Got a feeling it will be a German team next…



    Do the games fall during the winter break?



    Away to check..

  23. Manchester United would be fine by me, I love being condescended to then bitch slapping the perp.



    We should not listen to the SKY pundits bigging up the EPL, that’s their job ffs.



    I fancy Dortmund will go on and win the thing but we’ll make a great colourful final of it ;-)

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