Quantcast

Celtic flattered Salzburg and AEK

240

When you are knocked out of Europe there is a hope that the victors go on to do well in the tournament.  Valencia overcame Russian fourth placed club, Krasnodar, in the Europa round of 16, but it took a 93rd minute goal to rescue what was an away goals elimination.  Less impressive that Villarreal, who walloped Russian leaders, Zenit, 5-2 on aggregate.

The consensus was that Salzburg were the best team we faced in Europe this season, but they were unable to overturn a 3-0 first leg deficit to Napoli.  Napoli are at a multi-decade peak, adrift of Juventus but comfortably ahead of all others in Italy, but still, when we faced Salzburg they looked strong enough to withstand an evening in Naples.

Valencia may yet make a late push for the trophy, but at this stage, it looks like we were beaten in Europe by teams with limited potential (and let’s remember, AEK lost all six Champions League group games).

Leipzig continue to occupy a Champions League qualification spot in Germany and will still be wondering what went wrong in the Europa League group stage.  That was a worthy scalp, but we flattered Salzburg and AEK.

Share.

About Author

240 Comments
  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7

  1. !!Bada Bing!! on

    D17- first couple of lines,i thought she was walking away…..back to the Easyjet uniform that she looks made for…

  2. As Mothers day approaches I usually post this …..Prepare yourself….

     

     

    MAMMY!

     

     

    By Matt Stewart ….Age – anyone’s guess!

     

     

    It was early April 1988, maybe five or six hundred miles north of Edmonton, not that far from Yellowknife in Canada’s North West territories.

     

     

    It was late and it was cold and I was unsteady on my feet, the wavering unusually not because of any over indulgence in booze, but because the ground under my feet was moving, slowly perhaps, but most definitely and disturbingly shifting beneath me.

     

     

    On closer examination, or as I termed it – skiting on my erse – it was clear that my ‘terra firma’ was neither ‘terra’ nor ‘firma’ . It was sheet ice and its stuttering progress and occasional whip-crack hinted that I was stranded on a small but nomadic glacier cutting a whorl of mother nature’s fingerprint through the elongating shadows and bedrock of the northern reaches of Canada.

     

     

    Of course as the old maxim goes……”There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes” ……and evidently any traveller, even a naive one, would be kitted for the most extreme of prevailing conditions.

     

    Being way ahead of ‘naive’ I knew I could rely steadfastly on my in depth experience of those early years’ navigating treacherous winter slides on hills and streets of Coatbridge. So surely I could face the sub-arctic tundra with a fearless smug satisfaction.

     

     

    Aye, the land of frozen whiteout, wolves and polar bears held no fears for me…..well possibly with the exceptions of wolves and possibly polar bears……. after all I had been to Airdrie in December.

     

    “Piece of pis*…I mean ‘cake’ ” I thought.

     

     

    Of course along with my undoubted expertise in this area, my confidence stemmed from the bravado of too many pints of Rickard’s Red earlier in the day, and the gauntlet thrown down, and accepted by me with some gusto, by an assorted company of hell’s angels, dope peddlers and winsomely attractive bar staff! (A bit like Sharkey’s….obviously not including the bar staff comment……”winsomely attractive” being a massive understatement of our own fair lassies’ beauty).

     

     

    **For those unaware of Rickard’s Red, it is the Canadian equivalent of anaesthetic used in extremis for open heart-surgery and possesses the additional side effect of making bearded women with whale bones through their noses and smelling of cuttlefish, appear winsomely attractive.

     

     

    Anyway having taken on the bet that I could spend a night in the ice flows, I kitted myself up appropriately and headed over the frozen wastes first by bus and then by a giant wheeled tractor onto the ice-covered meandering landscape. About an hour later, I was left on my own with the silhouette of the magnified jagged mountains cast by the almost permanent watery summer sun.

     

     

    This would be the first test of my professional Arctic explorer’s gear, familiar to all of you as Celtic trainers and Celtic training jacket. While they would undoubtedly have proven more than a match for even the worst of winters’ days in Glasgow, even while escaping from perilous encounters in Bridgeton, they did seem less than adequate as the soles turned to crispbread and the air temperature plummeted to minus 20 degs Celsius (I don’t actually know that it did plummet that low, but “effin freezin” doesn’t quite convey the reading on my body’s natural thermometer) with the prospect of even colder hours to come.

     

    Still with the prospect of the ‘cloud’ of my important bodyparts bouncing along the glacier to the tune of ‘doh a deer’, along came the proverbial’silver lining’ – At that latitude, at that time of the year, a short husky dash from the Arctic circle, the days tend to get longer until night becomes but a brief blink on the horizon as the sun takes a quick dip behind the distant bergs and then re-emerges within an hour or two with a cheery “Greetings campers…‘zippidy doo dah its morning again”.

     

     

    “All the better” I thought ” to see an approaching polar bear”!

     

    Ever the opTIMist or whit?

     

     

    So here I was….unprepared as always, stranded in the northern reaches of Canada for at least another eight hours before my transport arrived to take me back to warmer climes. But a bet is a bet and losing it was unthinkable. After all the forfeit was something to do with whalebones, bearded Inuit bar staff and cuttlefish oil.

     

     

    So as I scanned a full circle, suddenly realising that the local population of carnivores probably had even better eye-sight than myself, I felt the adrenaline rush and the expectancy of ‘Oh this is going to be another one of Matt’s fun-filled, foolish but farcical adventures”!

     

     

    Five hours later with a solar induced wind picking up, the wind chill pushed the mercury even lower ; I don’t know how far, but I was pretty sure that at least I was safe from ravenously hungry man-eaters. They were too sensible to be out in this wilderness.

     

     

    Somebody really should bottle ‘opTIMism” and sell it as a class ‘A’ drug!!

     

     

    Silence reigned! Nothingness reigned! I shouted; for no particular reason other than to hear myself shouting.

     

     

    Still silence!

     

     

    The syllables either disappeared off into the void or didn’t actually get past the tip of my nose, freezing instantly and fragmenting into whatever pattern disjointed word-icles make in virgin snow. (Word-icles are broken frozen words. Think of them as a bit like discarded broken wafers you used to get off the ice-cream man.)

     

     

    AND THEN…AS SO OFTEN IN DESPERATE TIMES BEFORE.

     

     

    “See you, will you never learn?” …

     

     

    “Who the **** said that” I shouted in my head, holding my nose and keeping my mouth shut so as the question didn’t fade into oblivion as well.

     

     

    “Your language is getting worse. Anyway how are you going to get out of this one? Will you never listen?”

     

    I recognised HER voice, the disapproving tone and sadly the logic of what SHE was saying. It wasn’t as if it was the first time that ma mammy had suddenly popped up in my psyche, always in times of dire straits, always in the middle of foolish bluster and ALWAYS when I needed HER most.

     

     

    SHE never ceases to amaze me (We’ll come on to the appropriateness of using the present tense a wee bit further on).

     

     

    Here I stood, teetering, vainly gripping the grip-less ice with totally unfit (but chic and cool for all the wrong reasons) footwear, while SHE was sitting back in Coatbridge about 4000 miles away, probably knitting, definitely having a cup of sugarless milky tea and even more definitely shaking her head and relating to her best pal Cathy Grant (Nee Gallagher) the mystery of ” how in God’s name can someone made from half of me” repeatedly enter the eye of the storm and instead of getting out of it as soon as possible, decide to poke that forbidding eye with a big stick….. just to see what it would do?

     

     

    Then tired out with the inexplicability of it all, SHE would no doubt interrupt “one plain, two purl and drop a raglan shoulder stitch” to close her eyes for a moment, say a prayer for me …….and 4000 miles away there SHE would be, beside me, holding me and inside my head doing HER damnedest to see that I would come to no harm.

     

     

    This however was going to the challenge of challenges.

     

     

    The portents were probably more unfavourable than ever and I thought SHE may have deserted me as I faintly detected a motherly ‘harrumph’ at my foolhardiness. SHE had probably just gone out to the scullery to warm up HER and Cathy’s tea and get a couple of digestive biscuits out of the tin designated for “Visitors only”.

     

     

    For me the cold was getting even worse as the sun started to cast shadows from its brief sortie below the world’s edge, casting shadows of the landscape and the occasional hardy tree for as far as the eye could see. The impact of the machete like gusts cut through my Celtic Jacket and top like a bacon slicer, freezing my involuntary grimace into the beginnings of a death mask.

     

     

    My mental faculties began to shut down, one by one, like lights going out across a town as power stations ran out of generating capacity.

     

     

    My brain’s, and in turn my body’s resources diverted from any thought of looking for a way out and concentrated on keeping the vital signs of heartbeat and breathing a couple of rungs up the ladder from full seizure. Mind and soul were no longer in control, if they ever really were anyway; anything superfluous to keeping me breathing and blood pumping around my rapidly freezing soon-to-be-carrion switched off and even those ‘bits’ that were in most danger of falling off, going numb or slowly giving up the ghost, were ignored if life could go on without them.

     

     

    As little internal cries for help were despatched to the master control room like a thousand remote fire alarms, and blind panic ensued at the lack of response, even the vital life-sustaining processes started to slow and falter as the final remaining power packs drained their cells to the ‘near empty’.

     

    At that level of subsistence, logic and thoughts become mixed with nightmares and imagination. They become an anaesthetic that protects you from even contemplating the worst. Whether you can count or spell becomes trivial, the words and tunes to songs, birthdays, anniversaries fade into irrelevance and even any devotion to our football club evaporates as the last thing the psyche is concerned about is whether we would do the double in this our Centenary season.

     

     

    The weirdest thing of all is that contrary to everything the environment is doing to you, all of a sudden you feel warm, sleepy and totally relaxed………..and then you lie down to die!

     

     

    I LAY DOWN ……BUT MA MAMMY WASN’T ABOUT TO LET ME DIE!

     

     

    I can remember seeing her. SHE whispered something. I can’t be sure of what it was.

     

     

    But I stood up, numb beyond any sensation or even sense and opened my back pack. I pulled out my Marks & Spencer (Argyle Street) sleeping bag. I dragged it wrong-way-up over my head and with a staccato step I broke into a stagger….blindly in what I think was a circle. My heart was bursting through my rib cage. I stopped, drew what breath I could, warmer now than the freezing air outside my cocoon and remarkably I picked up momentum, still I thought in a circle.

     

     

    To any observer, terrestrial or otherwise, the scene would have been of a shouting and demented maggot, tripping, sliding, falling, recovering until ……..BANG!!!!……with an almighty collision and metal echo I bounced off ‘something’ and once more ended up on my slightly defrosted bahookie.

     

     

    A few hours later, my own personal chauffeur driven tractor returned and we made our way back to the backpackers encampment.

     

     

    Suitably defrosted, I told them what had happened, albeit leaving out the incredulous nonsense that I had at anytime been in trouble and had been saved by a voice from across the ocean.

     

     

    “Aye, I found an oil-drum, a huge oil drum, perched on a stone or concrete platform, and being a natural in the wilderness I climbed inside for the duration” I lied unconvincingly not mentioning that I had encountered it while running around like a 5′ 10″ blind hotdog…that wasn’t hot!

     

     

    “Just as well you didn’t touch the food at the back of that oil drum” said a pot smoking replica of Grizzly Adams “That would have been curtains!”

     

     

    “Go on” I urged him, intrigued.

     

     

    “Well That’s a bear or wolf trap” he paused and took another toke “Touch the food and SLAM!! The lid shuts. In the morning a lorry comes round, picks up the closed-lid drums and puts them on a plane to Alaska!”

     

    I don’t know if he was at the wind up, no one else reacted; perhaps they had heard the story before; but the thought of becoming Yogi Jock was sobering…so I took another drink..medicinal of course….and counted how many toe-nails I still had, roughly equating that to the number of my toes.

     

     

    So there we go, not only did ma mammy save me from a deep frozen fate, and found me a bolthole to see me through the worst of what the elements could assault me with, but also ensured that I didn’t end up lost in Alaska….

     

     

    That is some achievement for someone knitting a jumper back in Coatbridge!

     

     

    And as for using the ‘present tense’ earlier…..

     

     

    Well even now, farther away but possibly closer still in that big celestial Coatbridge in the sky, she talks to me, still with that ‘I give up’ shake of the head and yet she’s still there – ALWAYS – with a cup of tea and a hug whenever I really need it.

     

     

    And the honest unequivocal truth is that the comfort of that one thought, those long sought whispered words and all they mean, can and has seen me through floods, fires, earthquakes and worse.

     

     

    Wherever or whenever the world and all the devils’ agents have conspired to bombard me with whatever, up she pops and with her beside me, squeezing my spiritual hand we just laugh in their faces.

     

    AND I WOULD HAVE A BET ON IT THAT SHE HAD A HAND IN THAT CENTENARY DOUBLE.

     

     

    That’s the power that Mums have….NEVER EVER UNDERESTIMATE THEM.

     

     

    (As for winning the bet…..well the tale of the winsomely attractive, whaleboned nosed, cuttlefish aromatic barmaids will just have to wait for another day.)

     

     

    Hail hail

     

     

    Matt

  3. !!BADA BING!! on 20TH MARCH 2019 8:45 PM

     

     

    Rudderless, a big boy did it and ran away. Honestly.

  4. OK as it’s a quiet night (and R Stornoway is either heading for hospital or a lawyer), a wee question (which no doubt has been done before but I don’t remember when).

     

     

    Name the three ex- Celtic managers who have won the major national championship with a club in another country as manager of said club?

  5. LMS 12 Update.

     

    well past 70 entrants now, and one lucky entrant will have his/her entry free due to us passing the ’67 mark. One more will be awarded a free entry if we hit 88….

     

    cqnpredictor@gmail.com or Whatsapp, and just say “count me in”, and you’ll receive a welcome pack of butteries next time I’m doon in Glesca’ ( that bit might be made up ).

     

     

    We’re also looking for nominations for a suitable charity, which may be particularly relevant to you or someone you know, to be the ‘Seville’ beneficiary of a portion of Entry fees. ‘Lisbon’ beneficiary ( the main Charity to benefit ) will be announced shortly.

     

     

    Bateen Bhoy and CRC

  6. EMERALD

     

     

    I AM SURE DAVIE HAY AND RONNIE

     

     

    MAYBE WIM THE TIM

     

     

    HOW DO I GE THESE CAPITALS OFF ?

  7. How High is a Chinaman…is a statement…not a question….;-)) Sounds better than it reads

     

     

    Fekin hate international breaks…this is the time that NFL should be using to get his ideas over to the squad, but with so many players away…pretty thankless task. Amazing that EBT McLeish picked no Scots players from the 2nd best, according to the league, team in Scotland…giving them a deliberate percieved advantage in the run up to our game against thems?

     

     

    I appreciate that our players are proud to be earning International Caps…just wish our club were more savvy when it came to reporting injuries

     

     

    H.H.

  8. glendalystonsils on

    JINKYREDSTAR on 20TH MARCH 2019 7:58 PM

     

    glen – obviously a regional variation ?

     

     

    Nope…..made that one up masel!

  9. TLT

     

    Which Sevco players could be considered/ ( Genuine question . I am only aware of a few of their players — Tavernier, Defoe,Morelos for example–who are, obviously, not available). Do they have any decent players who are Scottish?

     

     

    JJ

  10. Which Celtic captain’s (of the 1980s) father was frae the West Indies?

     

     

    Hail hail

     

     

    Matt

  11. ok bhoys seems like no one is interested in my quiz questions so here is the answers 1 FRANCIS BURNS played midfield for united late sixties early seventies,2 JOHN YOGI HUGHES and3 the late great JIMMY QUINN was only trying to have a bit of fun,.hh,

  12. JJ, like you I couldn’t really name many of their players…but surely EBT McLeish could’ve picked a couple of squad fillers like “better than Broonie” Jack or Laffatme ;-))

     

     

    H.H.

  13. The lurkintim

     

     

    The Rangers midfield trio

     

     

    Losser, tosser and dosser

     

     

    Hail Hail

     

     

    Matt

  14. Big Packy

     

     

    Only logged on this page for a bit of light relief from seriously bad news about my best mate for over 60 years and saw Matt’s thesis on Arctic nonsense=behaviour which I thoroughly enjoyed. That’s why I posted my own crappy question on the blog.

     

     

    Checked back to find your own question, only to find that I couldn’t have answered them anyway.

     

     

    Keep posting. I like your various ramblings, which add to the general fun of the blog!

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7