You know the mantra: Give players an opportunity to fail and they will take it. Don’t look ahead to a game by complaining about the pitch, the footballs, the weather or the referee (hmmm). Don’t talk about having one eye on the next game, if you do, you have given players an excuse to pull up a little short.
Just because manager, Rini Coolen, told the world he would rest his striker and make early substitutions with an eye on Sunday’s Norwegian Cup Final, does not mean Rosenborg will be anything other than stiff opponents tonight, but at the margins, players need a hunger to push themselves to achieve great results. Rosenborg might struggle for that motivation against Celtic.
Celtic also have a cup final on Sunday, but there is no looking forward yet. We are very much still in the Europa League and a win tonight will ask questions of Leipzig, who face Salzburg away.
More than qualification, I want Celtic to start competing properly away from home in European tournaments. Our record of 2 wins (both in the Champions League) from 60 group stage games on the road needs to be addressed. We have to find the purpose that a burst Anderlecht team brought to Glasgow last year.
Rosenborg have accepted they are out of the tournament. This will be our third game at the Lerkendal Stadion in 16 months. It does not matter what happens in Salzburg, Celtic need a win tonight for its own sake.
Take note of what happens between Newco and the SFA after the club’s intemperate rant over a red card issued by Willie Collum. Fans felt aggrieved and demanded the club stand up to the Association. The club obliged with an indulgent but no doubt heartfelt statement. I’m sure directors and PR officials enjoyed plaudits afterwards.
The SFA responded yesterday with a series of five charges unlike anything I have read before. Charges are:
Indicating bias or incompetence in a match official.
Bringing the game into disrepute.
Failing to act in the best interests of Association Football.
Failing of the club to observe the principles of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship in accordance with the rules of fair play.
Failure to club officials to observe the principles of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship in accordance with the rules of fair play.
Did Willie Collum get the red card decision right? It doesn’t matter, there is a cost to playing to the galleries as Newco found out yesterday. No matter how many of your own people tell you you’re right, accusations of bias or incompetence will leave you isolated and a humiliated loser. Football will close ranks. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
You can also expect referees to close ranks around Willie Collum.