It’s not often we can tackle Champions League games away from home without the crushing weight of desperation to salvage a point or more. Already out of the competition, and facing a vastly better-resourced team, Celtic compete at the Etihad tonight with a bit of freedom. They will want to avoid a similar result they endured at the Camp Nou, but will plan to take the game to City in the manner they competed away to Borussia Monchengladbach.
For Brendan Rodgers and his technical team, tonight will the last time they face a better-resourced team, vastly or otherwise, until next season. There will be plenty for Celtic to do during the next six months, but certain types of learning will end tonight. It is hoped that the team will continue to improve, but we simply won’t know if it has or not.
One bright-spark on the horizon is the possible challenge from Hearts, who may well find their squad bolstered in January by the make-weights new manager Ian Cathro convinced Newcastle to release to him on loan.
Having won promotion at a canter and finished a respectable third in his first season in the top flight, Robbie Neilson ran out of momentum as Hearts manager this term. The Edinburgh club may do well out of his move to the lower reaches of the England and Wales league pyramid.
The cartel of English and Welsh club which operate a ‘national’ league will doubtlessly exercise our chief executive, Peter Lawwell, who this week put on record that Celtic would be the biggest club in Britain if it had access to the FA Premier League, bigger even than Bournemouth. He’ll enjoy the comforts of the Etihad tonight but the taste of ‘What could be?’ will linger.
If you are in Manchester, enjoy the occasion. It’s a great opportunity to show those who live in the vicinity of the stadium (and throughout the city) that some football fans from Glasgow know how to enjoy themselves.
Directors’ Box auction prize
Courtesy of Celtic sponsor and all round good guys, Intelligent Car Leasing, we have an outstanding auction prize to commence work on Celtic Quick News’ seventh school kitchen for Mary’s Meals. For the Celtic-Dundee game at Celtic Park, on 17 December 2016, you can win:
2 seats in the directors’ box
5 course meal in the Walfrid Suite
Fully expenses bar (pre and post-match)
Half time snacks and refreshments
And a match programme.
There are experiences in life which money can’t buy. This one is now available for you to bid for here on ebay until Thursday lunchtime. Two of you, directors’ box, Champagne reception, 5 course meal, free bar, get in there – and tell your pals about it.
Many thanks to Intelligent Car Leasing for making this possible – and you for taking part.