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Champions comparable only to team of 2004, bury bad news

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History will record that season 2012-13 was more successful for Celtic than season 2013-14 but the champions’ league performances this season have been comparable only to those of season 2003-04, when the club completed a 25 game winning streak.

With seven games to go we have already collected five points more than the team which reached the knock out stages of the Champions League last season, and this season we have had a worthy competitor for second place, who are favourites to complete the domestic treble of League Cup, Scottish Cup and Best of the Rest titles.

Kris Commons, Virgil van Dijk and Fraser Forster have correctly gained enormous plaudits throughout the season but the story of Celtic’s success is more nuanced.  We don’t just have a great keeper and a great central defender, we have a central defensive partnership which is better than either of the two partnerships I watched in the Manchester derby on Tuesday night.

In other times the story of our season would be the injuries at right back, but the standard of cover there, with Lustig, Matthews and Fisher, is such that no one really noticed.

The strikers didn’t really get going until Leigh Griffiths arrived in January, and much of our player investment over the summer missed the target.  This had consequences on the autumn, when we came up short of last season’s (over) achievements in the Champions League, but we have a plentiful squad of players, including Forster, Lustig, Matthews, Izaguirre, Ambrose, van Dijk, Brown, Johansen and Commons who are more than capable at Champions League level, with others knocking at the door.

Congratulations to Neil, his technical team, the many who work to keep the ship pointing in the right direction, some behind the scenes and some front of house, and to each of the players who left their mark in the history books.

On the equivalent day six years ago, we recorded that Gordon Strachan had joined Willie Maley and Jock Stein as the only Celtic managers to have won three consecutive titles.  Neil Lennon’s name is now added to that list.

With all this championship coverage, did the phrase ‘Good day to bury bad news’ slip into anyone’s mind?  “There is a reasonable expectation that the Company has adequate resources to continue in operational existence”.

You know when your chairman tells you he has a reasonable expectation the company will continue in existence that there’s nothing to worry about.  All the doubters have been put in their place.

Seville – The Celtic Movement, is out now:


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  1. Geordie Munro on

    Proudbhoy, re Griffiths

     

     

    I thought last night was his poorest game by some distance……

     

     

    ….yet still he was….no bad ;)

  2. Bmcd48 13.47

     

     

    It’s not that simple because they have had considerable one off costs this year.

     

     

    They are in the mud ,but not completely stuck.

     

     

    TT

  3. bobbyrussell

     

     

    13:02 on 27 March, 2014

     

     

    Ended up we lost the league at Motherwell that year players just thought they had to turn up

     

    I think it was also a meaningless game for Motherwell that year although wee Scott McDonald eventually got his move to Celtic

  4. geordie munro

     

     

    13:58 on 27 March, 2014

     

    Proudbhoy, re Griffiths

     

     

    I thought last night was his poorest game by some distance……

     

     

    ….yet still he was….no bad ;)

     

     

     

     

    Probably true but he never stopped running or looking for ball.

     

     

    He will hit 30 nxt season i reckon. Worth a punt anyway

  5. LiviBhoy - God bless wee Oscar on

    BobbyRussell

     

     

    It’s a no from you then?

     

     

    I think the guy could be an able keeper for Celtic if fully fit. What he done elsewhere is not massively important. I was at the match when he came up for the corner and was raging. The boy strikes me as a winner. Nothing more.

     

    For the record Craig Gordon is a Hearts fanatic always has been. He is from Balerno.

     

     

    Incidentally your name is the same as a guy I worked with years ago. A sort of mentor for me and always brings back good memories. A Rangers man but a good fella who helped me a lot. He was telling me a story about the Ner’day game at Paradise when Rangers beat us 4-2. I couldn’t remember a more despressing performance. It was that moment when we were 3-0 down after about 11 mins that I knew the old board had to go. Anyway this fella was in the corporate that day in the main stand and was sitting on his hands when the goals were flying in. Celtic managed to pull two back and were making a game of it when the Russian whacked in the clincher from the edge of the box and he jumped up without thinking. He told me he ran straight from the seat into the lounge and found a corner to sit in and try and hide. Once the game was over the rest of his party joined him and he was given a few shakes of the head from various other people and a few laughs were had. There was no malice.

     

    I asked him what would happen if I had done similar at Ibrokes. He was honest enough to admit that neither him or me would probably get out of there alive.

     

    I always think of him when I see your name.

     

     

    LB

  6. Has Walker been on Talkshite yet? Just wondering what he said, but don`t think I have to wonder too hard. Did they start off by giving him a nice bowl of soup?

  7. Bom dia, Campeões !!!!

     

     

    Down in autumnal Rio everybody’s delighted that’s it’s three and looking forward to many more.

     

     

    Anyway’s apart from the thrills at Firhill, there were some surprising results last night in the Libertadores. Main thing about this (apart from proving the old adage that you never see a poor bookie) is that it pretty much keeps all the Group stage games (with the exception of Group 8, where Santos and Arsenal are already confirmed) undecided until the final round.

     

     

    National (Urg) 2 Newells Old Boys (Arg) 4

     

    Not a bad game this. Thought that National were unlucky (they hit the woodwork twice) in the first half and NOB, without Maxi Rodriguez, and several youthful faces in their line-up were a bit lackluster.

     

     

    In the second half the game turned on two major points:-

     

     

    1) NOB’s straight swap substitution of 16yr old Ponce for 36yr old David Trezeguet. Trezeguet went on to score the third and fourth for Newell’s, with two well taken goals.

     

     

    2) Two red cards for National. First, midfielder’s Gracia’s brutal elbowing which made me wonder if the English translation for “Garcia” is “McCulloch? The second, keeper Bava for handling outside the box was particularly damaging as National had already used their three subs.

     

     

    Newell’s now sit top of their group with 8pts ahead of Gremo (8) and Atl National ( 7). With Gremio away to Atl National next week for the other round 5 game and NOB at home to Atl National in the final game it’s a tight one.

     

     

    National, who have won this competition three times, were poor on the night and now, rightly, out of the competition.

     

     

    A.Paranã (Bra) 1 Velez Sarsfield (Arg) 3

     

    Three things which struck me about this game.

     

     

    1) Paranã stuck with a 4-3-3, with Velez playing a 4-4-2 (the commentator swore it was 4-2-2-2), throughout the game. Paranã just couldn’t come to terms with the fact they were constantly overwhelmed in midfield and didn’t do anything to overcome this.

     

     

    2) Paranã lost key defender (think VVD meets Bob Balde type player), Manoel, early on. The loss of Manoel completely destabilised the team.

     

     

    3) Lucas Pratto (Velez’s portly striker) was a constant threat and continually turned, pulled and harried the Paranã defence all over the place. Scored a good second goal too.

     

     

    Result of this is that Velez are now qualified for the next stage, while Paranã , away to La Paz to face Strongest in the last group match, will be sweatin bullets about tonight’s Universitario v Strongest game.

     

     

    Dep. Cali (Col) 1 O’ Higgins (Chi) 1

     

    This was always going to be a tight, nervy match and turned out that’s exactly what it was.

     

     

    O’Higgins took the lead thru MOTM, Yerson Opazo early in the second half. Then, just when it looked all over, Cali snatched a barely deserved equalizer thru Nestor Camacho with seconds left on the clock.

     

     

    This result means that with top place Cerro (7pts) playing bottom place Lanus (4pts) tonight it’s all to play for in Group 3.

     

     

    Dep. Anzo (Ven) 1 v Arsenal (Arg) 3

     

    For some reason I thought this game was being played tonight. Duh !!

     

     

    From what I can see, a match where despite being under Anzo pressure, Arsenal were always in control with central midfielder, Martin Rolle, in particular having an outstanding game and pulling the strings throughout.

     

     

    Arsenal now qualified for the first time in their history for the next stage. Dep Anzo left to slug it out with Penarol for the wooden spoon in this group

     

     

    Léon (Mex) 0 Bolivar (Bol) 1

     

    Without a doubt the surprise of the night, if not the competition so far.

     

     

    I don’t know the statistics for this game, but it’s safe to say that Leon had “hunners” and Bolivar had one chance. That’s fitba for ye.

     

     

    Fair to say that Bolivar are a very well drilled team who have a well defined game plan and stick to it. Rigidly. True, they rode their luck a bit at times, but lone striker Fereira’s winning goal was also well taken effort.

     

     

    Bolivar now lead this group and with their final game at home to Emelec (who are at home to Flamengo next week) there may well turn out to be more surprises to come from Bolivar.

     

     

    Léon now face a daunting away trip to face Flamengo at the Maracanã in their final game and will be rueing those missed opportunities.

     

     

    Preview of tonight’s games later

  8. asonofdan

     

     

    13:37 on 27 March, 2014

     

     

    I dare say a few of the Thistles Celtic supporting players complimentaries found their way into the hands of their Celtic supporting family and friends

  9. Partick made a statement congratulating Celtic winning the league last night?

     

     

    No?!

     

     

    Strange that.

     

     

    HH!!

  10. LiviBhoy

     

    Was asked on here many many years ago if I was the one who played for them. One poster asked me if I had scored in the 4-2 game (79, ten men, not the 4-2 you mention) I replied that had I scored in the 4-2 game it would have been 5-2

  11. Geordie Munro on

    Proudbhoy

     

     

    “He will hit 30 nxt season i reckon. Worth a punt anyway”

     

     

     

    Really? He looks much older ;)

     

     

    Kidding. I agree. If he stays fit I’d be surprised if he doesn’t bag 30.

     

     

    His effort is outstanding and there’s talent in there too.

  12. LiviBhoy - God bless wee Oscar on

    BobbyRussell

     

     

    Hahaha

     

    I’m not daft enough to think there are more than 1 or 2 people with the same name.

     

    Just thought I would share that wee story with you because it always pops into my head when you post.

     

     

    LB

  13. Geordie Munro on

    Gentlemen.

     

     

    Imo, thistle have had a few complaints from a few disgruntled fans and now have to pay them lip service by putting out a wee statement.

     

     

    Nothing to fret about. Let’s not make enemies of our biggest city rivals.

  14. Skel Perobares on

    Champions 3 years in a row, it feels good.

     

     

    Next stop, 10 in a row, mind the massive chasm zombies.

  15. geordie munro

     

     

    14:09 on 27 March, 2014

     

     

     

     

    Ha, hopefully he does. Bringing the best out of anto stokes aswel.

  16. LiviBhoy - God bless wee Oscar on

    Geordie Munro

     

     

    Completely correct. Nobody likes to be outnumbered on their own turf or see their city rivals win the title.

     

    PTFC in my experience are a decent sort. If they are not annoyed when their team get horsed they are not proper supporters.

     

    Hope the Jags continue to be the 2nd best team in Glasgow for a long time to come.

     

     

    LB

  17. So who should be brought into the team for final games

     

     

    Henderson an fisher have firmly broken into the squad.

     

     

    Whos me next ?

     

     

    Feel sorry for big amido.. Looks lost at times. Deserve morethan he’s getting from lennon i think. He should be loaned out… Too early to cut our lossses yet.

  18. Craig Gordon has been training at Murray Park recently in an attempt to regain fitness having last kept goal in April 2012, one of only two games for which he managed to be fit for that year. He had only appeared 15 times in the 2010/11 season as he attempted to recover from a history of 2 arm fractures and recurrent knee difficulties.

     

     

    Now, Four years later, Craig claims to be fit and injury free but has no competitive record to demonstrate this. Even the promiscuous signing policy at Ibrox did not lead to them offering even though he has trained with them for over 9 months now and was touted as a signing target by Richard Foster, a current zombie.

     

     

    Last year, Craig Gordon announced he was going to become a coach and was unlikely to ever play again. Now he is announcing he is ready to play.

     

     

    Celtic should not touch with a bargepole a man who has been out of the game for almost 4 years with injury, having broken down on several occasions in his last full year in the game and who has not been a rated keeper for over 5 years now.

     

     

    Let him prove his fitness playing at a third division club before our money is considered on him. We should, at least, wait until Steven Mouyokolo vacates the permanently-injured bench before we recruit for that position.

  19. Cant stand those Geordie Huns.

     

     

    Newcastle Mad website denigrating Forsters medal in “The worst league in the world”

     

     

    Just as well no comments allowed or I would tell the Geordie Tw@t what I think of him.

     

     

    I freaking hate Newcastle United and Alan Shearer!

  20. David Marshall would have been the perfect replacement for big Fraser if the Englishman is sold in the summer (hope he isn’t), but he has signed a new contract with Cardiff. It’s a shame he’ll probably be playing in England’s secon tier next season.

     

     

    I think our signing priority should be a left-back as we have no cover for Izzy. And then a play maker, as the wonderful KC is not fit and fast enough for CL group stage matches. But a top-class play maker will be hard to find. So play young Henderson!

  21. Hamiltontim is praying for Oscar on

    Livibhoy

     

     

    Section of the Thistle support are scum, always have been. I could tell a tale that would emphasise that but would incriminate my good self :-)

     

     

    Was also at the game where Gordon ran up the park and loathed him at the time for doing so. I do accept that it had more to do with him being a fervant Hearts’ supporter than a Tim hater.

     

     

    Ps Bobby R that posts on here is indeed the ex Hun :-)

  22. Craig gordon .. Sssshh

     

     

    Lawell doesnt need encouragement to bring in the cheapest possible replacement . Big fraser has to be worth 10m. We should get really good keeper for half that or bit less hopefully.

     

     

    Right back is something i think lawell will be pushing lennon about… We have class act lustig.. Very good player in matthews with bags of potential for improvement. And a more than capable back up in fisher.

     

     

    I think its between lustig and matthews to be moved on.. Unless lennon gives it another go to try lustig right back and mattews right wing.

     

     

    Problem is at least 1 of them is always injuryed

  23. Livibhoy

     

     

    Does your da run a supporters bus from Edinburgh?

     

    I’m heading there for weekend tomorrow and me, a pal and our 2 kids are heading to Paradise for game and are looking for a lift.

     

     

    I have spoken to the HW university CSC who said we can go with them from dropkick murphys but Nick hasn’t got back to me since Tuesday so looking for a back up plan

     

     

    Navanbhoy

  24. I don’t see the problem with a lap of honour being granted. No Thistle fan who did not want to witness it, needed to stick around to suffer it. The only valid reason for restricting it was if Thistle felt the invading crowd were likely to damage the pitch or harm the stewards. As far as I am aware, we have no recent history of doing either, though if it were to happen, last night’s speccy steward who manhandled Skoosh, might have been a first.

     

     

    By the same token, I see no harm in Celtic being allowed an open top parade. I believe we managed a big one in 1967 without incident {wish I had seen that :-) }.

     

    In fact, I think we should propose that Sevco be allowed to celebrate their Div. One title by staging a bus parade up Paisley Road West to the ground that Craig Whyte rents to them, and, in return, we should be allowed to use a route from Glasgow Cross up the Gallowgate to the ground. I honestly believe that both of these events are capable of being policed and being relatively trouble free.

     

     

    It is the aftermath of celebrations which cause issues, mostly the drinking, not the celebration events themselves. Football clubs are more often restricted than are pubs.

  25. LiviBhoy - God bless wee Oscar on

    navanbhoy

     

     

    My auld mans CSC runs from Livingston mate.

     

    Nick is a good man. He will get back to you. I was looking for his number for EmbraMike. My neighbour used to go on the bus but he appears to have fell off the face of the earth. Haven’t seen him for weeks.

     

    Where you staying in Edinburgh? Both the Leith CSC and the Edinburgh No1 pick up at Ryries @ Haymarket. To be honest the train is a pretty good option.

     

     

    Hope you get sorted. Nick will get back to you though. Maybe chase him up with a call.

     

     

    LB

  26. Hamiltontim is praying for Oscar on

    Mickbhoy1888

     

     

    Good of you to hold his car keys :-)

     

     

    Re earlier….

     

     

    I think that we’re getting a bit caught up in the anti football supporter hysteria that currently permeates our society. A few daft wee bhoys, overcome with excitement, ran onto the park, it’s hardly reason to cancel a lap of honour.

  27. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    79caps 14:31

     

     

    Agreed re Marshall. I like the look of Alex McCarthy at Reading, although of course I hope FF stays.

     

     

    Don’t think we are too far off having a decent squad. Lustig and Biton to come back. Charlie and Adam can cover left-back. Maybe a striker and midfielder. Maybe some more cover at CB, although I’d like to see Irvine given a chance too.

  28. Glass Two Thirds Full

     

     

    I’m sure when Neilly signs the 5 players he craves, all those positions will be filled/covered.

     

     

    Or is it “buy your season ticket” time?

  29. HT@14.32

     

     

    Ps Bobby R that posts on here is indeed the ex Hun :-)

     

     

    ====================================================

     

    Not possible. I`m way too good looking, whereas yer good self looks like one, even looked like one BEFORE any ba` skelped yer coupon.

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