Having the first leg of our Champions League qualifier against KR in Iceland instead of Scotland, as initially drawn, ticks boxes for both clubs. Without being disrespectful (well, maybe a bit), if the first leg was in Scotland KR could find themselves trying to sell a dead rubber second leg to TV companies. With their home tie starting level, this could be their biggest windfall of the season.
Despite KR’s lowly coefficient, Celtic are stepping into the unknown and would infinitely prefer the second leg at home, a week after competitive cobwebs are blown away. If we encounter a Karagandy-goat-sacrifice-type experience in Reykjavik, we would still have the chance to resolve things at Celtic Park Murrayfield. The only surprise is that it took the clubs this long to confirm the change.
Now all we need to worry about is the goat-sacrificing habits of Scotland’s rugby types.
News from Nyon that Celtic’s share of last season’s Champions League bounty was £14.1m, plus £1.8m for participating in the qualifying rounds, on top of ticket sales, reiterates how important the competition is to the club.
We’re now trying to qualify for the third consecutive season, a feat we’ve never achieved before. After the chastening experiences of last August, and the changing of the guard, I’m taking nothing for granted this season. By my reckoning we cope without reaching the group stage two years in five without significantly downsizing.
I got a bit of banter for saying I was still raw from Georgios Samaras penalty miss four seasons ago. Why shouldn’t we be raw, it was the last time Celtic failed to win a Scottish championship. Ever! Those who celebrate that miss will be clinging onto it as a highlight for the rest of their days.
Visit the CQN Bookstore to get Tommy Gemmell to sign your personal copy of his book, All the Best.[calameo code=0003901719d82038831a9 lang=en page=126 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]