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Fortune favours the Celtic

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On hearing the results from England’s vaulted competitors in the Champions League last night, against teams ten points off the pace in the Netherlands and seven adrift in Germany, my first thought was, I wonder how they’d get on against Barcelona?  This is a guide to the magnitude of the challenge facing our manager and players this evening.

You can forget notions of stoical performances two weeks ago, that game counts for nothing, which we will find out within the opening minutes.  If Celtic are going to earn anything substantial from their group-stage games against Barcelona, they will need to open better, retain possession higher up the field, and maintain energy and concentration levels until the final whistle.

Barca have had an incredible start to the season, winning nine and drawing one of their 10 domestic league games, while winning all three in the Champions League, but each well-oiled machine is susceptible to having a spanner thrown in.

Nine years ago the same team arrived at Celtic Park on the back of a nine game winning run, the best in their history at the time.  The trip to Glasgow didn’t work out so well for them as Celtic punched a hole in their defences and used what, at the time, I assumed was voodoo to prevent the visitors from scoring.  They travelled home blaming hex, bad finishing and the foreign conditions for their defeat, but the truth is we spooked some of the most experienced players in the game.

This is not a team of diminutive super-humans.  They are enormously skilful and effective, clearly the best team in the world today, but they are vulnerable at the back, as Celtic proved two weeks ago, and struggle to vary the formula, if required, up front.

Celtic need to concentrate on winning possession on the wings inside the opposition half.  Do this regularly enough and opportunities to fire high-balls into the box, directly or from free kicks, will follow.  Neil Lennon will decide if this is a game for Kris Commons but even if it’s not, it is a game for a Commons-style intelligent use of body and ball.

If voodoo is your thing, knock yourself out.  The rest of you wear your lucky socks/shirt/shoes/Hector mask and arrive ready to participate. Fortune favours the Celtic.

I attended the 125th Anniversary celebrations at St Mary’s and later the Kerrydale Suite last night. I’m not sure what I expected beforehand but it was not the funny, touching and unmistakably-Celtic occasion we experienced. Well done to the magnificent Celtic Graves Society for getting the tone absolutely right, and to Celtic for bringing the event together. If Messi and Co were in attendance they would be reluctant to leave the dressing room tonight. The Barcelona directors who were there will now where to aim for with their club.


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  1. Philvis – you’re in good spirits despite your boy taking one hell of a beating in last night’s election.

  2. Paul

     

    Excellent piece.

     

    I cannot be in Glasgow tonight so it is behind the couch viewing from here in London.

     

    Like most other Celtic supporters I would like a result however,I am just thrilled to see the club back competing where we should be every year.

     

    You mentioned St Mary’s last night and I have seen pics from the gathering so it would be good if you could find the time to pen a note on this very special of occasions.

  3. Lennon n Mc....Mjallby on

    Well, I stand up next to a mountain

     

    And I chop it down with the edge of my hand.

     

    Well, I stand up next to a mountain,

     

    Chop it down with the edge of my hand.

     

    Well, I pick up all the pieces and make an island,

     

    Might even raise just a little sand.

     

    Cause Im a voodoo chile,

     

    Lord knows Im a voodoo chile, baby.

     

     

    I didn’t mean to take up all your sweet time,

     

    Ill give it right back to you one of these days.

     

    I said I didn’t mean to take up all your sweet time,

     

    Ill give it right back one of these days.

     

    And if I don’t meet you no more in this world

     

    Then ill, I’ll meet you in the next one and don’t be late, don’t be late.

     

    Cause Im a voodoo chile, voodoo chile,

     

    Lord knows Im a voodoo chile, hey hey hey.

     

    Im a voodoo chile, baby.

  4. PeteTheBeat – I’m not American. Sorry to hear they re-elected Obama, it looks like they’ll have to learn they’re broke the hard way. I’m not sure the other guy was measurably better though, he had a touch of the David Cameron fake conservative about him. (thumbsup)

  5. Hi Paul,

     

     

    Pants!

     

     

    My Shamrock covered lucky pants and Kris Commons will ensure we get a result.

     

     

    Come on you bhoys in Green.

  6. What a write, Paul. Great stuff. In the end, I have to say, tonight, no matter what, I will be as proud as punch to be a Celtic supporter after yesterday. I looked at a gallery of photos from the St. Mary’s event this morning and the lump in my throat was only equalled by the flow of salty drops leaking from my eyes. Tonight could be historic. Tonight could be rewarding. Tonight could be inconsequential. Tonight could painful. But one thing tonight will certainly be and that is a Celtic night to remember. To those who will be there, I wish you well. Enjoy the wonderful occasion. To the rest of the Celtic family, I join you in spirit in support of the greatest football club in the world. Yesterday proved it is not all about football, in fact it often is not, and that is why we Celtic supporters can always be proud – and happy!

     

     

    H H

  7. bankiebhoy1 – Once he manoevres “Boaby” into the Scots job

     

     

    Down with this sort of thing. (thumbsup)

  8. istanbulcelt

     

     

    12:18 on 7 November, 2012

     

    Can I Have Raspberry On That Champions League Ice Cream

     

    12:13 on

     

    7 November, 2012

     

    Fitness test failed, back to the docs for me.

     

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

     

    Sorry to hear that Broonie…you are Broonie right? ;)

     

     

    Afraid not, just as daft but not paid as much!

  9. 12:15 on

     

    7 November, 2012

     

    Headtheball – Voodoo’s a model player and I think he’s magic. (thumbsup)

     

    Sheik Yerbouti

     

    12:16 on

     

    7 November, 2012

     

    i thot we would win in camp nou but didnae

     

    no got a good feeling about the nite 2-0 barca i think :(

     

     

    ………..

     

     

    There you go, more negative waves! Have a little faith, baby! Have a little faith…

  10. Paul- Good point about KC using his body, he is very clever at winning “cheap” free kicks, which will be our best chance of scoring tonight.

     

    High balls onto the 6 yard line- no shooting from 35 yards.

  11. ibleedgreenandwhite1 on

    My big mate who is a Hun lol.,,,wa s talking to me earlier,saying something about July 31st,and how he couldnt tell me what it was?

     

     

    I told him to do one lol we have a game against the best team on the planet and this is the bet these fuds can come up with??

     

     

    Pathetic !!!!!!!!!!

     

     

    HH

  12. Paul

     

     

    While not wishing to sound donwbeat (which I’m not, since I’m really looking forward to this evening), I must say that retaining possession higher up the field is not something we do especially well against top sides.

     

     

    Which is a pity, ’cause it would bring all sorts of benefits.

     

     

    If only we can get the first goal, then the place will truly rock …

     

     

    FF

  13. Arty – the lump in my throat was only equalled by the flow of salty drops leaking from my eyes.

     

     

    Either those were tears, or you ate too many KP salted nuts. (thumbsup)

  14. Corkcelt 23.16

     

    I have been informed,that you were upset about my little dig at Contae Chorcai last night.

     

    One with the great history of the Fenian movement in the 19th century .The Flying Columns of Tom Barry.The sacrifice of the brave Terrance McSwiney.

     

    The next time I go fishing in the River Lee,I hope the salmon take the bait,as quick.

     

    Do you still say Chorcai is the Real capital of Eire.

     

    Only joking.HH.cmon the Hoops.

  15. ibleedgreenandwhite1 – My big mate who is a Hun lol.,,,wa s talking to me earlier,saying something about July 31st,and how he couldnt tell me what it was?

     

     

    His annual bath? (thumbsup)

  16. jude2005 is Neil Lennon \o/ – Neil phoned Watt starts!!

     

     

    Newcomen to the game? (thumbsup)

  17. Phil…………

     

     

    …If I may……

     

     

    …..Once Owny sets his sights on something theres no stoppin’ oor aquiline hero……..

     

    ………….Wee Strach will be undone at the last hurdle……….’sellick’ on the oul’ curriculum vitae…….After this, “The Williamson” is a shoo in……….and Owny is on a one-way trip to Kampala……

     

     

    Simples.

  18. Paul67

     

     

    Just finished making plasticine dolls of Messi, Xavi and Iniesta – pins sharpened and at the ready!

     

     

    HH!!

  19. Afternoon, Paul67.

     

     

    Has a video been made of last night’s proceedings? It sounds wonderful.

     

     

    Still as nervous as a kitten but a different nervousness from 2 weeks ago. Then I thought we might be embarassed. I am not really too bothered about tonight. We have already given them a game in their ane midden. No. The nervousness for tonight is the anticipation of a remarkable Celtic atmosphere at Celtic Park tonight. Nothing beats it.

  20. jude2005 is Neil Lennon \o/ on

    I said we’d score first in the last game and we did and lost. They will score first and Celtic will win!!

     

     

    HH

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