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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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420 Comments

  1. Shimmie,

     

     

    They must be including qualifiers or something.

     

     

    The last twice we were in the groups we won 4 from 6.

     

     

    So adding that to benfica it makes it 4 from 7.

  2. ASonOfDan

     

     

    Rev Ian Miller a genuinely great man! And I have that first hand! He married myself and my good wife and I couldnt have asked for a better person! When we went to meet him prior to him agreeing to marry us we went into his house and sat down he asked me if I watched the football, the night after the Celtic Milan CL game (now a church of Scotland minister me a Celtic fan I wasnt sure of the answer he wanted) so i said yes Celtic were unlucky, being non commital! To which he went into a full analysis of the game bemoaning Celtics luck with all the passion and fervour of the most ardent fan! I was completely taken aback, which he noticed and proceeded to tell me of his change of sides from Rangers to Celtic! A facsinating man and great stories!

  3. Not read back yet, but just wondered if up over goal had picked his other ten players to play alongside Paddy tonight? :)

     

     

    COYBIG

     

     

    Brimmer

  4. I am not getting a good feeling about tonight. A few beers should sort that out.

     

     

    We will take 4 points from the last two games anyway.

     

     

    Hail! Hail!

  5. Shimmies

     

     

    In CL I thought we had lost 1 out of 19(in group stages)

     

    I think on way home after Benfica game BBC said W13 D5 L1 Loss was Barca Henriks return.

     

     

    However if they are quoting Europa cup games our last couple of seasons in Europe would not be too clever. Last season lost to Sion and Athletic Madrid drew with Udinese.

     

     

    Since last CL proper a few dodgy home results against Arsenal and I think Rapid Vienna and Hamburg.

     

     

    Though we have beat Braga and Utrecht.

  6. A Ceiler Gonof Rust on

    Nerves a jangling, head racing, Its time to make the drive to Glasgow and paradise.

     

     

    Ticket in pocket

     

     

    Hope in my heart

     

     

    £20 Celtic win bet placed courtesy of my bro pc67.

     

     

    Its off to the match we go.

     

     

    Do us proud Lenny,

     

     

    We Are Celtic

     

     

     

    Hail Hail Celtic men and wummin, wherever you are taking in tonight’s football extravaganza.

  7. Well coats on, scarfs in the pocket just leaving to go up. A bit apprehensive but really looking forward, to what I know, is going to be one of the great atmospheric occasions at Celtic Park.

     

    Pastles in the drawer to cater for my sore throat tomorrow from the singing.

     

    Come on you Bhoys in Green

  8. Murdochbhoy, yermanfromMK on

    Jasebhoy,

     

     

    Sorry for the delay in replying ………There are a few Celtic pubs in Milton Keynes but you’ll find the best atmosphere in the Foundry Arms, Fenny Stratford. Mick, the landlord is a big Celtic man and it’ll be jam packed tonight.

     

     

    If you’re nearer Stony Stratford I’ll be in the Plough and you”re more than welcome to join me, just ask the barmaids where Paddy is and they’ll direct you

  9. Big Georges Fan Club-Merchant Square has a lot of Continental style bar/restaurants,kids will be fine if you buy a wee bit of scran I would imagine.

  10. Shimmie, 4 from 8. Soz

     

     

     

    But remember we didn’t beat dinamo, spartak and arsenal all at home in qualifiers neebs.

  11. Good luck to everyone going tonight, atmosphere should be a bit special even by Celtic Park standards. Will be watching on tv along with a load of Celtic mad mates. I reckon we could fill the ground twice over tonight.

     

    Hail Hail

  12. A Ceiler Gonof Rust

     

    Celtic have as much chance of winning tonight as I had of getting a two at the 18th at Arbroath…..but we know what happened.

     

     

    JJ

  13. South Of Tunis on

    ” The world is laughing at us —they won’t be laughing if I’m elected President ”

     

     

    Donald Trump.

  14. “When, at school, I said I wamted to be a comedian, people laughed. They are not laughing now.” Bob Monkhouse.

  15. Big Georges Fan Club

     

    14:42 on

     

    7 November, 2012

     

     

    Try the Beer Cafe – right on the corner opposite thon big irish bar.

     

     

    Kevin and Gerry will be there and you can use their seated area outside their pub in the square with kids but they have let me inside with my daughters. They know the score.

     

     

    Podi

  16. Lennon n Mc....Mjallby on

    the barca mole

     

     

    Condolences bud,I once watched a game in your club,think it was in a school or behind it near the Pheonix pub.

  17. Barca

     

     

    Sorry for your loss, bud.

     

     

    May your uncle rest in peace (safe in a place where there’s a great view of tonight’s game) …

     

     

    FF

  18. northbhoy ... \o/ on

    Good afternoon to all Celtic fans and people who care for fair competition and an awe inspiring sporting event, coming to Glasgow’s east end. I was very nervous for us prior to the last game and surprised and delighted how Celtic performed and held a fantastic team in an intimidating arena.

     

     

    To-day, enjoying the build up not so nervous, feel that we have nothing to lose here. Agree that there will be a goal threat if we can play high enough up the pitch and not be pinned in for too long a period.

     

     

    Team,

     

    Forster,

     

    Mulgrew , Wilson, Ambrose Lustig

     

    Commons, Brown, Wanyama, Lassade (Kayal 65mins)

     

    Samaras, Watt (Miku 55mins)

     

     

    Getting ready to head out

     

    Hail Hail

     

    Enjoy the match.

  19. Greetings all, wish to God I could be in Glasgow but no I’m sitting here in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, hyper-ventilating. I hope to God Jungle Jim eagled the 18th in Arbroath. Any portents at all that the Gods might favour us. Sometimes when the anxiety starts getting too much and I start to think maybe I should have developed a passion for knitting instead of for Celtic, I just say win or lose tonight I’d rather be playing Barcelona then Peterhead.

  20. Shimmie:

     

    (Celtic 1st)

     

     

    2008

     

    3rd Qualifying Round – Spartak Moscow 1-1, 1-1 (2-2) penalties 4-3

     

    1st Round Group

     

    Shakhtar Donetsk 0-2, 2-1

     

    Milan 2-1, 0-1

     

    Benfica 0-1, 1-0 (2nd place)

     

    2nd Round – Barcelona 2-3, 0-1 (2-4)

     

     

    2009

     

    1st Round Group

     

    Aalborg 0-0, 1-2

     

    Villarreal 0-1, 2-0

     

    Manchester United 0-3, 1-1 (4th place)

     

     

    2010

     

    3rd Qualifying Round – Dinamo Moscow 0-1, 2-0 (2-1)

     

    Qualifying Play-Off Round – Arsenal 0-2, 1-3 (1-5)

     

     

    2011

     

    3rd Qualifying Round – Braga 0-3, 2-1 (2-4)

     

     

    2013

     

    3rd Qualifying Round – HJK Helsinki 2-1, 2-0 (4-1)

     

    Qualifying Play-Off Round – Helsingborg 2-0, 2-0 (4-0)

     

    1st Round Group

     

    Benfica 0-0

     

    Spartak Moscow 3-2

     

    Barcelona 1-2

  21. Murdochbhoy, yermanfromMK

     

     

    Thats for getting back to me mate, im not far from Newport Pagnell so I think Stoney is closer for me so I may join you for a match in the near future, unfortunatley tonight I will have to settle for my own compnay in front of the TV in the lounge!

  22. glasgowdave @ 15:36

     

     

    Thanks for that link.

     

     

    Made me very envious of those who were able to attend …

     

     

    FF

  23. Mate says the Fan zone is mobbed! You cant move. Chucking work in 20 minutes, Let the Party commence.

     

     

    HH

  24. South Of Tunis on

    Day spent preserving aubergines ——– job done .

     

     

    Game will be watched with my elderly Inter supporting neighbor He will bring 2 litres of his home made Nero D’Avola . I will try to avoid drinking any of it — he will tell me I’m “a woman “.

     

     

    He doesn’t” like” Barca ——- thinks they are ” overrated’.

     

     

    Stuffed rabbit with polenta will be eaten before kick off .

     

     

    Preparing for the game -way down south .

     

     

    Auguri -tutti .

  25. pabloh_AKA_NEIL LENNON on

    Just logged on to say,

     

     

    Can’t wait to get to the stadium tonight to hear (and contribute) to the incredible atmosphere that will be created.

     

     

    Wouldn’t want to be supporting any other club in the world.

  26. pabloh_AKA_NEIL LENNON on

    And also,

     

     

    Sevco fans are hurting today, hurting big time. Cold in our shadow.

  27. Feeling extremely opTIMistic about getting a winning result

     

    tonight, no reason to think this way other than it`s meant

     

    to be.

     

     

    Millions of fans worldwide(maybe 500m!) will be tuning in and

     

    I hope they will get to see the Green Brigades display.

     

    Hopefully the name Glasgow Celtic will be on the lips

     

    of football fans everywhere tomorrow.

     

     

    Watched a documentary about turkish football earlier and one

     

    of the comments ,made me think of CG.

     

    ……its like a conman putting lipstick on a pig….

     

     

    celticclosetowithintwopointsofbarcacsc

  28. Folly Folly

     

    Sometimes I’m guilty of taking Celtic FC for granted.

     

    Always lived within 5-6 miles of the stadium and been

     

    going since I was 5.

     

    But it’s at times like this, that I realise exactly what we are all part of.,

     

    ‘ More than just a club ‘ Never a truer statement.

     

    Heading to the Fan Zone now, Everyone, no matter where you’re watching,

     

    enjoy what will be an amazing sporting occasion. Hail Hail