Fragile Feyenoord offers hope


The status of this Champions League group is officially….alright .  In yesterday’s blog I said our draw was all about Pot 3.  Turns out, this wasn’t the case.  Feyenoord, our Pot 1 opponents, are the weakest we are ever likely to draw from that tier.  They earned their spot by being Dutch champions and benefiting largely from the performances of Ajax, who along with PSG are the only top 20 rated European teams outside England, Spain, Italy and Germany.

Feyenoord is almost a verb in Dutch, a bit like to “Hibs” something is in English.  Since their infamous Uefa Cup Final against Tottenham in 1974 they have won the league only five times.  Their record number of consecutive titles is two (achieved once).

They are a club characterised by greatness that vanishes in the night.  Think back to that time they had one of Europe’s top five strikers, but stuck him on the wing on the rare occasions he played (Brendan, note 21-year-old Liel Abada).  Feyenoord are a gift of a Pot 1 opponent and the weakest team we will face.

Atletico Madrid finished second in La Liga last season, a point behind neighbours Real.  They were an eye-watering 28 points and nine places above Pot 1 Sevilla.  Real thumped us home and away on Champions League duty without leaving second gear, albeit we had 60 minutes in the sun before darkness fell.  If Celtic lay a glove on Atletico it would take a master gameplan – I would be surprised.

Last season Lazio finished above a Champions League finalist as well as a Champions League semi-finalist.  Our wins over them in 2019 are among the highlights of Celtic’s last decade.  We defended stoutly in both Europa League group games, before snatching two late winners.  Football seldom tastes as sweet.

It is no coincidence that over two periods of manager, Neil Lennon’s results were better in group stage and knockout round European games than either Brendan Rodgers or Ange Postecoglou.  Neil defended his box when it was appropriate to do so and gave us wonderful football memories.  Brendan and Ange recorded some of our heaviest defeats in European competition.  Sure, we need to test ourselves, but Brendan, we also need results.  It’s Tony Watt’s goal against Barcelona the Celtic social admins continually play, not Tony Ralston’s gumption against PSG.

There will be more blogs up throughout the day.

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  1. Man City’s Under-21 connection



    Simon Stone



    BBC Sport



    I mentioned Sam Tickle and the England Under-21 squad.



    An incredible 10 members of Lee Carsley’s squad are either at Manchester City, on loan from them or, in the cases of James Trafford, Cole Palmer, Sam Edozie and Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, started their careers there.



    Palmer, Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Tommy Doyle have moved clubs today.



    City’s youth set-up is now paying rich dividends.

  2. Easiest to finish second, difficult to finish third I’d say



    Atleti finished bottom of their cl group last season, Lazio finished third in their Europa and went out of the conference league at the last 16. Both are weaker having lost big players and not replaced them



    Both are inconsistent, Lazio can get results against Napoli and get beaten by relegation teams.



    I think everyone will take points of each other. We have to win some home games and try and pick up the odd draw away



    We need to score goals at home

  3. Brendan, we also need results.



    Well, we got two points last season



    Goals for 4



    Goals against 15



    We are a weaker team this season



    So is it…






    Or Glass half full!?



    Hail Hail

  4. Paul 67,



    Many readers will remember the last time we underestimated Feyenoord.



    But yes, the draw is progressable.




  5. *Barcelona won La Liga last season NOT Real Madrid! Ten points above Real and 11 above Atletico … and 17 above KT¡s Real Sociedad … just saying.

  6. BIG WAVY on 1ST SEPTEMBER 2023 12:14 PM


    BURNLEY78 on 1ST SEPTEMBER 2023 11:57 AM



    Not sure who it favours but we are in some transtional phase and not sure Brendan knows how to play the team. I think he’s shocked by how much mediocrity Angeball concealed when you want to shift gears to a more possession based game, inverted wingers and marauding full backs.



    We’ve been pedestrian in the last 2 weeks and the 60 minute oomph to finish off games has vanished as quality on the bench has not been there.



    So many variables to the selection – will the new boys be fit, had any training to even remember their team mates names and a fear for too much disruption. Who does he trust?



    I can’t bear Scales being there, can live with Hart thumping it forward & GT inverting but that means Callum is a man down….



    I’d play better technical players for possession than Maeda – Palma and Yang and get at them.



    Our back four should be completly changed from the 3-0 reversal last time there, which I’m pleased about.



    Confused csc




  7. GREENPINATA @ 9:14 AM




    A wee caveat there.




    Benfica B play in Liga 2, the level below the first team and, dare I say it, with half a dozen teams that would regularly beat the bottom 6 in the SPFL. Benfica can play young guys at that high competitive level. Not just them but 5 other top flight Portuguese teams chose and were allowed to enter teams at that level (Porto, Sporting, Braga, Maritimo and Vitoria Guimares).




    Their young players are playing at a level that prepares them for the jump to Liga 1 in Portugal. Our guys play in the 5th tier of Scotland and restricted to playing 16-20 year olds . Even if they were good enough to win that league against adult teams they could not play at any higher level, other than breaking straight into the Celtic first team, and no one has managed that yet, not even Ben Doak- the best of them.




    The only Player Development route we have is to loan them to other clubs and coaches, where facilities and coaching may not be as good as Lennoxtown can provide. So – there’s the dilemma- Scottish football is suppressing the interests of elite young players to protect the interests of their member clubs who attract crowds of under 250 to their games. Portugal and The Netherlands think differently.




    Obviously English clubs face similar problems but their elite clubs have sufficient elite players in their reserves to provide a more testing competitive environment playing the equally talented reserves of other elite English clubs. Our lot get to play “Rangers” and Hearts B teams of elite youngsters and a bunch of players whose natural level is 5th tier. Even then, English clubs need to offer most youngsters a loan spell with a Championship or League One club to give them a bridge to the firs team. It is rare for an individual to break straight into an elite English first team without such a spell but Phil Foden has done it but even the likes of Mason Mount had to go on loan twice.




    There are talented boys at Celtic B and the younger teams. If we scrapped Lennoxtown, they would be at the mercy of the various boys clubs and other senior clubs with lesser facilities and coaching to develop from ages 11 to 16 and earn an age promotion to the B team. We face the same challenge as the Govan club and Hearts and Aberdeen. It is easier, but getting harder, for a Dons youngster to break through as it is at Hearts, because their teams are, on average around 20 points a season poorer than our team. Comparisons with Sevco show that they can blood a McRorie, or a Leon King or an Alex Lowry but none established and held down a first team slot.




    We need friendly relations with clubs with decent coaches and facilities that will give game time to our talented 18-20 group. We are using Dunfermline, Queens Park, Fleetwood and Admira Wacker in this way. I hope we can even improve on that, in future.

  8. UEFA Europa league draw coming up –



    come on the plucky Scutz team, we need the co-efficient points.

  9. The Battered Bunnet on

    I doubt it’s needed by many, but in the midst of the Champions League ponderings let’s keep in mind that we’ve been unable to score against Kilmarnock and St Johnstone in out last two matches, and conceded 9 (nine) goals in matches against Hibs, St Mirren and Sevco at the end of last season.



    Whatever else we are, we’re not causing sleepless nights in Rotterdam or anywhere.

  10. Incidentally, every single member of the 1970 team to play Feyenoord was Scottish.



    In fact the whole first team squad was Scottish. I think.



    Now that was a time where we produced quality and the standing of the Scottish game was much higher.



    We did not have ” world class” training and development facilities . But we still produced quality.



    Now we have circa 80% ” foreign ” players. This is our business model.



    I realise times have changed but perhaps we should look in part at getting back to basics.



    The current model doesn’t seem to work outside domestic football.




  11. SAINT STIVS @ 12:19 PM,



    Our manager



    And I hope he has seen a few of them play



    Hail Hail

  12. I know nothing about AM or Feyenoord but Lazio aren’t a big powerful team. Two small wingers and immobile who is a poacher. The midfield three are more technical players. Wee right back, other defenders big guys. They were in for Guendouzi who is a more combative midfielder, I don’t know what’s happened to that. They sold their best midfielder, best player to Saudi Arabia and don’t seem to have replaced him. Yet



    Greg Taylor watch: Their right winger, Felipe Anderson is a quality player but not up to the standards of the wingers we faced last year. He’s about the same size as GT, quick and technical but inconsistent.



    They are also linked Mason Greenwood who could play in that side and would pose a serious threat.



    Thus has come from me watching them a bit last season and about 15 minutes this season and my mate who’s a Lazio fan



    The Group monitors performance against the following key


    performance indicators:



    • Football success (refer to page 7 and page 35 Five Year Record);



    • Match attendance statistics (refer to page 7, Stadium and Matchday Operations and page 35 Five Year Record);



    • Sales performance per revenue stream (refer to The Financial Review page 10 and Note 5, Segmental Reporting);



    • Wage and other costs (refer to page 11, Operating Expenses and page 11, Current Trading and Outlook);



    • Capital expenditure (refer to page 11, Property Plant and Equipment);



    • Profit and cash generation (refer to page 12, Current Trading and Outlook);



    • Shareholder value (with weekly share price reporting disseminated within the business); and



    • Player trading (refer to page 11, Net Player Trading).

  14. glendalystonsils on

    Last season in Europe we created good chances (even against mighty Real) and failed to convert them .



    Our finishing surely cannot be as wasteful again . Question is , can our new look side create the opportunities against sides who are on a different planet to Kilmarnock and St. Johnstone?



    A lot will depend on playing Kyogo where he is most dangerous and on how effective our wingers (new and old) can be .


    All while hoping our rejigged defence copes with top attacking players!


    We’ll find out soon enough.

  15. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    “Neil Lennon’s results were better in group stage and knockout round European games than either Brendan Rodgers or Ange Postecoglou”




    We have won one knockout game in 19 years. Brendan Rodgers was the manager.

  16. CHAIRBHOY on 1ST SEPTEMBER 2023 12:22 PM


    SAINT STIVS @ 12:19 PM,







    Our manager







    And I hope he has seen a few of them play







    Hail Hail






    The manager said we are weaker ? Before the window is closed and business is done ?



    Or do you mean he said it a week ago ?

  17. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    If only Jock Stein had been lucky enough to have had Strachan and Lennon to learn off – maybe we could have achieved something in Europe in his day!

  18. SS…



    Pretzel Rogic (Steely Dan)



    Jump Around (House of Bain)



    Why, Why Why – RonDeila? (Tom Jones)






    Glenn Miller Bandura

  19. ANyone know if Hatate has been training this week? His 25 min cameo at Aberdeen was a reminder of his quality. I assume his agent has failed in his job to get an EPL move for him so earning another 10k a week will suffice for now ;)



    On form he is our best player, followed by Kyogo and CCV. If the three of them are playing in the CL games things look a lot better.

  20. SFTB,



    Thank you for your reply.



    I totally get what you are saying. So our Academy’s value must be evaluated in its current format.



    However and it is a big however. Surely in a “poor” Scottish league we can find a place for the cream of the crop.


    If you are good enough you are old enough.



    Our current business model would never have facilitated the ” Quality Street youngsters ”



    That is damning in itself..



    Cheers and HH.

  21. SAINT STIVS @ 12:24 PM,



    Maybe you can help me out here



    From our new signings and loanees why does that make us stronger than last year?



    Serious question as the little I know of our recent recruits I’m not seeing vast improvements on…




    Jota, Mooy, Starfelt, Giakoumakis, Jura, Jenz



    Hail Hail

  22. We may, rightly, state that it is a favourable CL draw but………….



    we are still the Pot 4 cannon fodder team.



    Talk of 3rd or 2nd is fanciful at present. Let’s achieve a draw or a win against someone before we talk of qualifying for anything from this “milder” group.



    The hard headed bookies have the odds to win the group as:-



    Atletico- 9/13


    Lazio 3/1


    Feyenoord 6/1


    Celtic 9/1 (you can get 11/1 with some bookies)



    To qualify out of this group, the odds are:-



    Atletico- 1/5


    Lazio- 4/6


    Feyenoord- 13/8


    Celtic – 2/1




    2/1 sounds not too daunting till you realise it is still the longest odds offered to all 4 teams.




    Anyway, to address Paul’s leader. You don’t have to change tack too much- Feyenoord are the de facto 3rd seeds here.

  23. And last team in their group is the Cyriots Aris Limassol. Betis and SParta Prague are decent teams, will be tough to top the group.

  24. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on




    Haven’t read article but read the title






    My heart says yes …. (fill in the blanks)



    Leipzig were fragile last season and would have been perfect Matchday One opponents.



    They sacked an old coach and appointed a new coach.



    New guy did a magnificent job supergluing the fragile pieces together quickly.


    (“The fundamentals were sound” and all that)



    We got them at game 3 & 4.



    Rest is history.



    The campaign will still be lots of fun. Am looking forward to it immensely.



    But …



    … and I speak as a glass half full type who has no desire to fillet the club board or chin the manager ….



    Making a mark in Europe? …. to paraphrase Brendan.



    Tough ask to get the current squad ready to hit that target starting in 4 weeks.



    More likely IMHO?



    Foundations for next 3-4 years are being put in place now to be ready for next season’s expanded CL format.



    If so, great strategy, not great tactics.



    … I should really read the article now.



  25. Chairbhoy, apologies, you are correct re the £50M budget. I wrongly attributed that tjo yourself, when in fact it was made up by David66.


    Sorry for that, completely my mistake!



    Howevah, you did not share which quality signings you felt should have been made though?




    In 1905, Scottish manager and former Celtic player Johnny Madden brought new tactics and views on football from his home country to the club.



    He managed to set up an early golden age for the club that lasted 25 years. Under Madden Slavia won 134 domestic matches out of a total of 169, and 304 internationals out of 429 between the years 1905 and 1930. In 1930, Madden retired from Slavia and professional football at the age of 66, though he remained in Prague for the rest of his life.

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