From Jinky to Georgios


Usually we head straight home, but that day we stood around the front door of Hampden Park, waiting to see the players emerge with the trophy.  It was big Billy’s last game, it also provided an enduring memory of Paul Wilson, but it was the unused Jimmy Johnstone who engaged the fans most.  In the days which followed Jock Stein had ‘the chat’ with Jinky.  Celtic’s greatest ever player, still only 30-years-old, was released from the only club he’d ever been at.

Jinky later acknowledged he expected the news.  Jock had been using him increasingly sparingly, and mostly as substitute, and these were the days before clubs supported large squads.  It was the end of an era, a sad time all round, but this is football, and football is ruthlessly harsh to everyone eventually.

Georgios Samaras has come through the wringer at Celtic, often target of the boo boys and denied the support and encouragement he needed to flourish.  His languid style implied a lack of urgency, for some, but Georgios stuck to his beliefs on how the game should be played and had a late spell in the sun during the last two years.

He was instrumental in the incredible league win in 2008 but the Champions League campaign of 2012 will be his most memorable contribution to the club.  Goals away from home against Benfica, Barcelona and the last minute winner against Spartak Moscow, for our first away win in the tournament, are his hallmark goals.

It wasn’t just the goals during that campaign, Celtic were fourth seed, up against three considerably stronger teams.  Neil Lennon set out to defend and used Samaras physical attributes, as well as his natural desire to hold the ball, as his first stage in building attacks.

Celtic tried the same in this season’s Champions League but, not surprisingly, Sami more often than not, found three defenders around him whenever the ball approached.  He was ineffective, as was Celtic.

In domestic football, Georgios, our main Champions League attacking weapon, was often regarded as a blunt instrument.  Scottish teams defend deeply against the champions, who would, therefore, never ask Samaras to hold the ball up and bring others into the team.  On these occasions his languid style frustrates those wanting a more urgent approach to their football.

The lack of an offer from Celtic will be a blow to Georgios, but I’m sure Peter Lawwell can more than stand the ‘blame’ for this one.

Very best wishes, Georgios.  I hope you have a great World Cup and have your choice of next destinations.

The Celtic FC Foundation badge sellers had enormous fun before yesterday’s game.  Many thanks to all who joined in, and who bought a badge.  It was an easy way to feel part of this great club’s reason for being.

Issue 20 of CQN Magazine, CQLisboN, is out and enjoying great reviews. Click here to read for FREE.

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    CQN golfers in subliminal independence message…..

  2. Congratulations to FF.


    Maybe his example will attract England hopefuls to the Champions.

  3. Sammi scored some very important goals for us….game changers and points takers.



    We got him on the cheap and we were good for each other however 7 years is a long time and we all leave in the end……even the truly great ones.



    Best wishes and thanks for the memories Sammi, I personally always believed in you.





    Sammi to have a very good World Cup and secure a final 3 year lucrative contract at the top level.

  4. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on



    14:51 on


    12 May, 2014





    I have a great mate from Madeira.I`ll share this with him.

  5. archdeaconsbench on

    Pepe Mel (West Brom) has been mutually consented….


    Another one to keep an eye on.

  6. bournesouprecipe on




    Fish for drum sticks? – lead singer reminds me of wee Jamesie with longer hair.



    IDon’tKnowWhy CSC

  7. Kojo it looks to me that NFL is more happy playing without wingers..



    The diamond shape cm cdm cm cam has been very successful and a fluidity has developed in our play due to this system.



    With Sammi’s departure and if Forrest goes we won’t have any wingers left.



    Something tells me we won’t be signing Robert Snodgrass

  8. Kayal33



    14:55 on 12 May, 2014



    West Brom manager sacked. How long till NL gets linked??






    Indeed. Let’s get used to the Scottish MSM linking Neil with any job in England that becomes vacant. Stories to destabalise Celtic – it’s what they do.

  9. desertbhoy



    14:54 on 12 May, 2014


    weet weet weet(gbwo)



    11:50 on 12 May, 2014


    The strathduie pup is opposite BB’s,owned by ex Celt Jim Casey



    And a helluva lot cheaper






    I found that out on the day we played Ajax and supped copious amounts

  10. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    ‘mutually consented’ sounds like CIA-speak for when they put the 0.45 calibre shell through your ole cerebellum at 1000 feet per second.

  11. 67 European Cup Winners



    14:51 on 12 May, 2014




    ‘But as Winston Churchill said “I may not believe in what you say but I will fight and die for your right to say it” ‘







    Churchill didn’t say it. It’s attributed to Voltaire, though he didn’t say it either. The phrase seems to have been coined by a biographer.



    I agree though I can’t really see any link, however tenuous, between Jinky and Sammi.



    One point though is relevant. With Jinky it was Jock Stein’s decision, with Sammi it wasn’t NFL’s decision.

  12. The Comfortable Collective on

    Fraser Forster becomes only the third player since 1990 to be picked for an England world cup squad whilst playing his football outside England.



    The other two being Owen Hargreaves and David Beckham.

  13. OK below is an extended quote from Neil on Sammi. My reading of it is that Neil isn’t so desperate that he wants to keep Sammi at any cost (“He hasn’t been near the heights he hit last year and maybe that’s because he felt he wasn’t getting the contract he wanted”).





    Neil Lennon rates Georgios Samaras as a £5million player and reckons it would be a dereliction of duty if Europe’s top sides didn’t try to sign him for nothing this summer.



    The Celtic boss has now given up all hope of keeping his striker and knows Samaras – who has been at Parkhead since 2008 – will leave on a Bosman next month.



    The Greek hasn’t decided on his next destination but Lennon believes a giant from Spain, Germany or Italy should snap up the 29-year-old.



    And he concedes Samaras – who will play at his second World Cup this summer – may be irreplaceable at Parkhead.



    Lennon said: “Georgios hasn’t come out and said this yet but I’d imagine he would be moving on in the summer.



    “We only have three or four weeks of the season left and there has been no indication he will stay so I’m assuming he will go.



    “He may want a new challenge and something to get his teeth into. He would get a top-level club – top eight in somewhere like Spain, Italy and Germany.



    “Georgios has had considerable interest from bigger clubs. I don’t know what his target destination is. He has turned down offers from clubs.



    “In his own mind he has a set country where he would like to play but I don’t know what that is.



    “Can I directly replace him? I’d like to. But big, quick, athletic and technically good players are hard to find.



    “Everyone is looking for players like that. He will be an asset wherever he goes. He certainly was for us.



    “I don’t know if I can directly replace him but I’m going to try anyway.



    “He’d be worth in the region of £4m or £5m. Georgios can do it on the big stage and he scored five goals last season in the Champions League.



    “He’s a regular for Greece and has played at the Euros and the World Cup. He has played consistently well for us and won championships. So in today’s market you would have to be looking at someone like that. And he’s 29 so that’s a good age.



    “Georgios keeps himself really fit. He’s a fantastic professional in that respect and has a good three or four years left in him.



    “Sami gets stronger as games go on. He tends to wear opponents down and that’s a great asset.”



    When players refuse to commit to a new deal plenty of managers banish them from the squad – but Samaras has remained in Lennon’s plans. He once described the Greek as “someone who could get me the sack” but Lennon and Samaras have been good for each other.



    The Hoops boss has man-managed the forward superbly and his reward has been some excellent performances in key Old Firm and European ties.



    Samaras is likely to feature this afternoon against Inverness and Lennon said: “I’m pleased with him. I thought he still had something to offer and he has proved that.



    “He was fantastic recently against Dundee United and played reasonably well at Motherwell. Georgios has answered all the questions about him being picked by scoring two goals.



    “He has the World Cup coming up and I had to be fair and bear that in mind.



    “Georgios was brilliant last season. He hasn’t been as good this term but he might have had things on his mind.



    “He hasn’t been near the heights he hit last year and maybe that’s because he felt he wasn’t getting the contract he wanted. I don’t know – you’d have to ask him that. But there is no question for 18 months to two years we got the best out of him.

  14. Morrissey the 23rd on

    ‘GG @ 14:53


    Good post. Especially “For me Sammi loved the club so much, he wasn’t prepared to take a wage cut to stay.”



    I’ve always stood up for Samaras. I thank him for his time and I wish him well.

  15. macjay1 for Neil Lennon


    14:49 on


    12 May, 2014


    Happy for big Frase himself,but this is a refection on Celtic.


    One of the top three England goalies(according to Hodgson) plays for Celtic.


    More importantly,it may convince Fraser that playing for Celtic does not harm his understandable England ambitions.


    Come home,Gary.





    Aye hopefuly the frazer thing will be good for us.



    As for Gary… The same Mrs AikiBhoy that says “They are dead to me” regarding the zombies also says “If Gary Hooper comes back I may as well support the dead ones”..



    obviously.. she cannae stand him. Thinks he isn’t good enough for Europe. I tend to agree on this part.



    Personally? I wouldn’t mind seeing him back in the hoops.. does a fine job in the SPL.

  16. ‘GG



    14:53 on 12 May, 2014



    That’s idiocy from start to finish.



    NFL wanted him to stay.

  17. bournesouprecipe on

    “I am leaving Celtic but Celtic will never leave me”



    Georgios Samaras



    *even though their wages weren’t enough*

  18. BMCUW


    Judgin by the posts big guy,you had other more pressing things on yer mind which you would doff get a get out of jail free card for ha.




    I’m not being precious I just love this blog and what I feel it adds to the Celtic debate/ experience/diaspora so was disappointed at not being able to put faces to names WHILST RECOGNISING that other things such as the Hootenanny were happening. It was the complete lack of a response.


    Having said that met VP and big Gordy64 on the way back from Amsterdam and maybe it’s not such a good idea putting faces to names. Only jesting ghuys.

  19. Morrissey the 23rd on

    jude2005 is Neil Lennon \o/ @ 14:54



    Thought it was a reference to a chat from Big George’s funereal or perhaps a chat you’ve had with Eddie Toner from The Celtic Trust. CrypticCSC

  20. bournesouprecipe



    15:06 on 12 May, 2014



    ‘Sevco planning to be level with Madrid in 4 years.’







    At 667m above sea level Madrid is the highest capital city in Europe, so that’s quite ambitious.



    How are they planning to do it? Is it going to be a skyscraper casino with a football pitch on top?

  21. What a terrible dilemma . . . .



    wanting big FF to do really well, but for England to get pummelled at the same time.

  22. 67 European Cup Winners on

    ernie lynch


    15:02 on


    12 May, 2014


    You’re a better historian than me – but I think we both know my point was to tell Paul his comparison was rubbish without offending !!


    As for Neil not being involved in the decision – the truth is I dont know (like you) but I would think PL would have discussed with Neil about a new deal (obviously a lot less than he had) I think Neil tried all he could to get something out of Sammaras – but accepted he is a 5 minute wonder every now and again I believe Neil was involved – I also believe he made the correct decision




  23. 67 European Cup Winners



    15:13 on 12 May, 2014



    It never ceases to amaze me what some choose to believe.



    I think the comfort blanket thing has more than a ring of truth about it.

  24. kayal33



    14:55 on 12 May, 2014


    West Brom manager sacked. How long till NL gets linked??



    I hear Neil is on his way at this very moment…

  25. The Battered Bunnet on

    Delighted to hear that K Park will be hosting a preseason friendly between EKFC and John Kennedy’s U20 Celtic development team.



    19th July.



    Ole Jobo will surely be taking his seat beside the directors for that one.

  26. Steinreignedsupreme on

    Mel was just five months in the West Brom electric chair, but he lasted twice as long as Rene Meulensteen at Fulham, who at least got to see the ole Michael Jackson statue on a regular basis.




  27. ernie lynch


    15:13 on


    12 May, 2014





    15:06 on 12 May, 2014



    ‘Sevco planning to be level with Madrid in 4 years.’






    At 667m above sea level Madrid is the highest capital city in Europe, so that’s quite ambitious.



    How are they planning to do it? Is it going to be a skyscraper casino with a football pitch on top?




    You can find a few deid “Madrid’s” on this page.



    They already made it ;)



  28. Mea Culpa



    15:13 on 12 May, 2014



    “What a terrible dilemma”.



    What about sevco fans? Think of those poor souls’ dilemma.

  29. The Battered Bunnet on

    Looking like Ann Budge has completed and is now acting on her 120 hour review.

  30. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on



    15:08 on


    12 May, 2014



    If Gary were to come back,he may well have learned from a chastening experience.


    ( with the consolation of ,apparently,having cried all the way to the bank).

  31. Geordie Munro on




    It’s mad eh?



    All 3 relegated clubs in arguably better positions before they sacked previous managers.



    West Bromwich only escaping due to the rule that only 3 can be relegated.

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