How Celtic can reach Champions League quarter finals


Two clubs from outside the top five wealthy leagues reached the quarter finals last season but Benfica were drawn against another team from outside the big five, Zenit St Petersburg.  Apoel Nicosia eliminated Lyon in the last 16 on penalties (we should be practicing penalties every week between now and then).

Two teams, Basel (who earlier eliminated Manchester United) and Bayer Leverkusen (who eliminated Valencia), lost seven goals in one game in the first knockout round last season. This tournament retains an ability to be harsh and unforgiving at every moment.  Leverkusen actually conceded 10 to Barcelona over two games.

Apoel Nicosia conceded eight to Real Madrid in the quarters.  The Cypriot team held things together for as long as they could but failed to reach group stage of the Europa League this season, going out at the hands of Neftchi Baku (Azerbaijan).

Our seven potential opponents, all from the top five leagues, will each present an enormously difficult challenge but some are easier than others.  Our biggest advantage is our own position.  Those seven clubs will each underestimate Celtic, we have by far the lowest coefficient of all teams left in the tournament.

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We are enormously outgunned and inexperienced at this level but we know a few things:

We can defend under incredible pressure.

We can score, home and away, against anyone.

We cannot retain possession.  This is not a good thing, but it is an acknowledged weakness, so we know not to plan to retain possession.  If in doubt, laces through the ball and get into position.

Our opponents will know we have the tallest team in the competition.  Height is an advantage until your opponent learns how you use it.  During the first half on Wednesday Celtic tried to repeat the corner kick success we enjoyed against Barcelona and Benfica but Spartak had read the script.  We will be unlikely to score the same goal again in Europe.  A fresh plan is needed.

The Spartak goal is a real lesson.  This is not a goal we would have conceded against a far superior Barcelona.  We had a 1-0 lead and our entire left flank was exposed, compromising a winning position.  We can leave our left flank exposed at Kilmarnock tomorrow but this kind of laissez-faire defending came within 8 minutes of eliminating us on Wednesday and will do so in the next round if repeated.

Penalty kicks determined the outcome of 50% of Champions League knockout ties last season (20% after games, 30% during games).  No amount of practice is too much.

Planning for the quarter finals starts now.

The next issue of CQN Magazine will be out next week. If you would like to advertise get in touch, advert@cqnmagazine.co.uk.

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  1. Morning all



    Interesting article as always but we did not score on all our group games.



    H x 2

  2. voguepunter – To be fair, it would be a bit vulgar to give people little pictures of yourself in payment. Too nouveau riche.



    I have a neighbour who think he’s cool driving around in his bright orange Lamborghini Gallardo on the weekends. Little does he know that we lampoon him mercilessly at the kitchen suppers he isn’t invited to, as we feast on swans livers and the tears of benefits claimants. (thumbsup)

  3. Philbhoy - It's just the beginning! on




    Did we no draw 0-0 with Benfica at CP?



    My memory is poor!

  4. All top 3 positions, surely this is A CQN first?



    Anybody read the mirror piece about SPL clubs being invited to join some pyramid scheme?

  5. Philbhoy - It's just the beginning! on




    I read the article first!




  6. JamsieBhoy



    Self praise is no honour.


    Get over yourself,you’re acting like a sevconian:O)

  7. JamsieBhoy – Anybody read the mirror piece about SPL clubs being invited to join some pyramid scheme?



    Don’t knock pyramid schemes. The whole of Ancient Egyptian society was based on one. (thumbsup)

  8. “Celtic were the only team in their group to score in every game, a feat achieved by 8 of the 16 qualifiers.”



    Celtic-Benfica 0-0

  9. Philbhoy - It's just the beginning! on




    ….guilty of lazy journalism!







  10. The pyramid sorry was tweed by ETims



    ‘ALL SPL clubs offered chance to compete in English pyramid system. Wheels are moving quickly. Very quickly. Time ago 42 Minutes,

  11. We ought to benefit from a better squad as in more players available.



    The next 6 weeks will see our players compete to prise out any colleagues who think they are sitting pretty in one of those 25 CL berths.


    Domestic complacency or lack of application or urgency might carry a high price.



    KaKa the Brazilain only managed one appearance for Real Madrid in the CL this season.


    There are no friends in the Champions League business and NL knows he has none.


    Except the 60,000 on the terraces and 20m back home.




  12. .



    AweBody Knows Ed is Paul67..and Paul67 paid a Actor to Come to His Birthday Party.. To Meat the Blog..(The Beard was a Dead Giveaway)..



    Summa of ParlourGamesCSC



    Ps.. Embdy thinks I’m Wrong.. Remember I was the Kid who Told the Blog.. Bruce Rioch would replace BTM..and I Never Revealed the Good Sauce I Knew.. I was On..

  13. The Battered Bunnet on

    Prognostication warning…



    Running video ads with soundon CQN is likely to result in fewer visitors to the site during working hours.

  14. Again from the Mail:



    It is not only Channel 4 and Talksport who are talking about Celtic.



    The secret of Celtic glory? Smells like team spirit By Michael Walker




    It is easy to get carried away with Celtic. The history, the colour, the noise, the spectacle, all of this acts like a magnetic force on our attention, on major European nights in particular. Celtic Park can be an inspiration and it was once again uplifting on Wednesday.



    But at the core of the celebrated club must always be a football team and if that seems a very basic requirement, what Neil Lennon has assembled at Celtic is a proper team.




    One definition of a real manager and a real team is that the collective is greater than the sum of the individual parts. Less is made more.



    Celtic have done this, they have become a coherent unit one year on from being 3-0 down at Kilmarnock with Lennon fretting about his future. He did not look like the coming man he appears to be today. But the 41-year-old has grown; his team have grown.



    In terms of maturity there is a comparison to be made with Borussia Dortmund, who finished bottom of their group a year ago with four points. At the same time Celtic were third in their Europa League group. Both are young teams.



    Hard work and a team ethic sounds too simple an explanation for progress, but there is genius in simplicity. So when the question is asked: how did Celtic make it out of a tough Champions League group when clubs of superior resources, such as Manchester City and Chelsea, did not, a significant slice of the answer is that Celtic are a team in a way that City and Chelsea have not been.

  15. JamsieBhoy – Also I’m pretty sure you don’t look like Sloth from The Goonies. (thumbsup)

  16. This is an old post of mine.


    Let’s think Big Bhoys.



    If a bunch of East Coast suits could pull off a reverse takeover of the NatWest Bank, think how much easier it would be for us West Coast Bhoys, with our vast superiority in intellect and numbers, to stage a reverse takeover of the entire English football system. We could leave out the EPL and wait till they came a-begging.

  17. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on




    10:59 on


    7 December, 2012



    When I first saw Wanyama I thought…….what a player he is….!!!!!!!



    When I first saw Ambrose, I thought……..what a player he is….!!!!!!!!



    When I first saw Lassad, I thought………..what a player he is….!!!!!!!!



    I am not wrong………we are going in the right direction, bigtime..



    Vigue punter ….SPOT ON ….

  18. kitalba – One definition of a real manager and a real team is that the collective is greater than the sum of the individual parts.



    One definition of a surreal manager is a melting clock. (thumbsup)

  19. JamsieBhoy



    No apology from me mate,I said ‘acting’ like one.


    You are a damn fine actor,should be on ‘The walking dead’


    Hail hail :O)

  20. Paul 67



    Have you and Jabba ever been seen in the same room ? :o)


    I’m only kidding gaffer…just in case ye delete me !


    Btw…I think Neil’s team – in CL terms – is shaping up like a modern day version of


    Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest side. They wurny too bad ye know. imo


    It’s just this – Jekyll & Hyde – domestic thingy that annoys.



  21. ernie lynch



    10:34 on 7 December, 2012



    ”To my way of thinking there is no difference between the Rangers Football Club of two years ago and the club as it is today. If you can see a distinction which separates the club from its history, you’re smarter than me. The club’s the same as it always was and the history remains intact.”



    Walter Smith 6th December 2012



    ”We wish the new Rangers Football Club every good fortune”



    Walter Smith 19th June 2012



    Congratulations! You are now smarter than Walter Smith! FACT!





    Ernie, I am sure you are aware of the adage that tells us,……..



    ‘ The ONLY person we should try to be better than ( or smarter than) is the person that we were yesterday. ‘




  22. From previous article…





    I’m not looking for a fight M8 but…do you know that Joe Ledley’s contribution to the Spartak game the other night was – he lifted the physios bag off the ground and handed it back to him at Kris Commons injury ? Am I the only one who see’s these things ?


    I’ve been at games were Joe Ledley has touched the ball – 5 times in the entire game ?


    Maybe there’s a generation-gap thingy going on here but…for me at least…Joe Ledley is a modern day – Peter Grant. imo


    Now is not the time to question Neil but…is there a blind-spot here ?


    Kris Commons played beyond himself the other night. Thank God !


    But…imo…KC is another one who waltz’s into the team regardless of how he has played previously. THAT’S wrong imo.


    But…heres the thing…we keep hearing about our hugely talented squad ?


    Oh yeah ? So what happened v’s Arbroath ?


    You see…there are numbers…lots of numbers but…not much QUALITY ! imo


    No kings ransom would be needed to solve this. Just move the recruitment process up a notch from – free’s/bosmans/loans/trialists etc…indeed a couple of SPL players would put some meat on the bones. imo


    Dundee Utd’s – Johnny Russell


    Hearts – Ryan McGowan and Novikovas(because he puts a good ball into the box)


    Aberdeen’s – Johnny Hayes(to cover injuries like KC)


    I’m no expert but…I would like us to at least make an effort to live within our means without being silly. If ye know what I mean.


    As I said at the start of this post – minceyheidman – not a rant at yer ghoodself


    just a rant in general. A much needed rant IMO.



  23. voguepunter – You are a damn fine actor,should be on ‘The walking dead’



    Poor T-Dog. Just when he started getting lines in every episode… (thumbsup)

  24. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    Just read back…….any CQNer who welcomes bhuns onto CQN should spend a couple of minutes (only) on ff…….be careful of what you wish for !!!



    Of course, CQN IS open to all …….. As long as they let us know they are bhuns up front, so we can ignore them if we choose to, and not be criticised / vilified for doing so ……..

  25. It doesn’t matter who’s who.


    It’s what people say that matters.



    I like EU’s contributions on the lower echelons of the Scottish game.


    I’m personally acquainted with two youngsters who were spat out by the Scottish system.


    One played alongside one of Celtic’s brightest, but was rejected because of a debilitating illness which he might well get over by his early twenties. Barcelona took quite the opposite course with a very young player of theirs 13 years ago.

  26. philvisreturns


    11:40 on


    7 December, 2012


    voguepunter – You are a damn fine actor,should be on ‘The walking dead’



    Poor T-Dog. Just when he started getting lines in every episode… (thumbsup)




    That was his redundancy package,next stop Stv news sports anchor…….I did say anchor.

  27. Marrakesh Express on

    ‘The world is shrinking. Football economics are changing.’



    We’ve heard it al before but its still refreshing to read Mirror Sports writer Oliver Holt piece on Celtic’s achievement and how they would recharge the ‘austerity proof for the time being’ EPL.



    I’ve been saying for ages that there are too many European sides with either a good/great European history or a huge fan base, or both, and these clubs are being unfairly prohibited from dining at the top table. Celtic are one of the clubs who fit the bill on both counts, as are Ajax, Feyenoord, Red Star, Dynamo Kiev and Benfica (you have to count Sevco in too, although their bad reputation cancels out much of their plusses).


    When you look at German football you see average crowds of over 50k at about 8 clubs, and even Hertha Berlin attract 50k plus, Cologne 40k plus in the second division. The Italians are being left behind too, notably clubs like Roma and Lazio.



    All these clubs have too much to offer to be dismissed as second rate. I think a lot of football fans worldwide had written us off and thats understandable. However anyone over the age of say 45 will remember our name from the glory days and will not be one bit surprised at our re-emergence. Its safe to say that we are one of the top ten best supported clubs in the world, and this fanbase doesnt just disappear. With our recent CL showings and the fantastic CP atmosphere (which the SKY commentator told us was the best in Europe) many people have been made aware of our true status in World football. This status was not built on winning 20 leagues before WW2, it was earned by being ‘the top European side between 67 and 70′ (Bobby Charlton), and by competing at the latter stages of the EC untill 74. The marvellous Seville spectacle was confirmation of how special we are for anyone too young to know 67-74, except for what they’d seen on film or heard from their dad.



    Holt’s correct when he says we have far too much to offer to be stuck in a moribund league. Celtic FC, without actively pursuing change, are pushing on the door harder than anyone. Change has to come and I hope its sooner rather than later.




  28. voguepunter – You are a damn fine actor,should be on ‘The walking dead’



    I would never have anything to do with that mob, especially that fly-on-the-wall documentary you mentioned above.



    What happened T-Dog (whoever he is)? did Fat Sally eat him?

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