It’s all about Ajax


Two honourable defeats, away to Milan and at home to Barcelona, confirm that Celtic can compete at this level, but the two points which only just eluded us could prove crucial in determining qualification for the knock out stage.  Barcelona and Milan are in the driving seat.

Two home wins, against Ajax and Milan, could change all this.  If Celtic can achieve this, Ajax could still be on four points after playing (and beating) Celtic in Amsterdam, but will be odds against to reach six points with a visit to Milan and a home game against Barcelona to come.  Milan bloodied Barcelona’s nose last season, but are not certain to take anything against the Catalans this time, although the outrageous decision which gifted them a draw last night suggests we cannot take anything for granted.

It’s possible that Milan could finish with seven points, which is not an unsurmountable target for Celtic.  For now, we can ignore all the ‘what ifs’, the only thing that matters is facing Ajax at Celtic Park in three weeks.  This is our cup final.

It has been said repeatedly since last night, but deserves repetition, Georgios Samaras’ performance was nothing short of incredible and stands comparison with any individual Celtic performance in Europe over the last 20 years.

Efe Ambrose and Virgil van Dijk looked more every bit as secure as Efe and Kelvin a year ago.  Efe can be particularly pleased with the way he recovered his form after shading last season.

Some months ago I heard a numpty on Radio 5 Live describe Fraser Forster as a ‘Match of the Day goalkeeper’, the implication being that he was more show than substance.  Yet again Fraser demonstrated that he is by far the best goalkeeper in Britain.  I couldn’t care less who in England is aware of this fact.  I hear he released Neymar from his pocket late last night.

Adam Matthews and Mikal Lustig are a terrific right-side partnership but from the opening seconds they were taxed to the limit last night.  The more they play at this level the better they’ll get.

Despite deserving more from Milan last night Ajax are in a state of flux at the moment.  They will not travel to Glasgow with anything approaching confidence but it will still require out best performance of the season to overcome them.

Bring it on.
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  1. The reason we got beaten last night was down to a few factors:


    We were playing a team that are vastly superior to us in the skills of the game


    Brown’s sending off


    Failure to take the two good chances we had



    However, the most glaring reason for another glorious defeat is our abject inability to deliver a simple pass to a teammate. According to Radio Scotland Celtic successfully completed only 49% of passes.


    In other words most of our passed ended up out of the park or to a Barcelona player.




    Failure to learn this most basic of skills will forever hinder our progress to becoming a regular in the knock out stages.



    We have a few good players, Efe I thought was outstanding so too was big Van D, Sammy was Sammy an infuriating mix of comedic bad decision making and flashes of utter brilliance, The Wall was good when he needed to be and Commons in the first half was always looking for space for a shot.


    But until we can pass the ball 2 metres to 15 metres with accuracy then sorry guys, this is as god as it’s ever going to be.



    Forget the hard luck stories that we went ‘head to head’ with Barcelona, the fact is they played us off the park for most of the game due to our inability to maintain possession.



    It could be worse; we could be in the 3rd division and manage to lose £14 million in one season, now that it something!

  2. jmccormick


    12:31 on


    2 October, 2013


    Lot of summarising going on here today, I may as well join in.


    last night was another good performance- poor result, like Milan.


    Positives – every player that finished the game did the club proud, and I include the guys who were subbed. Virgil was excellent, best defender we have had since Johan, Sammi was a lionheart and the discipline of the team shape was fantastic. Kayal looked good when he came on and thrived on being back on the big stage, izzy handled the Pedro and Alves threat very well as KC was sometimes caught out. I hear ball retention being criticised however the new boss at Barca has stepped up the work rate of his players and they are hunting the ball in packs the way Barca did 3 seasons ago, how many times did we have one man surronded by 3/4 black jerseys? Their appetite for work is impressive. We did look like a team with a plan so that augurs well but can we translate that into a let`s win plan?



    Negatives – the red and yelow cards we have already, this will have an impact in remaining games. Broonie was daft, I hope he apologies to his boss and the supporters, very rash of him. That`s about it…


    I know and understand where we stand in the scheme of things, we are a decent Europa league side and now we may not even get there. Not a lot I can do about that other than to support the team and hope for a decent end to this group stage. Ajax are beatable , Milan threw us a life line last night with that late equaliser but we should all know that Ajax will see us as 4 points minimum to be had.


    Incidentally Neymar is a lot of things but he is also a very good footballer , the sleekit one amongst them is the powder puff hard man Busquets…. he needs a slap.

  3. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Might come down to a head-to-head with Ajax for third. Win and clean sheet at home is a must.

  4. I thought last night was brilliant. proud to be a Celt.


    I cannot get too down on my team.


    Barca can play any team in the world off the park.


    If only we had taken one of those chances.






    HHx2 PB1888

  5. .





    10:31 on


    2 October, 2013


    Quonno – so who would you make captain, then?



    The whole team is erratic.



    Last week we were getting beat at home by Morton.






    Hmmmm..Maybe We were Missing a True Captain..



    Did Sammi play Against Morton..?



    Do the Logarithms..




  6. cliftonville celt from belfast praying for Oscar the wee legend on

    I agree about our passing needs to be improved



    More alarming though is our fitness levels – I think they could be vastly improved. It was always a trait of previous Celtic teams that their fitmess levels were much higher than their opponents which led to more than a few last minute winners. This concerns me greatly as we seem to tire badly in europe



    We need a left back with experience



    We need a striker……..any striker will do……unleash Balde get him playing build his confidence we apparently paid £2 mil for him….for god’s sake play the fella.



    Would anyone else do a job up front for us ? Remember Henrik was a winger and big Sutton a centre half – time to get creative Neil

  7. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    Summa – in the ole days[ the Seville team, the Bhoys of Summer] the whole team was packed with captains.



    I don’t see many natural leaders out there; Scott Brown is probably the best we’ve got.



    Also ‘ captain’ is too lowly a rank for Sammi, it would have to be ‘Generalissimo’.

  8. Duntocher_Bhoy on

    really enjoyed last night, we always knew we would see little of the ball and would need to be patient and lucky and take our chance(s) when the time was right…….



    totally agree with benjy!



    the number of times we gifted the ball back to barca was borderline amateur, big punt to sammy then wait for it to come back! Poor. Not to mention the ball being run our of play by our own players, must do better.



    Having said that, plenty of postives, VVD looked immense and Forster was world class when called upon!



    Our next two games are cup finals……………….we know we can do it!




  9. According to Rangers Accounts Charlie had 5M shares as at 30th June roughly 7/8%





    London Stock exchange announce yesterday he now has less than 3% http://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail.html?announcementId=11726707



    There don’t appear to be any sales registered of this magnitude to show him disposing of over 3 million shares, anyone know how this can happen?

  10. cliftonville celt from belfast praying for Oscar the wee legend on

    Oh by the way last night was the best defeat EVER !!!!!!!!!!



    So proud to be a Celtic supporter

  11. cliftonville celt from belfast praying for Oscar the wee legend


    12:53 on 2 October, 2013


    We need a left back with experience




    We need a left back.

  12. Missed the game die to travel. Watched rerun on Celtic TV last night. Clearly we were played off the park bit we were always in it due to great defending. Amazing save by their goalie to deny James.



    Scot Brown is an idiot. Not sure what Paul67 was watching re Sammi – he worked hard and did ok at best. Out of possession (as well as in) barca are incredible to watch. Every time we got the ball the barca players swarmed aroun it giving us no options for an easy pass. This is what we need to practice in the spfl.



    Disappointed in the fact we didn’t play well but a credible 1-0 defeat with 10 men for much of second half. Mom for me was big Fraser. 3 world class saves.

  13. Benjibhoy mul 12:40 was spot on regarding our piss poor passing. I was forever screaming pass it to one of players, but to little purpose. Thought Sammi was excellent but he to was caught too often with Barca’s pack. I immediately feared the worse when Mulgrew missed. What a chance. However it shows how far we have came when we are moaning about losing 0-1 to one of the best teams in the world. Every single player last night deserves credit for their massive efforts and we can console with them on the loss.


    Next time!!!!!!




  14. Every time we had an outball there were Barca players hunting in packs. The player in possession had little opportunity to find a team mate.



    Their workrate is phenomonal, their hunger to be admired.



    So must our positives be admired, as good as they were at attacking, we were up to the defending, we just missed out when we got our chances.

  15. benjybhoy mul


    12:40 on


    2 October, 2013



    Agree. Celtic were far from comfortable last night. Admittedly our defense were outstanding restricting the Barca attack however it was backs to the wall stuff for us most of the game.I watched the game on US Fox channel last night and at 1/2 time a worrying statistic was Barca 600+ completed passes Celtic 65 – can’t be right i thought but then watched the Catalans in full flow constant short sharp intricate passing most of it forward. That is what we need to aspire to. Contary to some on the site i do not believe we can properly compete at this level yet. EL we could do well so a third place spot must be our goal.

  16. From last thread:







    This is what I thought we were on:


    Deloitte raises concerns over Whyte’s battle with Rangers


    Martin Williams


    Senior News Reporter


    Wednesday 2 October 2013



    A LEGAL battle with disgraced former Rangers owner Craig Whyte remains a key uncertainty hanging over the Ibrox business.



    Auditors Deloitte have raised concerns over an “uncertain outcome” of potential litigation, although Rangers have consistently said Whyte’s claims are of no merit.


    The “emphasis of matter” note is contained in the first annual report of Rangers International Football Club plc (RIFC), which revealed operating losses of £14 million.

  17. As a backs to the wall team performance we did well last night. In terms of individuals Virgil & Efe look comfortable in that company, as does Forster. Mulgrew had a good game and Broonie was also doing well until his blood rush. The rest, well they worked hard and gave their all but were well below par on the night. Stokes & Commons don’t have the speed of mind nor body at CL level. Sammi chose the wrong option time and again and bar a few barnstorming runs didn’t have one of his better ‘euro’ evenings.

  18. .





    12:55 on




    Also ‘ captain’ is too lowly a rank for Sammi, it would have to be ‘Generalissimo’.






    True..But Ole SydneyTim will say He is a Non Proven Unnatural General-Miss-IMO..;-)




  19. tigertim


    12:58 on


    2 October, 2013



    I think there’s been a couple of stock market releases over the last few months relating to CG’s shares going elsewhere.



    You wouldn’t necessarily see his sale as one big lump either. It may have been broken down into more sell-able chunks. They only have to inform the markets once he crosses the 3% threshold.

  20. DeniaBhoy in awe of wee Oscar's Courage on

    A wee reminder of what the other side of Glasgow are talking about today. From the DR. I hadn’t seen the cost of their IPO before.:



    Rangers annual accounts: Craig Mather insists club won’t run out of money as £14M losses horrify fans


    2 Oct 2013 07:42



    CRAIG Mather insists the figures are ‘very positive’ and blasted former chairman Malcolm Murray for club’s excessive spending.


    Rangers chief executive Craig Mather Rangers chief executive Craig Mather


    Graham Stuart/Action Images



    CRAIG Mather insists Rangers are not running out of money as fans react with horror to the club’s annual accounts.



    Rangers have announced an eye-popping operating loss of £14.4million on revenues of £19.1m to the year ending June 30.



    Lavish levels of executive pay have been exposed with player salaries amounting to just £7.8m of total staff costs of £17.9m. Manager Ally McCoist took home a staggering £825,000 for leading his team to the Third Division title.



    Finance director Brian Stockbridge received an incredible £409,000 – half of it as a bonus for Rangers winning the lowest league in Scottish senior football.



    Former chief executive Charles Green trousered £933,000 which included wages of £333,000, a severance payment of almost £220,000 and a bonus of £360,000. Disgraced former director Imran Ahmad walked away with £300,000.



    Rangers, who raised £22m through a share issue in December, revealed they had £11.2m cash in the bank on June 30, £4.5m of which came from season ticket sales.



    Astonishingly, £300,000-a-year chief executive Mather described the figures as “good, very positive, great results and (we’re) well on track”.



    As Mather reflected on the fine detail he…



    ADMITTED the cost of the share issue at £6.1m “wasn’t normal” – but couldn’t say who received what.



    DENIED Rangers effectively bought itself by using share issue cash to pay back original investors.



    BLAMED former chairman Malcolm Murray for lavish levels of executive spending.



    TOLD fans they are right to demonstrate against the board but insisted it will keep kids away from Ibrox.



    CONFIRMED McCoist has agreed a “substantial” pay cut and Stockbridge has waived the right to future bonuses.



    The annual report confirmed costs associated with the share issue (IPO) were £6.1m, almost 25 per cent of the total amount received from new investors when the standard is around five per cent.



    But Mather said: “There are the physical IPO costs, the costs of raising money and what we would deem non-reoccurring costs, for example, exceptional costs in excess of £4m.



    “Nobody can shy away from the fact that the IPO cost was high and the cost of raising money was high.



    “But if you go into the detail, there was no football security (at that time), no membership to a league, the club didn’t know what league they would be playing in.



    “It was never ever going to be cheap to raise money against that backdrop but Rangers had to be saved.



    “People in the city would take a view of up to 7.5 per cent is a normal cost of raising funds. This wasn’t normal but it’s obvious you have to look at what you can offer the investor in return for the investment.



    “If you can’t tell them if you’re going to be able to kick a football or if you’re going to be able to play in a certain division or get membership of the SFA it’s not an easy sell.”



    Asked for details of who was paid what immediately after the IPO, Mather said: “I would need to go through all the detail. I’m happy for that question to be answered through Brian Stockbridge.”



    The report reveals £6.75m was used to purchase the assets of the club. Surprisingly, in light of his previous answer, Mather maintains this does not mean Rangers bought itself by paying off Charles Green’s original consortium with proceeds from the IPO.



    He said: “That’s caterogically unture, mischief making. The club was bought by the Green consortium. Monies were paid in good faith for these assets.”



    Mather was in Dubai yesterday and denied meeting Green or representatives of Blue Pitch Holdings.



    He also pointed the finger at Murray for salaries rocketing to English Premiership levels and, in many cases, beyond.



    He said: “I had no influence over it. I became interim CEO on April 24 and permanent CEO in July. For the period we are talking about I didn’t make any of those decisions. It was a decision taken by the remunerations committee and the chairman at the time, Malcolm Murray. Directors are duty bound to honour those scenarios historically.



    “I can assure you on my watch that won’t be happening. If you look at my pay, there was talk about £500,000 but the actual amount agreed in the end was £300,000. I am the lowest paid CEO at Rangers for a long, long time.



    “Brian Stockbridge was on £200,000 plus a contractual bonus. Again, quite openly he’s agreed to waive that bonus.



    “Alistair and I have (also) been in discussion regarding his salary. He’s said he is willing to take a pay cut.”



    Rangers fans have labelled the board “spivs”.



    Mather added: “A lot of these fans are being lied to. There’s no sale and leaseback on Murray Park, there’s no sale and leaseback on Ibrox.



    “The club isn’t running out of cash. We are definitely on the right track. We are definitely not running out of money.”

  21. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    The ole MSM are lettin’ fly at the Spivs this mornin’.



    Over the next few months, as we follow the ups and downs of the Celts in Europe ,we’ll have the added bonus ribtickler of follow, following the downs and downers of the Continuity Horribles.

  22. GlassTwoThirdsFull on




    Sammi rarely had any options. Nobody was getting up in support of him when he had the ball, and there was only so much he could do against 3 or 4 Barca players.

  23. leftclicktic oscar in our thoughts on

    Big nan :)) ditto



    He was referring to this on page 20 of accounts in the


    Independent Auditor’s Report




    In forming our opinion on the consolidated financial statements, which is not modified, we have considered the adequacy of the disclosures made in note


    29 to the financial statements concerning the uncertain outcome of the potential litigation following the receipt of two letters before claim from legal


    advisers to Craig Whyte and Aidan Earley. The Company commissioned an independent investigation (‘the Investigation’) to investigate the first letter


    before claim, which was concluded on 17 May 2013. On 30 May 2013, following the receipt of a second letter before claim, the Company announced that


    the Investigation had been concluded. The Company is satisfied that a thorough investigation was conducted despite the inherent limitations of a private


    inquiry, and considers the claims have no legal merit. The Company has also engaged the services of Allen & Overy to defend against these possible


    claims, and the Company has had no communication with Messrs Whyte & Earley or their legal advisers since 30 May 2013. The ultimate outcome of this matter cannot presently be determined, and accordingly no adjustments have been made to these financial statements as a result of this matter.




    Ps are you at the 1400 sigatures yet in the petition.


    More power to you in the battle.



  24. tigertim


    12:58 on


    2 October, 2013






    It jist dis!!!………..right!!!

  25. There seems to be a general consensus developing over last night…….



    1. Brown cost us at least one point


    2. Neymar is vastly overrated


    3. Barcelona are very ordinary without Messi


    4. Celtic are very comfortable at this level


    5. One or two do not have the pace required for this level…….only an observation


    6. A better cutting edge and there will be points to take






    If Bitton takes Browns place and we start collecting points do we then allow Brown back as first pick?


    On a personal level I would not……..but thats an NFL decision

  26. .



    Courtesy Scotzine..



    Celtic FC blog: Scott Brown – Hero or Villain?



    In his first blog for Scotzine, Celtic fan The Badgeman looks back at last night’s game and specifically to the actions of Scott Brown and asks if he is a Celtic hero or a villain?



    In the home game vs Shakhtar Karagandy, Scott Brown deliberately stamped on an opponent. It was two footed, deliberate and malicious. He was lucky. We had 11 men and scored in the final minute of our most crucial game of the season to reach the group stages.



    In Milan, he pushed Balotelli needlessly in an off-the-ball incident giving away a stupid free kick which Milan scored from costing Celtic the game.



    On Tuesday night, Scott Brown let his team mates down, he let the fans down and he let his manager down. I hope his team mates have gone right through him for his stupid and needless kick out at Neymar. It needs to stop.



    His initial foul was a yellow, yes, but the daft, needless and unnecessary kick out when Neymar went down gives the referee an easy decision to make. Neymar’s reaction was laughable and ultimately made up the referee’s mind but Brown is the captain of Celtic, he should know better, a captain leads by example maybe Brown should think about that.



    That said Broony is what he is and we need to move on but he needs to get a grip and have a long hard look at himself in the mirror. Immediately after the game I called for him to be stripped of the captaincy, knee jerk? Probably. Football fans are fickle.



    Today I’m back in the opposite camp. He made a mistake – yes. Does he deserve to be stripped of the captaincy? – absolutely not. Brown gives 100% for Celtic in every single game. He would and has, played through injury to give his all for the team. His form for both club and country has been fantastic for the last couple of seasons. He is the heartbeat of this Celtic team and my biggest worry is taking on Ajax, possibly twice, and AC Milan without him.



    Neymar and other world-class players like him, on the other hand, must come under the same scrutiny. Celtic have suffered before at the hands of play-acting players. Eduardo of Arsenal famously dived to win a penalty in 2009, a penalty he subsequently scored and once again proves that cheating wins. Giggs did exactly the same at Old Trafford in 2006, a match that finished 3-2 to United. The list goes on and on, we should expect this type of behaviour from certain ‘great’ European players, Amoroso, Deco, Dida etc. The list goes on and on.



    Is it just part and parcel of the game? The simple answer is yes. I’m afraid so. Is it acceptable? Absolutely not. However, it will never be removed from the game and the important thing is that we learn from it and don’t keep falling into the same trap over and over again. We all knew what Neymar was like – even more so given his antics when playing against Scotland in a friendly with Brazil several seasons ago at Wembley.



    I’d rather have Scott Brown in my team, warts and all, any day of the week rather than any of these so-called “world class” players who have to dive, cheat and roll about as if they have been shot to try to gain an advantage.



    Onwards and upwards for Celtic, hopefully with Broony leading the side to more silverware for years to come.




  27. The Moon Bhoys on

    Thankfully, there is no chance of Scott Brown being stripped of the captaincy, NL has way too much common sense. Can you imagine the MSM frenzy if it did happen…… SB under pressure (the whole team was under pressure for the entire game)made a mistake last night. A costly mistake right enough but hey ho, we all make them. Unlucky Scott, have a wee rest and give em hell when you get back.

  28. DubaiBhoy (nee LondonBhoy) on

    am I right in saying, if we win our next 3 matches and Barca win there next 3, we are through?



    Barca – 15


    Celtic – 7


    AC – 4


    Ajax – 1



    Easy peasy! :o) Goal difference excluded…..

  29. On reflection we’ve come a long way in Europe (from reinstatement after the Sion debacle) – commitment, effort and organisation (as such) now poses considerable problems for our Top Seeded CL Opponents. Percentage-wise there is a lot to take out of our Defensive Strategy these past 3 seasons (albeit a few notable exceptions).



    Last night says a lot – I thought we were reasonably comfortable at the back for the majority of the game (GK + back 4 played very well). Barca notably changed their tactics – far more speculative/ diagonal balls to no avail. Their goal was a result of counter-attacking with the benefit of 11 v 10 rather than their normal pressing game.



    Graham Hunter made the point that Barca were annoyed about last year’s result and changed their format to counter our set-up (3-4 men crowding out Sammi, less emphasis of playing through the middle, more use of the flanks). He reckoned it was probably Barca’s toughest game so far this season!



    So far the Team has performed admirably and with a bit of luck could/ should have taken something out of either or both past CL ties. Why not?



    Whether we care to admit it or not – as a Team collectively we are Offensively weak. Not castigating any individual but from midfield to front (Sammi excepted) we lack; pace, guile and composure. Each player (in these positions) has something to offer but lacks at least one key element in their play often resulting in; poor passing/ ball retention, link-play/ creativity – good enough to win the League but likely to come up short (for all their efforts) against top class CL Opposition.



    We are still a work-in-progress: Sammi, FF, Virgil are there – Efe, Mathews, Lustig maybe thereabouts – Brown (petulant flicks aside), Izzy, Commons are as good as it gets. The jury is out on; wee JF, Rogic, Biton (who have time and youth on their side) + Pukki and Derk (yet to prove their worth) – Charlie, Stokes, Kayal can provide cover but are pretty much out of their depth at CL level.


    We are respected in Europe (what the Club beings to the CL competition) but maybe not truly feared as a Team. IMO no matter how you assess the performance(s) – we can compete but we are at least 2/3 players short of progressing at this level.



    Maybe it’s an age thing but I felt less nervous last night than last year – at this moment I would gladly take the Europa place (and the coefficient points) and build on where we have got to on our limited budget/ potential transfer market.



    It’s no bad thing when the majority of the Blog are debating the merits of our European exploits (on a regular basis) rather than the humdrum domestic game.



    4 games to go (will be at 3 of them) and I expect to see us picking up points (hopefully 6+).




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