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. Oglach


    I agree we cannot compete at this level yet.


    Our passing is poor due to player on the ball often having no option other than pass back or try to dribble.


    The cautious system we employ keeps our players focused on staying goal side of opponents.


    It has made us hard to beat but we never create enough chances to be winners against the better teams.


    Playing Mulgrew in midfield is a stark reminder of our approach.


    And Stokes as a lone striker also blunts our attack as he drifts wide and is often offside leaving us with no focal point and the loss of possession.

  2. Whatever Lenny has to say about his players on tv should always be from a supporting perspective. Which I believe he has done.


    There are more than enough people about that want to put us down.


    Criticisms should always be kept inhouse.


    Or do some people think they deserve better

  3. DubaiBhoy (nee LondonBhoy)


    13:14 on


    2 October, 2013



    We’ll be on nine points.

  4. If we win our next three matches we will have 9 points.



    Not 7.







  5. leftclicktic oscar in our thoughts on

    Broonie will (IMHO) be a massive loss for the Ajax game, I hope it is only one match but fear more :((

  6. If Barca win their next three and we win at home but draw away we’ll be through as well.



    Barca 16


    Celtic 8


    Ajax 5 or 2


    Milan 7 or 4




  7. A kick or a flick.


    In slo mo it looked like a kick.


    But at real speed it was no more than a flick.


    Which term you use is probably dependent on your argument.

  8. Well done last night to the Bhoys. Left last night feeling disappointed not that we had lost but that we had missed a couple of the best chances of the night just before they scored. Bit like the Milan game and Stokes free kick, if Forrest or Charlie score we have a different game.



    Agree with most posts that we need to pass better but the stats for most teams against Barca look similar. I know that Barca close down well and hunt in packs but I felt our lacked confidence on the ball to make passes was one of the main reasons. Hopefully we will learn from the experience.



    Disappointed that Lenny put on Pukki for stokes as I thought that he could have unleashing big Balde. Might have given us another target for our only out the long ball as Sammi had 3 of them around him when he got the ball by that stage. His height might have been useful but I suppose with 10 men…



    Speaking of 10 men Broonie getting a skelping today. Daft yes but that’s his style of play. My only regret was that he did not kick him harder.



    I know that it is harsh to judge against such competition but disappointed with Stokes in both CL games so far. Just think our European style does not suit him. Might be better to start with Pukki next time? Just a thought.

  9. People like this have no place at Celtic Park, scum fighting with Barcelona fans and Police pic.twitter.com/p5k8ut9Jc1

  10. Broonie deserved to go.



    A Barca player wouldn’t have been sent off though and that’s what’s annoying.



    Remember Song getting away with it last year.

  11. Sammi, s performance was absolutely nowhere near one of the greatest celt performance in Europe.. He worked hard, had his self indulgent histrionics, got caught on the ball far too often when a pass was on in a good position…..He can still hold his head high, but I have seen many many better euro performances from bhoys in the hoops over the last 20 years. Footballing class from Moravcic v juventus, Larsson Sutton v blackburn away…et al

  12. Lennon is right not to bereate his player in public.


    He should tell him his thoughts in private.


    Brown was deservingly sent off.He was stupid but not a cheat.


    The only time I don’t like coaches backing players is when they cheat.


    Unfortunately the modern game condones cheating.


    Fergie,Mourinho and Wenger have all been guilty of this.


    The soul is being wrenched out of the modern game.


    Fed up with such behavior being justified in the morally bankrupt modern game.

  13. Sport





    Beattie on Scotland: Squaddies and sectarian songs – will Rangers ever learn?







    2013 Wednesday 2ndposted by Morning Star in Sport The ugly scenes at Ibrox on Saturday embarrassed Scotland and evoked a time we all hoped had passed, writes Douglas Beattie






    Here’s a strange thing. I should be beginning this column by talking about Barcelona, or goodness me even Stenhousemuir — football at least. But no, the big story over the past few days has been, yet again, an off-field matter detrimental to Rangers and deeply embarrassing to all Scots.




    I speak of a right old stinker of a kerfuffle which saw uniformed British servicemen dancing and singing on the pitch at Ibrox during a specially arranged Armed Forces Day.




    One might ask why the Govan club alone feel the need to have such a celebration? Any answer to that question would be long but fairly moot, for it’s their business alone. Well, up to a point.




    When British troops — paid for by taxpayers of all hues — are filmed clapping and possibly joining in with songs which at best endorse a certain kind of overt British (Protestant) nationalism and at worst are sectarian, it very much becomes the business of wider society.




    In this day and age the whole shebang at Ibrox was pretty shoddy. It was — if we wish to be flippant — just so 20th century darling!




    Surely we have all moved on by now? Bobby Sands, the UVF, Derry’s Walls. In Glasgow, in 2013, really? Sadly, yes.




    A few years back I wrote in The Rivals Game — my book about British derby matches — about the problems of finding “a settled modern Rangers identity” displaying a “pro-Protestant and generally conservative, approach, one which is not in any way anti-Catholic.”




    I would suggest that some progress has been made in this respect. Look at Jon Daly, from Dublin, who has settled in without any fuss whatsoever.




    Yet for all that the scenes at half-time during the 8-0 victory over Stenhousemuir told us that the club, one in freefall in recent times of course, continues to make poor choices resulting in self-inflicted wounds.




    There was a very obvious opportunity, post-liquidation, for a change in emphasis and image. In short a chance to eschew the more vexed and questionable aspects of Rangers’ history.




    The truth is some folk simply refuse to see that the world around them is not a pool of stagnant water. Their values may not necessarily reflect those of the community at large.




    Now with investigations up and running into what went on at Ibrox senior military officers, police and politicians will find themselves being asked if fans and squaddies alike should be prosecuted.




    What was meant to be a grand day out for all has, predictably, turned into an utter fiasco, a disgrace even. Rangers don’t need this, Glasgow does not need it and frankly nor does Scotland

  14. leftclicktic oscar in our thoughts on

    Seen on twitter




    Be grateful if you could share leaflet regarding AxetheAct candidate in Govan by-election pic.twitter.com/9O2XzRAQd7



    Till later all

  15. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    ‘Which term you use is probably dependent on your argument’



    -or which version of the ole Subbuteo rules you’re usin’

  16. the long wait is over on

    My tuppence worth on last night



    1. Brown deserved to go. If you’re in any doubt watch again and look at his reaction to the red card. Not a flinch. He knew what he’d done. Had he flicked/ kicked Neymar all in the same action as the initial foul he might just have survived. As it was he took four or five steps after the initial challenge before having a dig. Madness.



    2. I take no pleasure in saying it but Izzy was badly at fault for the goal. Position and body shape were all wrong initially as the pass was played inside him and his recovery and attempted tackle were nowhere near good enough.



    Overall though a good performance against a team that still play pure, beautiful inventive football.

  17. The Honest Cover-up on




    Spot on. I’m amazed people are saying Sammi did OK but he gave the ball away far too often. He gave the ball away because most of the time he had no options to make a pass and had no choice to run at Barcelona, something he does incredibly well, taking pressure of his team mates, even if just for a few seconds. Samaras was immense last night. People bemoaning our passing stats are sometimes being too simplistic. Yes we should be looking to improve that side of our game but this is Barcelona we are talking about. They do this to almost every team they play. Thier movement is utterly incredible.


    We weren’t passed off the park in the San Siro nor are we in most Champion’s League games. We need to improve our finishing and be more effective at set pieces. With the height we have we should have teams quivering in their boots every time we have a corner or a wide free kick.


    I said before the game that we would miss having a player capable of putting in Miku’s performance against them last year.


    Stokes just can’t do that job (nor do I think Gary Hooper could either for that matter). His touch isn’t good enough and I thought at times last night he was avoiding looking for the ball as he knew he would give it away. Maybe it’s harsh to say he was hiding but that’s how I saw it. I do like Stokes and think he can cause all sorts of problems for SPL teams but we should not be going into a game like last night with him as our first choice. Pukki would have been a better option surely.


    Stokes is a good player but he is not a first choice Champion’s League player and his new contract offer should reflect that.

  18. Roy Keane on ITV 1 was a disgrace last night,he will fade away a bitter and twisted man who is not welcome at any of his previous clubs,or the Republic probably.

  19. DubaiBhoy (nee LondonBhoy)


    13:10 on


    2 October, 2013


    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)





    would be even easier if 3+3+3=9

  20. If I understand the thrust of the DR article kindly pasted in above…



    Deidco were bought at a knock down price by investors organised by Green or Whyte



    These investors were paid back from the money raised by the IPO share issue.



    The old Deidco was bought for a pound by Whyte and the debt paid off by an advance on future ticket sales from Ticketus.



    In reality, what is the difference between these two “purchases”.



    Buy something you can’t afford with money you don’t have and gamble that you can fool others into supporting your regime.



    Where are Ticketus and have they been paid off?


    The Whyte/Earley litigation looms.


    Big Tax case appeal looming.


    Fat salaries to the inner circle.


    No explanation for costs of over 6 million to raise 22 million in the IPO


    14 Million in the hole



    Smoke, Mirrors and Spivs

  21. Hope Scott Brown is not defined this season by that incident last night.



    I heard he’ll miss three CL games.

  22. Agree that we lack in the final 3rd , we do not create many chances thus we need to take a high percentage of them. Next up as Paul says is our cup final. We know what Commons/Stokes can offer time for the new bhoys to show if they can offer more at this level.



    Pukki was signed to late to make an early impact, he now has 2 league games to become the champions league first pick in front of Stokes.



    Boerrigter has still to settle in and show what he has , he needs a run in the team but playing against his old team players can play well as they have something to prove.



    otherwise we only have Ledley, Forrest who will hopefully be fit , to fall back on if fit I would expect them to be in line to start ,not a lot of squad depth but we move forward and have the Well up next at Paradise ,

  23. weeminger


    13:22 on


    2 October, 2013


    If Barca win their next three and we win at home but draw away we’ll be through as well.



    Barca 16


    Celtic 8


    Ajax 5 or 2


    Milan 7 or 4








    yes it would be if 3+3+1 didn’t = 7

  24. The Honest Cover-up on

    !!Bada Bing!!



    Never understood the adulation heeped on that man from many in our support. He had his own tifo display when he had barely kicked a ball!


    A horrible man. I’d actually rather he had never played for Celtic. I’m amazed some folk in Ireland still see him as a hero.

  25. flying elvis:



    I agree with the pseudo hard man act, I can remember that geezer Augustin Binya of Benfica tickling him with his studs and Brown crumbled.

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