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It’s all about Ajax

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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. Kayal33

     

    Sorry but your namesakes a dud.

     

    After he came on last night his only contribution was a foul.

     

    Offers no forward movement and is hopeless defensively and position ally.

     

    Would rather we had kept Jackson Irvine than have Kayal in the squad.

  2. Celtic’s passing stats

     

     

    While I agree our passing was not very good last night, particular in the short areas, a lot of this came down to the difficulty Barcelona put us under in so far that any time a Celtic player had the ball, there were a couple closing in on him and others blocking the pass. We attempted only 287 passes and completed only 156 (54%) compared with Barcelona 804 complete out of 915 attempted (88%).

     

     

    In the game against Milan we had more success as they sat back and didn’t harass us as much. In that game we attempted 455 passes and completed 312 (69%).

     

     

    This is an area where we need to improve but against the top teams passes have to be very quick otherwise the opposition will be over you like a rash.

     

     

    Mort

  3. With our first day travel package now sold out, we have chartered a second flight for the AFC Ajax v Celtic match on Wednesday, November 6.

     

     

    Sit back, relax and let Celtic FC Travel take care of all your travel needs. We’ll fly you over to Amsterdam from Glasgow and organise all your transfers once you’re there too!

     

     

    Limited places are available so if you are a Celtic Season Ticket holder, book today and we will guarantee you a match ticket.

     

     

    Prices from: £289pp

  4. benjybhoy mul

     

     

    That must be the longest and most articulate first post I have seen.

     

     

    Poor ball retention and passing were the result of the inevitable focus on defence. When we did win the ball, it looked like the midfield and defenders just switched off for a momentary rest, leaving the guy on the ball with no or few options so he was quickly crowded out. Either it was lost or passed back until FF made a long kick and it is then 50/50 who wins it. The further it went into the Barca territory, the fewer players we had so the odds were always against us.

     

     

    Next stage in our building must be to get better at holding the ball up and players providing more options to release it. This is what guys like Adam, Emilio, Kris offer most of the time, including in Milan where we moved the ball forward quite well, but not last night. Sammi must have sore legs this morning after all the running – he suffered more than anyone from having no options to turn to.

     

     

    Still, major positive is that our defence is looking fairly consistent and the Efe/Virgil partnership could serve us well for the next couple of years until a big offer comes in for one of them. Midfield works hard and, apart from Scott’s rashness, were tactically very alert.

     

     

    Up front – we need better. A Sutton type who can take a ball, hold off defenders until reinforcements arrive is vital for this type of game.

     

     

    Anyway – 10/10 for effort to all.

  5. Doug”C-maybe some bhoys (PL included) will see the fault in not doing our transfer business earlier,guys like Pukki and Biton would be up to speed for CL games.HH

  6. What sort of Namby Pamby team would Celtic be without Scott Brown? Off the top of my head I can’t think of a single player that has got half his bottle. Artur Boruc had it but he’s gone. Davie Hay had it too.

  7. I think our fitness levels are improved from MON’s days – BBJ was like a mini roundabout at times.

     

     

    Howver, Barca’s are incredible. That is something we should look at.

  8. hrvatski jim-good post.We need to have the confidence to hold the ball in opposition half,but more importantly support the guy with the ball and give him some options.We are not giving the defence any respite against top sides,i usually like the multi-ball system but…..

  9. Have to repost this from last weekend, was shown it before the game and tears were rolling down my cheek with laughter

     

    ————————

     

     

    • Pocket Tazer Stun Gun , a great gift for the wife .

     

    A guy who purchased his lovely wife a pocket Tazer for their anniversary submitted this :

     

    Last weekend I saw something at Larry’s Pistol & Pawn Shop that sparked my interest .

     

    The occasion was our 15th anniversary and I was looking for a little something extra for my wife Julie .

     

    What I came across was a 100,000-volt , pocket /purse-sized Tazer .

     

    The effects of the Tazer were supposed to be short lived , with no long term adverse affect on your assailant , allowing her adequate time to retreat to safety…??

     

    WAY TOO COOL !

     

    Long story short , I bought the device and brought it home… I loaded two AAA batteries in the darn thing and pushed the button .

     

    Nothing !

     

    I was disappointed .

     

    I learned , however , that if I pushed the button and pressed it against a metal surface at the same time , I’d get the blue arc of electricity darting back and forth between the prongs .

     

    AWESOME !

     

    Unfortunately , I have yet to explain to Julie what that burn spot is on the face of her microwave .

     

    Okay , so I was home alone with this new toy , thinking to myself that it couldn’t be all that bad with only two AAA batteries , right ?

     

    There I sat in my recliner , my cat Gracie looking on intently ( trusting little soul ) while I was reading the directions and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh & blood moving target .

     

    I must admit I thought about zapping Gracie ( for a fraction of a second ) and then thought better of it .

     

    She is such a sweet cat , but , if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself against a mugger , I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised .

     

    Am I wrong ?

     

    So , there I sat in a pair of shorts and a tank top with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose , directions in one hand , and Tazer in another .

     

    The directions said that :

     

    a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant ;

     

    a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a major loss of bodily control ;

     

    a three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water .

     

    Any burst longer than three seconds would be wasting the batteries .

     

    All the while I’m looking at this little device measuring about 5″ long , less than 3/4 inch in circumference ( loaded with two itsy , bitsy AAA batteries ); pretty cute really , and thinking to myself , ‘ no possible way !’

     

    What happened next is almost beyond description , but I’ll do my best .

     

    I’m sitting there alone , Gracie looking on with her head cocked to one side so as to say , ‘ Don’t do it stupid ,’ reasoning that a one second burst from such a tiny lil ole thing couldn’t hurt all that bad .. I decided to give myself a one second burst just for heck of it .

     

    I touched the prongs to my naked thigh , pushed the button , and…

     

    HOLY MOTHER OF GOD .

     

    WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION .

     

    WHAT THE … !

     

    I’m pretty sure Hulk Hogan ran in through the side door , picked me up in the recliner , then body slammed us both on the carpet , over and over and over again .

     

    I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the fetal position , with tears in my eyes , body soaking wet , both nipples on fire , testicles nowhere to be found , with my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position , and tingling in my legs !

     

    The cat was making meowing sounds I had never heard before , clinging to a picture frame hanging above the fireplace , obviously in an attempt to avoid getting slammed by my body flopping all over the living room .

     

    Note :

     

    If you ever feel compelled to ‘ mug ‘ yourself with a Tazer , one note of caution :

     

    There is NO such thing as a one second burst when you zap yourself !

     

    You will not let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by a violent thrashing about on the floor !

     

    A three second burst would be considered conservative !

     

    A minute or so later ( I can’t be sure , as time was a relative thing at that point ), I collected my wits ( what little I had left ), sat up and surveyed the landscape .

     

    My bent reading glasses were on the mantel of the fireplace .

     

    • The recliner was upside down and about 8 feet or so from where it originally was .

     

    • My triceps , right thigh and both nipples were still twitching..

     

    • My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain , and my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs.

     

    • I had no control over the drooling .

     

    • Apparently I had crapped in my shorts , but was too numb to know for sure , and my sense of smell was gone .

     

    • I saw a faint smoke cloud above my head , which I believe came from my hair .

     

    I’m still looking for my testicles and I’m offering a significant reward for their safe return !

     

    PS: My wife can’t stop laughing about my experience , loved the gift and now regularly threatens me with it !

     

    If you think education is difficult , try being stupid !!

     

     

    HH

  10. Not only did Davie Hay have bottle, I can add to his legendary status by confirming having recently seen him successfully negotiated a self-scan till in Tesco without the red light flashing or having to call on assistance from the ‘watcher’.

     

     

    #Legend

  11. You wonder how Neymar would react if he got a real kick.

     

    But saying that its dog eat dog in these games . Good attacking players are up against opponents who use every foul means possible to gain advantage .

     

    Some exagerate contact (simulation) other block ,pull jerseys, push punch kick. This is football. For some reason we hate the diver more than all the other players who foul in many different ways.

  12. Che (Standing Beside Wee Oscar) on

    How many verses can we add?

     

     

    When you have a look at the books today your in for a big surprise,

     

    When you have a look at the books today your in for a big surprise,

     

    As you danced around with your fathers sash, the Spivco boys have stole your cash, the teddy bears have had their club nicked,

     

    It’s admin time for the teddy bears, the gullible teddy bears are heading down the pan again,

     

    As you sang of ulsters big red hand,

     

    Coisty was pocketing 800 grand to help you on your way to admin,

     

    Oh it’s admin time for the teddy bears, the gullible teddy bears are going down the pan again.

  13. jude2005 is Neil Lennon \o/ on

    Dungbel defending scallywags 825k pay on SSB last night. ” Ally worked without pay for a while at Rangers”. Delahunt ” But he did get paid later for it”. You could hear dungbells big bottom jaw slamming shut like a cell door!!!

  14. PeteThe Beat

     

     

    Maybe is because Barca are so good at passing and keeping possession that they dont need to run so much. When they occasionally do lose the ball theyve plenty of energy in reserve to chase and retrieve.

     

    It is impressive how they hunt in packs and always have plenty of passing options.

     

    Something we are not good at even in domestic games.

  15. Some talk here today about Broonie apologising.

     

    Apology be damned. he should be fined the max and left to warm his erse on the bench for a few weeks.

  16. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    What sort of Celtic captain gets himself sent off for a needless kick at an opponent lying on the ground?

  17. I was at the match last night but also taped it and watched it when home. Therapeutic or something.

     

     

    First Sammi wasn’t as good on tv as he was in real life. Which probably shows that unfortunately most of his effort was put in off the ball and therefore off camera.

     

     

    He can’t take Barca on all by himself but most of the time this was his only option. People screaming for him to pass it;

     

    to who?

     

     

    On Scott Brown. It’s true that he gave the ref a decision to make but that doesn’t mean it was the right one. The ref gave us nothing and was seduced by the boy prince’s antics.

     

     

    I disagree that the game changed there. If we weathered the storm that followed, well it had already been pishing it down for most of the game. Little changed.

     

     

    The fact that we got our 2 best(only?) chances at this stage show this.

     

     

    On ITV coverage. The higher Gordon Strahan goes up in my opinion the lower Roy Keane goes. Seriously Roy get a grip of yourself.

     

     

    Also Peter Lawell should be scouring the cctv and handing out banning orders for those paper aeroplane fiends. If Neymar had taken one of those to the head, well it could have killed the boy!

  18. 2nd in the league behind their fiercest rivals…

     

     

    Trailing by 4 points…

     

     

    Having played 2 games more…

     

     

    and with only 6 games left to play in the season.

     

     

    It was all there to be won… or lost,

     

     

    but this guy, who once played for Rangers, took a mighty risk,

     

     

    Another day he could’ve been off and history would look that wee bit bleaker.

     

     

    Was there much at stake? I think there was a lot at stake; a lot more than what was riding on last nights game.

     

     

    Not a single person on here, ever once called him stupid.

     

     

    Fact be he was praised to heavens gates for this challenge.

     

     

    Celtic 2 Rangers 1

     

     

     

    What happened next? We all got drunk eventually.

     

     

    One Celtic player gets lauded for his passion and his errors… that he gets away with.

     

     

    Scott Brown gets lynched for his passion and his errors… that he didn’t get away with.

     

     

    Never mind looking into your hearts, look into your prejudices.

  19. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    Any white feathers we’ve got left from tarrin’ and featherin’ Scott Brown can be handed to wee Jamesie

     

     

    Some of the criticism of the players on here is incredible.

     

     

    And depressing.

  20. Bamboo

     

    A reactive team will always do more running.

     

    Your opponents will always have the advantage.

     

    We are based on a reactive system which is why even in spl games we struggle with creativity and tend to tire late in games.

     

    Until our coaches learn to add some pro activity to our system we will remain competitive but struggle to beat better teams.

  21. Broonies red card -all parties were in the wrong.

     

    Broonie for flicking his boot in the direction of Neymar.

     

    Neymar for reacting as if his spine was broken.

     

    The Barca players for mobbing the ref .

     

    The referee for being conned.

  22. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Bamboo – if the first one doesn’t happen, then none of the others CAN happen…..

  23. Bhoys and Ghirls,

     

     

    Once more the term “honourable defeat” comes to the fore. Many excellent posts offering in depth analysis and constructive criticism. Normally for me a defeat is a defeat no matter how “honourable”, however there is always an exception and I think last night comes into that category.

     

     

    When we are genuinely angry, annoyed and dismayed by getting beaten by Barcelona 0-1 ( arguably the planet’s best team ) then it demonstrates how far we have come. I truly believe we belong at this level and have had no luck.

     

    I doubt that any of the teams in the champions league have such disparity in their domestic competitions. And yes I remember Morton.

     

     

    Previous posts have mentioned that we are in a rebuilding phase, yes that is correct but we must acknowledge that because of geography we will constantly be in rebuilding mode.

     

     

    In every game you always get at least a couple of guilt edged chances, last night was no exception. I’m sorry but Charlie Mulgrew must score, the fact that he is not a striker is no excuse. He will know that.

     

     

    Sammi was a great outlet but needs help and some intelligent passing would not go amiss. For me, his runs were too predicable, some crisp passing could have taken out the four players who seemed to surround him every time he got the ball.

     

     

    IMO, A rejuvenated Anthony Stokes is not at this level. Pace is a pre-requisite.

     

     

    Scott Brown will know himself the folly of an innocuous kick but for me the criticism is way over the top. Never a sending off and the antics of Neymar and Fabregas do a great club disservice. I do not agree that the referee was left with no choice, a yellow card was the correct decision. Would a red have been shown if the circumstances were reversed? In saying that Scott Brown should have learned by now and shown more sense.

     

     

    FF and Effe : Superb.

     

     

    Once again the fans did our club proud and showed why we are more than just a football club. Sometimes you learn more in adversity, and again I am proud to be a Celtic fan.

     

     

    HH, Always in Celtic.

  24. bamboo

     

     

    I think that better players are usully blessed with superior fitness.

     

     

    It would be interesting to see how various players would cope in 800m or 5000 m races.

     

     

    Would Steven Gerrard, Roy Keane, Bryan Robson etc. be half the player they were without their ‘engine’ ?

  25. fan-a-tic

     

     

    Yeah you could be right but I think its also down to the poor quality of teams we play domestically. I feel because of this we will always be at a disadvantage against teams from the big european leagues. We are not really tested on weekly basis.

  26. Post match reading here confirmed to me that we have many total dickheads posting here. One guy described Sammi’s performance as gash and there were a succession of unrealistic nonsensical critical posts. We went toe to toe with probably the best Club side in the world played last 35 minutes with 10 men, came ever so close ,twice, to taking the lead and eventually lost by one and all we get from our famous ” best in the world” supporters is highlighting of our failings. I for one am sick of reading such post match comments whenever we fail to win.

     

    readytojointheflouncerscsc.

  27. quonno:

     

     

    “Perhaps a caring one.”

     

     

    I have no idea what you are trying to communicate.

  28. If brownie is banned for a few games then biton will have to get a few games in, if he is to replace him?

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

    That will be Spiers off Sally’s Christmas card list:

     

     

    Spiers on Sport: the Rangers way… fat salaries, impoverished club

     

    Spiers on Sport

     

    Graham Spiers

     

    Wednesday 2 October 2013

     

     

    It was a remarkable experience watching Brian Stockbridge, the Rangers finance director, being interviewed on the club’s official TV station the other day.

     

     

    The phrase “Nero fiddles while Rome burns” sprang to mind, as extreme and inappropriate as that analogy might be.

     

     

    While presiding over what to most Rangers fans seemed a shocking set of financial figures, Stockbridge had the air of a man presenting a marvellous success story over these past 12 months.

     

     

    Rangers, Stockbridge averred, are to be “envied” and are in a “very strong financial position”. The club, he said, was “financially secure”. He stated that its trading position was “going well”.

     

     

    This is abysmal nonsense. Rangers made a £14.4 million loss this year and, unless the business plan is ripped up, will probably make losses next year and in 2014-15. The club will desperately require a fresh cash injection from somewhere over the next 12 months.

     

     

    How all this equates to “a position to be envied” is beyond everyone, save for Mr Stockbridge.

     

     

    There is no need to labour these Rangers figures to June 30, except to reinforce this. The club’s income, at £19 million, is pitiful, if not unexpected. Its player-salary scale, at £7.8 million, just looks reckless. Worst of all are these offensive salaries and bonuses paid to characters like Stockbridge, at a time when the club was haemorrhaging money at a monthly rate.

     

     

    In his interview Stockbridge expressed contrition of a sort at receiving a bonus of around £200,000 for Rangers winning the Third Division last season. But it was contrition after the event, with the figure exposed, and fans’ revulsion at the revelation. This is not the kind of contrition that impresses.

     

     

    There is no one single figure to blame for Rangers’ financial mess. It was a collegiate responsibility involving Charles Green, who was the club’s CEO for nine months of this period, and Malcolm Murray, the Rangers chairman at the time, along with Stockbridge.

     

     

    For some reason, rather than commit Rangers to a self-sufficient course of action, with a sober and realistic business plan, these men established a budget as if Rangers were still in the top flight, with all its attendant income streams.

     

     

    The damage done has been significant. Due to club costs and salaries being far in excess of its income potential, the £22 million raised via the IPO has been frittered away, never mind the spectre of suspect fees being involved.

     

     

    Last summer, for all their ills, the Rangers International FC had a golden chance to wipe the slate clean, with a rebuilding plan, with an emphasis on player youth, and with organic growth as its leitmotif.

     

     

    Instead, a business plan was established which made executives and other principals pretty rich, while the club burned up money. It is little wonder some Rangers fans are irate.

     

     

    A symptom of this Ibrox excess is the £825,000 in total remuneration paid to manager Ally McCoist during this period.

     

     

    Let’s just get this right: McCoist was paid the equivalent of almost £16,000 a week to see off the motely troupe of plumbers and postmen who stood in Rangers’ way in the Third Division? This is fiscal madness.

     

     

    I don’t blame McCoist for accepting the financial packages put to him. But nor do I blame him for feeling a mite embarrassed by his income, and for volunteering now to take a pay cut.

     

     

    The task facing Brian Stockbridge, if he remains in office, is this: how to make Rangers self-sufficient?

     

     

    It is the only way forward for the club, given all its recent woes. But self-sufficiency has many merits, even if cash-rich Rangers executives can’t seem to grasp this.

     

     

    A “lean” Rangers, with a team built around youth, and a player/management salary scale appropriate to these times, would appeal to many fans. They would admire the club for being prudent and self-sufficient as it played its way back to the top.

     

     

    Rangers have breathing space in which to do this, but have so far shunned the opportunity. The ludicrous scenario of players earning £7000 a week and a manager earning twice that amount is an affront to such an outlook.

     

     

    There is a business writer in Scotland who keeps saying to me: “Rangers just don’t get it…their key execs just don’t get the reality of things.”

     

     

    These recent audited accounts appear to prove the point.

  30. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    corkcelt – just view them as an amusingly silly curiosity; it helps me :-)

     

     

    HH

     

     

    BGFC

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