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. weeminger


    16:02 on


    2 October, 2013




    15:57 on


    2 October, 2013



    You try and pass the ball accurately when two or more players are closing you down.



    Yes the same two or more players who will run themselves ragged to give their teamates options.You just dont get it,do you?.Barca and most European teams can do it.We find it hard in the SPL.And another thing,last night Sammi had sometimes 3-4 men closing him down,tried to hold it up waiting for support,and got none.Now if 3-4 Barca players are hunting down Sammi,you would expect a few of our players to be free.No?.


    But whatever.You missed the whole point of the post.Nothing new there.

  2. Maybe I’m thick but the way I see it, Barcelona, well they take the five-a-side ethics and apply it to a big pitch. That simple.

  3. masty is neil lennon and both of us are supporting wee oscar on




    most players that come through la masia have this passing mentality installed at an early age even as young as 10, those signed from other clubs must have this mentality and ability as a prerequisite to his signing..every barca team from age 8/10 onwards play the same way, reports coming out of lennoxtown are very encouraging,chris mcart and his staff has us moving in the right direction,another 2/3 years should see us reap the benefits.

  4. desertbhoy


    16:09 on


    2 October, 2013





    Down to ten men arguement. A wee bit of hair splitting creeping in.


    Can’t we just accept that our standard of passing gets found out on occassions like Cl.

  5. masty is neil lennon and both of us are supporting wee oscar on




    barca’s fitness levels also have to be commended..

  6. masty is neil lennon and both of us are supporting wee oscar on

    here is just a small snippet from the la masia wiki page…………………………………………………………..




    The youth academy of Barcelona holds more than 300 young players, and has been praised since 2002 as one of the best in the world, being a significant factor in FC Barcelona’s European success as well as the Spanish national team’s success at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In 2010, la Masia achieved a record breaking honour becoming the first youth academy to have trained all three finalists for the Ballon d’Or in one same year, with Andrés Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernández.[2

  7. An Tearmann



    Was there but can’t remember fighting.


    Then again, maybe they were baling out to get a good spot at the STADIUM for the parading of the cup that Davie White had promised them the previous

  8. Gene's a Bhoy's name on

    Barca get the ball in their own third of the pitch -we file back to out last third and hope to successfuly defend.


    We get the ball in our third and barca have 2 or 3 players closing us down and preventing a decent out ball.


    Barca attack and defend as a team.

  9. Turkeybhoy


    16:16 on


    2 October, 2013



    Not really. We couldn’t pass the ball, partly because they close us down so quickly. Conversely they could pass the ball because we did not.



    Historically it was the case that Scots/British teams might get buy with lesser skill because they approached the game with greater energy. That’s no longer the case.



    Players of the top teams have both. I’ve seen most of the players that we started with last night make sublime passes, not all the time, but they can do it. So it’s not that they lack that ability.



    The big difference for me is mental. The players featuring for Barca, Milan etc turn defence to attack far quicker than we are able to. To put it bluntly they’re just more intelligent (fottball wise) than our players and I’m not sure that can be trained in.



    That as much as anything is reflected in the relative cost of the two squads.

  10. masty is neil lennon and both of us are supporting wee oscar on

    forgot to add, who set up la masia in it’s current form???? none other than the great johan cruyff..

  11. masty is neil lennon and both of us are supporting wee oscar on




    totally different way of life for these boy’s







  13. People seem to be surprised at our players lack of skill and movement. I think the SPFL has a great deal to answer for. Our players are not tested often enough and too much (far, far too much) reliance is placed on running , rather than running with purpose. Our players aren’t used to playing good football teams. I bet they were mentally, never mind physically, exhausted today.



    To stretch them and let them become the players they have the talent to be we need to get out of the SPFL.

  14. Doc is supporting Oscar and McKenzie.


    16:16 on


    2 October, 2013


    Last nights TIFO as seen from my seat.


    Sorry about the singing, it was the guy behind me, honest.







    Thank you very very much.



    lol at singing…. it was they 60,000 roundabout you.:-)))))



    captures the CL music and atmosphere brilliantly

  15. Father to son…



    with wet eyes



    “Son, we showed the world. We showed the world that money isn’t everything and Celtic are great. We lost a game last night, but inside, inside everybody that has soul, they know our soul can’t be bought for dollar or pound or glory”

  16. Turkeybhoy


    Spot on.


    Off the ball movement is zero leaving few options to pass.


    We are being trained to stay goal side of our opponent in a reactionary style rather than being proactive and forcing them to move and cover our runs.


    Have sated often that we are trained to play in a cautious system that makes us hold position and to try and capitalise on opponents mistakes rather than create.

  17. CultsBhoy loves being 1st forever & ever on

    How we may have prevented a defeat last night …



    Ambrose keeps hickeys on Fabrigas.. DVD closes the cross, FF stays front post and attacks in coming ball.



    Good partnerships would have communicated this plan non verbally.



    Instead DVD doesn’t close cross, fabrigas mugs Efe, Efe watches ball come in and FF runs to


    Back post . 5’7 Cesc then jumps behind. 6’+ Efe to nod the ball in to wide open space of goal…

  18. masty is neil lennon and both of us are supporting wee oscar on

    jezzo I knew la masia was a special academy but this list is frightening…




    team. Only league appearances and goals are included.[n 2]







    Quique Álvarez[36] Spain Defender 1975 1995–2009 200 005 Villareal


    Guillermo Amor Spain Midfielder 1967 1988–2002 402 048 Barcelona


    Francesc Arnau Spain Goalkeeper 1975 1996–2011 169 000 Málaga


    Mikel Arteta Spain Midfielder 1982 2000–¤ 335 049 Arsenal


    Gai Assulin Israel Midfielder 1991 2009–¤ 21 001 Racing Santander


    Sergi Barjuán Spain Defender 1971 1993–2002 352 006 Barcelona


    Carles Busquets[38] Spain Goalkeeper 1967 1990–1999 079 000 Barcelona


    Sergio Busquets[39] Spain Defender 1988 2008–¤ 071 002 Barcelona


    Jordi Cruyff Netherlands Midfielder 1974 1994–2010 256 042 Alavés


    Cesc Fàbregas Spain Midfielder 1987 2003–¤ 233 044 Barcelona


    Dani Fernandez Spain Defender 1983 1992–¤ 92 000 Genk


    Albert Ferrer Spain Defender 1970 1990–2003 297 001 Barcelona


    Andreu Fontàs Spain Defender 1989 2009–¤ 007 000 Barcelona


    Gabri García Spain Midfielder 1979 1999–¤ 287 026 Ajax


    Luis García Spain Midfielder 1978 1999–¤ 225 040 UNAM


    Óscar García Spain Midfielder 1973 1992–2005 169 031 Barcelona


    Roger García Spain Midfielder 1976 1995–2007 258 029 Espanyol


    Pep Guardiola Spain Midfielder 1971 1990–2006 291 009 Barcelona


    Xavi Hernández Spain Midfielder 1980 1998–¤ 405 046 Barcelona


    Mauro Icardi Argentina Forward 1993 2012–¤ 23 010 Sampdoria


    Andrés Iniesta Spain Midfielder 1984 2002–¤ 228 022 Barcelona


    Bojan Krkić Spain Forward 1990 2007–¤ 092 023 Amsterdam


    Thiago Motta Italy Midfielder 1982 2001–¤ 152 020 PSG


    Fernando Navarro Spain Defender 1982 2001–¤ 194 003 Sevilla


    Gerard Piqué Spain Defender 1987 2005–¤ 071 005 Barcelona


    Iván de la Peña Spain Midfielder 1976 1995–2011 369 024 Espanyol


    Oleguer Presas Spain Defender 1980 2002–¤ 146 002 Ajax


    Carles Puyol Spain Defender 1978 1999–¤ 345 007 Barcelona


    Pepe Reina Spain Goalkeeper 1982 2002–¤ 317 000 Napoli


    Pedro Rodríguez Spain Forward 1987 2007–¤ 060 021 Barcelona


    Víctor Valdés Spain Goalkeeper 1982 2002–¤ 281 000 Barcelona


    Victor Vazquez Spain Midfielder 1987 1997–¤ 44 007 Club Brugge


    Jeffrén Suárez Spain Forward 1988 2009–¤ 23 003 Sporting


    Giovani dos Santos Mexico Forward 1989 2007–¤ 96 021 Villarreal


    Luis Milla Spain Midfielder 1966 1986–2001 298 006 Real Madrid


    Nayim Spain Midfielder 1966 1987–2000 341 028 Tottenham


    Óscar Arpón Spain Midfielder 1975 1995–¤ 138 005 River Ebro


    Lluís Carreras Spain Defender 1972 1992–2007 220 010 Mallorca


    Albert Celades Spain Midfielder 1975 1995–¤ 267 011 Barcelona


    Luis Cembranos Spain Midfielder 1972 1994–2004 176 037 Rayo Vallecano


    Sergio García Spain Forward 1983 2003–¤ 166 031 Espanyol


    Javi Moreno Spain Forward 1974 1999–2010 134 040 Alavés


    Francisco Rufete Spain Midfielder 1976 1995–¤ 280 029 Hércules


    Toni Velamazán Spain Midfielder 1977 1995–¤ 198 027 Hospitalet


    Antonio Pinilla Spain Forward 1971 1990–2008 242 040 Tenerife


    Ángel Pedraza Spain Defender 1962 1982–1997 129 005 Mallorca


    Cristóbal Parralo Spain Defender 1967 1987–2003 517 014 Espanyol


    Lionel Messi Argentina Forward 1987 2004–¤ 327 301 Barcelona


    Jordi Alba Spain Defender 1989 2007–¤ 010 002 Barcelona

  19. Some of you must have been wonderful footballers in your day.



    Barca’s players are all in the world top 100, give or take.



    Our team is made up of SPL and Championship players and ones who couldn’t break into their former club’s first team – give or take again.

  20. masty is neil lennon and both of us are supporting wee oscar on




    we are were we are mo chara…punching way above our weight in my opinion.

  21. Quonno,they overspilled onto the track,I think the polis swept them back in.



    enjoy your evening Celts

  22. GlassTwoThirdsFull on




    On here we can use upper and lower case letters. We can spell correctly. We can even use punctuation properly. Have a nice day.

  23. Was really proud of the team again lastnight.


    Such fine lines between having 2 results and nothing to show for so much effort.



    1 night in these group stages can change the whole outlook and perhaps things will look totally different after the Ajax games.



    Thanks for posting that video again Leftclicktic oscar in our thoughts.

  24. Johnny



    At 16.30




    Ah wull Tell Ye when Broonie is Gonna Learn.






    An Johnny dinnae let them Shush Ye.



    This Blog is Developing intae a Clique Driven Place



    And the Clique are always ready tae Attack a Guy, Like Yersel ..or Masel..


    Who Tells it Like It is..



    The Clique disnae wanna Hear the Truth..



    They Canny Staund the Truth.



    Stick aroon Kid, and keep oan Telling it Like it is.






    Stil Laughin

  25. Petethebeat


    Don’t get the point your trying to make.


    Jock Stein Average player.One of the greatest ever coaches


    Bob Paisley- likewise


    Mourinho-as above


    Liam Brady-Genius footballer-poor coach.


    There are always exceptions .


    Ally McCoist is if course brilliant at both

  26. The German referee for the game in Milan was very good IMO. He might have been conned by Balotelli for the free kick that led to the second goal (Ï’m not sure because it was hard to see the incident) but he had the courage to give us that free kick for Abiatti handling the ball twice, something hardly anyone else noticed.



    Last night’s referee was different. He was French. France is a neighbour of Spain. It angers me that UEFA can appoint a referee from a neighbouring country of one of the teams. Remember the time in Milan when we lost 1-0 to the Kaka goal in added time – we should have had a stonewall penalty when Maldini handled in the first half. The referee then was an Austrian – a country that borders on Italy.



    This is just one of the little ways in which UEFA screws teams from the small countries.



    (Ï am not disputing the red card for Broony, technically he had to go, but the referee did Barca lots of favours apart from that.)

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