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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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898 Comments

  1. Delaneys Dunky on

    Masty

     

     

    Wow, that list of quality graduates, sums up how far we lag behind in producing our home reared talent.

  2. An Tearmann

     

    16:48 on

     

    2 October, 2013

     

     

    Remember an earlier occasion, the 7-1 game when spillage on to the track was reported not as trouble, but THEM simply trying to get home.

     

    What mabe the above laughable was that for reasons outwith football, the Asian flu, Hampden was just over half full and they could have got out any gate they wished.

  3. An Tearmann

     

    re fighting amongst your fellow supporters it used to go on a good bit in the mid to late 60s. Sadly we could be guilty of it as well. Lots of drink used to be taken before and during the games, which I imagine would have been contributory to it. Even if two people were fighting each other a huge gap would appear mostly through people trying to get out of the way, which would let the other side see fighting going on. Celtic fans stopped it long before the other mob, who got the lap of honour banned (66) and alcohol banned (80). Rangers, who died, were also to blame for all this offensive behavior legislation shite going on now. Horrible Zombie organisation. Re 69 final, forget how to do the link so c&p this.

     

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4ai7kp_8cg

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

    Delaneys Dunky

     

     

    kinda puts a bit more perspective on the difference between both clubs, but as far I I can see we are definitely heading in the right direction..2 games against 2 of europes biggest clubs and we are disappointed not to have taken something from both games..

  5. Ghuys

     

     

    Everyone in hoops last night played for the jerseys and with our current status , we need luck to win / draw these games. We overdosed on luck last year , dodgy penalty against Spartak , Mashcerano missing Fraser’s kick , however this year we are getting the rough end of a lot of decisions.

     

     

    Seems to me , watching from the North Stand , that the ref was out to stop all contact from crosses and free kicks , and that the default was simply to blow up. I suspect that UEFA has our card marked and that we are perceived as being rough ….. Teams are learning to mark tighter and generally fall about buying cheap fouls.

     

     

    Neil therefore has the dilemma of needing a big outfit to stand up to the kicking in the SPL , where in the CL we need to focus on is some more speed, touch and guile in midfield – blend of both required.

     

     

    With Scott suspended / Joseph injured then our midfield starts to look somewhat short for any game in the CL , hopefully we can overcome Ajax and register some points.

     

     

    The team will be in a constant state of work in progress (with the transfer policy) and it needs Jamsie, Teemu, Derk and Beram to stp up to the plate over the next few weeks and be ready for Ajax.

  6. TootingTim supports Wee Oscar on

    Afternoon CQNers,

     

     

    found the game incredibly absorbing, chess-like almost in parts.

     

     

    Did anyone else think when the draw was made, that Celtic may contrive a combination of their best set of ‘toe-to-toe’ performances against high-grade CL teams – really starting with the Juve games when Neil’s team were in possession more than their more storied opponents in both ties – yet also end up with a low points tally…?

     

     

    (Obviously Barca were possession kings last night but in terms of coach’s plan vs coach’s plan, if you like, there was an even contest. Celtic matched them for shots on target most of the game. Don’t know the final tally but it mostly went as Neil hoped, plenty of ball yet very few chances. Never saw the goal, the interweb jittered. (So it never really happened)).

     

     

    Guess most of us had that thought at some point…and though the historical points tallies may diametrically disagree we could still see such an outcome as measurable progress…should it all pan out that way, natch:)

     

     

    Just a thought:)

     

     

    HH!

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

    CELTIC captain Scott Brown has spoken of his regret after getting sent off during last night´s 1-0 defeat to Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League.

     

     

    With the game evenly poised, the skipper was given his marching orders just before the hour mark following an incident with Brazilian forward, Neymar.

     

     

    Despite a brave effort, the Bhoys were eventually undone when Cesc Fabregas headed home the winning goal for the visitors 14 minutes from time.

     

     

    Speaking exclusively to the official Celtic website, the midfielder said: “I realise that I made a mistake in getting sent off last night. It´s something that happened in the heat of the moment but I shouldn´t have acted in this way.

     

     

    “I still think it was a harsh decision. However, I recognise that I made a mistake and put myself and my team-mates in a difficult position. I need to live with that and there is no-one more disappointed than me about losing the match.

     

     

    “There wasn´t a huge amount of contact at all, to be honest, but I have to accept responsibility for my actions – and I do.

     

     

    “The team deserved to get something out of the game after playing so brilliantly and putting in so much effort against one of the best sides in the world.

     

     

    “I was also disappointed for the supporters after the incredible backing they gave us during the game. They were magnificent once again.

     

     

    “It was another fantastic performance from the lads after the Milan game, and although we´ve still to pick up a point from this group, we´ve shown we can compete against some of the best sides in Europe.

     

     

    “We have four games to go in this group and everyone in the squad firmly believe that we can still qualify, and we are determined to get our first points on the board against Ajax in two weeks´ time.

     

     

    “For my part, I can´t wait to get back on the pitch against Motherwell at the weekend and try and help us extend our winning run in the league.”

  8. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    I’m probably pre-judgin’ the lad but Molly Weir on Acid seems to me to be much preferable to ole Hugh Lawrie on the blues.

  9. Delaneys Dunky on

    Masty

     

     

    I agree, and I also think that Chris McCart and his team are currently doing an excellent job. Hope to reap the rewards in the coming years.

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

    Delaneys Dunky

     

     

    others on here know more than myself regarding lennoxtown, but I am hearing the current squads are among the best since the quality st gang

  11. BIG-CUP-WINNERS on

    79caps

     

     

    Going on your theory a Scot would favour an English team or even more unlikely a Serb referee favour Croatia. The opposite would be more likely.

  12. Sammi + Joe Ledley both out of contract at the end of this season.

     

     

    No constructive talks about extending either players contract.

     

     

    I would hazard a guess that neither will be Celtic players for 14/15.

  13. My Dear,Dear……Kojo

     

     

    Legend Of The Vegas Strip…..

     

     

    Last Surviving Member Of The ‘Rat Pack’

     

     

    The Only Living Soul Who Knows Where Jimmy Hoffa Lies…..

     

     

    Below The Waves,In Barnacle Encrusted Concrete…..

     

     

    [Shoooosh,TSD…Loose Tongues N’ All !Ed]

     

     

    Keep Telling It Like It Is….!

     

     

    Dinnae Let ‘Ena Sharples-Oan-Steroids’ Talk Ye Doon……

     

     

    On Reflection Today…..

     

     

    Feels Like A Better Performance Than It Seemed After The Game Last Night….

     

     

    But Ah Think That There Is Some Unrealistic Optimism……

     

     

    That We Will Get The Better Of Ajax….

     

     

    Ah Would Put Them Streets Ahead Of Benfica And Spartak…..

     

     

    And Our Problem Remains…..

     

     

    Who Is Going To Score Our Goals…..

     

     

    At This Exalted Level…?

     

     

    Viva Geoffrey Levy…!

     

     

    Viva Michelle Bachman !

     

     

    Long Live The Tea Party !

  14. GlassTwoThirdsFull

     

     

    You got me thinking about the Lustic substitution.

     

    It was after that that Barca scored maybe from an area he would have covered.

     

    It could be argued that the changes in Milan cost us a point in that game.

     

    Ive never known a coach who tinkers with the defence in mid game as much as NFL. Same against StJohnstone where the the central defence who had been outstanding first half were changed and we lost the grip we had on the game.

     

    Of course if Forrest had scored last night it would have been a tactical genius.

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

    Ten Men Won The League

     

     

    sammi loves life in Glasgow so don’t see a problem in him signing on again, joe may be a different story..

  16. We loast last night Not ENTIRELY because of the Broonie Red Card,

     

    which angered me,no end..

     

     

    But, Putting all that Aside,for a Moment..

     

     

    Sure, It Gave the ither team an Edge, as we wur reduced tae Ten Men.

     

     

    Howevahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

     

     

    We Loast Last Night,, Not Because the Barca had Bettah Players..

     

     

    Not becase of Poor Refereeing decisions, which went agin us.

     

     

    and.. Grudgingly.. NOT ENTIRELY, because we wur reduced tae Ten Men, By Broonie’s IDIOCY..

     

     

    NA..

     

     

    No way..

     

     

    We loast MAINLY because

     

     

    Barca. Has a FAR, FAR, Superior Coaching System , than We Do.

     

     

    We have plenty of Talented Players.. as they do.

     

     

    Nevertheless, oor Talented Players,are being Hamstrung , because They are Being so Woefully

     

     

    Under -Trained..in the Soccer Arts.

     

     

    Every Time A Celtic Team goes Against a Continental Team, Especially..in an Euro Game..

     

     

    Our Players are being sent oot Totally Unprepared and approach the upcoming Confronto… As Lambs tae the Slaughter..

     

     

    Any Games in Europe Which we do Manage tae Win

     

     

    are ..

     

     

    All Down tae Super Dooper Individualism,oan the Part of Certain of oor Players.. plus Super Human Defending by oor Defense….which oan that Particular Winning Night, oor Team, happened tae over come a Highly Drilled and Technically Superior Opponent, composed not of Disparate Individuals, as in oor case.. but,opponents who invariably play as a TEAM.. rather than a Set of Brilliant Individualists.

     

     

    The Time Has come, for Neil and his coterie of Helpers .. tae Admit that

     

     

    THEY NEED HELP!

     

     

    Yes.. Celtic, It is Time tae get Serious about this Technical Stuff.. in Training.. and Bring in Ootside Help, preferably .. GERMAN.. In Ma Opinion.. For oor Coaching Staff.

     

     

    Celtic,are woefully Behind the Curve, when it comes to How tae Train a Fitba Club.. Room 101.

     

     

    Kojo

     

    Still,Laughin

  17. quonno

     

    17:09 on

     

    2 October, 2013

     

    BobbyRussell

     

     

    And there are eejits who want to reintroduce drink at football grounds.

     

    ===================================================

     

    You can get alcohol at football grounds, usually in hospitality,or if you`ve got a ticket for one of the lounges, but it`s a much safer environment now. Way back in the day you could take in vast amounts of bevvy in any form, big screwtops, cans, half bottles etc. Too much drink taken could lead to trouble, with bottles & cans sometimes being thrown onto the pitch, sadly lots of times they wouldn`t reach the pitch, spectators near the front (where it was mainly kids) being the recipients. Doubt they would ever reintroduce that, and rightly so.

  18. My Dear Kojo….

     

     

    A German Technical Course Would Be Nice…..

     

     

    As Long As He Is Proficient In English…

     

     

    So,That Kinda Rules Oot Paul Lambert…

     

     

    Oor Scouting System Needs A Shake Up..

     

     

    As Ah Hiv Proposed Previously…..

     

     

    You And CultsBhoy Should Be Our New Global Scouting Team……

     

     

    With The Aberdonian PoshBoy Being Responsible For The Eastern Hemisphere…

     

     

    And Yourself For The Western…..

     

     

    So Get Yersel’ Booked For Rio…..

     

     

    To Check-Oot Awe The Talent….

     

     

    Oan CocoCobana Beach…….

     

     

    Pinkety..?

  19. Seriously people, you really want an independent bigot hole?

     

     

    A man has been handed a Football Banning

     

    Order after pleading guilty to holding a

     

    flagpole and pointing it at Rangers fans “like a

     

    rifle” at an Old Firm match.

     

    Paul Clark, 30, from Cambuslang, Lanarkshire,

     

    earlier pled guilty to a charge of behaving in a

     

    manner that could incite public disorder.

     

    At Glasgow Sheriff Court on Wednesday he

     

    was handed a 12-month ban for the offence at

     

    Celtic Park on April 29 last year.

     

    The Banning Order means that he will be

     

    banned from all regulated football matches

     

    throughout the whole of the United Kingdom

     

    for a year.

     

    A spokesman for the Crown Office and

     

    Procurator Fiscal Service said: “The court

     

    accepted the Crown case that during the

     

    match at Celtic Park on 29 April 2012, Clark

     

    was pointing a flagpole at

     

    Rangers supporters as though it was a rifle

     

    and behaving in a manner likely to incite

     

    public disorder.”

     

    Speaking after the sentencing Stephen

     

    Ferguson, Football Liaison Prosecutor for the

     

    West of Scotland, said: “Paul Clark behaved in

     

    an unacceptable and offensive manner and will

     

    now have to face the consequences of his

     

    actions.

     

    “Attending Football matches should be about

     

    enjoying the match event and most certainly

     

    should not somewhere you are subjected to

     

    offensive and inflammatory behaviour.

     

    “The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal

     

    Service will continue to adopt a zero-tolerance

     

    approach to football related disorder of any

     

    kind and will continue to bring those who

     

    perpetrate such crimes to justice.”

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

    ASonOfDan

     

     

    and on the other hand

     

    “give them a british uniform”

     

    “give them a vritish gun”

     

     

    and let them jump around ibrox singing sectarian songs…

  21. Murdochbhoy supporting Fearless Oscar on

    The Singing Detective Demands The Resignation Of Campbell Ogilvie

     

     

    I searched high and low the other day for your thoughts on the disgraceful scenes at Ibrox at the weekend where the undisciplined military from your scepter’d aisle disgraced themselves and found nothing, perhaps I missed it, could you republish for my benefit.

     

     

    Thanks in advance.

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

    bournesouprecipe

     

     

     

    17:39 on 2 October, 2013

     

     

     

    Ole Molly Weir on acid, would wipe the floor with Ajax quick as a Flash.

     

    ——————————————–

     

    that went down with a cinibang..

  23. You know something, the more I digest last night, the more pride I have in the team.

     

    Given the budget and debt levels of the likes of Barca we really should not be going toe to toe with them!

     

    We are a superb side , my frustration only at lack of ambition at board level to go just that extra mile in signings.

     

     

    Imagine where we could be at if we had even half of the budget of a Barca / Real/Man City/PSG/Monacco?

     

     

    Then again, would I want that ?

     

    Kindae like being underdog

     

     

    A quandary indeed!