Joy from Inverness rekindles memories of 10 years ago today


News this morning that Uefa president, Michel Platini told newspaper, Quest-France, that the governing body are considering dispensing with the Europa League and broadening the Champions League from 23 to 64 teams is far from welcome.

Celtic fans have grown to love the Champions League since our early exploits in the group stage in 2001 but while national TV market values continue to determine who has a chance of winning the tournament there will continue to be a need for a second competition.

10 years ago today Henrik Larsson scored the only goal of the game as Celtic beat Celta Vigo 1-0 in the Uefa Cup on their way to an away goals victory which ensured they were in European competition for the first Christmas since 1979.  That was a huge tie for us and an unlikely victory, given 23 years of failure experienced without exception at that level.

The excitement rolled on, Stuttgart, Liverpool and Boavista were eliminated at Celtic reached the final in Seville but all this happened after we’d lost to Basel in the Champions League play-off round.  I remember looking at the quarter finalists of the Champions League that year, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Milan, Inter, Valencia, Juventus, Barcelona and only Ajax from outside the then top three leagues in Europe, all of them tier-one clubs.

It’s difficult to imagine our progress in the Uefa Cup meaning any more to us if we had been Champions League but the other quarter finalists were Besiktas, Lazio, Boavista, Malaga, Liverpool, Porto and Panathinaikos.  I was really glad Real Madrid & co were not in the same competition; we needed more mortal opponents to stand a chance.  For me, it’s infinitely better to beat Boavista than lose to Milan.

Compare this scenario with the SPL, which currently have five teams within a point at the top, a truly magnificent competition.  St Johnstone, in sixth place, could go clear at the top if they beat Hibs tonight and Celtic stumble at Tynecastle.

We are the only fly in the ointment.  It doesn’t really matter how well Inverness or Motherwell prepare, Celtic have vastly more resources than all other challengers combined.  For that reason and that reason only, they will win the league, probably by some margin as their stronger squad allows them to ease through the injuries and suspensions which will have a disproportionality sever effect on others.

CQN Annual – perfect Christmas present

I read some joyous tweets from an Inverness Caley supporters’ account last night, including, “This has to be one of the most exciting spl seasons yet! Very close and all to play for. Who needs Rangers?!”

Who needs Rangers?  Certainly not Inverness Caley.  I wonder if they realise they don’t need Celtic either.  Together these two clubs have robbed Scottish football of what it has a wee taste of right now, genuine competition.  Those running the game here are still concerned with squeezing more life out of the broken model instead of giving fans what you and I got a taste of 10 years ago tonight – a sporting chance to compete and win a tournament against a group of our peers.

It’s time to tell Celtic to stop talking and go find themselves another league to play in, they are not needed in Scotland.

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  1. I See The Ole..Sorry New Rangers are planning a Spectacular Card display for their 140th Birthday in Dec..



    I Hope the Blue Odour have invested in a Spell check on their Computer..:O)




  2. from rangers official site



    CHARLES GREEN has expressed his anger and dismay at the timing of the verdict of the First Tier Tax Tribunal as it has massively affected the current status of Rangers.



    It was finally revealed last week that Rangers had won the tax case brought by HMRC in relation to Employee Benefit Trusts used during the reign of Sir David Murray for a number of players and some staff.



    Despite a concerted campaign from certain quarters, which was often hateful, that decided that Rangers were guilty of “cheating” it has been proved that is not the case.



    The most important aspect of it all, however, is that had this verdict been delivered in May or June then Rangers would:


    Still be a member of the SPL


    Have retained all of their players


    Have received their £2.5million prize money


    Not be hamstrung by a player registration embargo



    For Charles Green has revealed that a Company Voluntary Agreement to come out of administration would have been successful and the horrors of the summer would have been avoided.



    Speaking exclusively to RangersTV he said: “The thing that turned many people against Rangers, quite wrongly in my opinion, was the spectre of EBTs and to have that case awarded in favour of Murray Group has been a substantial step.



    “I think the question is when something was tried in January why did it take 11 months to get an opinion out there?



    “When you look at the numbers now, Ticketus would have been the single biggest creditor and they were inclined to support the CVA so things could have been substantially different.



    “What we shouldn’t start getting carried away with is that this club would still have gone into administration. I don’t think there is any chance that this wouldn’t have happened.



    “However, when the verdict came out would have changed things dramatically but my job now is to take the club forward.



    “If a CVA had gone through we would still be playing in the SPL and perhaps even be playing in Europe.



    “We said from day one that the CVA was our preferred route. It does get you really annoyed to think that all of this hate and all the problems that the fans have had to endure were for no real reason.



    “You have to remember that the case was against the Murray Group because Rangers at that time was a subsidiary of the Murray Group.



    “So the first position is for Sir David Murray and his advisors to decide what they will do next.



    “I have read and a number of our fans will have done the same that Sir David is unhappy with a number of issues and so with his legal advisors he will be looking at all the options open to him.



    “For me as CEO of Rangers it’s a different thing and I have to focus on the future and not on the past.



    “We are where we are. We have said in our presentations and through the business plan that we will do what we said we would do – and what Ally said he would do – and that’s get the team out on the park week in week out and get promotion and work our way to the top division – whatever that top division is called.”

  3. sixtaeseven: CQN, antidote to deceptive, selective journalism on

    Bring on the Hearts, the Hibs – no danger


    Bring on the Catalans by the score…

  4. oh and totally agree Paul67,



    Alt league for CFC and increased competition in Scotland, whats not to like, I’m sure someone will tell us pretty damn soon :¬)





    From what I have read,UEFA are increasingly becoming more open to the idea of regional leagues under their auspices,which will not affect the national teams of those involved.



    Frankly,I see this as our only way out.



    Joining the EPL or Football League isnae gonna happen,IMO.



    The concept of such a regional league may look good on paper,but there are many fans who enjoy their away trips.



    On a CL basis,a few times a year,aye,they’re great.



    Week in,week out?



    Hardly for the ordinary fan,I feel……..

  6. saltires en sevilla on




    Prefer to stay in the top competition for as long as possible – 2nd rate competitions lack lustre.



    (Imagine playing fitba in 4th tier in Scotland?;-)



    Do you know anything about a move to a new league?




  7. Paul


    You and I can shout ’till we’re blue (maybe not blue) in the face about Celtic playing in a different league but until the board realise the fans would prefer a more competive league to play in instead of the guarantee of Champs League football for the next few years nothing will happen.


    Crowds at Celtic Park for league games are down, just watch them spiral ever more downwards in 2013 and onwards.

  8. Silver City 1888 on

    Proportionate or not, injuries are having their toll on our preformances. I’m sure of it.


    I know we’ve seen our share of it here but other leagues seem to require a sugar daddy or the running up of huge debts to stand any chance of winning. It is certainly a big item in the minus collumn when considering moving to a bigger league. Maybe M Platini’s other efforts will put a lid on that but I’d rather be sure of it before jumping.


    Summa of Sammi….




    12:28 on 28 November, 2012




    I See The Ole..Sorry New Rangers are planning a Spectacular Card display for their 140th Birthday in Dec..



    I Hope the Blue Odour have invested in a Spell check on their Computer..:O)





    ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~






    I hope they haven’t!

  10. Go to what league? England? No thanks, we’re not English and we’re not wanted. Regional European League? Ideal, but not going to happen in forseeable future.


    We are a Scottish team so we’ll need to make the best of where we are until UEFA get their act together.

  11. .



    Courtesy DTB..



    Morality is the last refuge of the scoundrel!



    Morality is the last refuge of the scoundrel! when that doesn’t work fall back on the last taboo!



    The Patriot – Samuel Johnson.



    In 1774, he printed The Patriot, a critique of what he viewed as false patriotism. On the evening of 7 April 1775, he made the famous statement, “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”[8] This line was not, as widely believed, about patriotism in general, but the false use of the term “patriotism” by John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute (the patriot-minister) and his supporters; Johnson opposed “self-professed patriots” in general, but valued what he considered “true” self-professed patriotism. – Source Wikipedia.



    I just wonder what Samuel Johnson would have thought about the wave of FAUX moral indignation that is currently sweeping through the Scottish population. From Journalists through Fans Forum even through Supporters pressure groups.



    So as we head towards the end of BTC saga, It is with that most famous quote, attributed to Samuel Johnson that the next 2 months will be played out. Thus who claim there is no agenda, there was no agenda and that all that was done was done in the name of ‘sporting Integrity’ and that all that shall be done will be done in the name of ‘Moral Indignation’, would do well to take heed. The Rangers supporters conscience was awakened when those who do have an agenda tried to destroy Rangers FC.



    With Celtic Manager already quoted as stating poor results are a result of the team being ‘tired’. I was reminded that in May 2008, sporting integrity was used against Rangers to demand the season was completed on time with only 6 games left to play, not with the League less than half way through. Will sporting Integrity be upheld and the SPL season be completed on time in 2013.



    Both the Celtic Trust and none other than Archie Macpherson have both recently brought the big guns of sectarianism, or at least the Scottish spectre of it, into play. The former with the resurrection of the discredited ‘Fans not criminals’ campaign, shame they believe the laws of the land, only apply to others, as shown by their boycotting of the Scottish parliament over a law they were set up to oppose.



    The later, who I used to admire, was quoted in the Herald as stating “I admit to being hyper-sensitive about deliberate agendas as, when I joined the BBC more than four decades ago, I found myself in a departmental anti-Catholic, anti-Celtic ethos which I had to fight against; successfully, I have to claim, as Jock Stein became a regular associate of mine as an analyst when previously he would not have been seen dead inside Queen Margaret Drive. This was not done to curry favour at Celtic Park, although the other side of the city thought it was. It was just the right battle to take on for the sake of integrity.”



    So again Religion has been brought into play, usually a subject which the very mention of would have even the most ardent Rangers supporter heading for the bunkers. Unfortunately times have changed. The attacks on Rangers FC and her supporters have seen to that. Mr Macpherson states he saw and fought against an anti-Celtic, anti-Catholic agenda inside the BBC, he states it was the right thing to do in the name of Integrity.



    Likewise we the Rangers supporters will fight against the anti-Rangers agenda being driven by those with a pro Celtic agenda. I’m sure those of the protestant faith will likewise fight the anti-protestant actions now occurring inside Scotland’s halls of power. Fortunately for Rangers supporters the truth is the best defence against the lies and half-truths used by those who actively campaign for their agenda to be driven through the laws of the land and the very notion of Democracy.



    It has already been mooted that the FTT was not a legal trial, though what that has to do with justifying the FAUX moral indignation being spouted by Britney and 2 bob hacks in the Scottish media is beyond me!



    Their false morality is actually highlighted by this when considering that the SPL have just pointed out that their commission is only a quasi-judicial process, as was the SFA commission prior to this. I believe as most would that HMRC’s quasi-judicial FTTT would be better placed to sit judgement on the tax laws of this land than the SPL are. Of course a lot of 2 bob hacks will disagree after when democracy is usurped by mob rule and Spouting Integrity is replaced with FAUX moral indignation what could anyone expect.



    I unlike Alistair McCoist welcome the SPL commission’s ruling as for Rangers supporters it will be true justification one way or another. A finding of guilt in Lord Nimmo court of quasi-justice will vindicate our demands for a public enquiry to investigate a corrupt and biased organisation. Whereas a finding of innocence would expose further those who currently use terms such as ‘morally wrong’ to influence that quasi-judicial court to return a guilty verdict and to punish Rangers FC to the extreme and beyond.



    As for the sectarian angle, which is starting to show up in many of these expulsions of moral indignation? That is one card that has been played not just once too often, but simple far too often. I would suggest those who try to use it now look inward for its roots.




  12. Bada



    If so, wouldn’t it be like customers of the wee grocers on the corner asking Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda for a redistribution of Scotland’s retail wealth … ?




  13. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    I think we have to be carefull if Celtic were to go out and find another league that will accept them it has to be better than the SPL as there is no point in joining something similar.Now if for arguement say joined the French league (just picked at random) can you imagine the cost of going to away league matches? Also to be able to challenge in a better league wither we like it or not we would need better players and that would cost money in transfers and wages so our season ticket price would be likely to increase.In these recession hit days it would become an even more expensive hobby to follow the hoops.H.H.

  14. I dont think the Europa League has been a success at all and is way way below the CL in status more so than the UEFA was. I would be more in favour of 2 CL competitions maybe like the NFL set up in the US with both league winners playing a Superbowl type of final.

  15. sixtaeseven: CQN, antidote to deceptive, selective journalism on



    They UEFA top brass were quite right to have done away with the Cup Winners’ Cup, which was a total waste of time and money. I can’t even name a single team that won it!





    But I agree, the Europa League while not perfect, needs to be kept. It does give many,many clubs a taste of European football, and there are a lot of big names there during the final stages.



    What really needs to be looked at is the CL: having 3 or 4 countries with up to four teams (usually the usual suspects) is killing it.

  16. Just a point on the attendances malarky i’ve noticed.



    Each and every one of the articles I have seen states that attendances are generally up in the SPL but Celtic’s attendances are down.



    I read an article last month that two clubs in Britain have had 500K supporters through their turnsyles this season.



    Celtic and Manchester United.



    I suppose this is what happens when you are the biggest and best supported team in your country.



    Staying in all competitions entered until Christmas at least also helps.



    Regretably, in these tight economic times the support has to pick and chose their luxuries, Arbroath or Spartak?



    For we only know that there’s gonna be a show…………..Hail Hail

  17. The current CFC squad would get turned over by most EPL teams …mid table at best



    Mediocrity and no European football ..not for me

  18. I wonder if Celtic’s recent poor form, which is the largest contributive factor in this years exciting league race, is entirely coincidental?


    Maybe not intentional but ……erm….. coincidental.

  19. PFayr


    We’re playing against mediocre teams in the SPHell every week here!


    Ambition is all that’s needed, who’s to say we wouldnt finish top 5 in the EPL after a bedding in period of 3-4 years?


    We did after all beat Barcelona!

  20. Tomtheleedstim



    Assuming I follow your assertion …..



    How do you think the ST holders would react if it was true

  21. UEFA have more or less given the GREEN light to future European Regional Leagues.



    It is not a question of IF, but WHEN.



    There will be at least one Regional League in Europe within the next 2 years imo.

  22. Shared gate money, yet another reason for CFC to get of Scottish football.



    I’m damn sure my financial support won’t be going towards other Scottish teams, let their own supporters do that.



    I’m on one now, I need to go for a walk.





    Problem is,the board would still insist on targeting SPL-standard players on SPL-standard contracts…..

  24. So……if The CL is to be expanded and The EL to be done away with, will our top teams at the end of the season have a better opportunity of participation? Or is this just the stepping stone to a permanent European League of cherry picked élite teams? And if so, will we get a look-in?




    As for Chunkles & the tribute rankers, what can you say? The clown-in-chief is doing fine all by himself.




    Suddenely, it’s all about redistribution. rfc (dead) knew all about that. This lates wheeze is hypocrisy writ large. Dismiss.




    A thunderous win tonight would go a long way to calming nerves ahead of next week’s crucial CL encounter.

  25. Benjybhoy



    Not for me mate



    What if we didn’t progress ..we become another well supported also ran



    Most of our squad wouldn’t be fit for purpose in the EPL