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. Off to watch the game will settle for a close victory but feel Gary and Lassad supplied by Kris C = Goals


    Ps Efe to score at anytime :)) God loves a trier .


    Enjoy the game all



  2. GlassTwoThirdsFull on



    16:41 on 28 November, 2012



    Rab Douglas was a goalie who said that everything he knew about football he learned from layin’ bricks.



    He must have had pretty sore toes!

  3. channelislandcelt on

    Off out for game. 1st prediction on CQN. Joe Ledley 1st goal to silence a few doubters ……12/1 yer dough :O))

  4. Paul67 et al



    Cannot see the attraction of Regional Leagues in Europe, given how far North Scotland actually is, still I am sure trips to Iceland, the Faroes etc might warm the cockles around this time of year. Better a trip to Edinburgh, and dear old Tynecastle. Platini knows there is a problem, too much wealth concentrated in too few hands, but doubling the number of teams and games will not solve it, not with built in seeding, and rules preventing clubs playing teams from their respective leagues. Fact is Celtic could have went out of Europe after one round, how can the club gear itself up for that? So we need a better balance between National and European football, and as I have suggested previously, some of the European matches to be played on Saturday nights. As for Celtic leaving Scottish football, that’s like the Brooklyn Dodgers no longer playing in New York! Unthinkable!

  5. fergus slayed the blues on

    C.mon you bhoys in green ,let’s hope for a good start tonight ,more players on their toes than on their heels .


    We have a league to win lads ,let’s show them what we’ve got


    Hail Hail

  6. TET


    Lifted a bet today for me and the son .He picked 4draws last night and done a £2 Quod


    I did the same teams @ 4x£1 trebs and between us we got £345-00.


    tickets and boat ( & a few sherbets)covered for Spartak game. Woo Hoo :-)


    4draws for tonight









  7. fergus slayed the blues on



    Think Lenny left him on Sat to get game time under his belt ,hope it pays off

  8. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on

    I think we will struggle tonight again, IMO the team needed freshening up, its no happened, favs are again being given the chance to prove themselves. Hopefully they turn up tonight, good chance simply because they will be supported by the away support better than the home support for domestic competitions.


    Tonight the 12th man will be there.



  9. Think it’ll be a 4-3-1-2 with Commons playing in the hole. As I mentioned last week, it looks as though this is the pattern Neil fancies for the away games.



    If so, I’d have preferred Watt to partner Lassad – what was it about their terrific play in the St Mirren game Neil Lennon didn’t like? Hooper and Lassad are untested together in this formation.



    On the two occasions they have played at CB in a 4-3-1-2, Ambrose and Wilson have looked much more formidable with 3 midfielders in front of them. Minor quibble, but I’d have preferred Matthews at RB, Matthews at LB.

  10. fergus slayed the blues on



    Great to see the bookie taking a hit ,alas some of that money is probably from my weekly donation due to being useless

  11. Lassad 1st scorer, 5-1 the Hoops – 225/1 scorecast Paddy Power. Get on!



    The weans’ Xmas is ridin’ on this one…

  12. Neil Lennon confirms it. 4-3-1-2. I was right, for once.



    I do wonder how Ledley is fit, when we heard only last week he’d be touch and go to make it for Spartak Moscow.

  13. Someone posted a link to ladbrokes free bet yesterday and how it works.


    I’ve checked back and can’t find it.any punter help,fancy 3-1,3-2 for the tic.

  14. Bonjour



    Strong team and strong bench tonight, hoping we get off to


    a flier and give them a right going over.



    Au revoir



    Hail Hail

  15. Full Moon… lol!





    @ GlasgowRoad 6m


    If you see a 52 seater bus heading in the wrong direction its us @NeilMochanCSC convenor has lifted the Spartak tickets instead of tonight’s

  16. macanbheatha



    Delighted for you, I love to hear of the bookies getting a spanking.



    Aye, all could be draws, I would add St Johnstone and Everton as well, in fact I have :>)



    Enjoy the game, even better when it’s paid for.




  17. Team looks good to me. Hopefully a run out under the lights might encourage a good performance.



    Channelisland, Ladbrokes had a good price for Joe tonight. In fact they had best prices for a lot of the bhoys

  18. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    So, some loan companies are charging 4,000% interest, and the Government has now, finally, decided to cap the rate …….. What a society we live in …….. That rate of interest is ‘criminal’ …… Politics ?

  19. Interesting shuffle of the pack by NFL.



    Not surprised in the changes with Matthews and Samaras dropping out after Saturday.



    No concerns about Celtic defensively and it’s Lassad and Hooper this time, to try and make a partnership from passes that aren’t being created?



    However, we play better away from Celtic park and I expect Celtic to win because hopefully we will not playing against ten men behind the ball with five opponents in midfield.



    Hearts 0 Celtic 4

  20. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    Why are we playing better away from home ?……the away support ……the home support need to realise we are there to cheer the Bhoys on ….

  21. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    Doo doo….Lassad again (pass)…. Quality