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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    You’re either talking bo….ks or The Balkans,I presume….

  2. !!Bada Bing!!


    12:20 on


    28 November, 2012


    BBC report says UEFA thinking of scrapping the Europa League,and expanding CL.





    Someone should remind SPL SFA UEFA and Chuckie no matter what


    way they reorganise the leagues the zombies are still a couple of years away from a place at top table.



    Even if SFA decide to allocate a place next year to team in lower divison with biggest crowd they are still



    NOTE NOT Barred just ineligible.



    : > )

  3. Bawsman


    Well said. The more Celtic fans who promote the “attendances are down” spiel, the more attendances will go down.

  4. If we’re going to play Brown v Spartak, it makes sense to play him tonight and rest him on Saturday. Oh, by the way, I STILL think our defence and midfield needs to be changed. If Wanyama is out next week, give the midfield berth to somebody else in preparation for our most important game of the season.



    For Hearts, I’d go:



    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Forster :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::



    Lustig :::::::::::::::: Wanyama ::::::::::::::::: Wilson ::::::::::::::: Matthews



    Brown :::::::::::::::: Ambrose ::::::::::::::::::: Kayal ::::::::::::::::: Samaras



    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Watt :::::::::::::::::::::::: Miku ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

  5. PFayr – I wouldn’t be too happy myself.


    To be clear I don’t think anyone would be asking professional athletes to tone it down a bit for league games, it’s unrealistic.


    However, if the bonus structure I have heard rumored is true this year then it could have an effect.


    For example; Right guys, we should win the league this year so the title winning bonus has been reduced from X to Y. However, if we qualify for the group state of the CL then it will be Z. If by any chance we squeak into the last 16 of the CL then it will be an enormous XYZ.


    That would have some kind of subliminal effect, wouldn’t it?

  6. sixtaeseven: CQN, antidote to deceptive, selective journalism


    12:40 on


    28 November, 2012




    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!








    Some previous winners of the ECWC



    – Fiorentina


    – Atletico Madrid


    – Tottenham


    – Borussia Dortmund


    – Bayern Munich


    – Manchester City


    – Chelsea


    – Milan


    – Diynamo Kiev


    – Anderlecht


    – Hamburg


    – Barcelona


    – Valencia


    – Juventus


    – Everton


    – Ajax


    – Lazio


    – Parma





    Some right diddy teams in there :-)




  7. After thinking (not always pain-free) for a while, I’ve come to the realisation that it’s not for us to have to go; it’s for the sfa to be thoroughly reformed, and for there to be independent oversight and investment in the officiating sphere, i.e. an end to mibbery. These things can be done, if there’s a will.

  8. Personally Paul, I think your idea is guff.



    Football is tribal.



    Whilst great satisfaction is gained once in a blue moon from defeating the Euro greats, I will relish destroying Hearts tonight, the Edinburgh side of my family will not be enjoying that prospect.



    Week in week out i’d rather play Scottish sides not 2nd/3rd rate Euro opponents.



    My hope is that the teams (and their supports) in Scotland will step up to the plate and take us back tto the heady days when Scottish sides were feared (with reason) in Europe.




    Look at the league just now, the chasing pack are loving it, long may it continue…….then we win.

  9. BMCUW



    The Balkans indeed!



    There have been talks between the national federations of the 6 former Yugoslav Republics as well as Bulgaria and Hungary with a view to POSSIBLY setting up a regional league which could be under way as early as 2014.



    Incidentally a European Regional League already exists! It is a joint Dutch-Belgian Ladies’ League which came into effect this season.




  10. Tallybhoy @ 12:59



    What do you think the odds might be on the Dutch and Belgian ladies letting us join their league?



    Our travelling support would have a whale of a time.



    To paraphrase, we might not care if we won, drew or lost …




  11. Celtic: Douglas, Valgaeren, Balde, Laursen, Agathe (Sylla 86), Lennon, Sutton, Petrov, Guppy (Thompson 84), Larsson, Hartson. Subs not used: Gould, McNamara, Fernandez, Lambert, Maloney.




  12. PF


    Problem is the shipping costs. I would let you have as much as you want but the costs to ship are daft. I sent 2 bottles of my wine and 2 bottles of my olive oil to my wifes family last Xmas 61 Euros with the Italian Post Office and that was after being grilled for about an hour by the clerk as to the contents of the package. As to the potency – absolutely- sometimes you have a couple of glasses and your heids birlin . You can have a look at some of our land and our guest house on Owners Direct ref IT8923

  13. Folly Folly



    Not such a bad idea!



    Personally I would wait for the creation of a Scandinavian Regional Ladies League, and then apply to join!




  14. The Honest Cover-up on

    Note to Michelle,


    Keep the Euorpa League. Do away with the ridiculous 6pm kick offs.


    Europa night on Thursays 7:45pm Kick off and it will instantly become a more viable tournament and allow it to regain the prestige it deserves.

  15. Tally



    Some of us might even need to wait for the Blind Ladies’ Football Association …




  16. Ntassoolla,


    I responded to your post at the bottom of the last article so that it would not interfere with the new blog.


    If there is anything to add it might be better kept there.

  17. Vmhan


    13:08 on


    28 November, 2012


    How long does it normally take to deliver the auld CQN annual?



    Thanks in advance.







    Vinny , I got mine within 3 days,yours may be held up due to export of rock and cockles.

  18. Kilbowie Kelt



    I remember some eejit singing that pleasant little ditty at Dens park many moons ago.


    He was sitting in the row in front of me,I asked “whit dis your wife look like mate”?


    The chap took umbrage at this and the withering look he gave me still gives me the


    shivers:O) HH

  19. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    The Dandy Dons are still pretenders they are not good enough Inverness showed that last night as long as the pack keep taking points off each other we should be ok.H.H.

  20. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    10years on there’s something I need to get off my chest- JUST WHAT did happen to the Seville money?



    And no timewastin’ tyrekickin’ made up ole guff in your answers.

  21. Paul 67


    My post has not appeared, for me its pan european leagues if there are no boundaries to hinder broadcasst why is there for leagues, UEFA have protected themselves by trying to keep this to football as any legal challenge would see the club/association suspended.Not for me the EPL with its massively overhyped priced and standards of football.


    I have Sky and dont watch for any length of time any game not involving Celtic or a CL game Im interested in, it just does not hold my attention, European leagues set up properly accountable and fair would eliminate the influence of outside parties as we witnessed last week and FFP and devloping the game

  22. Voguepunter,


    I stopped going to away matches some years ago after confronting a noisy group of young Celtic guys singing that hateful stuff on the inter-city train. The main group on the train were women coming back from shopping in the capital.

  23. Would a Regional European League consist of say 2 top teams from 9 neighbouring Countries. Perhaps the like of Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Belguim, Switzerland, Holland & Scotland or would it more likely be 6 teams from 3 neighbouring Countries. Perhaps Belguim, Switzerland & Scotland. The 2nd format would allow for 5 domestic away games

  24. Paul, you should get in touch with the football economics experts at Birkbeck College. They know their stuff. Under current structures leagues across Europe tend to have the same two or three teams winning the title every year. You obviously want Celtic to get out of the SPL – so do I. However, the league would only be more competitive for a year or two then the old pattern would set in again, with a couple of teams fighting it out for the league every year. Hearts , Aberdeen or Hibs would take the place of Celtic and Rangers (RIP). Something more fundamental has to happen before leagues become more competitive – a draft system, salary caps, limits on squad sizes etc.


    Unfortunately they’d all fall foul of EU competition law.

  25. izzy


    13:23 on


    28 November, 2012


    Mrs Mols only married him for his EBT…


    Extra Beauty Treatments?