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.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author


  1. Hamiltontim


    Just seen your post from earlier and sorry but ran out of 3G coverage if your still about we are just passing livingstone just now ETA on Corstorphine Road between 1815 and then going to the Roseburn


    3 spare on Eddie Duffy bus


    Which is a white Caledonian Travel bus

  2. TSD



    Here on planet football inventive players are those who see and deliver the killer pass. Weaving runs at defences a la Watt and Forrest are entertaining but not inventive. Ledley – nice player. Mcgeouch looks promising and we’ll see. Bobby Murdoch could land a ball on a tanner from 50 yards. Where are these players?

  3. DBBIA,



    I know we are not going to be invited to the EPL any time soon. But that is not to say the quality of the football there is not better than the SPL. The SPL has been dreadful for years. Much of that is because coaches have not encouraged technique but sheer endeavour and running power. We no longer produce entertaining football players. The gifted ones have it kicked out of them (certainly the Celtic ones, with the tacit approval of the MIBs). I had high hopes that this year would be different but, certainly against us, teams simply sit back and try and hit us on the break. We won’t improve in the SPL.

  4. Mickybhoy



    Cheers mate we’re sorted for tickets but BT said that Andrew67 is still looking for one.

  5. Jamiebaby aye it was good to see ye and meet the auld fella, a lovely Mhan is yir dad, wee Derryghirl loved the chat innaw.


    Some place the Greenock Celtic.



  6. My dear,dear,dear,friend.. Dr. Whatfor..




    Hiya, Pally?



    Nice tae Meet a Fellow…



    “Going agin the Tider”



    Yes.. We are crying oot fur a Playemaker..along the Lines of a Boabby Murdoch…



    who.. tae Ma regret.. Ah nevah saw… but, Ah am well versed in his Prowess tae


    Turn the Game oan A Dime.. wi’ a Clinical Defense Ripping.. Pass.



    The only guy..Ah kin think o’ in Terms of The Type of Player, whom Celtic is Crying oot….. is a



    Lubo Type..player.







    Ah saw..Lubo.. and he






    the Total Cat’s Nightware.. in the Art of



    Turning, the Game…. oan A Dime



    Nice chattin’ wit ye.





    Yer pal..who likes the wey …ye Think.



    Still Laughin

  7. Agree, let’s keep Georgios on the bench for to-night’s match. He takes time to get the mojo up to speed against packed defences of the SPL but thrives on the space he gets in the Champions Lge and can terrorise any defence – yes , even the mighty Barcelona,



    However, Victor is another matter. Is big Vic not one of our top scorers? I imagine we will have plenty of corners against Hearts and we all have seen the power Vic gets into his headers and packs a fair old shot in his boots as well.


    No, Vic must play. No interest in politics and tired of talking about the demise of the other guys but nice to talk football with you. Come on the HOOPS.

  8. Jamiebaby I especially like how the club has extended out to the Black Cat, used to be a Hun pub back in the day.



    Jonny would have been grafting, they start early due to the heat, lucky b…. Hoy!

  9. Kojo



    Right back at ye. A pity you missed Bobby Murdoch. An artist with a chest like a navvy. He needed it to hold that heart. Lubo was my favourite all time hoops player. Made the hair stand up on the old nape. I’m in good company there. Zinedine Zidane reckoned he was the best player he ever shared football pitch with.

  10. Bobby Murdochs Ankle on

    Vhman, Jamiebaby an masel were missionaries in the day, spread the word in the cat.



    Jamie tell Harry as said hello.




  11. Doctor Whatfor



    I thought Ibrahim would have ticked the guile box for Neil – sadly no yet.



    I do however, in a crazy glass half full kinda way, hope he makes it.

  12. mickbhoy 1888



    i will email asithoughit with andrews number, he is on forth rd bridge and still want ticket..

  13. channelislandcelt on

    Evening Bhoys . TET ,RE PADDY GALLAGHER .Sorry for delay in responding but had busy day . I probably do know the aforementioned “Paddy”. Whilst you are correct in saying that this is a very small place to live ,at a rough estimate I would say that around two to three hundred tims inhabit this rock . I would say that I am familiar with 99pc of them and would know “Paddy” well ,its just that CQN has never cropped up in conversation between us .HH.

  14. Convinced we will destroy the cousins of Sevconia 3 nil.



    Really think we will get a superb performance, pace , power and goals!