Football is often about the margins. Virgil van Dijk’s header, when Celtic were 0-1 up away to Maribor, beat the keeper and defence, but struck Stefan Johansen on the line. A year later, with Celtic 2-0 and rocking Malmo to their core, Stefan came close to putting us 3-0 and clear, but both Champions League playoff ties turned and a chapter in our history changed.
Trailing 1-0, yesterday’s tie against Astana could have tipped out of control but sublime play by both Patrick Roberts and Leigh Griffiths turned the game on its head. It was a ballsy play. Patrick wouldn’t give up, Leigh used all of his experience to despatch the ball into the net from the edge of the box. It went exactly as I predicted in yesterday’s blog, “A great deal of responsibility will lie with Leigh Griffiths. He’ll have space to receive the ball from Roberts”. Astana were stunned.
Not so stunned they think they’re out of it, in fact, after the game their manager and players were talking about winning at Celtic Park. See Maribor, above, if you think that’s not credible. They reckon the tie is “50/50”. None of them were impressed by Celtic, the sentiment it they let us off the hook. We will have work to do next week.
Kolo, is there anything you can do to sort us out at corner kicks? Eoghan O’Connell lost his man, but we lose too many goals from corners inside the six yard box, or on the line, for me to ask no questions of Craig Gordon. Is his starting position right? Maybe if he started a pace off his line he’d get a fist on a corner before the striker. It feels like there’s more going wrong than just the defenders losing their men. If a goalkeeper comes for a ball in his six yard box but doesn’t get it, he’s responsible.
Irony is finished.
Care to guess which club issued this statement after the Scottish Cup final two months ago?
“Any attempts to attach blame to our supporters for the disgraceful and violent behaviour will not be accepted or tolerated by this club”.
Yesterday, the same club, Newco, not only accepted and tolerated those same supporters being blamed, they led the charge by banning them indefinitely and telling them they would lose their season ticket for the coming season without a refund!
“Any club’s supporters would have done the same”
Here’s the thing, after the cup final, Newco’s statement not only tolerated fans’ behaviour they made unprecedented attempts to justify it:
“We acknowledge that a tiny minority of Rangers fans also encroached on the pitch but only after having been faced with prolonged and severe provocation and in order to protect our players and officials who were being visibly attacked in front of them. Any club’s supporters would have done the same”.
If Celtic did this we would be mocked on every front page for a week. Unfortunately, Scotland does not have appropriate oversight in any walk of life, or the post-final reporting and political reaction would have been entirely different.
Thanks to all who are involved in the eBay auction for this incredible prize:
Courtesy of Celtic sponsor, Intelligent Car Leasing, we have an outstanding auction prize, as the centrepiece of our summer good causes. For the Kilmarnock game at Celtic Park, on 24 September 2016, you can win:
2 seats in the directors’ box
5 course meal in the Walfrid Suite
Fully expenses bar (pre and post-match)
Half time snacks and refreshments
And a match programme.
The auction is open for only ONE MORE DAY. This is a fabulous opportunity to indulge yourself in some high living while watching Celtic and contributing towards the construction of a school kitchen in Malawi for Mary’s Meals. You can get involved here.
Thanks again to Intelligent Car Leasing.