Milan, the incredible Paul Murray, Tyneside No 1


I never like to hear Celtic fans talk about weaknesses in opponents like Milan. They may be weaker than they were a decade ago but Milan have never been weak. The one thing Celtic have in their favour is the element of surprise, despite last season’s epic achievements. Milan will have read the screaming headlines, ‘spine of the team sold’. They will know little about how effective Celtic can use the vast open spaces of the San Siro.

After defending resolutely against Barca, Celtic looked like a far better team against a less effective Juventus but we found the limit to our abilities. Juve exploited the gaps in defence left as we took the game to them. I would rather defend in numbers and take our chances on the break than try to go toe-to-toe in midfield.

The San Siro seems to bring the best out of Celtic. Jock Stein went there three times, drawing after 90 minutes on each occasion; losing once after extra time. Gordon Strachan’s team were also level after regulation time, losing only after extra time, and lost narrowly in a Champions League group stage game. Martin O’Neill’s Celtic came within three minutes of securing a draw before conceding twice late on.

There can be fewer European grounds on which Celtic have performed as well. Wednesday will require another almighty and intense effort but that is something Celtic are never lacking. Milan may not fear us, but they have reason to be worried.

I listened to former Rangers director Paul Murray on BBC Radio Scotland over the weekend. I know books have been written on the downfall of that club but I could write one on his own contribution. As a non-executive director, Murray’s job was to be the eyes and ears of other shareholders, to ensure the business of the club was in order and carried out properly. He was in a position to ask awkward questions, in fact, it was his job to ask awkward questions and to ensure threats to the club were uncovered and addressed.

In this instance he failed absolutely. Despite this, he trumpeted the 50% decline in the club’s debt during his tenure as a badge of honour, he told us his namesake, Sir David, was exclusively responsible for the sale to Craig Whyte and for the consequences of the EBT debacle. We were informed that Rangers won their EBT case, despite the fact that during the First Tier Tribunal the club accepted they operated an illegal tax scheme for five players, and the remaining issues are a matter of appeal.

Most bizarrely of all he rejected Lord Nimmo Smith’s findings on the conduct of his board before telling us he is absolutely certain he would be judged fit and proper to be a director of a football club. No remorse, not even a hint of self awareness.

Well done to the Tyneside No. 1 Celtic Supporters’ Club who walked from Newcastle to Celtic Park in aid of 1254125 and the Sam Bradley Care Fund. You can support their magnificent effort here.

The new issue of CQN Magazine is out! Click here for a proper read (don’t try to read the graphic below). It’s another great issue, thanks to all who helped.
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  1. On the issue of 4:5:1 or 4:4:2 for a CL away tie, I am quite open.



    We won in Moscow and performed creditably in Barcelona and Lisbon with both Hooper and Sammi in the starting line up. In fact we had Hooper and Sammi AND Commons in the winning away match in Moscow.



    However, I would be surprised to see all 3 of Sammi, Commons and Stokes included this time as we cannot afford two players who lack pace up front (Stokes and Commons).



    That said, the replacements with greater pace, Boerigter and Pukki, are not any more obviously diligent in defensive duties than are Kris and Antony, so, for that reason, I expect to see Mulgrew or Ledley, or both, accompanying Scott Brown in central midfield.



    I would not replace Izzy with Charlie because despite his weakness in the air, Izzy is better at dealing with nippy players attacking on the deck as Milan will.

  2. Larrybhoy



    Very fitting post for your brave brother.



    I’m a wee brother, that still supports Celtic on behalf of my brother, who took me to my first game, he pointed to the tunnel in the old stand and said ‘that’s where the Celtic will come out’



    I think of his words everytime I go to Celtic Park, it’s hard when you lose a brother.



    Hail Hail

  3. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS forza Oscar and Mackenzie on

    Just having a wee look at The CQN Predictor.



    Is there a better team name than






    Had to think about that. Wear the fox hat springs to mind.



    So a HH to Sponsored by Cheetah for that one…

  4. In CL last season we played 4-4-1-1 with, when fit, Sammi playing off Hooper and Commons, when he played, out on the right. Don’t see us changing from that formation with Commons playing off Sammi and Matthews on the right.



    When all are fit the starting 11 will probably be





    Lustig Ambrose Van Dijk Izaguirre


    –Matthews Brown Mulgrew Ledley–







    If Ledley is injured and can’t play then it’ll be either Sammi wide left and Stokes as striker, or Boerrigter wide left.

  5. South Of Tunis…agree Mexes is a weakness.. but just don’t see NFL going for it…



    maybe he’ll gauge the forst 20 mins or so and have a plan B

  6. Hamiltontim is praying for Oscar on




    If Ledley is fit I’d consider playing Mulgrew in one of the wide positions opposite Sammi. He has the height to attack crosses from the other side of the pitch and he has much better defensive qualities than any of our alternative options.

  7. I was very disappointed to read Peter grant’s comments in the online Herald this morning.



    As an ex-Celt, he is more than entitled to utter any opinion he likes on the merits, past and present, of Scott Brown. However, in doing so, he reveals details of a view, which he attributes to Peter Lawwell, that Scott should be stripped of the captaincy, under Mowbray’s tenure. That is revealing a discussion which should have been kept private, at least as long as both individuals were involved at the same club, and on the eve of the important CL tie which led to Peter Grant being interviewed in the first place.



    I had always given Peter Grant the benefit of the doubt for remaining silent and backing Tony Mowbray as he visibly wilted and kept taking it on the chin whilst the MIBs were ripping the pee with their decisions, but the above comment, coupled with his harsh criticism of Scott Brown for indiscipline in getting sent off by the conning of Kyle Lafferty, has led me to lose some further respect for this ex-player.



    Peter Grant\’s comments

  8. Hamiltontim @ 11 28 .



    Lustig could do that job .



    Stokes ?



    Don’t think there is room for a sentiment like ” deserves ” in top level football . Pragmatism and tactics etc are much more functional and adaptive . They will field 2 full backs who are very vulnerable to players running at them with the ball . Attack them down the flanks .

  9. Larrybhoy, Thanks for the lovely post about Michael, or Miki67 as he was better known to us. I hope chatting on CQN helped him a little through his brave fight over the past year. I prayed for him, for starry’s Mammy and for the young lad who is in a coma in Peterborough last night.

  10. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS forza Oscar and Mackenzie on




    We don’t go much for subtlety in Kilwinning-takes too much out of us!



    I hadn’t seen that one before-nor had I seen Suffolk and Watt.



    Brought a smile to my face each time.




  11. corkcelt



    Thank you my friend..



    Although Anto is on form, I’m not sure he will play the lonely striker role tomorrow, it doesn’t suit his game, I would hope that Derk starts as pace is essential away from home in the CL if Joe is injured we will see Charlie in midfield which for me is not ideal, I can’t see Neil going gung ho but it is crossing my mind how does he fit Sammi and Derk into the team??

  12. Micktt.


    have a mgzt had a small leak around intercooler,was told cooler needed replaced by ex rover dealership was quoted £850 for new one fitted. Took it to a mate for second opinion.


    All it needed was o ring seal total cost £2.50.and the price o a pint not leaked since.


    thieving bar stewards.



    big sean