Note of caution on potential European opponents


If it’s a choice between a trip to Macedonia or Azerbaijan, Celtic would doubtlessly prefer the former. Baku, where Azerbaijani club Qarabag reside, is not as far west as Astana, where Celtic played two years ago, but it’s east of Iraq and it’s not a city which appears in many tourist lists.

Rudar Pljevlja returned from Baku midweek with a 0-0 draw.  In days gone by that was regarded as a great away European result, but the lack of away goal will much of the second leg is played on a knife-edge.

One large note of caution, Qarabag went out of Europe last season by a one goal aggregate margin to Red Bull Salzburg, who lost in Baku, but won in Glasgow a few months later.  They have twice eliminated Polish opposition in the last five years.

My hunch is that Celtic are better than each potential opponent, but if we’re short of fitness or preparation, we’ll have more trouble than we want.

The good news is that neither club plays summer football, so they should be no better prepared that Celtic.  Rudar finished competitively in May, Qarabag a week later, while both played their first competitive games of the season on Wednesday.  From what I can tell, both also play on grass, so we’ll avoid the Scandinavian bounce.

Before concerning ourselves too much with the 3rd Champions League qualifying round we need to use today’s game against La Liga side Eibar to sharpen fitness, and take care of business in Iceland on Wednesday.

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  1. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    I do not think we are remotely in fantasy land talking of £20 million for Virgil van Djik. He is a fantastic player and COULD be the difference between us reaching the Group stages or not. Isn`t that worth in the region of £20 million?


    If Victor was worth £12 million, then Virgil is worth much, much more.




  2. Kitalba only an hour ago was reading on twitter about names being named in the prog to be shown in Australia, and thought to myself I wonder if it will make it on air or will the powers get it stopped,

  3. Clashcitybhoy on

    Estoril Bhoy


    Sky have always been very reticent to publish regional subscription figures, but compared to other industries, those figures imho look to be in the zone.


    It will be interseting to see if they are challenged.



    You have also missed commercial premises.


    If we assume that around 1k pubs, hotels etc in Scotland have Sky Sports at £20k / outlet per annum, that is £20m, before you even look at domestic subscriptions.


    For many years Scottish football has been subsidising EPL and the Championship, but that iposition cannot be long term sustainable.



    I believe Scottish football should look at two lateral ways to compete



    1) Some form of SPFLTV based around Streaming / Youtube etc.



    2) Give the rights to the BEEB for nothing, but on the proviso that we get a certain amount of prime time BBC 1 national exposure ( 7/8 games / year) , a weekly live game on a BBC3/4 , and a weekly goals show. We then make money out of trackside / shirt ads which get exposure to a much larger audience.



    Sadly under our current SPFL leadership, who lack imagination & conviction, that wont happen

  4. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Jungle Jim Hot Smoked. I agree with your valuation of Virgil but the English clubs will in my opinion not pay that money for an SPL player I think we will be lucky to get half your valuation.H.H.

  5. leftclicktic;



    It made it to air okay, I won’t condemn anybody without proof, but what was aired was revolting, and, in heart of hearts, disturbingly concerning.



    They not only accused the British establishment of abattoir paedophilia, they accused them of national/corporate cover up…. and the murder of children.



    Elected MP’s, Lords, and senior, very, very senior, civil servants.

  6. Canamalar:



    Mate there are times I don’t want to live in this world. I can’t change it, no matter what I do it makes no discernible difference and so much bad goes unpunished. Macjay is a mate of mine, I think he lives in a bubble, but sometimes, without being nasty, I wish he could feel the hurt I feel.



    Like I said earlier, why do I bother.



    Got to go mate, bags to pack and back to work tomorrow. If Celtic play in Azerbaijan, look out for the wee Scottish flag twinned with the tri-colour… that’ll be me.

  7. Kit,


    Orphanages and children’s homes have been abused for decades and probably centuries or at least as long as the Masonic establishment has been in power.

  8. leftclicktic



    On yer bike in December, January and February, naw! Time for summer football methinks por cierto

  9. Kitalba



    A friend on Facebook posted the programme but I could not open it as it is an Aussie made show.



    is this a story that is related to the allegations made by the Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens c1983 & which, amongst other things, concern Sir Peter Hayman a senior diplomat and apologist for PIE? Tom Watson MP has been on this case for years as , periodically, Private Eye has.



    Some of the hints are that this story leads very high – with these hints hardly dimished when news as to who a pretty senior Royal has associated with surface. I also read today about a senior Labour figure of the not to distant past – not Janner- whose identity I believe the Sun was close to revealing prior to polling day at a General Election. ( this is not mentioned in today’s sociak media story(



    The story and associated rumours are grotesque enough for me to hope they are not true but having been told about the proclivities of Jimmy Savile in 1990 I am disinclined to disbelieve these rumours




    Neither Celtic nor flippant as I usually prefer round here but hey ho




  10. Canamalar:



    I was always taught to look for the good in people, I have my wee differences with Macjay on here, but I’d have him as a guest in my house tomorrow, or any day for that matter, the guy is alright I my eyes, whether we agree on how many stars are in the night sky or not; he’s an alright guy, and yeah, for all our differences, I’d like to think he is my mate.



    (but he does love the red wine) (so do I)

  11. Any of the Belfast bhoys or ghirls gonna be in a public in town later this afternoon?


    If so, fancy a wee pint?



    HH jamesgang

  12. jimbo67:



    Yes the names you mentioned in your post were mentioned in the programme. I think the Labour name, that you are reaching for that was named in the report was Cyril Smith, though there were a lot of names mentioned.



    I’ve got to get to bed, back to work for me tomorrow, but if I get time in the morning I’ll try and rip it for you and post it.



    Bottom line was/is, they protect their own.

  13. kitalba



    At the risk of a little levity among the appropriate horror of the story….I do love how your last but one post says you’re packing to go and then the next says macjay is welcome tomorrow.



    Straight from the Edinburgh school of hospitality!!!!



    Come round any time, we’re never in!!!



    HH jamesgang

  14. jamesgang:



    I’ve known Macjay for the best part of 50 years. When his boy moved to Brisbane he phoned me to ask if I would look out for him if the need arose. By doing that he payed me the biggest compliment any parent could pay to another human being… I want you to watch out for my boy.



    Think about it.



    I of course said yes, but think about the compliment he paid me by asking, and think about how good I felt about myself post the asking. He made my day.





    I’m sure a few of our Belfast Brigade would have taken you up on that but for the thought of a ‘wee’ pint.



    They don’t do wee pints,mate. They do jumbo blow-yer-bliddy-nut pints. And lots of them!



    Have a good trip,bud. Yer no stranger to that fine city,of course.

  16. I hope the guilty parties in this paedophiles cover up are brought to justice, who wouldn’t?


    I prefer to discuss football here , or my new health regime, however this affair has been hinted at and almost exposed for many years.


    As a Private Eye subcriber I am aware of the pressure they have been under to expose and subsequently risk the wrath of the establishment. Think of that for a moment, one of the estsblishments fiercest critics and enemies is balking at the risk they face. Why?


    The Janner case , if it comes to court, will be the start. In my opinion he will be offered up as the scapegoat along with a few dead perverts. They, the historic and current offenders still alive and in office, will hope that will be enough.


    We have a duty to ensure that this will not be the end of it. Rant over, time to get back to drinking and cooking.

  17. Gerryfaethebrig on




    11:30 on 19 July, 2015



    Just saw that video shocking will never feel the same again when that advert comes on


    Bet Zenit this morning with both teams scoring (2-1) Hulk & Shatov were the scorers, would love to know the Zenit fans song for the unfortunately named Shatov

  18. Dallas Dallas where the heck is Dallas on

    Jamesgang at 13.22, that post put a smile on my miserable coupon.



    Any GAA football likers, the Ulster Champinship final between Donegal and Monaghan is on BBC2 Northern Ireland (sky channel 972). Coverage starts at 1.30pm.



    Donegal & Monaghan have been the most succesful Ulster teams over the last few years. Ulster Gaelic Football must need a strong Sevco.



    A sidepoint about today’s game, Kevin Loughran (he appeared in RTE’s football next star about a young Irish players trying to get a contract with us) may be playing for Monaghan. He was one of the few Celtic fans on the RTE show. He captained Monaghan when they won the Ulster Junior final two years ago.

  19. Kitalba



    Even having met you just the once I can understand his faith in you to look after the boy of a fellow Bhoy.



    HH jamesgang

  20. Kitalba



    It was not Cyril Smith. The former Senior Labour figure is still alive , I think and can , therefore sue.




  21. I lost the rag last night on here with a guy that valued VVD at £5 million.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.