Bodo/Glimt converted a late penalty to secure a 2-1 win over AZ Alkmaar, whom Celtic eliminated from the Europa League in August. Since then, AZ have seen form fall before a spectacular recovery. They have won 12 and drawn one of their last 13 league games, a run that included victories over Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord. Whether Celtic would have coped in this company (I doubt it) no longer matters, although you would prefer to travel to Dundee on Monday without an exhausting European game last night.
I was pleased when I heard Roman Abramovich was sanctioned, inhibiting his largess at Chelsea. Abramovich started the trend that has seen the mineral wealth of emerging nations distort European football, the sooner it ends the better. The sanction justification was light on detail, littered with couched terms, nothing a lawyer could get their teeth into, which was probably deliberate. Some will read this as being an arbitrary decision.
Sportswashing is the term of the moment, but if it was used in this instance, it happened differently from most. Abramovich was unknown in the West before buying Chelsea, his money bought a profile and credibility before anything needed to be washed. Perhaps not before a profile in the West became useful.
The day of the oligarchs dominating European football may be numbered, but there’s many decades left for other spenders of their nations mineral wealth to go round. The circus will just move on from West London.