Positive clouds gather, Leigh’s peak years


Brendan Rodgers would have opened his hotel curtains this morning and welcomed the sight of a cool, wet, day in Astana. Far from the 30° he feared, it’s to be 17° by kick-off, having rained most of the day. That rainwater will help hold the ball up on the plastic surface at the Astana Arena where Celtic play their Champions League qualifier this afternoon.

Astana must be wondering if the clouds are conspiring against them. This is the coolest day of the month there, well below the 31° heat in the city two weeks ago. As any runner unaccustomed to such conditions will tell you, temperature differences like this have a huge impact on performance.

We can be pretty sure Kieran Tierney, Mikael Lustig and Saidy Janko will play, but in what formation and who will join them at the back is open to conjecture. What we can be more certain of is that we’ll pull defenders tight together, with Scott Brown playing the kind of defensive-mid role he produced a year ago in Qarabag.

A great deal of responsibility will lie with Leigh Griffiths. He’ll have space to receive the ball from Roberts and (probably) Forrest. At 25, he’s entering his peak years and is more than capable of winning this tie on his own.

Take a deep breath………..

Directors’ Box auction prize

Courtesy of Celtic sponsor and all round good guys, 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
Champagne reception
5 course meal in the Walfrid Suite
Fully expenses bar (pre and post-match)
Half time snacks and refreshments
Car Parking
And a match programme.

There are experiences in life which money can’t buy. This one is now available for you to bid for here on ebay until Friday lunchtime. Two of you, directors’ box, Champagne reception, 5 course meal, free bar, get in there – and tell your pals about it.

Monies raised will go towards our fifth (yes fifth) school kitchen for Mary’s Meals, and our other good causes in connection with Friday’s CQN Golf Day.

And thanks to Intelligent Car Finance.  We’re fortunate to have people like this around us.

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  1. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    MACJAY1 FOR NEIL LENNON on 27TH JULY 2016 12:26 PM






    Me too.



    Four dollars to the pound was way before your time .



    And mine.



    Explaining. Not disagreeing.




    Two and a half hours till Brendan`s biggest challenge to date.



    Can`t wait.

  2. I would play Dembele as loan striker with Roberts just off him. Griffiths not suited to role that’s required away from home in Europe, holding the ball up and having the pace to run in behind.

  3. Good News Paul67,



    It’s going to be tuff away tie, now if the weather is in our favour a result would be welcome…



    I’m not a Chicken Counter but I wouldn’t be surprised with a win, we have some serious pace and no shortage of fire power up front.



    Hail Hail

  4. !!BADA BING!! on 27TH JULY 2016 11:24 AM


    Not my reading of it, says HCRS date 27th July and Cards activated. My £22 deducted and I expect my seat to be waiting firm on the 3rd August…possession is 9/10s of the law…:)


    Keep the Faith!


    Hail Hail!

  5. Keep the tie alive for return at CP, even a one goal defeat (preferably with away goal) would be a good result given our defensive (and planning) deficiencies.

  6. We really must qualify for the CL, if the top clubs get their way the door may be closed for leagues like ours as they want to turn qualification into invitation only so the likes of Man U,(who did not qualify) can get a fifth bite at the cherry.







    Celtic playing today,cause for excited anticipation?Or pre-game snipes at the suits?Can we not wait till after the match to complain?I would like our squad to have additions,and quality ones at that,but we have a game today and we have to go with what we’ve got,let’s back the team.At least until full-time.

  8. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    Is Kolo’s inclusion as our one wildcard for this round:



    a) as a result of our defensive injury list?




    b) acceptance that there will be no other candidate available for consideration (i.e. no Sinclair today)?



    Oanywho – like other misguided souls on here, I have a fairly sanguine feeling about the game today. More creative formations over the past couple of games have improved performances.



    The excellent tactical analysis piece posted a couple of days ago illustrated the formational alterations that BR was making to the team, and how these helped us both in possession and when we lose the ball.



    Interesting to watch this (now that someone who knows what they are talking about has pointed them out!!).









  9. It’s amazing i’ve got a home visit this afternoon. Boss doesn’t know it’s a visit to my own home and an android box….

  10. What we want to come away with today is hope based on performance.



    Another performance like Gib sets the hope clock back to zero, but a good performance that should produce a hopeful result is what is needed.

  11. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    GARY67 on 27TH JULY 2016 12:37 PM



    I think you are probably right – need for additional defensive options is probably greater than for attacking wingers at this moment in time.






  12. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Not sure if I’d have Griffiths in from the start today. Not his type of game.


    I’d go with a 4-1-3-2


    Gordon –


    Janko, Lustig, O’Connell, Tierney –


    Bitton sitting behind Brown, McGregor and Armstrong –


    Roberts and either Ciftci or Dembele.


    When we get a break it has to be done at pace and with precision, while they are still open. McGregor moving the ball forward quickly and accurately.


    Breaking with three players. Roberts, Ciftci/Dembele and Armstrong.


    McGregor can shift across to cover for Armstrong if they break back on us down that side. Or Callum going forward if he is better placed.


    Other teams can play counter-attack. Surely we can too.

  13. We are tight for resources,therefore everyone picked must participate 100%,that said it is inconceivable that Forrest is mentioned in any way,shape,or form,he should not have been allowed to travel.



    His re-appearance, ( not contribution ) for me is a tactical question mark over Brendan, an appointment which filled me with enthusiasm,as if, as he said, he has watched all our games,then like me should have seen a minimum contributor who brings nothing to the game.



    I would love to see him create 3 goals,but this is once again a £30m Competition we have not prepared for adequately,therefore expecting a player to turn it around, when his form over a sustained period has been lamentable,is frankly taken the support as mugs.



    Was it David Bowie in 1977 had a song entitled ” Always crashing in the same car “.



    All of that said I will be cheering on the team,but furious we again put ourselves in harms way.




  14. A case of convenient bad luck for me means im getting to see the game.



    Done ligaments in my shoulder last night playin for the local ‘Celtic’ team so i couldnt make work today… how unfortunate



    Almore if u are still about let me know what bars you guys are likely to be in (hanging out of) on Saturday



    Hopefully be able to make it




  15. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    EXCATHEDRA44 on 27TH JULY 2016 12:43 PM



    First half an hour of J.F. as he played against Gib. will warrant his inclusion.

  16. Ambrose, Bitton, Forrest, any of those names in the starting eleven makes the task more difficult. IMO.

  17. Giggsy on 27th July 2016 12:37 pm



    It’s amazing i’ve got a home visit this afternoon. Boss doesn’t know it’s a visit to my own home and an android box….



    Sneaky but admirable :-)

  18. Delaneys Dunky on

    Less than 2 hours till I finish today. Just over 2 hours till kick off. Feels like a Saturday morning shift today. :)

  19. MACJAY1 FOR NEIL LENNON on 27TH JULY 2016 12:45 PM


    EXCATHEDRA44 on 27TH JULY 2016 12:43 PM




    First half an hour of J.F. as he played against Gib. will warrant his inclusion.




    Really,do this team have a Plumber at LB :)

  20. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Gary67 on 27th July 2016 12:33 pm




    Keep the tie alive for return at CP, even a one goal defeat (preferably with away goal) would be a good result given our defensive (and planning) deficiencies




    Think we definitely need a goal.


    Seen a few comments about Qarabag, but that was completely different.


    We went out there knowing 0-0 would do as we had already won 1-0 at home.


    We have to assume we will concede a goal at home, so we need to score one away.

  21. rain, hold the ball up on a plastic surface?




    on a plastic surface it gives the ball more ‘zip’ when wet.



    anyway…a +2 goal win for the hoops.

  22. Not going to make a prediction, but would be delighted with a win,-obviously – and happy with a draw, preferably with at least one away goal.







  23. AlbertKiddCSC on

    Can’t believe people are suggesting we leave LG out the starting eleven tonight.



    Our biggest goal threat by a country mile.



    Given past European away fixtures of this nature, I do not expect Celtic to play particularly well tonight. Having someone like LG in the line-up, who can carve a goal out of nothing when the team is playing badly, is imperative.

  24. Heading to the Fêtes de Bayonne after today’s match, which I think Celtic will win by 2-0.



    This is a major Basque Festival with tens of thousands gathering in City of Bayonne, next to Biarritz over the next few days. Imagine Seville when we were there and you’ll get the picture.



    Sadly much of the usual activities and events have been cancelled due to the terrorist threat. France is badly shaken, make no mistake.



    On Monday we had lunch with some French friends and discussed these matters, and Brexit. There is an overwhelming respect for Ecosse. If there was a similar vote in France now our friends – one a Professor at the University of Pau – feel that France would leave.



    Worrying times ahead for those of us who value freedom.

  25. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    EXCATHEDRA44 on 27TH JULY 2016 12:53 PM



    Dinnae get it.





    Feeling sheepish.



    J.F. left wing Celtic Park ?

  26. i’vehadtochangemyname (12:04pm), on previous article:



    “The team have a hell of a job on today – to manage an away tie against CL quality experienced players. A good performance and still in the tie would be a huge achievement considering where we’ve come from the last 6 months.”



    You’ve clearly not looked at Astana’s page on the UEFA website then?



    Their “CL quality experienced players” have experienced a solitary CL group campaign (last season), in which they failed to win a single match and scored just 5 goals in 6 games.



    Prior to that they had only made it as far as the Europa League play-off round once (in 2014/15), having been eliminated in the EL first qualifying round in 2013/14.



    That is the entire extent of their European experience.



    As for “…considering where we’ve come from the last 6 months”, Celtic have a European pedigree stretching back some 53 years, with no fewer than 178 games in the European Champions Cup and Champions League and 137 games in the UC, EL & ECWC.



    Celtic finished last season with a 7-0 massacre of Motherwell (which would have been double figures had the players not taken the foot off the gas) and victories over both of their nearest challengers for the SPL title in the final 4 games of the season. They lost just 2 of their final 17 games last season, one of those on penalties. They also just held the English Champions over 90 minutes… a team which lost only to Arsenal and Liverpool throughout the whole of last season’s EPL campaign.



    I don’t think we are in a particularly bad place at the moment, and compared to Astana and their history, accomplishments and reputation we are in a whole different universe!



    We ought to be able to win this tie over the two legs with out treatment room XI.



    I anticipate (at worst) a 1-1 draw this afternoon and a comfortable 2-0 win against a very defensive line-up at CP next week.



    Make the most of today’s 3pm kick-off folks. It is one of only two 3pm kick-offs in our first 14 games this season!

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