Preparing professionally for the Europa League

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At his presidential inauguration in 1963, Lydon B. Johnson said, “I would give anything not to be standing here today”.  It is with a similar sense of mourning that we look at tonight’s Europa League qualifier between two Baltic sides, Spartaks Jurmala and Suduva, to discover who we face in the play-off round.  I wouldn’t give anything to be in the Champions League qualifier, but I’d happily concede a few league defeats.

Europa League group stage qualification can be worth up to £10m to Celtic, but even winning the trophy will not come near to closing the financial gap between this tournament and Champions League group stage money.  Still, it is an important tournament for reasons other than money.

Accumulating Uefa coefficient points in the Champions League has proven very difficult for Celtic.  Winning games in the Europa will be easier; we have to deliver on this target.  It is also important to qualify from the group into the knockout stages.  We have not faced genuine domestic competition in a very long time, and I see little change this year.  As a consequence, we need European action after Christmas.  Better teams that Celtic have licked their wounds and got on with life in the Europa League, we need to do the same and prepare for the tournament in a professional manner.

I don’t know if the intervening 16 years have been kind to Suduva since we last met 16 years ago, but they hold a special place in our folklore, so I hope they progress tonight.  I also have a great wee story of one man pitching up in the North Stand for a few minutes at the home game, just to be there.

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  1. Beggars can’t be choosers, as my old Gran would say, but the whole situation is sickening to the core.

     

    A week to forget.

     

    HH

  2. 50 shades of green on

    Better chance of a European run in the Europa imho.

     

     

    No gubbings from behemoth teams 😱

  3. If I was Celtic manager, I’d play Izzy and KT at full back this week-end, assuming both are fit. I’m certain either player would adapt to his new roll and give Mr Lustig a wee break.

     

     

    That’s it, off to make a crumble.

     

     

    KINGLuBO

  4. Money money money……

     

     

    IN moments of clarity I remember I just want to watch Celtic play fitba. The world is messed up enough without every defeat or draw causing meltdown among our support. Celtic are my release from the woes and worries, win, lose or draw – what the hell do I care? Heaven knows what’ll happen on the day Sevco finally beat us (it will happen at some point – the wee teams will cause an upset every now and then or even become your bogey team – we’ve had a few in my four and a half decades as a Celt!). Have we got a wee bit spoiled or soft as a support? Aye I know, we shout ourselves in the foot with recruitment, but you’d think we were on the brink of insolvency (or running out of coins for the meter – I hear it’s slowed down because of the LED’s – does PL’s penny pinching know no limits?)

     

     

    Btw will we be home or away next Thursday? At least I’ll be able to get the tickets the Chsmpions League Celtic fans don’t want. Maybe I’ll get to see the fancy disco bulbs!

  5. Crushing as the CL Qualifier failure has been, the most important issue at the club right now is the relationship between Brendan/Peter/Dermot.

     

     

    We’ll be fine in the Europa and 8-In-a-row if that is sorted.

  6. We have been crying out for a right back and centre half for 2 seasons.

     

     

    It’s not good enough.

     

     

    People might say we signed Hendry – even at the time he was described as one for the future – I’m not sure he will be. Ideally he’d go out on loan. Commper has been the biggest waste of money since Scheidt and possibly the worst value we’ve EVER had in a player. That’s unfortunate. I don’t see why we didn’t give Caulker a chance. It would have been a cheap roll of the dice.

     

     

    Lustig is done at right back.

     

     

    It’s sad to say it but he is. He’s been a great servant to the club and loves the place, the fans, he’s Mr Celtic. But he doesn’t stop crosses coming into the box and he doesn’t offer much going forward. At this stage he should be considered a versatile utility player, but not a number 1 choice for any position.

     

     

    I don’t know if it’s BR, PL or Lee Congerton but someone is failing at their job here. There are players out there who are value for money, we’re just not looking at them or bringing them in.

     

     

    BR seems like a fantastic coach, seems pretty good on tactics and normally a star at man management, but I think there’s always been question marks over recruitment with him. That’s fine if he has the right team. But there seems to be a reliance on English based players and we all know getting value there is a very unlikely scenario.

     

     

    I guarantee the AEK defenders didn’t cost and aren’t on anything like our centre back pairing yet they manage to get value.

     

     

    There’s also a coaching issue – there are major issues with set pieces. Defensively it cost us but if we could score goals from free kicks and corners we’d have a chance against any teams.

     

     

    We can’t.

  7. Champios league

     

     

    Pros

     

     

    Cash

     

    Prestige (of sorts) , till game night

     

    Seeing world class players in the flesh (usually scoring a hat trick)

     

     

    Cons

     

     

    We dont see the benefits of the cash on the park

     

    We are regularly humiliated and often a laughing stock

     

    eliminated after group stages

     

    Rarely record a victory

     

     

    So…all things considered as a fan and supporter. Im quite happy with a run in the Europa. CL nights are usually to be endured with the odd exception

  8. Interesting. Would you trade a few league defeats for CL if it meant losing the league ?.

     

    We need to up our game this season domestically, especially in the league.

     

    We need to up our game, full stop. To be so far ahead financially ( bank balance-wise as Charlie Nicholas would say ) means zip if we lose to Kilmarnock, Hearts, Aberdeen and those defeats mean we don’t finish top of the league.

  9. What is the Stars on

    I would be amazed if we sign anyone now.

     

    We didn’t strengthen for a potential champions league windfall so hardly expect us to invest to recoup a few Europa league crumbs.

     

    It is what it is. Don’t get too upset and I still think Peter Lawell has done well

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

    Aye – OK. Forget about yesterday’s news, lets all have one last mournful sigh, stick our chins out and move on – sweep, sweep, sweep…

     

     

     

    Absolutely

     

     

    ignoring

     

     

    the

     

     

    problem

     

     

     

    Very disappointing – assumes we have goldfish-like memories…Bob, Bob, Bob.

     

     

    HH

     

    BGFC

  11. weebobbycollins on

    Paul67 says, “Europa League group stage qualification can be worth up to £10m to Celtic, but even winning the trophy will not come near to closing the financial gap between this tournament and Champions League group stage money.”

     

    Again, money considerations come first…I’m sorry, but for me it’s about glory…winning, feeling good about ourselves…green and white hoops, not green back dollars or euros or pounds…ffs! Take me back to the old pre-internet days when we talked about the FITBA’…sorry, I get so pissed off with the modern game and the obsessively greedy players, agents and broadcasters…and I woke up in a smashing mood today but like the weather it is changing…be back when I feel better…

  12. Auldheid

     

    Whilst I agree with your view on the ethos of Celtic, I feel we are very much in a minority.

     

    I base that on my experience at Celtic Park,general conversation and even on CQN.

     

    In a political system where people, aware of it or not, feel alienated,football clubs serve as a tribal totem pole which creates a sense of belonging. Some clubs, for a variety of reasons, will attract more fervent support than others but the basic sense of belonging will remain a constant. I believe Celtic was such a club and that standing up for the weak in Society was the principal upon which the club was founded and was a massive factor in the psychological make up of the support.

     

    The Green Brigade still display much of that ethos. I fear the great majority of the support do not but to lay the blame for this at the door of The Board is too narrow. For the ethos to remain would require a support who really don`t care if we win , lose or draw. As comments over the last few days show, that is clearly not the case .

     

    It`a a sair fecht, as they say and I am full of admiration for the fact that you and others that you continue to do battle.

     

    JJ

  13. What’s gone is gone. McGinn is at Villa and we are out of the CL. Irreversible situations. Now we must to look forward.

     

     

    Refocus, improve relationships between key stakeholders.

     

     

    Sell Boyata

     

     

    Keep Dembele and other key players

     

     

    Offload deadwood

     

     

    Sign a right back as a priority

     

     

    Add more players to the squad as appropriate

     

     

    Take out our frustrations on Scottish football for the remainder of the campaign starting at the weekend.

  14. Paul67

     

     

    Good article.

     

     

    Nobody cared about money when 80,000 made it to Seville for the secondary Euro tournament.

     

     

    Looking forward to completing at least three signings before the window closes, as per the plan, starting with Arzani.

     

     

    Signings that will keep our squad ahead of Aberdeen and eyes on treble, treble.

  15. !!Bada Bing!! on 16th August 2018 12:39 pm

     

     

    Brown will start. He shouldn’t, he should be rested and allowed time to try to recover from his current injury. Kouassi, bad as he was last week, should be given another run out with Ntcham and McGregor either side. Johnston, Griffiths, Sinclair up front, draw names out of a hat for the defence. Bain to start as well

  16. Today feels like those days in the 80s and 90s when Rangers were on big European duty and we were left at home licking our wounds.

     

     

    It will feel like that for a while if they get through tonight and next week.

     

     

    They will be in the europa cup group fired up with enthusiasm and playing glamour european ties to packed stadiums and we will be moaning about what might have been.

     

     

    We might be playing in the same competition at the same time but our half empty stadium vs their full house will speak volumes.

     

     

    As mismanaged as they have been this past 20 years their support will see this as a time to get behind their team and fully engage. I would love to think our support would recognise the exceptional achievements this past few years and the long term direction we are taking vs the shambles across the city. I hope they do but I fear they may not quite be so faithful through and through as the song goes.

     

     

    Some of our support seems to have the same sense of entitlement which many of the old Rangers fans had back then. The flip of the old Ken Gallagher article is that some of our guys were bragging of us having 3 teams good enough to win in Scotland last year.

     

     

    When we ask where the money has gone then just look at the wage bill a Comper and Christie and Allen and The many wide players we have and the Costa Rican full back and many other 3rd choices costs us. Alongside the long term securing the assets of Rogic, Ncham, Forrest, KT and Eouarde of course Having 3 teams worth of players but not having the strength in the areas that matter is not excusable. Taking the action to deal with it now might just avoid the horrible scenario painted above coming to pass.

     

     

    I hope we see real leadership from within the club to galvanise team, management and support. Maybe a Dave King type statement backed up with appropriate action is what is called for ?

  17. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    It won’t be long before the usual suspects appear giving Paul abuse for another blog attempting o single out Brendan Rogers.

     

     

    I’m more than happy to give him the benefit of doubt and say the title is as relevant to Peter Lawell as it is Brendan Rogers.

     

     

    As for the view that we will not encounter much in the way of serious domestic competition, after the week we have had there is no place such complacency. It could easily turn out a very disappointing season unless senior management get their act together.

  18. The CL is now solely about money. I have to be honest and say from a sporting point of view it will be nice to see Celtic compete well and hopefully progress in this competition. I’m looking forward to this a lot more than I would be looking forward to a PSG or Barca trashing. Still need to buy players, regardless.

  19. weebobbycollins on

    I go to Tesco with my Asda bag. I go to Asda with my Sainsbury’s bag and of course, I go to Sainsbury’s with my Tesco bag…Don’t dare take my loyalty (hate that word) for granted…

  20. Belgian press saying that Denayer deal may be back on. Galatasaray, where they reported last week he was going to, cant afford him due to financial crisis in Turkey. Torino interested in a loan deal, we want to buy or loan/buy.

  21. WHAT IS THE STARS on 16TH AUGUST 2018 12:34 PM

     

    I would be amazed if we sign anyone now.

     

     

     

     

    We didn’t strengthen for a potential champions league windfall so hardly expect us to invest to recoup a few Europa league crumbs.

     

     

     

     

    I think we have to sign 2 or 3, we need a lift, and mainly, we need better defenders, i know it’s like stable door- bolting horses here, i expect a couple of loans from EPL, as BR said a few weeks ago.HH

  22. GARY67 on 16TH AUGUST 2018 12:53 PM

     

    Belgian press saying that Denayer deal may be back on. Galatasaray, where they reported last week he was going to, cant afford him due to financial crisis in Turkey. Torino interested in a loan deal, we want to buy or loan/buy.

     

     

    If Denayer knocked us back last week,as reported, no thanls mate.

  23. Team for the weekend,

     

     

    Bain

     

     

    Gamboa Hendry Ajer Hayes

     

     

    Kouassi Ntcham

     

     

    Rogic

     

     

    Christie Griffiths Sinclair

  24. I did not want John McGinn and I don`t want Denayer.In young John`s case, I feel he is no better than we already have. As regards Denayer, I felt van Djik made him look better than he was.

     

    If we do buy him, though, I will suddenly think he is a great defender :-))

     

     

    Cheerio for now,

     

    JJ

  25. HOT SMOKED on 16TH AUGUST 2018 12:43 PM

     

    Auldheid

     

     

    Whilst I agree with your view on the ethos of Celtic, I feel we are very much in a minority.

     

     

     

    I base that on my experience at Celtic Park,general conversation and even on CQN.

     

     

    In a political system where people, aware of it or not, feel alienated,football clubs serve as a tribal totem pole which creates a sense of belonging. Some clubs, for a variety of reasons, will attract more fervent support than others but the basic sense of belonging will remain a constant. I believe Celtic was such a club and that standing up for the weak in Society was the principal upon which the club was founded and was a massive factor in the psychological make up of the support.

     

     

    The Green Brigade still display much of that ethos. I fear the great majority of the support do not but to lay the blame for this at the door of The Board is too narrow. For the ethos to remain would require a support who really don`t care if we win , lose or draw. As comments over the last few days show, that is clearly not the case .

     

     

    It`a a sair fecht, as they say and I am full of admiration for the fact that you and others that you continue to do battle.

     

    JJ

     

    ==========================

     

    Here is my post that you responded to for continuity purposes:

     

     

    The Glorious Balance Sheet 11.09

     

     

    I think there is a fundamental issue here regarding Celtic’s approach to events since 2011.

     

     

    It’s not solely because those events involve Rangers, although that plays it’s part, I think it’s because many of us who support Celtic do so because we have a belief in the goodness or ethos of the club.

     

     

    Goodness in folk requires that when a situation is difficult they do not shy away from making decisions to right a wrong.

     

     

    I think many of us intrinsically expect Celtic to do the right thing and their failure so far to do so hurts. It challenges our core belief of what Celtic stand for and time is running out to restore our belief that the club reflects the soul of its support.

     

     

    To ignore that growing sense of disappointment is in my opinion more serious than any recruitment issues over the long term.

     

     

    Basically we expect Celtic to do the right thing and fear of the consequences should not be a reason not to.

     

     

    Indeed not doing the right thing could have consequences far greater for Celtic over the longer term as what we believe that makes us different diminishes.

     

     

    ======================

     

    I wrote about that sense of belonging you refer to in order to help promote the Overseas Season Ticket because at the time I felt that need to belong to something I could identify with.

     

     

    I no longer do but that is perhaps my fault for mistaking an ideal for a reality.

     

     

    That reality is we are all another bunch of human beings struggling to do the right thing but doing wrong by convincing ourselves the wrong thing its right.

     

     

    I’m sure all the folk behind the 5 Way thought they were doing the right thing, but for whom?

     

     

    The answer to that takes us way beyond football so I wont make any suggestions.

     

     

    Suffice to say my old man’s advice appears spot on. “Never expect anything and you wont be disappointed”

     

     

    I keep on hoping he was wrong for it suggests there is a hopelessness about the human condition, but when I think about it he never ever once disappointed my expectation’s of him. Irony eh? :)

     

     

    But its not the kind of thing that gets discussed on the terracing s is it?

     

     

    Football is way too more important.

  26. GM

     

     

    Imagine writing concise clear evidence based threads every day, and providing a platform for other supporters to have there say without comeback.

     

     

    It’ll never catch on CSC

  27. What is the Stars on

    Bada Bing

     

    I hope you are right about signings

     

    I would be pleasantly surprised if Pedro loosens the purse strings…but you never know

  28. !!BADA BING!! on 16TH AUGUST 2018 12:59 PM

     

    I can understand why you and many others would think that.

     

    However, Denayer or Simunovic? Denayer or Hendry? Denayer or Boyata? No brainier for me, if we can sign him, along with a more experienced CH (preferably left sided).

  29. weebobbycollins on

    I stood there entranced, taking in the sounds, the colours, the sweet scents, whilst the spray from from the water exploding on the rocks below cooled my overheated body…

     

    A hundred stories and no one to tell them to…

  30. I hope that the complacency that our host displays about domestic games isn’t symptomatic of our clubs attitude.

     

    Europe is important but we have given our domestic rivals enough of a boost in the last 2 weeks.

     

    Get the minds focussed again starting at Firhill and show no mercy

     

    HH

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