Riga manager’s edge, Celtic’s high stakes


Riga’s only domestic points dropped this season came in a defeat on match day two of the Latvian league.  Since then, they have recorded 18 wins in 19 outings; the only reversal came away to Maccabi Tel Aviv in Champions League qualification.  Impressive, though a run of 17 consecutive domestic wins and one in the Europa League is, such riches do not harden you for tougher challenges, as Celtic have learned to their cost.

Last season, they eliminated Dundalk from Champions League qualification on penalties, then recorded impressive away goals wins over Polish side Piast Gliwice and HJK Helsinki before succumbing 3-2 on aggregate to Copenhagen in the playoff round.  The Danes recorded a better result against Celtic later in the competition.

Riga were formed five years ago after a merger of two clubs.  They are on their 15th manager since, none have lasted a year.  With 7.5 months tenure, current boss, Russian Oleg Kononov, will be looking over his shoulder if he does not get a result tonight.  If he looks like there is an edge to him, that’s why.

Neil Lennon’s tenure is more assured, but, if anything, the stakes are higher for Celtic, whose prevailing business model has precious few strands left, with fans forced to watch games at home and in pubs, instead of being distanced in the wide-open spaces of Celtic Park.  The most positive consideration is that having gotten so many things wrong already this season, we know where our soft underbelly is.

You are not going to hear this often from me, I’m not even sure how to start.  All four Scottish clubs involved in Europe are away from home tonight, it suits our purpose for all to proceed.  In what could be a tight and curtailed season, where squads could be hit by isolation rules, it will not help for any direct rival to have a full week to prepare for games – whether we are involved in Europe or not.

We have the strongest squad, best manager and are by far the best run club in Scotland.  Under normal circumstances, 10-in-a-row would be straightforward, but so much of what lies ahead between now and May is unknown.  I don’t want to anyone else having a week off to prepare for their Premiership game.

Normal elimination preferences will resume next season.

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  1. BHOYLO83 on 24TH SEPTEMBER 2020 3:36 PM


    Does anyone know do Riga play on a plastic pitch?



    sure its natural grass

  2. Surely if Sevco finances are as bad as we are led to believe, sales would be a neccisity if eliminated.



    Euro money will be vastly reduced without full houses at premium prices but qualification for groups is worth 2.5M, That is a sum directors will be praying for.



    Of course our media has set the scene that it might be a good thing.


    Only mugs buy that line, its just setting the scene just in case, getting your excuses in early.

  3. ERNIE,


    In your original Post you stated ” I am only saying what everyone else is thinking”.


    That was a very silly assumption to make, it never pays to assume that you are talking on behalf of “EVERYONE”…I always try to avoid doing that whether on here or in conversation in a Pub etc.



    EXAMPLE…Some time ago, I posted about another “Poster” who was/is an Attention Seeker of the highest order…but this “Poster” NEVER has anything worthwhile to say about Celtic, especially when he has made no attempt to see the Celts in person for decades…and he is in my opinion the most Boring, Tedious, Attention Seeking Idiot that I have EVER read on here. He also would go into a “Huff” if no one replied to any of his Posts……Acting like a… 3 Year old…with a 2 year old Brain.


    I assumed ( wrongly) that EVERYONE on here would see this boring Chump for what he was/is…and I was shocked when 2 or 3 other Posters came to this Chumps defence ???



    Whenever this Chump Posts on here…it take me all my time not to tell him what i think of him and that he should feck off….but I learned some time ago that there are some on here who dont view thai Chump in the same manner that I do.


    However, I should add…that there are several on here who AGREE with my views of that particular Chump.



  4. SID – even if they win tonight they are scheduled to meet Fenerbache next. They will not qualify for the group stages. No chance. Zero.

  5. PHILBHOY @ 4:07 PM,



    Yes, exactly, the signing policy has been woeful.



    I’ve got to say though, I’m impressed by this window so far, a couple of weeks to go but it’s been a solid “normal” type transfer window.



    Did you read Dermot Desmond’s interview in the Athletic? It seems to me that Lenny and him speak a lot – maybe a change in emphasis. Let’s hope so.



    Hail Hail

  6. MELBOURNE MICK ( and others)….


    Thanks for your support of my Jokes.


    I KNOW that NOT all the Jokes are great…but its a percentage game at times LOL.


    Even some Professional Comedians have told crap/bad jokes now and then.





  7. ST TAMS on 24TH SEPTEMBER 2020 4:13 PM




    Cheers, just got Premier Sports for £1



    Great stuff, thanks for letting me know, the Twitter thread looked genuine, as they had screen shots, but as I never knew them, I was a little bit wary of posting it, here.

  8. Whatever happened to the two American lads we signed, Gutman and Perez? Any indications if we will ever see them again or was it just to wind the huns up?

  9. JAMESGANG on 24TH SEPTEMBER 2020 2:09 PM


    Misleading Celtic fans is worse than the dirty fork (Monty Python)

  10. I Saw this on twitter. To watch the game tonight for £1 subscribe to Premier Sports and use code SERIEA1.Then cancel after the game. No gauretees just passing on what I read.



    – Address: 1a Melngaila street, Riga, LV-1010, Latvia


    – Access by public transport: 3rd, 5th, 12th, 25th trolleybus and 33rd bus (stop E.Melngaila street)


    – Capacity: 8087 seats


    – Square size: 105 x 68 meters


    – Coverage: natural lawn


    – Lighting: artificial

  12. MNCELT on 24TH SEPTEMBER 2020 4:29 PM








    ‘– Square size: 105 x 68 meters’








    Presumably something has been lost in translation there.

  13. Today’s starting line up v Riga ……



    Barkas; Bitton, Duffy, Ajer, Taylor, Brown, McGregor, Forrest, Ntcham, Christie, Edouard



    Subs: Bain, ElHamed, Frimpong, Turnbull, Elyounoussi , Klimala, Ajeti




    Agree it looks like a good window.



    Hope to see more of Turnbull and Soro, The sooner we get these lads bedded in the better.



    I hope they both get some minutes tonight.



    We might need to be winning well to see them though.



    Away to prep the dinner!



    C’MON THE CELTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. In my back garden I too have a very natural lawn. It’s about a third grass, loads of moss and one or two weeds!



    Big Jimmy…am easy…whatever is most convenient for yourself…hopefully hav BRRB joining us









    Okay mate. My local Pub would be ideal as its just 20 yards from my hoose, and its very spacious…and the staff are doing an excellent job with Restrictions etc to the best of their ability.


    however, I am equally happy to meet in the Merchant City…we can decide Tomorrow.


    BBRB is very welcome.



  17. Ive just placed a wee bet on Shane Duffy to score TWO Goals…at odds of 28/1.


    He is 100/1 to score Three or more…thats just a tad ambitious methinks ?





  18. @ Deniabhoy



    For what it’s worth – Andrew Gutman has been a regular starter for FC Cincinnati and seems to be well rated by their gaffer. I think he’s a left back(?)

  19. Philbhoy…



    Yes, it’s (hopefully) a long season, hope we can give the new bhoys a chance. Soro could do N’tcham’s job against lower league, league cup competition and likewise Turnbull for Christie.



    We often wait until injury dictates we play these players, they come in under a lot of pressire, don’t perform and are marginalised.



    We need to give them a chance.



    Buon Appetito






    That would be my take… James at wingback??



    We should be far too strong for them.






    Hail Hail

  20. It doesn’t fill me with confidence when I see Broonie, Callum and Ntcham in the midfield together. I don’t think we have a system that allows them to play at their best level. No issue with Bitton – I don’t think he ever lets us down and Neil obviously trusts him in Europe. ElHamed didn’t pass the test last time out.



    Expecting a rather comfortable 4-0 win tonight.

  21. MNCELT on 24TH SEPTEMBER 2020 4:37 PM


    Ernie – Sounds about right for pitch size. Pleased it’s grass !






    It was more the description of it as a square that I found a bit odd.



    Weather in Riga at the moment is a calm and sunny 21°C, so shouldn’t be a factor.

  22. Tonight’s team selection looking a bit stale / defensive.


    Are we playing with a proper bac4 with NB at RB — strange if true.



    Hopefully ON / RC / CMcG play up to their talent.


    Then it is just down to SB leading the team and Old JF actually doing something.



    We have enough on the bench to move up a gear if we need to.



    Squad — Now vs Seville …



    The bench in Seville was a bit thin if my memory serves me well.


    Which is why LM was such a pleasant surprise in 2003/04.


    And the JMcF miss hurt so much.

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