Sviatchenko out but turmoil also at Astana


I remember a situation several years ago when we had five full backs and converted-full backs out injured at the same time. The injured count for central defenders is not currently as high but the situation is just as critical.

Erik Sviatchenko joins Jozo Simunovic, Dedryck Boyata and Kristoffer Ajer on the injured list. Kolo Toure is certain to be added to the Uefa squad before tonight’s deadline but will be pushed to be match fit for next week.

Fortunately, the man who has spent more time injured over the last two seasons than anyone else, Mikael Lustig, is fit and able to move from full back into the middle, with Saidy Janko able to deputise on the right.

More words have been written about Efe Ambrose than any other Celtic player this month. It’s quite possible he’ll move on towards the end of the transfer window but he’s set to be given an opportunity to make good his error in Gibraltar by leading an unfamiliar defensive line-up in Astana tomorrow.

If I had a choice, I would prefer Celtic in adversity than Celtic over-confident. We know we will have to protect the defence tomorrow so the match plan should be straightforward.

Astana are not without their concerns either. Kazak media are concerned Astana are weaker than a year ago, due to the departure of Georgi Zhukov the likely absence of captain and top scorer, Tanant Nuserbayev, added to the turmoil at the club this week, caused by Lyon’s bid for midfielder, Nemanja Maksimovic. They will battle tomorrow, but their preparations are far from ideal.

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    from previous…



    Didnae mean it to sound like a rebuke,mate. But you’re right,it has defo affected him mentally.

  2. Former England footballer Ray Wilkins has been given a 10-week suspended jail sentence for drinking and driving.



    needs help think Gazza could give him some advice?










    Sadly,it is likely to be his career which has bitten the dust.



    He should have got a job wi The Scotsman. They moderate-or remove-any reference to the word Sevco on grounds of sectarianism.



    Orwell would have a field day!

  4. Starry plough, you’re right. You should never criticise a man til you’ve walked a mile in his shoes!


    Then you can say what you like. Cos you’re a mile away.


    An you’ve got his shoes :-)

  5. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Big blow re Erik, but I would play O’Connell ahead of Ambrose. I’d have had Ajer in the team too – sitting in front of the defence. Maybe Henderson could play this role. Is Bitton out?

  6. Not a problem then Paul67. Celtic have been in adversity for years with regards Euro qualifiers and it’s all down to the strategy employed by the club and supported on these pages.



    Thankfully footy is only a footy game and a distraction from the evil that is becoming more and more prevalent in this world. Something to be joyous and angry about at the same time.



    How evil breeds evil upon evil in the deeds that our governments do and the deeds of those who pretend to revenge those evil deeds of our governments. I hope God or Allah can forgive them all their evil because I never can and hope each and every one of them who has blood on their hands rots in the deepest despair of hell. Please God I hope Hell exists.




  7. We all knew that Boyata and Simo were injured and Efe was unreliable. Erik being injured is the only ingredient to this cocktail of woe that is a surprise. That we are short is down to poor management and no matter how much sugar you put on it, it doesn’t taste sweeter.

  8. Team for tomorrow:





    Janko Lustig O’Connell Tierney


    Roberts Brown Bitton McGregor


    Griffiths Dembele



    I reckon we should expect at least a 1-1 draw against a team failed to win a single CL group game (home or away) last season, which struggles to score many goals in UEFA competitions, and which has played just two prior European campaigns.



    I expect a comfortable 2-0 win or better for Celtic in the return leg.

  9. 50 shades of green on

    If we go with Mikael at centre half and thats (lets be kind here) plan B.



    I hope to God there is a plan C incase his glass like features pick up an injury,its not as if he doesn’t have previous for it.



    Anyway Celtic team on Wed will be different imho to the team a week on Wed.

  10. northeast ghirl on

    I struggle to believe that James Forrest is a Celtic supporter.



    Paul cannot be held responsible for the unfortunate injury to ES but I suppose in your world you need to blame someone, is PL getting it in the neck as well.



    Refuse to look at your blog because there’s enough going on in the world without reading about your despair every day .





    Disgraceful piece from you there. How dare you criticise the strategy which has seen our European standing in places we have rarely been before?



    This method of financial oversight has worked well in the past,we have been



    Aw f..k,I give up. It’s beyond parody. Even a clumsy one. And,it seems,beyond our board to learn from.

  12. I am Neil Lennon e El Juarez Bravo on

    I understood that preparation for these games started months in advance and that we always made sure we gave ourselves the best possible chance.



    How does that square with being left with Efe leading the defence again?



    I’d be delighted with a one goal defeat tomorrow with him in the team.



    Experience suggests we’ll lose by 2 and that Efe will also contrive to concede a penalty and be ordered off, leaving us even shorter of defenders for the second leg.




    I was thinking about Eric Arthur Blair on Sunday – I was out for a drive and I crossed the River Orwell just outside Ipswich (it is this river that he took his pen name from). I was thinking that Orwell would have had a tough time in today’s world. News Corp and other papers would have smeered him, tried to shut him up and belittled him to the point where I doubt anyone would dare cite him. They have form for such things.



    He may have had a field day, but would anyone be listening?



    Depressing thought.

  14. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    “We know we will have to protect the defence tomorrow so the match plan should be straightforward.”




    Paul – I really think we need to score tomorrow.


    Our away record in Europe has been pretty dismal over the years. I think it’s down to not having any kind of counter-attacking game plan.


    We have often defended well (not always!) and sometimes got good results, but more often conceded a late goal due to being under so much pressure (tired legs and minds).


    How often have we stuck one up front with no real support for him? Ends up getting isolated and attacks break down.


    You have to keep them occupied at the back or they just push up and keep coming at you.


    I’d go 4-1-3-2, but more importantly have a specific plan on when and how to attack.


    That we haven’t had one is (to use a Paul-ism) a failure of successive Celtic managers.


    Over to you, Brendan…..

  15. Northeast Ghirl



    JF is a Celtic supporter.



    Being critical of Celtic and Paul67 does not make him any less so.



    He is not holding Paul67 responsible for an unfortunate injury but Paul67 has supported the strategy over the last few years were we do not plan effectively to maintain a level player to assist our manager in qualification for the CL and the EL or even the group stages. The strategy once again has failed the manager and the team.



    Being critical of that is not blaming Paul67 for any injury to any Celtic player.




  16. What is the Stars on

    At least we will have a reliable scapegoat in the team


    A very experienced scapegoat,one of our more senior players



    Remember you win nothing with Kids….until they mature into goats.



    Despite the now laughable lack of investment from year to year and the even more laughable “avoid the elephant in the room” articles by Paul Pravda 67 I think Celtic will win tomorrow.



    Efe will cause problems though…certainly after the match on CQN when the ritual of the” Efe is great” club and “Efe GTF ” club crossing swords begins

  17. The key to qualification in this round is scoring an away goal. I know I’m stating the bleedin obvious, but if we can get an away goal it will be a massive boost to our chances. Paddy Leigh an Dembele please.

  18. Northeast Ghirl –



    Well said.



    The guy has his head so far up his own arse, that he doesn’t even know that it is very bad form for a blogger to go into another blogger’s blog and attack that blogger, especially for what he HASN’T written as opposed to what he HAS written.



    The man’s on a giant ego trip.

  19. Efe will score tomorrow night.



    At what end I hear you ask????



    Only joking. I fully support Efe’s inclusion for tomorrow. I don’t think he will let us down this time.



    Yes, we should have more cover in that position – it is scandalous that we don’t – but let’s leave that for the post mortem.

  20. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    BigChipsUK – 10 in a row (2001-2010) on 26th July 2016 12:56 pm


    Team for tomorrow:




    Janko Lustig O’Connell Tierney


    Roberts Brown Bitton McGregor


    Griffiths Dembele




    I’m almost the same. Much as I like Griffiths, I don’t think this is a game for him. When he isn’t seeing much of the ball he gets frustrated and drifts a bit looking for it. We need to be really disciplined.


    I’d use Roberts as a second striker, coming inside from wide. And Armstrong in to beef up the midfield, also able to support the attack like he did against Inter.


    When we get a break it has to be done at pace and with precision, while they are still open. Callum could be the key player as he moves the ball forward quickly and accurately.

  21. northeast ghirl on 26th July 2016 12:57 pm


    lol, great answer to all ill’s, bury your head in the sand!. Oh, and writers usually write about their whole topic of intrest, not just the good bit’s, just to help you understand the criticism(not blame btw).

  22. Auld Tam



    Nonsense. Are you also suggesting JF is blaming Paul67 for an injury to a Celtic player.



    Honestly. This place is getting more Forrest Gump every day.




  23. clogher celt on

    Celtic’s business plan is Sevco’s business plan. It’s what the sponsors and television want.


    47 times out of the last 50 the league has been won by Celtic or Rangers.



    Through greed and cheating Rangers found themselves liquidated and in a panic the authorities in Scotland with assistance from Celtic had to ensure that some type of Rangers brand was resuscitated to keep the show on the road.



    Celtic PLC, in my view cannot see any other way to keep the ‘self sustaining football’ and business model on the road without the sectarian Punch and Judy show that is the ‘Old Firm.’



    We might have downsized, in the context of reduced income but the management of recruitment in recent years has been dreadful, a few examples;



    Balde 1/7/2013 to 1/9/14 £1.49m


    Pukki 3/8/2013 to 1/9/14 £2.13m


    Scepovic 1/9/14 to 31/8//15 £2.15m



    Add to that Boerrrigter signed July 30th 2013 at £2.13m.



    The combined cost of £3.5m for the 3 players from Dundee United. I note that Cifti is back after his loan.



    Boyata cost £1.7m on 1/7/15 as Paul67 states ‘…has already caused performance concerns’



    Hopefully Jozo will get fit and will make some impact. He cost around £4 (?).



    A reported total of £17.1m



    Loan disasters include Carlton Cole 22/10/15 to whenever…



    Kazim Richards 1/2/16 to 9/6/2016. CKR apparently joined us on a two and a half contract and left for Brazil to sign a one and half year contract (?).



    That’s 11 transfers who have been at best disappointing. Hopefully the Dundee United transfers and Jozo can come good but the structure of those deals is a concern.



    Added to the crisis in recruitment what is going on with Commons (not training with main squad), Mulgrew, Forrest, Rogic and Biton? Have they all been offered new deals? Are they all part of the clique? Why do none of them appear willing to sign? Does BR want them?



    Thankfully the Old Firm are back in town to attract further sponsorship deals and help our CEO to balance the books.



    Celtic would be in a much stronger position to play Astana tomorrow if our recruitment model had been competently managed over the last few years and that includes coaching.



    An unholy mess under PL.



    BR has a big job on his hands…

  24. Oh well.



    Efe is it then. Agian.



    If I was him I’d tell the club and the supporters who slag him at every turn to do one.



    He may make mistakes, but I don’t believe I have ever seen him give less than 100% effort while wearing the hoops.



    Look forward to that article tomorrow blaming Efe once again.




  25. Dessybhoy


    That player Zhukov is great-grandson of marshal Zhukov. I’m not kidding.

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