Tensions and preparations ahead of first big test


As Ronny Deila chose to leave first team players to their training duties, instead taking a fringe squad for Saturday’s friendly against St Pauli, Norwegian compatriot, Henning Berg, had a league game in Cracow, which Legia won comfortably.

Playing games is the best way to improve fitness but two games per week comes at a cost, fitness metrics are never as high ahead of the second game as they would be if pre-match preparation was a week long.  With a day already lost to travel, Ronny clearly decided the players needed preparatory work for Warsaw more than the disruption caused by the pre-match-day preparation for St Pauli, the game itself, then post-match rest-day brought about by Saturday’s match.

Henning Berg rested most of his first team ahead of their second leg against St Pat’s (resulting in a home defeat in the league), and, perhaps mindful of not showing too much of his hand to Celtic, rested four players on Saturday.  His team are also a couple of weeks’ training ahead of Celtic, which will be the major benefit Legia will hope to exploit.

While Celtic moaned about having to play three qualification rounds I’m sure Ronny will be happy he saw his team in competitive action against KR ahead of tonight’s game.  There was enough about the first half in Iceland two weeks ago to remind him that an edge is needed, and it is not straightforward to find, even against such lowly opposition.

While Celtic progressed to the group stage in each of the last two seasons, the corresponding fixture to tonight caused some concern on both occasions.  HJK Helsinki were eventually overcome 2-1 after taking a lead at Celtic Park two years ago, while we took an equally narrow 1-0 to Elfsborg last season.  Celtic would go on to produce memorable and record breaking seasons, but the preparation gradient has proven to be steep.

Celtic’s major advantage could, conversely, be the partisan home crowd, who are sure to be switched on from kick off, but Berg’s team have not won any of their three home games this season.  The natives are getting restless and could easily become frustrated, increasing the tension already evident on Legia.  The first goal could be crucial.

No passengers tonight, Celtic, especially late in the game, when limbs tire.

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  1. I’m nervous about this double legger, God knows how I’ll be if we get through.


    C’mon the hoops

  2. LiviBhoy



    Hope you get a pass for tonight – at least you know my ugly mug.



    Best to Mrs LB. HH

  3. Oaul67 –



    whilst any victory would be acceptable I do fancy us to come away with a 2 goal lead.

  4. JJ



    I asked too and they are only selling lower tier first and then depending on demand will open top tier.



    Can’t get the seat I had for first game sadly but have one in W21,

  5. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on



    Aye. You can remind how how good he is at fives.

  6. Re-post from previous thread;



    Got our bi-annual 5-a-sides night out tonight, but, I’ll be going to Sweeney’s on the park first to watch the game. Will be wearing my snazzy new green “AYE” t-shirt.



    If you’re lurking Donny, mibbee se ye there!!






    End London rule, YES

  7. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on



    I`m not going to ask permission to repost.


    As I should.





    roy croppie


    11:19 on


    30 July, 2014


    A wee tale from the 70′s when North Lanarkshire was just Lanarkshire and the only colours I can remember were green, white and Denis Connaghan’s vivid red top:



    The Beginning of Something Special



    24th March 1967


    I was born. This would ensure a lifetime of enjoying the year of my birth and the realisation I’d missed some great games even though I was on the planet at the same time. It’s like a form of blindness.



    May 1974


    9 in a row had been achieved and the talk among the uncles was that 10 was a ‘cert.’ Paddy-my granda-wasn’t so sure and chided them frequently about their over confidence. Looking back now they had all just experienced a golden age for Celtic Football Club 1888 and my uncles’ exuberance and confidence was probably understandable but the ‘auldheid’ was correct as he usually was in all sorts of ways. Anyway this is when I entered the fold.



    May 4th 1974 may not be a highlight to match some of the gladiatorial battles witnessed by my lucky relatives over the previous years but it’s the first game I remember clearly. The anticipation, the nerves, the thrill, the tension and the utter relief at the final whistle welcomed me fully into the world of Celtic Football Club 1888. I wasn’t at the game; an over-protective mother still wouldn’t allow me to go despite my pleas, threat of hunger strike and refusing to brush my teeth at bedtime (you’ll regret that one day was her wise words). My protests were all in vain and I couldn’t understand it we were playing Dundee United not RFC FTP, she still wouldn’t listen. My mammoth pre-match journey was to climb the interior 13 close steps to take me from 13b Northburn Avenue to 13c Northburn Avenue. Reaching the top I saw the welcoming green door and my mind wandered to the stadium I’d only seen on T.V. and I thought of that huge green pitch with the huge terracing, the ‘unfinished’ roof and the shoogly press-box. Maggie was in her match-day chair with the big, blaring radio that kept her in touch with the world. She’d lost her sight when she was quite young but it didn’t seem to matter in the flat, much like yir man in the Great Escape she had everything paced out. She had her packet of Miller’s Pan Drops, a huge cup of tea and a big smile to welcome me. Paddy was in the kitchen. Maggie had a bright green cardigan on that went well with her gleaming white hair, beautiful.



    “What’s Granda doing, it’s nearly kick off time?”


    “He’s making you something to eat.”


    “I’m not hungry”


    “You’re always hungry; you’re always running about wi that ball. Anyway it’s cheese n egg” (this was a family delicacy and dairy products were good for you in the 70’s)


    “I’m hungry, you’re right gran”


    “Told ye”


    “Anyway say the Hail Holy Queen with me we need to win today”


    “Hail Holy Queen mother of mercy…Oh clement, oh loving, oh sweet Virgin Mary”



    We finished the prayer just as Paddy brought in the cheese n egg; I had questions about prayers and cheating but the food-which was served in a tin-foil tray-had my attention and I wanted it finished before kick-off. Anyway my mum was always saying Catholics couldn’t get jobs and she knew priests in Coatbridge who went to banks and argued with the manager to give Catholics jobs. All my family had jobs and they all told my gran they went to mass, so I just thought we were lucky in the job stakes. I knew RFC FTP didn’t say prayers but I didn’t know about Dundee Utd. They were worrying me, I knew there was another Dundee team but this lot were United and anything that I ever heard about being united was good. I, they were a worry right enough.



    5 minutes to 3.


    The cheese and egg was demolished and Granda was telling me all about Charlie Tully again. Now on our walks around Darngavel and Whiterigg I loved these stories but Dixie Deans was on my mind today. I was still polite but I wanted the commentary to start as I was sure Tully wasn’t playing. I wanted to ask my Granda if I should just chuck it just now because no player I was ever going to see was as good as all the ones he’d seen: “Tully, Gallacher, McGrory, Thompson, Evans and the Lions weren’t bad too”…I’d been born at the wrong time but for me Dalglish, McGrain, Hay, Hood, Murray and Deans were Celtic greats, my greats and we had to beat this bloody United of Dundee.



    3 o’ clock. Oh God!


    It has started, no more diversionary tactics, focus on the radio man. His voice filled the room, pan drops were sucked and not crunched in reverence to the man who would bring the good news we longed for. The team was: Conaghan, McGrain, Brogan, McNeill, McCluskey, Johnstone, Murray, Hood, Deans, Hay and Dalglish. Bobby Lennox was on the bench with Callaghan. I remembered they had Frank Kopel, I had about 6 stickers of him and so did everyone else so he wasn’t even good for a swap anymore. I felt something akin to terror when they attacked and the radio man’s voice got higher in his state of excitement. They had two early chances and the voice told us that ‘Houston really should have scored.’ I was glad he didn’t but I’m not sure about the radio man. Maggie listened intently and loved to hear the fans, I got it that we were sharing a similar experience but my radio blindness was temporary and I found it hard picturing what really was going on. Paddy’s truce about talking about the past was holding but I feared any minute now the 7-1 game-normally a welcome tale was going to get an airing-but something wonderful happened:


    “McCluskey hits a long ball downfield towards the United defence, it’s gathered by Deans who knocks it into the area…Hood is on his own and heads ……………………………………….Goal, Celtic. The pause seemed to last 3 hours. Granda said ‘good’ and clenched his fist, Gran said ‘yes’ and smiled brightly. I ran around and around the couch till I was told to stop being stupid and sit down. They were far too respectable. We’d scored. I tried to imagine what my uncles were doing on the Hampden slopes and decided I was safer here. I’d just settled down and radio man was at it again:


    “Hood shoots and misses…it falls to Deans who must score…he slices it to Johnstone who squares it to Murray who shoots-sit down says Granda-and scores. I’m sitting but I’m running round the couch in my head; granda is nodding in a celebratory manner and gran has sucked the life out of her last pan drop and it’s not even half-time. This is brilliant.


    Half-Time. It is two nil and looking back it must be an in built Celtic default position. What if they score three? I FEARED THE WORST. This has never left me and I trace it back to this point.





    Radio Man is off and running again and I’m now into clocks and watches and time. This became more desperate as that bloody United are having a go. Why can’t they just accept what Hail Holy Queen is doing…Gie it up Kopel. But no:


    “a header from Gray and Connaghan saves at point blank range…”


    “Knox shoots, beats the keeper………………………………and hits McNeill on the head and scrambled clear.”


    Granda shakes his head and I know he’s thinking about Tully; I spot the surreptitious use of rosary bead by gran and I hope we’re not reported for cheating. I want it to end. I want all my family to be happy. I want to read ten papers and cut out the pictures on Monday. The second half had now lasted seven hours as the tired old clock on the mantelpiece that had witnessed so much ticked slowly on and then this cherished moment:


    “Dalglish runs at the United defence, squares it to Deans, who shoots and the ball loops into the United net…it’s all over now…



    “I’m running, I don’t care Granda.” That release of untold joy was matched on several occasions in the forthcoming years. My fastest was to kiss a TV screen in a pub in Portree when Henrik took us to Seville. That feeling never leaves you.


    Minutes later Mr Paterson the ref, who nobody had mentioned, blew the final whistle. I wanted to celebrate but I was seven and didn’t know how to. I asked Granda to put his ‘Rebel’ records on but he said it was too early and he had to make gran’s dinner. I had to get my ball and head to St. Serf’s park where like minded bhoys and other boys were seemingly magnetically drawn to re-enact the day’s events at Hampden. Before I jumped the fence I looked at the white paint on the back of the wooden garages: CELTIC Football Club 1888. I wanted to paint 3-0 after it. RFC FTP on the next garage, in red paint, looked to be a bit diminished.





    I scored Dixie’s goal in the St Serf’s re-match as I dreamed of seeing the Bhoys live; I was only 12 months away from my dream but there was a hurdle at Broomfield to overcome and the wrath of as younger brother.

  8. embramike



    See what I can do mate. Next week is priority for me.


    Pass your wishes onto Mrs LB. If I am going I will drop you a text.




  9. I see the game is on Premier Sports tonight with a minimum 2 months subscription taking the price to £20.



    Is the game being shown on the Premier TV player? I ask becasue this is just a 1 month subscription and £10 for the game would be much better than £20. Does anybody have a Premier Player subscription and is it worth getting one?



    We need a disciplined performance tonight as Legia will throw the kitchen sink at us backed by a very noisy crowd. We need to keep the head and not charge up the park the way we did against Rejkjavik at Murrayfield leaving huge spaces in behind. Keep it tight early on and get a foothold in the game, slow it down as much as possible and try to quieten the crowd. Play on any frustration being shown by Legia as the game wears on as they could make mistakes looking for the breakthrough.














    I remember yer wee kickabout in Bristol with RIEPERMAN.



    Enjoy the match tonight,but that description you gave of yourself might not narrow it down!

  11. roy croppie



    Clever way to sneak a podium.



    Great story, 1yr on I wasn’t allowed to go to The Cup Final with you our Dad and Fr Power but I did get my first Celtic strip and a trip to “the shows” behind Chapel St. before watching us beat Airdrie.



    HH Big Bro

  12. traditionalist88 on

    It was music that kept their spirits free,


    Those songs of yours and of mine…




  13. TheOriginalSadiesBhoy on

    Whoopee doo!!!!!!! Ticket fo Legia game just arrived and I’m in an even better seat than I was last week.

  14. craiginho



    11:56 on 30 July, 2014





    + £10 connection fee, shocking.

  15. embramike –



    Ironically, if we come away from Poland with a commanding advantage, say a 2-0 or 3-0 win, the demand for 2nd leg tickets will be minimised and the top tier at Murrayfield will be unused.



    A draw or a defeat tonight will increase demand and upper tier tickets will sell like hot cakes.



    I hope the top tier at Murrayfield remains redundant.







    Magnificent stuff. I was at the game and not entirely sure I enjoyed it as much as you did!



    Roy,thanks for that. Tales like that are why we are who we are.



    Sheer joy!






    Thanks for the repost,mate. It allowed me to post my thanks on here.



    Btw,I reckon a lot of people read the original and are cursing Roy for causing them to miss a podium!



    Well worth it,fellas.

  17. Have to say again



    I believe young McGinn at St Mirren, is a far better option on the left than GMS.


    And yes I know not an outright winger, but far far superior work rate and passing ability



    Anyway COYBIG for tonight



    Hail Hail

  18. Tom McLaughlin @ 12:01



    I hope the top tier at Murrayfield remains redundant.



    Despite the great seat I had up there last game, I totally agree. Suspect we may have an open top tier though and even match last game’s crowd of 39,099 if it’s a knife edge

  19. Morning all (here anyway)



    Like Ronny’s preparation and style…now do the business.







    Thanks for the positive comments; ‘off oot’ to burn some calories prior to sampling some of bt’s exotic drinks in the club tonight.





    lymmbhoy :) Broomfield and the wrong colour of scarves will bring back memories.

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