The Alkmaar gamble ahead of Thursday


You and I have watched enough European qualification games to know that fitness is perhaps the biggest determinant in success.  In this respect, we should be ahead of AZ Alkmaar, who have played only two competitive games comparted to Celtic’s nine.

Despite this, AZ pressed Celtic back for much of the final 15 minutes last week, an indication, perhaps, of a higher baseline.

From a fitness perspective, Celtic’s game against St Mirren could not have gone better.  They sharpened the tools in the first half and no player was physically taxed to the extent that it would inhibit performance five days later.

AZ, meanwhile, got their fixture against Fortuna Sittard postponed to allow them time to prepare for Celtic.  That is a big gamble.  AZ need to be rested, especially as their game plan is likely to involve extra time, but two games and two defeats into their season, a home game against the side who finished 11th last term would be welcomed by others.

We have a recent reference point for taking a 2-0 first leg lead to the Netherlands.  A Utrecht team who were poorer than AZ did not even need extra time to see them through.  The Dutch, it seems, arrive in August fit and ready.  Let’s hope AZ’s weekend off proves unhelpful.


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  1. JHB,



    Is there a study that’s showing the youngsters are not getting the jag because of what they’re seeing online?



    I’d imagine there will be a small number of them being anti-vaxxers but I’d imagine most are just young and think they’re bulletproof.



    I don’t have any evidence for this except that many, many years ago I was young – so it’s just my own thoughts but any factual evidence would be appreciated 👍🏼

  2. For Thursday , the Dutch teams match fitness will be no further forward , which is a plus for us …..



    The ref last week let a few things go , we didn’t get whistled as often as many other European games …. I’d expect AZ to get the ball to the big lad they had up front and just fight for it ….



    I suspect it might be a stretch to keep a clean sheet against AZ so for me I’d put all the speed merchants on to start … rather than hand them the initiative



    Big Joe



    Tone Carlos Welshy Wee Greg



    Tommy Callum Dave



    Liel Kyogo jamsie



    Ed for Jamsie , swop wee Kyogo to left wing



    Hold a firm line at the back and we can repeat the 2-0




  3. I have noticed a few comments saying that we haven`t been tested yet. Was AZ Alkmaar not a Test?


    The score might have flattered us but we still passed the Test.

  4. Incidentally, I remember reading some time ago that there is no evidence to support the theory of ` match fitness`. When players had been out for a lengthy spell, some took a few games to reach their old form and some were at their previous level immediately.


    I am willing to be educated either way.

  5. Weebobbycollins on

    Quadrophenian…senility, no chance! The man was quite adamant, Falkirk through and through…

  6. Turkebhoy


    You mentioned that Madden had already blown for a foul so the `penalty` was no longer relevant.


    Was he slow to blow?


    I ask because the commentators on the clip speak of the incident and conclude that it should have been a penalty.

  7. Regarding the Clyde v Celtic game in which Jock lost the plot with Bertie, it was because Bertie sat on the ball to show one or two Clyde players how easy it was. Jock was not amused. I think we won 3-1.

  8. TURKEYBHOY on 24TH AUGUST 2021 1:14 PM






    The “Falkirk supporting hack”,,Oh ur ye,Aye,used to have a full page in the Sunday Mail.Can’t remember his name.





  9. Weebobbycollins on

    Hot Smoked…the Ross County vs huns ref was David Munro…Madden did the hearts vs dons game…


    He was equally rotten…

  10. There are some interesting Refereeing stats comparing treatment of Sevco ( and Celtic) in Europe and in Scotland. Not really surprising for us as we have always been aware of the bias but they ( the stats ) would make for a good story. No chance in Scotland, of course but would any English Journalist be interested?

  11. Re My post at 2:39pm.


    The stats referred to are on Sentinel Celts.




  12. FourLeafClover on

    For those of you who may know him, Danny Martin, manager of Heraghtys bar died last night after a battle with cancer.


    Danny was the manager of Glasgow’s best Celtic pub for 3 decades.



    R.I.P Danny.

  13. Waddell scrawled in the Sunday Mason a few years ago, that if the huns sang ‘ up to our knees in Celtic blood instead of fenian blood ‘ it would have been perfectly acceptable.

  14. JHB @ 1:30 PM,



    Well, I blame the parents and grandparents.






    Think we need Ange ball on Thursday, contrary to current belief away goals matter…



    Ange ball means away goals, we get one or two, AZ have a mountain to climb.



    Also contrary to current belief Ange does tactics, he “managed” the second half of the Home game superbly.



    Have a grand day Celts



    Hail Hail

  15. HOT SMOKED @ 2:39 PM,



    Quite a few years ago on CQN I compared (the then playing) Barry Ferguson’s Scottish Disciplinary record to his English one.



    No surprises of course but stark nonetheless



    Hail Hail

  16. Yet another fine from UEFA, 7k for setting off fireworks and a muppet going on to the pitch

  17. FourLeafClover on 24th August 2021 2:45 pm



    Yes just heard that, really sad, he was a genuinely nice man.


    I didn’t know he was ill but did notice he wasn’t around anytime I’ve been in lately.




  18. Massive challenge ahead against AZ – wonder how ange will lay us out – Kyogo as an outball will be very valuable.

  19. FourLeafClover on



    Yeah he’d been ill for around a year, but still working periodically on and off


    It’s a sad ole business.

  20. One decision for this game appears to have been taken out of Ange’s hands with the news that McCarthy is out. No way should we start Soro.



    The other decision is who we start on the wings, I’d be playing Christie and Abada. Eddie and Forrest to make an impact from the bench. It will be a long night.

  21. `said Neilson, whose newly-promoted side are unbeaten this season`



    Really? Did I just imagine we mollicated Hearts 3-3?

  22. Celtic hit with £6,000 Uefa fine for fireworks and pitch invasion in Jablonec Europa League win




    Yet again these idiots cost Celtic – these people are not supporters, they are detractors and have cost the club over half a million pounds in fines. Why don’t they just watch on TV and give us all a break.



    Will we ever have a Euro home tie without this crap?

  23. SAINT STIVS on 24TH AUGUST 2021 1:48 PM


    guide to e-ticketing.





    SS – I’ve noticed a significant uptick in the comms from Celtic and the performance of the Ticket Office. I think Dom has been having some Kaizan events with them.



    Also, I previously gloated about how the Shop had messed up the price of my new shirt when the system recognised my Irish address (seemed to have done the x-rate the wrong way and saved me monry). Irish customs stopped the package and i had to pay €20 in Customs and Postal handling to get it out of storage. Ended up paying what they retail for in the Dublin shop. Looks like Dom was on the ball here to absorb the cost for fans in Ireland.



    Liking the cut of his jib already. Needs to pile into the catering when it opens now.


    I’m not bothered about hot water in toilets 😎

  24. BB et al ; vaccines



    Youngsters in Ireland are queueing up for vaccines, my 17 year old gets the second dose tomorrow.



    Main driver is that you need a vaccine ‘passport’ to get into pubs/restaurants unless you have proof of recovery.



    Some were heading up to Belfast for parties to avoid this issue but now the vaccine is available , they are getting it.



    Bit of a carrot helps. If they have no restrictions in Scotland then the motivation may not be there. The anti-vax or invincible view would be much the same either side of the Irish Sea I’d have thought. Interesting debate though

  25. Tom McLaughlin on

    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that UEFA use the club fines system purely as a revenue raising exercise.



    In every European round they rake in many thousands and all it takes is one flare or one supporter crossing the line.



    Also, unless it is a particularly serious infraction, they never seem to progress repeat offences beyond fines, presumably because that would defeat the purpose.

  26. CONEYBHOY on 24TH AUGUST 2021 3:47 PM


    SAINT STIVS on 24TH AUGUST 2021 1:48 PM






    The pies in the JS south west corner were nucleur hot on saturday.






    The Irish customs guys are something else, that programme that is on, my wife watches it all the time, the wee skinny cutoms gaurd at dublin airport is a legend, cheeky bassa so he is, incredibly funny.



    “so your trying to tell me those two hundred and fithy thousand ciggies are for your personal use”



    “aye well me and the wife”

  27. over in Greece, talking to the barman and news was on , says that from middle of sept all unvaccinated have to have two covid tests per week, and pay for the privilege

  28. McCarthy should be nowhere near this match – he is not ready. In fact he looked one paced and cumbersome in his last outings.



    I hope this is due to fitness and not his max capability! but he did look less dynamic than earlier career !

  29. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on




    More fines.



    Stewards nabbed the guy who went on the pitch (decent rugby tackle as I recall).



    Simple solution.



    Serve him with the bill … and record a video of process servers delivering it into his welcoming hand.


    (House number and property’s distinguishing features pixilated of course)



    Stick link to the video on Celtic Twitter.



    Hand over to the lawyers.