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. Tom McLaughlin on




    To be fair, the have to sit down with the health authorities and establish which members of staff need to self-isolate as close contacts. That takes time as it can be open to interpretation.

  2. William Hill has removed Sevco`s Alashkert game and their game against us from the betting. Is that a suggestion that neither game will take place or simply breathing space for a readjustment of the odds?

  3. Tom McLaughlin on




    It’s them being careful until they know the extent of the damage to line-ups. Bet365 removed the derby game from betting 2 hours ago.

  4. Paul The Spark on

    Anyone know the rules if you can’t fulfill fixtures? Could see them not being allowed to fly.

  5. BADA


    Thanks. Brentford’s B team just equalized.




    I’m not debating your point, but who at UEFA would be able to refute the Zombie’s claims as to who was or was not a close contact? I’ve often wondered that.

  6. Tom McLaughlin on




    They will be allowed to fly as they will still have their bubble, minus those infected and contacts self-isolating.

  7. The huns will ask for the Celtic match to be postponed, ’til all their players are better.



    The FTSFA will grudgingly oblige.



    It’s only fair…………after all.

  8. INIQUITOUSIV on 24TH AUGUST 2021 9:17 PM



    I don`t know who at UEFA would be in a position to examine any Sevco claims but my main point was/is that I would feel more comfortable about an unbiased outcome with UEFA rather than SFA making any decision.

  9. Snake Plissken on

    Not been around for years.



    Have been through a ton of stuff. Moved country. Totally changed my place in the world and


    in need to things that made me happy once upon a time.



    Have popped in and lurked occasionally but had too much going on in my own life (like everyone else in this past year or so).



    Hope everyone is well



    That might actually suit us better, don’tyathink? We would have Juranovic and hopefully some other reinforcements available.

  11. Philbhoy, can see that happening, after all they had their game against us cancelled after being humphed in Europe on the Thursday night.

  12. Snake Plissken on




    I was called one a few times but no one who knew me from before ever really thought I was.

  13. Paul The Spark on

    Apart from underhand dealings from the SFA I can’t see how the game can be cancelled. Celtic had to play games when most of our first team had to isolate after 1 positive test. Would hope Celtic would call them out if they tried

  14. A couple of exciting games. Malmo 3-2 up on aggregate, and struggling to hold on. Ferencvaros down 4-5 on aggregate playing at home.




    I would rather play them on Sunday.



    If the huns have declared covid cases they will be lying about it in some way. No wat I mean?



    Don’t fancy their away trip on Thursday either.



    We are favourites for a reason.



    If they lose Thursday and Sunday their season is over. IMO.



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

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

    SNAKE PLISSKEN on 24TH AUGUST 2021 9:18 PM


    Hi guys,




    Snake Plissken is back. Remember me? I heard I was dead.








    Welcome back. We thought you were in the Witness Protection Programme.

  18. Popping in and out on Hesgoal. The 3 away teams in the CL Qualifying Playoffs are desperately hanging on, especially Benfica.

  19. Snake Plissken on

    I had to leave Slovakia because of a RANGE of reasons. Great to see so many of the old faces (in writing).

  20. Remember there is a HOOT this Saturday.



    Blane Valley and McChuills from about two o’clock on.