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. If it’s the same track and trace criteria as the one that took out our first team squad after Dubai then the huns are in a bad way.

  2. Btw – in some lizard like fashion der Hun will benefit from Covid- I have no idea how but it seems very convenient for them just now

  3. Snake Plissken on




    I got a job back in Scotland 4 years ago. left my long term Slovak paradise on not the best of terms with my boss then that family had a MAJOR domestic issue which I won’t repeat.



    Now living far from Glasgow. Covid lockdowns hit me very hard. I am a lot better now. Have moved house twice. Last season dragged me down like a lot of us but I am happy to be back in Scotland and with you guys.



    Some of my best support when abroad was on here. I think I need that again now.

  4. Snake Plissken on

    I’d also say with the revelations about Covid at the Govan Galacticos, if they weren’t going to Armenia, I wonder if we would have heard about these cases?



    Anyone not on the plan must NOT play on Sunday and tests for the lot of them must be mandatory including those 25 buses for their squad after a 10 hour flight there and back in close proximity.



    Those are the protocols eh?

  5. The Comfortable Collective on

    Don’t think anyone thinks it is a coincidence that the huns Covid issues come to light when they need to evidence results to EUFA.



    Anyone remember Ryan Jack playing in domestic games last season and dropping out for European games. And then coming back in again for domestic games.



    Almost as if the huns knew the testing in Scotland was somehow less rigorous than in Europe. #Belfast lab.

  6. SP………………..



    Sounds like some quite significant Life events Bhoy……….


    Keep on Keepin’ on……………



    This Dear Green Place , like no other, can be a nice constant amid all the hurly burly.




  7. Snake Plissken on

    On Celtic –



    Really happy with the recruitment.


    Love Kyogo. I cried when he got his hat trick.


    Abada is fab.


    So many good things going on.

  8. Snake Plissken on




    Not been in the Dear Green place in a long while but will be back one day. Hope to meet up with you guys now I actually live nearby.

  9. Snake Plissken on




    No. Afraid not. Still got some admin to do at my place or I would be there. Another time man.

  10. Hi Snake,


    Are you back to rattle a few people up or was it you who grassed the covid huns?


    Asping for a friend.


    Welcome Home.




    There will be loads of HOOTS so no problem.



    Hope you get sorted soon.

  12. Dutch out to 10 man Benfica. Great display from keeper to defy Eindhoven, behind a Maginot line of 6 defenders, but worst aspects of Portuguese football on display – timewasting, cynical fouling, and going down as if hit by a sniper when the ball is lost. Like Porto in Seville.

  13. Snake Plissken on




    The mad nonsense I need to get my house finalised and over the line I need to be here. I now stay in the North East so long journey required.

  14. Welcome back Snake Plissken



    With regards Sevco Covid cases


    How long is the bus journey to Dingwall ?


    So track and trace for positive cases, goes back to day 4, so those on the bus journey should now be isolating


    I can only assume they have all been doubled jagged ?


    So what is Scottish football protocol on Isolation after close contact with positive case ?


    I do know my own work, still operates, to a negative PCR ( results on day 2 of contact), followed by 5 consecutive days of negative Lateral Flow tests


    So our employees can return on day 8 from contact


    I will repeat what you s FtSPFL protocol on protecting the Scottie sh football bubbles ????

  15. What is the Stars on

    Speaking of the old brigade ..


    Anyone hear of South of Tunis..Starry Plough ,Garcia Lorca or BRTH these days

  16. Malmo through to Group stage riches. Wonder what their turnover and wage bill is compared to ours? There is absolutely no reason why we should not plan to, and aspire to this goal every season, now that we are hopefully clear of Peter Lawwell’s “It is not in the Club’s best interests.”

  17. Snake Plissken on




    Sorry man, I forgot what a great guy you are.



    As far as I know, he is.

  18. WITS


    SP in Japan now


    BRTH pops up regularly on Twitter.


    Welcome home SNAKE PLISSKEN🍀

  19. 2 affected…?



    Thur bubble wull be wurld class small…………….


    One will be already injured – a sacrificial bam…………and the ither wan, will be a ballboy equivalent…………..

  20. Jeezo, reading the last page on the blog us like stepping back about 5 years with all the long standing bloggers on and Snake Plissken back. Great to see it.



    Welcome back Snake.

  21. I’m putting the sevco covid thing down to mind games. They’ll have a full strength side out on Thursday and Sunday.



    Don’t believe anything sevco until you’ve seen it.



    Personally I want them to have all players available when we play them. No excuses or accusations of Covid titles thankyou.