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. They needed to do pcr tests to get into Armenia  and that’s how they’re declaring positive cases now otherwise they would still b the only club in Europe with no players testing positive for covid

  2. Snake – I disappeared from here for a while myself. Can’t recall how long I’m back posting regularly now. Life comes at you fast sometimes. Hope you’re good. Always enjoyed your contributions on here.

  3. I met BRTH coming back from the match on Saturday.



    He was his normal quiet, reserved self.

  4. !!BADA BING!! on 24TH AUGUST 2021 10:20 PM


    List is about a dozen huns now,they will go for a cancellation



    Doubt that’s possible.



    Oh, wait…..

  5. The Comfortable Collective on

    Welcome back Snake Plissken.



    “Thumbs up” as the likable antipodean right wing arse used to say.

  6. prestonpans bhoys on

    For the Huns to get the game cancelled would need to be more than the games we were forced to play.



    Not to worry if not the case our board will be all over it😱😵

  7. !!BADA BING!! maybe it’s because the Belfast test lab wont be producing the test results in Armenia?

  8. Welcome back Snake Plissken, always enjoyed your contributions and, not least, enjoyed digging out my old Dvd of Escape from New York which I’m watching now, quite rightly a cult classic!

  9. Welcome back Snake,


    I saw the name Žilina n the European ties the other week and thought about your good self.


    We’ll know tomorrow who the sevcovidees are as they need to fly out tomorrow, obvious by their absence from the squad.


    Correct me if I’m wrong but they need to field a team on Sunday or forfeit the game 3-0?

  10. HRVATSKI JIM on 24TH AUGUST 2021 10:26 PM



    I met BRTH coming back from the match on Saturday.



    He was his normal quiet, reserved self





    You ok Jim? :-))) did ye get a word in?











    Welcome back Snake Plissken.


    Hope all good




  11. We’ll know tomorrow after seeing who flys out whether this is a couple of players or their starting 11.



    If it’s the latter, I’ve no doubt they’ll be demanding a postponement for the weekend.



    Remember they are the people so pointing out what happened last season to us is of absolutely no use.

  12. My principal concern is the health of our players.



    Because I wouldn’t put it past them trying to field potentially infected squad members against us.



    I hope we stuff them, whichever 12 of them take the field.



    The rest should be entering a prolonged period of self-loathing.



    HH jg

  13. Snake Plissken on




    I was having a wry smile when we could have played Zilina. Jablonec battered them so I think we would have done the same. Zilina is my favourite city in Slovakia and will always be. I thought – typical – over there all those years and now we can play them but it was not to be.






    great to see you




    How much is it to charter a flight to Armenia?



    Made me smile.



    pr in a quandary



    Uefa protocols thurs


    Spfl protocols sun.



    A do they need 49fousand bears at debtdome as coving hits there 1st team? …reserves it is then lol




  15. The zombies will still have a full strength side for both games – I’ve absolutely no doubt.



    You certainly won’t see 14 players and staff on top of that missing from one positive result.

  16. Here’s hoping McGregor and McLaughlin changed their bus seat on the way home from Dingwall…



    Seriously though if it is those two as positive cases, you’d assume they would have been on different buses, so close contacts is the thing to look out for here.

  17. SP,


    I see you are in the NE of Scotland. I now live on the Costa del Moray after leaving Germany 🇩🇪 in 2016. I don’t know where those 5 years have gone.


    Also good luck to my oldest Bhoy who starts his new international teaching job on Thursday in …………….. Lisbon after 3 years in Cluj.

  18. Welcome back Snake Plissken



    Hope you are sorted out soon……..are you close to Dundee.