The Great Leap between SPFL and Inter Milan


Making the great leap between playing Scottish Premiership teams and the likes of Inter Milan will always be a challenge for Celtic.  We have done so many times in recent years, Milan were held home and away in the Champions League knock-out stage, Barcelona were beaten, but whenever we have carried the game to opponents of this stature, instead of reverting to our own style of catnenaccio, we’ve lost heavily.  Quicker, more skilful, players, could make us look statuesque by comparison.

This is not a criticism.  If the only way you can compete with a team with ten times your resources is to defend your 18 yard line, you should do so.

Things could have gone either way on Thursday.  We were defensively inept during the opening minutes as Inter found space goal-side of their markers.  I don’t know if Ronny had a moment of self-doubt at that point, perhaps he did, but was simply unable to unwind the attacking instincts of his players, but Celtic are all the better for the way they picked themselves off the floor.

I’m sure the odds on Inter progressing will be short, but I’m also sure Ronny Deila will know his players can win in Milan.

I arrived home late last night to read that Tony Conway, son of our own RWE, lost his battle against Motor Neurone Disease/ALS.  I met Tony, with dad John and brother Martin, three years ago.  Tony was still fit enough to walk, but evidence of the pain the family shared was evident.  The three of them travelled back from their US home two years ago, along with mum Pauline, to see Celtic, and meet some family.

They bought hospitality tickets and minutes before kick-off, Celtic’s Iain Jamieson nabbed Tony and asked if he was able to make the halftime draw.  Tony knew this would be the last time he would see Celtic, so his journey up the tunnel and onto the park was, to put it mildly, a very special Celtic Park moment.

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  1. Paul67 when you write



    I’m sure the odds on Inter progressing will be short, but I’m also sure Ronny Deila will know his players can win in Milan.



    my hope is also that Ronny’s players will want to win to enable them to experience another european experience this season



    roll on Thursday




  2. Kano , Pablo , Celticlover , StJohnDoyle – CQN in heaven must be mental



    Pleasure was all mine :-))



    See you tomorrow




  3. Thursday night was wonderful, I left the stadium, excited happy and proud. Full of optimism for the future too. That still burns.



    Before the match I thought it unlikely we would get a lead that would see us realistically optimistic about qualifying. I’d hoped we could build experience, as Lenny’s team did in the EL.



    But it was one of “those” nights at Celtic Park. The nights that remind you what the club is all about.



    I was happy to see Inter run out in that blue strip. Anyone recall the Ajax team’s strip in the 1980′s ?



    Let’s hope for a repeat of the return leg result.

  4. Lets park the bus and try to nick it in milan in the last 5 mins, nah stuff that. Go for it Bhoys. Get intae them

  5. tommytwiststommyturns on

    RIP Tony and sincere condolences to RWE and family.



    Dena – nice to meet you and other CQNers before the game on Thursday…and thanks for the hugs! :-)




  6. Almore


    12:30 on


    21 February, 2015


    First ten again?



    your putting yourself under pressure now :-))))




  7. Ht@11.59


    I know. Classic case of legislative “whataboutery”, ones as bad as the other when it is patently not the case. We were the architects of our own downfall on that one by participating as a club in the summit after “their” shame game.


    Anyway keep up the good fight against that iniquitous piece of dross.

  8. Paul67



    Thursday was magical, not least because of a last minute equaliser, but I do still worry just how open we leave ourselves at times.

  9. Paul 67


    I don’t know RWW, but thoughts with the family








    11:28 on 21 February, 2015


    Is there a way tomorrow, to show Hamilton how much we appreciate their work with wee Jay?


    Applauding their players when their names are read out??


    Something? Anything ?





    Very good idea – email to JP Taylor ?

  10. thomthethim for Oscar OK on




    After experiencing many frustrations with PayPal, including my card getting blocked, following your very subtle dig on the last thread, I decided to give it go.



    I eventually managed to get it unblocked, so I have tossed in a couple of euros!


    Black babies loss is the CF’s gain.



    May your rope stay tight and your sphincter tighter !!

  11. tommytwiststommyturns



    and the same to you sir great to put faces to the blog names



    all cqners get a welcome hug from me (except ruairi) :-))))




  12. (As posted at the end of the last page).




    The SPFL investigation of the sectarian & racist singing by the Sevconian fans should first of all admit that this has nothing whatsoever to do with their opponents on any given day.



    The Sevconian song book is the same song book used by RFC fans for generations.



    If they truly want to stamp it out, the first thing to do is to unequivocally call it for what it is.


    Don’t try to justify it by somehow linking it to Celtic. It is not anti-Celtic. It is anti-Catholic.


    Don’t try to down play it by saying it is only a minority of fans. It is the core of their support.



    Admit the truth.



    It is important to recognise that the songs are merely an expression of the deep-seated mind-set of the Sevconian faithful.


    It is not the song book which needs to be dispensed with, it is the mind-set which lies behind it.

  13. RWE,



    Sorry for your loss. Many Tony RIP. I’m sure we met in the Charlotte CSC on the day that big John Gartson scored the winner against Hearts to win the league.



    My suitcase was behind the bar as I was flying home that night.



    One of my friends also suffering with MND. Horrible disease. God Bless you and your extended family at this difficult time.

  14. all cqners get a welcome hug from me (except ruairi) :-))))



    That should have read



    all cqners get a welcome hug from me , if they want one ( ruairi) :-))))




  15. Just switched on the radio.


    Did Cowan just say he’d no comment to make on Stan Collymore’s efforts and in the next breath try to slag Celtic for charging a fiver for the programme during the week?


    Did I hear that right?

  16. Afternoon all.



    EVERY Italian fitba fan I have spoken to since Thursday night, to a man, has had nothing but praise for the atmosphere at CP, and the way the team played – apart from the two goals gifted to Inter (pronounced EENTER over here)!



    Several (AC) Milan fans of my acquaintance have now decided to go to the return leg and cheer on the Hoops! No Rubentus ones, because I don’t tend to socialise with them.




  17. Phil Differ has twice now rebutted that snake Cowan once over “The Lap of Honour” and now on the £5 programme on Thursday night, which he thought was “very good value” On both occasions Cowan had no response and kept schtung. Good on you Phil. Hail Hail Hebcelt

  18. .



    l Read a Article on the BBC Website Re; The Europa League..



    Title: Does Europa League Damage a Season..



    A English ‘It’s All about Us’ article that is Embarrassing to ordinary Football Teams..



    Example..Some small county Welsh team played in the Europa League got to the Last 16 and Lost Money..Because the Dropped ONE Place in the EPL During there Participation in the EL..and cost them Circa 1.4 Million..



    l wont Post the Article..But at No time Did the Mention Football..Football Players and How to Develop New stars of Football..Very Very Sad..



    They Mention the 5.3 Billion Sky Deal..



    I am Not really Clued up on British TV..Sky Etc..



    But in Australia..Sky’s Equivalent is Foxtel or Sports..at the Moment they Cant Give away Packages..Full package Not is $50..14 Years ago it was $80-$100 for same Package then $14.95 extra for Setanta..to watch Celtic..



    Now..all i have ls Celtic TV..and a 300 Gig Broadband Service..i can watch everything on Sky..BT Sports and BBC Via Streaming..with as far as l know No direct payment to Sky of Foxtel..



    Even Aussie TV Shows l watch on Catch up Streaming..



    What l am Trying to Say is Surely Sky is Not as Powerful as l am Reading on Here..



    I Would rather the Tech heads on Blogs like this Taught us how to Get what we want though our Choice of Internet Provider that tell us to Boycott Celtic FC or Sky Etc Etc..



    Would Love to Hear Posters thoughts on this as Celtic fans in Australia told Setanta many Years ago to GTF when they tried to Charge $25 entry for SPL Games to watch in Pubs..




  19. From Eurosport –



    Celtic Park on a grand old European night: £5.136 billion of Premier League TV cash can’t buy greatest atmosphere in world football


    Nor can the frisson inform some former players. Chris Sutton should know his history. Even if Steve McManaman doesn’t, observes Desmond Kane.


    By Eurosport


    21 hours ago


    Desmond Kane



    Steve McManaman knows all about revelling in gilded moments in Glasgow. The former Liverpool winger scored a solo goal of the highest order at Celtic Park in the first round of the UEFA Cup back in 1997 when he bounded almost the length of a rocking Glasgow ground’s playing surface before sliding the ball into the corner of the net to earn Liverpool a 2-2 draw.



    It proved to be the equivalent of a dagger to the chest of Celtic as a 0-0 draw in the return leg at Anfield helped the English team progress to the second round of the old knock-out tournament.



    McManaman also knows about leaving it late at Celtic Park. That goal came in the final minute of an absorbing encounter between the two British clubs in Glasgow, marginally quicker than Swedish forward John Guidetti’s swivel and hit that ensured Celtic escaped with a merited 3-3 draw with Internazionale in the first leg of a breathless Europa League last 32 dust-up on Thursday night.



    Celtic fans unveil banner remembering their European Cup win in Lisbon, very nice it was too: https://t.co/slmfU7T1zY


    — Paddy Power (@paddypower) February 20, 2015



    In such a respect, celebrated English players McManaman and Chris Sutton, discussing the happenings as television pundits, were disappointing in their analysis of a match that will struggle to be bettered in terms of atmosphere and thrilling, unpredictable energy that saw Celtic Park again come alive amid the maelstrom.



    It was a typically hectic sort of night when Celtic confirmed that they seem happiest when they are trying to outwit clubs playing out of more fashionable leagues with loftier reputations, and vastly higher wage bills.



    The English Premier League television deal might be worth a staggering £5.136 billion over the next three years, but Inter and Serie A’s finances are hardly emaciated.



    Yet the atmosphere that continues to rage at Celtic Park on such evenings of utter organised bedlam remains priceless. Easily the best in Britain. Arguably the best in the world. In Europe, you could probably put up a case for Borussia Dortmund’s imposing Westfalenstadion. And that would be it.



    If Carlsberg did football grounds, they would bottle Celtic Park and sell it on tap. One gets quite giddy even clamping your ears to a (wireless) radio on such nights.



    The contrast between Liverpool’s meeting with Besiktas just over the border was noticable. You’ll Never Walk Alone is done well by Liverpool fans, but the Celtic Park rendition is like something sent from angels hovering over Paradise.



    It is like comparing Gerry Marsden’s time-honoured chirp to Bryn Terfel’s melodic version of the old song.



    The match commentator on BT Sport Derek Rae was mangled relaying it, busy admitting on Friday morning he could not get to sleep after the astonishing goings on.



    Morning after the night before. Get much sleep, anyone who was at Celtic Park last night? Goals still reverberating in my mind.


    — Derek Rae (@RaeComm) February 20, 2015



    Put quite simply, football like this gives the sport a good name at times when it is easy to lose faith and be cynical about the whole shooting match.



    It simply bewitches audiences, threatening to topple the senses in the thrilling moment. Raw, ungagged, unbridled passion is why football is the greatest game ever played. 22 players and substitutes giving their all for a cause at Celtic Park hankered back to a bygone era. And at the end, Celtic and Inter fans exchanged pleasantries and swapped scarves.



    In a week of some Chelsea fans visiting Paris to do a spot of “mingling”, this was a poignant reminder of what it should be all about.



    Celtic say they are a club like no other. On nights like these, they are.



    Yes, the quality remains a moot point as McManaman and Sutton suggested with defences as reliable as someone looking after your car in Glasgow’s East End, but they are missing the greater point.



    With a young untried Norwegian manager in Ronny Deila and an array of unproven players at this level, Celtic really have no right to be expected to compete or beat any side from Serie A. Especially one whose annual wage bill cotinues to exceed £50 million despite savage cuts in the era of Financial Fair Play.



    Yet McManaman bizarrely suggested that the home side should be destroying an Inter side who are 10th in the Italian standings.



    Being top of the impoverished Scottish Premiership does not equate to the vast talent, riches – and some will say unlike Celtic’s model housekeeping – copious amounts of lamentable debt that clamps itself to Inter.



    Serie A boasts the third highest average salaries in the world of £1.3m a year or £25,263 a week.



    The Scottish Premiership is 18th. The average player in Scotland is on £182,783 a year or £3,515 a week. Those figures are probably boosted by Celtic.



    Celtic’s players were quite right to address their fans and applaud the unwavering support they had been given at the end of the match after escaping with a draw from trailing 2-0 and 3-2, but not so according to McManaman.



    McManaman felt that Celtic’s celebrations were over the top, but he was the same chap who skipped over the advertising hoardings before sprinting to the Liverpool fans after his goal at Parkhead.



    Sutton knows how fraught such nights are having played in them for Celtic for five years. Yet his lack of a cohesive critique was baffling despite playing at a time when the club shopped in the Premier League. Now they struggle to meet the wage demands of an English Championship player.



    As the former England keeper David James suggested to me recently after Neil Lennon tried and failed to persuade him to sign in 2010.



    It is easy to let 60,000 Celtic supporters blind you to the reality that while they are a big club on such heady occasions, they are leagues below Inter. Celtic won the European Cup in 1967. Jose Mourinho’s Inter lifted the Champions League only five years ago.



    To put all this into context, Inter’s Roberto Mancini is a manager who hopes to be reunited with Manchester City’s Yaya Toure in the summer.



    The Celtic left wingback Emilio Izaguirre was picked up from a club in Honduras. Is it any wonder he struggled against Xherdan Shaqiri, a right winger Inter purchased for £15 million from Bayern Munich last month?



    Celtic’s two key captures of the transfer window were two inexperienced gems from Dundee United, both of whom were making their debuts at Celtic Park. Gary Mackay-Steven was signed for £250,000 and Stuart Armstrong £1.75 million from United.



    Like McManaman, there is a general ignorance towards the goings on in Scotland. The Burnley manager Sean Dyche tried and failed to sign Armstrong in January for £1.5 million before describing him as a “development player”. Dyche must have been smoking the shisha pipe with Roy Hodgson to see Armstrong in such a light, but Burnley’s loss is Celtic’s considerable gain.



    £250,000 is obscure sums of money even to Inter. Several of Mancini’s dressing room at City collected more in a week.



    Yet Celtic’s youngsters looked as comfortable in their skin as the Lisbon Lions, Celtic’s 1967 European Cup winners against Inter, did in greeting the Celtic team onto the park.



    Celtic may depart the Europa League if their defence doesn’t sober up in Milan. They are unlikely to progress if they are so loose at the San Siro, but there is a greater point to be made in aspiring to the Palace of Widsom.



    Celtic Park remains a stadium like no other.



    Evenings like this do not go gentle into that good night. Let the people sing.



    Desmond Kane

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