This is not a drill


This season, Newco present the greatest domestic test to Celtic since Aberdeen in season 2014-15.  More significantly, their results in Europe defined expectations.  Having eliminated Young Boys and Feyenoord, they are in the Europa League knock out stage.

This would be a dream season for them were it not for their two defeats to Celtic: one at Ibrox in the league, the other this month’s League Cup Final defeat at Hampden.  There is a reason for that.

Celtic are an exceptional team.  Better than Porto, who topped Newco’s Europa League group, better Young Boys and Feyenoord.  I can think of only two regrettable moments in our season so far (Scott Brown’s handball against Cluj and Ryan Chistie’s lunge against Livingston).

Tomorrow we get the chance to beat them at a third Glasgow venue of the season: Celtic Park, which, due to Newco’s inability to deal with celebrating visiting Celtic fans, will have 59,000 Celtic fans and around 700 visitors.  Newco believe, having drawn in a half-empty stadium in Oporto and away to a weak team in Rotterdam, they can cope on the road.  They will find Celtic Park is a virulently hostile an environment.

Like most of you, I hope to see Mikey Johnston on the left, James Forrest on the right and Ryan Christie in the No. 10 role, but Neil Lennon has shown no inclination of picking this formation, which would leave Olivier Ntcham on the bench.

This morning, I watched our Ibrox win in September.  Olivier was exceptional throughout, as he was the first time these teams met last season.  If he is in the 10 role, we have nothing to fear.  The full back positions are crucial.  Newco flourished on their right wing in particular at Hampden, If Boli Bolingoli and either Forrest or Johnston dominate that side of the field, the entire flow of the game will be different.

The greatest risk tomorrow is from a red card, but we have experience all over the field, even Jeremie Frimpong has some lessons under his belt.

Odsonne Edouard terrifies them.  They cannot tackle him, cannot shove him off the ball, and after Hampden, they will even be reluctant to kick him.  I expect Odsonne to be as calm and devastating as usual.  Look out for a late cameo.  Leigh Griffiths endured a torrid 2019.  He has scored three times this calendar year, in games Celtic scored 5, 7 and 5 goals respectively.  The script is written for a rejuvenating end to the year for the player.

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  1. ‘Celtic are an exceptional team’



    again I say I think I am lucky to watch this ngroup of players




    Oldtim my love

  2. SOUTH OF TUNIS on 28TH DECEMBER 2019 2:05 PM


    OLDTIM67 @1 42







    I think 1994 ?’







    Celtic 2 -Deidco 4 .







    The game with the guy in the posh stand waving a noose made from a Celtic scarf at the Celtic Board and the likes of Murray and Donald Findlay being subjected to attack from a flying Mars Bar



    We can only hope it was a deep fried wan….🤞

  3. Folks looking for a bit of advice, after a good Indian restaurant tonight close to city centre/central station tonight. Cheers in advance

  4. I hope SoT knows that West Ham don’t play at Upton Park any more :-)



    As for Paul, he could never be accused of negativity when it comes to predicting how Celtic will get on.



    I have a feeling that both sides wouldn’t be overconcerned if it was a draw,

  5. Mahe the Madman on

    Evening folks and hope all are well. Merry Christmas btw.


    There’s a quiz on SC at 8pm. Three rounds, sports, Celtic, gen knowledge. No need to register, just enter. All are welcome.


    Hope to see some of you there.


    Hail Hail

  6. I see that although Brendan has made nine changes for tonight’s game, still Benkovic cannot even get a place on the bench.



    Something far wrong there, wonder if we might get him for another six months in January. Looks like the big Brazilian might be caught up in lengthy court battle.



    Brendan can be a bit of a prima donna – he has been complaining about the traditional festive fixtures for a couple of weeks.


    Despite having an excellent chance of finishing in the top four, he changes almost his whole team from the Liverpool game in what seems a fit of pique to emphasise his point.

  7. Paddy Roberts not even on the subs bench for Norwich what a waste.



    In fact only 3 appearances in 2019.



    Dear oh Dear



    D. :)

  8. If I were manager, I’d play with two wingers to make the pitch as wide as possible, and I’d play Jamesy on the right and Ryan as a number 10, his favourite position, but there again, that’s probably why I am not a manager.


    No matter what, let’e give them a proper doing, after all, they deserve it do they not?




  9. The VAR decision was wrong IMHO.


    They are saying it’s because Pukki had originally come from an offside position.


    However, he was marginally onside when the ball was played forward.


    To me,paranoia personified, it sounds like a convenient (mis)interpretation of the rules designed to benefit the bigger, richer club.


    Maybe some of the resident refs can clarify.

  10. Paul writes “Celtic are(sic) an exceptional team”, yes Celtic is an exceptional team when it comes to winning domestic honours. Celtic is an exceptional club, of that there is no doubt.



    However, how many would agree with Paul that Celtic is, at the moment, an exceptional football team, for that is what he appears to be contextually implying. Celtic is a winning machine here in Scotland, however the level of performance on the field varies so much from game to game, and even at times within games – Thursday in Paisley being a good example, that I, as a supporter for fifty-years, cannot in all honesty support Paul’s “exceptional” claim.



    The potential is most certainly there, we had a good summer window, another couple of ‘ready’ signings in January coupled with the young coming through, and we may be on the road to exceptional. Proof & pudding comes to mind.



    Let’s get an exceptional result tomorrow, it could be the key to the title HH.

  11. McNut – let me be the first to say that Celtic are an exceptional team.


    10 domestic trophy’s on the bounce


    Treble Treble



    It’s not our fault teams pack defences against us.


    We still get the job done, exceptional I say.



    D. :)

  12. THEBHOYFROMU.N.C.L.E. @ 18:16



    LOL – yes indeed, more Junior, than Senior, I think. Unfortunately he was a bit of a ‘Slowbottom’ when at CP.



    Seems to have turned into Daniel Dan the striker man, at Norwich….although not “Frying tonight’……. at the moment.

  13. I think tomorrow’s game is really crucial.


    It could all be about momentum/ confidence, after the break.


    If your glass is half full, it has shades of when we won 2.0 Lambert and Burley and went on to win the league.


    If your glass is half empty, then shades of when they beat us 3.0 at Ibrox and went on to win the league, to stop 10 in a row, in the 70s.


    My glass is half full, it’s Celtic, for me.

  14. DAVID66 @ 18:26



    Ten honours in a row – three trebles on the trot – makes an exceptional club, as I said….but this team, this current team has not achieved this.



    Do you believe this current team is “”exceptional’?

  15. Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood early evening CQN………………..



    Last day in Scotland this year………………………….



    Flying back to the sun tomorrow, on flights that Mrs. Big Joe booked, several months ago



    And guess what………………………………..



    Yip……………………. we are flying during the Glasgow derby




  16. Whitedoghunch/JNP 6.33



    Eusebi Deli at Kelvingrove imo would test your Theory gents.


    Giovanna is doing some exceptional thing as there.



  17. McNut et alii


    If our precious treble winning sides are exceptional, then surely this team is.


    We have already executed part one of the current treble.


    We are playing in Europe post Christmas.


    We are leading the SPFL, where we are averaging over 3 goals a game at home.


    What further qualities do we need to be regarded alongside the recent treble treble sides?

  18. Celtic are exceptional, 3 disappointing results. One caused by tomorrows Ref in denying us 2 stone wall penalties. Christies rush of blood on Livingston Plastic & Brooney & Bain having nightmares in Cluj game.


    We have already played 37 competitive games, Topped our Europa Group beating Lazio Home & Away Won the League Cup & top the League.


    Fantastic season so far, yes a couple of performances were ropey but we still dug out results, and with winter weather, Industrial Opponents and dodgy Refs you can expect a few dodgy performances.

  19. JNP


    I was used to going to their deli in east end, I would go in looking for meatballs and come out with all sorts of pastas and rich meat dishes.They had the place at Kelvingrove but only opened 2 or w3 years back,Giovannas man takes a back seat now and restaurant is goin great.if your around give it a go.






    Hope all went well and goes great in new year



  20. Watching some old games and Defoe is a cheating wee rat as well.



    Wonder if he was like that down Soooouuuuf. Or has he learned it at Sevco, I know which one my cash would be on.



    D. :)

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