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. ‘GG on 28th December 2019 6:19 pm



    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.






    A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched by a team mate.



    Certain restrictions apply but nothing to do with being in an offside position prior to the offense.

  2. JNP 6.39pm



    One of my favourite ever games but it was Burley (77mins) & Lambert in (86mins) … £10 on Burley and 2-0 at 110/1…. pretty sure Negri (?) dived for a penalty around the 93rd minute … big “Rab” who was the manager in William Hills on sauchiehall hall street greeted me with … “I was wondering what cnut put this on, might have known it was you” … I just smiled and said heehaw :-)



    Am meeting up with a couple of bhoys tomorrow who were with me that day back in January 1998 … terrific memories

  3. DAVID66



    I put a link up on the first page about 5 0clock , its a video of CELTICS ten years of domination….



    Worth a look imo .

  4. Minceyheidman


    So we are in agreement?


    I can’t imagine the damage Dallas’ clones could inflict on us if it were implemented in a similar fashion in Scotland.

  5. GFTB on 28TH DECEMBER 2019 7:33 PM



    There were a half dozen of us from the vogue put a lousy quid on same bet……back from game to £111


    a magic night :O) hh

  6. I’m reasonably confident about a Celtic victory in tomorrow’s fixture.


    So far this year we are pretty sound at home.


    We pumped our opponents at their place.


    We won the League Cup against them playing with 9 men for 60 minutes, on a monsoon soaked, ploughed field, ( Elyanousi unfit and Morgan never a centre forward), brought on a half fit French Eddy and Mikey to score the winner, when 11 v 11. Then spent the last 35 minutes playing with 10 men and they did not create a single chance until the 93rd minute when the miss master did his usual.



    Tomorrow we will have a fully fit , first choice 11. Perfect conditions, home advantage and they might be stupid enough to try to attack us, leaving their porous defence at the mercy of our front 4.



    My only concern is the man in black.


    If I were seethin’ I’d play their backs to the wall, Europa defensive set up, hoping for a refereeing decision or a lucky break. Maybe even the chance of the £30 million man sneaking something somehow.



    I hope they believe the hype and try to go toe to toe with us.


    We will absolutely destroy them.


    We turn up , we win.



    Glasgow’s green and white.




  7. Cheers Marspapa – I will have a wee watch after, I’m on sky sports just now watching 2-0 To the bhoys At bigotdome.


    Taverniers starting position is always half way lne whether he is defending or attacking. Mikey Johnson looks as though he was told to mark him.



    First goal came from them trying to get ball to Taviernier and Mikey intercepts passes to Eddie and well the rest is history.



    D. :)

  8. GG



    I am a match official and also an instructor here for match officials.


    Looking at the Pukki incident if he is deemed offside because of the position of his shoulder then the guy in the VOR ( Mike Riley in this incident), should ask himself if a goal could be scored legally with that part of the body.


    Not offside for me.


    Another question that needs asked is was Kane offside for the Norwich handball which led to the goal from the free kick, that in itself not an offense but if deemed to interfere with the opponent then offside should e called.

  9. Use of the top of the shoulder is allowed when controlling the ball, that’s where it’s getting messy

  10. VP 7.39pm



    My brother worked in local social club, he phoned ma mum to tell her about the winnings (he had heard before he had even spoke to me) so I couldn’t even keep it quiet, spread like wild fire on the jungle drums in ML5 …. pretty sure that victory was a major factor in Wim stopping the “cheating 10” happening

  11. celticbynum8ers






    7h7 hours ago




    All those asking about Forrest on the left vs right.



    All competitions – he has 1806 minutes starting on Right and 852 starting from Left.



    Forrest has 8 Goals + Assists in 8 starts on the Left



    He has 21 Goals + Assists in 21 starts on the right!

  12. JNP 8.03pm



    These days just novelty bets on this type of fixture so if it’s 2-0 then I hope big Julien gets both, bet him 2+ goals in the cup final 300/1… if wee Frimpong hadn’t been sent off the big man could have sneaked another .. so Julien 2+ will be on tomorrow, I like a daft pound on a hattrick so might go for our very own Invisible Bhoy the morra… there’s only one James Forrest :-)



    By the way saw your post earlier terrific news Mikey J signing a new deal, many of us forget how young this exceptional team are

  13. ADI_DASSLER on 28TH DECEMBER 2019 5:48 PM






    Bombay blues just outside on Hope St used to be ok & had a good day feeding .homeless on xmas day





    Bombay Blues??? Sounds like a hun shop??!



    I’d recommend the Green Chilli Cafe. Never been but it’s got all the right words in there….




  14. how vivid is this picture, the colours , the strength, its brilliant.



    Jimmy Johnstone, centre, puts on his boots in the Celtic dressing room at Hampden Park before a pre-season friendly match against Tottenham in August 1967. It was the Lisbon Lions’ first match on Scottish soil as European Champions and the match ended in a 3-3 draw, in front of a 91,000 plus crowd


    Photograph: Gerry Cranham/Offside







  15. All the talk about beating the Huns in 1998 led me to do a very strange thing. I googled back and found a 30 minute video pf the Hun/Killie game think it was 2nd May, when Tait played the extra time & Killie scored right at the death. Seeing the large tranche of Killie Supporters celebrating was a reminder how the landscape has changed in the Scottish game over past decade. Anyhow I enjoyed my wee watch.

  16. Am pretty sure Bobby Tait “requested” that game at Ibrox as he was retiring …



    we were never (and still shouldn’t be) paranoid enough



    Stevie Gee putting pressure on the refs is a good thing for us, can’t highlight the cheating enough … even though that’s probably not what Steven is intending

  17. GFTB



    Terrific memories, better than yours mate, Burley scored in the first half :D



    Was running a CSC in Split Croatia at the time.

  18. Corkie GFTB.


    Yes indeed, he did request that game.


    The same Mr Tait now does after dinner speeches, in those sort of places, where you wouldn’t find many/if any, Celtic fans.

  19. Sid, from Celtic Wiki


    Burley scored in second half.






    Gould ; Boyd , Annoni, McNamara , Rieper , Stubbs , Larsson , Burley , Brattbakk (Jackson ,84 ), Lambert, Wieghorst


    Subs not used: Donnelly, Hannah ,


    Scorers: Burley (66), Lambert (85)


    Bookings: Boyd, Lambert (Celtic)





    Goram, McCall, Cleland, Gough, Porrini, Albertz (Gascoigne ,71 ), Thern, Ferguson, Negri, Gattuso (Durie ,59 ), Laudrup


    Subs not used: Snelders,


    Bookings: Gough, McCall, Negri (Rangers)



    Referee: H Dallas (Motherwell)


    Attendance: 49350

  20. Other, interesting memories from that game.


    Once again, thanks to Celtic Wiki.


    This was the Gascoigne’s flute playing game, where the less-than-respected oaf did his fantasy musical act to the crowd whilst warming up .



    This was also the game in which Andy Goram wore a black armband, as he said , for his deceased aunt, Lily Scoles, and not for the Loyalist Billy Wright who had just been killed in the Maze, as was alleged by some parties. Lily Scoles died on 5/10/97.

  21. DAVID66 on 28TH DECEMBER 2019 8:12 PM


    Marspapa – just watched the vid.







    WOW – just – WOW














    D :)




    DAVID66……. I Watched the BROONY dvd yesterday (Chrimbo prezzie) absolutely loved it.


    His last game for hibs against us too ……scored a diving header from 16 yards ..wow


    His tussles with Lenny , putting BOBO on his arse and getting BOBO sent off lol.



    Tommy , Mobray , Strachan , Lenny, Deila, Brendan, Lenny ……



    From an all action attacking midfielder to the player he has become today , there surely has to be a statue of him outside Celtic Park …..and thats coming from me ,who didn’t like his on field noise up attitude……that beaming smile

  22. For 45 minutes in Rotterdam Sevco were played off the pitch and should have been more than a goal down.



    That’s our template – a high press and high tempo. I’m confident we’ll get our win regardless of whether we go for Ntcham or Johnson.



    A draw is not a disaster but it’s certainly a much better result for them. We had a chance last year going into this game to go 3 clear with a game in hand and we blew it. This year we’ll not make the same mistake, 3 points tomorrow and we’ve got one hand on that championship trophy. Nothing less, Celtic.

  23. Sid 8.57pm



    I think you were a hour behind us in Split :-)



    Always thought it was 77mins & 86mins but seemingly 66min & 85mins…



    Sid … at least I got the result right :-)

  24. Rumours on various sites


    Gordon in for FF.


    Brown’ fitness to be assessed tomorrow.


    Please don’t shoot the messenger

  25. Just thinking with the West Ham job vacant, how strange that the SMSM have never linked Gerrard with a move down south, given how great he clearly is, according to their coverage. Odd.

  26. Sat in the temporary stand the day burley and lambert scored in the 2nd half.Easy mistake to make 😉

  27. ‘GG on 28TH DECEMBER 2019 9:09 PM


    Rumours on various sites



    Gordon in for FF.



    Brown’ fitness to be assessed tomorrow.



    Please don’t shoot the messenger






    Rumour is from Huddleboard. Probably nonsense like most of their stuff.

  28. Marspapa – the role that Broonie plays for us is a thankless one and one that many will not appreciate until he has retired.


    We had Lambert and Grant years ago but none of them could lace Broonies boots in my humble opinion.



    D. :)

  29. St STIVS



    Great picture!



    I was at that game.



    A wonderful advert for pure football!



    Thanks for posting!

  30. Interesting stat heard on ‘off the ball’ today.The last team to score against us in a Scottish League cup final when we were victors was ******* in 1982.




    Here’s hoping the manager ( Mr. Lennon) has the ear of every player before tomorrow’s game and stresses the


    importance of no player hiding and what it means to the ‘Celtic Family’ that a victory must be got.The fans have a part to play from the first whistle,encourage the team to victory and make December a month to remember.




    For we only know…….

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