Tie remains alive but AEK did their homework


This is one of those hard ties to analyse.  AEK were no more than a decent team.  Certainly not a clear cut above, and for that reason, the tie remains alive.  But despite being preseason, they defended impeccably.

They did their homework.  Tom Rogic, who was immense on Saturday, was not given a yard.  Celtic opened well with Callum McGregor the principle threat, most often when linking with Kieran Tierney.  After those two crafted the opening goal, AEK man-marked McGregor out of the game.

James Forrest was effective when used; it was his change of direction which drew the second yellow card for Galanopoulos, but we were overtly left sided, reducing Forrest’s effectiveness.  Olivier Ntcham was our creative fulcrum after McGregor was shut down, but the normally incisive balls into the box didn’t quite come off.

A few early mis-steps from Jack Hendry were not punished, but the resulting nervousness throughout the crowd was clear.  Central defenders are crucial to how Celtic play.  If you inhibit their willingness to step forward or show for a pass, you inhibit the entire team.

I’m not sure what Kris Ajer thought when he let a cross ball bounce inside the box a minute from the break.  It was an inexplicable decision which brought AEK level and changed their game plan for the second half.  Even tiring with 10 men, they defended their box flawlessly.

We regularly tried to find Odsonne Edouard with a ball over the top, but invariably found the striker dropping off to take a ball to feet.  Nothing seemed to work for him.

A word on Scott Brown.  Much of what Scott does is understated but I thought he raised the bar last night.  He bossed all his personal challenges.

I called AEK favourites when the draw was made and they are more so now, but they are not Barcelona, circa 2010.  We have been here before; no throwing of towels just yet.

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  1. WHAT IS THE STARS on 9TH AUGUST 2018 11:51 AM


    Mark McGhee has arrived at Celtic Park,



    In discussion with Lawwell as I type this




    We are saved …Thank God





    Mugs £49 mugs £49


    Awe youse Celtic supporters are mugs £49



    BIG Mark McGhee will short everything oot for £49



    The pish smell in the jungle was brilliant, and the Kelly’s and Whites were brilliant only took £49 salary.






    Oooooooot for 49



    D. :)

  2. Or perhaps ‘scandalous if true…still worrying if not…..’



    Note the bbc seem to acquire the same ‘line to take’ that at least one well known Celtic blog chose to use.




  3. Go tell the Spartim on

    i always thought the most important person in a football club was the manager. Seems not

  4. Turkeybhoy on 9th August 2018 12:06 pm


    Yes there’s still three weeks for us to sign a defender (or two), and we could still move on Boyata and Simunovic to teams on the continent, but the bid for Boyata is from England, a very good bid. Boyata is suddenly now the saviour of the defence and our main hope for next week according to many, and, like it or not, the manager has effectively dared them to sell him. There is a rift and it needs to be healed asap



    I don’t think he’s that good, arguably our best defender but that’s as a result of years of neglect in that area of the pitch. ( would sell him, go with what we have next week and sign several new defenders over the next three weeks.

  5. 67 European Cup Winners on

    ERNIE LYNCH on 9TH AUGUST 2018 12:03 PM


    Ernie from previous post – I don’t know about the wages and its a fair point


    However McGinn is meant to be “Celtic minded” and wanted to come


    I just feel that there was a personal battle going on with Lawwell and Petrie and unfortunately for Celtic we lost




  6. David66 on 9th August 2018 12:06 pm




    The Club’s best days were under the Kellys and the Whites.



    We can now only dream about achieving what was achieved in their era.

  7. So,all of a sudden,the Media are to be believed.Especially those lovely chaps at the BBC.You know the ones.Those that almost to a man on here,are never done cursing them for their lies and bias.As well taking info from Level 5..I seen an answer on James Forrest blog which said,”If Brendan wants to go complaining to the Media,in full knowledge of how they will lap it up,and spin it,why is there such anger that someone frfrom the Board,allegedly did the same?

  8. Go tell the Spartim on




    in your opinion who is more important to our success as a FOOTBALL team, BR or a director even if its the FD ?

  9. Turkeybhoy on 9th August 2018 12:18 pm



    Are you naïve enough to think that members of the Celtic board will not use certain members of the media (or bloggers for that matter) to get their message out??


    Most I would take with a pinch of salt, McLaughlin’s story last night I would tend to believe. He even quoted the same lame excuse that P67 tried yesterday as to why McGinn signed for Villa.

  10. Gary 67,



    I agree.If the Boyatta transfer story was true,we should have punted him.It just seems to me that will still happen.What I find strange is,if it was BR who persuaded the Board to hold fire,as he needed him for the qulifiers,why not play him last night,instead of two,for a better word,trainees.I really think that if Boyatta and Simunovic had played last night,we would not have lost that goal.IMHO,but hindsight is wonderful.

  11. Ah Paul 67 – its all the supporters fault for worrying about a young CB who of course shouldn’t be exposed to this type of game unless he is ready.



    And of course you ignore the real issue emerging which is Rodgers unhappiness with our boards famous lack of ambition. Of course you do – just like your paymasters who have ignored res12 and then ignored the absurd decision to send it to the CAS.



    Its your way – deflect from key issues, squirrels and the reinvention of history.

  12. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on




    I’m afraid the title is McCoist-esque. That in itself is scandalous.

  13. Turkeybhoy on 9th August 2018 12:18 pm



    The blatantly obvious point is that one spoke publicly the other didn’t (assuming the story is true).



    The difference is crucial.



    The botched attempt (and the post event disinformation to save face) at signing McGinn is reminiscent of the botched attempt to retain Jackie Mac.

  14. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Always thought we would need to score an away goal to get through this tie. Looks like we may need two now. Really think we should have prioritised the defence. You can’t be giving away cheap goals at this level.


    Said before the Rosenborg tie that defending would become more important in the later rounds.


    Not all doom and gloom. If we can get a goal it completely changes the away goals dynamic, even if they also score.


    Will require a near faultless performance and – maybe more importantly – being clinical in the key moments.

  15. Who gives a f about John McGinn?



    Another McGinn keeping up the family tradition of trying to f Celtic over.



    Hardly worth the fret. move on.



    Young Arzani will dry yer tears.



    As for the whiny malcontents – you couldn’t move in here last night without fear of losing an eye from all the dummies flying through the air.



    One simpe solution to abate the tantrums and stifle the entitled sobbing- go win a game of football in Greece.



    And Celtic will, because – to quote the last line of Ali G’s article above – “but they is not Barcelona, circa 2010.”

  16. Spartim,



    Are they not supposed to be working together?.Brendan should have kept it in house.It was him that gave the Media their headline.He seemed to throw his toys out the pram over Mc Ginn.A guy most on heresaid we did not need,and bollox to Hibs and Petrie with their £ 4 million.Instead of Mc Ginn,his efforts would have been better used on the CH position,especially with the Boyatta situation.I accept the Board are the bad guys.Brendan is the heroThe way of the world.Like Administrators in hospitals,someone has to balance the books,not ever popular.Does not mean to say Brendan is always right.Thats only The Pope,is it not.

  17. garygillespieshamstring on

    Rt Rev Davie Hay



    Good to see you back.


    hope this isn’t just a flying visit.

  18. (From previous blog)


    Still raging about last night. Firstly, we generally played very well, particularly in the first half. The real reason we had a disappointing result, in my humble opinion, had less to do with the players on the field, and more with our lack of activity off it.




    Paul 67, whose opinions I generally respect, is of the opinion that the Greeks were complacent in their approach to the tie and that fitness levels would be telling late in the tie.




    Let’s leave that for the moment and look at the mighty Juventus. Like us, they are league winners seven times in a row. Feeling the hot breath of a resurgent Napoli on their necks, what did they do this summer? They identified weaknesses in their squad, offloaded ten players, including the retiring Buffon and aging Lichsteiner. They then brought in 10, (yes 10!) players, including Bonucci, Emre Can, Douglas Costa, and, just for emphasis, a certain Cristiano Ronaldo. Not exactly sitting on their laurels, are they?




    In our case, we observe Sevco, who scored more goals than we did in the league last season, replace their entire back 5 with McGregor, Flanagan, Goldson, Katic and Barisic (signed in 4 days), That appears to be a considerable improvement on last season’s duds, so I will be very pleasantly surprised if we beat them 4-0 or 5-0 this season. Arfield, Koulibaly and the ex-Roma striker I will not comment on, as I know almost nothing about them.




    So, faced with our rivals proactively addressing their issues to narrow the gap between us, what have we done to change personnel weakness on the field?




    Back to the Greeks for a moment. They also won their league, But they signed players to upgrade their team BEFORE the Champions League qualifying stage.




    I know which team has been complacent here. And it’s not AEK.



  19. Go tell the Spartim on



    The same administrator i presume was in charge when RD was in charge, notice the difference. We all get the necessity for someone to keep an eye on the books, your analogy of a hospital is a totally different can of worms (cant get treatment cause its too dear, is barbaric imho) though. As someone also pointed out, probably Ernie, at least BR has the balls to do it and not scurry to blogs and BBC wannabe journalists. you seem to lay all the blame at BR for recruitment, that seems well wide of the mark, if it was up to him im sure we’d have McGinn AND perhaps a decent CB well before now.

  20. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ DAVIDOPOULOS on 9TH AUGUST 2018 11:57 AM from previous article



    “To be fair, Brendan Rodgers has had 4 and a half transfer markets to identify a long term solution at centre back, and has thus far failed. He had two centre backs brought in back in January and neither of them are the solution. The issue is not one dimensional.”



    The two centre backs signed cost a combined £2m. Jack Hendry was released by League One Wigan in summer 17, played 6 months for Dundee and signed for us. How much can we expect of a player of that calibre? Also, Compper cost circa £800k. Now, if Compper cost less than Hendry that is indicative of his lack of quality or the fact that the German club realised he was finished with injuries.



    Rodgers has spent decent money on Edouard and Ntcham- both have been stand outs. I doubt that he had the same level of funds available and opted for Jack Hendry. It’s evident that with the resources made available to him, he deemed Hendry the best bet.

  21. Thought Brendan made an error not playing Jozo from the beginning.


    Great 35 minutes but we lost our way and Hendry became more hesitant as the crowd got on his back. We will do well to get through this tie.


    As for McGinn he had the opportunity to tell his agent he wanted to come here and no where else..he could have come here now if a price was agreed or January on a pre contract but he chose Villa and if it was for the money good luck to him. It’s football these things happen.


    Interesting week ahead Hearts and AEK games and transfer window really opens now for us.



    On another note to all our Croatia bhoys my son and his pals in Split looking for somewhere to watch the game Saturday and Tuesday grateful for any help



    Kikinthenakas ??? x 2

  22. Ernie,


    Would you not admit that the great majority on here were perfectly in synch with the Boards stance on Mc Ginn.Too expensive,good player,but not really needed.£ 4 million too much for a guy who could have signed for next to nothing in January.That was nearly the hymn sheet of all.


    When Brendan took the huff,and Villa came in,the Board,according to Lenny,matched the offer.I see nothing wrong in that.It was a failed attempt,but not down to Celtic,not botched.Down to one man only,Mc Ginn.

  23. One thing the last few days (or weeks) have proven AGAIN!


    It’s never boring being a Celtic fan!!



    Like many fans I was not too fussed about signing McGinn either way, I can see the point about him being a successor to Scott Brown and possible replacement if our captain get’s injured or just needs to be rested but wouldn’t imagine him going straight into the team, which is what we ned to improve!!



    But the BIG issue is the problem that it has created between Brendan and the board (Lawell)!!!



    It really is a big concern now that things are being said to the media from all angles regarding transfer activity or in activity!!


    It would be a huge shame / nightmare if this breakdown in communication results in losing our manager!!!



    Really hope Brendan, Peter, Dermot Desmond (whoever else needs to) can sit down and clear the air before the relationship breaks down completely




    Come on Celtic sort it out and quick because it looks like it is affecting the team on the pitch at the most crucial time




  24. Go tell the Spartim on

    I think there’s a whiff of a rhetoric being developed that BR isnt as good as we think he is, you notice subtle nudges, “AEK were no more than a decent team” this will continue unabated as we know who’s pulling the strings on this one

  25. 2 phrases from this article:



    They did their homework



    they defended their box flawlessly



    I would so love to be able to say that about us next week…



    I would so love to see this…



    But currently I suspect it will be disappointment on both



    Good learning for Ajer and Hendry but at this level to progress it needs more experience.




  26. So Mr Levein has confirmed the grass at Swinecastle is a bit long for the visit of the Champions.


    Is there or was there any need for him to bring this up, even if prompted by an agenda ridden smsm???


    Also is it wrong for me to want to punch his lights out??? Of course it is


    So I will settle for our glorious football team pumping them on Saturday.



    Come on Brendan get those bhoys fired up.



    Hail Hail ??????? – – – Loading



    D. :)

  27. Turkeybhoy on 9th August 2018 12:41 pm






    Are they not supposed to be working together?.Brendan should have kept it in house.







    Maybe you should be asking yourself why he went public.



    Like NFL he’s a dyed in the wool Celtic fan.



    Both of whom seem to have been driven to distraction by something whilst managing Celtic.

  28. 67 European Cup Winners on

    NEGANON2 on 9TH AUGUST 2018 12:26 PM



    AS always you go for the jugular but your point is correct


    PL has messed up and has some work to do


    Paul67 cannot and should not make PL the headline


    I posted the same on last blog








    Couple of points



    Paul67 got the McGinn story out yesterday just before the Live update on AEK Game (good time to hide a bad news story) deflect the real issue



    The real issue is this IMHO – Celtic wanted McGinn (Brendan wanted McGinn) But Peter wanted McGinn on the cheap, his ego and probably previous personal issues with Petrie clouded his judgement, Peter just lost a personal duel with Petrie, but more importantly Celtic lost the chance to acquiring a reasonable player



    The bridge Peter refused to cross was £700k (Villa paid £2.7m Celtic offered £2m)




    Peter’s credibility this morning is on the low side (This for someone who has defended supported praised him for years) Peter Lawwell not getting a player from Hibs is a bigger issue than the AEK equaliser last night



    My second point



    If you are BR you will be aware of the McGinn Lawwell Petrie £700k poker game and Brendan will be furious with Lawwell that he has not supported him by either



    a) Not paying the extra £700k






    b) Because PL does not want to be seen giving in to Petrie



    So while Peter is having his little poker game Brendan gets screwed – it is for this reason Brendan will be furious



    One more thing IMHO it would not surprise me if BR gave PL an ultimatum sell Boyata and I am off



    Hence Brendan being adamant Boyata is not going




    Conclusion the magnificent positive successful working environment at Celtic has been cracked for a pathetic £700k



    Oh Peter you have some work to do to rebuild trust



    £700k FFS



    PS I understand and respect Paul67 defending PL – this magnificant site ows a million thank you’s to Paul67 and his connection with PL and the club is vital




  29. Ive had this gnawing feeling for a few weeks now.


    The last few days confirmed it.


    I fear Brendan is lining up his departure.


    Whoever from the PLC spoke to the BBC should be ashamed. If it didn’t come from Peter then it would have been sanctioned by him.


    This tells me all is not well between PLC and Manager.


    Yet again the support will never the losers.


    Are people PLC concerned Brendan has too much clout , to much sway with the support?


    In the space of 1 transfer window we have contrived to create what is shaping up to be a crisis with our Managers future in doubt.


    His crime?




    He has earned the right to be ambitious.


    I believe he should be backed.



    Yet again , those in charge at our club are unmasked as penny pinching and unambitious.


    Quite honestly, this is an era we should all be savouring.


    I fear it is about to implode.


    I hope to God I’m wrong but our PLC’s record fills me with no confidence




  30. So the board are sending out info covertly and the BBC have Rodgers “fuming” at missing his number on me target, John McGinn so we are in trouble.



    From my perspective if McGinn was our number one target we are in trouble. Last night showed that Ajer and Hendry together won’t work at a higher level. Also, if PC Lustig is the answer, I wonder what the question is. Hendry was more uncomfortable on the left than the right; Kris Ajer had a brain freeze after Lustig failed to deal with his man.



    A sting ball player at the back with Boyata and/or Ajer and a proper right back if Gamboa isn’t it.



    Add to that someone who can open such a packed defence and we will get there.



    Having said that, we still have enough in the tank to overcome AEK if we perform to our best. We know we need to score and probably will. They will have to decide whether they stick or twist next Tuesday. Still all to play for.





  31. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see



    Look, I just think that the manager has to be accountable for his signings. Yes, he needs funds – the board must make more money available for quality defenders but Brendan Rodgers still signed these players, and none of his defensive signings haven’t been up to scratch.



    To clarify, I believe the board is letting Brendan, and us, down badly, but let’s not pretend that Brendan has made the best use of all the funds available to him.



    However, I’m not really interested in getting into the type of circular argument of the “here is half a page of why I am right and you are wrong” variety that you have been indulging in for the last month.

  32. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ TURKEYBHOY on 9TH AUGUST 2018 12:50 PM



    McGinn went for £2.7m. The £4m number was and has been proved to be pure speculation. Celtic supposedly matched the offer but by that point McGinn was already in Birmingham having talks/medicals etc.



    The whole situation stinks of our arrogance. Just like Oldco fans signing “we are going to take Scott Brown”.

  33. Iniquitous,



    To mention that mob across the City in comparison to us is ridiculous.You mention their buys.Apart from Mc Gregor,where is the proof they have signed better?Apart from our Media.Is that where you are getting it from?Nowhere else.We have the same squad who have cleaned up for two seasons.Yes we need a couple of additions,but we,in Brendans own words,have to wait to see who is available,and affordable.


    The comparison with Juventus is even more ridiculous.Owned by Fiat dwarfing everyone else in Italys budget.As you said,they replaced older players.We might not have the best defenders in the world,but as we have seen,both our CHs could sell for £ 18-20 million,the pair.Therein lies the problem.

  34. Reading on Phils site that the McGinn fiasco and dilly dallying by the board is not the first time this has happened to one of Brendans targets. Phil says it happened with a left sided centre back.



    I am not too fussed about McGinn (would have preferred him in our ranks though) going to Villa.


    I am worried about Brendans reaction to this, he is the best thing that has happened to our club in years, and don’t give me any of this it’s the board who don’t want us to win 10IAR pish to help keep £49 old firm alive, please spare me.



    I am worried if what Phil says is true.



    H H



    D. :)

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