Since the Artmedia debacle, exactly 10 years ago this week, we’ve had some memorable Champions League wins, but while the subsequent period saw Gordon Strachan, then Neil Lennon, become the first managers to take Celtic into the Champions League knock out rounds, the third and fourth round qualifiers at Celtic Park have been tight.
We drew 1-1 home and away against Spartak Moscow, before that incredible penalty shoot-out win. Dinamo Moscow actually won 0-1 in Glasgow before Tony Mowbray’s team peaked with a 0-2 win in Moscow.
The 2010 tie against Braga was effectively over before we recorded a 2-1 second leg home win. In 2012 we took care of HJK Helsinki but not after a nervy week pondering if the 2-1 home win would be enough. It all came together in the next round, where we beat Helsingborg 2-0 home and away.
2013 saw a tight 1-0 at home to Elfsborg, where Mo Bangura almost stole the show with a shot against the crossbar, before the high water mark, a dramatic 3-0 at home to Shakhtar Karagandy, overturning a first leg 2-0 deficit.
Last season saw us benefit from a forfeit, overturning a 0-2 Legia win at Murrayfield, before Maribor won 0-1 at Celtic Park.
Home defeats to Dinamo, Legia and Maribor, and a draw with Spartak, were at the bottom end of the scale, although only Maribor progressed. We beat Elfsborg 1-0, HJK 2-1, Helsingborgs 2-0 and Shakhtar 3-0, the latter two are the only third or fourth round results which bettered last week’s win over Qarabag.
Clear inferences can be drawn. If you can’t do better than a 2-1 home win against HJK it doesn’t mean you’ll not go on to beat Barcelona by the same score a few months later. Struggling at home to Dinamo or Elfsborg is an immediate concern, but not something which will necessarily cast a long shadow over the season.
We have a hard game ahead this afternoon, but we’re favourites for a reason.
Win a Bumblebee shirt, courtesy of Magners
To mark the release of the Bumblebee shirt, our friends at Magners have offered a shirt to competition winners. All you need to do is answer this question:
In which African country did CQN readers fund the construction of four school kitchens?
Email your answer, with the country in the subject line, to email@example.com
Competition closes at 14:00 tomorrow (Thursday), so there’s not a lot of time. If you’d like to help towards the next kitchen, you can send a £1, or £2, here. Pile in, you know how effective Karma is in football!
A big Cheers to Magners.