Toe-to-toe with the best


Rolling-over St Mirren easily tells you nothing about what will happen at the Camp Nou.  As it is, we performed as well as any team in Europe would have last night.  Inter Milan and Chelsea won the Champions League in 2010 and 2012 respectively after putting on a similar performance to Celtic in the most testing theatre in football.

The manager, players, supporters and everyone at the club deserve enormous credit for their part in this.  Celtic’s achievement is all the more remarkable when you consider they live within their means, and this is not a dig at some former domestic rivalry, the most consistent trait of those currently regarded as uber-teams, including Barcelona, is a refusal to limit expenditure to match income over any business period.  We can admire the art of this Barca team while looking forward to the day Financial Fair Play regulations inhibit their expenditure to the £200m-or-so a season more than Celtic’s income.

Barca will know they face a difficult task at Celtic Park in two weeks.  Our goal came, as I predicted on Sunday, after a free kick inside the Barcelona half was dropped onto an elevated Celtic head inside the box.  When the game is analysed I’m sure the coaches will conclude that we should have invited more challenges in similar areas – on the wing, circa 35 yards from goal. This is an easier area of the field to get possession in than the penalty box and, for Celtic, equally as dangerous.

Messi, Xavi and Iniesta got everything right for their first goal immediately before half time.  The passing was fast, tight and each first touch was excellent, but this was a rarity.  On all other occasions Celtic forced them into a pass which was too tight or too fast, or to simply make another safe pass and try again.

The second Barcelona goal was a consequence of defending too deep to press the cross.  It was the kind of goal you lose in the 94th minute on a huge pitch.

Celtic successfully defended corner kicks zonally.  For 70 minutes Barca took short corners, almost always to an unmarked player on the wing, Celtic didn’t mark this player all game, which brought a complaint from me every time, but they defended the zones the needed to inside the penalty area.  Conceding possession outside the box looked like a conscious decision.  Eventually Messi was reduced to pitching corners down the throat of the Celtic defence with predictable results.

There is still have a hard job ahead to qualify for the knock out stage or for the Europa League but we have gone toe-to-toe with every team in the group and have competed admirably with each – which was regarded as an objective as recently as last month.  I’m enjoying my football this season.

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  1. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Kano 1000





    Sir you manage to put our thoughts and dreamsinto words in a very eloquent and articulate manner. Congratulations on another marvelous essay.



    Re-posted but if you haven’t read Brogan’s latest, you should it’s a great read

  2. jimmybhoycampbell on

    I was so proud and happy that i had made the trek from Cambodia to be at the game last night, i enjoyed the great display from our young players, management and supporters.



    I was a wee bit disappointed in 2 aspect of the game-



    – i just wished Gary Hooper could have made the ball stick to him more often as it could have helped relieve the pressure of the defence.



    – i was hoping that we would not allow them to take short corners, i.e marking those players a lot tighter and forcing them to cross the ball into the box where it would have been to our advantage to win the header of for FF to collect..



    not complaining at all just an observation..



    btw..heading back to see the fholk in Glasgow for 2 weeks… this is a very loooong shot but anyone got a spare ticket for the return leg? here hoping :)






  3. Marrakesh Express on

    A mate of mine has compared last nights result to that of the 2-0 defeat at Anfield in 1966.


    I recall feeling gutted that night too, but a team was born on that occasion, and look what happened the following year. Of course its not going to happen again but we I’m sure we can use the Barca game as a springboard to greater things.




  4. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    You can see why Barca won things; some sides would have got to 90 minutes and settled for the draw, but they kept bangin’ away.

  5. from previous thread


    BRTH said…


    “apparently the Catalan stewards gave then a round of applause as they eventually left the stadium. I have never heard of that before– and I have followed football all over for decades.”



    We have previous experience of this .


    We got the same response from the San Siro Stewards a few years ago ( after extra time defeat against Milan under WGS) …


    it was the first Euro game after the Italian grounds had been closed due to death of a police officer… the Italian clubs were very nervous that the ‘next’ issue at a football ground could lead to more ‘interference’ from the politicians.


    I remember the side tunnels were filled with riot police ( who looked to be itching to bring out the battons).


    In a way Milan in particular ( and Italian football in general )were lucky it was us who were the visitors. We know how to win we know how to lose.


    We were seated three rows from the very top of the stadium and were just about the last Tims to leave . As we wound our way down the ‘helter skelter’ we could hear the sound of sustained applause (but did not know where it was coming from., or why)


    As we reached the bottom we saw that the stewards had formed into a human cordon on either side, to lead us toward the exit of the stadium grounds…. all the stewards were clapping us… it had taken us about 10 minutes for us to get from the top and we had heard the clapping all the way down…. thats a lot of clapping…. the stewards carried on until every Tim had passed only stopping occassionaly to shake hands with those on the fringes.


    Also had a smaller version at Villareal.



    Tims are fans and ambassadors



    The Onlooker





    Watched it in the house prior to nightshift.



    I take it The Tap and Barrel was jumping?



    I refused to go back in it after a wee row with some eejits who abused Henrik after he scored against us in 2004.



    Only went back for the ICT game earlier this season.



    It was admirably twatfree this time!

  7. Bom dia,



    Papers down here giving VERY positive reviews about our display last night (and quite happy that thon pesky Argy fellah, Messi never scored to get nearer to the Bleesed Pele’s record goals in one year tally).



    Also, the attached was released this morning by sports agency Pluri Consulants who have been tasked with investigating why Brasilian football attendances are so poor. Unfortunately, the summary is in Portugese. However, it reflects (dunno where they got the figures) average attendance for all clubs over the last season.



    World Top 100 Attendances (Pluri Consultoria, 24 Oct 2012)



    Quick summary – According to Pluri, Celtic is the 13th best attended club in the world and Sevco will need to better an AVERAGE of 36,916 attendance if they want to genuinely become “second toughest in the infants” of fitba .



    PS. Any word on Sami’s injury? Looked a sair wan.

  8. .



    Lenny’s toughest Job this Season will be to Keep these Young players Feet on the Ground..



    They have Done Nothing Yet..



    And Without Sammi and Skoosh..I fear for them..



    Personally l think Spartak could Gub us at Celtic Park..



    Basically we have been Lucky in Moscow..Unfortunate against Benfica..and Superb against Barca..But we LOST..




  9. BRTH


    You have got to stop writing this stuff,my wife keeps asking me ” what is wrong with you”


    I just say “it’s Celtic fault”.More power to your pen.HH





    Marvellous stuff.



    Do you know if the same has happened to fans of any other Glasgow clubs on their journeys abroad?

  11. Paul67



    I feel it will be impossible to keep this team together beyond this season. In saying that, if we can keep producing the likes of Tony Watt and finding an Efe Ambrose then we are in for a truly Golden Era.




    I think I upset some with my Forrest comment earlier. I did query if I was being harsh to blame him for the goal. As for being lazy tracking back, I will stand by that comment all day long…

  12. Love the Celtic Way last night…. Still Gutted but didn’t expect a result last night and we didn’t get one…



    Tin Hat On here…. James Forrest??? he has alot to learn and is an obvious talent…..kinda to blame for the 2nd goal, OK where was the RB??



    He never is ready for a ball!!! never on his toes expecting a pass…. he needs to be more aware of the pattern of play, most of the time he passes the ball and that’s him done. I see this in most games , others call it lazyness, I call it AWARENESS!!



    This awareness may come in time, but if he had this, the 2nd goal may not have happened.



    He needs to be on his toes all the time




  13. Steinreignedsupreme on

    Paul67 –



    When we lost in Switzerland last season the thought of playing in Barcelona in the Champions League was just a distant dream – the fact that we are all disappointed at losing in the Nou Camp last night says it all.



    This Celtic team is progressing at a wonderful rate.

  14. .



    The Onlooker


    11:58 on


    24 October, 2012


    from previous thread


    BRTH said…


    “apparently the Catalan stewards gave then a round of applause as they eventually left the stadium. I have never heard of that before– and I have followed football all over for decades.”






    When we Played Paris Saint German..We were Warned that PSG Fans were Looking for Trouble..



    At Half time they Played ‘Roll with it..’..The PSG Fans sang with Us..Best Singsong l have been in..



    At Full Time.. The PSG Fans threw Over their Scarfs..The Police came Over and Clapped Us..The Stewards took our Scarfs and Sang with us and as We Walked Out..and Had Photos took with Us..






    This is Celtic..




  15. Steviebhoy66



    Twasn’t Jamsie who’s job it was to stop the cross mate, he was in the right place but was part of the TEAM who didn’t stop the goal.



    Noscapegoats CSC

  16. The Lizard King on

    James Forrests face at the end of the gme was ashen – he knew he had the responsibility to track the lightening quick Albas run, and understood the cost of failing to do so. No excuses should be made by us – the boy was clearly aware of his mistake – we should be encouraged by this as acceptance is the first step towards redemption as we know from observing the Sevco zoo.



    So we shall see both the man management skills of Lennon and the application and professionalism of young Forrest in regards to how he learns from this and moves on in his deelopment.



    James Forrest has sufficient footballing and physical potential to aspire to play at the CL level every season. Let’s see if he has the mental strength.



    Exciting isn’t it?









    I think ‘their’ interaction with the ‘locals’ is usually summarised, and excused, by the Scottish journalists as ‘heavy handed policing’



    The Onlooker

  18. Paul67 – “When the game is analysed I’m sure the coaches will conclude that we should have invited more challenges in similar areas – on the wing, circa 35 yards from goal.”



    Paul – This osunds like classic Walter Smith methodology :-)





    Absolutely correct.



    We win as a team,we lose as a team,we learn as a team.



    Btw,Barca have won every game they have played this season-unless I’m mistaken-with the exception of a home draw v Real Madrid. To blame one player for us not doubling Barca’s failure rate is grossly unfair,IMO.

  20. I thought we were so unlucky not to get a point. All season I’ve been telling people we are a UEFA cup team, yet here we are sitting 2nd after 3 games. How wrong could I be. This is our level.





    Not sufficiently heavy-handed,IMO.



    Bring back the birch,or hanging,or a good old-fashioned boot up the erse…….

  22. Thank you Celtic for doing your best last night.Our tactical and espescially defensive discipline impressed me no end last night.We kept our shape.What impresses me most bout our team is the way we seem to learn and develop from each game we play,and we seem to be doing this at an increasing rate.I once again thank Neil and his background team for last night and hope we go forward now and with hard work qualify out of this group.It feels great to be a celtic fan.



    Much as I laugh(well who isnae?) at the self inflicted cheating and corruption with societies shame,this morning I smile and think of Jock Stein and thank him for fatal psychological injury that winning the European cup in 1967 did to the lot of them.



    ‘we did it by playing football.Pure,beautiful, inventive, football’,



    Sammi was a loss(any word?)

  23. time for change on

    Whilst I agree we win and lose as a team when mistakes are made thay need to be addressed otherwise that player will never become better. James has a lot to learn regarding defensive work something I’m sure he’ll develop.



    Still enjoyed last night for the manner in which the whole team played we are improving just hoping for a share of the spoiles when Benfica and Spartak meet next game otherwise two games could mean all to play for and with Barca going to Russia and the cold weather (already qualified) may work against us.



    loved seeing the Cetic and Barca fans sitting side by side last night.



    Hail Hail

  24. Summa of Sammi….



    talk like that will get the hounds put on you.



    I dont understand how people get so high and then so low regarding the games and performances.



    Sammi is the worst footballer ever, taxi, never wear the jersey again, (made up quotes from the blog over the past few seasons) but you get my drift.


    Now the same people gutted he got injured last night and hope hes back ASAP



    The team played great, unlucky not to get a draw, against a far stronger team in terms of players and wages etc…


    Cant wait for our first dropped points against a, smaller team in terms of the wages and income.



    Barca had players missing and are nowhere near being their best, we couldnt get a draw against them.



    I would be singing the teams praises if we had actually got some shots on target, and worried them. Barca even went 1 on 1 at the back they were pushing that many players up at the end. Just like what we do against wee teams we should be beating.



    I just hope every one remembers all this praise given to the players when heaven forbid we have been beaten or draw with a smaller club.

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