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. celticrollercoaster loves Wee Oscar, our Celtic Warrior on



    12:57 on


    24 October, 2012



    Are you not behaving like a hun with that response?







  2. podium? :)






    A good analysis as always.



    I must say, some really good comments today.



    What an absolutely fantastic team Neil (and the whole structure of Celtic) has built.



    Make no mistake, Celtic now know they can beat any team, anywhere. That is special, very special. Last night was sore to take but I’d rather lose a late goal to that team than a Chelsea or Real Madrid.



    Bring on the Killie boys.

  3. .



    Paddy Power @paddypower


    Did you know: Celtic are the first team in 2012 to prevent Messi getting an assist or a goal!



    Paddy Power: Did You know: NO Team in Europe has been Able to Stop..Sammi Samuel Summer of Samaras Scoring a Sammi=Like Goal this Season in Europe..




  4. Last nights result imo probably means we won`t win the group.



    A lot of positives can be taken from the game, most positive


    was the defensive play, sets us up for benfica away.



    Fraser surely has to get a full cap for england sooner rather


    than later.



    Well pleased with victors discipline in not getting booked, especially


    as it looks like broonie may not make the return leg. A big decision


    awaits broonie on his long term fitness. Better for him and celtic


    if he retires from international football

  5. Often, I read contributions from Brogan Rogan Trevino & Hogan and wonder why he has never followed a career in journalism or the media in general (maybe he does contribute somewhere, I do not know).



    Then I think that it is a godsend. We probably wouldn’t get to read what he writes, free from the shackles of interference and negative influence.



    Brogan (wish I knew your real name), the stuff you write, especially about our team, is magnificent.

  6. kdc



    Who did you rate/not rate? Did you think Hooper and Izzy played well, for example, or that Mulgrew had a stinker?






    It’s early days still, but he’s raised the bar in my opinion – our best player, and I never thought anyone could dislodge Samaras. Our scouts and our management team are unearthing gem after gem. What a time it is to be a Celt.

  7. Afternoon, still feeling down after last night, which is a bit daft as we went there expecting nothing but having come so close to a draw it is a sore one. We are growing as a team and we are capable of finishing second in this group.



    my only observation on the game was the final sub, Kayal for Mulgrew, I felt Hooper was done in and putting fresh legs on up top would have been my preferance.



    Anyway roll on the weekend and lets get to Celtic Park for the Killie game and show the bhoys we appreciated their effore at the Nou Camp.

  8. Hello folks.



    What a tense game that was.



    On Forrest, I am not sure it is fair to apportion blame for the goal, as when he came on, he spent most of his time tracking back and got in a tackle or two and was a pest for the Barca players comin forward in the Celtic final third. Ultimately tho, it wasn’t enough sadly. He isn’t a defender and I think that should be recognised, and the one time it was really apparent was the goal.



    What a performance tho, resolute defending and high energy while all the while trying to play the ball and string some passes together, which often, they done very well.


    Notable mentions include the centre backs who mopped up nearly everything and had some amazing last ditch tackles.


    Vic also had a few crucial tackles and interceptions, but seemed to fade in overall play later in the second half. Izzy on the other hand had a very good game overall I felt but his clearances were horrendous at times. He did defend well, as did everyone, and showed why he was such a bargain with some deft play to relieve pressure and take it away from the box.



    It was clear to see that Samaras going off had a huge effect on our forward play, especially for Hooper. Hooper had the thankless task of taking us forward but last night, he was off the boil I felt. His first touch was mince for the most part and when he had the chance to run with ball, which was seldom, his luck was out (perfectly legitimate shoulder challenge called back for a foul) or he tried to takes extra touches or cut inside.



    Had Samaras stayed on, I reckon Hooper would have had the chances impact the game more with much of the space being opened up for him. He showed some good movement when off the ball but the metre backs had him marshalled well for the most part.



    Barca were capable of losing more goals and if some of our passing wasn’t so slack or panicked as it sometimes was, we could have scored again, and again maybe. Not to be tho, and everyone in the team can hold their heads high. If we can do that last night, Benfica and Spartak don’t seem like such a daunting prospect cos make no mistake, even missing a few players, Barcelona are still an excellent and dangerous side. Yes they should have won, but it seems the few differences between last night and the Chelsea semi last year were some anti football and Drogba up front. When Hoops is on his game, the cup is ours.




  9. South Of Tunis on

    Greetings from Park Guell .



    Last night ——– close but no cigar .



    An SMS tells me that Michael Marra has died .



    Knew him in his Hens Teeth / Mort Wriggle and The Panthers / Skeets Boliver days .


    A collective that used to boost their earnings by getting themselves booked as 2 different acts ——- eg —– Skeets Boliver would play a set , leave the stage , change their clothes and then take the stage as Mort Wriggle and The Panthers .. The typical dumb ass small town promoter regularly failed to notice.



    A passionate wee man . A wordsmith . A man with a self deprecating sense of humor. He often described Skeets Boliver as being the best ever band to play Brechin , Forfar and Montrose .



    Michael Marra RIP.



    I Hear You Bang Like a Shithouse Door CSC

  10. .





    12:57 on


    24 October, 2012..



    If You read Falkirk Bhoys response to My Post..All he was Doing was Agreeing with me..And Saying l would get Shouted down for it..



    You have been H*N-Like since then..




  11. thetimrieper-Spot on ,Brown has to be protected from himself.He should never have played for Scotland last week,given the games Celtic have coming up.

  12. Wish Barca would stop doin them wee dinks through and chips over defences



    Pure does ma nut in so it does



    Wanted to see them resort to punts from their ain hawf





    I doubt he could afford the wage cut!



    BRT&H’s stuff is consistently top-drawer,but he does it in his spare time.



    I think there are more details on his TWITTER page which explain how he spends the rest of his time.

  14. Re Barca’s winning goal last night; I reckon that if James had got to the ball first he would almost certainly have knocked it into his own net. There’s maybe even an arguement for saying that FF could have been more positive & cleaned out Forrest, Alba, the ball & 3 meters of turf in one mad mental Schumacher/Battistonesque lunge.



    Nope, no criticism of any of our players from me – although the goal appeared scrappy it was actually the result of a fantastic ball into the box. Undefendable, you might say (if you couldn’t think of a better word).

  15. I too believe that barca where not near their best last night..i was surprised actually at their lack of cutting edge [for them]…….i would say the belguim team last week against scotland look far more dangerous…however



    im kind of thinking the reason barca looked ‘underpar’ was down to celtics shape ,defending and tactics….i would be really nice to think that our manager [and team] really are that good!……..kind of scary to start believing i know…but even under o’neill celtic never ever looked as comfortable and quality/assured in the counter against world class oposition….are we about to move to the next level?…perhaps we are ..or am i just getting carried away by some long overdue european away performances.





    To be honest,I think Scott and the club have to realise that,for his own good,he needs to get his hip sorted.



    Paul McStay lost a lot of his career due to an ankle injury not being treated. I don’t want the same to happen again.

  17. celticrollercoaster loves Wee Oscar, our Celtic Warrior


    13:07 on


    24 October, 2012




    12:57 on


    24 October, 2012



    Are you not behaving like a hun with that response?










    I take it you’ve never had a look around FF and RM to see how a hun behaves.



    I happen to believe that the boy from Falkirk is trolling and has not the slightest intent in engaging in reasoned debate.

  18. Summa of Sammi….



    12:02 on 24 October, 2012






    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..








    The Spartak game worries me as well, purely because their lightning offensive line and the fact we gave them a real bloody nose.



    I think we should do our best to get two wins in the next two games. I certainly don’t expect to get the two wins but I definitely think this team is capable of getting them. ;)



    These experiences for a team so fabulously young are absolutely amazing. And next year they will be even better.

  19. Philbhoy - It's just the beginning! on

    Bhoys, Bhoys Bhoys!



    This is a wonderful time to be a celtic supporter!



    So much good going on and to look forward too!



    Now, agree to differ, then shake hands.



    C’MON THE CELTS!!!!!

  20. The much-criticised (by the local support) Pedro has just given a comment at a launch event for some watches.



    He said with respect to the game against Celtic that, like other teams that have come to the Camp Nou: “They shut up shop, which makes things difficult. Unfortunately, that’s the way some teams play.”



    Wee Pedro must be feeling hard done by as he was relatively poor and got hooked and nobody missed him.

  21. Commons behind Sammi would have been my choice up front, and after last night that conviction has only strengthened. Commons’ initial play after coming on was terrific – great vision and awareness. This was clearly a player with something to prove to the manager, and the fact that it was Barca didn’t phase him one bit.

  22. reilly1926



    Not that it matters I can confirm ole Falkirkbhoy is defo no Hun (he is ugly but defo no hun).



    Canny fathom his comments either but we all have our opinions.



    Last night I thought we were brave, defended like I’ve never seen a Neil Lennon Defence defend, looking like we had a well drilled defensive unit used to playing with one another and protected by a superb midfield trench.



    I did not think we attacked well however in the few opportunities that arose. We should have been taking on their defenders to draw fouls (Sammi apart this did not happen much). Young James pulled out of attacking players a few times to pass back the way when he should have been hitting the bye line area and drawing fouls.



    I was disaapointed that we did not keep posession a little more and appeared in fear of the Barca players tracking us back meaning players pumping ball into no mans land rather than hitting a fellow bhoy.



    But still. Unlike Falkirk bhoy I am not disheartened. I am 100% proud of our team and believe neil Got the tactical setup just right.



    Did I dream of being where we are this time last season. Not in a month of Sundays.




  23. barca players have every right to complain about shutting up shop styles at the nou camp when the top english,italian or even german sides visit…however against european clubs like celtic who work on a fraction of their [barcas] budget they have a huge cheek…pedro is a numpty!

  24. The biggest triumph for me last night was the coaching,of which I have been critical in the past.In domestic football,we have the equivalent possession and pressure to win like Barcelona.So to coach a team in to defending against the best team on the planet like that was exceptional.Especially given the lack of time to organise due to the useless international break.Great all round performance,15 seconds from one of the best results in our history.We can go to Benfica with great confidence now,with a bit more of an attacking edge.

  25. South Of Tunis on

    DBBIA ———



    I have been told that Michael Nesmith is performing at Oran Mor on 26 /10 .



    I assume you will be going . Gonna ask him to play ?- Joanne . Please . .



    I would love to be there !

  26. @up_over_goal



    I’m surprised you gave Izzy a 3/10 score. I thought he blocked Pedro a world class player all night. A few weeks ago when the match was first announced and he was in poor form my first thoughts were ooohhhh.. Izzy – Alves – Pedro!!!!! As it turned out Alves is injured and Pedro got no change at all. Izzy never got forward but I’m pretty sure that was instructed.



    Personally after Browns man of the match performances in several recent European games I thought he looked unfit and slow to turn last night. Worrying.



    Standouts for me were Ambrose who had worried me with some casual play now and then. Fully concentrating on defence though he was quick, strong, aggressive and most importantly alert.



    Going forward we need Miku to step up I feel and add another dimension to attack without Samaras – perhaps for the next Barcelona game or even Benfica and Spartak. In Europe we are not too sticky at the front.



    …Finally I don’t really blame Forrest for the goal at the end. When you freeze frame you can always pick someone and say if they were 3 yards positioned that way or didn’t let that guy get a 1yd run on them then the goal would have been prevented. Forrest reacted – he wasn’t careless- he just reacted a fraction of a second later than the intended recipient of the cross.

  27. Real Madrid star Ozil has been trying out different football boots since Los Blancos’ pre-season tour of the US, more often than not appearing in adidas Predator LZ’s or all-white adidas F50 adiZero’s.



    However, during this weekend’s 2-0 win over Celta Vigo, Ozil was back in the Nike Mercurial Vapor VIII – causing many to believe that the German international had come to an amicable agreement with the American super-brand.



    This week, though, has revealed a different side of the story as details of Nike’s court case against Mesut Ozil have come to light.



    Despite Ozil’s contract with Nike ending in the summer, after the former Werder Bremen star turned down a lucrative deal, under the terms of the old contract Nike still retain the right to match any other brand’s offer of individual sponsorship.



    So, Ozil can continue to wear the Vapor VIII’s he wore at the weekend or he can wear black or white-out cleats for the best part of six months or face a fine of €150,000 a day.



    On the other hand, adidas could go through the official channels and table an offer for Ozil – though they would be forced to compete with Nike’s counter-offer should they do so.



    The reality is, with Ozil participating in no major international tournaments in the next 6 months and the Champions League final not until the end of May, adidas will likely want to take advantage of the disagreement with Nike and will simply wait until mid-April to sign Ozil up.



    Ozil isn’t the first superstar to underestimate the binding power of a Nike contract; AC Milan’s Robinho began testing Mizuno and adidas boots as he assumed his contract with the Swoosh was over – only to find his contract had auto-renewed and he now technically owed €300,000 per day he was spotted in a competitor’s footwear. Ouch

  28. If Sammi is out for a few weeks,it’s time to give young Tony Watt some experience and prepare him for Benfica.He is young but has the ability,kids are fearless at his age.

  29. Afternoon all, not been able to post for a long time because of illness. Anything been happening?



    I managed to see last night’s game though and everyone seems to have said everything about it. Obviously there are a few different opinions going about but the concensus seems to be that that was a superb defensive performance. Very disciplined! I ain’t going to disagree with that.



    Lenny is building something that is starting to look magnificent. If he stays and we can keep the team together I think we can go on to do something really special within five years. I love what I am seeing. I remember watching Celtic back in 1966 (and the tail end of 1965) and I had a similar feeling then.



    I don’t think we’ve had such a good crop of players since the Quality Street Gang. The question is, will they have the desire and the hunger to strive for what – in the great scheme of things – so few players actually achieve or will they chase big money at the likes of Swansea and Wigan?

  30. .





    13:22 on


    24 October, 2012


    celticrollercoaster loves Wee Oscar, our Celtic Warrior


    13:07 on


    24 October, 2012




    12:57 on


    24 October, 2012



    Are you not behaving like a hun with that response?










    I take it you’ve never had a look around FF and RM to see how a hun behaves.



    I happen to believe that the boy from Falkirk is trolling and has not the slightest intent in engaging in reasoned debate.






    I Personally believe Behaving H*N-Like is..After Celtics Best European away Display in Maybe 20 Odd Year..Is Someone Who talks and Thinks H*N..



    Why Not just Praise Celtic..?



    Why would that be in your Thought Process..?




  31. myboysnowatim


    13:13 on


    24 October, 2012


    Often, I read contributions from Brogan Rogan Trevino & Hogan and wonder why he has never followed a career in journalism or the media in general (maybe he does contribute somewhere, I do not know).




    What a shocking thought. I am sure that BRTH uses facts, and can back these up by research whereas your proper churnalist takes the handsheet from Chuck Green and regurgitates it.



    I take it there is no blame on FF for the second goal last night? What happened to anything in the 6 yard box is the keeper? The ball bounced 3 yards out.


    In all honesty, lets blame no body, defensively we were brilliant, even the first goal is unplayable, he slips as he shoots fgs.

  32. pedrocaravanachio67 on

    Hello guys, i’ve just recieved the sad news that Scottish singer songwriter Michael Marra passed away last night.


    A Dundee united fan ( with a VERY big soft spot for Celtic ),had the pleasure of meeting him a few times and seeing him perform on a few occasions also. A great musician and genuine lovely guy.



    RIP Michael Marra.

  33. Malarkey



    I think the whole team was set up to block, and did that job well. The difference between Izzy and, say, Lustig and Ambrose, was that they kept the shape/blocked but also, when they had the ball, did something with it rather than lob it straight back to Barca. From a player of Izzy’s quality it was disappointing.

  34. Surprised that Izzy is not receiving more praise.



    I thought that he was outstanding and not once did Pedro or anyone get past him on the wing.



    After a while they stopped trying.


    Add in his covering of a dangerous cross at the far post, preventing a tap in, and you have an accomplished performance from a gifted player.



    His job last night was not to go marauding down the wing.

  35. What’s the score with Sammi? Last night, Neil was saying 2 weeks at the most, while someone else rumoured he would be out for 3 months.

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