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Toe-to-toe with the best

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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. RIP Michael Marra, saw him at Celtic Connections, with AWB, sang about The first Black Player to play for us

  2. pedrocaravanachio67 on

    or = our

     

     

    Also apologies, i said he was a dundee united fan, i think i’ve assumed this because of the hamish mcalpine song.

  3. Ernie,

     

    Don’t agree with you on everything – or even much – but I do like Randy Newman. Is he still around?

  4. South Of Tunis on

    southside ..

     

     

    Not a place for mass tourism . .

     

     

    Cefalu and Taormina host people with money in the summer .

     

     

    People do architectural tours of the Baroque south east towns like Scicli / Ragusa / Noto / Modica etc . . .

     

     

    Some do the ancient ruins of places like Agrigento..

     

     

    Towns with beaches get busy with holidaying Italians in August .

     

     

    My part of the world is beginning to see people doing Montalbano tours .

     

     

    Cheapy jet flights have increased the numbers of people visiting the likes of Catania and Palermo.

     

     

    I read a report on Sicilian tourism recently which said that many Northern European tourists didn’t like the fact that Sicily closes in the afternoon and that people from the UK didn’t like the fact that there are relatively few ” pubs “.

  5. pedrocaravanachio67 on

    Larky Celt, was at the same gig, here are the lyrics

     

     

    For Gil Heron, the first black professional footballer in Scotland and father of Gil Scott-Heron the great American poet and visionary.

     

     

     

    The flight of the Heron : Michael Marra

     

     

    When Duke was in the Lebanon

     

    Groovin’ for the human race

     

    Gil flew high in the western sky

     

    On a mission full of style and grace

     

    From Jamaica to the Kingston Bridge

     

    He was inclined to roam

     

    Drawn to the flame of the beautiful game

     

    Here was a brother who would not stay home

     

     

    Chorus

     

    Higher, raise the bar higher

     

    He made his way across the sea

     

    So that all men could brothers be

     

     

    When Miles was on the jukebox

     

    And Monk was on the air

     

    Gil crossed the ocean to the other side

     

    To play for Celtic with a noble stride

     

     

    The Arrow flew, he’s flying yet

     

    His aim is true so we don’t forget

     

    What it means when his name we hear

     

    The hopes and dreams of every pioneer

     

     

    Chorus

     

     

    Higher, raise the bar higher

     

    He made his way across the sea

     

    So that all men could brothers be

  6. Clutching at straws time-I thought Wilson was fouled by a Barca player whilst clearing from the edge of the box,just before the ball went out wide for the cross for Alba’s goal.Not sure where 4 minutes of injury time came from either.

  7. Hearts Transfer Embargo extended til 23 Dec ??The transfer window is shut….barring guys who are without a club.Useless punishment from a useless organisation.

  8. Celtic Football Club‏@celticfc

     

     

    Still in the mood for European football? Get along to Firhill tonight to cheer on Celtic against Aston Villa in the NextGen Series. KO: 7pm

  9. Steinreignedsupreme on

    Rioskorrie 15:09 on 24 October, 2012

     

     

    The 12 Pins can be lively – used to be a big Arsenal pub when they played at Highbury.

     

     

    The World’s End – about 200 yards north is probably the best put in that area.

  10. South Of Tunis on

    Butting in ——

     

     

    Yes — Randy Newman is still around .

     

     

    Coining it from the likes of Monsters Inc and the Toy Story movies.

  11. South of tunis

     

    Lack of pubs is a plus in my book.

     

    Not an easy place to travel to from these parts. Had to fly to Naples then drive down. Travelling back I had to sail from Palermo to Naples. Palermo is definately the maddest place I’ve ever visited. Mad in a good way though. And those granitas…. Mmmm

  12. Celtic_First-I thought we would have seen the game out if the foul was given,all ifs and buts now…….

  13. Bada Bing, Celtic First: It was Joe Ledley who cleared the ball and was clattered in the process. I was screaming for it at the time and Joe himself looked surprised when the ref didn’t give it. The clearance fell to Barca who worked the ball out wide and the rest is history. If that foul had been given we would have sealed a point in the Nou Camp. If that had been Mascherano clearing the ball and Hooper clattering him we all know what would have happened.

     

     

    Craiginho

     

    I’m Not Bitter CSC

  14. I have to admit that were I a Barca fan , I’d be screaming for them to sign a Sutton type player to come on as sub and get on the end of some of their wing play.

     

     

    By their own very high standards, they’re a tad predictable.

  15. Afternoon bhoys from a hun free mountain.

     

     

    Thanks to Oldtim and BT for their superb company yesterday, met Winning Gemmels young fella, a credit to you..

     

     

    BT the battery died last night, forgot my charger.

     

     

    Jeezo, Barcelona is a dear city

     

     

    The game.

     

     

    Superb defensive display, it was hard to see who was who in the second half, so really can’t comment much about things.

     

     

    A link to the goals would be apreciated.

     

     

    The only crit I would have would be not bringing MIku on when Sammi went off, we missed him big time, or switching Hoops for Miku, who from what I have seen can hold the ball up better than Hooper.

     

     

    Anyways, not really a slight on the team or the coaches.

     

     

    Qualification is still in our own hands.

     

     

    Was in awe of Barca’s hounding and ball retention.

     

     

    Our team hopefully will have learned a lot from last night, as will our coaching staff.

     

     

    The support was magnificent, at the game and in the city, a credit to the club and country, not that you will read or hear about them from the scottish msm.

     

     

    Got lost when we left the ground, got hearded away from the stadium, and Auldheid thought his radar was working, it wasn’t :>)

     

     

    Anyways, really thought we were going to get a well deserved point, the tension was, well tension that I have never experianced before, and then came the devestation.

     

     

    But to be seconds away from taking a point off the best team on the planet is in itself an achievement.

     

     

    Much richer clubs than us have gone there and been ripped a new one.

     

     

    Well done Celtic, proud to be a Tim.

  16. Woke at 5am this morning with a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. Bloody hell just 30 seconds from a famous result. Its hard just now to think of the Killie game but that is exactly what Lenny & The Bhoys have to do. A victory here and a victory against St. Johnstone this night week will soothe the pain a bit and build us up for the return game. Sickbutproud C.S.C.

  17. South Of Tunis on

    southside ——-

     

     

    The ” lack of pubs” thing is interesting . Met a couple from Bristol in Palermo .. A city where the average cafe sells alcohol 18 hrs a day . They complained that there was nowhere to ” have a good drink ” and that a woman in a wine bar had refused to sell them alcohol without food ..

     

     

    Sicilians drink but getting drunk is seen as being very uncool , vulgar and naff .

  18. It was good to meet Kickinthenakas as well, a gentleman.

     

     

    Also Tiny Tim, a pleasure, also met a few bhoys from dan saf, mainly lurkers but good Tims, and I hope they remember the top they promised me :>))))

  19. Craiginho-watched game in pub,wasn’t sure who got fouled but should have been given IMO.

  20. Siciliabhoy

     

    Not the best flier in the world, try to keep flights as direct as possible. That’s why I always end up in the Balearics!

     

    I’ve seen the odd chartered flight from Scotland, few and far between though.

     

    But I shall return!

     

    Loved the food and the local wines.

  21. David Peter Deans on

    Paul 67.

     

     

    Good point about the size of the pitch.

     

    Can we not make our pitch smaller for the return game, this will restrict them and make it easier for us to get closer to them and close them down and restrict there passing game . We all know how brilliant they can be on a big pitch. Just a thought.

     

    Hail Hail.

  22. Celbridge Celt on

    I hated watching Celtic chase and defend so much last night, but at the end of the day I think Lennon showed excellent tactical awareness regarding our opponents. I would have put on a tall player to replace Sammi and see if we’d get even half of the balls he was winning and successfully laying on last night…

     

     

    Ledley was my pick, I think he handled Messi as well as anyone I’ve seen – a few of our players have raised their own profiles based on the last 3 performances.

     

     

    Off to see Celtic on Saturday with the other half (her first time in Paradise), looking forward to it, I think the players genuinely need some lifting as they were so disappointed – I’ll be glad to lend my voice.

  23. Still feel gutted at losing that goal last night. These glorious defeats are tiresome.

     

     

    I was hoping Charlie would play left back last night with Commons in midfield. The rest of the line up was predictable. Having said that, I thought Izzy had a fantastic game. He is developing his defensive game and his all round awareness. Credit to the coaching team for that. There’s no point saying we should have done this or that, the team did exactly as Lenny expected them to have to do. Get behind the ball, keep shape and force them wide. The game plan put huge pressure on Izzy and Lustig and it worked for 93 mins and 40 secs.

     

     

    I think we will finish the group stage with 11 points and qualify for the next round.

  24. David Peter Deans

     

    Pitch size is registered at the start of the seaon with UEFA. Can not be changed during season.

     

    This rule came about when a certain cheating club ( now dead) allowed their European opponents ( Russian?) to train on the pitch the day before the fixture ,as this is a mandatory requirement.

     

    After they departed the stadium ,Souness ( for it was he) had the grounds men bring the touch-lines in about 3 yards on each side to negate the opposition wingers.

     

    Making a very wide pitch very narrow.

     

    The first anyone realised what had happened was when the teams were out for their warm ups the following evening.

     

     

    Cheats Cheat Cheats.

     

     

    The Onlooker

  25. petec

     

    16:23 on

     

    24 October, 2012

     

    Celtic Symphony with it’s conductor.

     

     

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2wIhlZ2KJk

     

     

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2NlXagj-l8

     

     

    What an incredible thing that we are witnessing, it would take a lot of soul searching if any of these young players were thinking of leaving this Club.

     

     

    Last 8 in the CL this year is definitely achievable and we will probably go further than that next season.

     

     

    ……….

     

     

    steady now

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