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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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727 Comments

  1. Gene's a Bhoys name on

    David Peter Deans

     

    I posted this earlier on pitch size

     

     

    Gene’s a Bhoys name

     

     

     

    11:27 on 24 October, 2012

     

     

     

    Celtic Park is 2metres shorter and 6 metres narrower than Camp Nou – or 778 sq m less area.

     

    Will this make a difference

  2. Anyone ever have problems using the online ticket sales for Celtic? I don’t buy tickets too often but I sledom manage to do it without some sort of herculean trial being put in the way!!!!

  3. petec

     

     

    If any of our young players were offered twice,or more wages than they are getting with Celtic, or were offered a move to a top team playing in a [ Big-Rich ] league, we wouldn’t see them for dust.

     

     

    Sad, but just the way it is.

  4. what a queer day – hungover, drained and stunned, god knows how the squad feel

     

     

    we have no right to that scoreline even with a last gasp winner

     

     

    i don’t know how we do it

     

     

    there is talent in the squad

     

    there is talent in the manager

     

    and the board’s strategies are spot on

  5. Speaking on the club’s official website, Lawwell said: “It was a tremendous occasion and one that we were delighted to be involved in.

     

     

    “The UEFA Champions League is the stage which Celtic strive to compete on, and we have shown this season that we deserve our place alongside Europe’s elite.

     

     

    “To play a team of Barcelona’s quality, rightly regarded as the best club side in the world, is the toughest football challenge we can face, but Neil and his players rose magnificently to that challenge.

     

     

    “And they were desperately unlucky not to get what we all felt would have been a well-deserved point for our magnificent efforts.

     

     

    “There is a great relationship between Celtic and Barcelona going back many years and the welcome we received from the club and the city of Barcelona was, as always, fantastic.

     

     

    “We now look forward to welcoming Barcelona and their fans to Glasgow in two weeks’ time.

     

     

    “As for our own supporters, they have shown once again why they are so special and so important to the club. Their backing for the team throughout the match was tremendous and I’m sure they were very proud of the performance the players produced.

     

     

    “To have so many fans travelling to Barcelona to support the team is a tremendous boost for Neil and the players, and I know it’s something they all appreciate.”

  6. Miki67

     

    Yup. Michael Bichard who used to be the CE of the benefits agency- retired at 54 on a huge non contributory pension paid for by the mugs ie you and me.

     

    A complete and utter fud.

  7. I think Lenny summed it up perfectly, “bitter sweet”.

     

     

    Well done Lenny & the coaches, well done the players, well done the supporters, well done Celtic.

     

     

    The last 16 and beyond is well within this teams capabilities.

     

     

    BroonSauce

  8. miki67

     

     

     

    16:32 on 24 October, 2012

     

     

     

    Have you heard about the Lord who wants O.A.P.s to work for their state pension? I kid you not.

     

    ================================

     

    They are so confident in their domination over working people that absolutely everything and anything is fair game to these leeches.

     

     

    Apathy however is our bigger enemy. Many more people will have to suffer before people get off their asses and stand up against these b&^%^^%$.

     

     

    Get up people, get up.

  9. Marrakesh Express on

    Its good to know that we can rest half a team on Saturday and give valuable game time to the likes of Watt, Commons, Kayal, Lassad, Miku, McGeough, McCourt and Rogne. (forgot anyone?).

     

     

    hh

  10. THE EXILED TIM

     

     

    There is no Club in the World bigger than Celtic, we all know that, and it is important that our young stars really realise that.

     

     

    It will be, as I say, incredibly difficult for any of our players to leave Celtic, especially when we get better and better still and we will.

  11. petec/TET

     

     

    I think neil recognizes that fact, and the club policy seems to reflect

     

    that. If we sold two players this season for say 15m plus the CL money

     

    Celtic as a club would be in a very strong position.

     

     

    Personally i would like celtic to keep the players together for a few seasons yet

  12. miki67

     

    16:32 on

     

    24 October, 2012

     

    Have you heard about the Lord who wants O.A.P.s to work for their state pension? I kid you not.

     

     

    …………

     

     

    How did that imbicile get a peerage?

  13. Even if it is to be the Europa League,I think we could go far in that competition .Embdae know the difference in money from 1 last 16 CL game to a few rounds of the EL?

  14. greenjedi-How did that imbicile get a peerage?

     

    For coming up with ideas for the plebs probably.

  15. thetimrieper

     

     

    The next players are out there being sourced right now in case any of these young stars do want to leave.

     

     

    This Club is fundamentally right, it always has been and always will be.

  16. greenjedi

     

     

    16:56 on 24 October, 2012

     

     

    ‘Does anyone else think Cameron & Co are doing all they can to ensure a Yes vote in 2014?’

     

     

     

    No.

     

     

    I think they’ve seen the mess that Salmond and the nats are making and have assumed it’s going to be a no, and by a substantial majority.

     

     

    To be fair that’s pretty much what a lot of nats are thinking too.

  17. petec-thetimrieper

     

     

    Obviously I would like the players to stay together for a year or two, but it’s not going to happen, we are, untill we vacate hunland, a club who has to buy to sell.

     

     

    We have made over 20 mill euros so far from the CL, a few more points a few bob more.

     

     

    I can’t speak for the players, but say Vic for instance, he has already said he wants to play in the EPL, money talks, and it talks loud.

     

     

    I don’t know if a few games in the CL is enough for some players, who knows, time will tell.

     

     

    Most players these days are mercenaries, money and exposure is all they think about, they don’t have the same pull to the club as we do, unless they grew up supporting the club.

  18. traditionalist88 on

    PeteTheBeat

     

    15:44 on

     

    24 October, 2012

     

    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.

     

    ==========

     

     

    Was very evident during their game against Chelsea when they got in more good positions out wide than they did against us, only to cut the ball back and almost start the move again because there was no one with the strength or physical presence to attack a good cross.

     

     

    It cost them the trophy last year so yeah, it’d be an idea for them to increase their options.

     

     

    Their first goal against us last night was precision passing but even they can’t rely on producing this all the time.

     

     

    They have weaknesses and hopefully we will take full advantage in 2 weeks.

     

     

    HH

  19. TET

     

     

    If celtic get two or three seasons from some players

     

    and are able to generate a healthy profit when their

     

    sold on , and continue to do that, season after season

     

    the future is ours

  20. James Forrest – Why do you waste your time by comparing Neil Lennon with Ally McCoist ?. Please let them fade away – time is now the only obstacle to oblivion for them. Pleased to see you are now fully behind our manager. Not so long ago you were telling us he was out of his depth.

  21. James Forrest is Neil Lennon! We are ALL Neil Lennon! on

    mncelt:

     

     

    Like a lot of Celtic fans, I have had a complicated love affair with Neil Lennon. The man’s character, and strength, were evident, but let’s be under no illusions about it … had he failed, had he proved unable to handle the job, it would have been right – and it was right at the time – to ask searching questions about that.

     

     

    He has proven himself, and I have no problem worshiping at his feet.

     

     

    In case you hadn’t noticed, I wasn’t comparing them. I said at the end it’s unfair. There is no comparison at all. Lennon is on another plane of existence.

     

     

    I am comparing their treatment by the press … and I am asking “Who’s laughing now?”

     

     

    GIRFUY, McCoist, in other words ….

  22. jimmybhoycampbell on

    itsabouttim

     

    14:15 on

     

    24 October, 2012

     

     

    thanks a billion, i will be arriving back in the dear Green place tomorrow and will def be on the lookout for you post on Friday.

     

     

    btw Paul67 has my email if you need to contact me.

     

     

    much appreciated (even if it doesnt happen :) )

     

     

    jimmybhoycampbell

  23. SoT @ 15.32,

     

    Thanks for butting in (or “grazie” as I’m in Ostuni). Haven’t heard Mr Newman for a long time, but Mrs IC does most of the radio-listening.

  24. Mr Singh’s in Elderslie Street doing very hot stuff just now,building well alight seemingly.

  25. I agree we need to keep our coaching staff.

     

     

    I would hope PL manages to give them a pay rise from the millions they have brought into the club.

     

     

    Much richer clubs might come a calling otherwise, not that I think money will have a pull for Lenny mind you.

     

     

    I think JP is safe enough as long as he wants to stay.

  26. James Forest is……

     

     

    Enjoy reading your articles. There`s a lot of that selective memory

     

    loss going around

  27. James Forrest is Neil Lennon! We are ALL Neil Lennon! on

    THE EXILED TIM:

     

     

    John Park is one of the unsung heroes of last night’s great display.

     

     

    Ambrose? I mean, where did they find this guy? Wanyama? Who had heard of him?

     

     

    Our scouting team are a wonder of the world.

  28. James – Thanks for clearing that up. We can all agree, Neil is what we need. I hope he is our leader for a very long time.