We do love discovering an illegible player in a team that has ‘eliminated’ us from Europe. Before we get too carried away, the rules were clear on Sion and on Legia Warsaw, but both matters came down to legal arguments carrying the room. Uefa and CAS had the ability to find in favour of both of our opponents.
Mitdjylland’s fielding of Juninho, who still has a suspension to serve from his time in Brazil, is different in two respects. Most importantly, it appears curious that a ban from a national association (Brazil) is applicable for games controlled by the regional union (in this case, Uefa).
The ban is referred to as “global” but that term is not particularly clear. If the SFA ban a player, the ban is global in the respect that he cannot move territory and play without consequence. Under normal circumstances, however, he can play in the next Uefa game despite still being subject to a global ban on playing in national tournaments.
It is more than possible that the message communicated by Uefa to Mitdjylland prior to their game against PSV last night was incorrect. Mitdjylland and Uefa will doubtlessly be in touch with the Brazilian FA when they open this morning. If, however, the ban extended to all games, Celtic were not eliminated from the Champions League. That is our position. Uefa, and if necessary CAS, will be asked to confirm this and make whatever arrangements necessary. The awkwardness of Mitdjylland now having played one more round has no legal standing.
Delighted we signed a goalkeeper and a central midfielder. James McCarthy would have been at Celtic in 2009 if then-manager, Tony Mowbray rated him, no other reason. This was a spectacular oversight. James has played very little football for five years. He is an undoubted talent, if he remains fit, he will have a significant impact on our season.
Joe Hart is experienced enough to resolve many of the defensive problems we experienced last season and this. He has something to prove; winning the league with Celtic is the perfect challenge.