Unequivocally difficult and the SFA


Champions League sections are never easy so we are as well having one which is unequivocally difficult on paper.  Despite finishing second from pot 4 in their group last season (a remarkable achievement), Celtic spent the vast majority of their time in the tournament under pressure.  They had possession less than their opponents in all six group games, so although we were successful in the group stage, there should be no doubt as the the size of the challenge.

Conversely, we looked Juventus in the eye, which, in retrospect, could be regarded as over ambitious.

When Martin O’Neill’s Celtic drew Barcelona and Milan in the group section of the Champions League the manager was clearly exasperated at the apparently preposterous task.  It was Martin’s last throw in the competition and he was anxious to break into the knockout stage for the first time.

The mood music seems different this time.  Neil Lennon has been to the knockout stage already so the pressure to breakthrough is not there.  Celtic can take one game at a time without the burden of having to prove themselves in this competition.  They are now a part of this league, they might not win it, but they can compete with anyone.

We will be second favourites for each game, which is surely the way we would all prefer it to be.  Despite what happened last year, even Barca will expect to comfortably overcome Celtic.  Surely we can’t be as organised again?

Don’t bet against it.

STV painted an interest picture of the SFA this morning.  The Association declined advice from Uefa to come into line with most of Europe (including England, crucially for many Scottish clubs) and extend the transfer window until the first business day of the week.

Doing so, however, would make a mockery of their suspension of Rangers International’s transfer embargo, which expires on 31 August.  To accept Uefa’s advice would draw attention to their oversight in not noticing that August ends on a weekend.

We all know this to be the case, but the Association would rather ignore their mistake than help out member clubs and draw attention to it.

Even Jim Farry checked the calendar.
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  1. A Ceiler Gonof Rust on

    b2k 11:40 on 31 August, 2013 ACGR Could I please have the Champions league ringtone?






    b2k email me at acgr@hotmail.co.uk and I’ll send it to you. Last count was circa 250 emails sent:-)



    Dem huns urnay ganny like it………………………HAW!!!

  2. Celbridge Celt on

    Great team selection… If it clicks, Celts will run riot this afternoon…



    Might be a better squad this season, less points dropped post CL matches!




  3. Malone. As I said biton look a great player. He has pace , can tackle Is skill full and great in the air


    Pukki indeed looks more skilfull than hooper


    But difference is hooper had the nack of being in the right place at the right time


    Pukki has not scored many goals in 7 years. Of course we would like him to change, but why buy a forward who has not a record of scoring when the one thing we need is a proven goalscorer


    We have wasted too much money signing non goal scoring forwards who continue their poor record with us


    We needed a goalscorer to be signed during this transfer window and so far we haven’t

  4. Gerrybhoy



    Absolutely spot on. Just does not punch his weight (or height even). Cannot cut out cross balls, long throws, nor can he punch or kick clearances






    You are being hyper-critical , seem to remember the big man clutching one out the air last seconds of the game on Wednesday to everyone’s relief.



    Don’t start making the goalkeeper the whipping Bhoy , “cannot cut out cross balls” what some or every cross ball , try watching the entire game , the centre halves are delegated to the clear the danger it’s pretty simple really, name any goalkeeper who charges off their line into very busy penalty areas nowadays?




  5. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    THERE simply isn’t any downside to the Nou Camp, the San Siro and the Amsterdam Arena for Celtic.



    The rest of the clubs in Scotland, and one in particular at Ibrox, must be jealous of a Champions League group that is unique, exciting and the definition of what grips the fans’ imagination.



    It lifts everybody in the country, with the understandable exception of the Rangers supporters, and changes the dynamic of Celtic’s season.



    You can get bored going backwards and forwards to Inverness but there’s no chance of getting blase about Barcelona, even if you did play them in the same competition last season.



    The group stage draw also ensures Celtic make a fortune that continues to widen the financial gap between them and Rangers, who can only wish they played in this competition during the week instead of the Challenge Cup.



    Watching Celtic keep the company of Barcelona, AC Milan and Ajax can only make it worse for Rangers because it underlines the difficulty of their situation while they watch their historic rivals get stronger.



    The removal of Shakhter Karagandy from Celtic’s path to the group stage also vouched for Neil Lennon’s growing maturity as a manager. He’s shown, mainly by the decision to completely change his central defence from one game against the Kazakhs to the next, he’s not frightened to take big decisions.



    And Neil has become a better manager for learning how to cope with adversity. He reminds me of Sir Alex Ferguson and the progress he made at Manchester United in that regard.



    Neil’s come back stronger than ever with a side that’s weaker than the one he had last season, which is a fair old achievement.



    I would hope the club, with their finances freshly replenished, might reward him with the marquee signing he now deserves to make.



    The Celtic players looked out on their feet by the end of Wednesday’s match and I was exhausted just watching the manager’s run along the touchline to join the team swamping James Forrest after his winning goal.



    I did notice his return journey was considerably slower and far from a personal best, but that’s another matter.



    Neil is moulding his own team in his own way and that can only bode well for Celtic.



    I also happen to think it’s good that he was narked by the media’s reaction to the first leg against Karagandy and got it off his chest once qualification for the next phase of the Champions League had been accomplished.



    Neil was a feisty team-mate when we shared a dressing room at Celtic Park and he was clearly aggravated by some of what went on around that tie.That’s why he stuck two fingers up to the people he believed had been over the top in their criticism of his team.



    I was part of the ITV4 programme that covered Celtic’s match in Kazakhstan and I thought some of what was said about Celtic’s performance there was near the knuckle.



    It made me wince and it clearly had an even more profound effect on Neil. ITV denied they were anti-Celtic but it’s perspective I’m on about.



    Defensive errors were made but you have to see them in context. These things happen.



    The result over there was bad but it was always going to be retrievable and it wasn’t an accurate reflection of the game as a whole.



    I hated criticism when I was a player and I wasn’t always complimentary about the press.



    But what was said, and written, about Celtic after they’d lost 2-0 in Kazakhstan clearly resulted in giving the Celtic players a siege mentality and motivated them for the return leg.



    Now Celtic are in a group where all the teams are previous winners of the European Cup or the Champions League. Neil managed that feat without help and was right to draw attention to that fact.



    The only assistance he got was from the fans and the atmosphere they generated on Wednesday night was how I remember Celtic Park from my time there.



    The comeback against Shakhter has now given Celtic’s season an entirely different perspective and removed any danger of it falling flat.



    What all of us know is that Celtic are more than capable of giving anybody a game on their own ground.



    Barcelona already know that to their cost from last season and won’t be looking forward to going back to Celtic Park.



    I know Neil fancied a meeting with Real Madrid but his stage-managed gesture of holding his head in his hands when the full group was made known can’t hide the fact he’ll be thrilled by this draw.



    Ajax, home or away, will be an evenly balanced contest and the trip to Italy will be about scrapping and scraping for anything you can get.



    Celtic aren’t as strong, or as experienced, as some that they’ll face, but you never know what’s in store. And I’m not going to fall into the trap of dismissing this team’s chances of doing anything.



    They were on the front foot from the first minute against Karagandy and Kris Commons’ goal at the end of the first half was absolutely crucial because of the way it lifted everybody’s spirits and deflated the opposition.



    Georgios Samaras thoroughly deserved his goal for the way he dribbled and got at people.



    And Anthony Stokes showed what a clever player he is by the way he set up the decisive goal for James Forrest. There’s no better feeling than getting a goal at that stage in any game.



    The team’s work-rate was exceptional and if they’ve now taken up occupancy of cloud nine then that’s their entitlement.



    They’ll be looking at Group H and saying to themselves, ‘This is why we play the game, let’s go and compete’.



    It would be nice if the financial movers and shakers at the club said, ‘Right, let’s give the manager some additional help here’.



    It’s not as if they can’t afford it now.

  6. Even after all these years, some people are still getting the wrong idea about how loan deals actually work.



    If an English club for example, are keen to send a player out on loan and that player is on, let’s say 60k a week, it does not follow that the borrowing club is expected to meet that wage.



    The whole idea is for the club to get the player match experience in a league outwith its own league, and saving a large amount of money into the bargain. The two clubs would negotiate the borrowing club’s weekly contribution to the salary, and it is not uncommon for the borrowing club to pay as little as 25% or even 20% of the weekly wage. For a whole season, that can amount to a saving of up to a million pound for the lending club.



    So if there is a story about Celtic possibly taking a loan player from England and he is on 50k, 60k, 70k a week or whatever, the salary level is not a deal-breaker because there is no way Celtic would need to pay anything near that level of salary.



    When Craig Bellamy was on loan at Celtic, the club paid approximately 30% of his weekly wage.

  7. Sydney Tim in the name of god man listen to yourself of course you are entitled to your opinion but give the guy a chance. If in 3/4 months he has,nt done the biz ok have your moan until then let,s wait and see.off to slash ma wrists. Hail Hail Hebcelt

  8. Silver City 1888 on

    Once people convince themselves of a thing, they will only see what reinforces their view. It applies to Forster but equally to whoever someone has chosen as their pet hate. It doesn’t matter how may cross balls he plucks out the air. They’ll only see the one he misses.

  9. Greetings Bhoys and Ghirls,



    Looking forward to building where we left off on Wednesday. The euphoria has subsided, however the feel good factor is still very evident.



    Constructive criticism is one thing but ; Sydney Tim are you ever happy. Victor Meldrew on a bad day springs to mind.



    Other people may comment :To Some it seems there was disappointment that we achieved a truly defining result on Wednesday as it prevented an all out assault on the Board. I could not possibly comment.



    HH, Always in Celtic.

  10. celtic1member1vote on




    Michel Platini’s article in the today’s Telegraph states Integrity Officers have been appointed in each country to prevent match fixing.



    Wonder if this person’s ” Integrity Remit ” will include investigating the “5 Way Agreement” and making the findings public.



    Straight question: Are the SFA corrupt and do they have something to hide ?


    If they are honest, open and transparent then publish the ” 5 Way Agreement.”



    Anyone on CQN got any information re. who was appointed the “Integrity Officer” for Scotland and info website info etc.



    Thanks in advance, as I won’t be able to reply to any post’s today but will read back.

  11. ….PFayr supports WeeOscar



    11:56 on 31 August, 2013



    What’s this Hun promulgated debt nonsense ?





    In a nutshell:



    The Hun village ‘reader’ just finished a book-keeping course. This has facillitated a vague comprehension of Celtic’s accounts.



    In there, they have discovered Celtic have £34 million of credit facilities.



    Celtic only use around £11 million.



    It has also been noted there are ‘convertible shares’ referenced in the accounts held by DD/friends/investors/subsidiaries of DD (its actually DD shifting some cash around, tax-avoider obsessed geeks) which value at around £9 million, BUT which generate a 6% annual premium of around £550,000.



    This is what the Hun collective consciousness refers to constantly as a ‘soft loan’.



    Sooo, if you take the unhealthy excitement of a zombie and multiply it by skewed interpretation of Celtic’s outstanding figures as roughly describe dabove you get =



    £22 million of debt/possible £43 million and immediate bankrupttcy!!!!!!



    Notwithstanding the actual reality of trading credit facilities (which they’ll NEVER have again :))) and the so-called major creditor actually being the owner/major shareholder, the Huns are frothing about it.



    Stupid zombies.



    Stupid, stupid Zombies.