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. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Interesting that they decided to end the ban at the end of this window, rather than the start of the next one. They could have had the ban going until 31st December. Clearly they wanted them to be able to sign free agents between now and then.


    JP don’t worry about it I got called a Hun last week after 3-4 years posting daily. I got told to change my name to BIG CUP WINNNERS CUP WINNERS…….

  3. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    Good mate.


    Went to game Wednesday without crutches. Bad idea… o))

  4. iPaddy McCourt Supports Wee Oscar on

    I’ll be delighted if Teemu Pukki signs. His goals per minute ratio is good considering the amount of substitute appearances he has made for Schalke. We need to also remember that these goals were scored against relatively high calibre opposition in the Bundesliga. His scoring record for Finland is also good, considering they are a relatively weak side. I’m sure he’ll score plenty for Celtic. In any case we don’t need a 30+ goals per season striker to win the league. 15-20+ in the league and a few important ones in Europe will do just fine.



    Welcome to Nir Biton, seems to be highly rated and I’ve got a good feeling about him.



    A quality centre back befor the window (prematurely) closes (Cheers Regan) and I’ll be more than happy.

  5. Aye moonbeams my ex colleagues who hated the sight of me due to being “a die-hard tim who rarely bites” would see the irony in both the question and my response. Fridays are supposed to be relaxing but here I am trying to balance work, posting on here and mailing ideas to the gf about our role play session later -:)

  6. Good afternoon all






    Interesting to hear you come from Larkhall. I sit next to a family (well I think they are a family) from Larkhall. I sit in the SS rear row U. Don’t know them do you? Oh BTW, welcome aboard.



    Weefra HH

  7. ....PFayr supports WeeOscar on

    Letting sevco flout the rules re trialists



    Yet closing the window early to the detriment if other clubs to ensure that a skint club can’t buy players



    Square that circle ….

  8. A giant of literature and another good man- Seamus Heaney- has died. Read- Orange Drums, Tyrone 1966 or Whatever you say, say nothing.


    Remember him.

  9. JP…. unless of course you include Jock McStay (Jnr) and the fantastic late Jock McStay (Snr), and the rest of the McStay’s, Brian “Banger” McDonald, and countless other mad tims I’ve had the pleasure of meeting….



    hh & welcome

  10. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on




    Next time you are in larkhall go unto the machan and say that.. im sure they will agree..



    Carluke is a hub of timdom right enough.o))

  11. blantyretim is praying for the knox family



    14:04 on 30 August, 2013


    Good mate.


    Went to game Wednesday without crutches. Bad idea… o))





    Was it the lateral movement????

  12. Weefra



    You would need to narrow it down a bit as 16000 people live in Larkhall mate. I go to the games with mates from Irvine and Glasgow as that’s where I was born and bred (the latter). The likelihood is that they drink in the machan bar. I tend to stick to Molly’s, failte, the tollbooth or the admiral.

  13. BT



    all about timing… ;-)



    Good to hear the leg is getting better, must be those prawn sandwiches ;-)




  14. i made a couple of predictions of our eventual group standings by the end of the group stage that might get you think its possible to get out of this group. Im going to list what i think the results will be in each game from each team in our group, and make a table.



    One table will be a possible table, relying that we have good home form and manage to outplay Ajax overall, the other will be the more ‘on- paper based’ results that most people will predict to happen, with Ajax stepping up to the plate more in general, and celtic drawing away to Milan in the first week (which i think they will).



    This also takes into account that we have barcelona away as our last game, who will play their B team if they have already won the group by then, which they probably will.



    Possible Standings:



    Week 1: AC Milan 2-1 Celtic Barcelona 3-0 Ajax


    Week 2: Celtic 2-2 Barcelona Ajax 1-1 AC Milan


    Week 3: Celtic 2-1 Ajax AC Milan 1-2 Barcelona


    Week 4: Ajax 1-1 Celtic Barcelona 3-1 AC Milan


    Week 5: Celtic 2-1 AC Milan Ajax 1-4 Barcelona


    Week 6: Barcelona 1-1 Celtic AC Milan 2-0 Ajax



    Barcelona 14 pts


    Celtic 9 pts


    AC Milan 7 pts


    Ajax 4 pts



    Probable standings:



    Week 1: Milan 2-2 Celtic Barcelona 3-0 Ajax


    Week 2: Celtic 2-3 Barcelona Ajax 1-0 Milan


    Week 3: Celtic 2-1 Ajax Milan 2-2 Barcelona


    Week 4: Ajax 3-1 Celtic Barcelona 3-1 Milan


    Week 5: Celtic 2-3 Milan Ajax 1-4 Barcelona


    Week 6: Barcelona 1-1 Celtic Milan 2-1 Ajax



    Barcelona 14 pts


    Milan 8 pts


    Ajax 6 pts


    Celtic 5 pts



    Of course this is all tosh, anything could happen. Milan could have an unexpected shocker, Ajax could punch above their weight like we did last year, and we could go crashing down like everyone expects. But you never know, and I think that it’s very possible that we could sneak through.




  15. BT



    My description of Carluke is always the same when asked, it is similar to Larkhall but with more huns….




  16. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on




    Prawn sandwich?


    No chance mince pies for me o))

  17. JP – Biton is decent with both feet as well – with good coaching we could have the sort of big strong holding midfielder that the ‘rich clubs’ will be drooling over.



    He will be a very good acquisition given we are paying a relatively low fee for him.

  18. Sydney Tim



    To back up Mort’s point here’s some minutes to games stats for last season (in league games):



    Hooper 140


    Finnbogason 112


    Stokes 202


    Samaras 183


    Pukki 149 (A case of stats being misleading when looking at appearances/goals!)


    Balde 199


    Commons 179


    Forrest 315


    Boerrigter 310 (although he managed 178 the previous season)



    Some of these surprised me but it might mean that Pukki is an under-rated moneyballer.

  19. JP



    Surely not 16000 Tims though. lol It was just a shot in the dark. :))



    Weefra HH

  20. Neg Anon@13.48



    “The thing that bother me is that we are now making out that the “strategy” that celtic followed in this transfer window was to deliberately risk failing to get into the CL by waiting until qualification happenned. However that doesnt make any sense. If we are going to spend money anyway then why wait?”



    First, I will dissociate myself from your first “we”.


    Second, there was no “deliberate” part to the strategy. If they could have got the signings they wanted at the price they wanted, they would have come to the club as early as possible. You heard Neil say “we have asked and we have had knockbacks”.



    The answer to the “why wait?” part is that you might get a previously reluctant higher ranked player relenting because a) Celtic have got to the group stages or b) No bigger club has come in for them. The club is sometimes forced to wait when we would prefer to move earlier.



    Of course we could do all our business earlier if we only signed those willing to come at the prices offered but then we would be getting lower choice signings.



    Or we could pay over the odds to get wanted players, but you cannot repeat that strategy (punt SPL players more cheaply by holding them through UEFA qualifiers making them unavailable to a buying club staring their league campaign, while also paying over the odds for incoming players to get them there early) ad infinitum without losing value. A buy high/Sell low policy genuinely does not make sense.



    Every proposed solution of this dilemma brings its own problems. We are constrained by the transfer window overlapping the Euro qualifiers and the start of leagues. Until they change that, I expect every signing window to be much like this one- some business done early when all parties are willing (Moyokoulo, Boerigter, Balde and Van Dijk) and some done late (Biton, Pukki, and Ciani??) because, and I am speculating here, we got Biton because a higher rated target went elsewhere, Pukki because Schalke did not want to sell until they had signed someone (some clubs have that choice) and because no one bigger has come in for Ciani.



    I am often astonished when people can baldly state that they can see “no reason” for Celtic’s actions; I think all it takes is a bit of imagination and an ability to wear another man’s shoes. It is not really so astonishing that people think and behave differently to either you or I. This blog would soon disabuse me of that notion.

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