In the last six years of his life, which ended this morning, Fernando Ricksen did what he could to raise awareness of the research into Motor Neurone Disease. MND is a cruel and indiscriminate thief. Fernando will be remembered as a footballer, but his greater legacy may be to the research into this terrible disease. Well played, Fernando. Our thoughts are with his family.
Last night’s Champions League results supplied some validation of the angst we felt a year ago when our Europa League group was drawn. Salzburg scored six against Belgian champions, Genk (who finished 20 points ahead of Anderlecht), while Leipzig won away at Benfica. That we managed to get out of that group is a significant achievement.
The other result that caught the eye last night was Slavia Prague’s 1-1 draw with Inter at the San Siro; the Italians equalised in added time. Slavia beat Cluj 1-0 home and away after the latter dispensed with Celtic in this season’s qualification campaign. At the time, I thought – in haste – that proved how weak Cluj really were.
A lack of reputation is no guarantee of anything in Europe, which we would be well to mind when Cluj come calling again. We committed every defensive cardinal sin in the book when they last visited, but they were still good enough to get the job done.
The opportunity to surprise this week lies with Celtic.