Wright within rights, Ciftci running upstairs caveat


I was disappointed for St Johnstone at their exit from the Europa League last night but not for Scottish football, or our coefficient points.  Saints are a provincial club in a very rural part of Scotland.  You only have to travel through the hills to Perth to realise that pocket of Scotland, with its tractors, knitwear and wellie boot shops, has no God given right to beat a team from any municipality anywhere.

They have done very well for the last couple of seasons, from a tiny catchment area, but managed to reach Europe by pipping Dundee United, who ironically were good enough to have key players poached midseason.

St Johnstone don’t have potential superstars, they are also the oldest team in the league, which gets you through a long campaign but they are never going to sparkle.  Or earn Scottish football a hatful of coefficient points.

Dundee United were decimated by the loss of those two players midseason, and were done no favours with the shadow of uncertainty which enveloped backroom and boardroom for months, but they, Aberdeen and Celtic are the only Scottish clubs capable of getting their act together to the extent required to reach European group stages.  For everyone else, Europe is strictly a July pursuit, so don’t stress about it, and Tommy Wright is well within his rights to talk up his own club.

If Scottish football wants to get all introspective about last night, we should concern ourselves with concentrating resources on clubs who are independently financially viable: Dundee United, Aberdeen, Hearts, Celtic, Hibs and maybe Dundee.  If more of our sponsorship and TV money went to Aberdeen and United and less to the thirty-or-so hangers on, they would be better placed to consolidate their development work and compete in Europe.

Celtic are five days away from their opening competitive game of the season, so I would think tonight’s friendly against Davie Moyes’ Real Sociedad will be the last strenuous exercise the players go through after what will have been a taxing first few weeks of preseason.  After this workout it should all be about recovery before the visit of Stjarnan on Wednesday.  The usual caveats apply to Nadir Ciftci, if he looks like he couldn’t run upstairs, he’s about where I’d expect him to be right now.

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  1. mike in toronto on

    This year, we are going to win the league at a canter … .that is not in doubt… and we could do playing the same old stodgy scottish fitba…



    but we will continue to fall behind the minnows of Europe unless we do something different ….



    fitness, movement, and speed are what RD promised and he damn well better deliver that this year … and if the players dont respond to it, then get them out, and get kids in who will listen and learn …



    as I said, we could put a junior team out, and we would win the spl… this year is about learning to play in Europe….



    so, my proposal is simple … shock collars… if someone isn’t running …fine them a week’s wages ….if someone stands still for more than 3 seconds …fine them! … if someone passes backwards …2 weeks wages! …. or drop them…



    and if that doesn’t work, then something more drastic …shock collars perhaps*…



    *PETP (people for the ethical treatment of players) says that no actual players were harmed during the making of this post.

  2. mike in toronto



    Fair enough it’s all about opinions. However, I don’t agree with your’s :-)



    A striker’s runs need to be effective otherwise they’re fruitless. I think it’s telling when you can hear his fellow team mates tell him that’s his runs are wrong.



    Under Ronny I wouldn’t agree that we move the ball too slowly, I think our speed of play was one of the most positive features of Ronny’s first season in charge.



    For me the guy just isn’t good enough for us and I’d have LG starting before him every time.



    Right, Dulux time again!

  3. Burgas Hoops on

    Celtic 5/6…………………….Draw 12/5……………………….Real Sociedad 13/5

  4. To ALL those going to T- in the Park.



    Please make allowances for teenage mutant ninja Midges, I’ve heard the place is really bad for the midges.



    If it stays Mork and Mindy, it will be ok.



    Factor in the Midge.





    Alternatively,drink considerably to excess and give them alcohol poisoning. Works for me…





    You don’t ask a lass out when she has the painters in,why do it wi a bloke?

  7. (Ace drummer) Jumbo McCluney on

    Folks…..off topic I know, but does anyone know how to configure an android tv streamer (xbmc) to catch the game tonight ? Thanks for any help.

  8. BOBBY,



    I’m sure that tactic will be well tried this weekend. ;))



    I’m just worried about the Wind Speed.



    Nae Wind… Carnage.



    Drunken Midge. :)

  9. mike in toronto on

    hamilton tim ….



    I think LG is a very, very good striker for the SPL, who fit in well with the style of play last season. Much like KC was what we needed the season before … he was a poor team player, but when the rest were afraid to shoot, he stepped up and shot. Horses for courses. But as the game speeds up, KC becomes less suited to our style. For me the jury is still out on LG, but I think he has earned the right to be given a fair crack this season.



    And I agree that our passing out of the back improved 100% last season, but once we got across the middle of the park, we slowed right down and/or stalled out too often. In that formation, a striker who could make something out of little (like LG) was great for us….



    but, if the whole team is moving, there should be many more chances created… I ‘m not sure if LG can play in that style …. I’m not saying he cant. All I’m saying, is he hasn’t really played in a celtic team that has played that style …. his record for us suggests that he merits a fair chance. All I am saying is that I expect a much more fluid faster attacking game this season, and I think NC and SS have the skills to play that style well. If LG does as well (and I hope he does, as he does have a real strikers instinct for goal), then we could be set up for a decent run in Europe this season.



    For me, it is less about the strikers, and more about the midfielders this season being fitter (which they clearly are), and more confident with the ball (the jury is still out on this one).



    Unlike a lot of CQN’ers, I dont think we have bought bad strikers …. we bought decent players, but starved them of service, and then blamed/fired them, when the didn’t get decent service.



    But (i) that’s just the way I saw it, and (ii) I am hoping that we will see a very different style this year, andhopefully, this will be less of an issue.

  10. RWE and Melbourne Mick.



    Was in Best Buy in Winston Salem a few months ago, wearing my Bramalea Celtic Supporters Club shirt (Got it from my brother in law who’s a member) — anyway one of the young American guys working there spots it and says (OMG, that’s my favorite team .)


    Just shows how our team is universally recognized :<)

  11. petec,


    if you are referring to the biting midges or mosquitoes as we call them here in North America I was told that if you take a b complex vitamin they wont touch you . Apparently they do not like scent



    But my dear old auntie used to swear by dark rum :)






  12. mike in toronto on

    Petec … lots of garlic and (for our antipodean friends) vegemite puts the midges right off! mind you, it puts a lot of the rest of us off as well …..

  13. Lads, I’ve heard there is an intense Midge where the T in the Park is being held, and the dude fishes all over Scotland.



    just sayin’ ;))



    Protect yer young!!!

  14. mike in toronto,



    I agree with you as regards to the (lack of) service given to our strikers in recent seasons. Imo, if we want the likes of Izzy bombing forward, then they must be able to put in good crosses into the box. He, in particular, seldom seems capable of that skill, although he isn’t alone. Mathews was better, although the best is Lustig, who is too often out injured.

  15. Man has put people on the Moon eradicated various dieseases, sent probes around the galaxay but have never come close to defeating the Scottish midge!! Hail Hail Hebcelt

  16. As many on here agonize about many things,spare a thought for the club across the city.They are heading down to “That London”on a bus,to play a couple of”3 and in”games,or something like that,against a Spurs select made up from Spurs players kids,tea ladies,turnstyle staff,etc.


    Its so pathetic when you see the official Sevco blurb,headline,


    “Previous games against Spurs”as if this was anything like a game.Still,I suppose to just be in the same area as a “Big club”will give them,and our SMSM a chance to do a bit of name dropping.



  17. Burgas Hoops



    just like the UK government what they say does not always equate to what they are really doing.


    Turkey are aiding Isis giving them an open border. Turkey are in Nato and Nato is US. Its US policy to allow Isis to flourish with the obedient UK tow as usual. The unfortunate victims ,holiday makers and thousands of innocent Syrians and Iraqis are of little consequence to them.

  18. HT





    You’re both correct.



    The Griff is a very sharp wee striker. Could he become a great. Time – and Leigh – will tell.



    Scepovic does make de lovely angled runs for a ball that never comes.



    And here’s where I run before a paint pot gets flung at me…..the biggest thing that I saw the ball going through to Scepovic was that young KRiss Commons had it at his feet for too long!!!



    HH jamesgang

  19. We are better off with the two striker option in Europe, more room to run, in Scotia we are too often playing the ten men behind the ball defenses which inhibits our ability to run at teams therefore better to have more in the midfield, just a thought






  20. mike in toronto on

    Parkhead …. I get no joy from criticizing any celtic player, and particularly, Izzy …. when he signed for us, I thought he was a breath of fresh air …. great attitude … and bombed up and down that wing, and played with the joy of a player from days gone by.



    And I went down to Honduras for a holiday, and everywhere I went, people saw the hoops, and it was Izzy! Izzy! …. I came back loving the little guy more than ever …



    but, he has never been the same player since his injury …



    in fairness, he linked really well sometimes with Stokes last year… (one of the few combinations that did work)… but, as you point out, his crossing was weak, and since his injury, he cant bet back quickly enough to cover.



    He is still one of my favourite players, but, trying to take the sentiment out of it, we need a better left back.





    Izzy is our best left-back since Big Tam. It has long been a problem position for us. And many other teams.



    A lot of that stems from other teams’ best player being a right-footed wide player.

  22. MiT



    Or we need an additional left back to share the burden.


    I love him to bits too. And I rate despite his weaknesss. But mhate you’ve got to be there in person to truly sense the mileage he does, esp under RD’s system.


    It would be wise to double up on both wing positions I think to share the burden and mileage.



    Right. Arr in Glasgow. BV time!



    HH jamesgang

  23. lennon's passion on

    Strongest team tonight




    Lustig Derek vvd izzy




    Forrest Brown Johansson Armstrong



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