Euro nights,disco lights.
Morning,all. The morning of the final match in our group in the Europa League. Full house,disco lights to set the atmosphere,a tifo from the Green Brigade-who’ll be bloody freezing,they’re arriving to greet the players off the bus at 615,always said they were mental!-and a few rousing choruses of anything we are still allowed to sing. The only thing better than the anticipation is to actually be there.
Nearly 60,000 lucky sods will experience the occasion. As in the previous two group matches. We gained narrow but well-deserved victories from them,and I’m hopeful we can get three out of three.
Hell,if we perform as we can,or as we did on Saturday,there’s little point in Red Bull Corporate FC turning up!
Two weeks ago,we went into the away tie at Rosenborg knowing we HAD to win,and we achieved that. The permutations on qualification before the game were mind-boggling to say the least. Complicated somewhat by the fact that the other tie had two Red Bull-owned teams playing each other in another example of money talking while UEFA turn a blind eye.
Salzburg did us a favour against Leipzig,and there’s no doubt they’ll be trying to do one for Leipzig tonight. If the two Red Bulls win,we are out.
That’s why I think it’s time for Broonie. I think Salzburg will come looking for the win. Broonie may lack the finesse required to open up a packed defence,but when it comes to chasing every ball,winning the tackles and passing to someone close who can do something with it,he has few equals. Think Neil Lennon-but with a hard stare!
Of course,he lacks fitness too. And while that is a worry,it’s about what he does in the time Brendan gives him,which I think will be just short of 70 minutes.
With the goalkeeper and the back four picking themselves-depending on Boyata’s injury status-and Edouard being the first name on the team sheet due to Leigh’s enforced absence-that leaves another four players. One of them has to be James Forrest. The Prestwick Pele has been outstanding this season,and I’m expecting another big game from him tonight. It’s a stage which is made for him,he can light it up better than the electronics before the match.
With James on the right and Edouard coming in on the left,we clearly need someone in the middle. Due to a lack of planning,we don’t have the third striker who would fill that role,so it falls to one of our goalscoring midfielders to fill that role,running onto the ball from deep.
That’s Callum,Ryan,or Tom. And we need two of them in there. As things stand,I’m inclined on current form to play Callum and Ryan,bringing on TR for Broonie,and dropping Callum back deeper.
Which leaves the final midfield space for Ollie. Who is also lacking full fitness,but he’ll be keen to perform on the big stage or he’s stuck here for another season! So my team is
Both wingers given freedom to come inside,with both full-backs given freedom to overlap.
Now,I won’t give a prediction on the score,I stopped that when I realised I was rubbish at it. And I’m not too sure Brendan reads these pages-yet!-so he may have other ideas about the selections,but I’m very confident that the players he picks will do is proud tonight. No other Scottish club,living or dead,has gained twelve points in the groups,so tonight is a night for heroes.
One hero who won’t be taking his rightful place tonight is Leigh Griffiths. The club and the player have acted on medical advice,and he will be missing for a while. How long,no-one knows,but as long as it takes is the only answer available. I am sure that Leigh has the complete support of every Celtic supporter in his fight with whatever ails him. Don’t listen to the rumour mill,the sources of his travails are irrelevant. The only thing that matters is his well-being. You look great in a Celtic strip,son. And even better with a smile on your face. I hope you’re back to wearing them both very soon. HH
Above from majoc. You can air your opinions for all to marvel at by mailing Mahe on