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
Good day Majoc.
I follow your reasoning with regard to tonight’s team selection, however I can’t see Dedryk coming back, and I would include Rogic & Sinclair from the start, so:
Bain, Brown, Ntcham, Hayes, Gamboa, Mulumbu & Johnston.
It is a one-off game, nothing matters other than not losing, and so I think we will treat it as we do all home games and look to win. We held the lead for 55 minutes in the away leg, so we can win this tie if we play well.
On the Leigh Griffiths situation, I must admit to being torn between two points of view.
Yes someone with problems deserves the support of family, friends, colleagues and employer, he will have all of this at Celtic. The situation has come to a head, however we all know there have been issues over the last year, issues which the club and the manager have always downplayed and covered up.
Leigh, although undoubtedly talented, lives a kind of feckless life with multiple family units. He likes to be ‘one of the boy’s’ and is known inside and outside of the club as a ‘bit of a rascal’.
I don’t see him coming back into the Celtic team, like others such as George Best, Gazza, Steven Caulker and others, he has reached a crisis point where the demons are running his life and career. My feeling is that he will end up back at Hibs, back in Edinburgh with his mates, back in his comfort zone.
I wish him all the best in the future, he has lovely kids and he has a good heart.
The club must now be looking at bringing in two new strikers in January. This may mean allowing Dedryk to run down his contract in order to minimise the disruption on the way to the title. We will then be looking for two new centre-backs come the summer. The only other addition I can foresee is cover at right-back. Hopefully Arzani and Kouassi will be fit for next season. If we can get the right people in then we will be in good shape.
good shout majoc, but think id leave brown on the bench till later.hh.
Setting the scene for tonight. Perfect.
This is what it’s all about.
Griff will require to be surrounded by a lot of positivity & strong support and I’m sure he will find it.
When we think about all those times he delivered excitement and unbridled joy to the Celtic support.
He has plenty of goodwill credits in his account.
Gold & Big Packy
Yeah, I would keep Broony for the period in the game when we are most at risk of a sucker punch.
Play the team that’s getting the results.
Yes I agree that Griff has lots of “goodwill credits”, as you put it, in the bank – I hope they are of comfort to him and help him in his fight back.
We may disagree as to what the eventual outcome may be, however like all those associated with Celtic, we wish him, and his family, nothing but the best.
Poor Leigh. I hope he gets sorted out soon.
Remember RD’s last game in charge against Motherwell? A young teenager scored. I think he was a striker. How is he progressing? Good enough for the bench?
Probably your remembering Jack Aitchinson – he is out on loan at present. There would appear to be no one at reserve/youth level ready to step up, so we must keep our fingers crossed that Eddy stays fit until the end of the month. If he doesn’t we may well be facing important games without a recognised striker – however if anyone can overcome this, it is Brendan…..and we do spread goals throughout the team.
What about a fit again Ajer as a makeshift target man, with Forrest, Rogic, Christie and McGregor feeding off?
Sounds a bit of a gamble but if anyone could do it probably Ajer could. He was a midfielder wasn’t he? He seems adaptable. Don’t know how his injury is coming along.
As you say, we are blessed with goals coming from all over the place. (Just the way Jock Stein liked it!)
I think we should be looking at restoring Brown or Ntcham and I´d try Christie up front for Griffiths until the problem is addressed in the summer
Hi, I think we will have to address it much sooner – we can’t negotiate the second half of the season with only one recognised striker – we need two in, in January.
Fair enough but I´d rather stick with what we have got than buy another stop gap striker who will rarely play and cost a fortune. As always if Brendan’s happy then I am. January notoriously difficult time to buy strikers. Maybe a loan deal.
Who isn´t getting a game just now and can bang the goals in ?
Brendan said he inherited the problems with Leigh, so the club must have know way back of his issues, yet they didn’t have a back up plan, astounded that a club who see themselvs as being well run would end up with one striker before the season was half way through.
But never fear, the balance sheet will come to the rescue, what an efin joke.
Anyone else jealous of Ajax CL exploits .. Could have been us
We should never be in a situation where we only have 2 recognised strikers. even if we sell our top man on the last day there are still options to fil the slot with a capable backup.
The fact that didn’t happen grates like toothache.
It’s just common sense, and especially as there seems to be zero talent ( in that department) emerging from our development squads.
You make a very valid point. The risks we take don’t make any sense.
Should have been spotted and a contingency plan activated.
The relative costs of carrying a spare striker, an old fox, would not burst our budget. When we seem happy to accommodate huge numbers of midfield and wingers we won’t play.
Defenders! Less said the better.
The good news is we have seen a few young Bhoys make best use of the opportunity.
Hope you have the pack settled and plenty Rioja lined up for tonight’s game.
I’m having an odd goal win with Celts 8/5 against …
I agree with Gold on this point.
It was bad enough having only two strikers at the club (especially with one so young and the other quite injury prone), but to now be reduced to one is not on for a club of Celtic’s size and playing in so many competitions.
We need another striker vying for a starting place as this will allow us to rest Eddie or play him wide left (where he began the season) and maybe a youth player on loan who can provide additional cover. One is paramount; two is optimum.
I don’t buy the January window issue. We have had ample time to consider this, especially as we sold our starting striker on the final day of the summer window.
We need a good window to propel us forward for the remainder of the season.
Ajax spent a lot in the summer. Does contract quite a bit with our approach.
They also have two youth players that are being quoted as £75m a piece players; KT and Christie are good, but not that good.
With a good couple of transfer windows we should be in the CL next year.
I don’t think BR will change the team that much. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Same team as started against Kilmarnock with KT coming back in.
I imagine Brown and Ntcham and maybe Izzi to come on during the match to replace Rogic/Sinclair/Edouard, all dependent on score.
Wouldn’t be surprised to finish the match with Jamsie up front and one of Calmac/Christie playing wide right or left. I mention Izzi coming on as he would provide good cover for KT or, alternatively, Izzi plays LB and KT moves to wide left, as KT is generally one of our most potent threats in these European games and can run all night.
The cost of bringing in a striker, around 30-35 age bracket, on a fixed rate and a pay per game bonus would offer some much neede comfort.
Even if only to spare the legs of our main man for 10 mins in tough games. That adds up over a rough schedule like December.
I’m with you absolutely that should not be the primary strategy, but I’m always going to be in favour of a 4th striker, who is happy to be used sparingly and add some sage advice and maturity to the group, with so many of the young Bhoys in our top squad.
An Auld Sweat can still play a part.
There might be snow on the mountain but still fire in the boiler…
Just to be clear I’m not advocating paying any more than 3-5k per week.
I think that we will definitely bring in a loan striker in January and because I don’t think Leigh will be back, we must sign a permanent one as well.
I don’t blame anyone for either Dembele, or, McGinn – they both wanted to be elsewhere, Dembele at the last minute.
I know some will disagree with me on Leigh’s future, however my opinion is that his Celtic career is over. I hope he can find happiness elsewhere and in life in general…..but I fear for him.
It’s the same story every window these days, just do enough seems to be the mantra, one of these days it won’t be enough, then carnage, I’m sick of hearing the bullshit about being a well run club, things like this are a basic necessity for a football club and we can’t get that right, massive failure imo, and anyone trying to defend it is deluding themselves, there will be a few of course.
I will partake in a bottle of nice Ribera tonight, been stocking up over the summer 😉
I’m happy with all those suggestions. I just want to see more balance in the squad
Majoc, , , I don’t want Ncham tonight, I want the 3 that have been doing great in the middle recently and the captain to replace Tom later. If Scott does start I want Ryan pushed out left and Sinky benched.
Hope all well partner. Hail Hail
Told yeez Brendan doesn’t read these pages!
Same team as Saturday,bar the return of KT
bhoy am I glad. coybig..hh.
So, nearly there, this is what’s it’s all about imo, europe, avoid defeat, that’s all Celtic.
I see that slippy has slipped up 😉
RB are tearing us apart, it would help if we stopped giving them the ball right enough, they are a league above us, their coach is quality, a team of players who are proper journeymen and all doing their job, they are embarrassing us, we really need to get a grip of this or we are joining the huns.
THE EXILED TIM, fear we are not good enough, as you say rb tearing us apart who have we got to bring on, behind the couch second half.hh.coybig.
They are a league better than us, but we have a wonderful balance sheet so we do.
That’s the best defeat we have had for a long time 😉
THE EXILED TIM, glad we are through, but is it not peppering over the cracks, where has fortress parkhead gone, where we used to compere with Barcelona and Juventus, please mr lawell give us some money for the January window.hh.
Rollercoaster of a night. Just woke up to discover that we got beat,Rosenborg didn’t,Rangers did,we are through they urnae,Mik might have concussion and Ryan might have a broken leg!
Oh,and we missed another bloody penalty!!!
Off to work,shattered just catching up on the football.
Oh,and that means another two Sunday games in the New Year…
That was one weird night at CP. Completely outplayed but through to the last 32 thanks to Tore Reginiussen. Hh
Crazy TV money has done for us, but we are still shooting ourselves in the foot, we have the cash but refuse to spend it, that RB team tonight didn’t spend a fortune on transfers, they pay good wages, we could do that, we have 30+ million in the bank, I’m not advocating wasting it, but I am saying we should be spending some of it on quality players via wages, there are freebies out there for the taking, all it needs is a wages spend.
THE EXILED TIM, nail on head .gngb,hh.
I’m very happy Celtic made it through.
Skin of the teeth stuff.
Goes to show what a disaster AEK Athens was.
The best team won tonight – no qualms with that – they pressed high and hunted in packs to win the ball back – much like classic Barca used to do.
When pressed like this, to constantly play out from the back, allows the opposition to hem you into your own half. We should look to miss out the midfield at times, play long, get them turning, support quickly from midfield and pick up some second balls in their half. I know it’s not pretty but it can change the rhythm of the game – RB started in a rhythm and maintained it throughout.
There is a time, place and type of game where the goalkeeper can be used as an extra outfield player, spraying passes around – tonight was not that time, place, or, type of game. Craig excelled as a shot-stopping goalkeeper and failed when trying to be Beckenbauer.
Celtic’s first attempt on target came in 89th minute from Olivier Ntcham
I have to thank Brendan for at least burying the fortress Celtic in Europe myth
Celtic V Eintracht??? Hmmmmmm
For the first time in history a dollar is worth a pound
yippee kaye a
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