Tag: Celtic

Celtic: “Already Bankrupt”?

Phew. When a club is £36m in debt, stoppage time winners against resilient Kazaks might have more than just its manager re-enacting the Olympic 100 metres hurdles final (well, OK, maybe the slowest of the heats) down strips of open Glasgow land. Try as I might, I can’t quite picture chief executive Peter Lawwell leaping about the place after Celtic qualified for the “lucrative” Champions League group stage. But if Celtic’s long-term financial challenges are as stiff as many Rangers fans have been suggesting this week, then Lawwell will have felt like doing so. After Celtic’s mediocre performance in Kazakhstan, the twin spectres of Champions League exit, and the relatively pitiful financial compensation of the Europa League group stages, loomed large over Celtic Park. Fortunately, it turned out to be a cunning, almost master, plan to add to the Celtic coffers. The prospect of seeing Celtic overcome a two-goal deficit on another “glory night”  of European football would, the plan went, put an extra 10,000 on the gate. Such nights are exhilarating, let me assure you from the personal experience of seeing Celtic beat Cologne using that modus operandi, ulp, twenty-one years ago. And if the Kazaks’ pre-match traditional sheep slaughter was banned, they won’t have a clue how to defend…and it won’t matter that Celtic haven’t a clue how to defend either. Especially long throws. The plan, I think,...

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Celtic’s Saturday Afternoon At Brentford

Apparently, last Saturday, I and hundreds of others went on a hooligan rampage and “destroyed” the West London suburb of Brentford, while attending a pre-season ‘friendly’ between weakened sides from Brentford’s League One club and current Scottish champions, Celtic.

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The UEFA Champions League: So… How Lucky Were Celtic?

As slightly cumbersome Celtic centre-back Efie Ambrose got another indeterminate body part in the way of another intricate Barcelona passing move, my shredded nerves were joined by an extra sense of unease, as I thought of Chelsea. Celtic’s rearguard action in the Nou Camp on October 23rd was almost universally praised and manager Neil Lennon’s team were deemed heart-breakingly unlucky to lose in the 94th-minute. But even then, I found it impossible to entirely concur. It wasn’t just because I didn’t think Celtic kept the ball well enough on the nine or so occasions they got possession (striker Gary Hooper miscontrolled one pass simply because he momentarily failed to recognise the round thing hurtling towards him, not having seen it for so long). It was also because I had derided Chelsea as “lucky” and unworthy when they used the self-same “backs-to-the-wall” tactics to win their Champions League semi-final in the same stadium just six months previously. And I derided them as luckier and less worthy when they repeated the “trick” to become the unlikeliest of European club champions in the Munich final 26 days after that. Chelsea received unkinder reviews because they had the talent to play an altogether more expansive game and chose not to; and because they are more generally disliked for any number of other reasons (which would take a whole article to detail). But they overcame Barca...

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Mal From Ayr, Kilmarnock Fan Extraordinaire

Since the full extent of Rangers’ financial troubles was exposed in 2010, their fans have almost totally refused to accept that their club is to blame for anything at all ever. One manifestation of this is the accusation that any critic of the Rangers must be a bigot, an obsessive, a Celtic fan, or all three. Anyone claiming support for, say, Albion Rovers, or Kingstonian, is almost automatically branded a liar. For years, Celtic fans have seen Rangers fans throughout the media like some sort of bastardised “sixth sense” (“I see blue-nosed people”). So this isn’t a one-way or new phenomenon within the confines of Glasgow football fandom. But sometimes, when it looks like a Rangers/Celtic fan and sounds like a Rangers/Celtic fan, it IS a Rangers/Celtic fan, as was exposed for the nation to hear last Saturday evening, on BBC Radio 5 Live’s famous “6-0-6” phone-in programme. A “Kilmarnock fan,” Mal, from Ayr, phoned in to complain about the Scottish media’s obsession with Celtic’s 2-1 Champions League defeat of Barcelona at Celtic Park. There has been something of a Celtic love-fest in the Anglocentric national media. And some could argue that there is a brush of double standard about lauding Celtic for the method of their victory, while bemoaning Chelsea for their method of becoming European Champions last spring. But Celtic’s win over a Barcelona side of such...

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