Tag: Celtic

EPL International Cup Fever – The Cure

Premier League International Cup (PLIC) fever briefly gripped Aldershot last Friday night. Mark Murphy caught it. Again. But quickly found an antidote. Two British champion clubs. Two under-21 representative sides. Two entirely separate footballing worlds. After 23 minutes of the teams’ PLIC Group A game, vital in terms of both sides’ competition future, Chelsea led Celtic 4-0. And at some stage during this goal frenzy (forgive the tear-stained memory failure here), a middle-aged Chelsea fan behind me spoke approvingly of the future prospects of a number of the junior-ish Blues. Mukhtar Ali, Kasey Palmer and Charly Musonola had been...

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Celtic vs Benfica In The… Premier League International WHAT?

Yay! The Premier League International Cup is back. After the phoney war of the opening months of the season and the Champions and Europa League preliminaries, the season has really started. Mark Murphy defined the word intrepid and represented 200% as the football jamboree clicked into gear. “Are you the Celtic fan?” my friend Les was casually asked as four of us constituted the “late rush” to the Wycombe Wanderers turnstiles for “Celtic FC v S.L. Benfica” in this year’s Premier League International Cup (PLIC). The Aylesbury-based Raith Rovers fan (and surely there’s only one of them) was surprised...

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How Scottish Football Journalism “Works,” Part Three

BBC Scotland sports journalist Tom English, one of the best of a much-maligned breed, tweeted a very good point this week: “Sunday was a great result for Neil Doncaster. With all this thunder about Steven McLean it almost seems like last Wednesday never happened.” English was referring to the aftermath of Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s 3-2 win over Celtic in Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final and in particular the reported inability of three of the match’s officials, including referee McLean, to see a clear handball by Caley’s Josh Meekings. This aftermath has, momentarily at least, drowned out the outrage at SPFL...

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Neil Doncaster: A(nother) Premier League Chief Executive Under Pressure

Scottish club football’s top man, Neil Doncaster, has little other than nominal occupation in common with slimy sexist Richard Scudamore. Both are English and league chief executives. But Doncaster, the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) boss, now has the opportunity to fashion another similarity, the ability to get away with just about anything. Scudamore, we now know, can do what he likes, how and to whom he likes. Doncaster tried this in 2012, bending over backwards, sideways and eachways to keep Rangers in the Scottish Premier League (SPL) after their liquidation was confirmed. However, more Doncaster machinations recently emerged. On May 16th the “Celtic Research” (CR) twitter account patiently – 140 characters-at-a-time – told previously unpublished tales of the November 2011 SPL broadcasting rights deal – a hurriedly-signed extension to the existing five-year deal signed with SKY and ESPN in July 2009. The deal attracted controversies – especially a clause guaranteeing four Rangers/Celtic “Old Firm” games, which Doncaster claimed was in existence for a decade. Doncaster has not revealed the precise date of its introduction, however. CR also revealed the SPL’s, now the SPFL’s, subsidies to ESPN to show Rangers games. When SPL and Scottish Football League (SFL) clubs voted a replacement Rangers into Scottish club football’s bottom tier in July 2012, Doncaster and the SPL made it more financially viable for ESPN to transmit Rangers games. The first...

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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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