Tag: Celtic

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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To Boo Or Not To Boo? Why There Is A Time & Place For Dissent

Three games into the Premier League season, the distinctive sound of burning pitchforks is in the air. Without a win from the six matches that they have played between them, both Andre Villa Boas and Brendan Rodgers are already being cast into a familiar mould – that of the hapless managerial failure. Both are managers whose appointments carried an element of risk about them. Villa Boas excelled at Porto in a way that few other managers have in recent years in coaching this team to the Europa League and the Portuguese championship, but his stock fell with his turbulent spell at Stamford Bridge, while Rodgers arrival at Liverpool came off the back of success at Swansea City but a nagging concern that his name might not be of the pedigree that supporters of that particular club might have expected. After their opening matches of the season, though, both managers are already falling towards a familiar looking black hole of ridicule and contempt, but to what extent is this a reflection of the football culture that we inhabit rather than their respective managerial abilities. There was a time when media coverage of the game was considerably more scarce than it is now, and it doesn’t seem implausible to suggest that this saturation coverage has an effect upon the attitude of some supporters. Every Premier League match is An Event, to...

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Going South? Celtic & The English League System

It is one of the most commonly recurring stories of modern football. Should Celtic and Rangers be allowed to leave the Scottish league system and join the English football league system instead? It’s an emotive subject, for sure, and it’s one that seems to divide both supporters and administrators, with the only people that are certain of which way they would like to go being those that run Glasgow’s two giant clubs, who would like to utilise the vaster resources that would be open to them as a result of being in the more lucrative English system than they would get from remaining in England. That such a debate should be happening again now is hardly a surprise. Speculation has restarted over the last few days that Celtic are in negotiation with the Football League over being allowed to jettison the Scottish Premier League and join the English league system in League One. Whilst there is little solid to confirm how far such discussions have progressed, it could be argued that the fact that joining League One has been mentioned is a specific enough frame of reference for there to be something in this story. It could also be considered that this specific position in the league system reflects the extent to which the clubs of the Championship dominate the Football League, and that the idea of “compromise” may...

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