Tag: Celtic

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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A Celtic Encounter

Every so often events conspire to make us question whether there is indeed some footballing god directing proceedings from, somewhere. After UEFA’s initial decision to remove Swiss club FC Sion from the Europa League, the club they had previously beaten on aggregate in the final playoff round–that club being Celtic FC–were awarded their place in Group I in their stead. Thrown into a rather deep group containing the likes of La Liga’s Atlético Madrid, French representative Stade Rennais, and a Serie A side in Udinese likely of Champions League calibre, it appeared the Scottish side should have been cursing that football god for their rotten luck at being granted a reprieve in Europe yet likely destined to advance no further against the quality saturating that particular group. The Zeus of football rarely spells out his omnipotent power so clearly though, so we must work a bit harder to seek out the divine inspiration. Either through a deity’s hand or just sheer coincidence, Celtic’s next two Europa League fixtures see them travel to Rennes to play at Route de Lorient against Rennes for the first time before entertaining their Breton opponents back in Parkhead. While both clubs have been active in European competitions over the decades, their paths have never crossed until these two Group I matches were scheduled (or more accurately, when Celtic replaced FC Sion). Now, perhaps this comes down...

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Matters of Hearth & Home in the SPL

There exists evidence to the contrary that a man’s home is his castle. To begin, seeing as how there are so few men living in castles these days, owing to their relatively poor resale value and faulty electrical wiring incapable of  handling the wattage necessary to capture the beautiful game in breathtaking HD, castles just aren’t prime real estate these days. Stripping away the rather antiquated phrase and applying it to football, there is the simple matter that where a club plays its home matches no longer appears the refuge it might once have been. Instead, for those clubs operated more so with an eye to being a business organisation keen on extending their brand or reinvention as a 21st century enterprise, monuments of yesteryear might be seen simultaneously as albatrosses weighing down portfolios, prime real estate worth more to commercial interests than footballing ones, no longer fit for purpose of any kind, too small for modern spectator events, or leveraging instruments during club ownership negotiations. With London clubs such as Tottenham, Chelsea, West Ham United popping up in the news recently regarding where their next moats will be dug around, and with discussions about future castle construction on Merseyside ongoing, stadiums are a hot topic of late, and any or all of these perspectives on their current residences have been submitted. As England is having a sneeze over...

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Learning to Beat Swords Into Plowshares Takes Time

An odd thing happened to the prediction that Celtic would break the GI Joe kung-fu grip Rangers have had on the Scottish Premier League trophy the past three years. Quite simply, it appears to have been rather hastily determined based on deceptive appearances alone, or perhaps a notable disappearance from Ibrox. With Ally McCoist taking charge after Walter Smith’s retirement, it was generally presumed Super Ally would not be up for managing retention of the title for a fourth consecutive season and that Neil Lennon would be able to add his first SPL title to the Scottish Cup Celtic managed last season. Some pre-season prognostications went so far as to calculate Celtic finishing ten points clear of Rangers by the end of things, as unfavorable money matters were to prevent Rangers from strengthening their squad and concerns over McCoist’s ability to successfully manage without the guidance of Smith were cited for giving Celtic the edge. Instead, by the first week of October, it is Celtic that sits ten points behind Gers, already with a loss in the Old Firm derby, and questions being raised about whether Neil Lennon is cut out for managing Hoops. While the merit of this view appears debatable only ten matches into the season and with Celtic having two games in hand to make up the points, it was Lennon who even brought it up...

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Ugly Goes Underground

Voices floating over Hadrian’s Wall after Sunday’s Old Firm derby sounded curiously, positive. Curiously positive in the sense that, with so much about Scottish football being accompanied by the sound of a death knell of late, hearing something good about two SPL clubs struck a more upbeat note. Rangers and Celtic gave those in attendance at Ibrox, along with those watching abroad, a fierce display of quality football for the majority of the ninety minutes, showcasing much of the skill and drama that draws us to this game. As opposed to previous iterations where fans might have thought they were attending a fight and a game of football broke out, Sunday’s affair gave us a match that was purely about the football and little else. There was that peach of a goal from Celtic’s Gary Hooper to level the match in the 34th minute, followed by Scotland’s No. 1 producing a howler that would have made Robert Green nostalgic if he were watching, and gave Hoops the halftime lead. Ally McCoist then answered some questions about him that have been asked since his appointment as Rangers manager, weaving into this particular match’s narrative his personal story of redemption. Having set his halftime hairdryer to the appropriate setting as well as correctly adjusting his tactical schemes to overturn the shock deficit, McCoist provided his squad the better plan with which...

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