Celtic Diary Tuesday November 20

Celtic Diary Tuesday November 20

Tonights the night, we’ve been waiting for….

 

Celtic flew out to Lisbon yesterday with virtually a full squad, only Izzaguerre, Forrest and Rogne haven’t made the trip.Everybody else is out there, and all Neil Lennon has to do is pick the players that will win in the Stadium of Light and move Celtic into the last sixteen.

For the hosts, Pablo Aimar is a doubt, but it looks like they too , will be able to field a strong side. They have to win , to have any chance of qualifying, which is why Johann Mjalby reckons all the pressure is on them.

“There is more pressure on them, because they really need to win the game, ” said the Swedish powerhouse, “But it is a difficult game, its a champions league match away from home and we really respect Benfica, we think they are a really good side. But the confidence is there, we’ve shown we can play away from home so why not go out and nick that vital point? They are probably going to go all out to try to win the game.They are goin g to be strong at home, a good side going forward, well organised. But we have picked up a lot of confidence from our away games, and we know if we defend really well we can get something from this game.”

Not quite fighting talk, but one senses an undercurrent of optimism.

Manager Lennon paid tribute to the Lisbon Lions, and the role the city has played in Celtics history, but added, on tonights game

“We have done remarkably well to be in the position we are in on the back of beating Barcelona but thats gone now, we have two huge games left in the competition. This was always going to be a pivotal game for us regardless of the Barcelona games. You are never relaxed whoever the opposition is, particularly at this level. The landscape of the group can change on one night.”

The same tone as Mjalby, but again the same sense of cautious optimism.

Benfica boss Jorge Jesus has called on his clubs supporters to display Portuguese passion to help his club, and admitted that “It is true that Celtic have been a surprise, especially in the win against Barcelona. It messed the numbers a bit.”

Well, heres to “messing the numbers ” a bit more tonight.

Jesus hasn’t learned. He expects Celtic to defend a lot and be dangerous at set pieces. Hasn’t anyone in Europe noticed that we can pass, dribble, run and shoot as well?

And he’s not getting his eagle back either.

The stadium of Light is an imposing venue, when i was there it was ringed by armed police, who looked more like commandos, and does have an excellent atmosphere, although on my visit in 2007, Gary Caldwells defending did a lot to help the crowd.

Thats me in the white with a friend Will Kelly, back in 2007.  For both of us, along with a few others from the Lennon CSC, it was a memorable trip. The plane from Luton, brightly coloured orange, which we saw as an omen of disaster, the hotel surrounded by ladies of the night on the Avenue Republique, the visit to the national stadium-arguing with a taxi driver who couldn’t speak spanish, even though its “just up the fecking road”, the drive through Lisbon on the Thomas cook coach, with the locals applauding the support, the taxi driver after the game, drawing his finger across his throat-“Celtic-dead”.

Aye, it was fun.

Will died a couple of years ago, god rest him, but if there is a seat up there next to a telly, he’ll be watching tonight.

 

The SPL,or SFA seem to have taken the distraction of tonights game as a good time to bury bad news. The campaign to pull the wool over fans eyes and admit a new club as quickly as possible to the top tier has taken a sinister turn, with more plans to change the senior set up.

Officially, the plans to alter and improve the current system will be made public on December 3, but someone left the details on a train, and here at Etims, we can fully reveal the controversial new league plans which will radically alter and improve, at least in some peoples eyes, senior football in Scotland.

” Premier League;

Rangers.

Some other teams.

First-Fourth divisions

all the other teams not called Rangers who are not in the premier league.

Promotion for teams who finish in the top two of their respective leagues.

Relegation for those who finish in the bottom two of their leagues who are not called Rangers.”

 

Nothing in there we didn’t expect.

The ESPN coverage of the Aberdeen Celtic game, and the BBC Scotland results coverage on Saturday may have let a little secret out. Both programmes spoke of the importance of not leting the fans know what the plans are.

Quite right, why should those who actually finance the game have any say in how its run? Scottish football just came through a crisis caused by one clubs financial meltdown, which they caused themselves by years of cheating.

Which idiot really thinks its a good idea to let them back in?  Did the parents of those who work at the SFA, the SFL or the SPL have any kids that actually lived?

This attempt to steamroller over the wishes of those who actually matter in football-the fans-should be met with even more force than the original cock up last summer.

Scottish football is enjoying a resurgence in crowds, and the league is more competitive and exciting since shorts were longer and the ball had laces in it.

Why on earth would anyone want to change it?

Mention of the “Toxic SPL brand ” being dumped was heard, well who has made it “toxic” -if indeed it is.

I’ve a wee message for all those involved in restructuring.

Fuck off. We are all doing fine, thank you as we are.

And breathe…

Celtic FC have issued a denial concerning rumours that they are in collusion with police forces hell bent on rounding up naughty supporters.

The upshot is that either police are lying, the club are lying or the security people are lying.

Well, work it out.

Ever been arrested and charged? The police version is usually different from the facts.

Ever spoke to a steward? Again, they have been known to distort events.

The club. Surely they are not stupid enough to alienate supporters? Which probably explains the speedy denial, which also asks for anyone with a complaint to get in touch. then they will send the police round. Hah, sorry, couldn’t resist that.

David Beckham is to leave LA Galaxy, and bookies have him as low as 16-1 to join Celtic. This nonsense comes off the back of rapper Snoop Dogg claiming he would like to invest in Celtic.

Snoop Dogg, in the past has been involved with guns and drugs, and the club and its support will certainly not want to associated with any person or organisation with a history of guns or drugs, and it doesn’t matter how good the songs are.

Willie Henderson was the Rangers player guided to the Celtic dugout during a game years ago by tommy Gemmell. Henderson was notoriously short sighted, failing indeed to see his talents were wasted at Rangers.

Gemmell said of those games at the time, that “The first thing i remember is that we won most of them.”

Who, speaking of those games, commented that he had never heard the chorus of “The Sash” because “we had usually scored by then”

 

Last word on tonight.

C’mon the Hoops.