Celtic Diary Thursday February 14: Lights..Music…Action
Celtic must step up a level tonight when spanish cracks…thats what the SMSM call teams they’ve heard of when they come to Scotland…Valencia, and even though we’ve played them on a couple of previous occasions, one great mystery remains..
Theres a bat on their badge.
A mystery no more..
There is also a legend that says that thanks to the humble intervention of a bat, king James I of Aragon was able to win a crucial battle against the Saracens that allowed him to win Valencia for his kingdom. However, original documents state that the animal was a swallow and not a bat.
A swallow would have looked silly. So a bat it is.
What does worry me, and would worry anyone who believes in omens and that sort of thing, is that when we played them in 62-63, they had just won the Fairs cup, and when we played them under O’Neill, they had been in the previous couple of Champions League finals.
What if this time around we are playing them before they get to a final ?
Of course, this could just be pre match nerves, which right now are still at a manageable level, but as the day goes on, they will raise a notch or two on an almost hourly basis.
As far as europe is concerned, the team still has a lot to prove.
The Leipzig game earlier this season proved they can reach the heights on occasion, but the Salzburg clashes highlighted not a lack of ability, but a lack of confidence.
The manager needs to try to get the players to believe they belong at this level.
There have been a couple of significant changes since the group stages, and it could be argued that Celtic have been considerably strengthened with the additions to the european squad of Burke, Weah, and Toljan.
Burke especially will be out to make a name for himself, whilst the other two have it in them to potentially change games.
Toljan has pace, and Weah an exceptional intelligence.
Bain, Toljan, Simunovic, boyata, Izaguirre, Brown , MacGregor, Forrest, Christie, Sinclair, Burke.
The only other options i can see , should the manager attempt to be bold, are Hayes at left back, unlikely since Izaguirre is fit again, or Edouard instead of Christie, a move which would emulate the Dembele-Edouard partnership of early season.
That seems so long ago…
A win , possibly, but I wouldn’t expect anything dramatic.
Maybe a single goal victory, which would at least keep next week interesting.
One thing I would say, and Etims colleague Hector Bandido will probably agree, the main man tonight won;t be one of the usual suspects. It’ll be Calum MacGregor.
And i might even risk a few quid on him to score..now that I’ve opened an account with Bet 365.
This isn’t one of those advertising things…we don’t have sponsors or anything like that on etims.
There is a reason behind my venture into the world of planning to live in a flat above a shop.
It seems Bet 365 won’t take bets on “rangers ” being awarded a penalty. I signed up, and i couldn;t find a way to place this wager.
Bookies tend to cover each others arses, so when William Hill and Ladbrokes follow suit, surely that will be a sign that the games a bogey, when the two major sponsors know not to take risks on an event..
Then again, Scottish football isn;t as predictable as we maybe thought.
Alan MacGregor has been banned for two games, despite making a personal appeal to the tribunal judges, or more likely, because he made a personal appeal.
As usual, the Ibrox club made a statement, which marked their displeasure..
Be careful what you wish for..it looks like the SFA have fallen out of love with Kings club, and it might get worse for them.
note also that the police are concerned about possible trouble at the Aberdeen -“ranger s” cup tie, which might just spur Kilmarnock on a wee bit..
Ach, sod the lot of them…
Tonights our night, and all i can say is…
come on the hoops.
Its a kind of good luck charm.
On this, the anniversary of the worlds longest running pantomime..seven years in and still going strong.
apologies for the brevity of todays piece, but i have to go…I feel a big day ahead of us.
you guys can fill in the rest.