Celtic moved to solve the crisis at centre half by moving to end Fraser Forsters loan spell at Southampton. He’s having a medical today and is expected to join the ranks soon after.
Adam Matthews, however, is still on the banned list, despite frantic efforts from Neil Lennon to somehow bring him back into the fold.
John Clark, currently the kit man will train with the first team this afternoon, but there’s still doubt over Bertie Auld, who usually plays dominoes on a Thursday.
Forster is still only 31, and used to be quite good. Whatever went wrong for him at Southampton, we should be positive and remind ourselves what he was capable of. If Stevie woods can work that out, we’ve sorted one position for the next few years.
But he won’t feature tonight. It’s Craig Gordon’s turn to fling a couple into the net, which actually might be a good thing. Under Brendan Rodgers, the keeper was encouraged to try to dribble and pass, which he never got the hang of, and when on form he is a more than capable shot stopper, which is actually what goalkeepers are supposed to do.
That should mean there’ll be les chance for the opposition forwards to press our defence, which you can guarantee will be part of their game plan, and that could cause them to lose a little bit of faith in the syatem they will be asked to play.
As most of our defenders are injured-another sure sign the players are losing faith in the manager-it’s entirely feasible that Lennon will set out in a 3-5-2 formation tonight, which again, would confuse the Stockholm side.
Unfortunately, however, it would also confuse the Celtic players as they tend tostruggle when asked to do something different, although the word is that Lennon himself isn’t making himself clear in what he wants the players to do.
With Kris Ajer, Nir Biton and Jozo Simunovic the three, we could have Johnny Hayes and James Forrest as starting wing backs, with any two from Morgan, Johnston and Boli poised to take over when they are knackered.
With just a few days of the transfer window left, Olivier Ntcham will join Calum MacGregor and Scott Brown in the middle, unless common sense makes an appearance to allow Ryan Christie a chance to make an appearance.
Which leaves two spaces up front, and as we only have two strikers that part of the team sort of picks itself.
Tom Rogic, back from his honeymoon, will feature on the bench, along with Julien, just in case the boss fancies a laugh.
Piece of piss , this management lark.
Unless you happen to be Neil Lennon, who it appears still hasn’t realised the gravity of the current situation. Let me try to help him.
If Celtic lose tonight, you might as well put in for early retirement. Before Peter suggests it to you.
It’s that important. A season without group stage European football is unacceptable.
Speaking like a man who hasn’t noticed his roof is leaking, Lennon said;
“It’s not me who is creating the headlines or shouting out the criticism.
“I’m very supportive of the players and was after Cluj and Dunfermline. We’ve lost one game – I didn’t believe we deserved to and that’s the harsh realities of the game.
“We’re fine. We’re absolutely fine. It’s like everyone out there is head down. We’re not. We’re bullish and looking forward to the games.
“There has to be a sense of perspective. I can’t control that, but there has been a little bit of hysteria at times. That is the environment you’re in in Glasgow sometimes.
“We’ve lost one game and scored three goals in it, so it’s not all doom and gloom.”
“We have to be bullish about things and look forward. It’s a big disappointment to be out of the Champions League, but the Europa League is a very good competition that, hopefully, we can prosper in.”
“It’s important we get through. It gives us a gravitas, opens the season up and gives us European football to look forward to towards Christmas, so it’s an important couple of games.”
All of this, however, was spoken calmly, almost as though he was a teacher reading a poem to some disinterested kids. One might almost say he was just going through the motions…
Thats fine, as long as the passion that makes him the man he is rears its head in the dressing room before the game.
If it doesn’t we could be in for a long night.
Followed by a very long season.
Elsewhere, and this could be relevant…
Kilmarnock Football Club is pleased to confirm the arrival of Niko Hamalainen on a season-long loan from Queens Park Rangers, subject to international clearance.
Niko was raised in the United States but has played international football for Finland, qualifying through his father.
The 22-year-old has been at Loftus Road since 2014 and earlier this year, he enjoyed a loan spell with Major League Soccer outfit Los Angeles FC.
Primarily a left back, Niko can also play at centre back as well as midfield and will wear the number 14 jersey this season.
Greg Taylor it is, then… and then probably Scott McKenna.
Forster, Matthews, McKenna Ajer Taylor Brown Christie Forrest Morgan Johnston Griffiths…we lose tonight and that’ll be the first team before you know it.
Anyhoo, let’s lighten the mood…
The allegations against Det Ch Insp Robertson emerged as ex-Ibrox administrator David Grier sues Police Scotland for £2million.
The court heard claims that the top cop sang the sectarian chant as he quizzed a boss at Mr Grier’s firm Duff and Phelps.
No one should be surprised. Though I thought making the prisoner accompany him on the flute was a bit over the top.
The campaign to bring Ryan Kent to “rangers ” continued unabated. The policy of harping on about it in a compliant media mirrors the tactic used to unsettle players at Scottish clubs who are holding the Ibrox club to ransom, whilst denying the player his dream move.
Kent is apparently in a huff because he’s got no chance of playing first team football at Liverpool, and “rangers ” can’t afford him, although it does appear to be the players destination of choice. There’s talk of a further loan, which Liverpool have blocked, and even a story that says “rangers ” will pay the loan fee next year, in instalments..
The Ryan Kent effect and how Rangers transfer would give Ibrox side best chance of stopping Celtic
Former Rangers midfielder Derek Ferguson reckons Rangers are equal to Celtic from middle to final third and Kent could be the final piece of the jigsaw.
They face Legia Warsaw tonight, a team who were actually punished for fielding an ineligible player. First Rangers got away with it for years…
Meanwhile, their support, not the brightest, led by Mark Dingwall, also not the brightest , have jumoed on the Tangled Up In Blue page on amazon….leaving reviews on a book they haven;t read, or technically, had read to them.
They hate us more than they love their own club
Another Celtic fan writes a book about Rangers.
Love this tweet taking the piss out of the author.
“Not out today – The Paul McStay autobiography because Sellik fans would rather read, write and pay to publish books about Rangers to feed their desperate need to read about a club they still insist is dead but are shitting themselves about winning the league” https://twitter.com/StephenODauthor/status/1163483693920530432 …
That would be a book that explains why they are dead, something they would probably find interesting as it might help them avoid a second round of howling about injustice etc..
Note Dingwall carefully avoids any criticism…thats left to his lackeys…like these few..
More paranoid nonsense from a paranoid support,,,they will always be in our shadow
See Spiers and English are tagged – quelle surprise!. Doubtless they’ll be devouring it right now, flaccid members in hand. That these creeps are employed by a licence payer funded organisation bheggars belief.
The Rangers were here before the rattlers. It was those bastards that brought religion to the table.
The book helpfully reminds them about the time they completely forgot when they were formed..
No doubt more lies and half-truths from a likely bhigotted fan, to whom the truth is a total stranger.
Isn’t there a rather bigger story brewing at your own club Stephen? But then you know your fellow liars won’t want to read about that.
And of course, there are more comments along those lines. And a request to leave one star reviews and comments.
As ever, they aren’t quite clever enough to work out that this kind of publicity actually helps to sell books, which will further infuriate them.
Yesterday, we had this…