The Europa League campaign continues tonight in Glasgow with the visit of Sparta Prague, who haven;t been having a great time of it in the tournament so far. With a 3-0 defeat to Milan and a 4-1 loss at home to Lille, Sparta look to have already claimed the role of group whipping boys, so they’ll be looking forward to coming to Glasgow where they will probably turn that around.
Not because they’re any good, but because at home in Europe Celtic haven;t done very well at all. In fact, the three defeats that put the manager under pressure all came in Glasgow, and whereas you could usually expect the hoops to pull out a result when its needed at home, recent years have kind of bucked that trend.
We hear that just before the teams take the pitch at least two Celtic players re-enact the scene from Airplane….
” It’s quiet out there ”
” Too quiet ”
There’s not really a solution to that, unless someone adds artificial crowd noise, which would probably be worse, although maybe it’s the insults and abuse they are missing.
Maybe we should all record ourselves as though we are at a game and get the club to play it over the PR system…
You know, cries of “Fuck’s sake , Duffy “, or the omnipotent “what the fuck was that ? ”
Or my own favourite, “Fuck this, let’s go for a pint ”
Feel free to add your own and we’ll get it put on tape and sent to the club.
Whilst I’m on the subject of Great Ideas , it’s been noted that Cadbury, part of the Kraft Food Group, have put a bit of money into both “rangers ” and Celtic, money that will go to charity, but the fact is that the Old Firm brand, which is how the idea would have been sold to them, is back, and that for me is confirmation that Celtic are happy enough to be associated with the fraudulent operation over the river, and consequently proof that they never really wanted to live without them in the first place.
Thats why Celtic allowed their own shareholders to be screwed over, why they’ve never looked to deal with allegations of corruption and collusion, and why they continue to take us all for mugs.
My idea, though, is a winner.
Cadbury make chocolate bars, and one bar that could be used to promote this new spirit of friendship and co-operation , and raise even more money would be my own creation, the Old Firm Bar…think of the money from tie ins with drinks firms as well….
A full white chocolate bar , coated at one end in green, minty flavoured candy, and at the other in an orange colour, with the middle remaining white.
That way both sets of fans would be happy.
If they just brought out an Orange Twirl there’d be all sorts of accusations of bigotry.
Breweries would doubtless jump on the idea of an Old Firm Bar as well, where fans could sit in harmony and politely applaud each others team whilst still supporting their own.
Back to tonights game, and Sparta boss Vaclav Kotal told the Daily Record he’s not going to divulge the name of any of his Covid infected stars ahead of the match, presumably as he’s noticed that appears to be the done thing in at least one Glasgow neighbourhood.
“I’m sorry but I’m not going to specify how many are out through Covid – but more are injured as well.
“We know this is a vital match. The players are aware of it as well after two defeats. We are hoping we play better than we did against AC Milan.
He also went on to clarify what he meant he he intinated that Celtic were the diddy team in the group, which was prbably because he;d watched us…
“I didn’t mean it to disrespect Celtic. When I said they were the ‘most accessible team’ for us I was talking about in terms of the in the group. AC Milan and Lille are leading the Italian and French leagues – two of best leagues in the world.
Which is fair enough, but you felt like taking the offered olive branch and hitting him with it when he added…
“I respect the quality of the Scottish league and especially the size of Celtic and Rangers.”
Celtic have no fresh injury worries, and should be reasonably confident of winning against a side that has been in lockdown for over a month, and should that happen, a win over there would set up a winner takes all clash with Lille, presuming Milan continue t dominate the group, a scenario that was very unlikely when we watched the opening game…
Manager Neil Lennon had a pop at the media over the Jeremie Frimpong story, which was a classic case of deflection from the laptop loyal, when he questioned the timing of the story…
“I can’t comment on what the Rangers boys did. What I can comment on is the reaction from the government, which I find bewildering.
Holyrood, as we recall, “commended ” the “swift and decisive action ” of the Ibrox club in disciplining their errant players, well, at least the ones they named and blamed…
“Considering the way they treated us after the Bolingoli incident. There seems to be double standards at the minute as far as we’re concerned.
“You’d need to ask the government that. For the spokesperson, I found it strange to say the least. We as a club did and I’m sure our supporters did as well. I’m not happy about it. We were thrown under the bus.
“We were subjected to privileged footballers, yellow card and blah, blah, blah. We have been treated in one way and other clubs have been treated another by the government and that’s unacceptable from our point of view.”
On the story itself, he defended Frimpong..
“It’s a non-story. Jerry didn’t break any rules.
“I have to question the timing of the story because we were aware of it a few weeks ago. And since then he’s had about half a dozen tests where he’s been negative.
Thats covid, not chlamydia. He didn’t go near the girl.
“We talk to the players weekly about what they can’t do. It’s not easy for them, especially ones who are living on their own.
“There is enough pressure playing football. Having to be restricted in your movements can be difficult for them. But it’s just something we have to adhere to until things start to get better. At the minute, if you look at the UK, things are getting worse. So we have to be really on point with it.”
Thats probably the first time anyone at the club has learned a lesson about anything, yet we’ll still send players off on the international break…or will we ?
Purely in the interest of balnce, the Record spoke to Jiri Jarosik, who will be remembered mostly for falling over against Manchester United, why they spoke to him isn’t clear, but you can see the narrative they encouraged…
Oh hang on, it’s a profile of Lennon, and guess what ?
It ain’t pretty…or at least, it isn’t intended to be pretty…
“To put it bluntly, he was a really tough captain.
“He came up in what was then a rough league where the treatment of the players wasn’t the best.
“In Glasgow the city was always divided into quarters and he went into a pub where it wasn’t just Celtic fans cheering. People there knew who he was and he said he got punched in the mouth by one of the Rangers fans.
Note the wording, for legal and sycophantic reasons..“he said ” he got punched…which compared to what was usually happening to him around that time, was quite mild….
“He was surrounded by that and behaved accordingly. That’s probably reflected in his coaching style.
“Everyone remembers him as a tough and competitive midfielder who would hit you hard in training.
“He wasn’t afraid of anything.
Wonder how strong the temptation to add “who brings it on himself ” was….
“In the dressing room when there was a problem with a player he’d calmly grab them by the neck and give them a clip round the ear.
“He drove us on. In short, he was able to bring order.
“Even though there were some big personalities in the squad everyone was afraid of him.
“Even his face made sure you respected him, he was always missing a tooth.”
In truth, i think Lennon may have upset him in the past, with maybe a cutting comment like this….
Yesterday, we had this….
What time does the Walk pass ?
By the way, anyone struggling to put a comment on in the replies, it might be worth trying with a new email address.. and please be patient if somehow one of your replies goes into moderation.
We try to keep on top of it, but it’s not always possible.
Our tech guys are working on the problem, but lets face it, I’m not hopeful.