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Friday September 7
The NextGen tournament began for Celtic last night at Firhill with a 2-1 reverse to one of the tournament favourites Sporting Lisbon. Keep an eye out on Eurosport for the highlights programme, as it seems it was a good game, played at a high tempo, and the Lisbon sides second goal was a bit of a belter.
The official site, reporting in a style older fans will compare to the Celtic View in the days when it was referred to as Pravda claimed the victory was ” narrow and undeserved” while those at Firhill said it was down to Sporting using five subs to influence the game while Celtic didn’t use any. Not the start the youngsters wanted, but it will serve as a reminder that they are playing at a higher level than they do every week, against well organised sides who are comfortable on the ball. Maybe the first team could take a warning here, especially about the quality gap when they step up a level.
New signing Lassad Niouiou says he isn’t bothered by the claims that he has signed for Spanish cracks (copyright Daily Record) Levante, saying an agent of his in France had spoken to them at a time when he was already talking to Celtic. If he was talking to Celtic, why was his agent talking to someone else. There is an email doing the rounds between the agent and the spanish club, but it isn’t a legal document, and there doesn’t seem to be anything that Levante can gain from this. Niouiou himself says that “At no point did I have any close contact with Levante so I am not worried by this at all.” and he has “never ever signed any piece of paper from Levante” In fact, it looks lke a big boy did it and ran away.
The striker also claims that Barcelona are , in fact beatable. Having been at Deportivo La Coruna for a while, the Tunisian striker is well placed to comment. Although he has never been on a winning team against them, he reckons Celtic have a chance. But he concedes that he will have to “run, run, run” as its difficult to get the ball of them.
After Charlie Mulgrew stated on Soccer AM that Gary Hooper is not the brightest candle on the shelf, one wonders what a conversation between Niouiou and the Englishman would be like. Those long hours travelling to matches must just fly by.
The Fife Free Press claim that Celtics League Cup tie against Raith has saved the Kirkcaldy club from a potentially disastrous October , where they only have one home game, and heroic chairman Turnbull Hutton is happy with the £12 and £5 admission charges to bring in a big crowd, saying that it is “important to get the pricing right, to encourage as many as possible to go to the game. No news on him doing the half time draw yet, but if he buys a ticket , he should be told he’s won it anyway, and even with Barcelona due at Celtic Park soon, the cheer will be heard all the way across the country as the Raith chairman accepts the cheque. Well, at the very least, he deserves a singing of his name and a rousing cheer for his demolition job on comedy duo Regan and Doncaster. (Remember them?)
Celtic Ladies, shamefully ignored by the Diary in recent weeks, lost 2-0 to league leaders Glasgow City, meaning they are now twelve points adrift in second place. The Scottish ladies league doesn’t get the support it deserves, nor the recognition, and if it helps, we are prepared to help them do a series of publicity photos which may raise awareness.
Tony Watt scored a penalty in Scotlands U-21 3-0 win over Luxembourg last night. The win keeps Scotlands qualification hopes alive, as they sit second behind the Netherlands. Both sides face Austria in their last games, so if the Dutch lose and Scotland win, there could be a Scotland team in the finals of a major tournament.
Charlie Mulgrew has pulled out of the senior Scotland squad for tomorrows game against Serbia. The Scots, managed by the adventurous Craig levein , will be looking to get off to a flying start at home to the Eastern european side. In other news, I will be looking to win around forty million pounds in tonights Euro lottery.
Another Rangers fan has been caught on camera at the Peterhead game and charged with sectarian abuse. The man is the fourth to be pulled up as the new look Rangers carry on the traditions of the old club as they spread “gold dust” around the lower leagues.
The gold dust tag comes from Willie Pullar Jardine, which is in fact the real name of Gers legend Sandy Jardine, and not a description of his nocturnal habits.
Sandy, on his way to resign from the Scottish Hall of Fame, claimed that Rangers were “spreading gold dust” and single handedly saving all those wee clubs, but he neglected to mention all the wee newsagents, face painters and Rapid Vienna who are still waiting on money from the shameless tax dodging cheats.
Theres more bad news for Rangers, as it looks like Carlos Bocanegra will be returning to the club, and £15,000 a week will be returning to his bank account from the already stretched rangers account-thats assuming they have found a bank daft enough to give them an account. The Third division side simply cannot afford to pay that sort of money. Mind you, we have seen in the past how they deal with their finances, so if the american does return, then sleepless nights and constant phone calls to his bank along the lines of “Has it gone in yet” looks like being high on his agenda, at least until January when he can walk away again.
Finally Ally McCoist will be busy today. He is annoyed by several anonymous letters criticising his club, and has vowed to spend this afternoon replying to them. .