Celtic Diary Wednesday September 19

The mass migration of butterflies overnight into stomachs all over timland means that the roller coaster ride that is champions league football is finally upon us.  Benfica, the opponents tonight in Glasgow have turned up, which means the game is on. They will be without captain Luisao, as reports indicate FIFA have said his ban for headbutting a referee will stand outside Portugal. somehow though, you get the feeling we’ve not heard the last of this…

They will definitely be without Carlos Martins, their main playmaker, and right back Maxi Pereira, who is suspended.

Celtic go into the game without Samaras, Kayal, Ledley, McCourt and Twardzik, but Charlie Mulgrew and Scott Brown will feature, having shaken off their respective injury problems. Tactics are not my strong point, and predicting a system or line up is nigh on impossible with Neil Lennon, but I’d expect to see Forster in goal, Matthews and Izzaguerra at full back, with Ambrose and Wilson at centre half. Charlie Mulgrew left, Victor Wanyama centre and Scott Brown on the right hand side of midfield, which would allow the backs to roam forward with cover behind them. James Forrest and Kris Commons  would then provide outlets on either side with Gary Hooper ploughing a furrow up front.

But what do I know?

Our opponents this evening, by European standards have become familiar faces over the last few years, this will be our third meeting in the last seven years, and a measure of the reconstruction of the playing side under Lennon, only Scott Brown will recognise the team. Its all new for the rest of them, and if Brown is staring at anyone tonight, its likely to be because he thinks he knows them.

Sport Lisboa de Benfica, to give them their full name , is actually a multi sports club based in Portugals capital. Rugby , basketball ,judo and athletics all feature, but of course its the football club which is the most famous and successful. Benfica have an official fanbase of 14 million supporters, holding a place in the Guiness book of records for the club with the most members, and are far and away the most successful club in Portugal, although in recent years they have been eclipsed by Porto.

Benfica have been in an impressive eight European finals, and have won the European cup twice, in 1961 and retaining it in 62. They also made a further three finals in the sixties, and were considered the best team in Europe in 1968 by France football magazine, which is clearly bollocks. There was a far better team which won the European Cup in Lisbon just twelve months before which was feared throughout Europe as well. Ah, but we had a strong Rangers in those days.

There are a lot of similarities with Celtic. Benfica have their own weekly newspaper, a tv channel and their away strip is primarily black, and if it affects their players the same way Celtics black strip affects them, then lets hope they wear it tonight.

Sky Sports 3 are showing the game for those who cannot get to the ground, but anyone who is within about fifteen miles of Celtic Park needs only to open their windows to hear the noise.

No feeling of happiness with one’s own lot can be complete without a chuckle at the demise of the other lot. Last night, plucky, cash strapped Third division Rangers valiantly held out to second division Queen of the south only to go down on penalties in a night of high comedy, sorry I meant drama at Ibrox.

In front of dozens of fans, McCoists men thought they were through, but the superior fitness and technical skills of the higher placed club meant that as Rangers withered toward the end, Queens could take advantage.

Facing a backlash from disappointed Rangers fans, Charles Green explained that he had been told that Ally McCoist was an experienced and capable manager, and he apologised for the poor start, but a friend of his knew a man who could help

You kind of felt sorry for him as he batted away press questions, but he admitted no-one else wanted the job, and asked what could he do?

McCoist himself, and I am not making this up, said his priority was always the league. just as well really, considering his piss poor record in cup competitions.

Although Celtic has its own troubles , Peter Lawwell announced yesterday that the clubs debts have risen to £2.77m, an increase on last years amount of around £2m. This doesn’t take into account champions league money or the sale of key, and the increase may actually be down to the purchase of Fraser Forster.

The club lost around £7m, with turnover down and an increase in operating profits. but its still no excuse to charge over the odds for substandard burgers and stick a huge surplus on goods bought in the club shop , justifying it by saying money goes straight into the club. They’ll never learn.

However, with the UCL money and the sale of a reserve midfielder, then things actually look quite comfortable at the moment.

 

Finally, yesterdays teaser had a few people thinking. A weee clue, these guys are not the only ones to have done it, Jimmy McGrory did it more times than anyone, but even he couldn’t do it as quickly as Mark Burchill.

Enjoy the game, and bring back the thunder.

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Scottybhoy74

Goals against rangers…….

Danny

Score a hat trick?

Scott thomson

Score a hat trick

TLOPG

Is the answer: scoring hat-tricks?

McGrory has scored the most hat-tricks for Celtic, and Mark Burchill has the record for the quickest hat-trick scored – about 4 mins 20 seconds if I remember correctly, in a home European game.

Hail Hail

Catbhoy

Is it hat-tricks?

The Dubliner

Looks like the dual contracts thing wont go away, Charles Green just found out that Queen of the South were using them too . Their line up last night included plumbers, brickies, bus drivers and post men .

Steveo

Yup its hat-tricks. Gotta be!!

Morto

It’s European hat tricks surely?

Binkabhoy

As my Bro’s text last night said – Rangers have coped badly with Queen’s penalties this year…

Yak yak!

ralph malph

it was hat tricks. well done

Doing this during the Celtic TV commentary to keep those butterflies distracted for a while – well after having to listen to Radio Beeb Scotland for 15 mins until CTV got their act together to give me s bit of sound after I had practically dismantled the laptop trying to find the problem at my end. We seem to be doing quite well in the first half by the sound of it and in spit of Issy’s determination to receive the key of the city of Lisbon for services rendered to the city’s club. If he gives the ball away… Read more »

Yes, I spit at Issy’s determination :>) Too distracted by the game.

H H

john mccormick

just got back in after watching game.checked on line and saw 2 very negative reports on bbc and the daily ranger website. why do I bother , I just saw the headline from the DR article , that was enough. What a shower of cnuts! Tonight we got a draw, we deserved no more or less. I too am unhappy we did not test their keeper, BUT, can you imagine the praise that would be heaped upon Scotland if they had got a draw aginast Portrugal in a qualifier? We must be realistic, we must accept face saving scores, that… Read more »

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