Celtic Diary Tuesday February 24: Concentration Needed In Milan

Its difficult to describe the general mood ahead of Thursdays return Europa game, because when you look at in the cold light of day, Celtic have to go to one of europes most hostile arenas and win. Unless we draw 4-4, which isn’t likely.

And yet there is a kind of cautious optimism amongst the support and the players. In fact, its not even cautious in some instances.

Scott Brown, captain and most experienced player led the way;

 We’ve EVERY chance of grabbing

a golden goal in Milan with Griffiths

and Guidetti on our side

Except Deila won’t start with both, but we kind of get what he means.

 “We have got to go over there and think we can do it – especially when you look at the chances we created against them.

“You always have a chance when you have the likes of Leigh Griffiths and John Guidetti .

“John scored a great goal – it was an unbelievable finish – but wee Griff worked his socks off to soften up the Inter defence for him.

“He created chances for others as well. We’ll do the same in Milan.

“It could be 5-4, – it would be nice if it was to us!

“Inter are a great side. They have great players, some of them who cost a lot of money. 

But you look around our squad and we have a few guys who know what it’s like here and it helps the likes of wee Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong now know what the big European matches at Celtic Park are about when you have 60,000 in there.

“The second half we had a great attitude. We controlled the game and created chances. We need to do that again over there.

“I think we showed them how good we can be in that second half. We controlled the match and pushed to get the equaliser and eventually got the reward. 

“It was a great atmosphere from start to finish. We were disappointed we went 2-0 behind but it showed the fighting spirit in the team.

“We fought back, created a few chances and could maybe have even scored a few more goals.

“The great thing is we managed to create those chances and we are still in the tie.

“We will probably go there and play the same formation, try to press them high up the park again and prey on their mistakes.

“If we do that who knows what can happen.” 

Couple of things we can take from that,but first theres a pretty major addition that needs to be made.

The opening twenty minutes are crucial. Celtic need to keep the heid from kick off and not do anything rash. Concentration is paramount, something that didn’t seem to be there in the first game when inter capitalised and went two up. At least this time we know about the danger of Shaqiri, but if we assume that the scouts knew about him before the first game, then there needs to be a wee shuffle around at the back to neutralise that particular threat.

Forget about all this rhetoric about creating chances ad scoring goals. Of course that will happen. Its the other end that worries me, because the back four need to be on the ball immediately, otherwise the game becomes a handicap event, and that will be too much for the team.

What we can take from Browns words however, is inspiration. Quite simply, if he believes that the Hoops can be in the next round, the good thing is that he’s just the man to convince everyone else when they’re out on the pitch. Brown was a little subdued in the first game, as a booking would have meant that he’d miss this weeks game, but we can expect him to be back at his enthusiastic best on Thursday.

Something else he mentioned was the collective fighting spirit, which is up there with any seen from any great side from the past. For a largely inexperienced side at this level, i.e. the post group knockout stages, and one who had floundered earlier in the season over two legs, the fightback from two down should not be understated. It was a fantastic achievement, and showed that not only do the players have the fitness to go the distance, they also have the heart.

The press are doing their bit to help, starting with the story that John Guidetti will be the subject of an £11m bid, with £60,000 a week wages from Olympique Marseille. Happily for the hacks, the wage roughly coincides with the crowd at a full Celtic Park, which allowed the more constructive among them to make the comparison.

However, Sports Witness, has looked into this a little closer, and along with the rest of the French media, has been taken by surprise;

 RMC report on Monday that the claims are highly doubtful because the amounts don’t fit in with Marseille’s new wage structure. They simply explain it’s ‘incompatible’. 

Marseille are taking their new wage structure very seriously indeed and no player would be paid anything like £60k per week, whether they came on a free transfer or not. André-Pierre Gignac, the club’s star striker, is paid less than that and his contract ends in the summer, he’s been asked to take a pay cut and could leave for free in the summer. Similar stances are also being taken with Africa Cup of Nations star Andre Ayew and goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.

The French club are prepared to let players run down their contracts and leave for free rather than see their new structure wobble, so there’s no conceivable way they’d give all that up for Guidetti. Gignac, Ayew and Mandanda have all spoken out about the situation and the former two are destined to leave come the summer. 

Fancy that. The Sun gets it wrong.

However, undaunted by the revelation that they have been talking bollocks, the MSM carry on;

Southampton still keen on Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk as Manchester City consider move for Toby Alderweireld 

which, lets be honest , is about the same as me saying I’m keen on Jennifer Aston now that George Clooney has got married.

 Thankfully, the squad will be heading off to Italy soon, and won’t have to read this sort of nonsense.

 Meanwhile, back at the ranch, theres good news for Second Rangers, who have had a few problems with their vociferous support.

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 Good news ? That the racist chanting is not included in the report. Oh, thats all right then, carry on chaps.

Mark Guidi, who works on the low brow Radio clyde phone in, was asked by a caller for his thoughts on Stan Collymore being sacked by BT Sports-shortly after Hugh Keevins had given his own, well, they probably weren’t his own as he condemned the tv company’s action, and Guidi replied that he couldn’t comment as he didn’t know the facts.

 Well, he wouldn’t, as presumably BT sports staff don’t talk amongst themselves when one of their number has been dismissed. Guidi, as you know , is a trackside reporter for the company. Perhaps he was afraid of losing his own job ?

 Or perhaps, to invoke the lyrics of an old World War Two, at least hitler had one ball, the Scottish media don’t seem to have any.

 A statement this morning seems to suggest that someone has been workoing late at night to remove all the testicles of all those involved in not only writing or broadcasting about this particular issue, but those responsible for dealing with it.

 Its from Neil Doncaster, so don’t expect anything too construct

“We hope to have sight of the match delegate report from Friday night’s Raith Rovers v Rangers SPFL Championship match within the next 24-48 hours,” 

“It remains the SPFL’s position that if it can be established that clubs have done everything required in overall management of the event pre-match, during the game and post-match then they have no case to answer.

“But setting that aside, the vast majority of decent fans will share a strong degree of anger and despair that the good name of Scottish football is once again being dragged through the mud by the distasteful, shameful and selfish actions of a mindless minority who seem hell bent on indulging in outdated and offensive behaviour.”

 “I know that clubs, players and many others across the game share this frustration.

“While we can’t comment further until we review the match delegate report, we will work with our clubs and the police to do everything within our powers to act against those involved in such unacceptable conduct and behaviour.

“However ultimately we also need the supporters to play their part to help stamp out such behaviour.” 

He hopes to look at the report in the next couple of days ? How about watching the game and drawing your own conclusions ?

Further down, he says “we will work with our clubs” . 

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 Clubs ? Theres only one club, a club which is a repeat offender, to “work ” with.

 If the SPFL does not come down heavily on the offending club, then Doncaster must be removed. This should be made perfectly clear to him by the other clubs, and their support. He talks of dragging the good name of the game into the mud, yet refuses point blank to punish those who do it.

 Its not a minority. Not in the sense that he implies. Its a minority of football supporters, but not a minority of Rangers fans.

 However, at least an equal degree of responsibilty has to be accepted over at Ibrox. As Willie Miller, the biggest name in Scottish football to come out and say it like it is, tweeted yesterday;

Another day & all silent at Ibrox. West Ham are keen to ban anti-Semites. Chelsea are keen to ban racists. WHY won’t Rangers

Thats easy.

The headline in yesterdays teaser reflected the result of a poll taken among Rangers fans ( when there was a Rangers ) to try to determine their outlook on the policy of not signing Catholics. Not surprisingly, they didn’t want to.

 Which should be remembered every time they spout about the bigots being a minority. Sure, there are decent Rangers fans, but that core of anti Irishness and anti Catholicism is always just beneath the surface, and they don’t see the problem with that.

 And the media don’t want to point out what it is, because its a very uncomfortable truth about  society in 21st Century Scotland.

 Away from all that, its back to happier times, and celtic are about to take the field for a match in their run to a European semi final.

 Where is it, who are the opponents, and when was it ?

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the real anton rogan
5 years ago

Fu k me. That is the fatest linesman I have ever seen!!!!

I am a bit wary of this confidence thing about the Inter game. We still have a long way to go. This match is a bonus.

A good performance is what I want. If we win, great. If we lose, I will be disappointed but will take comfort in showing we can again compete.


5 years ago

I take it Tiny Wharton was before your time? – Those where the days when referees didn’t even TRY to make a secret of the fact they were died in the wool blue-nosed bassas.

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5 years ago
Reply to  CarlJungleBhoy


As soon as I looked I had to make double take. I too thought immediately it was a slim TW – you know, before he grew a blue nose.


dziekanowski's nightclub child
5 years ago

Are we about to line up against Basel? Just a guess due to the strip

holy sea
5 years ago

Our away form in Europe,this season,tells us we shouldn’t be confident.However,that was then,and this is now.There has been a massive sea change,
with regards opinions about this team.So,maybe Broony’s inspirational demena,should not be disregarded.I have went from 60/40 against,to it now being 50/50.Game is definitely on.
Doncaster’s a plonker.What an excuse,the club and player’s share their frustrations about singing.Really ?
Why do they still play flute tunes,over the tannoy at Ibrokes,then ?

holy sea
5 years ago
Reply to  holy sea

Demena? Sorry,should be demeanour.

5 years ago

Where is it, who are the opponents, and when was it ?

St Jakob’s Park, Basel; Basel; 27 Feb 74. QF European Cup, 1st leg, 3-2 defeat. Ottmar Hitzfeld scoring twice for the home team.

5 years ago
Reply to  alvysinger


Watch out! You could be scooped up by that Scottish river channel as the alternative view – they call it facts!!!!!


5 years ago

Hope Celtic got their socks back off the goalie! The linesman’s socks look a bit dodgy but I certainly wouldn’t be the one who told him.

With the old Rangers, bigotry and/or racism was never far from the surface. As a wise man once said, 1 in every 3 Huns is as bigoted as the other two.

No change with the new version.

5 years ago
Reply to  Hugh67


And here was me thinking Keevins was over 100 by now.


5 years ago

If Marseille are finding it hard to attract players because of their wage structure then just use EBTs, win 9 titles IAR, dominate the French league for a while, borrow squillions of pounds off a French bank, fuk paying any taxes, then after all that get liquidated and reappear debt free with history in tact. SIMPLES!!! Oh wait a minute no other FA in the world except Scotland would allow that tae happen. Ah well looks like Marseille going to have to be one of them honest, taxpaying, law abiding, cheat free clubs with some morals…HAIL HAIL, COYBIG

Charlie Saiz
5 years ago

Where to start with today’s Diary Ralph?
Excellent read as per usual well worth the 10 minutes or so.
The SFA are a complete waste of space if they that is the Controlling Governing body are unwilling to place sanctions on Clubs who have this element within their Support then in my opinion the SFA are not fit for purpose.
How’s about handing out a banning order for a Game for the Rangers Support at HOME Games every time it happens?
If it is a minority (aye right) like they have suggested (go listen to the Hampden Chorus ya c#nt) then the surely the majority of their fans will sort the minority out themselves as they suffer?
That aside how is it the Police who were present did not start lifting,charging and prosecuting the offenders during or after the game?
That is their job after all to keep the peace and to uphold the Law.
That aside the Clumpany should also be controlling away ticket allocation and know exactly who is attending these games and causing these issues.
Why has no one been banned yet?
All that aside we have our own issues at Celtic if we as a Support are going to be shining a torch on the Dark side for their behaviour then perhaps it is time now a few within our own rank and file changed theirs?
We have no end of songs and chants at Celtic we really should have no need to go anywhere near the usual stuff that gives those with the platform to raise issues about our own near the knuckle songs and chants?
Drop the political stuff during games,leave the reb tunes for the bus or the Bar and sing the good stuff loud and proud.
That way they have no leg to stand on when it comes to tarring us with the same foul smelling brush as them.
We have the Bards among us rewrite a few lyrics and drop the eternal references to the IRA as it really has no place in a Modern Multi Cultural Scotland in 2015.
You don’t have to change your views on Republicanism all you have to do is leave it at the gate and collect it on your way out because it is a matter of a fact some people do find the IRA repulsive and offensive whether you like it or not.
And that’s the whole crux of the issue.
Causing Offence and using our Club(s) as the platform to do so.
The Green Brigade also need to consult more with the Club about what the Club deems appropriate behaviour I think.

Charlie Saiz
5 years ago

I think we have every right to be optimistic about our chances in Milan on Thursday.
Not only because of the manner in which we came back last week at CP but also the fact the 3 goals they scored 2 of them were errors from a Keeper who is not generally known for making and the other was a poor clearance that happened to deflect back into the feet of the waiting striker.
Our 3 were scored due to the style we have now adopted to play.
Quick break,passing and finishing of the highest order.
Yes the 2nd was an OG but had Armstrong got his foot in first he too would have scored the Keeper was rooted and did nothing.
Anyone who watched the Cagliari Inter game last night would have seen a very average Cagliari side put Inter under some real pressure during that game Inter were fortunate to walk away with 3 points and the final result masked a very average performance.
That too with Podolski Vidic and Kovacic in their squad.
If we look at our own performance on Sunday well you could not have asked for more from a side who had played that game just 3 days prior.
There was no let up from the Hoops at Hamilton,no tiredness or lethargy on the Park from whistle to whistle we were at it.
This is the sign of a very fit,very motivated and ultimately slicker Celtic than we have seen in previous years.
The hard work and persistence from our Coaching staff under Ronny Deila is now kicking in.
I doubt Craig Gordon will make those mistakes again at Celtic and I also doubt we will defend as porrly over there as we did last week at CP.
what I expect though is we will press,attack and push exactly the same way as we did last week.
Hopefully we take the chances I am positive we will create.
It’s very much game on.

Mike Annis
5 years ago

There seems to be a misconception out there about the roll of the media, both printed and televised. It is not to report on events, analyse, investigate. It is purely to have a customer base to attract advertisers, if they attract readers, viewers, listeners by being controversial or appealing to the blue bigots them that’s what they will do. It is a numbers he and the only way to effect change is to threaten numbers. The BBC has no excise except they are controlled by the establishment, enough said.

5 years ago

Apart from Juve the other year, recent visits to Italy have seen us robbed by bad decisions or by just damn bad luck. As the eternal pessimist i see the same thing happening. 2-1 Inter although i’m backing us to win 2-1 and whoever starts as striker for 1st goal. Mon the Hoops

5 years ago
Reply to  Bhoris

I really hope I’m wrong, but I can’t see us doing any better than a 1-1 draw. Obviously, we’ll need to score and I’ll be disappointed if we don’t, but the 2 things we need above everything else IMHO is for Craig Gordon to have an absolute blinder and a very large slice of Lady Luck – who hasn’t exactly been following us around with her knickers down, away in Europe, in recent years.

Of course, I’ll be more than ha-p if selic mk me eet my wrds

5 years ago

Watched the Starks Park disgrace on Friday night. Don’t remember hearing or seeing Deadco doing anything about sectarian/racist singing before the match; certainly didn’t see them doing anything about it during the match; and there wasn’t a cheep post match. Thoughts on that one, Mr Doncaster?

5 years ago

I have the same feeling as before the Milan last 16 match a few years back; we maybe needed to do more at home and I was just waiting for the roof to cave in over there. But against a much better team we held our own and took them all the way, I hope for something similar with hopefully more of an attacking threat rather than dogged defending.
A Lennon team would never have put in a 4-0 off the back of such an emotional and hard fought comeback as last Thursday (happy to be corrected) so that gives me optimism for the direction Ronnie is heading in. The defensive unit is the key, for the remaining tie(s) in Europe and what we’ll be starting with in the summer, I hope he gets it right.
On the debate over which game I’d rather win, it’s got to be Thursday for the continuation of European football, and the less glamorous fact of coefficient points. Aberdeen are not going to run us close for the title, but can beat us in a one-off game. If we’re last 16 Europa I’ll take that league blip.

Honest Hoops
5 years ago

I’m of the logical thinking, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, keep the same line up as those that started against inter, with a stern talking to the defence, get it right 1st time, I have every faith we can do it.

C’mon the hoops.

5 years ago


Please believe me when I tell you my late comments have nothing to do with the length of mental preparation for reading The Diary. It is rather the consequence of having a big gob that gets you roped into commitments that you signed an official document at the time of retirement to promise not to become involved in. In other words I have been tied up all fucking day with other peoples’ crap.

And so to more relaxing pursuits. I could not give a monkey’s whatevers about the result on Thursday. The score yes, as I would be devastated if we were humiliated by an embarrassing defeat and that has happened before on the continent. You see, since the beginning I have envisaged this season as traumatically transitional so, for me, the league is the only trophy that actually needs to be won and even that purely to keep the 10-in-a- row alive – a necessary body blow in the fight against insidious illusion and as time goes on that punch becomes more and more imperative (see Doncaster et all). Getting to advanced stages in any European competition is a big ask for any current Scottish team even with the best in the land at its disposal. We simply do not have the means to compete at the top level though there is no denying the inconceivable occasionally does and will continue to happen. To do so during the upheavals caused by a change of manager and the introduction of an almost revolutionary style of training and play, is verging on the impossible. That is why I would see a victory on Thursday as a truly thick wedge of icing on a very fragile cake only ever witnessed before in season 2000/2001 when Martin O’Neil miraculously won a treble when all of us were expecting and prepared to accept a three season transformation. So, I go into Thursday evening with a feeling of hope firmly bedded in resignation but with confidence that no matter the result we are moving forward towards a new era when miracles may become more commonplace than we have seen for several decades – and that has nothing to do with the beard and sandals I am wearing for Lent. If truth be told, I do go along with the many who believe we have more than a fair chance of winning barring stupidity.

Talking of stupidity, it may be a very good description of Doncaster’s statement but it sure as the hot place no excuse for it. It emphasises once again, if emphasis was needed, the need to focus our – and hopefully all other “decent” supporters’ – dissatisfaction on the Hampden stooges and to force each and every club to challenge them – ideally that would be dismiss them. I agree with those that draw attention to Peter Lawwell and the board. Diplomacy is all well and good when there is potential for just settlement. However, the sinister shenanigans of Hampden combined with the outrageous freedom of expression of a certain football club and the consequent silences of those charged with reporting, have taken this battle well beyond diplomacy to the iron glove stage. Does anyone else get the feeling our club is hiding behind a non-interference barricade? If so, we need to dismantle it and get them sent out to the front line. How many years is one club and its camp followers going to be allowed to swagger across the battlefield in triumphant defiance in spite of abject defeat while the supposed victors cringe in fear of being “undiplomatically“? Balls, anyone? Ach, The Diary was meant to relax me, Ralph. Now look what you have gone and done. Pissed, confused, uncertain, raging and knackered. So, before I‘m deid…..


holy sea
5 years ago

Well said,PB.
You’ve still got it!
League every time for me.As you say,the dream of ’10’,will put a few bluenoses out of place.
Inter will be tough,and I would prefer a win over the sheep,if it was an either or choice.
God Bless.

5 years ago

We can afford to draw with the sheep on Sunday, a win would be better, but a draw means we would still be potentially 6 points and a massive goal difference (as good as another point)ahead of them.
I’d like to win both games of course and don’t see why we can’t aim to do so. However, I’ll settle for us getting through to the next round of the Europa and not being beaten by the sheep.
Oh and I want both cups as well.

5 years ago

Sorry, but wasn’t Tonev found guilty of ‘possibly’ racially abusing another player? Hundreds Hordes and Stan Collymore??

5 years ago

‘Hun Hordes’ obviously meant to write.

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