Celtic Diary Saturday July 11: Celts Looking Sharper As Stjarnan Stumble Again

Gary Mackay Steven continued his impressive pre season with the winning goal against Real Sociedad in Paisley last night. Celtic won 1-0 , but it’s not the result that’s important, although it’s nice to get a win.

The team looked sharper, after a dodgy opening spell, and worked harder for each other, which, given the fact that we are only a few days away from the first qualifier, was a huge relief.

Nir Biton returned to the side, and as he became more settled, so did Celtic. Leigh Grifiths , as usual , worked his socks off, and was unlucky not to score one of those goals you replay on You Tube when you’re drunk. Dispossessing a Real defender, he did a delightful little twist before making the space to hit a low shot off the post, which sadly for him , meant that new signing Nadir ciftci got all the headlines, after the ball rolled down the substitutes leg into the path of Mackay Steven to win the game.

Griffiths, though, despite what you might read in the paper, is certain to start against Stjarnan. After all, he’s been given the squad number nine shirt, which is usually an indicator of what the manager thinks of you, and captain Scott Brown was quick enough, on twitter, to recognise the significance;

@leighgriffiths28 wow number 9 well done weeman

Ciftci looked sharp, and it was good to see a player who can put himself about a bit in the team, as Real, like Dukla and Den Bosch before them, were a little enthusuastic in their tackling. Something we may need to be aware of in the next few weeks, because it seems that when beaten with pace, which Celtic possess in abundance, the fouls will be a plenty.

If he stays the full season, might be worth a punt on van Dijk to score more than ten goals. Failing that, Mulgrew.

Apart from those two, Celtic don’t have a dead ball specialist, and it might be worth teaching one or two how to place a free kick.

After the game, Ronny Deila seemed quite pleased with the way it had gone. Well, sort of;

It was a controlled game,”

“The last game was wild but this game was more balanced and played more defensively. As a team, we were compact.

“Offensively we started without confidence but we grew throughout the game and in the end we created the chances that we needed to win. So I’m happy with the performance.

“We need more sharpness but that’ll come on Wednesday.” 

He was also a little more measured about Ciftci than the papers seem to be;

I’m very happy to get Ciftci in. He showed today what he can add to the team. He’s a good football player and he’s going to be an important player for us.

“We’re working on the same things all the time and we just need to do it quicker. That is why it’s good to meet a good team and we get a good tempo.

“We had to defend as well as we did last season and it was much more controlled.

“It was Nir Bitton’s first game as well and Mikael Lustig hadn’t played for five months and now he’s played three games in a row, so he needs time to get to his top level.

“It’s going to make us even stronger. We have things we can do from the bench and we have a strong squad and everyone is looking forward to the games.”

From those words spoken by Deila, the Record took this;

RONNY DEILA last night insisted Nadir Ciftci is in the running for a European start after catching the eye in last night’s 1-0 friendly win over Real Sociedad.

A fairly innocuous statement at first glance, but on the face of it, he’s merely stating the obvious, but somehow it feels more like there is an attempt here to destabilise Griffiths.

That may be my own paranoia, but then again, we have seen that where the press is concerned, we probably aren’t paranoid enough.

The Evening Times went a little further, even adding a photograph which implies that last nights substitution has wider implications:

Nadir Ciftci put himself in line for a start in Celtic’s Champions League qualifier against Stjarnan next week with an impressive debut performance against Real Sociedad. 

Nadir Ciftci replaced Leigh Griffiths and could have played himself into the starting line-up against Stjarnan next Wednesday

Then again, you have to question the veracity of anything they say;

Celtic 1 Real Sociedad 0: Match made in seven as Bhoy Nadir Ciftci sets up winner on Parkhead debut 

Presumably after that, he rushed over to Paisley for the last part of the Real game.

A little common sense would tell you that Ciftci may be used as a sub, but to disrupt a team with a signing who is likely to get a lengthy ban would just be silly.

Anyway, looking ahead to Wednesday, there are tickets on sale, £20 and up for adults, £10 and up concessions, and a fiver for the under thirteens. A big vocal crowd would be a help against Stjarnan, so you know what to do.

Although there shouldn’t be too much difficulty in making the tie safe-Stjarnan lost again last night, 2-1 at home to Valur- even though they took the lead.

They aren’t doing very well this season-now eleven games old-but that’s no reason to be complacent.

Something I did see last night was another sign that the players are not as distant from the support as has often been the case in years gone by.

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Stefan johansen staning still long enough for a photograph after the game with Conor Calhoun, which appeared on twitter last night. It looks like the Norwegian was getting ready to jog home to keep his fitness up.

There seemed to be a lot of police at the game last night, all four corners seemed to be bursting with them at half time. Anyone who was there notice anything out of the ordinary, or were they just there for the jolly ?

Meanwhile, the Mark Warburton Years began in earnest for Second Rangers when they were narrowly defeated by Tottenham in a closed doors friendly. Well, Tottenham under 21’s, but they were quite big lads, we hear.

One Ibrox fan, on one of their forums wasn’t downhearted;

How strong was the Spurs team ?

Their U21’s, even then a very strong side, easily good enough to win the SPL. 

It’s not just finances where they can’t see what’s staring them in the face then.

Warburton had two Tottenham youngsters in his line up, which was nice of the London club, who noticed the Ibrox side were a little short.

They were also delighted by the professionalism shown over the fourteen hour round trip expedition;

It’s a magnificent facility down at Tottenham, and it’s a chance for the players to get away overnight and for us to check out our away game protocol – the pre-match meal and the timings etc. to make sure everything is right for us ahead of the new season.  

fourteen hour round trip to establish that everyone should bring their boots to the game. Although another fan tweeted a question..

Steadfast163rd ‏@Steadfast163rd Jul 9
Did I hear that @RangersFCTrust said Rangers staying at student accommodation in London? 
Oh dear. If that’s true, then they really are fucked. It’s all over bar the shouting, and prsumably they’re just waiting for the season book money to come in, so they can decide whether or not it’s worth keeping the lights on.
 Now, if all that doesn’t spell out to them just exactly where they stand in the game, perhaps this report, from a Spurs website, will help;
We hosted the Scottish Championship giants at Hotspur Way as part of a series of behind-closed-doors sessions, as our youngsters look to step up their pre-season programmes by getting match minutes under their belts.
Under-21s Coach Ugo explained that today’s collaboration with Mark Warburton’s side worked well for all parties – and picked out several players for praise.
“It’s always important to put these game situations on because we’ve had a physical and technical build-up in recent days and now the players are being reintroduced to different types of movement and running by playing in training ground games,” said Ugo after the match, in which Ismail Azzaoui (2) and Shayon Harrison were on target.
“This morning’s game was a wonderful test and the format of it worked well, especially in the hot conditions. Six or seven players got 60 minutes under their belts, which was really pleasing.
“Ismail Azzaoui was very eye-catching with his movement – he threatened in behind and scored two goals. I’d say Cy Goddard can be very pleased with his performance, as can a lot of the Development Squad boys.
“There were some very solid performances, Christian Maghoma and Grant Hall were impressive at centre-half, and later in the game there was a great opportunity for some of our new First Year Scholars to get some exposure to senior football, so there was a lot of good stuff to improve on next time.
“Now we recover and go again. We’ll look to ramp up the tactical awareness and intensity each time we have a session like this and the aim is for players to be fit for the first league games in August.”


Not one of them seems to have noticed that they were beaten by a development side. Although one or two of them are looking forward to the upcoming Ibrox friendly with Burnley;

I think it’s a great test not too strenuous a matter of days before our season kicks off.


Meanwhile, we’ve an exclusive photo of what happened after the meeting between Dave King and Mike Ashley….

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However, king or no King, Warburtons expertise is still being quited as tactical nous. On BBC sportsound, allan Preston, clearly deputising for Chick young, claimed that when St. johnstone needed two goals, against ten men, Warburton would have altered things and gone for it.  Listen for yourself, aroud the seven minute mark;

allan Preston gives his opinion on St. johnstones exit.

Presumably based on his European experience. Bear in mind that no-one in the Scotttish media had ever heard of Mark Warburton before he bailed out the Ibrox club by purchasing Lewis MacLoed. Now he’s some sort of tactical guru whose opinion , even when not actually offered, is invaluable.

Speaking of experts, Cartuja, over on the Kerrydale Street forum,who is the  the main man when it comes to photoshopping, has stumbled on the ibrox reply to Celtic’s outstanding new stadium wraparound.

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Who is the ballboy with the red hair in this picture, taken many , many years ago ?

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5 years ago

Wee Jinky

5 years ago

Tommy Burns?

5 years ago

Jinky the one and only HH

The Green Destiny
5 years ago

Chris Evans?

5 years ago

Michael McIntyre with some wee ginger genius.

Southside Tarrier
5 years ago
Reply to  andybhoy

I knew it was Jinky,couldn’t get the other one although I knew his face. Thanks Andy yuo made me smile

5 years ago

Our greatest ever player.

Desmond dekker and the dekkers
5 years ago

Mick hucknall

Charlie Saiz
5 years ago

Picture Quiz
The Lolipop Guild CSC getting the message through Thatcher has popped her clogs..
D♫ing dong the wicked witch is dead

Mike Bhoyle
5 years ago

if only for variety…
Is is…
David Moyes..?

5 years ago
Reply to  Mike Bhoyle


That’s not variety that’s music hall!!


Mike Bhoyle
5 years ago
Reply to  pensionerbhoy

That’s brought the curtain doon on ma career PB…

5 years ago


Your match summary is just about how I saw it too – actually both match summaries. One was a serious summation of our progress and a welcome relief that we would not be still half asleep next Wednesday. My only reservation would be the hype surrounding the Ciftci début. As far as I saw, he was ok and that was about it. To make out he MADE the goal for GMS would be a travesty as it was GMS foresight and sharp move to take the “deflection” that resulted in a goal. Not to worry, I saw the improvement I felt we needed and was certainly looking for.

The report on “game Tottenham” was as good a laugh as I have since sliced breed. What a bunch! I keep having to pinch myself to accept these peepil actually exist. Planet of the apes is more believable. But great laugh for a close season Saturday morning. Ta!

I have seen that photo of Jimmy before. You have to look twice to make sure it was when he was a ballboy. He looked exactly the same when he played. Anyone know who the other laddie is?


5 years ago

it is only paranoia if it is not true.
Is it Jinky?

John clifford
5 years ago

How about a nice west of Scotland dickname for ciftci ( BIG SHIFTI )

5 years ago

THATS a No 7.

But welcome Nadir slates clean as far as im concerned, safe to say he’s a signing that splits opinion, but will get his chance.

But No 7? seriously?

5 years ago

Thought we played really well last night, even though it was a friendly. No fears for Wednesday now, and thats from someone who normally always worries when it comes to European games…..another great Diary Ralph

Mike Bhoyle
5 years ago

Off topic…but…
Delighted that the hun bastart that is Gary McAllister has joined Liverpool.
His biased,anti-Celtic,pro Sevco and bullshit commentating will not be missed.

5 years ago
Reply to  Mike Bhoyle

Aye Mike, you just know he is going to be replaced with a pro-Celtic man don’t you? 😉

5 years ago
Reply to  Mike Bhoyle

I thought it was just me. I didn’t know he went to Liverpool now all I need to do is decide if this better news that deidco getting beat off the Spurs boys guild team.

Saint Marys Bhoy
5 years ago
Reply to  Mike Bhoyle

Bang on Mike.

It would b even better if that wee bitter, shite talking, sevco puppet McCann did one.

Guess it’s not going 2 happen, I mean who else would employ him??

5 years ago

Just started reading today’s blog. Late today (me).
Didn’t get past the press shit and, as my memory is less than reliable, decided to comment now. Hence, anything I say may have been covered alreaady (comments). If so, apologies.
We know the SMSM are fucking putrid and you correctly say that we’re not “paranoid enough”.
For the SMSM to try to undermine Lee Griffiths, a guy who looks fitter, better controlled and, when allowed/encouraged to show his ability is on the up, IS AN ABSOLUTE FUCKING DISGRACE. So, SMSM are consistent in their pish.
The wee man was excellent last night. Whit a goal ! (offside, but try seeing that from Celtic TV)
Oh ! Magic. Whit a goal ! Fuck ! How can it go that way off the post from that angle ?
When Ciftci replaced Lee late on, the impact he had was much to do with good fortune (GMS goal) for Ciftci. He did show good positional sense though. I wasn’t keen on the signing, but I will gladly eat all the humble pie if future events prove my initial view wrong.
Anyway, after 20 minutes or so of dread, it was great to see how The Bhoys grew into the game and fairly won the match.
Amazed though, that any ex-Celt (DM) could sit back and watch the thuggery enacted on many of our players in a friendly.
Not surprised that a Scottish ‘referee’ let it go. Madden (and pals), if you’re born cunts, don’t fight it, just get on with it.
Good on our Captain for showing his mettle. MoM in my opinion. Hope he gubbed a couple of them later. It was they who asked for it.

5 years ago

Bobo Balde?

5 years ago
Reply to  Monti

Aye, very similar looking, Bobo and Jinky, couldnae really tell them apart, but for their respective epochs, and they both had double consonants for initials, if ye ignore Big Bobo’s, er, full christian name.
Loved them both, but Jinky will ALWAYS be special. Big BoBo will be one of many. Special in their ‘day’.

5 years ago

A mortal on the left, and Jinky on the right.

Nice win last night.
Here is the BBC match report:
” They won in a friendly. They’ve hud a couple of other friendly’s (which we didnae report at the time). They’ve signed a couple a players. They’ve a qualifier coming up.”
Talk about insipid.

Anyhoo, onwards and upwards. It’ll soon be time to roast the icemen.
Pleased for Griff becoming our ‘9’.

5 years ago

Oh ! Fuck ! Lee ?

Really sorry in earlier post, Leigh, if you read this blog.
Also to my fellow Tims. Adrenaline rush to try to expose the shite that falsely trade under names like “journalist” and “newspaper”. Lying bastards, both.
Naw, Glib And Shameless Lying Bastards, in defecation to their ‘master’, ‘Liege’ and ‘king’.
Fuck ’em all.

5 years ago

Jinky and Tommy Callaghan?
Meanwhile I’ve enrolled a few hundred locals to do another rain dance tomorrow…well it worked for “Orange Festering” and their subsequent walk (away). HH.

short and curly
5 years ago

Jim Clark with Jinky?
Or….Jim McIntyre with Billy Bremner?

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