Never mind the injuries, or the fact that on paper Barcelona aren’t a bad side, theres a couple of omens to mention today, a couple of signs from above that all may not be lost in tonights UCL group game against the Catalans in Glasgow.
First, Smooth Radio, one of the few stations which plays records in between the adverts, had their football guru, a man I think is called Johnny Gould, i didn’t quite catch it, giving his predictions for tonight. He expects Man Utd to win in Braga, but can they win the champions league-“Probably not”, then Chelsea, up against Shakthar-can they win, “Probably not”. He moved to Celtic and Barcelona
“Celtic at home to Barcelona-can Celtic win? Probably.”
Now the other wee portent. Our wee rabbit died on bonfire night, and inquiries as to its cremation or burial have shocked me at the price. We told the youngest that it was up to him, but he doesn’t seem too concerned as long as the foxes don’t get him, and the DHL box that the body is in isn’t used to post him. When the dog died, we told him he’d gone to doggy heaven, where he could chase rabbits all day, so we thought it was better not to mention any after life.
To take his mind off it, I mentioned tonights game, and he asked if it was in Glasgow. When I told him it was, he said with more confidence than Charles Green before a share issue, that Celtic would win. Because it will be freezing, windy and rainy. No doubt evoking memories of his own trips to Celtic Park on November nights.
So thats that then, Barcelona might as well stay in the hotel.
Lennons Lions will be definitely without Izzaguerre, Forrest,Rogne, Lassad and probably without Hooper. Though Samaras might make it. Its going to annoy Hooper a bit more than the others, as the Independent claimed that Roy Hodgson has been asking about his fitness prior to next weeks England Sweden game.
Scott Brown feels good though, and thats a hell of a bonus. He said;
“I am starting to feel a lot better. I have had a lot of rest and my body is slowly getting better and better. I have managed to play three games in a row and I am feeling the benefits. so hopefully I am over the worst of it. You can never tell what is around the corner but my body is feeling good just now and if I can keep training day in day out, playing two or three games a week, I am happy with that.”
He is essential tonight, as the Barcelona midfield were uncomfortable with his constant harassment.
“It is perfect timing. The fact that he is recovering better gives us encouragement. He is playing at the top of his game, I feel, and he will bevery important to us ,and in particular..(.tonight.).., with his experience and drive a huge asset.”
A big game from Brown, and the match doesn’t seem so daunting.
A big shout from the crowd, and the match doesn’t seem so daunting.
And it will be cold, wet and windy.
Efe Ambrose is determined to make up for his error on Sunday when he scored an own goal to give Dundee Utd a share of the points, and the mindset that served the team so well in the Camp Nou is starting to set in again. Anything from the game will set Celtic up for a last 16 place, and these guys will not give it up without a fight.
C’mon the hoops.
The game is on Sky Sports, and the programme starts at six o’clock, giving those who can’t get to the game a chance to actually soak up -albeit it a watered down-pre match atmosphere, and anyway, if you open your windows, no matter where you are, you should hear the roar when the teams come out.
Prediction? Joe Ledley, far post header. The winning goal. Though 5-4 is just as likely as 1-0.
Elsewhere, like it matters, Gordon Strachan has said it “would be an honour” to manage Scotland, but no-one has asked him. And Stuart McCall has ruled himself out of the running. He’d do okay, as there is no chance of playing Rangers at that level.
Anyway, the butterflies have already gathered in the stomach, the nerves are beginning to jangle, and the game is still hours away.
C’mon the hoops.
Yesterdays teaser asked which teams have been the most frequent opponents of Celtic in the last 125 years and one day, yesterdays birthday was an event shamefully missed by the Diary, but to be fair, I use my own birthday as my pin number, and still never remember it. Andy was first with the correct answer, which was Hearts, Aberdeen, Motherwell, and the now defunct Rangers.
Today, although lets be honest, we have other things to think about, how about this one?
Which teams currently operating in Scottish senior football have we never played?