Anyone who saw the rehearsal for yesterdays champions league draw needn’t have bothered with the real one, as it came out exactly the same. Celtic will play Juventus in the first knockout rund, bringing back memories of Nicola Amoruso and his dive, and bringing back memories of the 4-3 classic when Lubomir Moravcik and Chris Sutton were outstanding.
Highlights of that game still do the rounds on Sky tv in their sports classics series, and no doubt it will be getting a few airings soon.
From travellers there was a collective groan at going to Turin, especially as prices with BA jumped from £99 to £400 in a matter of minutes, but also because, well, its not a great place to visit, with booze bans, enthusiastic local police and supporters who would give old Rangers fans a run for their money in hospitality terms. Especially if we do progress…
Can we progress? Well, anythings possible, but this is a very good Juventus side, clear at the top of their league, and with Andrea Pirlo in it. but then we do have Victor Wanyama. It’ll be tough, but theres no reason why Celtic cannot advance to the last eight.
Manager Neil Lennon, perhaps a little overwhelmed initially, said:
“In terms of glamour, its a beauty. Juventus are one of the great traditional European teams. In terms of qualification its going to be very, very tough. They’re current Italian champions and finished their group very strongly. We will take it as it comes, we’re looking forward to the games now and I’m sure our supporters will be as well. We believe that over two games anything is possible. Juventus’ team is littered with world class stars and they’ve been very consistent over the last eighteen months and they’ve got a great winning mentality.
But so have we.”
He summed up;
“It could have been better, but it could have been worse.”
Charlie Nicholas, who was a promising young striker at Celtic the first time Juventus came to town, before he found London on a map and fell apart, called it “magical” and a “hollywood tie”. But, speaking of Barcelona and now Juventus, he added “This is where you want your reputation”
Pavel Nedved, who played for Juve against Celtic ten years ago , is now on the board at the club, and insists that the Italians will not underestimate Celtic.
“We’ll be stepping into a red hot atmosphere and will encounter difficulties if we are not up to speed. We need to match their intensity, hoping that our players havesomething extra on a technical level.”
Bollocks, I was hoping no-one would tell them.
Talksport last night had Danny Kelly asking about the demise of British football as there may well be no British clubs in the last eight, but to be honest, its a great result for Scottish football no matter what. Its just the English ones who seem to have lost their way.
Anyway, domestically, the bread and butter must be earned in tomorrows sell out game against Ross County, as the team has to put enough distance between itself and challengers given that by this time next month concentration may begin to faulter as the Juve game comes closer.
Joe Ledley will rest now until after the break, and Kris Commons will also miss out, but James Forrest might be back.
Players must now realise they are playing for a place in the team. A lot can happen in the next couple of months, so they should start staking their claim for the big one now.
Elsewhere, Hearts have been placed under a transfer embargo for not paying their players, as another badly run scottish club hits financial problems. Despite their fans bailing them out over the tax issue, comparisons have been made with the now defunct Rangers, who also had trouble paying their bills before finally succumbing to the inevitable. Wonder of there is any one person who was involved with both clubs?
Could the SFA also be in financial bother? With Campbell Ogilvie incredibly still in a job there, surely it would be wise to get someone in to look at the books. Just in case there are any mistakes?
And if there are problems, get hold of Charles Green. his new club is cash rich, debt free and ready to dominate European football with his new warchest. an absolute genius, who bought some shares for 1p, according to this weeks Private Eye, and can sell them for a massive profit some time next year.
Ferencvaros was the club Celtic were drawn against when Robert Kelly made his stand for freedom in Europe, but ahead of which game was a similar stance overruled by Jock Stein, and why?
As you know, today, according to Mayan folk, the world will end. I’ve got loads of Apocalypse jokes, but just haven’t got the time to tell them.