Celtic Diary Friday December 21

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.

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KIERAN Gallagher
8 years ago

was it when we played Dukla Prague…Czechoslovakia had just be inavaded by the USSR

8 years ago

Before the third game with Racing Club- Kelly wanted us to come home, Jock wanted to win the game. Didn’t work out si well

8 years ago

Jumbo67 got it spot on Big Jock wanted his team to be champions of the world as did the players & Celtic were slaughtered by the press (especially the English press). the same thing happened next year when Man U played estudiantes I think & they realised the problem was with the South Americans not with us or the British teams hey oh tho

8 years ago

Reading your diary reminds of this theme tune


8 years ago


Frst time I have not had jitters ahead of the visit of a foreign team. Oh sorry, the highlands seceded from Norway a while back. I forgot. Anyway, I feel quite confident of s result tomorrow i.e. a win, a draw or a loss. You know one or other of the usual ones. I jjust hope it isn’t the latter or I just might have to put a call into those Mayans for an extension.

Turin must have changed since I was there. Mind you they were still travelling by horse then. My strongest memories were that doctors and whores were the highest paid professions and kerb crawling was done by the prostitutes not the clients. There were strict laws about night club strippers who were not allowed to divest beyond pants ans bras. Before you get the idea I was or maybe still am an old letch, I was on a business trip and all this information was proffered as part of a cultural exchange. I can assure you it was not included in the cultural experience which consisted of tours of the Fiat complex there, a visit to the monastery on the St. Bernard’s pass, a trip to the Mont Blanc glacier and a couple of days ona building site. When I think of it not any more enjopyable than the trip you are describing. As for drink, cops and football fans, I had no experience or least none that I can remember having been intoxicated or maybe just pissed for most of the time.

I mentioned in relation to the BBC Team of the Year award in 67 how the British media slated Celtic to such an extent that the BBC considered withdrawing the award considering the team’s behaviour to be an embarrassment. Strangely, Man Utd were simply victims of South American football gangsters a year later, yo say nothing of the uproar when Argentina put the great English wimps under the hammer in 1970. You surely don’t think there was an agenda do you?. Aye, Mr. Robert Kelly, as he was then I think, was adamant the team were going home after the debacle in Buenos Aires. But Big Jock did have an agenda and that was to prove the doubters that Celtic were by far the greatest team in the world at that time and nothing was going to shift him. Of course he alone at the club could and did confront Mr.Kelly and more often than not won the day. I am sure he was not duped by the notion that a neutral ground would provide a level playing field for the decider. He seemed to forget it was still South America. In principal the whole world new Celtic were the best but then as now no one had the balls to stand up and say so. Far more comfortable to follow the herd and criticise. Wait till Wembley the they WILL FIND OUT for certain 🙂

Off to bed. H H

8 years ago
Reply to  Pensionerbhoy

Given the standard of my spelling and grammar in this comment it is just as well I went to bed before someone got me put down. Apologies! ‘I normally more then trie and be more curfoole’.


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