Celtic will learn their Champions League Second Round opponents shortly after noon today. The sides we can meet include Sligo Rovers and Cliftonville from over the water, Welsh side The New Saints, and a host of clubs which can only be described as a bad hand in scrabble.
There has been talk of the draw being regionalised, but as of this morning there was no mention of it on Bert Kassies UEFA site, which is the bible for this sort of thing.
For many of us, Sligo Rovers would be the number one choice, as it is the home town of legend Sean Fallon, and , of course, club founder Andrew Kerrins, who later became Brother Walfrid.
Those of us who live near Wales would prefer The New Saints, which gives us a chance to confuse Victor Wanyama while he decides which club to go to, and absolutely no-one wants a trip to Eastern Europe, for financial and logistical reasons.
According to STV, the possible opponents are;
Hafnafjordur, of Iceland; Daugava Daugavpils of Latvia and Nomme Kalju of Estonia, as well as the three mentioned above.
Mind you, “according to STV” is probably not a guarantee of accuracy. The draw, however , is live on their website.
A nice , easy warm up which allows the players to slide into the new season would do for me. If only Sevco were in it.
The first game will be on July 16 or 17, which is just a few weeks away, but Lennon has shown he can focus the players when he has to, and the extra break they had as the season drew to a close may yet prove important.
Midfielder and former Scotland player Kris Commons is looking forward to the challenge of the new term.
” We will all be sitting down within the next week or so and discussing how we can at least emulate the last campaign or do better. You can be sure he (Lennon ) will want us to win the treble and , at least, get into the last sixteen of the Champions League. He demands that we improve every year and will not let us stand still. ”
Hibernian and St. Johnstone will also find out their Europa League opponents today-who could be the likes of Rosenberg Standard Liege and Rubin Kazan- and a supreme effort will be needed by them so that the country can accumulate co-effecient points to avoid these early starts in the future.
Its all part of the re-building process of Scottish football after it was nearly destroyed by greed, fraud and corruption.
Sunday September 8 sees a charity match in aid of the foundation set up by former player Stilian Petrov, who is battling luekaemia.
Petrov, who has now retired, wants to address the issues involved when people are diagnosed with the disease, and is “absolutely delighted that this game is going to take place at Celtic Park. ”
” It will be a wonderful start for my foundation, and I’m really happy to be coming back to a place where I spent seven brilliant years. It will be great to see everyone there. ”
Cardiff are the latest team to show an interest in Victor Wanyama, who in turn is showing no interest in Southampton. Nottingham Forrest are looking at Gary Hooper, who is desperately looking at anything else, and Fraser Forster hasn’t attracted any bids yet.
In fact, no-one has gone, including those such as Rogne, McCourt, Lassad or even Miku. We hear that Miku hasn’t spoken to anyone at Celtic Park for weeks anyway, and is probably unaware the season is finished.
A major MSM scandal has broken , and there may even be an enquiry into more shady goings on with Charlotte fakeover tweeting proof that Old Rangers paid Mark Hateley £25,000 a year while he was working as a columnist for a national newspaper.
How unbelievably stupid was the guy who made the decision to pay someone to do something that they would have done anyway, free of charge, without prompting?
No wonder they went bust. We await revelations that they paid bears to shit in the woods , and funded an investigation to determine the religious persuasion of Benedict the sixteenth.
Hugh Keevins provided the entertainment with his article at the weekend. He compliments Celtic on their signing policy, and then criticises Dundee Utd for ” selling at a profit and buying with prudence “- which is exactly what Celtic do.
He does defend Celtics right to spend the money earned to restore Scotlands tattered reputation in Europe, but then continues the party line of running the SPL down , with this memorable line;
” The games a financial basket case. The outcome of the first SPFL championship is an open and shut case. And anyone who thinks differently is a fruit and nut case ”
Hugh Keevins, with his case for the closing down football in Scotland. The only case of any interest to most of us will be the one he puts his crayons and pad into when his bosses realise that he isn’t actually any good at what he does.
Even Donald Findlay would struggle to come up with a case for the defence here.
But thats enough cases for today. Repetition is a sign of poor composition, but with the MSM line being to repeat certain phrases until the masses believe they are true, who can blame Hugh ? After all, he has a mortgage to pay. And a bowl of soup to drink.
Interestingly, Keevins old chum Craig Burley says he regretted leaving Celtic when he did, for the bright lights of Derby, and warns Victor Wanyama against doing the same.
Crucially, though, he misses the essential difference between the two circumstances. There are people at Celtic who want Victor to stay. If my memory isn’t playing tricks on me, Burley was virtually sacked, amidst rumours of him being the leak in the dressing room.
This, of course may be untrue, as Burley has never shown any bitterness or bias against Celtic when commenting on the clubs games for ESPN. Except when he speaks.
Charlotte also released the transcripts of the Tax Case where David Murray defended his use of EBTs when signing players;
” As a club, we’ve been very successful, because we’ve been able to attract players of a certain standard that, perhaps, we may not have been able to do otherwise. ”
Phew, at least it didn’t give you a competitive advantage though, or you might have got titles stripped.
That statement from Murray is as good as a confession to cheating. No, it is a confession that they cheated.
Civil actions ? Loss of earnings for certain clubs ? I’ll bet the reporters in the MSM are already beating a path to Murrays door to demand an explanation of these comments…
Oh, wait no.
As Keevins says, without Rangers the league is doomed.
In any other country in the world, they’d all be in bloody jail by now.
Jimmy McGrory, the legendary striker, commented on how inappropriate his name would sound if it was followed by “of Arsenal ”
Willie Maley and the board at the time tried all sorts of underhand ways to sell the forward, but the great man resisted-even staying after the club cut his wages as a punishment.
“We work hard all week, and then we get the day off on Saturday to play football. ”
Another legend, but which one?