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Celtic Diary Wednesday August 28

Celtic will unleash their deadliest weapon on Khazak opponents tonight as they attempt to overcome a two goal deficit and qualify for the group stages of the Champions League.

You.

The thunder should return to the east end of Glasgow and the following storm is expected to blow the hoops through the last stage of a long qualifying campaign, so we can all finally relax and look forward to top class football until Christmas at least, and we can worry about those games when they happen.

Beram Kayal won’t play, Kris Commons won’t train before the game, but might play, while Stokes, Samaras , Boerrigter and Forrest will all train, but will face a last minute decision if they play.

Heres hint number one for Lennon. Don’t pick anyone who isn’t 100% fit. Tonights game needs to be at a high tempo, and all fourteen players should be used, and they all have to be in tip top condition.

Fraser Forster has been picked for the latest England squad, which must make great reading for Gary Hooper, and consequently should up his game. Mikael Lustig and Emilio Izzaguerre at full back, with Efe Ambrose and Charlie Mulgrew at the back. That leaves Adam Matthews, Scott Brown, Joe Ledley ,  Tom Rogic and Georgios Samaras in the middle, reading right to left across the pitch, with Anthony Stokes , if fit, up front, and Amido Balde if he isn’t.

Matthews in the middle should keep the midfield stronger, and he’s more than capable of playing the forward role as well.

Ambrose was much improved against Inverness, and Mulgrew is best used at the back, covering Izzaguerres forays and using his height and strength to combat the aeriel threat. Both players are capable of bringing the ball out as well, which saves on losing possession with the punt clear.

All of the five midfielders can tackle and spring forward, whilst Stokes, along with Rogic and Ledley, will both shoot on sight, which is the main alteration to the tactics needed for this game.

Dump the sidieways shuffle. Go for goal.

Thats what it looks like , complete with the ball in an acceptable position.

Neil Lennon has spoken of the need for patience, and an early goal isn’t overly crucial. In a sense he is right, it doesn’t matter when the goals come, as long as there are three more Celtic goals than Shakhter goals. The worry though, is that any nervousness in the crowd will be passed to the players should it remain at 0-0 for longer than say, six minutes.

Fortunately, beer will be available at the usual outlets , and it can be a marvellous sedative if consumed in the right amounts. At most games, the guys who travel with me tend to get the volume correct, as they have usually nodded off by half time.

Speaking ahead of tonights match, when asked if victory would be sweet, Neil Lennon was surprisingly calm;

‘It would be, considering  everything that has gone on in the last six or seven weeks,’ he mused. ‘The amount of qualification games we have had to play, and off the back of what  happened last week as well.

‘The squad is really stretched, so we are trying to do the best  patch-up job we possibly can. These things happen. I am not putting my excuses forward before the end. We are a bit stretched, but I think we will prevail.’

He did, however, sound a little bit down when asked about the exits of Wilson, Hooper and Wanyama;

‘We could have asked Kelvin to stay longer,but I don’t think that would have happened.

‘I didn’t really want to sell Hooper, but we had no alternative in the end.

‘It’s just one of those things where, within a month, we lost three valuable assets. I don’t think there is a lot more we could have done.’

‘I don’t feel short-changed, but I think the squad is short. We have tried to bring players in and that has not been forthcoming.

‘But we still have a game to retrieve it all. I’m not saying it’s over, it’s not. I think we are still very much in this tie.’

Perhaps it might be an idea to get someone else to do the team talk. Someone a bit more cheerful.

Against probably better judgement, he continued;

‘The fans will have to be patient. We might not score until the 75th minute, but that still gives us 15 minutes to get another one. It’s a long time in football, that.

‘The team is very disciplined. We don’t need to be gung-ho at the start. There’s 90 minutes to score two goals, or possibly three.

‘If we concede, we’ve just got to score four or five, so they are well versed in what they have to do.

‘They’ve given themselves a lead. But we want to take the game to them as often as we can. Are they going to come and defend? We want to make them defend.’

Okay Neil. You can stop now.

Georgios Samaras was a bit more optimistic, but then again, he was speaking on the official website, where they have their own way of controlling output.

“The early goal would be perfect but we don’t need to panic,” he said.

“We need to keep playing our game, keep moving the ball really well and the chances will come.

“I don’t care if the goals come in the last 10 minutes or the first 10 minutes, it is 90 minutes, there is plenty of time.

“The main thing it to be clinical with the chances we create.

“We believe in our team, our talent and we fully respect Shakhter but at Celtic Park with a full house anything can happen.

“It is a big game. We want to be back in the Champions League group stages and hopefully everything will be okay.

“I expect it to be like the first game, they will try to defend and keep a clean sheet.

“We need to be more clever and more patient, to find a better way through their defence and create more chances, and the chances we create, we have to put them in the back of the net.

“They are a good team but it is a team we can beat.

“They are not Barcelona, whom we played last year, they are not a top European club.

“We respect them but we think we can do it.”

We played Barcelona ? How did we get on ?

Shakhter have indicated that may want to sacrifice a lamb pre match again, but thats unlikely to be allowed. Not now that word has got out.

Tonights game is what football is all about. Tension, excitement, atmosphere. Triumph or tragedy ? Agony or ecstasy ?

I’ve got no idea.

But when the crowd asks to Let The People Sing, and announce that You’ll Never Walk Alone, thats an incredible feeling.

And its why I can’t wait.

Nacho Sheepmuppet was the answer to yesterdays puzzle, well, it wasn’t, but it should have been. It was Paul Lambert, ( Paul, the alien from the film Paul, Shaun the Sheep and Bert from the muppets. )

 

  
An astonishingly cryptic one here, which should keep your mind of the game for a while.

 

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Dermot Cole
10 years ago

Lou Macari – Lou (isiana), Ma (ssacheussetts), Ca (lifornia) Ri (Rhode Island).

Pensionerbhoy
10 years ago
Reply to  Dermot Cole

Dermot

You are wasted on here. Here was me thinking Charles Atlas 🙂

H H

Pensionerbhoy
10 years ago
Reply to  Ralph Malph

Ralph

“A while?” and “13 minutes” and “Astonishing”. I am lost just like with the maps 🙂

H H

Stitch Bronson
10 years ago

Lou Macari

10 years ago

lou lou skip to my lou

lou lou skip to my lou

skip to my lou macari

San Miguel
10 years ago

FFS Ralph ! what time did you get up to write this ?

Never in a million years …..

Anyway – the time has come , personally I would play Commons – he is the most likely to shoot on sight and has has a habit of an early goal.

Does anyone else think think that Lennon has the puff out of his ssils just now ?

Every season you need a result to act as a jumpstart to the season, this is the game – the question is do we have the players (Now)hho have the drive, desire & nous to do this ?

Pensionerbhoy
10 years ago
Reply to  San Miguel

San

“puff out of his ssils”

I am not sure where his “ssils” are but he sure is talking through his a**e a lot these days.

H H

stevoooooo
10 years ago

Rogic? are you kidding me. pls noooooo

Charlie Saiz
10 years ago

4-3-3 for me.
……………………FORSTER.
..LUSTIG AMBROSE MULDINI IZZY.
….MATHEWS BROWN LEDLEY.
COMMONS…STOKES ….SAMARAS

Charlie Saiz
10 years ago
Reply to  Charlie Saiz

The reason l stuck Mathews in on the right side is their best ball player the no28? operates on the left side of midfield and he is the soursce of most of their free kicks and throw ins.
Mathew and Brown could shackle him whilst Mathews can operate as a winger thus ensuring we get a full productive shift from Lustig who l think will tire after 70′ on the overlap.
Lustig could be key on set pieces tonight he adds a genuine threat in the box l feel.

Pensionerbhoy
10 years ago
Reply to  Ralph Malph

Ralph

Simply because he is a cracking player. He would have been our best last season if he had not gotten injured.

H H

Charlie Saiz
10 years ago
Reply to  Charlie Saiz

Jeez sorry about that post I was on another device this morning..
He operates’
source’
Mathews’

Half_Fool
10 years ago
Reply to  Charlie Saiz

Spot on.

Markybhoy
10 years ago

I’ve got eighty brick riding on the Hoops tonite. Bets I have been forced into by a number of sniggering sevcovians. How the f**k did that happen?

Pensionerbhoy
10 years ago
Reply to  Markybhoy

Markybhoy

Drink? 🙂

H H

tam the tim
10 years ago

Whatever eleven go out tonight for God’s sake should be able to beat this side. Please lets have no panic attacks lads, the game lasts ninety minutes and we’ve seen what can happen at Celtic Park with many famous wins at the death. Not good for the nerves but that’s football.
HH

Pensionerbhoy
10 years ago
Reply to  tam the tim

tam

Like Ralph has said time to stop playing shooty in from sideline to sideline. That was fine when they were kids. They are not wains any more and need to start aiming for the big goals at each end, you know just like the grown ups do no matter what Lenny the upbeat guru tells them.

H H

Honest Hoops
10 years ago

”We’re Celtic Supporters…. Faithful Through and Through”

I predict 3-0 Celtic, within the 90 minutes

C’mon the Hoops

Hail, Hail

Pensionerbhoy
10 years ago
Reply to  Honest Hoops

Honest

Have you got a line to the Big Man or were you out checking the signs in the dead sheep?

It is the best no 3 I have seen in a long time. Right, what’s Saturday’s score before I go to the bookie’s? 🙂

H H

San Miguel
10 years ago

Is this a sign of the impending crash over the South side ?

http://www.asos.com/ASOS/ASOS-Brogues-in-Leather/Prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=2272641&cid=1935&Rf-200=4&sh=0&pge=0&pgesize=36&sort=3&clr=Black

Even their shoes are in a fire sale !

Pensionerbhoy
10 years ago
Reply to  San Miguel

San Miguel

Na! They’re all too new – Oh, sorry, so are Sevco.

H H

San Miguel
10 years ago

just noticed the brown ones (which were cheaper) are now sold out.

Maybe Ally and co really do know a bargain when they see one.

Pensionerbhoy
10 years ago
Reply to  San Miguel

San

He’ll want to trial them first, though without signing anything. Wait, is there not something familiar about not signing stuff? And he’ll want to know the names of the manufacturers, of course.

H h

Brisbanecelt
10 years ago

David Murray? – what a State he got the Huns in tae…

Pensionerbhoy
10 years ago
Reply to  Brisbanecelt

Brisbanecelt

I really did not know there was someone as brilliant as me out there. That is a phenomenal answer. Shear genius.

H H

10 years ago

Agree that the crowd will play there part but only if we dont conceed early doors, its bad but im glad Forrest wont make team as lenny would have just wasted a player and played him, Mathews could be crucial tonight in unlocking there defence with the ball on the ground, the big pump intae box tatic didn’t work last wk or at the wknd, set pieces around the box will be best chance for Celtic, shame we dont have anybody to push izzy for leftback as he could be oor nitemare waiting to happen tonight and his 1 in 10 good deliverys naw good enough. Im bricking it but buzzing at same time, that supporting Celtic eh, hail hail, COYBIG+

Pensionerbhoy
10 years ago

Guys

I have done a long, a short and a tall post and all have disappeared down the tunnel. Just as well I am into sacrifices.

Hope the night goes well and that this gets posted.

H H

Gareth Savage
10 years ago

George McCluskey!

Pensionerbhoy
10 years ago
Reply to  Gareth Savage

Gareth

I don’t get it. It is either genius or I am just thick. My money’s on the latter 🙂

H H

Pensionerbhoy
10 years ago

keighly

“Im bricking it but buzzing at same time”

Sums me up perfectly though my old dicky ticker is suffering.

H H

Brian53
10 years ago

Ralph
Agree with you on fitness, not a game to gamble on anyone who is not 100%

Also hope Charlie is not in midfield, for the life of me I don’t understand why Neil plays him there? As he bring nothing to the team in that position.

Talking about bringing something to the team, that’s what young Matthews did at the weekend when moved into midfield. Like you I hope Neil plays him there

Charlie Saiz
10 years ago

Btw Balde is not ready for a game of this importance I’d go with Stokes or Watt through the middle as both are clever on the deck and capable of turning a player or drawing a penalty or free kick with good feet and pace.
Balde on the bench yes as backup only or if we need to throw the kitchen sink at it with 10 to go.
Boerrigter on the bench to if fit enough he could put a flying 20 minutes in at the end as they eventually tire.(and they will).

Charlie Saiz
10 years ago
Reply to  Charlie Saiz

too’

Pensionerbhoy
10 years ago

Guys

That was like waiting in a blaze for a fire engine that has had a puncture! At my age my bum does not take kindly to big flames licking it and I am not being sexy.

Well done everybody. I will do my critique tomorrow when I am not so elated 🙂

H H

Charlie Saiz
10 years ago

Ya fuckin Dancer……………….
http://youtu.be/U0Qt_9_AqOY

Pensionerbhoy
10 years ago
Reply to  Charlie Saiz

Charlie

That is class – maybe not the right word but you know what I mean.

H H

Joe C
10 years ago

I hope someone asks Neil Lennon what he intended to do if tonight’s result had gone the wrong way. Watching his demeanour throughout the game, my money would have been on an ” honourable resignation ” if they had failed to qualify.
He would not have wanted to do this but I feel that he would have done the honourable thing because of his abysmal team selection for the first leg.
He may yet prove to be a good manager but needs some more experienced person to help his development. Johann and Gary may well be good servants to Neil and the club but are not providing the nous that experience would provide.

Danny
10 years ago
Reply to  Joe C

Eh?

Charlie Saiz
10 years ago
Reply to  Joe C

Joe I wonder if Lawwell would have done the honourable thing for putting him in the position in the first place of denying him the services of arguably 3 of our best players..and the spine of his team for such an important set of games?
Sometimes as a manager you have to make decisions for reasons unknown to the likes of you and me?#
We are through and Neil will be all the more wiser in future for it.
HH

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