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Celtic Diary Tuesday October 1

Walking up to the ground, I was amazed to see a multitude of press men swarming around the Jock Stein statue, and within minutes, a microphone was thrust into my face, causing me to jerk my head back. The reporter had an English accent , and garbled a question about the game. I thought he was being patronising, as his kind often are;

” Its not just a football club we come to see. This is more than a club. Its a way of life. Tonight isn’t just big game. Its a celebration of how far the Irish diaspora in Scotland has come in 125 years. How much we have suffered and fought for our right to be here. This place is a shrine to all of us throughout the world. We’re cheering for the team, but we are cheering for ourselves as well. And do you know something, we’re more than happy for anyone else, wherever they are from,  to join us. ”

Bollocks. That was meant to be tomorrows introduction. Now no-one will believe me.

But the sentiment is there.

In just a few short hours, the tarrier carrier is on the road again, on the road again, we’re on our way to paradise.

Alright, so I’m looking forward to the game. As usual, thoughts during the build up have gone from ” Oh shit, its Barcelona and we’re going to get hammered ” to a much more realistic ” Get intae them “, which if I recall correctly is what this guys manager used to tell him before fights.

Manager Neil Lennon will put his faith in his players, and you get the impression that the team is chomping at the bit to get at Barca. Lennon spoke highly of captain Scott Brown;

“I’m looking at his movement and it’s very pleasing. He looks strong in his running and his football is getting better.

“I do ask him, ‘Can you play? Have you got the technique to take the game on at this level?’

“In Milan he was outstanding. He has no fear now – not that he ever did – but he has that maturity and presence about him that all good midfielders have.

“Am I surprised? Yes – and very pleased. You need to have the belief you are good enough. ”

He’s right. Browns energy and enthusiasm could knock the tippy tappers out of their stride.

Another Lennon is looking to for a big performance is Georgios Samaras, the Greek forward;

“The games inspire him. He loves the challenge of playing against the quality of opposition.

“That floats his boat and he has been very consistent for the last 18 months or two years, which is something we couldn’t have labelled him with before.

“He is in his late 20s now and is one of the leaders. If we are to get something I am going to need all his capabilities – his height, his physical presence, his running power. What I like about him is the longer the games go on the stronger he seems to get.

“He is quite an incredible athlete when he puts his mind to it.

“Barca will be wary of him. He was a real handful in the Nou Camp. He got his goal, which gave him a lift, then he started causing them all sorts of problems.”

Exactly, when he puts his mind to it. He seemed in the mood against Kilmarnock, right enough, so here’s hoping he carries on where he left off.

Another that will play an important role tonight, possibly the most important, is “Yellow wall ” Fraser Forster;

“I’m hoping that this competition will push him forward more for an England place.

“He is one of the best keepers in the Champions League. It’s just my crappy opinion, you don’t have to agree with it, but of the goalies I’ve seen he is one of the best.

“Some of the saves he makes, other keepers can’t do it. For a guy of his physique he is very agile.

“When he really puts his mind to it he is brilliant at keeping that ball out. Some of the saves he makes, you are like, ‘How does he do that?’”

We’ll agree to disagree on that one, I think.

But, Forster has shown on these occasions that he can be a fantastic keeper. Perhaps playing Barcelona suits him, as they tend not to go in for crosses, which seem to transfix him to his goal line and render him vulnerable.

He was outstanding in the two games last season, and a repeat is essential if Celtic are to avoid the drubbing that seems to happen to everyone who plays Barcelona with any amount of regularity.

James Forrest has trained, and should make the bench, while Adam Matthews, if fit , should have the right midfield berth. As ever , though, the experts have their views;

I would have thought it would be more of a Forster, Lustig, Ambrose , van Dijk, Izzaguerre, Matthews, Brown, Mulgrew Samaras, Commons , Stokes.

Although it may be Pukki in for Stokes, I’d go with the Irishman purely because his movement and work rate is higher.

Yesterday, in the diary reply, Charlie Saiz went with this formation, and that makes sense as well.


However, Boerrigter is injured, hence my inclusion of  Stokes. Charlie continues, for those who didn’t see it;

” Obviously both FB’s will be wider than shown and Efe dropping in behind Brown in the hole stopping Iniesta ala 67 last Season.
I opted for Both Commons and Boerrigter out wide supporting Samaras as both are prepare to get back and help out when required.
Samaras up front as he is better in the Air than either Stokes or Pukki and provided both Commons and Boerrigter support him on the break he will lead the line fine.
Derks delivery will be key I reckon. ”

I think he might have called it right with the way Celtic will play the game.

Barcelona are without a few regulars tonight, including the promising Lionel Messi, who was always likely to come up with some excuse to dodge this game. Remember his reaction when he heard the draw ?

We hear that his manager pleaded with him to play, as they needed him;

The same website, SWOL, predicts this as a Barcelona line up;

As usual, they will footer about with the ball and bore the arse off the watching millions with their hesitant , sleep inducing approach. The game is live on ITV throughout the national network, and the way the Catalans play will have the neutrals looking for the remote before eight o’clock.

So, its down to Celtic to provide the entertainment.

I don’t care who plays, or how we play.

I just want us to play, to give one hundred per cent, and then when they tire, I want them to give one hundred per cent more.

Remember when Jock Stein spoke of his team creating their own history ?

Well, this generation can go out and do that tonight.

C’mon the hoops;

* * * * * *

I hate to spoil the diary with a mention of a club which really doesn’t deserve to be on the same page as Celtic, especially on a day like this, but we hear from our usual inebriated urine drenched source that a manager over there is only going to take a pay cut if the difference is made up in free shares…

Oh, the dignity. Of course, it cannot be true, and we wouldn’t claim it was. Mind you, its not as though he’d have a lawyer reading. He says he doesn’t even check his own contracts..

Seriously, if he told me it was raining I’d go outside and have a look.

* * * * * * *

Tony Watt , the hero of last year, now doing penal servitude in Belgium, was the name that came up after studying yesterdays photos, and today, I’m going for someone a little less well known, even if he does hold a record for Celtic that will never be broken…


Oh, and why is his name in the history books ?



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9 years ago

Great day for the fitba with the U18 at 2pm then the big Bhoys tonight. Mon the hoops!

9 years ago

Hairpin Carol Decker?

9 years ago

James tiberius kirkby grip leather jacket model T Ford scorer of Celtic first penalty?

9 years ago

Bobby Carroll

Scored Celtic’s first-ever European goals. On September 26, 1962. First-leg of a Fairs Cities Cup tie. Lost 4-2 to Valencia. He scored both Celtic’s goals.

Yes…I did use Google!

Charlie Saiz
9 years ago

Someone listened to me?
Screen shot for the wife tonight to show her before the pre build up argument over ….”fur fugsake no fitba again…”

Got a sneaky feeling we might get a wee penalty tonight bhoys.
Neymar needs a ueavy dunt first 5 minutes to shall we say put him off his game a bit…nothing drastic just a Boboesque’ effort from Virgil or Efe.
l agree with dropping Stokes in for Derk if not fit aswell as he will work his baws off Ralph.

One last thing ffs put Commons or Stokes on corners and have Mulgrew in the box or on the edge of it at least.


9 years ago

Is it Kirby T-Pau, the legendary Aborigine striker, (ab)originally form Ozzie cracks Darwin Didgeridoo, who went on to become the 1st Sellic player to cross the Pacific in a raft made of discarded Buckie Bottles?

tam the tim
9 years ago

Don’t think they do the tippy tappy stuff now that Bayern stuffed them. They are more direct which I think will suit us. The last time all they did was keep the ball tight without too much penetration although Forster still had saves to make when they got through and the defence was brilliant. Watch for Neymar diving anywhere near sight of goal, he can’t help himself. Give him a good clatter early doors to see what he’s made of. The Tic are at home and anything can happen.

9 years ago

I can see that lassie who had the song about China…
Is it DU WEI..
The only man to play worse than Roy Keane for Celtic against Clyde? ( what the feck was Peter Lawwell thinking!)

Frank McGaaaaarvey
9 years ago
Reply to  Desi Mond

What else would PL be thinking about? BUCKS! Big Chinese ones! If 0.1% of a population of over a billion but Tic tops at 39.1p each and due to the poor quality of said locally produced tops means they will have to buy replacements within a couple of weeks at the same price should mean a healthy permanent profit!

Something like that anyway.

Charlie Saiz
9 years ago
Reply to  Desi Mond

I dunno Desi but I suspect the same thought as he looked at the asking price for Finnbogason and Pukki…..

The fanny.

9 years ago


I enjoyed today’s diary even though there was a palpable nervousness about your writing. however, if I can still pee myself 48 hours prior to a match, then you, in your youthful condition, must sure be allowed the odd sh** in your pantaloons. I think you probably express how all of us are feeling right now. We are a cauldron of Faith, Hope and PLEASE GOD!! As always, Celtic will not give us a clue for at least 90 minutes which will be the dominant flavour. I pray it is sweet smelling, that’s all. That will depend more on how we perform than in results, though the latter would not be rejected even if it stank in our favour – questionable penalty for example. Ach, that’s simply nonsense. In 70 years, well perhaps European-wise a bit less, I have never seen anything questionable in Celtic’s favour. If we win, we will have more than deserved it. Enough jibbering. It is the drink and that is medicinal so all is justified.

I know you had to say something about the hole in the Ibrox bucket but the cheeky chappy carrying it seems perfectly content to stick his head in the leak any way he can. It stops the the flow, of vengeance, and he gets a good moothfy at the same time. Cheeky, oh yes! Chappy, oh no! Heepy, oh Uriah!
Even a hammering from Barca tonight will not assuage the wrath of the grizzlies over the nucleic accounts released today. The wise would do well to avoid the dens of snarling bears until the numbers of their dead are finally “accounted” for.

Quiz: Is it really a quiz if the only way to find the answer is to use Google? Even at my age you have gone too far – well too far back that is. I am used to searching for the answers in my own brain. Thus the high failure rate. Did you just not want interrupted on the way to the game? Fly move!!

Enjoy tonight, Ralph and everybody. It is a special night simply because WE ARE CELTIC. WE ARE SPECIAL!


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