Neil Lennon has been linked with the vacant post at West Ham, well, its not vacant yet, but since its Sam Allardyce who is currently in charge, it won’t be long before its vacant. According to SportsDirectNews, Lennon didn’t go to Sunderland because he didn’t fancy a relegation battle. Quite how this makes the West Ham job any different is a bit of a mystery.
Lennon is looking ahead to the Barcelona game this week, and admits he is faced with a bit of a dilemma. Scott Brown, Nir Bitton, Jame sForrest and Adam Matthews are all available for this match, and whilst its not important in the sense that Europe is over for Celtic now, it is important from the point of view of experience and pride.
“Looking at the squad, I have Biton and Brown available, there is no question that Browny will definitely make us better. [James] Forrest and [Adam] Matthews will be available as well, so we should have an injection of pace into the team and you clearly need that against a team like Barcelona. I am actually really looking forward to the game.
“It is not just that (intensity you lose without Brown) you just lose a quality player. He is playing very, very well. I think over the years the histrionic side of him has surpassed the playing ability.
( One or two us us may beg to differ )
“I know this season will be remembered for the Neymar incident but this season, when he has played, I think he has been absolutely superb. In the San Siro I thought he was outstanding and we have really missed him in the three games. It is all ifs, buts and maybes now but he will be champing at the bit to play and he will play.”
When I read that he had a dilemma, I expected it to be which way he would approach the game tactically. After the wins against Hearts and Motherwell, or more appropriately the way in which those games were won, surely the Nou Camp is a chance to test that style against a top European side. After all, the only thing we can do is learn from it.
And anyway, by taking the game to Barcelona, we might just surprise them. And ourselves.
Barca midfielder Xavi Hernandez made a claim for the most obvious statement of the year when he said;
“There is no doubting the size of Celtic as a club but if they want to improve in Europe they must keep their top players.
“The performances of Wanyama last season meant he got a move to England and the same is true of Forster this season.
“It is a very difficult situation for them. If the players are not noticed it means they are not doing well in Europe but if they do well in Europe their best players get noticed.
“It is not an easy situation but they must try to find a solution.”
But to be fair to him, he did follow it up with some good advice;
“I understand Scotland is not the biggest league in Europe but players should think about it before they leave.
“They might be leaving for a bigger league in England but the truth is they will probably not be leaving for a bigger club.”
He said: “There is always so much talk in transfer windows of who you bring in but we have shown at Barcelona it is the most important thing to keep the players you have.
“Yes you should always try to improve your squad – but keeping your best players should always be the priority.”
You can’t keep them if they really want to go, but we should at least make a bloody big effort to make them want to stay, instead of just looking at the £ signs.
The trouble at Motherwell on Friday night, where seats were ripped up in the stand and flares were thrown onto the pitch, has united the Celtic support. Everyone is fed up with it. However, no one is sure who to blame.
Firstly, the ones who actually tore the seats up and chucked the flares are to blame entirely, not the stewards, not the police, and certainly not the fans around them. Regardless of what is being spouted on messageboards.
These supporters have to be responsible for their own actions, and punished accordingly. Identifying them is a little more difficult. Comments on Saturdays diary indicate that those in the seats where the problems occured were not neccessarily the fans who had been allocated those seats, as stewards were telling people to just sit anywhere, and no attempt was made to deal with the offending fans, who had crowded into the section where the damage took place.
Whilst they are not entirely to blame, stewards must be called to task. Theirs is the ultimate responsibility for safety in the stadia, and if they have failed somewhere, questions have to be asked. Though finding a steward anywhere with a sufficient grasp of language to answer them might be difficult.
As usual, the club , and the press, immediately blamed the Green Brigade, the supporters group which had its stickers plastered all over the area, and this has forced a reply from the group;
“Following the events of Friday night’s match against Motherwell at Fir Park, the Green Brigade would like to clarify our position on a couple of issues.
“Firstly we do not condone the breaking of seats nor do we welcome pyrotechnics being thrown on the park. We as a group are as disappointed as any about such indefensible behaviour and regret that it happened on our watch.
“Whilst it was not members of our group behaving in this manner, we accept the fact that these actions took place behind our banner in what was an unofficial ‘Green Brigade section’ and furthermore that the fans within this area are associated to our group whether they are members or not.
“It is particularly disappointing given how hard we have worked as a member organisation of Fans Against Criminalisation and of our own accord to fight the criminalisation of football supporters as we realise the damage that the events of Friday night could have on our efforts to challenge the continued harassment of Celtic fans by Police Scotland.
“Ultimately, we should have had greater control of the bodies present within our block and our failure to do so has resulted in events which are unacceptable and we will strive to ensure that such scenes are not repeated.”
It wisnae us, and we won’t do it again.
So , none of the GB were involved, it was people pretending to be members who did the damage ?
Were any of the GB at the game ? If so, why did they not do a bit of self policing ?
Whatever the outcome of this incident, those involved need to be identified, beyond all doubt, and hit with the bill for repairs. This might require the use of cctv footage, and an appeal on tv, or at the ground, but enough is enough.
POLICE are hunting the culprits after 18 smoke bombs, three fireworks and a flare were set off in the Celtic end at Friday’s match which also saw 200 seats ripped up, according to the Record. Lets help them find them.
Aye, it all looks very clever. And it is great fun until someone loses an eye. Or a child gets burned.
Its happening too often, and the club is being forced to spend money on fines which could be used elsewhere.
Actually, its our money, raised from what we spend on season books, tickets and other merchandise, so we have every right to be annoyed.
The GB may not to be to blame for this one, but it was done in their name, so to speak, so they must play their part in finding the culprits. Maybe they should start to act a wee bit more maturely, then they can regain the respect of the majority support.
And as for all this about Celtic Park needing them, they should all get together and take a wee trip down to the Clyde coast. If they each remove a volume of water from the river equivalent to their own body weight, the amount left in the Clyde would tell them how much they would be missed.
Its a bit like the Scott Brown in Europe thing. Better to have him, but if we have to cope without him, we’ll manage.
Surprising news in the Sunday papers yesterday, as it looks like Peter Houston , the jovial former Dundee Utd boss is to be joining Celtic as a Scout. Its a strange one, but with the Christmas parties about to begin, perhaps he’s the one who will liven them up with his singing , dancing and general air of merriment.
On a serious side, though, theres a lot of talent coming through the ranks at Dundee Utd, and maybe he had a hand in that while he was at the club. He deserves a chance, and should be judged on his merits and achievements.
Right, thats long enough. Get rid of him.
Congratulation must go to new club Second Rangers, who held a tribute for Nelson Mandela, who passed away last week. He did more than anyone else to bring down the apartheid system in South Africa, which had endorsed a two tiered society.
Perhaps the new club will take his lead and remove any left over traces of the similar bigotry and racism which was endemic in the old club.
Then we would have a brave new world in Scottish football. Well, we can always hope.
Saturdays diary included a picture of the lovely and wriggly Shakira, the Colombian singer/dancer who is currently involved with Gerard Pique, the Barcelona defender. If she were to turn up pre match and perform one of her little ditties and routine in the dressing room prior to kick off, the Catalan side may be sufficiently distracted from the task in hand.
Which is probably the wrong choice of words there.
To balance it all out, heres one for the ladies, as a Ralph Malph lookalike prepares to take the field for the Hoops. Who is he, and whats the occasion ?
In other news, Derek Acorah, he of the paranormal tv shows that no-one watches, has been charged with careless driving and failure to provide a specimen of breath. Ironic really, the one time when spirits could have shown up, the cameras weren’t there.
But better news for music lovers, as it appears the boy band genre has finally run its course.