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Celtic Diary Thursday June 12: On a Serious Note

BBC Wales broadcast “The John Hartson Story ” last night, which gave us a fairly harrowing insight into the cancer which almost took his life a couple of years ago. It showed a different side to the man who was lauded for his bristling, all action style and went some way to explaining his rapid decline on the pitch.

The film included footage of him after his operations, and the reactions of those closest to him as he lay in a coma.

“I was so, so close to dying, people don’t realise I was only seconds away from death.

“Others have suggested that I had no chance of survival and that in fact ‘John has gone’.”

The surgeon who worked on him admitted he wasn’t entirely confident that Hartson would still be alive when he turned up for his next shift, which gives an idea of how close it was.

For those of us whose cancer as just something that happens to other people, it was a wake up call as to the dangers of not going to the doctors when there may be something wrong in what some men are still extremely self conscious about discussing with their own GPs.

And my own doctor, a pretty young twenty something, should now be particularly embarrassed about that restraining order she applied for.

Hartson has had his troubles on and off the pitch, but its good to see him doing well, and heartwarming to see a former player putting something back into society with the work he does with sick children.

He has , in a BBC radio interview, also confessed to a bit of a gambling problem, losing thousands of pounds a month.

“If I have another bet I will not only lose my wife and children but I will also die.”

Er, I think he might be getting his two problems a little mixed up.

Anyway, we wish him well.

” Safe standing ” is back in the news. Celtic applied some time ago to have a section of the ground altered to the German style flip up seats to allow for “Safe Standing “, and the club is reported to be frustrated at the lack of progress from the Safety Advisory Group who have asked for more time to consider the issue, which in real speak means that no-one at the agency wants to be the one who says yes in case it goes wrong.

Fancy that, someone in Scotland not wanting to say yes in case it all goes wrong. Woah, need to stay away from politics.

Look at poor JK Rowling, and the grief she is getting. She has donated £1m to the No campaign, prompting complaints from Womans Groups that she  isn’t helping them in their quest to persuade men that when a woman says no she  really means no.

A statement by the club said;

‘Celtic Football Club is disappointed and frustrated that approval could not be given at today’s meeting of the SAG to grant permission to install rail seating in Celtic Park, designed to allow safe standing by supporters,

‘The club has provided detailed information in support of this proposal over the past two years and has made every effort to address comprehensively all issues raised by the SAG.


‘The SAG has asked for further time and information to be provided before a final decision can be made.


‘The club of course will provide the additional information requested and we will undertake to do this as quickly as possible. We will then seek an early meeting of the SAG to consider progressing this matter without further delay.

Well, the Green Brigade would be easier to round up if they were all in the same place, which was sectioned off…


‘This is an important spectator safety issue. It is also an opportunity for Glasgow and for Scottish football to lead the UK in this area and it is one which Celtic will continue to pursue.


‘We look forward to the next meeting taking place and hope this matter can be resolved as soon as possible.’

Celtic are desperate to be the innovators with this idea, in exactly the same way they weren’t about the introduction of the living wage for their non footballing employees. 

The Safety Advisory Group didn’t say which particular aspects of the plan were causing them concern, in fact , they haven’t said anything, so we can only guess at what they are worried about.  Which is likely simply to be accepting responsibility for their decision.

Those concerned about the choice of number two to new manager Ronnie Deila were given hope yesterday as it emerged that Peter Houston will soon be confirmed as the new manager of Falkirk, and that John Collins is mulling over a possible return to Hibernian. He is expected to give his decision either today or tomorrow, but the lure of being number one again would suit his ego more than a secondary role at Celtic.

All of which means that promotion from within is becoming more likely, with John Kennedy or Stevie Frail in the frame, although Billy Stark has made sure his phone has plenty of battery.

Are you absolutely certain its not too late to ring Willie McStay ?

The arrival of Deila has prompted optimism that wayward striker Tony Watt may well flourish under a man with a reputation for getting the best out of players, and Watt himself is anxious to get started on the second part of his Celtic career. To prove he is ready, and now a more mature version of the raw youngster who was sent out on loan, he’s been out to get himself a new tattoo.

View image on Twitter

No, I don’t know either. If you live near him, keep an eye on your car in case he sprays “this is not my car ” on it.

Today sees the start of the World Cup, and that means blanket media coverage for all of us. Still, it means we get the benefit of some truly thought provoking knowledge and insight, which might even change the way we look at the game.

Gary Lineker, for instance, reckons that the World Cup will be won by Brazil, Argentina, Spain or Germany.

FIFA boss Sepp Blatter thinks that the World cup will soon be contested by teams from other planets, presumably including the one  he’s been living on for the last few years.

He revealed this at a press conference, and then went on to enthuse  that Qatar 2022 will be a success despite the problems of the climate there.

” And so will Antartica 2026.” he added.

He also wants to bring in a rule where managers can challenge referees decisions on two occasions during the game. Former Manchester Utd manager Alex Ferguson said as long as the two occasions were clearly defined, it would be a good idea.

He suggested calling the “the first half ” and the “second half. ”


Whilst the rest of the World looks forward to a month of what will hopefully be drama , excitement and high quality football, supporters at Scotlands newest club have their own worries, as theIbrox power brokers have been forced into trying to raise a few quid to see them until payday again.

Except “payday “, when the season book money refreshes the clubs bank account, hasn’t gone to plan, largely because hardly anyone has bought one.

Chris Graham, who heads the Peoples Front of Ibrox, is concerned about whats going on at Ibrox;

 “We are extremely concerned there are now two different messages being sent out from Ibrox.

“They show the boardroom split and raise the question as to who is running Rangers.

“Graham Wallace has clearly stated there is no financial crisis, while a former PR man for Rangers and Sandy Easdale is briefing that there is and it can only be resolved by an urgent share issue.

“Mr Wallace has said twice the club is on a secure footing. He stated there is ‘absolutely no prospect of administration’ and that the club is in its healthiest state financially since he arrived. So why are meetings taking place about an emergency share issue?

“Why has the club had to take loans just to finish the season? Why have they not been repaid despite season ticket sales we believe to be around 16,000 and which would surely have raised the £1.5m required to do so?

“The message sent out by Mr Wallace appears to be at odds with that of Sandy Easdale.

“Who are Rangers fans to believe? Who wields the real power in the boardroom?

“If it’s Mr Easdale then who is he taking his instructions from, given his refusal to name the people behind Blue Pitch and Margarita?”

 Its hard to believe it hasn’t sunk in yet. He won’t realise whats going on until he gets asked for his Tesco clubcard at the till where his seat in the stand used to be. 

 Although Richard Wilson, the talented and insighful BBC journalist, offers hope to the hordes…

 ” Dave King, the former Rangers director, wants to invest directly in the club.

Might be an idea to check that with Dave, if you can find him, that is.

The South African-based businessman and Wallace in his business review both estimated that it will require £20-30m of additional investment to provide Rangers with the means to challenge Celtic for the Premiership title and compete again in Europe. 

It took them £67m to compete with part time teams. It may be a little bit of an underestimate to think that they could compete with full timers on less than half of that.

The only way to raise that kind of money would be a fresh public offering of shares, which is what King wants to participate in since his money would go directly to the club, which needs money spent on the football infrastructure – there is still no scouting network – and maintenance work at Ibrox. 

Which is what they said they would do with the first lot of money that came in. 

King’s intervention would likely lead to the dilution of the current shareholders, though, which is why an alternative route is being sought. The current squad, with one or two additions, ought to be good enough to gain promotion from the Championship, but to compete again with Celtic, Rangers need to be properly rebuilt. 

Theres that obsession with “competing with Celtic ” . Which is what killed the original club. 

There is a current shortfall to address, but that is only a short-term fix. For Rangers to compete at the highest level, a change in approach is required. 

The ability to comprehend reality would be a start. 

Speaking of realism, Neil Lennon has been offered £30,000 a week tax free to manage Al Shabab, over in Dubai, which has always been a popular destination for ginger haired people.

Anton Carbajal, Mexico and Lothar Mattheus have both played in five World Cup finals tournaments.

And the youngest and oldest  player to appear at this stage of the tournament were…?



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8 years ago

Norman Whiteside and Roger Milla?

8 years ago

Norman Whiteside & Roger Milla?

I continue to marvel at the klan’s abilities to continually lurch from one crisis to the next, all the different factions led by egomaniacs who all want a seat at the table, and think they have a divine right to be there. And there is no way the current squad are good enough to gain promotion without absolutely killing themselves. Everything’s running on the assumption that promotion is a foregone conclusion. Think quite a few people are in for a rude awakening next season!!

8 years ago

Diego Maradona & Pele?

Or it could be Steve McCahill & Wayne Biggins.


8 years ago

As things currently stand Sevco have very little prospect of winning promotion next term.
However, there may be a few ‘honest mistakes’ along the way at vital times……

8 years ago
Reply to  Morto

what chance Elbows(pen)being top scorer in ‘the best league in Scotland(copyright;smsm) next season?

8 years ago

Those lucky-bag tattoos are sure getting fancy. HH

8 years ago

Norman Whiteside and John Burridge

8 years ago

the “They Art Not You” picture is by a fictional artist called Peyton Sawyer in the TV show, One Tree Hill. Naw, I’ve never seen it either. Google’s amazin’ int it?

’32’ is mad TWs celtic shirt number, maybe the inker couldnae draw hoops and gave him a stirling albion shirt instead?

8 years ago

feck sevco and the ow’ BITCH wae’ the dear hat feckin’ buncha ponsers,hail hail wee neil lennon

8 years ago

Ah good old 2nd Rangers and their obsession with their right to be the best team in Scotland, and GIRFUY Timmy mentality.

I didn’t live in Glasgow during the Celts for change times, and so am happy to be corrected, but my recollection of that time wasn’t that Celtic fans wanted change so as to compete with Rangers (IL) but because we wanted our team doing well independant of any other team. Wheras the 2nd Rangers lot define themselves exclusively in relation to us. Any one any thoughts, am I calling it wrong?

How they managed to p*ss away c£70 m and have only a jumbo screen and a jumbo manager to show for it is not a mystery – see chateau in France for an example, but the fact that 16 000 people still saw fit to buy a ticket to this circus is baffling.

Bit giddy today. Its the world cup! Ive been shouting about a review system for managers for years to anyone who d listen (not a lot of people then!) but Blatter supporting it doesnt make him a good adminstator, he can have one good idea, and still be an absolute fud who has only damaged the reputation of the organistaion he represents.

holy sea
8 years ago

SAG- who are these people ? We want names ? ( In fat sally style ) Who is it that doesn’t want our club to be the first to
have a standing area ? The same peepul ( being paranoid ) who
have never accepted our club being the first to win the European Cup.A trophy which ultimately resulted in the death
of their first club,by them trying to buy it !!

8 years ago

You have called it absolutely correctly, at 42 I was in amongst it during this time, dark days indeed.
It was about saving Celtic & having a great future, it had nothing to do with Rangers ( original Rangers ).

8 years ago

For those you are travelling to the Dynamo v Celtic game in July, here are some links for travel, pubs, etc, to get you around town.

Flying into Dresden
– There a bus service to take you from the Airport to tram stop ‘Infineon Nord’. Buy a single journey ticket (€2.20 – valid for 1 hour)
– From there, take the 7 tram in the direction of Pennrich (tram system in Dresden is fairly easy to follow and similar to most cities) (this link will give you the transport map for Dresden
– At Pirnaischer Platz, get off and you’re ~50m from the Dubliner Irish Pub and ~800m from the stadium

Flying into Berlin
– Bus from Shönefeld to Dresden is outside the terminal
– The following link, will get you to the website to buy a ticket (
– Taking the bus to the Dresden Hauptbanhof (main train station), you actually pass Pirnaischer Platz and the stadium before getting there, ~5mins later. Very easy to make your way back to the pub!!

Pubs In Dresden
This link shows the 3 main pubs we choose to watch tha games (
– Irish Fiddler is where we typically watch the games. Located in the Neustadt, too far to walk to the game
– The Shamrock is the oldest and usually the main one travelling supporters are located before a game. Police actually encourage fans to go there!! Walking will take 15-20mins for the game.
– The Dubliner is the closest to the stadium! 5-10mins away and you can see the floodlights from the pub

Dynamo fans have a core of fans who pride themselves as hooligans! Everyone I’ve talked to don’t expect any trouble, but just be careful! These ‘hooligans’ do go out their way to look for a fight, but in the whole, the game should be trouble free.

Well, I hope this helps some of you if you’re making your way over for the game and we hope you have a great time!

Dresden CSC

8 years ago

Got to agree elcormaco, I gave up my ST and boycotted CP in 1984 in order to wrest Celtic away from the parasites (Kelly’s) who were bleeding it dry. challenging rangers had no part in the strategy.
Celtic fans wanted to take the club back from the parasites who saw the clud as a cash cow, sevconians welcomed the parasites who are bleeding their club dry – you couldn’t make it up.
With regards administration of newco, at present they do not have any debts, therefore they can’t go into administration. That will happen September / October time when they have run up serious debts. Be good if they could arrange it for Halloween, then all the weans (big yins as well) have an excuse for pretending to be zombies.

8 years ago
Reply to  andy docherty

meant 1994 – typo

8 years ago

Watt a tattoo!!!!! It looks sinisterly like a sevco top!!!

HAIL HAIL N aw that !!!!!!!!!!!!!

You mad about ETims or just plain mad? Why not buy the t-shirt at