Goals, points and old rivals

I know it’s a modern trend to make an arse of yourself on Twitter, but you would think that sports personalities would learn from the mistakes of others? Well, it would seem not.

There have been two tweets and two apologies in the Celtic community over the last couple of days. It won’t be the last time this type if scenario occurs on Twitter either, but the timing of one tweet in particular is hardly the best way to prepare for one of your biggest games of the season.

The game in question is of course tomorrow night when Celtic take on Ajax at Celtic Park in the Champions League. They haven’t faced each other since 2001 when Ajax beat Celtic 1-0 in Glasgow.

That result didn’t matter in the end thanks to a jaw dropping 1-3 away win for Celtic from the first leg. It was sufficient enough to send Celtic through to the Champions League group stage for the first time in existence.

Neil Lennon played in both of those matches and now the teams meet once more. Interestingly enough, Lennon’s opposite number in the other dugout is one Frank De Boer.

Whilst each playing for Celtic and Rangers, they came up against each other on two occasions. Lennon was on the winning side both times.

Now both are in their first head coach jobs and both are desperate for points. It’s possible that Celtic and Ajax could be slugging it out for third spot in Group H, but we know how quickly things can change in the Champions League.

Celtic should be aiming to win their next three group games. It’s a tough ask given that so far its played two, lost two and no goals scored.

Ajax may only have one point and one goal but its one point and one goal more than Celtic have right now. De Boer will be looking to add to that tally and keep Neil Lennon and Celtic at bay.

The way I see it though is that tomorrow night is a blank canvas. Forget the last two Champions League match days.

Celtic’s campaign begins on Tuesday at 7.45pm. There is no point in looking back, only forward.

Yes, Lennon has injuries to his squad and a suspension to contend with. Thinking about that won’t help him or the club tomorrow night though.

He must take the players he does have available and galvanise their belief to win. Celtic are due to bang some goals in against someone soon because they’ve been playing well enough.

There have been some fantastic European nights at Celtic Park. I’ve watched from the terracing, from the stands a from my sofa.

I believe Tuesday can be one of those special nights. I didn’t think so against Barcelona.

Lennon knows what is at stake here. He won’t need to remind the players either, though I’m pretty sure he will.

A win for Celtic tomorrow would put them in third place. And if say Barcelona beat Milan home and away over the next two matches, Celtic could potentially go second in the group with the right kind of result in Amsterdam.

There are of course other permutations but it demonstrates the complexity of the group phase. So it should be both encouraging and motivating that despite two defeats and no goals you’re never out of it.

There’s no debate on Celtic’s passing or possession, it’s their ability to put the ball in the net that is my only concern. This season I’ve yet to see the kind of killer instinct in front of goal that can win you games.

There are goal scorers throughout the squad and I’ve seen some good goals so far this season, but Celtic have had little luck in the Champions Leaguw. At some point that luck has to change but not without being ruthless in front of goal.

Be it Forrest, Pukki, Samaras, Stokes or whoever it doesn’t matter. Celtic must take their chances tomorrow night because I am damn well sure they will be created.

Until tomorrow, Celtic. Glasgow here I come.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie

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Downfall…

It’s a dodgy network we are relying upon. A football community of clubs and organisations.

The clubs play football and the organisations govern the game. Quite simple really.

So after months of “investigating” the suspect financials of the now defunct Oldco, you would expect the truth punished justifiably. No, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The spine of the controversial story regarding the now dead SPL club was known long before the media “broke it” to us. The media have merely filled in the blanks of what we already knew, though they have added weight to the guilt.

What is amazing is that despite all the evidence presented, the guilty party have escaped. Not only is this a shocking result, but it is yet another major controversary in the history of Scottish football.

Forget about paranoia, bigotry, sectarianism and all those other “Old Firm” clichés. This verdict is a blatant miscarriage of justice and we must look on from the galleries as others punch the air in victory.

A club has fallen simply because they were mismanaged financially. Their collapse has allowed for further evasion of sanctions.

Sevco are of course a new company (who want everything that Oldco had going). All that existed of Oldco will now remain in tact.

For many, there will be a long term, perhaps eternal resentment toward this episode in Scottish football. It is a worrying time.

Every now and again there is a reminder of how little faith I have in the SFA. Scottish Football is at a new low and I am haunted to core every time Scottish football is blighted by the incompetent and questionable actions of its governing bodies.

I’m sure any country would go to the ends of the earth to protect their national sport. But would you corrupt the game (further) with bare lies?

This isn’t Italy. It is a network of shame.

Celtic have their wrangles in Europe to contend with as it is. As far as domestic football in Scotland is concerned, the game is screwed.

As a Celtic fan I have never wished to see preferential treatment for my club or any other for that matter. However, there may be times when clubs to get decisions over others.

At one time or another clubs will have benefited from the system. There is one club however that stands apart from the rest of Scotland.

That club is dead and it would seem that their crimes and misdemeanours will die with them. This is an own goal for football and a home win for those who profited over the years at Ibrox.

If you are fan of this dead club or a supporter of Sevco, you are no doubt feeling chirpy. Perhaps down at your respected locals you are enjoying a pint and nudging each other with glee.

I know if Celtic went under I would be distraught. That isn’t an understatement from me, I mean that.

To know that something I have believed in, supported and gone through the emotional wringer for was suddenly gone would be deflating. Sure, I could reboot and come back fresh but it wouldn’t be the same.

History may say that Oldco did this and that but in the mind of many, justice has not prevailed on this occasion. Similarly, the SFA and SPL walk away like a law unto themselves.

There is no hope for Scottish football and there has been anything but advancement since the late seventies. The game in Scotland is in a downward spiral and the opportunity for change has passed.

The shake-up that was promised a few years ago, when the game was being scrutinised, has now vanished without hope. Whatever brain fart is conceived in the future by the morons that govern the game will only go to serve as a reminder that we have learned nothing, gained nothing and done nothing.

Now the rest of Scottish football must look on in horror as the dead rise. We may even tear ourselves apart.

The final nail in the coffin has been struck. Its echo will reverberate into the future.

When Sevco eventually emerge from Division 3, there will be celebration amongst those who cling to their cause. It will signal what you can do with the right clout and influence.

Forget justice and sporting integrity. There is only corruption.

Hail! Hail!

Writing from purgatory, Stevie.