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Celtic Deserves Huge Credit For That European Campaign. But We Won’t Get It.

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That was a wonderfully exciting night at Celtic Park, and one that has brought this club an immense amount of goodwill and credit throughout Europe. Everywhere but here at home, where all some people – a lot of our own fans included – want to concentrate on is the injury to Kyogo.

I’ll get to it later, and probably at length. But I’ll be defending Ange.

I’ll be defending him because anyone who’s looking for a negative in the way this guy runs the team after last night is just not thinking it through.

If you want to know where the progress is most apparent, it’s in our European campaign.

We have learned so much about ourselves in this competition and our performance over the course of it was more than credible.

In fact, it was excellent.

Of course, I will look back on a series of missed opportunities.

Because we were two goals to the good in Spain. We were a goal up in Germany.

To some extent, we showed naivety and inexperience. But we also punched back hard. We scored a lot of goals in this group, a group with two top class teams in it. We took the fight to them. That much is obvious.

That we are frustrated at the end of this group tells you exactly how well we played in it. I haven’t seen a Celtic team be this good, in an attacking sense, in Europe in a long time. The last one I can recall having this much about them was the one under Martin O’Neill which boasted the likes of Henrik and Chris Sutton and Lubo.

I am proud of how this campaign went. It must not be allowed to be remembered for an injury. It must not be allowed to be downplayed because the last game didn’t end in us qualifying.

The press may call it a dead rubber but we went out with nine points in a Group Of Death whereas their favourite side went through from a Group Of Dreck with a mere eight.

They will say that they had the better campaign.

They will ignore the four massive games we had to play just to reach the Groups, and the performances which got us there in the first place.

It has not ended in qualification, but in terms of expectations in Ange’s first campaign, with a squad still not fully up to speed, it is a triumph of what he’s trying to do.

We will not get the credit we deserve from the rest of the world.

I hope to God that we at least get it from our own supporters.

The manager has taken us very, very far.

All the praise should go to him.

He is doing something special here.

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11 comments
  • Roonsa says:

    Celtic have shown one thing. If you want to play football against us, we’ll score goals. Where we struggle is clearly against the teams who are well organised and sit deep, 10 men behind the ball. However what I will say is that the defence looks a lot better than it did at the start of the season so I trust Ange to figure out how to break down the anti football lot. OK, I am talking about Livingston.

    I think there are definite signs of encouragement for Celtic fans. Ange is making mistakes but he is doing A LOT right. He will be criticised for playing Kyogo last night and it has cost us. Only time will tell if it really bites us on the arse. But even if it does, let’s hope it’s a lesson learned. I think Ange has earned enough respect from the fans to be given time to see out his vision at Celtic. That’s what I want.

    • Thomas Daley says:

      When all is said and done, this Celtic team did punch above its weight. That is the light at the end of the tunnel

  • CHRIS says:

    James
    The injury to Kyogo, and being a hamstring it probably rules him out till after the winter break, can’t be ignored.
    It has left us 7 matches in 2 competitions without a centre forward.
    The priority this season, after successfully attaining group stage European football, was the league.
    Playing the next 6 matches, where we are already 4 points behind and have no leeway, without a recognised centre forward due to losing Kyogo in a match where the group placings had already been sorted is crazy management.
    What happened to Kyogo could well have happened in any of the 6 matches mentioned, but the difference is that if that had been the case then at least it would have happened in matches that meant something substantial.

  • BhelfastBhob says:

    Thank God your looking at in the same light as I. Seen nothing but doom and gloom from Celtic supporters last night and smorning. HH

  • Jim Duffy says:

    Can we not get Griff back from Dundee,oh and I definitely don’t blame Ange for what happened to kyogo,it was bad luck and maybe kyogo himself chasing after meaningless lost causes.

  • Geoff says:

    Ange has been a revelation since arriving when you consider the shambles he inherited from Lennon and the board plus Dom leaving under very strange circumstances.
    However if you scroll back to any successful manager and winning teams they all say when playing two games a week then training is warm down,recovery time and usually working on set plays.
    Full intensity training is the reason for these type of injuries.
    He contradicts himself by saying the amount of games is ridiculous but that the training they do and the high tempo will result in these injuries but that’s the price they have to pay.
    It reminds me of the boy out of step with rest of the marching band and his mother remarks that everyone else is doing it wrong.

    • Jim Duffy says:

      Geoff when Ange was managing in Japan have we any statistics on injuries his team suffered because I’m sure he must have done the same intense high level training as he does with Celtic,did the Japanese players get injured as much or were they just fitter to start with ,just a thought.

  • Damian says:

    What’s the point in concentrating on people who don’t like us not saying nice things about us? It’s just the way it is. Rangers had a really good European campaign last season, but they didn’t get full credit from people who don’t like Rangers. If one doesn’t like Rangers, one would pivot towards the fact that they didn’t face top five league teams, that the stadiums were empty… That’s just the way it’s going to be. It is true that Celtic developed a lot through this Europa campaign and played some great football in a difficult group. It is also true, in my opinion, that finishing third is more fortuitous than finishing second (second is most likely a death sentence). And, there’s something to be admired about finishing third with 9 points rather than second (in the likely death sentence pot) with 8. If you like Celtic, concentrate on those things. But, there’s another angle if you don’t. Second is, ultimately, better than third. Celtic got trounced at home by Bayer (the away game stats were also near identical to the home game stats – a 3-2 defeat in each game would have been about right). As ever, we can all choose the narrative we want. I’m happy enough, and happy enough for others to say what they want (unless they’re saying anything demonstrably untrue; but there are plenty of ‘true’ criticisms if anyone wants to make them).

  • Thomas Daley says:

    When all is said and done, this Celtic team did punch above its weight. That is the light at the end of the tunnel

  • SSMPM says:

    Turning on supporters pointing out the obvious is not necessary. We can be self critical and still support and want the best for our club. The Europa game was not meaningless I get that and the players performances are to be commended however Kyogo’s injury is a concern to us. We recognise the potential for harm to our league campaign and I’d bet that is the priority for fans. We are behind Ange. HH

  • Bigchunkylardass says:

    Completely agree, I think the progress we have made from game to game has been very impressive, and last night, to beat the team sitting 3rd in La Liga, with so many kids playing, was stunning.
    I can also get why Ange gambled with bringing on Kyogo when he did, because it was important with so many young players, for their development, that we didnt get turned over, because Betis could have destroyed us if we had gave them the chance last night, and bringing Kyogo on was of enormous benefit to them, and as a result, hes got like 20 players who have won a european game this season in his squad which is invaluable experience for young and fringe players.

    In Ange we trust 🙂

    HH

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