Fear And Loathing In Eindhoven: Celtic Take The TV Pot As The Mooch Hits The Skids.

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With ten minutes left to go last night, and the score at 5-1 to the Dutch I had a revelatory moment; for some twenty or so minutes I had been trying to figure out what formation the Ibrox side was playing and I simply could not do it. They were all over the place, tactically, positionally, but that wasn’t the problem. I couldn’t remember their starting eleven.

I knew who had come off and who had come on, and broadly where they fit into the picture.

But maddeningly I kept coming up short as though there was a missing footballer.

Turns out I was right, but he was actually there on the pitch and had been since the start of the game; I only realised who he was in that moment of clarity when he took a wild shot that sailed over the bar.

I turned to my old man and said “That’s who the eleventh player is!”

He had no idea what I meant. He too had forgotten that the guy was on the pitch.

He thought that he must have come on as a sub, but Jose Cifuentes was right there. He played the full game although if he touched the ball more than a dozen times I will be astonished. I have seen players be anonymous in games. It is the first time in a long time that I’ve seen one disappear completely as though a hole had opened up and swallowed him.

Niko Raskin didn’t last the full game. He was the first player The Mooch subbed up. The midfield enforcer was dire. His performance was embarrassingly bad. So too was that of Matondo although he had a decent run and a shot which clipped the post. It’s not worth having a guy on the pitch to have one moment in a game, and one that doesn’t produce.

People, as usual, would have been wetting their pants with hero worshiping excitement when Tavernier scored. He does get plenty of goals, but I wouldn’t have him near a Celtic team because he cannot defend to save his life and that’s what his job is supposed to be. I guarantee you that for every goal he scores he costs them two in critical games.

I love that he made the Ibrox Hall Of Fame, the first Sevco player to do so, joining all those Ibrox luminaries of the dead club. It reeks of the mediocrity of the last twelve years.

It reeks of what their fans now tolerate and accept as normal.

I have spent the last fortnight or so criticising our club.

That’s what I do when our own club drops the ball or moves slowly or isn’t getting the job done.

I critique. I complain. I give them a nudge to get their backsides moving.

It’s how I show the love, and whilst I have precious little of it for the Lawwell-Desmond nexus these guys are guilty of lower-case ambition, arrogance and perhaps an abundance of caution.

But they are not stupid people, and they are not by any stretch of the imagination bad custodians. Celtic is very well run, at the business level, even if these people occasionally get confused as to what their actual jobs are. At Ibrox, their leaders are both bad and stupid, and that they allowed The Mooch to spend what he did this summer proves it.

They were horrendous. They were thoroughly dismantled by PSV, who aren’t exactly world beaters based on what I watched over the two legs. I knew they would dispatch the Ibrox club to the Europa League but I never at any point prior to the games, and especially in the first leg, thought they would blow them away quite so readily, without breaking a sweat.

But we’ve watched this Ibrox team since this campaign began and I keep on saying it; they are not a good side. They are weak at the back, their forward line are lumbering big beasts, their tactics are strictly second rate and The Mooch is a joke.

The excuses he made last night, the ones he was permitted to make by the hacks in the room, were pathetic. He genuinely has no idea why he lost. He genuinely does not recognise that his team selection was ludicrous, that his approach, playing third rate public park football was easily found out and exposed by a good club with good players … all of this is on him.

He bought these guys. He doesn’t look as if he did it for any other reason than they are big bruisers who he can lump the ball up to.

Regular readers will know I’m a huge West Wing fan.

There is an episode in which American soldiers are killed in Colombia, in a simple trap involving a radio operator sending fake transmissions to lure them into an ambush. President Bartlett is furious, and accuses his generals of falling for “a stratagem so sophisticated, it’s an entire generation beyond “Hey, look! Your shoelaces are untied!””

And that’s The Mooch’s tactics. I find it impossible to imagine how he could have believed that they would be good enough to beat a team with a manager who understands how to organise a side and who has the players to turn out your lights if you give them a chance.

There is no artistry in this; it’s Football Manager For Beginners. You see more finesse and tactical shrewdness at a juniors game. A decent side, a European level team, was always going to hurt them … and their fans are going to get the shock of their lives if they expect this joker to take them on another Europa League run playing like that.

For that club of theirs the pain isn’t over, it’s just starting. Whether we win, lose or draw at the weekend I believe we’ll win this title with room to spare because the worst that happens is we leave Ibrox a mere two points behind, and we have yet to hit first gear, and this guy is floundering and you can see it already. You can smell the weakness on him.

He sat there the other day and made the astonishing claim that for his club last night was a “no lose situation.” His board must have been aghast. Their fans must have been appalled.

A no-lose situation? Well, how’s this for no lose? That single result has taken £2.5 million out of their pockets … and put it into ours, because we’ll no longer have to split the “national TV pool” money with them. That’s over and above the huge disparity in European Group Stage income that accrues from being in one competition instead of the other.

It’s another vast opening up of the finance gap … and he’s kidding himself on if he doesn’t think that matters. That’s next season’s transfer budget. That’s spending money in January. That’s more advantages to Celtic, if our board decides to press them.

He’s already been told, by the board, that this window has to pay for itself with outgoings. That’s the loss of Kamara, if they can ship him out, and Davies if someone will take him. They thought they would get a big fee for Hagi; he went out on loan so no huge transfer kitty will be coming their way for him. Do you see any other bankable assets in that squad?

Every penny they miss out on is bad enough. Every penny they miss out on and which flows into our pockets … exponentially worse. What you want now is for Aberdeen to get through in the Europa League and take half of the TV pot for that competition as well, further weakening them and strengthening one of the clubs around them.

There is both fear and loathing on their forums today, but then those emotions rampage on those forums every day of the week. But once again The Mooch is under pressure, and he should be. They have played eight games so far this season and lost two, drawn two and won four. The four included a narrow win at home to Servette and another against Morton.

They look across the city and they see we’ve not had our own troubles to seek, but they also see last season’s treble winners, and a manager who knows his stuff, and new signings trying to integrate and an injury crisis we’re trying to weather and they know that there will be major improvements in our form as we go on … they aren’t so sure about their own club.

And that scares them. And it should scare them, because even as I write this we’re completing signings and putting in place the pieces of the team that will get us to January.

As players return to fitness in the next two months a strong Celtic squad will just increasingly get stronger and stronger and stronger … and right now they are in no position to take advantage of us when we appear weak.

Their season is only a few months old. Already they can see the writing on the wall.

If we win on Sunday, the people in charge there will have no place to hide.

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  • Captain Swing says:

    There is an element of me wants them to keep Pete Beale in post for as long as possible. Two potential candidates on their doorstep – Derek McInnes and Stephen Robinson – are better managers than the donkey walloper currently floundering around in the iBrox dugout and know how to set up a team and work with limited resources and average players. Both would make them more competitive than the present imposter, who is beginning to make Pedro Caixinha look like a credible appointment.

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    On Sunday if they win, they dont get any trophies for it. Long way tae go and them bein put out the CL and their money disappearin down the plughole’s one thing. It’s what’s comin for us thats our (my) big concern. Aye we’ll make money, tho this CL campaign could end up a complete horror story for us. Thats my main worry.

  • James Archibald says:

    I watched the first half last night and I just remembered what tav was good at pointing yup he coul outpoint Peter the pointer grant ???HH

  • SSMPM says:

    They’re a couple of results away from imploding. C’mon a Hoops. HH

  • Tony B says:

    Can’t disagree with anything you say about them or us, but the elephant in the room is the football authorities in Scotland, particularly the refereeing “fraternity”, who will do all in their power to hinder us and assist them, IF Celtic lets them.

    The board needs to be on this as a matter of priority, and given the financial implications of winning the league this season, hopefully it will.

  • john clarke says:

    A ‘Gers supporter said three subs added spark to the team?. If they were “bargain bin bench players”, that’s a worry for their starters. Doubt it. The Netherland juggernaut only played better. Hope Sunday makes you all happy.

  • Scud Missile says:

    Don’t be surprised to see most of our games being moved to a Sunday as well so there is no pressure being put on sevco,by getting us to play on the same day.

  • Scud Missile says:

    Graeme Young of the daily sevco previously wrote PSV off after the first leg and predicted that sevco would beat PSV in Holland in the return leg,this due to sevco keeping PSV’s big hitters quiet in the first leg and that sevco had nothing to worry about.
    Watch in the coming days how a NEGATIVE result and a right good SCUDDING gets turned into a POSITIVE probably by some right good old FAKE NEWS stories that sevco will make more from the Europa league than the champions league as well making more money than Celtic.

  • Peterbrady says:

    Did you see the faces of all the bigots on TNT rat mcoist Connie bigot Dodds bigot mutton bigot and best of all the ameoba miller bigot it was glorious hail! Hail!

    • Sid says:

      This is an extremely biased viewpoint with the state we’re in at present. If we lose on Sunday to this team you have just slated then what does it say about us? You make a lot of assumptions about how we’ll improve, under this manager or the next and what damage will their be by then? This is Scotland, and even though they were poor last year they won every game, drew with us, which kept it tight for months because they were aided with referee’s. They can win domestically with that team and PSV would have given us the same hiding. We have to be considerably better with the officials and at the moment we are an absolute shambles, lose on Sunday and I think we will, then the pressure will mount on players and manager. This gloating when we are horrendous, doesn’t sit right with me and saying even if we lose , we’ll still win the league is nonsense and playing to the gallery. Concentrate on us and if we lose on Sunday to a crap team then our clubs policy should be where your attention goes, not some bravado about what we’re going to do in the future.

  • Archie macpherson says:

    Well we are all smug this morning. Kilmarnock n st Johnstone? Rogers snoozeball? As jock stein once said to the stripper see the rankers manager he signs all the tits round here.

    We have enough issues to worry about with Rogers driving us into the ground. He’s simply awful. God knows what Sunday will bring.

  • martin le gall says:

    Am rangers and if that’s what am getting then u lot can only lose the league. Get beale tae duck

  • Roonsa says:

    I am thinking a draw would be perfect for us on Sunday. If we beat them he’d be on the road out and I am not sure we want that to happen. Not this early in the season anyway.

    If they are as bad as you say, I want to see him having to face the wrath of the baying hordes.

    Of course I WANT Celtic to win. I am not sure we are much better at this point and I still have major doubts. But I agree long term we will come out on top. Brendan just needs the same time which was given to Ange.

  • Johnno says:

    The scum handed ourselves the best result of the season so far last night.
    There performance was so bad, it nearly made our own dire efforts look acceptable?
    This shower of imposter scum, were never going to be worthy of being CL class, and remain a very long away away of ever being classed as such.
    Yet the focus has always been upon ourselves, and what we actually do as a club, especially as the scum are becoming less relevant as each season passes.
    We may have been very slow out of the blocks, yet we aren’t to far away from potentially having a far stronger squad available for CL than we had on offer last season imo.
    Don’t believe in this project tag, actually find it quite insulting really towards players, even moreso when you could have put project tags upon so many of Ange signings when they 1st joined the club, yet most have been very successful, and most contributed to the success gained, even if not used in large amounts of game time.
    Today’s game relys upon squad depth, and we seen the fall off in our displays last season, where we became so reliant upon so many certain individual players.
    Believe that issue has already been hugely improved, and time has to be given for players to settle into new surroundings and the club itself.
    The bigger issue is the more established players failing to step up to the new approach taken by Rodgers, which still remains questionable at this stage?
    But with new additions added we have to hope our displays improve as they remain at embarrassing levels with CL in mind.
    This weekend gives us an opportunity to hugely improve upon what we have produced to date, and needs to also.
    Not expecting ourselves to be perfect, but signs of improvement must be achieved.
    The pressure is far more important for the scum than ourselves, especially now, and a fantastic opportunity awaits for ourselves to hammer home nail’s into the coffins of the scum, all the while we only remain in the warm up process for the season ahead.
    Not overly concerned about the result myself as nothing but a feel good factor will be only achieved as such, so gaining a victory for ourselves will totally change the outlook of the start of the season?
    That’s football, where Saturday night we were looking at an appalling start to the season, to going to a very decent start all in just over a week?
    Feeling a lot more relaxed going into the derby now, even if not totally convinced yet about the potential make up of the CL squad as thing’s stand currently.

  • Mark B says:

    Sunday will be very tough anyone who thinks different hasn’t watched last few of these derbies. We are not in great shape and need to focus on ourselves. We have failed to score v Killie and SjJ, that’s shocking. They may do well in Europa League they got to the final two years ago ….. we haven’t been near it in over 20 years!!!!! Let’s get our team sorted and firing.

  • Eldraco says:


    ” we troubled their defence all night”

    The fuck?

  • Tony B says:

    Michael Beale talks shite.

  • JimBhoy says:

    PSV imo played better at Ibrox in footballing terms. The rangers fans have been bumming up their team for months. maybe some of that is poor Celtic form for a few reasons but like you say we will get our act together when we have all the recruits in, injured players back and we have a far better idea of what our best 11 looks like.

    Celts have also invested more in the playing squad in terms of youth and development and will get a good return for most when selling on. The rangers on the other hand have brought in many who were unwanted by their previous clubs, that doesn’t bode well… I am sure they will get lucky with some and be able to get a return on their investment.

    Cantwell will get the ibrox side double figures in pens this season. A stiff wind would take him down. He seems easily riled that would be something to exploit.

    Anyways I’d settle for a draw on Sunday and hopefully no more injuries.


    ‘Ceteris Paribus’ James, what you say is fair comment.
    However you know,as we all do that Scottish Football is not an environment where ‘all things being equal’ is a ‘Given.
    Already in the Season we have seen the hand(shake) of the MIBs in the Killie game.
    They, the corrupt match officials,will try to bridge the gap between us and them at every game, every week
    throughout the whole season to keep them in the race.
    This Season more than any other season in their short existence, the one that could give them access, to sufficient funding to stabilise their Clubs chaotic funding. The prize for winning the League is direct entry to the 24/25 restructured CL competition with its increased prize money.
    It’s a ‘stick on’ that the SFA & The Lararkshire Refereeing Lodge will be fully onside as will the VARman in the Sky.
    It’s going to be messy.

  • John tollan says:

    If we win on Sunday, you kidding we ain’t any better than they are get real mate

  • john clarke says:

    I had a good feeling at the start of the PSV match. The PSV Manager, Assistant and others sat in their tall shiny red seats, smiled and laughed. They were confident, happy chappies.
    I wished Giovanni V B was there with them, when M B came over before kick-off to shake their hands. We did not see Gio smile much in Scotland. The TV director could have cut to Gio’s beaming smile when PSV scored. The Dutch don’t mind bit of Absurdist Humour.
    When Rangers dropped those 7 points, it was the players. playing badly. Gio was persecuted unfairly. It’s costing Rangers. PSV is one of the “Big Three Dutch Football Clubs”. Well played PSV!

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