Most Celtic Fans Will Ignore The Embarrassing Over-Reaction To This Week’s Euro Results.

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It was obvious today that Celtic cyberspace would erupt with anger directed at our club because the one from Ibrox has won a European tie. All of a sudden, they are world beaters again because they got a result against Betis. Give me peace.

Last season, they set a most unwanted record in the Champions League; the worst team ever to compete in the Group Stages. This season, already, they have been held by Servette and trounced by PSV. Do they get results at home? Sometimes. They built a team to play football a certain way. That way works in Europe better than ours does.

So what do people want us to do? Rebuild our team to play the same way as them? Look at the league table. Look at the trophy haul over the last three years, including one where they got to a European final on the back of a mere seven wins in twenty one matches. Five trophies out of the first six. We’re sitting on a four point lead over them in the league.

Honestly, there are reasons – good reasons – to criticise Celtic at the moment. They are mostly to do with a strategy that does not properly equip us for taking on the top clubs on the continent.

Last season, we won a mere two points in the Champions League, but Ibrox won none. Zero. Zilch. For an entire summer people were going on about how, off the back of a final, they were ready for that stage; I might have been alone in saying they would get turned over when they played against elite teams. The shattering PSV game only emphasises the point.

The gap between the Europa League and the Champions League is vast. We’re being judged on a bigger stage than they are on. Comparing the two is not remotely similar. The BBC anchor at the game last night raved about how rare it is to see a Scottish team beat one from Spain; yeah, and we did it, against the same team, only two seasons ago in that same competition.

Nobody talks about it because we went out of that group. With nine points I might add. Amongst many of the perverse things about Ibrox’s run to the final is that they got out of theirs that year with only eight.

Their “brilliant” European form and how it is hailed it preposterous. The press is banging on about their Europa League record at Ibrox since 2017 because they can’t talk about the Champions League one which is an embarrassment.

It’s Fortress Ibrox now in that tournament apparently, and on paper – at a glance – the record does in fact look pretty good. But you know what? Our own record in the Europa League, at Celtic Park, isn’t abysmal on paper either. Ange’s nine points included two home wins in the Groups and two in qualifying.

Even in the closed-door catastrophe season we managed a home win in the Groups, although the Sparta result should have got the manager sacked. The other team that beat us that year in those Groups was AC Milan and there’s no shame in that.

The year before that, in the Europa League, the 2019-20 campaign, we won in qualifying against AIK and then won all three of our Group games at home to Lazio, Cluj and Rennes.

Disappointingly, we failed to get through the next phase against Copenhagen, losing to them at home in a disastrous reversal which is where alarm bells started ringing for a lot of people about the following year.

The year before that, we’d beaten Suduva in the qualifiers after going out of the Champions League early. In the Group we finished second with 9 points after winning three out of six matches including two at home against Rosenborg and RB Leipzig. It was Valencia who overcame us in the second stages that year. No great shame in that either.

In the 2017 season which the Ibrox fan-club in the media is using as the basis for their “brilliant run” we’re not in the Europa League but back at the top table and although it was an abysmal performance that demonstrates what I’ve been talking about, which is the gap between the two tournaments, which is vast, and which we’ve suffered for.

But aside from reaching a final, winning only one third of their games, their record in the Europa League, at home, is only marginally better than ours is, if even that. We should do better in that competition than we have done, but we’re not being judged merely on that competition. When we’re in it, we generally compete well in the Groups although our knockout record is a flat-out disgrace, although we’ve had some bad hands dealt to us in the draws.

If people think their club is doing better than ours is, and that we have something to learn from them, I say guess again. Look at the trophy haul over the same period; I see trebles, and not at Ibrox.

Honestly, the over-reaction to last night coming on the heels of the over-reaction to losing to what everyone knew was a quality team … some folk need to have a lie down.

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  • Cyril Donohoe says:

    Real Betis are nowhere near the standard they were 2 yrs ago when they were riding high ,shipped 5 goals against Barca last week ,you are right no comparison between cl n el poles apart

  • James Archibald says:

    true according to m lyndsey we’re rooted at the bottom of the table ffs rooted it’s 1 game ffs

  • king murdy says:

    james…of our competitive games…we have won 3 / drawn 1 / lost 2

    i could not care less what the the huns do, and i don’t let the press influence what i can see with my own eyes…

    tuesday nights result and performance still hurts me…

    rodgers re-joined the tic mid june….allegedly, to make a mark in europe…and we all know how that has began…I don’t blame BR per se….the suits sent him out with an inadequate squad…but he has accepted it…he’s now talking about the january period ??
    ffs !!!! honest…FFS !!
    why were 1st team player’s not recruited in jun/lul ? i know we have injuries…but with the exception of abada, they will be back…so why did ne hot identify the need for 1st team recruit’s until mid september ? i mean every fukn celtic fan with 2 working eyes could see where we needed to upgrade…when was he emasculated ?…..he’s turned into a fukn poodle.
    please james….don’t give us the old harold mcmillan line of “you’ve never had it so good”…i find that insulting coming from you…

    i hope i’m wrong…but i think we are in trouble…and no amount of looking back is gonna help the here and now…and the club have walked with wide open eyes into it…

    as i said…i really hope i’m wrong…but the board being what it is…and now, not 1 but 2 fukn lawwells in the building….

  • Michael McCartney says:

    Good article James, I’m not kidding, after supporting the Celtic since my first game in 1950 some of the modern supporters really annoy me. We’re there to support the team through thick and thin. If you’ve got a gripe against the board and we all have at times, that should not change any encouragement and support for the players on the park.
    Whether we like it or not the Europa League is our Standard, we cannot compete financially with clubs from the big 5 leagues and the financial gains that goes with that, nine times out of ten finance is what makes the difference in modern professional football in who wins what.
    The game at Ibrox last night saw a tippy tappy, good passing Spanish team who couldn’t finish against a physically strong and at times pacy Scottish team who most of the game couldn’t string 3 passes together and who scored a scrambled goal from a set play, come out on top. I’m trying hard not to have my green tinted specs on but I’m pretty sure Celtic would have taken care of both of them.
    Early days in our group games but I’m still optimistic we can be in Europe after Christmas.
    Incidentally something very very rare happened at Ibrox last night, the team in blue should have had a penalty that they didn’t get. That’s certainly one for the record books.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Yep – I’m afraid that we just need to accept where we lie in The Champions ? League utterly rigged food chain…

    Celtic playing Manchester City & Co. is akin to The mighty Clachnacuddin FC coming up against The even more mighty Scottish Treble Winners Celtic FC !

  • SSMPM says:

    It’s all they got to hold onto with another season of failure ahead. They really need that League cup too to stop the rot on of their now exposed no nothing manager. Btw you certainly were not alone in thinking they would get turned over when playing against elite teams. Hell we all knew that and also know that’s just below our own European chances and experiences.
    Still we’re in the CL and top of the table. Good 10 man win today as well. HH

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