The Focus On Celtic’s “European Record” Is Designed To Damage Our Morale. Ignore It.

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The focus on Celtic’s “European record” has been going on for a long time now and I sometimes believe that I’m listening to or reading something from a parallel universe when it is being discussed.

Last night, after an outstanding performance, it was all some people wanted to draw attention to. On Radio Scotland much of the after-match chatter was focussed on it.

Brendan Rodgers gets it in the neck because this record is at least partially his. But it’s only his because in the “ten years without a home win”  they’re talking about this is his third campaign in the competition.

And the thing is, we’ve only been here five times in that spell.

(And he got an away win during one of those campaigns.)

So what they mean when they talk about it being ten years since we got a win in the competition is just another way of saying that this would be, if it finished like this, the fourth tilt at the Groups without one.

I read some hacks mistakenly claim last night that it was against Barcelona. They are wrong of course, and what bothers me about that is that they clearly can’t count worth a damn. That was eleven years ago.

The ten year game was against Ajax.

But I repeat; before this campaign kicked off we’d only been in the Champions League four times in that decade and since we got a win in the first of them that means we’ve only failed to get a win in the last three.

Sounds like a bad record. They’ve been bad Groups with only last season’s being a huge source of disappointment.

This is only Brendan’s third crack at it … so if I’m being honest, the “record” itself is a nonsense and I’m really not terribly interested in discussing it.

Take last season. What does the record obscure? We were excellent in spells in the Champions League last season, and we gave Real Madrid the fright of their lives at Celtic Park before they put us to the sword.

We should have gotten a better result in Donetsk and we should have beaten them at home. It’s the RB Leipzig game at Celtic Park which genuinely frustrates me.

But the question was asked then; were we clearly progressing in the right direction? And the answer to that is a resounding yes, of course we were. The same question could be just as easily applied here and it’s even greater yes.

We have definitely improved on that stage, to the point where having a few more experienced players on the bench might have made a massive difference.

That’s something Brendan will have to hash out with the board, but as far as his performance goes, he’s on point and doing the job right. He’s getting something more out of this team.

The team itself, the core group, is as good as we’ve seen it and with Palma shaping up to be one Hell of a signing and others showing promise we’re in a good position here if we can keep this team together and add to it.

The future should look better than the past has, and that’s the only metric we should be thinking about when it comes to judging this team.

How many evolutions of Celtic have there been in those ten years? Why is the media constantly needling us over this as though we’ve not changed personnel in a dozen places since then? As though European football itself isn’t getting more stratified?

The Celtic team which beat Ajax that night was as follows; Forster, Izaguirre, Van Dijk, Ambrose, Lustig, Mulgrew, Kayal, Pukki, Stokes and Samaras.

By the following season, Ronny was in charge and that team was radically different.

There was another massive change when Brendan Rodgers took over and then we had Lennon II … and finally the full transformation of this squad under Ange. Brendan’s version of it is still finding its feet.

The “record” is meaningless.

There have been four changes of manager in that spell and God knows how many different versions of the squad.

So it’s disgusting the way the media seems to want to hold the management team and the players responsible for that record.

They aren’t responsible for it.

It’s not down to them.

Part of the problem is European football itself and the way the Super Clubs have moved so far ahead of everyone else and how teams in their leagues have had to spend ever greater sums to try to keep up with them.

I heard Tom English banging on last night about how Feyenoord weren’t that great a side, just hours after they had trounced Lazio.

Lazio themselves aren’t viewed as that great a side by these geniuses in spite of a second-place finish in Serie A last season.

They spent £40 million on transfers during the summer, not including the four loanees they brought in, two of whom can be gotten for a mere £27 million as buy-out clauses and another with a £12 million clause.

They came within an ace of losing at Parkhead against a Celtic team whose entire construction didn’t even cost that summer transfer spend.

We’re a Pot 4 side.

We certainly don’t have any divine right to expect to beat teams like these, but the media talks as if we do.

The same media which bangs on constantly about our massive financial advantage over other teams in this league … it stinks to high heaven.

I’m done fixating on “the record.”

The record is in the past.

This Celtic team has a chance to write its own record and it, and the manager, should be judged on what they do next, not on what other Celtic teams and other Celtic bosses have failed to do.

It’s good that Brendan Rodgers refused to discuss it last night.

We move forward. No more of this looking back nonsense. That’s designed to affect morale and put us under pressure.

We’re moving in the right direction and that matters more to me than just the points on the board. That will come in due course.

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  • Tony B says:

    How often does it have to be said? The Scottish media are huns and hun apologists.

    What else would you expect?

  • John Copeland says:

    Did you notice TNT sports trying to be big Celtic FC patrons last night ? Firstly it’s presenter was that renowned Ibrox fan woman -Emma Dodds ! Then we had the tiniest of glass boxes too small for 2 bodies let alone 3 ,fully adorned with Royal blue plastic walls . They could not be interested in applying the Celtic colours in their artificial box even on a Champions League night …..pathetic !

    • Dougie Swinton says:

      Are you at the wind up??

      There were 2 ex Celtic managers in that box…….1 was also an ex captain. She presents every Scottish game in Europe. I personally didn’t notice the wall colours, but I’m assuming they’re generic TNT sports colours.

      • James Forrest says:

        I actually thought TNT’s coverage was basically superb last night EXCEPT for the questions at the end.

        It was fantastic to see two ex-Celtic bosses talking about the game and with Big John in the commentary box.

        We definitely got a fair shake of it from them.

  • Johnno says:

    How do you experience at CL level, when not in the financial position to buy the likes?
    We have to develop the likes simple as that.
    Yet comes the next problem of the vultures in waiting with the cheque books handy.
    An ever ongoing situation, that has effected the level of stability that a core squad of players needs at this level still?
    Steps have been taken over the summer with increased squad numbers, along with the standards required to reach the quality required to compete at this level.
    That’s the process involved, and believe we have the right manager in place to see that process through.
    It will pay off in the end, especially when the first part of the process, involved of showing that we are worthy of being classed as a CL team.
    Some achievement in only 9 CL games where we were so competitive in the majority of them, and the fine margins being so costly with going against ourselves.
    This is where our club has to be nowadays, and proud that we are showing of worthy of being classed as a CL team.
    The trick now is keeping the infrastructure in place and to continue to build upon the foundation that has already been built.
    Still believe we are still heading in the right direction and have to continue in doing so.
    The pieces are in place even if not totally completed as of yet, but the development process at this level is certainly well under way, even if the results haven’t been achieved that the performances over the 9 games deserved.
    And if the 10 year record remains an issue for the Scottish media, then only requires a one word answer “67”
    Nothing left for the eejits to say about records is there?

  • harold shand says:

    Kyogo scores a goal in two CL games on the bounce and all they want to talk about is OH

    Rat b*stards

  • Hunbasher says:

    We,ll see…… next time. Always seems to be the same old story eh? That’s 1 point from 3 games. Two of them at Parkhead. I said when Brendan came back that he was the wrong appointment. I also said we,d be dominant domestically and beaten in Europe. All this has come to pass, just as l thought it would. Yes, we were brilliant for the first 45 mins last night. But we weren’t brilliant for the second 45. We could have lost that game last night. Atletico were much better than us in the second half. We don,t seem to have got over the same naivety that we were suffering in Europe under Ange. And Brendan doesn’t seemed to have learned anything from having watched the videos of those matches. I,m assuming he has watched them. What is happening in our European matches is, for those of us that don’t already know, is the fact that we are expending far too much energy too soon in the matches. Last night, the match played out exactly the same as the Real Madrid game last year did, apart from the score. Celtic looked absolutely spent in the second half. There are times in a match when you have to put your foot on the ball and take a breather. There were times when we were doing this, passing across the back four and back to Joe Hart, making sideway passes which had Madrid running around pressing hard. That’s what you want to be doing in Europe, but not domestically. We,ll just have to get a bit cuter in Europe. The first half was wonderful to watch, but the second half wasn’t. I was just waiting for that third Atletico goal to hit the net. Luckily, it didn’t.

  • John S says:

    There is a discernible improvement in Europe, game by game, under BR. Certainly the right direction.

  • Frank says:

    yep Squad need reduced and wages freed up used to bring in better quality. These people just want to have a go at the club. 4 world cup winners in there side buying power which far outstrips our ability. We are a pot 4 team currently but if we continue to invest the euro money wisely retain the quality players we want to keep then progress will be made

  • SSMPM says:

    It’s their unwillingness to provide objectivity and separate it from their anger that highlights what really bad journos, TV and radio punters they are.
    Be great if some proper objective talent was available and done a programme about their ability or, as is the case, their lack of ability. There is so much absolute shite around it’s clear to see it would be a slaughtering and could only be character annihilation of momentous proportion.
    It’s that anger, envy, jealously and bigotry that’s pretty much always evident in their reports and that separates them from any other journo, etc, in the UK and Europe. Unfortunately there’s no independent paper, tv or radio programme that is not infiltrated by them and by them I mean the reporting media, TV and radio institutions, with particular reference to football. That only speaks volumes to the level of bigotry and sectarianism that continues to be alive in this sick Scottish country. Pele would turn in his grave at what he considered the beautiful game.
    Brendan’s comparison to Beale and /or any other CL manager they’ve had that would be a better comparison to make regarding the recent CL years. Now I know the club Beale managed, the club they pretty much all support as their 1st team of choice, is a relatively new club and has the worst ever record in the CL, with no points and more goals against than any other, now that’s worth some kind of objective attention we the public will never see and they won’t even report the truth about. What a confused mess they are. HH

  • Malc says:

    Sorry for posting a link to the BBC, but at least its England and typical Ange at his absolute best. Enjoy…

  • Mark b says:

    Great first half by is. Atletico ran show in second half. Our CL record is appalling the facts don’t lie. We need to invest more in squad. I like Taylor but two goals last night he was partly to blame.we look at bombscare at set pieces. We need height at LB. Bernardo was poor now we’ve lost Hatate it show we need a top quality CM. Of course we need another CF and long term GK. money in bank ? Let’s invest and build a team that can compete CL group stage for 2/3 place in the group instead of always 4th

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Celtic are just fine in Scotland’s European Football History…

    Unlike a much cherished media club called Sevco –

    And the excuse that Sevco are only 11 years and 89 days old as of today doesn’t cut it for me given what they’ve spent…

    And still they’ve the worst Champions League Record in Scottish Football History !

  • SSMPM says:

    With regard to last night’s game I thought Brendan sent out a good a team and was very clever, showing great tactical awareness in his decision making. When we had to make changes, in my view, he made the correct ones including changing the team formation and personnel as the players tired and Madrid came more into the game. I would like us to at least try playing with 3 CBs as a format, it added a bit bit more solidity last night but what it also showed was that we have an ability to be flexible.
    A blinkered stubborn donkey with exaggerated expectations can understand our position as a club in European football. I get that some may hope for a better outcome, as we all do, but that’s living in hope, unfortunately that hope rarely comes to fruition for us.
    I thought the Bhoys tried really hard and done well for a team built on the budget spend our current manager and AP was allowed to spend and that play in a poor league against poor opposition. This in direct contrast to the league our opposition plays in, the quality of teams their league has week in, week out, the budget spend available to them, and the star names signed and playing for Atletico Madrid.
    I can’t think of any manager that would have done better with the resources available to us or made better decisions in play. Not even the one that’s team currently tops the English PL. Brendan was the right appointment, like it or not, and if there was better one would he come to the Scotland. Maybe someone of Clement’s quality he haw, he haw.
    Brendan and the team need a bit more quality no doubt, it’s the board that denies that investment and even if that were made possible there’s absolutely no guarantees.
    If there was something to be critical of, it was that our L & R backs didn’t reach the levels near the rest of the team and we had no replacement of CL quality as an attacking option for Kyogo. The same could be said for Alistair Johnston who didn’t have his best game and Greg Taylor but Ali J can play better as we know. Greg does gives it everything but simply isn’t a CL level quality player and unfortunately Ange made a mistake in blowing a lot on signing the Argentinian lad, well so it would appear so far. To be fair to Taylor he doesn’t pretend to be CL quality, gives his all and does good enough in a poor SPL. Enough to keep Ange’s idea of a replacement out of the team though the lad is young and I hope may progress in the future but still that’s hopeful, not evident and not now.
    There may be something to say for reducing the squad size and spending the transfer fees and wages on more quality but then that blows apart the club’s buy cheaper younger talent, develop and sell for good money philosophy.
    So we have to move on with hope for the CL games remaining and importantly for now the Hibs weekend game. C’mon a Hoops. HH

  • Alex Murphy says:

    The media fail to mention that The Rangers have never got a point in the Champions league.

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