Celtic’s Champions League Form Is Dire But Some Hacks Have Gone Way Too Far.

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The media yesterday would have been unbearable had I been in the least bit interested in what most of the outlets had to say. Being far from home I was able to almost completely avoid all of it, but this morning I was cursed with the Stephen McGowan piece, and a host of other articles which only served to piss me off.

A lot of what’s in there is in what I’ve written in the past few days. But a lot of what’s in there is the same old garbage Celtic bashing by salivating hacks who clearly look forward to Champions League week even more than we do.

This has become the only sport they can get any pleasure from. They love it. They love it because it gives them a chance to whip us, and if the Ibrox side beats its third rate opponent later on today they will draw a contrast between the fortunes of our team and theirs, as though we were not playing on a vastly larger stage and much better opposition.

They choose to ignore the worst record in Champions League Group Stage history, set by Ibrox, last season’; six games, no points and a horrific goal difference column. The only reason Ibrox isn’t being judged according to the same harsh standards as us is because they were thrashed in Holland and thus didn’t even make it this far. They are sneering at us from a place of their own embarrassment and so dismissing their trailer trash view on this is easy to do.

Even easier to dismiss is the view from England, and especially this garbage some of their media are running about being “the first British club to go 15 games without a win.” I guess that we were the first British club to win the damned thing has been forgotten somewhere along the line, and anyway what does that number mean? Break it down.

We’ve played five games in the Groups this season and six last season;; there’s eleven of the games right there, so you’re going back to the campaign before that, when Rodgers was last here, to complete the set. It’s not even three campaigns. It’s a bit of a one, a whole one and a bit of another one. But they love their stat crunching especially if its bad for us.

Who exactly are we being judged against here? Ibrox? Don’t make me laugh. If they’d even made it this far they’d be facing their own embarrassing number before long. The media here is pathetic. The Scottish press shouldn’t be promoting this EPL centric guff, because that’s what it is. They are not sneering at Celtic but at Scottish football as a whole.

No Premiership club will ever have a run as bad as that, because they are amongst the wealthiest clubs on the planet. Its easy for them to sneer at Celtic due to an accident of geography that makes their league rich and ours poor. Give us the resources even of the club which finished bottom of that bloated championship last season and we’ll show all of Europe a thing or two and prove ourselves a bigger club than almost any of them.

The current holders owe nothing to development or steady club building; they are an artificial construct, nowhere at all without the gazillions at the finger tips of a planet strangling oligarchy. Newcastle – whose performance thus far has been dire – are another toy for the petro-giants to play with, and whatever success their club has in years to come will be tainted by association with those people and worse; utterly divorced from the realities of representing a working class city and fan-base which even if it had nothing else at least had a club with a soul.

The whole league floats on an ocean of TV money which has driven up prices and fees and wages all across the game. The EPL has tainted football. How dare its apologists and dogsbodies snigger at Celtic just because we’re on the wrong side of this crooked table. That’s bad enough. But for our media to play the part of willing fools in this charade is worse.

I am starting to hate The Champions League, and all the more so because our club talks a good game and milks it for all its worth but has not the slightest interest in even trying to take us from Pot 4 to Pot 3 far less further than that.

I read yesterday that the prices we charge away fans in this tournament are the highest in the competition alongside the club across town; that’s laughable when you consider that our club quite clearly does not care about progress in it.

For all that, the likes of McGowan piss me off because they speak with confidence about things about which they are clearly painfully ignorant. His article contains the ludicrous assertion that we are not equipped to finish highly enough in next year’s competition to even have a chance at football beyond the Groups; he clearly written that without giving a second’s thought to how next season’s tournament works, or he just wants to swing the boot as hard as he can.

I’ve long thought McGowan a moron. He was Lawwell’s pet for a long time and couldn’t write enough good stuff about us. Now that he’s out in the cold he acts like a spiteful ex who isn’t merely content with slashing your tyres but shares your personal messages all over Facebook and threatens to send someone round to attack your new partner.

If we finish in the top eight we’re in the knockout round. If we finish in a position between 9-24 we have to play a play-off to see if we get there; McGowan isn’t saying that we’re not going to get through the knock-outs but that we won’t even see that stage; he envisions us in one of those remaining spots from 25-36.

And that is nonsense. If we finish in one of those spots heads should roll right across the club. There will be four pots of nine teams, all seeded. We will be drawn against two sides from each pot. We surely must be good enough to get results against our fellow Pot 4 teams and even some of those in Pot 3. Because we play one team at home and one away from each pot it is surely not daft to expect to finish mid-table anyway … McGowan’s comments are ridiculous.

But the sport right now is kicking Celtic and he and others are lining up to do it.

They have no idea whether this team will be stronger or better, whether we’ll have injuries, arrivals or departures. Even a clown like McGowan must know that making predictions like this, far from the line, far from the reality, when anyone who has watched us knows with a little bit of luck we’d have taken more points in this group, is surely not expecting to be taken any more seriously than the likes of Hugh Keevins, who he more and more reminds me of.

Obviously I’m away right now guys, so if you have a comment in moderation rest assured it is not in the bin and all of them will be up as soon as I’m home. Apologies for the delay and for any errors or mistakes. 

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  • Jas says:

    I’m over the moon that I stopped reading hard copy, Internet posts and even free copies of the SMSM when travelling on aeroplanes.
    I don’t care what the huns with typewriters have to say, they are imposters of Scottish football, they don’t care that, like our own board, the refereeing in our game is corrupt, whilst pretending Sevco have a great team ever since the cheats slithered out their grave.
    I read Celtic sites for news and genuine heartfelt debate, for good or otherwise. We are our own worst critics but with a goal of seeing us improve.
    The SMSM really is an embarrassment where their hatred of all things not Diebrox sits well with that mob.
    They don’t realise that once their newspapers go to the wall that no one will care that they’re out of a job or that they’ll cry about not being taken seriously, there’s only so many jobs that Sevco can offer their “friends”!!!!!!!

  • Bob (original) says:

    “Obviously I’m away right now guys, so if you have a comment in moderation rest assured it is not in the bin and all of them will be up as soon as I’m home. Apologies for the delay and for any errors or mistakes.”

    Shocking! Cannae get the staff… 🙂

    Hope the score didn’t affect your cultural tour of Rome too much.

  • O'Hare says:

    I can only congratulate the writer .Sound and intelligent observations should be easy to recognise. I share the expressed comments and I know exactly where you are coming from. Obsessive and vindictive comments are cheap and vile.Please continue to produce your regular piece, as I look forward very much to reading them. Michael O’Hare

  • Michael Edward McDonald says:

    Excellent article, this is one of the reasons I can’t understand Celtic supporters, commenting in the Scottish media outlets, they hate us with a vengeance

  • John S says:

    The SMSM isn’t worth the paper it’s not written on.

  • Johnno says:

    How many of them 15 games involved us being able to field our strongest available 11 from the squad?
    Didn’t happen last season or even this one?
    So what about the likes of Man United and the fortune spent, and great chance of losing out to the might of Copenhagen and Galatasory?
    So the Europa league is regarded as a bigger competition within Scotland?
    Strange it requires ourselves to finish 2nd and fail to qualify for CL just to enter it?
    Yet we still have to punch above our weight in financial terms, just to enter the competition?
    Europa league might remain our preferred level within European football, where success is far easier gained over the past number of years, but its easier to gain entry upon failure for ourselves, where finishing 3rd within a CL group would be regarded as a form of success for ourselves?
    Just how messed up European football has become over the last number of years, where many a club dropping down into Europa league would regard it as failure to do so within CL?
    Was of no real surprise that the bigger clubs within CL were thinking about breaking away from such a nonsense within a 6 game mini league format?
    Who knows what will entail next season with the new format, but will certainly bring a far more complicated system for the bigger teams and there domestic league demands imo.
    Same would apply to ourselves, where bigger squads will possibly be needed to match the increasing demands upon a club imo.
    Gone someway to potentially addressing the situation, even if not completed yet, especially at CL level as of yet?
    So who knows where we will actually be by the time next season CL comes around, especially with the amount of changes that can usually take place within a squad on a yearly basis with ourselves at CL level?

  • John says:

    As i said b4 champions league a smarmy so called experts a chance to kick Celtic, the dispersancy in finances between teams is a a chasm and even if Celtic board spent the reputed £100 million can anyone say with conviction this would improve our chances in this show pony tournament, Dominate Scotland play in thon cup for the money it generates Celtic and improve the team with a decent budget at start of each window and improvement will follow in europe.. This should be the boards remit.

  • Jorge says:

    Agreed. It is a total pile-on: they are all having a go and most are just repeating the same lines – embarrassing record, Scottish football is crap, blah, blah, blah. John Brewin’s comments on Celtic in his analysis in the Guardian of all the sides’ performances in the CL this week is snide in the extreme.

  • Peter Cassidy says:

    This farce in the cl has been going on for years with Celtic every year things will get better it’s a young team or players need time to settle in or players out injured . Are fans not sick of the excuses the truth is our team and management not good enough again so look forward to spl and Scottish cup games that’s our season very depressing again again same old outlook best of a rubbish league.

  • ANDREW says:

    Many good points but if truth be told we deserve a kicking courtesy of our board

  • king murdy says:

    i didn’t read all of your article james….i think celtic fc deserve the kicking it’s getting…
    have been watching them since 1961….and now mostly on tv thanks to celtictv…i am now beginning to disengage from them…drip by drip….the 5 way agreement…the first rodgers walk out…10IAR(SIC) season/lennon….possible second rodgers walkout…and the total lack of ambition from the poxy board…
    they deserve to be kicked in every publication….i read as far as you mentioning we were the first british team to win the EC….SO FUKN WHAT ?…….how long are celtic fc gonna hold onto that for ?…..that was 56 years ago….don’t think lazio were intimidated by that?…or the athletico pigs?…..don’t think it’s gonna help when feyenoord come calling next week….
    it’s the here and now that counts…..and here and now, we are an absolute disgrace…we are there for the money – not the glory…we do not deserve to be in the CL group stages…and that there is unforgivable.
    fuk the board of celtic fc….and all their apologists.

    a club like no other….ffs !!!

  • DixieD says:

    To be fair, with our current European trajectory, and this boards habit of purchasing players not good enough for the CL, his suggestion we could finish 25-36th place isn’t really that ridiculous. This January window is massive and will reveal exactly where this boards priorities lie. God help us if we’re half way through th window and BR’s rolling out the “January’s a really difficult window” soundbites!!

  • Steven murray says:

    So true takeaway billionaire owners and sky money epl is nothing special to compere hoops to gers is stupid they did not qualify and have the worst record ever in group stages

  • Stevie Bhoy says:

    Sorry mate but I dont give a s@*t about their worst ever record and I care not a jot about Newcastles woeful record despite the money they have spent.
    I’m only interested in Celtic and our European results in the the last 20 years have been utterly disgusting. No getting away from it and no hiding it. No amount of “but what abouttery” will disguise it.
    Facts are under Lawell Celtic have absolutely no ambition beyond beating the Ibrox mob. In fact under Lawell we have given the Ibrox mob enough oxygen to survive
    Utterly utterly shameful
    Celtic fans need to wake up
    Under this guy we are going nowhere and he is lining his pocket with your money
    (I’d say our but I decided 5 years ago that they weren’t getting any more of mine)
    Either do something about it ( hit them in the pocket or please stop moaning about it ) because it’s not going to change whilst Lawell and co are at the helm.

  • John Murray says:

    It’s not all doom and glum look at some of the the teams who have not qualified for the Champions league Man Utd /Savilla /Benfica /Union Berlin /Galatasaray/Braga/Feyenrdood/Fc Salzburg /AC Milan/ Newcastle/ Hopefully when Brendan gets organised in the January window we will be stronger in next year’s competition.

  • Boab says:

    Huns are not through yet Sparta beat Betis, so it will come down to the last game in Betis.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    They can beat us all they want because we have the best history in Scottish Football…

    And the best Scottish Football History in Europe as well !

  • Hugh says:

    For all our shortcoming in our transfer policy I believe our biggest problem is the style of football we play. I have watched Celtic through thick and thin since they lost to Dunfermline in 61 and have not seen a team so devoid of goal scorers. The EC winning side you could count on one hand the players not likely to score on a regular basis, Goals came throughout the team with a full back who could take a penalty. Following that we had pairs of strikers who could be relied upon to stick the ball away with a few midfielders who could score from distance. What do we see today? Everything seems to be geared for Kyogo to score except we don’t play to his strengths often enough, too many attempts to get the ball to him across a heavily defended six yard area. More recently Parma has stuck a few away with shots from range, so too Turnbull but this is the exception. It is all very well saying a manager has to bring in players to suit his system but football is not a geme of Chess, it is a simple game made difficult by simple people.

  • Celticfcman says:

    Neil Lennon is absolutely right. A long European run comes down to some luck and circumstance, with some good decision-making sprinkled into the mix. As JF has pointed out many times, that Europa final a few years back was littered with draws and slight wins versus softer European competition. Great luck and circumstance, GVB, a couple of clutch performers mixed in with the usual scum, and voila! All of that is gone with no hope going forward, a final flirt with greatness before all goes dark permanently.
    Those fools somehow slogged their way to a final, we certainly can, and more than once. Luck and circumstance has gone against us for years, but stars will align again.
    It’s no stretch us drawing a softer group with help from the new format, having all players healthy, building continuity from recent long-term contracts, Brendan stays and gets a small measure of financial support/autonomy from the empty-suit geniuses.
    All of this is reasonably possible, and a lot of financial nonsense has been going on with some big clubs which could see them banned from Europe temporarily. This opens the door for a club like Celtic, if we can check all the aforementioned boxes. AJAX came within a whisper of a UCL final a few years back, it can certainly happen here. This “experience” we have acquired the last 2 years may serve to dull both fear and excitability in our players, leaving a seasoned bunch to handle necessary adversity calmly. Imagine a true shot-stopping upgrade in goal, an Alistair-level left back signing, and a fierce enforcer to rule the middle of the pitch, combined with the current key men all healthy. I would fancy a lineup with those 3 necessary additions, Johnston, CCV, Scales, McGregor, Hatate, O’Riley (1st off the bench), Abada, Maeda, Kyogo. That leaves a stellar bench of Palma, Forrest, Hart, Turnbull, Ralston, Taylor, Yang, and others. There is not a club in the world I would fear facing with an organization in that state of affairs. Make the final, all are paid and happy, move back-ups into the line-up, replace outgoing studs with new bench, repeat process, Rodgers gets a statue and stays until retirement, EPL comes begging, untold riches unlocked and The Celts rejoice. Seems a pipe dream now, but definitely possible with the right luck, circumstances, and decision-making. Hail Hail.

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