As Major Clubs Exit Europe Altogether, Celtic’s Four Points Tells Only Half The Story.

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Yesterday, I wrote about Jason Cundy’s ludicrous comment that Manchester Utd were “the Celtic of English football.” Manchester United, whose group had Copenhagen and Galatasaray in it and who crashed out of Europe altogether.

Manchester United, who finished with four points, the same number as we did, in a group with the Dutch champions, Lazio and Atletico Madrid.

Manchester United, I said, stood alone and any comparison was risible.

Their failure was on a different level from ours, worse by far and especially by virtue of the money that swirls around that league.

The English shock-jock should have kept his mouth shut about us. Their calamity put ours firmly in the shade and that would have been true even if we hadn’t won last night and matched their points total.

As the full-time whistle was blowing at Celtic I heard the stunning news that Milan had scored late and sent Newcastle likewise tumbling out of Europe. They finished with five points, only marginally better than Celtic and Manchester United, but in some ways so, so much worse.

Because they, of course, aren’t even just an EPL club but the plaything of a petrostate.

Even the makeup of their group offers very little alibi for going out of Europe completely; they had PSG, Borussia Dortmund and Milan. You would think they would be able to match those teams enough not to have secured only five points from their games.

English football is so awash in money it has tipped other leagues into recklessness and insanity and caused others to slash budgets and try to live within their means. Neither Dortmund nor Milan has anything like the money available to teams in England, and Newcastle especially.

The pride of the Premiership. Yeah, what a joke.

The biggest league in Europe. No other Top Five league has suffered that level of epic humiliation in this contest, this season. Italy has three teams in the next round and one in the Europa. Spain has four teams through; that’s what you call a success story, and whilst it’s a travesty that they had no fewer than five sides in the Groups (Sevilla are out of Europe) that they got four through is amazing considering England’s travails.

Three teams from Germany qualified. The French, they got PSG through and Lens dropped into the Europa. Portugal got one team through in the Champions League and two into the Europa. England’s two teams through is impressive only if you ignore all that. And whilst Germany and Spain both lost one team each, their sides did enough overall.

And you know what?

When you look at the state of the sides who went out – two from England, one from Germany, one from Spain, Red Star Belgrade and RB Salzburg it’s only Antwerp who look like a club out of their depth at this level and whilst it doesn’t make me feel better that four out of the so-called “top five” leagues lost at least one team to a third or fourth place finish, it might buy us just a little more breathing space from the rain of guff that has been pouring down on us since the start of this campaign.

This competition is, as I keep saying, a killing field.

That puts things in a little perspective, that and what Rodgers said last night about how we could have finished the group with nine points; our home performances deserved at least another win.

Had we got the Lazio result our seven-point campaign would have stacked up as highly credible in that group, considering the carnage elsewhere.

Fine margins, as we keep on saying, not that anyone in our media has cared about any of that in their indecent haste to swing the boot at us. But those Group tables don’t lie, and here’s something else to consider; Feyenoord made it to the Europa League with six points. Galatasaray are there with five points. Braga, Benfica and Young Boys all got there on four.

We’re out of Europe, and we’ll get no credit, and we didn’t do enough to deserve any, but then nobody cared when, with a very credible performance, we went out of the Europa League two years ago with nine points from a Group whilst the Ibrox club got to the final with seven wins in twenty-one games after qualifying from their own section with a point less than the total that sent us out.

Fine margins? You better believe it.

The media never lets us away with a single slip. Not one.

We have learned to live with that, but that doesn’t mean that we like it.

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  • Johnno says:

    The real question James, is are we a worthy CL club?
    Of course it gets totally overlooked that it requires failure at SPFL level just to get into the Europa league, where a group place is guaranteed, again after failure to reach CL?
    As a club ourselves, we still have to earn success just to get a Europa league spot, and that usually against teams with far better cash reserves than ourselves, in order to make that happen?
    The CL has been a very fake competition for years now, and set up in such a manner where the biggest leagues are protected hugely with the seeding system involved?
    Next seasons new format should be more interesting, but like any cup competition the draw can be so crucial?
    As a club we need a fair amount of stability at this level, which remains key imo.
    Yet we never had that yet again, due to injuries to key players.
    The top leagues don’t have the same problems that the 8 homegrown rule brings, because there association’s actually have something in place to help the younger development programme, but to the shame of the Scottish FA they refuse to address it, and hardly helps its clubs for European football either?
    So overall with what CL brings, a bit of disappointment over missed opportunity’s, helping to create our own problems with poor decision making, and a total lack of luck that’s still required in a mini league format, where the margins for errors are so low?
    Yet, with all the challenges we face with the money and dodgy match officials, we can still walk away and claim to be a worthy CL team imo?
    Many a team have made CL and disappeared from the scene, just like the scum, as couldn’t handle the heat the challenges brings with limited resources.
    Yet we still have the appetite for more hopefully?
    Of course we could coward away from the challenges faced, and take the easier option in European football, which requires failure just to gain entry?
    Is that really the club we want to become, and the scum cheerleaders within the media, thinks that success?

  • Jas says:

    Fck the SMSM, they’re huns with typewriters, when we have success I not only congratulate ourselves, I also love to ram it right up those SMSM.
    Yes it’s good to get that perpetual monkey of our back with a win, but next year they’ll roll out only 1 victory in 16, then if we manage another win it’ll be “they only won 2 in 17”.
    I’m glad I neither read or hear our MSM, along with the Jordan’s, Cundy’s etc of the Engurlish media.

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