Kick Celtic out of the Champions League. Kick them out of the SPL

Written by Jim Thornton.

By Jim Thornton:
Pains in Spain

Forgive me if I don’t join in all the euphoria surrounding Celtic’s near-draw (i.e., defeat) against Barcelona on Tuesday.  Frankly, performances like that are enough to kill off football as a spectator sport.  And against a team Dundee United are fed-up gubbing in Europe.

Whatever happened to the Parkhead side’s ‘traditional’ attacking game?  The set-up at the Nou Camp made Craig Levein’s infamous 4-6-0 formation look positively swashbuckling by comparison.  And Celtic fans can’t now have a pop at any team for coming to Parkhead and playing the same way, can they?  I just hope The Rangers don’t copy them at Broadwood on Sunday and park the bus against The Clyde.

I’m not saying that Neil Lennon should have sent his side out to emulate the Charge of the Light Brigade; he would have ended up with the same result as Lord Cardigan and his men if he had.  But you can show a bit of willing, surely; Stanley Baker and Michael Caine went with a more attacking line-up in Zulu – and they were facing superior opposition in a more hostile environment with only a depleted squad at their disposal.  Of course, you have to have the ball before you can mount an attack, and how many times did Celtic players give the ball straight back to an opponent after they had won possession?  For ‘They shall not pass’, read ‘We cannot pass.’

Leading the media cheerleaders was Graham Spiers in the online edition of The Herald.  ‘From a Scottish point of view, Celtic revealed a wealth of talent …’, he wrote, listing a ‘clutch’ of players comprising Forster, Izaguirre, Ambrose, Wanyama, Forrest, and Hooper.  A solitary Scot amongst two Englishmen, a Honduran, a Nigerian, and a Kenyan represents a wealth of talent from a Scottish point of view?  Even Alex Salmond’s spin doctors wouldn’t try that one on.

And surely James Traynor will now be leading a campaign against Neil Lennon for not picking Kris Commons in his starting eleven in Spain.  After all, it was only a couple of weeks ago that the Parkhead man was second only to Steven Fletcher in Jimbo’s list of all-time Scottish greats.  Or so you would have thought by the way he kept having a go at Craig Levein for leaving Commons out of the Scotland side.
And where do we start with Celtic 0-2 Kilmarnock? Maybe they should have stuck to all-out defence afterall.....

Read All About It

Richard Gordon, the voice of reason on BBC Radio Scotland’s Sportsound programme, has written a book, Glory in Gothenburg, about Aberdeen’s famous victory over Real Madrid in the final of the 1983 European Cup Winners’ Cup.  (Not the best-ever performance by a Scottish club against Spanish opposition going by this week’s media coverage of the Celtic game.)  I’ve no doubt it’s well worth a read, but I couldn’t find a copy in Waterstones the other day.  And believe me; I searched right through the History section from one end to the other.

Former Nottingham Forest captain John McGovern also has a book out, From Bo’ness to the Bernabeu; worth buying for the title alone.  McGovern captained Brian Clough’s side to two European Cup triumphs, but was never picked to play for his country.  Apparently, Ally MacLeod, the national manager at the time, didn’t realise McGovern was Scottish.  Well, he could read a game, tackle, pass, and shoot, and didn’t take a hissy fit if he was dropped.  So you can understand Ally’s confusion.

Who’s Sorry Now?

Why did Charles Green feel the need to apologise for receiving death threats from so-called Rangers’ fans?  That’s like Poland saying sorry for being invaded by Germany.  Or like Kenny Shiels apologising to Neil Lennon for Killie humping Celtic in last season’s League Cup final (and this afternoon).

And, by the way, when are the Clyde directors going to say sorry for appointing John Brown as our manager in 2008?

Ticket to Ride

Wonder horse Frankel has retired to stud after winning all fourteen of his races.  According to the experts, he’ll service around 120 mares a year at £100,000 a go, if you’ll pardon the expression.

Life with a top Turkish team can’t be bad, but I hear Allan McGregor’s asked his agent if he can get him the same sort of deal when he packs it in at Besiktas.

Storm in a Tee-Shirt

Good to see Fergie and Rio Ferdinand have kissed and made up.  Well, it saves the Manchester United manager from having to go out and sign a replacement experienced centre-half.  Although I hear there might be one going spare at Stamford Bridge in the near future.

Sir Furious has certainly mellowed over the years; he now realises you can’t just bully your men into slavishly doing as they’re told, especially if it’s a matter of conscience.  Can you imagine how he would’ve reacted in his shop-steward days if his boss had come in and told everyone that they had to vote Conservative at the next general election?  A mass walk-out?  For sure.  Pickets at the factory gate?  A certainty. Turn up as normal at work the next day wearing tee-shirts?  I don’t think so, somehow.

To a Louse

Some pundits have taken exception to the SFA’s Mark Wotte blaming some of our footballing woes on the ‘stereotypical’ Scottish Buckie and burger culture.  Why?

‘O wad some pow’r the giftie gie us …’ as a famous Ayr United supporter once said.

Playing for the Jerseys

Scotland played in white jerseys against Wales.  And England in dark blue against Poland.  Is this some Unionist plot to confuse the independence referendum?

Who’s Gonna Be Second?

The Rangers haven’t won an away game in the league so far this season.

The Clyde haven’t lost at Broadwood this season.  (Our only two ‘home’ defeats were at Alloa before the new artificial pitch at Cumbernauld was ready.)

There’s only one winner if you go by the form book.

But oh the shame if there’s an upset and we’re the first team to let The Rangers leave with all three points.   I’m taking comfort from the last time we played one of the Old Firm at Broadwood live on Sky.  Roy who?

A Star is Gone

Absolutely nothing to do with football, but one of my mates is wondering why none of our television channels is having a ‘Best Of …’ night in memory of the recently-deceased former Emmanuelle star, Sylvia Kristel.  He’s got his hanky out already.

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