Whether it is Neil Lennon and his tactics, the investment in disco lights rather than a remotely competent full-back, the lack of a discernible recruitment plan from the board or the underperformance of Hoopy the Huddlehound, everyone connected with the club is shoulder-deep as the recriminations fly.
Whether it is Neil Lennon and his tactics, the investment in disco lights rather than a remotely competent full-back, the lack of a discernible recruitment plan from the board or the underperformance of Hoopy the Huddlehound, everyone connected with the club is shoulder-deep as the recriminations fly. It is only natural then that even innocent bystanders are caught in the crossfire.
ventually, fingers start pointing outwards, and even in a footballing nation where recycling tired old arguments is something of a national pastime, one of the tritest old standards still inspires the sort of head-shaking disbelief normally reserved for when the latest name of the Challenge Cup is unveiled.
If anything positive for Scottish football is to come from what was a hugely negative night for Celtic, and by extension our reputation on the continent, let it be this, if only this. That the argument smaller clubs in Scotland are to blame when the bigger clubs crash out of Europe can finally be laid to rest.
Leaving aside the fact that football is hardly a form of socialism, and that the hoarding of prize money and television revenue is at least partly responsible for the chasm that exists between Celtic, Newco, and their domestic competitors, the level of team that has eliminated Celtic from the Champions League in recent years hardly reads like a who’s who of European giants.
The likes of Legia Warsaw, Maribor, Malmo, AEK Athens and then Cluj this season may provide a stiffer challenge than Celtic faced over the opening games of the Premiership against St Johnstone and Motherwell, but are they really a huge step up from Newco, Aberdeen, Hearts or Hibs? Their finances would suggest not.
The entire wage bill of the Romanian league is around £53m, £6m short of the wage bill posted by Celtic alone last season. Cluj are a side packed with free transfers, with their only outlay this summer being the £360,000 signing of Yacouba Sylla – who didn’t even start on Tuesday night – from Stromsgodset, and the £180,000 capture of centre-half Andrei Burca from FC Botosani. Celtic, by contrast, had £10m worth of defenders sitting on the bench, either not fit enough or not trusted enough to play in a game of such magnitude.
That Celtic weren’t fully prepared to take on such modest opposition in European terms isn’t the fault of St Johnstone or Motherwell’s ropey defending.That argument might have washed in years gone by when coming up against the cream of the continent, bridging a yawning chasm in terms of quality to the likes of Barcelona or PSG. But Celtic should be able to raise their game to overcome Cluj, who may not quite be a Poundland outfit, but are certainly no more than a fairly solid TK Maxx.
To be fair to Neil Lennon, unlike his predecessors like Martin O’Neill, he has accepted the blame lies if not squarely on his own shoulders, then at least on Celtic as a collective for the Cluj debacle. Addressing the club’s own failings in preparation, recruitment, and ultimately tactics is a far more productive use of this reflection period as Celtic seek to avoid elimination from all European football this season.
Apportioning blame to others for their failings, as well as keeping their noses slightly in front of their domestic opponents as their benchmark, has hardly served them well thus far. But then, that’s only an opinion.
Posted by voc1967 on Friday 16 August 2019 - 08:48:20 | Comments (1) |
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Oh what a beautiful sunday
PintsMcL did you bring me a bar of rock ?
HH guys, jet lagged to fuck but finally got signed up. Niall.
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