CELTIC'S five-goal skelping of Astana on Wednesday night was just the boost Scottish football needed, but, you have to ask – will it do any good in the grand scheme of things.
Celtic - so far ahead it is embarrassing
Even if Celtic are to exceed expectations, avoid a horrendous mess-up in the second leg – I doubt if even the most-optimistic Rangers fan can envisage Astana winning 6-0 - and qualify for the group stages, then reach the knock-out part of the Champions League, it would be little more than damage limitation after the mess the other Scottish teams to qualify for the qualification rounds in the two European competitions made.
Celtic right now are in the sort of positions Vijay Singh enjoys in Fijian golf and Kim Collins in sprinting in St Kitts and Nevis – Scottish football in a European context is a case of: the rest nowhere. Of course, domestically, it is currently: who's gonna be second? But, beyond our borders – Scottish teams in Europe, don't make me laugh.
Celtic played well, they took control, put the tie to bed and it is impossible to see their opponents turning the tie around in the second leg.
And, what a way to do it – Celtic: shots on-target 3; goals 5. Better to be lucky than good, maybe. But, on the night, Celtic were more good than lucky, which is not a situation we often see with out teams.
Mind you, there is a downside. I expect Celtic will (again) be fined by UEFA, after those two clowns louped the dyke to embrace Leigh Griffiths. Not so-much Juan Guy this time as Juan Guy and his mate. I know, it's only a couple of heid cases, but, when if ever will they learn?
A CRACKING quiz question came up today – but, as yet we don't know the answer. The question is: art from Celtic, which Scottish club's European campaign lasted furthest into this season?
The trick, it all depends which of the “diddy” teams lasts longest against the Northern Irish Republic of Ireland and Welsh clubs which have been invited to participate in the Irn-Bru Cup.
Is This a "European" competition?
Technically, when Falkirk take-on Sligo Rovers, Elgin City face Bray Wanderers, Motherwell Colts visit Crusaders, Albion Rovers (or more-likely Spartans) entertain Linfield, Livingston travel to Wales to meet the New Saints, and Dumbarton entertain Connah's Quay Nomads – its a European game.
These teams were drawn together in the second round of the Irn-Bru Cup which was made today.
As a great supporter of and believer in: “Real Fitba”, as practiced in the Junior Leagues, I reckon the likes of Glenafton Athletic, Auchinleck Talbot, Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic and Linlithgow Rose could do as well as some clubs in the draw.
SPEAKING of the mighty 'Bot, they stuck 16 goals on poor Muirkirk Juniors in a midweek Ardagh Glass League Cup tie. The poor old 'Kirk don't have much going for them right now, but, they will soldier on in the face of adversity – that's what it is all about for these wee village teams.
I HAVE been, for years, calling for a re-wording of Law V in football. This says, quite clearly: “The referee is the sole judge of fact”. Not any more, however – today, it really ought to be re-worded as: “The referee is the sole judge of fact, until the appeal goes in”.
Ryan Jack saw red, but didn't need Perry Mason or Donald Findlay to clear his name
Quite how Ryan Jack got away with his clear butt on Anthony Stokes is beyond me. Mind you, I also struggle to work-out how Stokes managed to last the 90-minutes.
It seems to me, these days, managers and players appear to think they can do as they please on the park and escape censure and punishment. Association Football is the most free-form and moving form of the many versions of football. They don't have “marks” or “fair catches”, or “downs” or scrums and lines-out, which you get in other forms of football. Play goes on until either a goal is scored, the ball goes out of play or there is a foul.
With the constant movement in the game, and the greater athleticism we see from present-day players, I feel Association Football ought to have a zero tolerance attitude to indiscipline and fouling. Instead, the way modern managers and players go on, it seems they want “anything goes”.
OK, I could live with that. Let's make “Auchinleck Rules” universal. What's that you ask – simple: “Nae bluid, nae foul.”