The auld Celtic song goes
“We don’t care if we Win, lose or Draw. What the hell do we care”
That attitude and song seems to have been confined to the dustbin of History.
Celtic seem to have a more militant, aggressive -not just in the songs they sing- but win at all costs on and off the pitch attitude.In recent years.
And I for one wonder why?
Neil Lennon seemed to personifies this new attitude with his inflammatory speech wanting Celtic “TO GO TO WAR” at his first interview as Celtic Manager with Labour Blairite Dr John Reid by his side.
Neil Lennon’s attitude as a complete 180 degrees from the more Tony “we will take it on the chin and move on” Mowbray
This wasn’t always the case in the Neil Lennon era of Celtic Football Club.
There was a time at the start when they got PUMPED in Portugal in a champions league qualifier and then HUMPED in Holland in a Europa League qualifier in the space of just 29 days they didn’t make such a fuss.
Even when Celtic were beaten by Braga 3 0 with Charlie Mulgrew getting a fourth-minute yellow card for time-wasting at a throw-in, Lukasz Zaluska spilling a Paulo César shot he should have held and Braga awarded a controversial penalty.
Neil Lennon said stoically “They look pretty good but I think the hurt of going out against Braga will galvanise us.”
Then when Celtic got humiliated 4-0 by Utrecht with a Ricky van Wolfswinkel hat-rick with 2 yes TWO coming from the penalty spot.
Manager Neil Lennon pragmatically put all his eggs in one domestic basket in winning the league which as we all know Rangers won.
But then came the Scottish Premier League match on 17 October 2010 between Dundee United and Celtic.
McDonald awarded a penalty kick to Celtic in the 70th minute, but reversed the decision after consulting one of the assistant referees.
THE CORRECT DECISION as Pernis in goal for Dundee United clearly touched the ball away from Hooper.
The decision was described by Celtic manager Neil Lennon as “unacceptable”.
This wasn’t the first time Dougie McDonald was targeted by Celtic Football club. On their official website they suggested he wasn’t “fair-minded” which led to sectarian abuse by Celtic fans towards him.
Then the late, celticminded Paul McBride Q.C entered the ring.
As we will see it would not be for the last time in this story.
In November 2010 Paul McBride described as a “high-profile QC close to the club’s board.” by BBC Scotland. Stuck his nose into the Dougie Mcdonald retired two days after Scotland’s head of referees, Hugh Dallas, was sacked over an e-mail.
“There is no sense of triumphalism at Celtic Park, but there is a sense of quiet vindication,” said Paul McBride.
“Celtic’s view was clearly that he had to go. His position was completely untenable and their view was that Hugh Dallas had to take a decision about his own future and that’s now been done.”
“This is a kind of Berlin Wall moment for the SFA,” the QC told BBC Scotland. “The edifice has come down and we do have to start again.
“We have a number of apparently unconnected events starting from a simple decision not to award a penalty to Celtic.
“That was never the problem. It was the way it was handled afterwards – the periods of silence, periods of denial, potential issues involving cover-ups.
“They have brought it upon themselves and it’s their responsibility to Scottish football to start again.
“Celtic want to move on and want to move on for the benefit of all the clubs in the SPL.”
“There’s no guilt at Parkhead about that,” said McBride. “It is like asking the victim of assault whether they feel guilty for being assaulted.
“What happened at the weekend was directly the result of a referee telling lies, head of development sending an inappropriate e-mail and incompetence at the SFA. Nothing to do with Celtic Park.
“They raised the issue at Celtic Park six weeks ago and nothing happened at all at the SFA during that period in time. And it is only now that the referee has decided to go.”
McBride did not wish to speculate about whether Celtic’s pressure had forced McDonald to make his decision.
“You would have to ask him what’s caused him to go, but his position became untenable the minute he accepted he lied to a Celtic manager and lied to his employers,” said the lawyer.
“We have heard about intrusion into referees’ private lives.
“The chairman of Celtic Football Club and the chief executive have been abused and insulted by the media.
“And, if I remember correctly, there’s only been one Celtic manager in Scotland who has been attacked and that is Neil Lennon.
“He was attacked in the street by individuals, so let’s bear all these things in mind.”
“There is also no transparency and there is no accountability and, when you don’t have any of those things, it is easy to build up a picture of bias.”
McBride says Celtic believe Regan is “someone with whom they can do business”.
“We found, when Dr Reid was home secretary, he said that parts of the Home Office were not fit for purpose,” added McBride.
“That applies to the SFA and there has to be a root and branch review of what happens there from now on.
“There’s three elements that must be satisfied. There must in the future be transparency, there must be accountability and there must be no conflict of interest in any of the committees.”
THIS WHOLE AFFAIR WAS THE MAIN REASON 31 OUT OF 33 GRADE ONE REFEREES DECIDED TO WITHDRAW THEIR LABOUR AND GO ON STRIKE!
In January 2011 CELTIC brought in top QC Paul McBride to help fight Neil Lennon’s appeal against his six game touchline ban.
Lennon was found guilty of “excessive misconduct’ after being sent to the stand by referee Craig Thomson following a bust-up with fourth official Steven McLean during the defeat to Hearts.
With and I quote from Mark Guidi no less
“The Parkhead club are hell-bent on exposing the SFA’s disciplinary system as flawed after claiming Lennon wasn’t given a fair hearing by the Hampden beaks last week.”
McBride got the six game touchline ban reduced by using a LEGAL LOOP HOLE.
In march 2011 and I quote from the Daily Record once again
“CELTIC’S QC Paul McBride is set to declare WAR with the SFA for a third time this season – to get Whistlegate linesman Steven Craven back in the game.”
In April of 2011 Neil Lennons Lawyer Paul McBride inflamed the already powder keg environment of Scottish football at the time.
So much so that the S.F.A had to threaten him with legal action and complained to McBride’s Bosses the Faculty of Advocates.
“A formal complaint is being made to the Faculty of Advocates with respect to the way in which Paul McBride has allowed himself to be held out as making comments to the media in his capacity as a QC”
What prompted this outburst ?
Well it was because Neil Lennon -on bad legal advice no doubt- decided against appealing a touchline ban that Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist successfully challenged, while Rangers players Madjid Bougherra and El Hadji Diouf avoided further bans after being sent off.
The defamatory and offensive outburst was -as you will no doubt be surprised dear reader- recorded by BBC Scotland allegedly facilitated by the rabid Celtic fan Chris McLaughlin who contacted McBride by telephone asking for his opinions on the SFA hearing.
What follows is the paranoid rant verbatim -that would not look out of place in a celticminded cesspit internet forum- from the BBC Scotland Interview.
Paul McBride believes the SFA has been too lenient on Celtic’s title rivals.
“The SFA are tonight officially the laughing stock of world football and they have been shown to be not merely dysfunctional and not merely dishonest but biased,” he told BBC Scotland.
“Because McCoist, who undoubtedly said something that provoked a reaction from Neil Lennon that caused a four-match ban for him, has received no punishment at all.
“What is any sensible person to think of that set of affairs?
“Frankly, anybody with the tiniest brain could only regard them as being biased and prejudiced.
“They are not rational, they are not fair and they are not consistent in the way they have approached the matter with Neil Lennon and Celtic in general.“
“And tonight I think people will be scratching their heads in amazement and disbelief at the way the SFA conduct their affairs and continue to conduct their affairs.”
“Rangers have apparently said this is a victory for common sense,” added McBride.
Celtic had successfully challenged SFA rules to reduce Lennon’s touchline ban, but McBride said that he and the club’s chief executive had hoped that the line had been drawn under their dispute with the governing body.
“We all hoped that,” added McBride. “Peter Lawwell declared last week there is no war against the SFA.
“There shouldn’t be. We all wanted to sit down together and get on and make things better and have a better dialogue and then we have ludicrous decisions like today that will only inflame the fury of many Celtic fans out there feel.”
Neil Lennon distanced himself from the comments but said he would refuse to comment if asked if he agreed with them.
“I don’t think Paul was speaking on behalf of the club,”
“That was his opinion and I value his opinion obviously, but he is not speaking on behalf of myself or the club.
“I don’t want to make any more comment because I will end up in the stand or have a heavy fine.
“But if you think it is fair then a lot of people are burying their head in the sand on this one.
“I find it interesting that, after all the fall-out from that game, I am the only one who has been banned.”
Then in September 2011 after being soundly beaten over 2 legs by Sion of Switzerland. Celtic again called on the services of the legal eagles and pen pushers and were reinstated to the Europa League by Uefa.
A Uefa spokesperson said:
“The Uefa control and disciplinary body dealt with the two protests lodged by Celtic FC against the validity of their Uefa Europa League play-off ties played against FC Sion on 18 and 25 August. The Scottish club questioned the eligibility of a number of the Sion players who participated in these matches, with the Swiss side winning 3-1 on aggregate.
“The control and disciplinary body accepted both protests and decided to award BOTH TIES to Celtic by forfeit (3-0). As a consequence, Celtic are qualified for the Uefa Europa League group stage.
Celtic said in a statement:
“We have been advised by Uefa that the two protests relating to the matches against FC Sion have been upheld, as a result of which each match has been forfeited in favour of Celtic. We are pleased by this decision, the approach which has been taken by Uefa and the fact that Uefa rules and regulations have been upheld. We are also grateful for the support of the Scottish FA in this matter.”
So let us get this right dear reader.
Celtic knew about, but kept quiet -not for the first time by the way- about the ineligible players at the 0 – 0 home draw?
So why not complain then and get the players sorted out so they couldnt play against you in the Second leg?
Why wait till after the 3-1 pumping in Switzerland?
Did they think that Neil Lennon could do something that many Celtic managers before him couldnt do and get a result away from home in Europe and go through on the efforts of the football team not technicalities?
Anyway Celtic took Sion’s place in the UEFA EURO Group.
A group Peter Lawwell, the Celtic chief executive, referred to as
“a Champions League group in terms of quality”
Sion pledged to fight the expulsion in advance of the Uefa hearing taken it to the Court of Arbitration for Sport which potentially put the scheduling of the Europa League in doubt.
Where have we heard this before?
Then in March 2013 after a 3 0 humiliation from Juventus Neil Lennon sent a D.V.D to UEFA to seek clarification on referee Alberto Mallenco to football officials after claiming he didn’t do his job properly.
The Celtic manager revealed that he had compiled a DVD of the repeated incidences of wrestling caught by the TV cameras but unpunished by the Spanish referee, Alberto Undiano Mallenco, and will ask for an explanation from the governing body of European football.
Lennon insisted he would not rest until he gets a response from UEFA’s administrators in Switzerland.
What follows are quotes direct from Neil Lennon’s mouth regarding the sending of said D.V.D
“We have DVD footage of the game and we would like someone to give us some answers.
“I’m compiling it along with the video analysis guys and writing a letter asking for a ruling.
“The referee didn’t do his job and there has been a lot of talk since Tuesday night regarding it so we’re looking for clarification on his decisions.
“What Juventus did was way beyond the limit of the law in football.
“They were basically pulling and holding them at every opportunity and you can’t do that. You may as well turn the game into a wrestling match.
“I tried to speak to the referee at half-time but he was having none of it and waved me away.
“I spoke to the fourth official on three or four occasions and got no answers. I hear so-called experts saying it’s just part of the game but it isn’t otherwise it would be done all over the pitch.
“We needed a strong referee and we didn’t have that. It was blatant. I have seen photographs in which the shirt was almost pulled off Gary Hooper’s back and he ends up in the goal at one stage.
“I admire Gary for keeping his cool. If it had been me I might have got sent off for something I would have regretted later.
“That is not part of the game. That is not marking. That is cheating. That is gaining an advantage.
Lennon also pulled up comments by Mallenco prior to the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa where he refereed.in his bitter rant.
Lennon continued his rant “Juventus are a brilliant team and they probably deserved to win the game but our players did everything right within the laws of the game. Juventus didn’t.
“If the referee goes up and says to them -additional officials behind each goal- before the game ‘don’t overrule me’ then they are basically redundant,”
“It’s a myth that Juventus ‘did their homework’. That’s rubbish. Juventus defend like that week-in, week-out in Serie A.
“If anything we had done our homework and we made sure the referee was aware of it and he was looking at it time and again and Juventus went unpunished.
“They were being manhandled. They were being fouled. It’s not rugby we’re playing,”
“Are the rules different in Spain or in Italy? On that showing, they must be.”
“It looked like the Juventus players were fouling at every opportunity.
“The referee was warned by our players to keep an eye on it and he ignored our requests.
Despite Neil Lennon’s blistering personal attack on the Spanish referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco individual performance he contradicted himself -not for the first time- when he spoke to Kris Commons after he and Efe Ambrose’s a heated bust up about the Nigerian defenders performance.
Ambrose, who was at fault for two of the Italian side’s goals and missed a sitter 1-0.
“That’s heat of the moment stuff,”
“It’s been dealt with internally and there’s no bad feeling from anyone on that.
“Kris really cares, he was really disappointed but he did overstep the line a little bit.
“We don’t blame individual performances, we’re a team. That’s the end of it as far as I’m concerned.”
As you would expect Neil Lennon’s scandalous remarks came to the notice of the Big wigs at UEFA.
But he escaped punishment for branding the referee in Celtic’s 3-0 Champions League defeat on Tuesday night as “very pro-Juventus” after Uefa’s match delegate did not report his comments. Saying except in extreme circumstances, Uefa acts only over post-match criticism of referees if a match delegate mentions it in their report.
“I thought he was poor. I thought he was very pro-Juventus. I was disappointed with his performance to say the least.
“I would like to ask the Italian journalists what they made of the way Juventus marked our players. It looked to me as if they were fouling at every opportunity.”
Neil Lennon was firmly put in his place by a real class manager. When Juventus’ Antonio Conte cuttingly quipped
“Quite often in Italy we have the bad habit of over-criticising so I will leave it to the Celtic manager to criticise this evening,”
Neil Lennon wasn’t the only person opening his big mouth about the Juventus humping of Celtic and putting his foot in it with inflammatory comment.
Former referee Dermot Gallagher obviously hurting at the result , when talking about the lead-up to Matri’s goal, said:
“We could have had another Holocaust last night.”
Sky Sports had to apologise for any offence caused.
In August 2013 with Celtic trailing 2 0 to Kazakhstan minnows Shakhter Karagandy.
UEFA where bombarded with complaints about the ritual slaughter of a sheep by Karagandy around games bringing good fortune.
Karagandy believed their win was aided by their ritual of sheep sacrificing, with their boss Viktor Kumykov overseeing the throat-slitting on the pitch ahead of the match.
After the pressure and complaints Uefa threatened Shakhter Karagandy with disciplinary proceedings if they continue to perform .
Despite Shakhter Karagandy manager Viktor Kumykov who planned to club’s sheep-sacrificing ritual at Celtic Park. European football’s governing body made it clear that disciplinary proceedings will be launched if the practice is repeated.
In a letter to Shakhter’s executive director, Yerden Khalilin, Uefa competitions director Giorgio Marchetti said:
“We were informed that an animal slaughter took place at some point prior to the Uefa Champions League fixture involving FC Shakhter Karagandy and Celtic FC at the Astana Arena on Tuesday 20 August 2013.
“Although certain practices may be culturally rooted, they have no place in or around a sporting arena or event.
“In this context, I would like to make you aware that animal slaughter on a football pitch or in a stadium before, during or after a Uefa competition match – or with reference to a Uefa competition – is totally improper, and will not be tolerated.
“In case of re-occurrence, it will inevitably lead to a full investigation by our disciplinary bodies.”
What ever happened to respecting other peoples culture and history?
What ever happened to being open to all?
This was summed up by Shakhter’s Kumykov. who said
“All I can say is that every team and every club has its own pre-match traditions and rituals.
“Celtic must have their own. We will try to respect our traditions and those traditions have been in place even before we came to the club.”
And there is the rub dear reader!
Kazakhstan is a predominantly Muslim country.
What if the started to say no you cant do your pre match religious traditions like say oh I don’t know making the sign of the cross like they do in Orthodox Christianity?
“We are just observing a tradition,” Viktor Kumykov continued.
“The guys decided that being in the play-off is a new level and we are not going to violate this tradition.’
A cleric from the local mosque oversaw the sacrifice of the black sheep which was led out onto the pitch on a cart.
In Muslim majority countries such as Kazakhstan, the ritual slaughter of a sheep can seen as bringing good fortune ahead of such an event with the meat from the sheep then possibly distributed among the poor.”
So there you go its just like Glaswegian food bank except healthier and it doesn’t come in tins.
In the end Shakhter Karagandy on the night had no good fortune and were put out by a last minute goal.
I just wished people would get so upset about Aberdeen getting Slaughtered every time they go to Parkhead.
Now we come to complaints to UEFA more recently and Legia warsaw.
I wont bore you by going to in depth into it as its all fresh in our minds.
Just a few points.
Celtic stressed they had not initiated the investigation and would make no comment until after this morning’s outcome.
This raises the matter what Celtic Employee was asleep at the wheel that could have seen Celtic lose the chance of £20 million?
The Celtic administration team were on the ball for the 2 legs against Sion when it came to illegible players.
So why did they not spot defender Bartosz Bereszynski for the final three minutes of the Celtic defeat in Edinburgh.
A UEFA spokesman confirmed:
‘We can say that we found out about this situation on Thursday afternoon.
‘It was a UEFA delegate who found out about it. Our disciplinary committee is meeting tomorrow morning to make a decision on it. If a player is found not to be eligible Legia Warsaw would forfeit the tie 3-0 and Celtic would go through on away goals.’
So now they are expecting us to believe that UEFA the richest footballing organisation in the world with all its employees couldn’t have spotted this before the game started and pulled up the fact that Bereszynski was suspended.
It wasn’t a simple cut and dried job for the unnamed UEFA delegate. It took him/her to scour not just Legia Warsaws 2-0 Murrayfield win but previous games going back to last season.
You see Bereszyński was sent off in the UEFA Europa League last season. The duration of his subsequent ban was for three games but he missed Legia’s next three UEFA matches against St Patrick’s Athletic and the home leg of his side’s tie with Celtic.
UEFA regulations however state that a ban only applies to a player if he is listed in a club’s squad for matches. If the player in question was not on Legia’s squad list for the St Patrick’s tie, he would have been ineligible for both Celtic matches.
Why couldn’t the UEFA delegate find this in the WEEKS between the previous games and raised this but could find it in ONE DAY after Legia Warsaw’s convincing 6-1 aggregate win and Celtic were out?
It would’ve saved a lot of time, money and embarrassment.
The rules are the rules.
Celtic are quite happy to go through after a 2 legged 6 -1 humiliation due to a sub playing the last 3 minutes.
Harsh? yes but those are the rules.
Some may say the Celtic player diving for a penalty Getting the St Johnstone Captain sent of in the process, away at St Johnstone in an evenly balanced game at 1-0 . Should be met with same retrospective punishment that benefited Celtic in Europe.
As I said at the start Celtic seem to have a sometimes unhealthily win at all costs attitude to get the riches from sitting at Europes top table in the Champion league.
Maybe one day we will find out what was driven them.
Anyway one thing I know for sure that for the sake of the repetition of Scottish football lets hope Football is the winner on the pitch on Tuesday night.
And that the Champions of Scotland don’t have to progress again on a technical knock out.
For the benefit of the people watching the game on council telly in black and white.
Celtic will be the team playing in the green and white legal loop holes