May 152015
 
Greens Complete Whitewash Of The Reds

 

 

Aberdeen 0 Celtic 1

Welcome to this edition of “Maley’s Musings”, the weekly article which aims to break down the news of the last seven days whilst offering some analysis and opinion, all in one thousand words or less.

Celtic scored the 125th goal of their competitive season last weekend against Aberdeen at Pittodrie, as our captain Scott Brown both started and completed a swift counterattacking move to take the lead early in the second half. In doing so, this made it four league wins from four against Aberdeen this season. Individually, it was Brown’s fifth goal of the 2014-15 season, but his influence on the team besides cannot be overstated. An expensive purchase and the source of some concern early on in his career, he has flourished into fine Celtic captain, embodying not simply the skill but also the grit, determination and desire which the role calls for. Although I have no doubts that he will be around for years to come – enjoying the first testimonial handed out to a Celtic player in some time as he does so – I feel it is likely we will find his a very difficult influence to replace when he does eventually leave his playing days behind him.

For those of you who may be interested, sixty-nine of our competitive goals this season have arrived at Celtic Park, fifty at away venues and another six at Hampden Park. Ten have come from the penalty spot, with three being registered thanks to own goals. Seventy-nine efforts have found the net on league duty, with thirteen being scored in the Scottish League Cup, Scottish Cup and Europa League respectively. Seven also came in the Champions’ League qualifiers (not including the phantom goals scored in the three-nil victory over Legia Warsaw).

 

 

St. Johnstone v Celtic

Speaking of goals, it is rumoured tonight’s trip to St Johnstone may see the return of some squad players to first team action, as Ronny continues to consider how he will adapt his personnel list during the summer transfer window (just this evening we have been linked with Manchester City defender Dedryck Boyata). Stefan Scepovic, scorer of four goals thus far this season could start. Returns from injury for both Charlie Mulgrew and Tom Rogic also appear possible, with murmurs that youngsters such as Kieran Tierney may feature too. Of course, this could all be proven to be nonsense if Deila announces a full strength eleven tonight, but nobody could criticise him for using tonight’s match to experiment should he choose to do so. After all, a full strength side appears likely on the final day of the league calendar, so it could be argued this is the only opportunity he will have to play around with things. I, for one, would be excited to see the return of Tom Rogic in particular.

 

 

Celtic Park Continues To Improve

Earlier this week, to much applause, banners recalling some of the most important figures and moments from Celtic Football Club’s proud history went up on the exterior of Celtic Park. This was the latest in a long list of steps being taken to improve the area in and around the stadium, with much work, including the so called “Legends Wall” and the statue of Billy McNeill (amongst other things) still scheduled to appear in the future.

It will come as no surprise to any of you reading this that I was particularly happy to see a banner devoted to William Patrick Maley adorning the side of our stadium as part of the most recent work. As I said on Twitter, such a large scale visual prompt will inevitably lead many young supporters to ask “Who was Willie Maley?”, and perhaps a few adults may be intrigued enough to research his exploits also. This, of course, can only be a good thing.

Taking off my hat and waistcoat for a moment though, I must say that all of the banners – not simply that one upon which Mr. Maley appears – look fantastic, particularly when back-lit at night. The modern day Celtic Park truly is an arena to be proud of, both inside and out, and remains by far and away the finest football stadium in the country. Long may such progress continue.

 

Credit to “The Celtic Network” for the photograph

 

 

Other Business

This year’s annual charity raffle, in aid of Alzheimer Scotland this season, will close on Sunday night. Tickets will be available until midnight that evening, with the draw being carried out and the subsequent results announced on Tuesday. As yet, we have raised £1,480.66 during 2014-15, now less than £50 off our highest total ever for a season (£1,530 for The Wayside Club and Feed Glasgow last year). Personally, I do hope we will be able to beat this total but it has been a successful campaign regardless. As always, my gratitude goes out to all of you who have supported our endeavour. Your generosity makes such feats possible. Should anyone wish to purchase any raffle tickets or browse the prizes on offer, YOU CAN DO SO BY CLICKING HERE.

In other news, I have decided to tweak the name of my new book slightly, which should hopefully be released sometime in the autumn of this year, altering the subheading in doing so. It will now be called “Uniquely Celtic: The Soul and the Spirit”. More information with regards a release date, book launch and other stuff besides will be publicised in the coming weeks and months.

With that, I would like to conclude this article as I always do by wishing you and your families all the very best for the week ahead. Over and over, we will follow you.

 

May 082015
 
New Kits, Same Brand of Football

 

 

 

 

Welcome to “Maley’s Musings”, our series of articles which attempt to give you a brief summation of the news stories of the last week, with some thoughts, analysis and photographs attached, in one thousand words or less.

Well, after a period of arguing as to what colours people support at the ballot box, I must say I’m rather looking forward to everyone focusing solely on the green and white again. Following on in that vein, it is perhaps rather apt that Celtic have launched their new home kit this week, the first to be designed by New Balance, for the coming season. I have to say I rather like it, feeling it’s an enormous improvement on the current version. The rumoured away kit, pictured below, is also a design which I would be a fan of. However, I can’t say I’ll be buying either directly from Celtic anytime soon due to the fact that a home adult short sleeved shirt is priced at £53, which is an amount of money I personally can’t justify spending. That’s not so much a criticism directly towards Celtic particularly but rather towards the modern game and the amounts of money often involved therein.

 

 

Whilst there was some disagreement among the support as to whether or not last week’s Friday night football experiment at Celtic Park was a success, there was no debate as to the quality of the performance of the home team which was of the highest calibre. No, Dundee didn’t help themselves by sitting in and inviting their opponents on to them, but the Celts were not only deserved winners, they were fantastically entertaining to watch. Again, credit must go to Leigh Griffiths, whose opening goal took his personal tally to nineteen for the season, with the striker now averaging one goal scored for every 104 minutes played in all competitions. Whilst we’re on the subject of strikers, I do hope Ronny Deila gives Stefan Scepovic a starting place prior to the end of the season – perhaps away against St Johnstone – as his goals scored to minutes played ratio (one scored for every 210 minutes which he is on the field, with much of that time coming in the Europe League) hints at the possibility he may have more to offer. Surely having spent a significant amount of money on the Serbian, it’s worth giving him a chance?

 

 

Celtic return to Pittodrie this weekend for the first time since what I believe to have been one of – if not the – defining day in Ronny Deila’s tenure thus far. Having seen Scott Brown sent off and the Dons hit the woodwork on more than one occasion, we all watched on with delight as Virgil van Dijk’s deft stoppage time finish washed the nerves away and sealed a crucial win for the Hoops. In the moments which followed, our Norwegian manager’s passion filtered through to its most obvious extent at that point in time, and it was great to watch a win celebrated with such gusto by the manager, players and supporters alike. After all, these league matches supposedly mean virtually nothing to us if you embrace the world view of some members of the mainstream sports media in Scotland.

 

 

With the season drawing to a close, transfer rumours are naturally beginning to abound. Firstly, it appears we have bid for Dutch defender Mitchell Dijks, who played in the Ajax side defeated at Celtic Park in 2013 but now features for Willem II. A fee of circa £700,000 has been noted, and with the ability to play either left back or centre half, one wonders if this rumour may come to fruition. Other whispers this week connected Charlie Mulgrew with a potential move to newly promoted English side, Bournemouth. Personally speaking, I could understand Charlie making the decision to leave Celtic Park behind him this summer should he choose to do so, as whilst he is a useful utility player, I cannot presently see any way in which he will be able to hold down a place in the starting eleven under Ronny Deila. Murmurs about the futures of Virgil van Dijk, Jason Denayer and John Guidetti also continue to circulate, but regardless, I for one am actually rather looking forward to this summer’s transfer window, providing Ronny is given an adequate level of funding to improve his squad. We’re most certainly on the rise.

 

 

Also, this weekend will host the big Scottish play-off match and I, for one, am very much looking forward to it. Yes, with the scores tied at two apiece after the first leg at Gayfield, Queen’s Park versus Arbroath should prove to be a pulsating contest indeed.

 

 

At this point, I am hoping to close this season’s charity raffle, in aid of Alzheimer Scotland, next weekend with the winning tickets being drawn and the results announced during the following week. Confirmation will be forthcoming in this regard, but with a current total of £1390.66, this is already set to be our second most successful fundraising season at least. As always, you have my undying thanks for your continuing support of many good causes.

In other news, work continues on my new book, “Uniquely Celtic”, with the script having surpassed the 175,000 word mark this week and deadlines continuing to loom large on the horizon. The publication of the result of our springtime catering survey has been hampered somewhat by this endeavour, but at almost 20,000 words itself, I hope the survey’s results will be released before the end of the season. Anyway, having said all of that I’d like to wish you and your families all the best for the coming week as ever. Viva Ronny Deila.

For anyone interested, donations can be made to our Alzheimer Scotland fundraising efforts by CLICKING HERE. Please note, one raffle ticket is allocated for every £2 donated, limited to ten per person. Thank you.

 

May 012015
 
Another Week, Another Step Closer To Four In A Row

 

 

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the second installment of this series, attempting to give you a round-up of the previous week’s news and views in one thousand words or less.

Earlier this week, I stumbled across this video whilst wasting time on YouTube one night. Yes, when I first saw it, only ninety-five other people had watched it during its six days online, but now, just five days later, the video has had over twenty-four thousand views. I cannot take any credit for the video itself (that must be reserved exclusively for Ronny and whoever took the time to translate his excellent lecture), but if nothing else it does show the power of the internet to spread modern media to the masses. I’m happy I was able to bring it to the attention of the many people who thoroughly enjoyed it though, I must say that, and some of the nice comments which have come my way have been very much appreciated as always. Clearly, Ronny Deila has the potential to be a special manager, and I know I am not alone in feeling we are lucky indeed to have him at Celtic Park. For anyone who missed the video, it is available below in all of its magnificence.

 

 

As many of you will know, season ticket renewal forms have started to drop through postboxes across Scotland and beyond recently. The £50 increase of adult prices back towards their original levels has been begrudgingly accepted by many, but inevitably the caveats surrounding youth concession tickets have caused a firestorm of sorts. To cut a long story short, no youth concession season tickets include any potential league matches against Sevco in their advertised prices, and should these ticket holders wish to attend these matches if they arise, they will have to pay for a full adult match day ticket to do so. This was the case prior to Rangers’ demise also according to the Football Club, but times have changed dramatically. Firstly, no non-adult should ever have to pay for an adult ticket at Celtic Park. Secondly, the principle which this policy sets is completely wrong. Sevco are no longer the Rangers of old, neither in terms of stature nor footballing ability, and should be treated as such. All league matches should be included on any individual season ticket (unless anyone wished to opt out of Sevco matches) and each should work out to be the same price – it should not cost a season ticket holder more to see a league match against Aberdeen than it would to watch an equivalent fixture versus St. Johnstone, for example. Lastly, if someone purchases a youth concession season ticket prior to the outcome of the Championship play-off’s, they are clearly doing so because they wish to watch Celtic next season, not any particular opponents, and should be charged accordingly. And yet, having said saying all of this, hopefully these issues will not come to pass dependent on the results of the aforementioned play-offs.

 

 

In other news, John Guidetti was “censured” by the Scottish Football Association this week for an offensive remark which he made quoting the song sung by the Celtic fans about him on Dutch television. However, in typically transparent style, there has been no clarification from the governing body as to exactly what they deemed to be offensive. Presumably, it was “the huns are deid” reference but regardless, the “censure” of Guidetti is telling in itself. Essentially, all the S.F.A. did was to try to make it appear as if they were doing something when in reality they were not. Guidetti cannot be punishing for using the word “hun” because, derogatory though it is, it has no religious or racial element attached to it. The whole charade was a waste of time, in truth.

 

 

At the weekend past, Celtic took another step towards the Scottish Premiership title, defeating Dundee United at Tannadice by three goals to nil thanks to a hat-trick from Leigh Griffiths. As such, the striker is now averaging one goal scored for every one hundred and five minutes of football he has played this season in all competitions, well ahead of the other attacking players in the squad. Griffiths deserves great credit for his performances this season, as does our recently announced Player of the Year Stefan Johansen. A win tonight against Dundee, coupled with a draw or a defeat tomorrow at Tannadice for Aberdeen will confirm Celtic’s place as the champions of Scotland once more. Regardless, I personally expect a strong showing and several Celtic goals tonight, as Friday night football returns to Celtic Park. Congratulations to the Glasgow Cup winning young Celts also.

 

 

One month today, if I am to meet the deadline which I have set myself, then I must have completed the draft script of my upcoming book “Uniquely Celtic”. Having surpassed the 160,000 word mark recently, I should perhaps feel more confident than I presently do about achieving this aim, but hopefully I’ll get there.

I’ve decided to delay the release of our catering survey results until next week, partly because an important weekend of football awaits and also a certain “super-fight” to be broadcast from Las Vegas. After all, myself included, who cares much about the food at Celtic Park when there’s such a weekend of sporting action to be enjoyed? These issues can wait.

I am delighted to announce that with a few weeks of the season remaining, our current total raised for Alzheimer Scotland is £1,390.66. Tickets for our upcoming raffle are still available here. As such, even if we do not raise a penny more, this will prove to be our second most successful fundraising season to date. You all have my thanks for your continuing support, we could not achieve these feats without you.

And so, I’d like to wish you and your families all the best for the week ahead. Good luck Manny.

 

Marquee Powered By Know How Media.