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Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is of the opinion that Celtic will be a major absentee from the Champions League this campaign. The Scottish club were knocked out of the competition in the final qualification round after losing to Danish club Maribor. There were looking to reach the group stages for the second consecutive season after having given a huge lifeline from the previous round. Despite being defeated by Polish club Warsaw, Celtic were reinstated back into the competition after their opponents were found guilty of fielding an ineligible player.
Ferdinand, who has come up against Celtic on a couple of occasions in the Champions League when playing for Manchester United, says that the British club represents a lot of history and it will be sad to see them not in the elite European competition for the coming campaign. Celtic manager Ronny Deila gave a damning assessment of the club’s position in the European elite table. He said that Celtic are no longer the top club that they once were and that they should get used to playing in the Europa league more often than not.
Celtic have won the league without much opposition in the last few years due to the absence of Rangers, who are slowly making their way up the Scottish football league.
“I think for other teams Celtic will be a big miss, especially from the sense of occasion they bring. In the Champions League with teams like Barcelona, I speak to Gerard Pique and others and they say ‘The atmosphere against Celtic away is just unbelievable’. Some of them just don’t know about it. No disrespect to Scottish football but sometimes people in other countries don’t know the history of Celtic. But when they come here they leave aware of what is going on and the importance of the club,” said Ferdinand.
Celtic have been put on the brink of exit from the Champions League qualifying rounds after they lost 4-1 at the hands of Legia Warsaw in the first leg. This was the second round of the qualifying. Celtic came into the encounter with aspirations of reaching the group stages. Prior to the match, manager Ronny Deila has been speaking about giving Celtic an automatic group stages spot given the history of the club. He also says that Celtic are being devoid of this opportunity simply because they are playing in the Scottish Premier League – not recognised as one of the top in Europe.
Deila successfully managed to get Celtic as to the third round of qualifying, but he was to get a major shock in his early days as Celtic manager following this defeat. After the match, he heavily criticised the players for failing to adhere to the tactics. Celtic have a mountain to climb in the second leg. He says that it will be very important that Celtic start the match well. The Norwegian reckons that failure to do so will not only give the opposition enough belief that they can go one step closer to Champions League group stages, but also deflate his own team.
“It was not the plan to go forward at 2-1. We had a spell when we had good control but started making stupid mistakes and they got space behind us. That is my responsibility. I have to be much clearer as to what I expect and how we perform as a team, defensively and offensively and we lost our heads and that is not good enough. It was a very poor performance and worst of all was the commitment, the energy, I need much more energy in the game,” said Deila, who was appointed as the replacement for Neil Lennon.
The former coach of Celtic FC, Neil Lennon never really had big plans for the 20 year old striker Tony Watt who recently returned from Belgium after going through a loan deal with Lierse SK where he managed to score 8 goals in 17 appearances but it seems like his future will be in Belgium as a deal is expected to be completed within the next few days with Celtic FC allowing the young attacker to be sold to the Belgium side Standard Liege with a price tag of €1.2 million.
If all the reports and rumors are actually true and a transfer does happen then Tony Watt will be making his move to Standard Liege in a contract that lasts 5 years. Tony Watt was at the center of the spotlight in newspaper and websites all over the world back in November of 2012 when he scored a goal during Celtic’s Champions League victory against Barcelona but after that, Watt started to fade away as he could not score a goal for the remainder of the season. Continue reading →
Ball-o-Holics Online video Rating: 4 / 5
After being paired with Icelandic club KR Reykjavik in the qualifying round for the Champions League 2014-15 season, Celtic will be expected to have a tough time with cold. However, manager Ronny Deila says that he will make sure that his players are made aware of the tough conditions that they can expect from the match. Scottish clubs need to go through the qualifying round in order to make it into the group stages of the Champions League. The lack of Rangers in the Scottish Premier league puts qualification to this tournament extremely important for Celtic.
This is the only way they can test themselves against the top opposition. Much will be expected from the club as they prepare for the new regime under Ronny Deila. Under the stewardship of Neil Lennon, they reached the last 16 of the Champions League two years ago. They were knocked out by Italian club Juventus. Even reaching the last 16 will be regarded as a major achievement, but for now, the sights will be set upon the group stages. Celtic will get as much as £ 30 million from the group stages, which will be a huge amount for the club.
The Scottish Premier league is not rewarding – compared English Premier league – in terms of TV revenue. After the draw was made, Ronny Deila said that he was happy with the outcome. The first leg will be on July 15 or 16.
“Icelandic football has improved a lot in the last few years. They are hard-working players with a good team spirit. They will be well organised too. But we are Celtic. We should be a better team than them over two matches. Now it’s all about doing everything right in pre-season to get the squad physically and mentally prepared for these games. It could be better and it could be worse. I think it’s an OK draw,” said Deila.
So that’s definitely it then – England are out. The Italians refused to do us a small favour in despatching those giants of World Cup football Costa Rica – and our boys are on the first available flight home after they’ve had a consolatory crack at Costa Rica themselves.
And what happened in the Italy-Costa Rica game by the way? The Italian side that so cynically put away England with a professionalism that typified the way they have always played the beautiful game looked like they’d all taken a couple of tablets of Nytol before they walked on the pitch.
It seemed like they just weren’t interested – or was it the Costa Ricans’ determination to close everything down so quickly that made the Italians look like they’d been drugged? Continue reading →
New Celtic boss Ronny Deila has claimed that he has already started working for the upcoming season by looking at several DVDs of the existing players and also of transfer targets. He says that he has been on the phone trying to complete the deals for some players. Celtic recently appointed Ronny Deila as the replacement for Neil Lennon, who stepped down from his role after more than four years in charge of the club. Deila is one of the young and upcoming managers in world football at just 38 years of age.
Known as being a workaholic, he has stated that work has already begun for the new season with Celtic not just looking to win the Scottish Premier league again. Much will be expected from the Scottish club comes to the Champions League campaign. Under the management of Lennon, they reached the last 16 stage of the competition where they were knocked out by Juventus a few years ago. Deila states that he is still in the process of understanding Celtic after being appointed as the new manager only a few days ago.
However, it has not prevented him from trying to get in touch with his staff about the work for the upcoming campaign. Celtic won the league title by a comfortable margin.
“I spent a lot of my time in Norway over the weekend speaking to a lot of people. You have to get to know your staff and you have to get to know your players so I have spoken with some of them. I have also spent time watching the DVDs of Celtic because it is very important for me that I know exactly what was happening on the pitch last season. That gives me a better idea and a feeling for what was good in the team, what can be improved upon in the future and what direction I now want to take the squad,” said Deila.