Tag Archives: Old Firm

Emptying out the top-drawer; thoughts on soccer world March 2011

By Kevin Koczwara

This will be a monthly column, I hope, where I dump out the random thoughts I have accrued over the last month. These thoughts are the ones I’ve tried to write columns about and have failed to materialize into anything tangible or readable.

Let’s begin with Arsenal.

Arsenal boggle the mind. The Gunners lose to Birmingham City in the League Cup final on one of the year’s most laughable goals. Then they go on and smash Leyton Orient in what should have been an unneeded FA Cup replay, 5-0, and Nicklas Bendtner scores a hat-trick. Why is the thrashing of Orient a surprise? Well, Bendtner scored a hat-trick. That’s why. It’s an absolute shock he can put together three goals in one game at times. He fumbles over his feet, misplaces passes more often Jake Delhomme, and he isn’t very good int he air despite his height.

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Old Firm clash to decide Scottish Premier League

By Ryan Fleming

It made me laugh. It really did.

About a month ago there claimed to be a three-team race for the SPL title. That dream or apparition was immediately squashed the next weekend when Neil Lennon’s Celtic quickly silenced Hearts, 4-0, and seemingly laughed at the prospect of another title challenger. It was the now injured James Forrest strike within three minutes, followed by a double by Anthony Stokes and another thank-you-very-much by Patrick McCourt.

Since then, the Hoops have been nearly invincible, playing to a 3-0-1 record, including a 2-2 tie to Rangers two weeks ago. This weekend the two teams meet again in what will be the season for either team.

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Georgios Samaras breaks out against Rangers, but Celtic needs more from the Greek

Georgios Samaras scored Celtic's two goals on Sunday in the club's important win over cross-town rivals Rangers. Samaras has disappointed for much of his time in Glassgow, but at times he breaks out and shows just what he is capable of. (Courtesy Football-Wallpapers.org)

By Ryan Fleming

In every sport there are players that seem to turn on the charm, or play to their ability whenever they feel like it. In Celtic’s 2-0 win over cross-town rival Rangers Sunday afternoon, Georgios Samaras proved once again that he continues to fall under that list.

Nothing frustrates supporters, managers and board members more than players like the lanky Greek international. When Samaras takes the field, no one knows what to expect. This offseason, Samaras played arguably better than any player to don the Hoops. Celtic manager Neil Lennon praised his long-haired forward, giving him his utmost confidence in continuing his impressive run.

In typical fashion, the fun ended as quickly as it started. Samaras quickly morphed into his lethargic self, seldom making runs, making atrocious first touches and failing to find the back of the net so often it was as if opponent’s asked him to do so before the game.

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Celtic's Old Firm Loss Raises Questions

Ibrox wasn't a welcoming site for Neil Lennon and Celtic last weekend for the Old Firm match between Celtic and Rangers. Celtic lost 3-1 thanks to Kenny Miller's second half brace. (Courtesy Thomas Nugent )

By Ryan Fleming

It’s not the end of the world. Hope still remains that the top of the table can become Celtic’s come the end of the year. But Sunday morning’s 3-1 loss to their cross-town rival, Glasgow Rangers, once again raises questions for those who support Celtic.

Coming into this year the Hoops hired Neil Lennon, a former defensive midfielder and fan favorite, to take the post previously vacated by the sacking of Tony Mowbray. The Northern Irishman held the post for the back end of last season’s campaign, posting a spotless record in league competition.

Until now, Lennon completed little of what has been asked of him. SC Braga knocked the Hoops out of the Champions League and FC Utrecht humiliated the club out of the Europa League.

The loss to Gers at Celtic Park on Saturday capitalized all the questions surrounding the young, inexperienced manager. While those questions fade when the team is doing well, they are more apparent than ever when the Hoops fumble.

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Celtic Deserved Win Over Dundee United Despite Referee's Decision

Dundee United were unable to hold onto a 1-1 draw with Celtic at Tannadice Stadium this past weekend despite a controversial decision by the referee. Courtesy Benson85

By Ryan Fleming

It wouldn’t have been right. An injustice would have been done. But before Gary Hooper scored his second goal of a 2-1 win over Dundee United on Sunday at Tannadice, it seemed as if the Hoops were headed back to Celtic Park feeling gutted, cheated.

“It was one of the best performances I’ve seen since I’ve been in charge of the team in terms of attacking, quality football,” Celtic manager Neil Lennon told soccernet.com. “I’m very proud of the team, and despite a very controversial decision going against us, they never let their heads go down, we kept creating chances and we got what we deserved.”

Referee Dougie McDonald’s controversial call saw Hooper denied a penalty with his team even to United, 1-1, in the 69th minute. The former Scunthrope striker clashed with Dundee keeper, Dusan Pernis. McDonald awarded the penalty immediately, but to overturn his own decision minutes after conferring with assistant Steven Craven.

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Scottish Champion Has More than Just a Title

By Ryan Fleming

There is only seven points separating the two Glasgow teams. Celtic and Rangers,  heated rivals for longer than most can remember, square off this Sunday in what is surely the most important game for the Hoops and a vital test for the Gers as well.

Seven points might seem like a lot, but if Celtic manage a win come Sunday then only four points between of the Hoops and the SPL title. Four points closer to an automatic CL birth, which in turn means money, something that’s paramount in European soccer. Continue reading

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Off to a good start

By Ryan Fleming

From now on it’s now or never for Glasgow Celtic. Before Saturday’s clash with St. Johnstone, the Hoops were 10 points out of first in the Scottish Premier League and fighting for their season and perhaps a spot in the Champions League next year.

Being knocked out of the Europa League in the first Qualifying Round and trailing their hated, cross-town rival, Rangers, Celtic needed a boost – perhaps a miracle.

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