Old Back of the Net articles here

November 2002
Celtic v Blackburn
Sunday Mail errors,
Bobby's derby record



What is it with Celtic supporters and conspiracies? The past week has been full of them spouting off about how their 1-0 win over Blackburn in the UEFA Cup first leg hasn't been given the merit it deserves in the Scottish media.

Regular readers of this column will know that we take great pleasure in giving the media a good roasting when they deserve it. The last four words in the previous sentence are crucial though. In the case of Celtic v Blackburn, what do the press and TV stand accused of? Only of administering a verdict on Celtic's performance that was shared by almost everyone who watched the match.

Celtic were outplayed, outthought, outfought and outwitted. A typically sneaky poacher's strike from Henrik Larsson gave them a precious advantage for the second leg that few would claim they deserved.

That's not being anti-Celtic. It's not being part of some English/Orange/Masonic conspiracy. It's simply telling the truth. Celtic's midfield was diabolical. Lennon, Lambert, Thompson and Petrov were anonymous. Up front, Agathe saw plenty of the ball but did little other than to hump hopeful punts into the box. Ex-Rover Chris Sutton was right at home with his old team-mates. Virtually every time he passed the ball he found a Blackburn player.

Not every Celtic player had a poor game. Balde and Valgaeren were impressive in defence - they had to be. And Rab Douglas put in a fine shift when it was needed. John Hartson's arrival off the bench put some steel into the Celtic attack. Larsson was hardly in the game but in the end he got the only goal - one that could prove crucial come the return in Lancashire.

Let's get our position clear. This website wants Celtic to win. Scottish football NEEDS Celtic to win.
For our champion side to be eliminated over two legs by a mid-ranking Premiership side would be a terrible result. Yes, the Parkhead team were lucky in Glasgow but if they can score at Ewood Park that should be enough to take them into the next round. In eight home games this season, Blackburn have won just twice. That said, they've only failed to score in two of these matches.

Since the two opponents who kept Souness's side from hitting the target are Sunderland and Aston Villa, surely its not asking too much of Celtic that they do at least as well as these Premiership strugglers?

And those Parkhead moaners would do well to reflect on this: Do they really think that scraping a lucky win over a team like Blackburn merits shouting from the rafters? Is that how low their sights are? If so, then God help them if they ever fulfil their ambition to play in the Premiership.




For the Scottish Cup 1873-1939 click here
For the Scottish Cup Post-1945 click here
For the League Cup from 1946 click here



Nice to see the Sunday Mail continues to live down to its reputation. They did a big double-page spread prior to Celtic v Blackburn outlining every game between Scottish clubs and other UK teams in European competition. Except that they missed out Rangers against Leeds in the old Fairs Cup and Hibs v Liverpool in the UEFA Cup. And that's just the ones that leapt straight to mind. Who knows how many others they forgot?

Maybe it was because they were all excited about their "exclusive" with Graeme Souness in the same issue. Call us old-fashioned if you will but in our book an exclusive means just that - a story exclusive to that paper. Not one that comes from a press conference attended by all and sundry. And certainly not one that the Observer covered in rather better detail the same day.


No one should have been surprised to see Hibs concede two goals to Hearts inside the last four minutes, thus losing the Edinburgh derby and bringing a five-match winning run to an end. Any Kilmarnock supporter could have told the Hi-bees that for all his undoubted managerial talent, Bobby Williamson is cursed when it comes to local derbies.

Going by Ayr's results against Killie during Williamson's spell at Rugby Park, Hibs supporters should prepare themselves for a sustained period of Jambo supremacy. Of course Williamson also brought the Scottish Cup to Ayrshire as well. Now there's a dilemma for Hibs fans. Would constant derby humiliation be worth it if they could land the old trophy after more than 100 years


We said before taking our mid-season break that we hoped to come back to find Scotland off the mark in Euro 2004, a new manager in place at Tannadice and that Darryl Broadfoot would start writing about football in The Herald.

We also said that we'd settle for just one of these provided it was the first. And lo and behold it came to pass. Scotland not only got all three points against Iceland but turned in a decent performance against Canada as well. Of course Dundee United still haven't got a boss and the last we saw in print of Darryl he was getting his jollies watching checkout girls getting dressed up for Halloween. But you can't have everything.

Celtic's tie is finely-balanced

Back to homepage Click here to download sample pdf files BLUE-WEB INTERNET DESIGN